“Nothing can prepare you for seeing it with your own two eyes.”

Maybe you’re thinking about your next vacation or maybe you’re just daydreaming about seeing the world. In any case, it’s never a bad time to plan your next adventure. So I gathered some inspiration from the subreddit r/Travel and from the BuzzFeed Community. Here are some of the most memorable, life-changing experiences according to travelers.

1.

“I traveled to the mountains of Togakushi in Nagano, Japan. I followed a path lined with 400-year-old trees, temples, and shrines up the mountain. It was the most serene place I’ve ever been, and it felt like a scene from a storybook.”

2.

“Many couples choose to honeymoon in a tropical destination, but we chose Iceland. We rented a car in Reykjavik and drove around the entire country on the Ring Road. It was the most incredible experience of my life. This country is truly the land of the gods.”

3.

“Visiting the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Nothing prepares you for just how immense and enormous the Grand Canyon really is. You see it on TV and think you can comprehend it, but then you arrive, and you’re totally dumbstruck.”

4.

“Hiking Mount Batur to catch the sunrise in Bali. When I told my husband we were going to be waking up at 2 a.m. on our honeymoon to hike up Mount Batur to catch the sunrise, he was less than thrilled. At the base of the volcano, we saw dozens of other tourists taking the same hike (which, by the way, was pitch black and much more intense than we had prepared for). We reached the top of Mount Batur right before the sun started to rise. It was one of those moments that made me stop and feel awe-inspired by just how incredibly beautiful this great big world is.”

5.

“The sight of Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland shook me to the core. This Alpine village is said to have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and it’s easy to see why.”

6.

“Stepping foot in the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona. It’s such a disorientating experience. Logically you know you’re in a church, but it feels like you’re on a forest floor staring up at huge trees while simultaneously under the sea looking up at the water’s surface. It’s mind-blowing.”

7.

“It was forecast to be a sweltering hot day Prague, so I decided to get all of my sightseeing out of the way between 5:30 and 7:30 a.m. to beat the heat. It was the best decision. Seeing this beautiful city in the peaceful early morning while everyone else was sleeping was incredible.”

8.

“Hot spring hopping through the rain forest in Dominica. Dominica — not to be confused with the Dominican Republic — is one of the wildest places I’ve ever visited. I was there in 2011, and it was unlike most Caribbean islands I’d ever seen. Compared to more polished and touristed islands, Dominica still felt wild and rugged. I loved it. I visited several hot springs during the weeks I was there, but the most memorable were the springs I found on the way to Trafalgar Falls.”


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“These little pools of hot water formed right in the middle of the rain forest. It was a far cry from the monetized and commercialized hot springs found in most places. And the fact that the “twin” waterfalls of Trafalgar Falls made up the backdrop didn’t hurt either.”

Evie Carrick

9.

“I spent four days camping out in the remote Algerian Sahara. It was just me and a local guide. At night it was freezing, but it was free of all light pollution, the sky was breathtakingly beautiful.

10.

“Swimming with sea lion pups in the Galápagos Islands. Imagine being in a room of happy, wiggly puppies all vying for your attention. Then swap out puppies for sea lion pups flipping and diving around you in the ocean. Now you can probably understand why this travel experience was so incredible.”


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“I had the great privilege of boating around the Galápagos Islands for 10 days with a travel agency called Inca, and it was nothing short of amazing. Even after seeing giant tortoises, sharks, and tons of rare birds (including the iconic blue-footed booby), the little sea lion pups are what stand out. It was one of those experiences that left my cheeks feeling sore from smiling and my heart bursting with happiness.”

Evie Carrick

11.

“Traveling to Rome and seeing the Colosseum in person was amazing. Pictures don’t come close to the feeling of standing right next to it and seeing it with your two eyes. I loved Italy in general, but this was a real highlight.”

12.

“After 4 days of trekking over the Salkantay pass to get to Machu Picchu, I woke up around 3:30 a.m. attempting to get to the ancient Incan citadel before the rest of the tourists arrived. It was 100% worth the early wake up just to see the sunrise here alone.”

13.

“Eating my way through Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. It was a food-lover’s dream. Tsukiji was once home to Tokyo’s largest wholesale fish market and famous tuna auctions. Today, the market has moved, but Tsukiji Market is still a food lover’s paradise. The chaotic streets are lined with vendors selling everything from steaming hot onigiri and freshly caught sushi to wagyu beef skewers and piping bowls of ramen. Walking and eating my way through Tsukiji Market while taking in all the sights, smells, and flavors was absolutely amazing.”

14.

“Seeing the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls, on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia was a larger than life experience.”

15.

“My brother and I bought a car in Georgia and spent 100 days driving across all of Central Asia — through Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and more. It was the most epic trip I’ve ever taken, and I would recommend it to anyone in search of an amazing adventure. We ended up selling the car to a couple in Kazakhstan who were taking our same trip but in reverse.”

16.

“I took a hot air balloon ride in Göreme, Turkey, the famous town in Cappadocia known for its fairy chimney structures. Suffice to say it was utterly breathtaking.”

17.

“Seeing the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. I had to stand in line for quite a while to get inside, but it was so worth it. I visited early in the morning, and with the bright morning rays shining through the windows it was absolutely breathtaking. It’s easily of the most beautiful works of architecture I’ve ever seen.”

18.

“I watched the sunset in Xingping, China from the top of Laozhai Hill and it absolutely blew my mind. I would recommend staying a night in this town just to see this view with your own eyes. The city is only 20 minutes via bullet train from Guilin.”

19.

“After years of thinking I should travel alone, I finally went on my first solo trip to Iceland. The Westfjords region was the best part of my trip. Between the scenic drives, the fjords and the lack of tourists, it was so special.”

20.

“I walked nearly 600 miles across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. It was the journey of a lifetime. The hike is not exactly the most difficult in the world, but the Camino experience is something that can’t be replicated anywhere else.”

21.

“Northeast India is a trip that should be on every nature-lover’s travel bucket list. Sikkim, an Indian state bordered by Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal, is home to some of the most gorgeous natural landscapes on earth.”

22.

“Traveling down the Dalmatian Coast on a summer day was one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. Dubrovnik is simply incredible: The water is clear, and the Old City makes you feel as if you’ve traveled back in time to the Middle Ages.”

23.

“Awhile back I got to spend three months on a small banana plantation in the Amazonian rainforest. I remember showering under waterfalls, buying frozen, sweet coconut milk from a woman’s porch, eating tiny bananas that tasted more like raspberries, getting caught in wild rainstorms every day, and taking in so much natural beauty it was overwhelming. It’s an experience I’ll never forget that I hope others will have.”

24.

“I rode my motorcycle from the US to Colombia. I had no plan and no guide. I wanted to make it all the way south to Patagonia, but I ended up spending about eight months in Central America. I just couldn’t leave. The whole experience was organic, challenging, and such a blast…everything I could ever want from a travel experience.”

25.

“Hiking Queen’s Bath Trail in Kauai, Hawaii. It’s a short hike up, but my god, the view is so breathtaking. It’s usually not packed with tourists, so you can really enjoy your surroundings. Once you get to the top you can wade around into the many small crevasses filled with delightfully warm sea water and spot sea turtles in the ocean down below. It was so gorgeous and memorable.”

26.

“Driving through the Scottish Highlands will always stand out as one of the most memorable trips of my life. The A82 is one of the prettiest drives I’ve ever taken. All of the lochs, Glen Coe, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park are incredibly gorgeous. I’m used to the densely forested mountains in the US, and I found the rocky crags of the Highlands to be totally breathtaking.”

27.

“Exploring the wadis and sleeping in the desert in Jordan. Chances are you’ve heard of Petra. And while Petra is nothing short of amazing, it was Jordan’s wadis (or valleys) that stood out even more to me. Wadi Rum is a wide-open desert wilderness that’s punctuated by jutting sandstone cliffs where I rode a camel through the desert and stopped to see prehistoric inscriptions and impressive sandstone arches before sleeping at a Bedouin camp for the night. It was nothing short of amazing. And in Wadi Mujib, I walked up a river between sandstone cliffs carved by cool water on a hot June day. It was one of the best experiences I can remember.”

28.

“Visiting Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. There’s no words to explain how you feel when you walk in the clearing and see that jade blue lake and the snow-capped mountains behind it. You feel like you’re somehow stepped into a magical world of a scene from a postcard.”

What travel destination or experience was so special, thrilling, or one-of-a-kind that you’d recommend everyone experience it? Tell us in the comments below.



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