best travel destinations

Best Travel Destinations: Indeed, I realize that every traveler has a special place (sometimes several) in the world that is close to his heart, that he recommends again and again, and that he considers to be one of the must-see destinations once in a lifetime. So I asked 40 of the great travelers around me to play the game and tell us which city or country to visit in your life.

I really enjoyed compiling this kind of collective giga-bucket list, because I (re)discovered places that make you dream, each with its own personality and particularities. Needless to say that I want to go on a trip to these 40 must-see places right now, don’t I?

top 50 travel destinations in the world.

Istanbul, Turquie.

A little European, a little Middle Eastern, barely Asian, Istanbul is the city that takes you around the world by staying in place. It is not for nothing that Napoleon said:

“If the earth were one great nation, Istanbul would be its capital. »

This is the place where strangers offer you apple tea to get to know each other or to close a deal. It is also a place where the quality of the textiles does not equal the warmth of the people who weave them. Through the busy alleys of the Grand Bazaar, you will find an unusual souvenir, something to talk about when you get home.

At the Blue Mosque, one is immersed in the beauty of a religion that is often mistreated. It is a city where one learns to tame the strange and the foreigner. To be visited in a few days, or for a lifetime, Istanbul is an obligatory stop for any traveler.

2. Cambodge.

The first reason I can give you is not necessarily valid for you, but for me it is quite legitimate, because Cambodia is the country of my origins. On the other hand, I will give you the other reasons why you should really visit Cambodia in your life.

In Cambodia, we welcome you, we respect you. I have noticed on each of my trips, Cambodians say hello to me using the “Sampeah” in hotels, restaurants, agencies… You will easily recognize it when they join their hands close to their chest. It is a mark of respect and prayer. It is often accompanied by a smile just for you. Even when they don’t understand what you are telling them, the smile will always be there. You have understood it, Cambodians are so kind and we make moving encounters. But what else can you love about Cambodia?

The temples in Angkor, although very touristy, are a must to visit in the country of the Khmers. The best thing to do is to see for yourself, these temples are breathtakingly beautiful and if you don’t visit them, you will have missed something! The genocide of the Khmer Rouge is one of the worst massacres in history.

Any traveler to Cambodia should be aware of this, because it is part of the history of Cambodia. The country is recovering and transforming itself, starting with Phnom Penh, a bewitching and exciting capital. If you move away from the capital, the Cambodian countryside is still well preserved and will offer you idyllic landscapes. Take a tour in the province of Banteay Mean Chey, you will discover the real rural Cambodia, a guaranteed change of scenery.

best places to travel in 2020.

3. South Africa.

South Africa was recently voted the most beautiful country in the world by Buzzfeed, no doubt thanks to its unique natural and cultural wealth, as well as its history which, despite some very dark turns, remains fascinating. It is a well-deserved victory. The “Rainbow Nation” has 11 official languages, and many more communities, quite distinctly distributed throughout the territory. The result is very simple: each arrival in a new region gives the impression of entering another world, so different are the landscapes, inhabitants and customs.

While Cape Town, nicknamed the “Mother City” because it is the country’s first European trading post, offers idleness by the sea and sunsets from the top of Table Mountain (N.B. it is one of the new wonders of the world), Johannesburg (Jozie, for those close to it) is the place to be for the new black middle class looking for a miracle solution to make a fortune. Between the two, there is Bloemfontein, a kind of Afrikaner Texas, or Durban, which could be called Little India, as there are so many Indians there. Already so much diversity by evoking so few places…

Between the city, the countryside, the sea, the mountains, the forest, the desert, the savannah, don’t be afraid to miss things to do. Surfing on the Garden Route, hiking in the Drakensberg, safari in the many parks that dot the country, trekking in the Karoo or Kalahari desert, wine tasting in the Stellenbosch region, discovering Zulu traditions in KwaZulu-Natal, or simply admiring the immensity of nature in front of the Blyde River Canyon, there is something for everyone! All this in landscapes as varied as they are impressive.

Visiting South Africa could be the trip of a lifetime. The kind of experience you will always remember. Because of the magnificence of the landscapes and the diversity of cultures, of course, but also because the history of the country and its consequences on today’s reality make you think deeply about human nature, social relations, and living together.

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4. Norway.

This is an impossible question to answer. Every place is different and great depending on what you live there. It all depends on the context, the time of the people you meet there and especially on the person who is traveling. And then the goal is not so much the destination, but the path to get there …

If I still had to give a country, I would say Norway for its welcoming people and breathtaking landscapes. Still little traveled by tourists, because quite expensive, wild camping is accepted there, which allows to put your tent anywhere more than 200 meters from a house.

Sea fishing is also free of rights, so with a little resourcefulness, there is a way to visit this wonderful country without spending too much and to make great encounters. Preikestolen is an excellent reward after a big hike, a view of the incredible fjords.

best places to travel 2019.

5. Estonie.

Estonia. Without hesitation! If there is one destination in Europe that you should not miss, it is this small Baltic country, the northernmost one. Whether in summer or winter, it is an ideal destination for this year, exotic and yet European.

A small country is well advanced in terms of technology, natural and wild landscapes, a great breath of air guaranteed! I particularly like its architecture, its colorful wooden houses make the charm of the country, as well as the locals.

To the north, the young and lively capital Tallinn has a magnificent medieval historical heart. In the south, Pärnu, the seaside resort abounds with spas to make a wellness point during your stay or to enjoy the large beach.

To the west, the islands of Muhu (photo) and Saaremaa will delight nature lovers for a quiet break. To the east, the student city of Tartu and its region of Lake Peipus are incredible. And finally, in the center, Viljandi, the capital of culture, will amaze you with its local art museums and the Soomaa regional park.

6. Getting out of your comfort zone.

It’s up to each individual. Some dream of Italy and its vineyards, others of India and its thousands of smells, others still dream of Paris, Buenos Aires, the Mouk-mouk islands.

The journey of a lifetime in my opinion is the one that will force you out of your comfort zone, make you discover facets of yourself that you didn’t know, the one that will ultimately make you feel at home when you had never set foot there not so long ago.

It is the place that, while being so different from home, will become a second home. If there were things missing from your life before, this place will bring them to you.

Whatever the destination, I wish everyone to experience this kind of journey at least once in their lives. Whether it is an immersion trip, an international volunteer project, a professional transfer or an expatriation pure and simple, I wish everyone to find your “happy place”, the place where it feels so good to live that you feel like you are traveling every day and where the desire to escape disappears.

For me, it was Spain, then the Yukon. For others, it will be Italy, India, the Mouk islands.

7. New York, United States.

For me, THE destination to visit at least once in a lifetime is New York City! Real city within the city, Manhattan is the most extravagant and impressive island I have ever had the chance to discover.

A city where everything is excessive: the buildings, the distances, the quantities and the prices! A city that has a lot to offer, whether it is on an architectural level with modern buildings that flourish everywhere or on a cultural level with its many museums and galleries that will delight young and old alike, without forgetting all the historical emblems of the city such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building or the Brooklyn Bridge.

New York is one of the cosmopolitan cities that never sleeps, it is an essential step in a life of travel.

8. The desert.

For me, the desert is one of the places to see at least once in a lifetime. I think it is a destination that leaves no one indifferent and will mark you forever. In Jordan, I met tourists who came to Wadi Rum for a day of discovery, spent their time on board a jeep to reach the main points and left in the evening. The desert is not just a simple expanse of sand, it’s much more than that… and you can’t feel it in a day of group excursion aboard a jeep.

I discovered the desert in post-revolutionary Egypt in the fall of 2011. At that time, the tourists still hadn’t come back and I had the huge chance to be alone with the two guides for 4 days of excursion. I have never felt a travel experience as intense and strong as this one. In addition to the perfect silence which reigns there and which forces introspection and listening to oneself, I will forever keep the memory of the nights spent on the roof of the jeep, my eyes planted in the Milky Way. Is it possible to see so many stars? I had tears in my eyes and couldn’t bring myself to close them to sleep. The most beautiful show: a night in the desert.

A few days in the desert, to enjoy absolute calm and a bit of serenity, to meet the Bedouins and share tea with them, to walk on the dunes and see the sunset and rise on this magical horizon… all this is for me one of the most striking and enriching experiences I have had the opportunity to experience.

top holiday destinations.

9. Islande.

Iceland is an island to be discovered at least once in a lifetime! Why Iceland? There are far too many reasons! Whether you go there in summer or in winter, you will discover nature in its purest state: hundreds of waterfalls to contemplate, volcanoes to face, glaciers to climb, lava landscapes to explore.

Everything on this island will surprise you. In winter, you will contemplate the aurora borealis or see whales. In summer, travel the island on a trek through the volcanic lands. The only problem? Is that if you go there, you won’t want to leave!

10. Peru.

What a difficult exercise to choose one destination as a “must see”! For me, all destinations are made of little jewels, dreamed, known or unexplored regions… So many destinations tease my imagination! That’s why I created my (long) Bucket List.

If I had to name only one, I would talk about Peru. Why would I do that? Because I fell in love with this country. A love that has already led me to travel to this beautiful place three times. A love that will make me come back, for sure!

So many stories and adventures, encounters and experiences… just like this country, rich in variety. From north to south, from east to west, this country is full of different settings in which to write entire novels. Coast, desert, mountain or jungle: all these regions have allowed me to live amazing “first times”.

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places to visit around the world.

12. Guatemala.

I traveled and lived in Guatemala for more than 6 months. It is for me one of the most important destinations in Latin America. It’s still very roots, not too touristy (except for the gringos in high season), not expensive, there are plenty of natural curiosities, beautiful places, active volcanoes, Mayan sites… The Guatemalans I met are funny and know how to party. It is also in “Guatemala” that I learned Spanish. Great memories, including this sunrise on the volcanoes of Lake Atitlán, from the top of Santa Maria.

Colombie.

Well, we agree that it’s impossible to choose between your mother and father… Well, the same goes for travel destinations. So when I had to think about THE destination that I couldn’t miss, my neurons started to heat up. And then finally, the evidence presented itself to me: if I had to choose only one country among those I had the chance to visit, Colombia would be the lucky one!

And no, I am not at all objective in my choice. Colombia brings together all that one can expect from a trip of a lifetime: a change of scenery and the discovery of a different and millenary culture: a mix of Amerindian, African and Spanish populations, for the main ones… A variety of breathtaking landscapes: from the Caribbean to the Pacific, from the Andes to the Amazon, from the llanos to the coffee region, from the Guajira to the Tatacoa desert, there is no lack of outdoor activities…

Extraordinary human encounters: Colombians are all smiles and welcome you with open arms… A culture of celebration: music and dance are an integral part of Colombian culture, not to mention the food, coffee and fruit juices. Cities steeped in history between the colonial past and modernity: Medellín “the city of eternal spring”, Cali “the branch of paradise”, Bogotá “the South American Athens”, the third highest capital in the world, Cartagena de Indias “the heroic city”…

I could write pages about what I like about this country. It’s simple, if you don’t want to choose between romance, adventure, landscapes, weather, desert, sea, mountain, jungle, fauna, flora, city, history, culture, party, meetings, gastronomy… Go to Colombia!

Must see travel destinations.

Canada’s Far North.

Canada is our largest, most beautiful and most accessible country! We are proud of it, yet we boycott it in favour of the most exotic destinations! What a shame… For having travelled from Labrador to the Yukon, passing through Nunavik and the Northwest Territories, I tell you that the Far North is the most beautiful thing in the world.

We see icebergs as big as buildings, fjords that would shadow the largest of the giants, rivers among the purest on the planet and wildlife that the whole world envies us.

Yes, the Far North is expensive, but it belongs to us and it is up to us to see it so that we can promote it. Why are there more French, Japanese, and Americans who have been to Dawson City or Yellowknife than Quebecers or Canadians? Have you ever asked yourself this question one day?

A $500-$1000 well invested will make you see the most beautiful aurora borealis that exists and will make you meet other Canadians with a thousand-year history, these Inuit who seem so unfamiliar to us. Go see what this Northern Canada and Northern Quebec looks like, these lands that everyone envies us and yet are ignored every day.

Italie.

For me, Italy is the must-see destination in his life! Why is it so? Well simply because it is the most beautiful country in the world! And I can prove it to you. It’s a very cinematographic country, by the way.

Everything is beautiful, good and wonderful in Italy, it’s a country that has everything! The cities are magnificent: of course, do not miss Rome, the eternal city, but also Venice, the romantic city par excellence and unique in the world, but also Verona for its story of Romeo and Juliet, Florence the superb, the mythical Tower of Pisa. There is also Milan for its energy, its fashion week and its nightlife. And even smaller cities like Naples or Turin, for example, are worth a visit.

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If you prefer nature, there are the Alps to the north for skiing in winter or enjoying the Italian lakes in summer, Cinque Terre or the Amalfi coast. The history is millennia old and you can visit ruins and archaeological sites everywhere like in Rome or Pompeii. The villages are adorable. The gastronomy is to fall: pizza, pasta, cheese, wine, coffee, or ice cream, everything is delicious.

And last but not least, the people are very charming in every sense of the word: they are beautiful, elegant, smiling, and friendly and to finish they speak the sexiest language in the world. In short, if you can only see one country before you die, go to Italy!

interesting travel destinations.

Nepal.

Favourite destinations, there are tons of them. They depend on tastes and colors, but also on moods. For me, it was Nepal that hit me hard, at a time when I wasn’t expecting it. Or more. We had spent five months in Asia, and I was reaching saturation point. India had finished me off, exhausted, and all I could think about was leaving, leaving Asia for the next continent. And yet, it was in Nepal that I was able to recharge my batteries.

A small enclave on the Indian subcontinent, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. The average per capita income is less than $400. per year. But for me, it is one of the richest countries on the planet, a wealth that cannot be counted in dollars, but one that fills the heart and soul, and that is sustainable. Nepal is a welcoming and warm people. Valiant too. Unhappy accustomed to living through a lot of drama, as witnessed by the terrible earthquake of 2015. A people who remain smiling, friendly and who, a rare thing in this part of Asia, did not give us the impression of being walking wallets.

Nepal is an extraordinary and generous nature. Angry, sometimes, but always sublime. It is the place where hikers from all over the world meet, united in the same fervor, the same adoration for these incredible giants that are the Himalayan mountains. One ventures there hastily, in a hurry to discover a world that one can hardly imagine.

Nepal, it’s all spicy smells, colorful flavors, intimidated smiles and lakes surrounded by snowy peaks. In a word, a sweet nonchalance that you never want to leave. In short, you will have understood it, Nepal is for me the destination of a lifetime, the one that leaves traces in the soul and that gives you one hell of a life lesson!

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India.

Whether we love or hate, India is not a country that leaves no one indifferent. It is THE true country of extremes. Extreme wealth and extreme misery. Extreme beauty and extreme debauchery. The disproportionate opulence of palaces and fortresses that bear witness to the time of the maharajahs.

The emaciated beggars and the great spiritual gurus who share the banks of the Ganges to perform their rituals to the gods. The cows, monkeys, dogs, and rats who fight over the mountains of garbage in the streets. The women dressed in flamboyant saris of princesses who wander through the chaotic bazaars. Medieval temples of palpable beauty and mysticism.

All the grandiose festivals, stunning smells, heady tastes, disturbing scenes, bright colors, aggressive noises, and scenery of a thousand and one night. Because India has destabilized, amazed, scandalized, seduced, disturbed us, it is according to us THE destination to visit in a lifetime.

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Castilla y León, Spain.

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Spain is a destination that is very much in vogue. In fact, Andalusia and Barcelona dominate the tourist offer. However, it is elsewhere that I think it is essential to go, or at least not to miss it, if you plan to cross this country: Castilla y León. It is a region that in one way or another will touch you.

If its three cities and five UNESCO listed sites are a beautiful showcase, it is the authenticity of the region that you should discover. The cities are so different that you can’t give them common characteristics. Its inhabitants are always very proud of the places they live in, to hear them they always say they have a monument, a work, a place, which is the oldest, the most beautiful, or the largest in the world. This passion, they transmit it to you, to you travelers passing by, by taking your map, by scribbling a place to see, by telling you about their personal history.

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As for the region, it can speak to all of us, because the events that took place there leave their traces in our lives, such as the sharing of the world in Tordesillas, which explains the domination of the Spanish in South America. Between its mountains and its Meseta, this region, which sells itself as “an open-air museum”, allows us to discover a different Spain, where international mass tourism has not all transformed, concrete. Tourism is there, but without destroying the soul of the region.

Greenland.

Greenland is a mythical land that was first explored in 982 by Erik the Red, a Norwegian explorer who gave it his name: “The Green Country” or Greenland. Two other dates will mark the history of Greenland: – 1884, the date when the Inuit of the East Coast had contact with other men and came out of the Paleolithic era – 1888, the date when Fridtjof Nansen was the first to succeed in crossing Greenland. It was then the beginning of the great polar expeditions.

I was immediately amazed by these great spaces, these wild, frozen and isolated lands. This corresponds to the definition I give to the word “freedom”. The spirit of adventure that is very dear to me is present there with great power. Going to Greenland is the possibility to live intense moments of life:

  • Immerse yourself in the heart of immense frozen fjords and approach the ice cap, the 2nd largest on the planet, whose ice thickness sometimes exceeds 3000 meters. It is also called the Greenlandic Inlandis;
  • Discover the world of the Inuit, the last hunters of seals, whales and bears, who in 130 years passed from the Paleolithic era to the era of the cell phone.
  • Observe gigantic icebergs and aurora borealis.

Finally, we must not forget that Greenland remains a very hostile land with many dangers. I will quote only two of them: the meteorological danger with the “Piteraq”, a katabatic wind which blows down from the cap at more than 250 km/h in a few seconds and from which it is essential to protect oneself.

The animal danger with the presence of the polar bear that inhabits the whole territory. Since the climatic disturbances, the bear has tended to return to the villages to find its food.

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France.

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I am French, I live in metropolitan France, but when I am asked which destination is a must in life, I immediately answer France. Metropolitan France, bordered by both an ocean and seas, its rivers, valleys, mountains, sleeping volcanoes. France and its islands, close to the metropolis like the tiny Chausey Islands or much further away like the famous Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion… And so many others.

Traveling in France means being able to swim in natural pools in Corsica, challenging yourself to climb Mont Blanc, tasting divine wines and cheeses in almost every region. Traveling in France means being able to ski on ancient volcanoes, visit museums that curious people from all over the world would like to see, being able to completely change landscapes in just a few short hours. Nature, culture, history… France is far too rich not to be part of this classification, isn’t it?

Canada.

Whether you live here or think of it as the end of the world, Canada is a must for me. For a long time, I’ve ignored it; today, I recognize that many of my most memorable travels have taken place in destinations where I haven’t even been asked for my passport. I followed in the footsteps of the Vikings in Newfoundland, the gold diggers in the Yukon and found myself surrounded by dozens of beluga whales in Hudson Bay, Churchill, Manitoba.

When I discovered British Columbia and Alberta, I pushed so many “oh” and “ah”‘s and almost lost my jaw. The welcome from the Maritimes always made me want to move there (well, okay, lobster too). I like to get dizzy in Toronto, get off the train in Tofino and watch time go by slowly on the train, a moving link between the provinces.

My home province is probably the one that has surprised me the most over the years. While I thought I knew Quebec, I go from one delight to another. How could I forget a sunset on Île Verte? The majesty of the Saguenay Fjord, no matter from which point of view one stands? Wendat tales in the Wendake longhouse? The fascinating story of the discovery of gold in Abitibi? Canada is not one country, but many, and it takes many trips to get the full measure of it.

Iran.

Iran is a country that is slowly opening up to tourism, but it is still unknown to most travelers. Travelling to Iran is unforgettable thanks to its history, its landscapes, its monuments and its extremely generous population. Still unaccustomed to seeing tourists, Iranians are curious to know you and authentic exchanges are facilitated. If I had only one place to advise you, it would be the Nasir-Ol-Molk mosque in Shiraz at dawn. The sun’s rays turn into an explosion of colors as they pass through the stained glass windows. A unique spectacle.

French Guiana.

French Guiana, this piece of France lost in the immense South America, is one of those “surprise” destinations where one does not know what to expect when one goes there, or even, one goes there with a lot of apprehension – here because of its reputation of green hell – to leave completely conquered! In addition to the return to basics that we always appreciate to experience in isolated, difficult to access, or simply sparsely populated places, it is its relationship with nature that made us fall in love with it!

In French Guiana, you don’t need to be sporty, adventurous or a hothead to access the jewels of our planet. All you have to do is walk on the beach to witness the breathtaking spectacle of the laying of leatherback turtles. One hour by car, we put the canoe in a cove and hop it is all the richness of the mangrove ecosystem that is offered to us. A stay in the rainforest, no matter if it is isolated, of long duration or neither, and it is always an enchantment of the senses.

You have to take the time to observe and listen for the miracle to happen: In the distance, leaves are moving and it is saimiri monkeys as skillful as they are fast-moving in large groups, a thud of the hammer in the treetops, we wring our necks a little to see a green woodpecker, at our feet, a tiny dot is moving, it is a frog in camouflage mode that we disturbed while walking, or sometimes, a tarantula that runs away so quickly that we had no time to be afraid… In short, each time we stay in the forest, we feel a lot of humility, serenity, and, above all, an immeasurable desire to enter in communion with this omnipresent Mother-Nature!

Lapland.

I have always loved snow. As a child, I remember when the temperatures were close to zero and the sky was covered with gray, waiting outside my window for the few flakes that (sometimes) would whiten the houses. 2 centimeters of snow and I was fascinated. Happy as a child.

A little later, when I was older, after a first trip to Stockholm – which I loved – I decided to go higher, all the way up north. Still fascinated by the snow, still a child’s soul. And I have always loved extremes. It was in Lapland that I went. The country of Santa Claus. I was already imagining the reindeer coming to take me to a log cabin.

And there, it was a slap in the face: a white paradise. Everywhere. Just as I imagined it. Meters of snow, white landscapes, covered trees, seemingly frozen for eternity. Noises completely muffled, you have to hear it to believe it. As if you were in absorbent cotton, yes, that’s it.

It’s cold there, a cold that can become hard, violent. But there are also razing lights, magical lights. Every hour of the (short) winter day brings its share of emotions. We talk about light, I can’t help but talk about the Northern Lights. Did you know that it was an arctic fox that sweeps the snow with its tail? A green fox… or something else, it doesn’t matter.

But it’s magical, really, to find yourself under the ballet of northern lights, watching them play, waiting for them often, without even thinking about the cold, which is still there.

If you like snow, contrasts, and beautiful lights, you can’t go to Lapland one day. It’s fascinating, so different from what you can find elsewhere. It’s another world, harder, more beautiful, and above all fascinating. There is an almost mystical silence, and you really feel elsewhere. Far away.

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