“An investment in travel is an investment in yourself.”
-Matthew Karsten

We have so many amazing places to travel all around the globe that even if we have ten lives, it won’t be enough for us to visit each of them. So we have to make choices.

It’s painful when there’s nothing to choose from but it can be almost as difficult when we have to choose from a list of equally incredible options. We’ve made it easier for you by presenting to you here, the ultimate list of 20 countries you should visit once in your lifetime. We’ve compiled this list based on the listings and polls of the popular sites Lonely Planet, Telegraph, Business Insider, Thrillist and Rough Guides.

New Zealand

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There’s probably no one who has been to New Zealand and hasn’t fallen in love immediately with this enigmatic land. It’s hard to find places where travelers are more gratified than in New Zealand, in terms of man-made marvels as well as the grandeurs of nature.

The backdrop of New Zealand is truly magnificent with its prehistoric forests, widespread beaches, snowclad mountains and remarkable springs. The coexistence between Maori and European people forms the basis of the distinctive New Zealanders culture.

New Zealand is also one of the easiest places to travel on earth because of its well-developed infrastructures and high quality of service it offers. The food, wine and beer of this land also offer travelers with supreme sense of taste.

Australia

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Australia is not just a nation but a continent as well. In its enormity, lies a world within our world which is rich in ethnic and cultural diversity, amazing landscapes and offers numerous opportunities for entertainment.

This is a nation of relaxed sociability and lively spirit evident in every turn of a corner. Travel in Australia can be expensive but costs can be reduced using travel coupons and booking flights ahead of time. A sunny climate all year around is one of the major reasons behind Australians’ liveliness which has led to a prominent cultural focus onoutdoor living, demonstrated by vibrant beaches and outside camps.

The Twelve Apostles are not to be missed during an Australian trip. They are one of the nation’s most lovely natural marvels. Besides that, the other exotic wonders of nature for one to explore are the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and the Island of Whitsunday.

Japan

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Japan is a unique blend of tradition and innovation. The superb religious and cultural heritages from the past co-exist extraordinarily with state-of-art technological and architectural achievements in the present.

There are thousands of spectacular Buddhist temples and shrines all over Japan, most of which are in Kyoto, rightly known as the cultural capital of Japan. The other culturally rich cities in Japan worth visiting are Nara and Kanazawa.

Mount Fuji, Imperial Palace, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the Island Shrine of Itsukushima, Osaka National Park, Chubu-Sangaku National Park and the Japanese Alps are some of the other notable places to visit in this exotic nation.

Thailand

Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, shines across the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand.

With intriguing history, Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia.From the ancient Buddhist temples and beautiful palaces to its pristine islands and national parks, Thailand provides for all kind of tourists.

The capital of Bangkok with its bustling streets and gigantic malls contrasts sharply with the tranquil villages in the hills. But this diversity is exactly what makes Thailand a fascinating destination for travellers.

Thai food is appetizing and the people are very convivial. This country appeals to travellers ofvarious budgets.It welcomes everyone from officials who want to stay at five-star resorts to backpackers who prefer stay at low-cost guest houses.

Nepal

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A tiny Himalayan nation lying between the two big neighbors, China and India, Nepal is a world in itself. No country in the world offers such wide range of experiences in such a small area.

Some of the best places in the world for trekking and mountaineering are located in this nation. Eight out of ten of the tallest mountains in the world are here. It is probably the best place for adventure tourism with endless opportunities for safari, rafting and paragliding.

Although the snow white peaks of Himalayas are the first things that come to mind when one thinks of Nepal, nature is not the only aspect of this nation’s enigma. Kathmandu, the capital, is a city of a thousand temples that showcases a unique blend of Hindu and Buddhist religious heritages.

South Africa

Table Mountain across Table Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

This southern African nation is a place that doesn’t disappoint visitors. It’s a large, diverse and unbelievably beautiful destination. South Africa is also a major cultural hub of the African continent.

Cape Town and Johannesburg are constantly ranked among the best cities for travelers. The enigmatic Table Mountain and Table Bay ought not to be missed while travelling to South Africa. The vineyards of Franschhoek also certainly beckon.

There are many wildlife reserves in this nation. Kruger National Park and Addo Elephent National Park are the two most notable ones.

Botswana

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Botswana is as awe-inspiring for travelers as is the story of the nation’s journey from abject poverty to being now one of the most stable economies in Africa. The way it has been able to preserve its natural treasures in the midst of all this economic growth is also equally impressive.

Botswana is a premier safari location in the African content, with large portions of its land making up national parks and wildlife reserves. There are also iconic cultural heritage sites for tourists to explore.

Chobe and Okavango Delta region are perfect for wildlife viewing. Kalahari Desert, Tsodilo Hills and Nxai Pan National Park are some of the other places one must not miss on a trip to Botswana.

Latvia

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This Baltic pearl is undergoing a revival phase after an end to years of communist rule. The infrastructures have been improved and lots of overhauls are taking place especially in the towns like culturally rich Riga, named the European Capital of Culture very recently.

Most of the visitors are concerned with only the Latvian capital but the true spirit of Latvia resides in the spectacular countryside filled with pristine lakes, emerald forests and sandy beaches.

Almost half of Latvia is covered with natural ecosystems and each of the four national parks are equally beautiful. Jurmala’s Baltic waters and the waterfall of Ventas Rumba are also not be missed on a Latvian trip.

Poland

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Poland may have gone through lots of turmoil over the past couple of centuries but with its rich culture, beautiful landscapes and historic spots, the visitors are sure to bring away with them lots of exciting memories.

Although Warsaw is the most popular city, one is sure to miss a lot from the rest of the country if their stay is restricted to this town only. The Polish spirit that refused to give up amidst the atrocities of the second world war breathes throughout the nation.

Main Market Square in Krakow, Old Market Place in Warsaw, Old Town in Gdansk, Bialowieza Forest and Masurian Lakeland are some of the major places one ought not miss while traveling to Poland.

Germany

Water fountain in front of the Justizpalast near Karlsplatz. Munich, Germany

Germany is one of the best countries in the world to explore. It might be a little bit heavy on the budget. However, great food, impeccable beer and superb views all more than make up for the bucks spent.

The nation offers diversity from the green hills in Bavaria to icy mountains in the Alps and bustling cities like Munich to serene medieval towns like Tuebingen. It is full of magical castles and historic sites all over the nation.

Apart from the two most famous cities of Munich and Berlin, the other attractive places to visit in Germany are Heidelberg, Lubeck, Cologne, Leipzig and Rugen Island. Meanwhile, Munich’s annual festival of Oktoberfest is an event not to be missed.

France1

A trip to France is on the bucket list of almost everyone and this nation surely deserves that. This country holds a unique appeal for folks from all around the globe for its culture, wines, cuisine and landscapes.

This land of champagne and cabaret is probably the most romantic place on earth. Although the capital of Paris may attract all the attention and the notion of romance may be heavily linked to this city, the country has much more to offer beyond the walls of Paris.

The vineyards of Champagne and Bordeaux offer the elegance of French wine and rural life. The French Riviera, on the other hand, showcases glamor and luxury. The historic towns all over the country, meanwhile, provide a perfect taste of French culture.

Spain

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A trip to Spain is sure to leave travelers yearning to return again and again. In the words of the Spaniards themselves, there is not one Spain but many Spains, a reference to the nation’s diverse natural landscapes and cultures. And, not a single one of these Spains will disappoint travelers.

Lively carnivals, exquisite cuisines and animated nightlife along with its impressive beaches, islands and wildlife make Spain a perfect destination for travelers. Added to those are its historic cities rich with art and cultural heritage.

Whether it’s Catalonia, Madrid or the Basque Country, there’s always a lot to do in Spain. Apart from the two major cities of Barcelona and Madrid famous for their iconic football clubs, the other notable cities to visit are Seville, Valencia, Granada, Malaga and Bilbao.

Portugal

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With its own distinctive culture, language and cuisine, Portugal is the land of dazzling beaches, spirited landscape and medieval villages. Its aesthetic beauty has remained largely unaffected by the hordes of tourists, unlike other major European travel destinations.

Portugal is a destination that truly meets travelers’ expectations. One can start with the Portuguese capital of Lisbon and then go on to explore the coastal cities, reveling in great wine, good food and the incessant parties.

The country’s geography is diverse and it ranges from the northern mountains, national parks and vineyards to central farmlands and villages and beaches along the southern coastline. Moreover, Portugal is a relatively cheap traveldestinationwhen compared to other European destinations.

Italy

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The land of beautiful people and lovely food, Italy, is a dream destination for travelers. It really has much to offer travelers from nature and art to food and a beautiful climate. Even the most demanding of visitors can be expected to be left in awe by this nation.

This is a nation like no other. It boasts striking terrains and picturesque hills. Add to that, the trace of cultural history is all-pervading. The home of Roman Civilization and Renaissance Era, no place in Italy will fail to offer an experience memorable for a lifetime.

Besides Rome, other notable places to visit are the waterways of Venice, the architecture of Tuscany and the beaches in Sicily. One thing for sure is that the food one will be treated to will be the best in the world, whether it is served in Rome or in the rural areas of this country.

Greece

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Greece may have undergone an economic crisis recently but it still remains a premium tourist hub, which owes both to its historic cultural heritages and natural spectacles such as its beaches, mountains and islands.

Greece has been endowed with natural beauty in every possible form. The grandeur of nature’s beauty extends from the colossal Aegean to the cloud covered peak of Mt. Olympus.

The historic capital of Greece (i.e. the ever bustling city of Athens) may be the most famous place but there are plenty of other equally fabulous places to visit as well. Some of the not-to-be-missed ones are Meteora, Santorin, Delphi and Thessaloniki.

Switzerland

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The scenery in Switzerland is almost certain to take away the breath of travelers. The cities in this ethnically diverse and multilingual nation are lively and cosmopolitan and the routes for transportation are excellent.

Because of its small size and flawless facilities, it’s not very difficult to visit most of the top sites in Switzerland as the major attractions lie pretty much close to each other. It is also one of the safest places to travel.

From manmade structures like excellent resorts, historic castles and museums to natural wonders such as mountains, lakes and forests, Switzerland comes to life everywhere. Some of the best places to visit are Jungfrau, Montreux and Swiss National Park.

UK

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There are very few placesthat can offer so much in a single package as the United Kingdom does. There are craggy uplands and impressive beaches. There are also historic landmarks, cultural hides and topnotch restaurants.

The UK has long been a favorite tourist destination in Europe because of its theaters, museums, bucolic villages and historic cities, which never fail to keep people wanting for more. There’s no lack of ideas for fun when travelers are in the UK.

London is a city that needs no introduction and is arguably the world’s most exciting city. The other cities the visitors should consider stopping at when traveling to the UK are Edinburgh, York, Bath, Cambridge, Chester and Durham.

Uruguay

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The nation is often overlooked over its large South American neighbors. But one of the region’s finest producers of wine, it’s a highly alluring destination for connoisseurs of wine.

The eastern part of the nation possesses the sandy beaches facing the South Atlantic, which are perfect to bask on. Annual whale migration that takes place between the months of July and November also is a major attraction for tourists.

Some of the best places to visit in this nation laden with rich culture and history are Colonia del Sacramento, the capital and biggest city of Montevideo, Rocha Coast, Punta del Este and Piriapolis.

Mexico

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Concerns about security in Mexico might be raised frequently. However, apart from the northern border region which constantly makes headlines for all the wrong reasons, there’re more reasons to be excited than worried about a trip to Mexico.

Mexico is the land of beautiful beaches, cultural temptations and spirited nightlife. From its historic Mayan sites to the quiet riversides, this nation offers diverse cultural and natural experiences at a much cheaper price compared to most of the other destinations.

Apart from the fascinating capital city of New Mexico, the other noteworthy places to visit in Mexico are Merida, Todos Santos, San Miguel de Allende, Huatulco and Puebla, also known by the nickname of ‘mini Mexico City’.

Canada

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Canada is the largest North American nation; its huge landmass is filled with grandiose mountains, virgin forests and remarkable coastlines. Added to all these wonders that make for breathtaking scenery, is the hospitable atmosphere shown throughout the country.

Canada offers travelers wide range of experiences. One can go camping on Vancouver Island, stroll through the cosmopolitan Toronto streets or be off to climb the peaks on the Canadian Rockies.

The pine forests in the east along with lively coastline communities call for a road trip in the summer. Meanwhile, Quebec is perfect for skiing during the wintertime.

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