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20 Travel destinations you must see before you die

Kortney Gruenwald is an internationally published journalist, writer and founder of lifestyle blog Western Charm. Originally a west coast American girl, she is currently living in Germany but still fueled by iced lattes (even in winter)....

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Traveling isn’t a luxury; it's a necessary activity to complete and understand the human soul. Going through life without seeing the world is like having a rose in front of you but never daring to smell it. There are many corners of this planet to explore, but here are 20 places you absolutely need to see.

Vatican City, Italy

Whatever your religion (or even if you don't have one), these holy streets touch the human spirit. In particular, you must visit St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. You may not believe in anything divine, but witnessing the power of human faith and all the beauty it can create — well, that's astounding.

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Photo credit: Jurjen_nl via Flickr


Petra, Jordan

Are you a history and archaeology buff? Even if you aren't, this place will turn you into one. The vast red mountains of Petra, Jordan, are breathtaking, and combined with the ancient architecture of this "lost city" carved from stone, this is definitely a desert wonder to witness.

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Photo credit: Seetheholyland via Flickr


Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland

It is hard to choose one place in magical Scotland to visit, but the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye will leave you enchanted for the rest of your days. You may recognize this beautiful sight from Pinterest, where it is one of the most popular pins to travel boards.

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Photo credit: Fs999 via Flickr


Machu Picchu, Peru

Known as the "Lost City of Incas" and one of the seven wonders of the world, Machu Picchu is one of the most mystical peaks on Earth. This slice of Incan history was built in 1450 and is thought to be the estate of emperor Pachacuti. If we haven't sold you yet, you'll be greeted by the charming faces of a thousand llamas — they roam free here.

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Photo credit: Yotut via Flickr


Venice, Italy

This one seems like it could be a tourist trap (which is what I was expecting my first time), but the history, vibrant Italian culture and undeniable romance bewitches all travelers. The charm of Venice must be experienced, preferably with Mr. or Mrs. Right.

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Photo credit: DragonWoman via Flickr


The Great Wall of China

As one of the few signs of humanity visible from space, walking a portion of the 13,710-mile-long Great Wall of China is something a person simply must do. And no, don't pull a Justin Bieber and have your security guards carry you.

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Photo credit: Gerard Metrailler via Flickr


Niagara Falls, New York

Start your worldly journeys in the U.S. (or right across the border in Canada). Niagara Falls has been attracting millions of tourists annually for decades. Fun fact: You are guaranteed to almost always see a rainbow if you're on the Canadian side of the falls.

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Photo credit: Smulan77 via Flickr



No life is complete without walking the streets of Paris. Thomas Jefferson once said "A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty and in the point of life."

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Photo credit: Moyan Brenn



Russian architecture is arguably the most extravagant and beautiful in the world. The subway stations in Moscow alone are designed with marble and complemented by lavish chandeliers. The sparkling city and rich Russian culture make Moscow a must-see stop in life.

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Photo credit: Pavel Kazachkov via Flickr



Ancient Egyptian culture has left humanity curious and mystified for thousands of years. The art, history, science, discoveries and relics left by ancient Egyptians can all be explored in Cairo. Oh, and don't forget to witness the immensity of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids.

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Photo credit: Sean Barnard via Flickr

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