You may think there are only Seven Wonders of the World, but did you know there are actually more than a thousand of them? The term “Seven Wonders” refers to the Ancient Wonders (of which only one remains standing). But there are many more types of Wonders to explore: New to Natural, Industrial to Medieval, and Underwater to Mythological. Which means there’s no shortage of spectacular sights to see in this lifetime. From Petra in Jordan to the Taj Mahal, from Machu Picchu to the Great Barrier Reef, here are the 10 most breathtaking Wonders of the World that should be on every traveler’s bucket list.
1. The Great Pyramid of Giza (Egypt): Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Egypt’s iconic Great Pyramid is the only one that still exists today. Completed around 2560 BCE (so, a whopping 4,578 years ago!), it’s the most impressive of all the World Wonders. So why not start at the top? Go there toward day’s end to avoid the heat (and the crowds) and check out the sun setting on the famous Sphinx.
2. Great Barrier Reef (Australia): This Natural Wonder of the World is a must-visit — and soon — because environmental changes threaten its existence. Tip: Even if you don’t think you get seasick, consider bringing Dramamine for the boat ride to the reef just in case. Trust us, it’s a long time at sea (but worth it, of course).
3. Petra (Jordan): One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Petra is best experienced atop a donkey. We don’t say that for the Instagram shots (although they will be comical), but because trekking up to the ancient site is the original stair-climbing workout. So, no no matter how many SoulCycle classes you’ve taken, you are guaranteed to be winded if you explore this entire city by foot.
4. Chichén Itzá (Mexico): Ideally located in the Yucatan Peninsula — near the Caribbean Sea, Tulum, and countless cenotes (underground rivers) — this New Wonder is not to be missed. But don’t spend all your time at El Castillo (though the pyramid is the main attraction); stop by the Grand Ball Court to peruse the carved depictions of players participating in the long-ago sport. A bit of trivia: The winner often was sacrificed to the gods, which was considered an honor.
5. Panama Canal (Panama): One of the Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, the Panama Canal is a man-made creation that links the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. The canal winds through its namesake country in Central America, but we recommend visiting it where it’s adjacent to the rainforest in Gamboa for the most Instagram-worthy vista.
6. The Great Wall of China (China): Another New Wonder, the Great Wall is actually a series of multiple walls spanning approximately 4,000 miles. Head there at sunrise to beat the crowds, and you’ll want to bring sneakers: It’s called the Great Wall for a reason.
7. Machu Picchu (Peru): Take a few days here to hike the Inca Trail and experience the most iconic ancient city of the Incas. Go to the Sun Gate (once the primary entrance to Machu Picchu) for sunrise or sunset, and be sure to see the country’s well-known alpacas: soft, cute, and oh-so-friendly. And if you’re on dating apps, don’t leave before snapping your mandatory Machu Picchu profile pic.
8. The Taj Mahal (India): This destination goes without saying. Venture to the city of Agra to witness the splendor of the Taj Mahal. While there, relish in the vibrant colors of the country, from the architecture to the cuisine to the clothing. To quote legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, “Pink is the navy blue of India.”
9. The Serengeti Migration (Kenya and Tanzania): Seeing the wildebeest roaming the plains is said to be simply life-changing, and this is yet another reason to move a safari in Africa to the top of your bucket list. Book your flight (and hop in a Jeep) and experience the Natural Wonder of the Serengeti.
10. Na Pali Coast (Hawaii): Often referred to as the Eighth World Wonder, this is one of the most awe-inspiring and lush locations on the planet. Explore by foot, boat, or helicopter, and go there between November and April for peak whale season. As if the landscape wasn’t spectacular enough, it’s common to see humpbacks breaching in the background. Too wondrous for words.
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(Photos via Getty)