30 Places to See Before You’re 30
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30 Places to See Before You’re 30

Shannon McMahon, SmarterTravel.com | October 13, 2015

Travel Advice WebsiteMumbai, India

The best time to visit Mumbai is during the annual 16-day spring festival Holi—the Hindu festival of love that commemorates the divine love of Radha for Krishna (Hindu gods). The celebrations include rainbow paint, dance, parties, and food. Other sites to see include: The Gateway of India, an incredible monument overlooking the Arabian Sea; the ancient Elephanta Caves on nearby Elephanta Island; and many ancient temples.

Beach club in Ibiza, Spain
Beach club in Ibiza, Spain

Ibiza, Spain

This Mediterranean island, full of parties and music festivals, is the perfect vacation spot for young adventure travelers. While the busy summer season lasts from June through October, September is arguably the best time to visit—the weather has cooled down, but the party scene has not. In Ibiza, you’ll find beautiful beaches, alcohol-fueled pool parties, yoga retreats, and upscale restaurants and bistros.

Western Cape, South Africa

South Africa is an adventure travelers’ paradise, with Western Cape being the top destination.

Western Cape is home to Bloukrans Bridge, the world’s highest bungee jumping bridge, where daredevils can fall 709 feet over Bloukrans River. Those that are less adventurous can walk the bridge over Western Cape’s Nature Valley to watch the bungee jumpers. Experience South Africa’s incredible wildlife on a Savannah Safari.

Jamaa el Fna is a square and market place in Marrakesh's medina quarter.
Jamaa el Fna is a square and market place in Marrakesh’s medina quarter.

Marrakesh, Morocco

Travel through the open-air marketplaces, known as souqs, in Marakesh to hunt for bargains and barter with local merchants. Ride a camel through the Sahara, go on a horseback ride in the Agafay Desert, take a hot-air balloon ride and explore the many gardens, private palaces, and mosques in Marakesh. This beautiful North African city has plenty to offer, and with a rate of 10 U.S. cents per Moroccan dirham, it’s easy for adventure travelers traveling on a budget. 

Rio De Janiero, Brazil

With beaches, mountains, and forests, this beautiful city has something that will appeal to every adventure traveler. Hike through Corcovado Mountain’s lush rainforest, where you can see monkeys and other wildlife, to Christ the Redeemer. Spend the day relaxing on Copacabana Beach before dancing to lively music in one of Rio’s many nightclubs all night. Adventure travelers seeking a truly unique Brazilian experience should visit during Carnival, the famous spring festival that includes costumes, parades, music, dancing and more.

The Great Wall of China

Hike part of the 5,500 mile long wall that once protected Ming-era China before it turns to ruins. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, with more than 2,000 years of history, is already experiencing deterioration. Visit nearby Beijing for a lively cultural scene and delicious food, such as noodles, dry pork, duck, and dumplings.

Classic old car on streets of Havana, Cuba
Classic old car on streets of Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba

Adventure travelers looking for an old world experience complete with antique cars lining the streets look no further than Havana. Enjoy a true Cuban sandwich while watching a local baseball game in Old Havana and explore Cuba’s abundant history through museums and churches.

Chisos Mountains from Sotol Vista Overlook, on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive at sunrise, Big Bend National Park, Texas.
Chisos Mountains from Sotol Vista Overlook, on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive at sunrise, Big Bend National Park, Texas.

Marfa, Texas

This tiny town of 2,000 people in West Texas is a quirky treat. Marfa is known for modern-art installations and concerts—past performers including Taylor Swift and The Foo Fighters. Be sure to snap a picture in front of the widely recognized sculpture Prada Marfa, a perfect recreation of a Prada Store in the middle of the desert. Take a trip out to nearby Big Bend National Park or Davis Mountains for hiking and hot springs.

Machu Picchu, Peru

This 15th century Inca site sits 7,970 feet above sea level looking over the Urubamba Valley. The purpose of these astronomically-aligned structures is still unknown, though it is thought to have been an emperor’s estate. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu is an incredible hike with views like none other.

Great Pyramid of Giza and Sphinx, Egypt
Great Pyramid of Giza and Sphinx, Egypt

Cairo, Egypt

Tour ancient tombs, parks, mosques, medieval markets and walk along the Nile promenade in this bustling middle-eastern city. Nearby you can visit the Great Pyramid of Giza, the last remaining wonder of the ancient world and the Sphinx. Cairo is the perfect place to learn about Egypt’s rich history.

Queenstown, NZ

Adventure travelers have plenty of choices here including hiking, paragliding, and bungee jumping at the world’s original bungee sites, the Kawaru Gorge Suspension Bridge. Spend time relaxing at one of the region’s many wineries too, as Queenstown is known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production.

Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin at night
Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin at night

Dublin, Ireland

For the authentic Irish experience, enjoy a Guinness from the source at St. James’ Gate. See beautiful Celtic Castles from a tour bus to County Clare where adventure travelers can stand on the edge of the massive Cliffs of Moher. Finish it off at one of Dublin’s Irish pubs for a cold pint and live music.

Granada, Spain

Granada is known for hippies and hipsters as well as Arab markets, tapas and flamenco, making it more appealing to a younger adventure traveler demographic. This Spanish city has plenty of history, too though, including the Catedral de Granada and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Alhambra.

Montreal, Canada

This diverse Canadian city of both French and British influence is known for festivals, street art, shopping, live music, and especially food. The best way to experience Montreal’s culture is through a food tour where adventure travelers can taste the plethora of options including modern cuisine in Mile End and French pastries and Jewish sandwiches in Old Montreal.

Hanoi, Vietnam

While this Vietnamese city has modernized, it has still managed to preserve the Old Quarter, temples, monuments and colonial architecture. You can tour Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and more than 600 temples, visit lakes and parks and taste local cuisine. The city is best navigated by taxi. 

Lagos, Portugal

This beautiful Portuguese beach town is characterized by rocky beaches and a lively bar scene. The best way to see the region’s grottos and caverns is by speed boat tour. Don’t miss the breathtaking sunset over the Atlantic at Cape St. Vincent. 

Costa Rica

More than 500,000 species inhabit Costa Rica’s untouched rainforests, waterfalls and beaches. Explore this wild island region via a zipline adventure tour thatadventure travelers will never forget. 

New Orleans, Louisiana

This southern city is known for its live jazz and French and Creole food, not to mention the lack of open container laws. With plenty of bars, Bourbon Street is a playground for adventure travelers looking for a fun time. There are plenty of festivals throughout the year, including Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest.

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

There’s a reason that The Grand Canyon is the America’s most famous national park. Drive, hike, bike, or whitewater raft through the awe-inspiring canyon. Hike 8 miles to the breathtaking blue green waterfalls of Havasupai Falls. 

Tu Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa

This site features a giant swimming hole connected to another giant cavern by an ancient lava tube cave, all surrounded by lush gardens. The 100 foot deep turquoise swimming hole is accessed by a wooden ladder and adventure travelers are invited to jump into the water below. This ocean trench is truly a natural wonder.

Amsterdam Travel Tips
Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Historic sites and museums alongside marijuana lounges called coffee shops and the red light district make Amsterdam a truly unique destination.

San Francisco, CA

This trendy, progressive city has an incredible, diverse food scene, lots of awesome bars and plenty of outdoor activities, including hiking through the Redwoods. Be sure to take a tour of Alcatraz and bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

The largest beer festival in the world, complete with carnival rides, beer hall tents, German food and costumes and so much more, is something worth experiencing. Despite the name, the 16-day-long Oktoberfest actually begins in September, not October. 

Sydney, Australia

Beautiful beaches, weather and people as well as a plethora of bars, clubs and outdoor activities make Sydney a hot destination for adventure travelers. Play with adorable koalas at the zoo, or enjoy one of the many forms of art Sydney has to offer, such as the opera, just beware of the many poisonous insects in this city.

Paris Travel TipsParis, France

Paris is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is rich with history, nightlife and gastronomy. Check out world famous sites such as The Louvre (which is free with a student visa) and the Notre Dame cathedral, before enjoying a meal outside at one of the many cafes. If you’re looking to save money (and avoid the long line), opt to take the stairs rather than the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Reykjanik, Iceland

As if the Northern Lights weren’t reason enough to visit, Iceland’s capital has great theater, walking tours, nature hikes including mountains and volcanoes, and unique food options like puffin and shark.

Tokyo, Japan

For the uniquely Tokyo experience, adventure travelers stay in a capsule hotel, where the “rooms” are 6 foot by 4 foot “capsules”. Check out the Japan’s largest and busiest fish market, the famous Tsukiji Fish Market, scenic gardens, the Imperial Palace, and Toyko Disneyland.

The Devil’s Pool at Victoria’s Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia

Victoria’s Falls is a waterfall at the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, home to Devil’s pool, a natural infinity pool at the waterfall’s edge. Jump dangerously close to where the Zambezi river becomes a 420 foot waterfall or watch at Victoria Falls Bridge if you aren’t feeling so daring—either way this is a gorgeous destination worth the visit.

Greece Travel Advice
Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

Athens, Greece

Experience history, street art and delicious food in Athens. Wander through the Monastiraki flea market near Syntagma Square to buy just about anything, including books, paintings, clothes and lots of trinkets. Spend a day exploring The Acropolis. For the city’s best gyros, according to locals, stop by Souvlaki O Kostas.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

With both Latin American and European history, the lively Argentinean capital combines old and new world together to feel like it’s two cities in one. Adventure travelers can find urban biking tours, dancing, modern art, and lots of shopping here as well as plenty of nightlife including artsy cafes, intimate wine bars, clubs, and concerts.

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