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We wouldn’t be able to call ourselves AllTheRooms without having a little bit of knowledge about every corner of Earth. And sure, we may specialize in hammocks, hotels, hostels, tree houses, yachts, and yurts, but at our core, we are travelers and accommodations are just a home base for getting out and seeing the world. From Albania to Zambia, we’ve explored, feasted, and experienced a ton of different cultures and activities. Here’s a brief bucket list of the best things to do on each continent.
More than just lions and elephants, Africa as a continent, more than any other, is the most susceptible to change. Growing cities, a diversifying culture, and strong existing traditions, no two visits (or two regions) in Africa are, or will be, the same. The lions and elephants are still cool too though.
Experience South Africa’s Diversity
The Rainbow Nation is a fascinating place to visit. Yes, safaris in Kruger National Park will bring visitors face-to-face with scenes that look like The Lion King, but the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town are just as interesting. With 11 national languages, there are few places with culture as diverse and complex as South Africa.
Fall in Love with Ancient History in Egypt
There may not be any human-made structures more universally included on bucket lists than the Pyramids of Giza. Exploring the ancient cities filled with artifacts and hieroglyphs and gazing upon the stunning ruins along the Nile River is a must for everyone.
The Medinas of Morocco
Exploring the medinas (old walled cities) of Morocco feels like stepping back in time. The medina of Fez and the blue walls of the Chefchaouen Medina are mesmerizing. Spending a night on the dunes of the desert under the Milky Way is another way to experience this great country.
Western Africa is quickly becoming an amazing place to visit. The people, culture, and beaches of countries like Ghana and Senegal will soon be rising on people’s travel lists — so get there before they become crowded!
No place on this list is more untouched, more pristine, and more in danger than Antarctica. Exploring the edges of the continent via ship is the way to go. Most of these sea excursions will stop for land exploration as well. During these, the determined traveler that chose Antarctica as a destination can explore ice caves or get glimpses of the South Pole’s unique residents like penguins, leopard seals, and whales.
There is perhaps no more groundbreakingly modern place to visit than Asia. There also is perhaps no more truly ancient place to visit either. No need to select a specific path though, as many places in Asia provides a delightful crossroads of the two.
Japan’s Neon Modernity
Can an entire city be a must do? Even if it is the largest city in the world? We think so. Tokyo is one of the most eye-opening places to experience. Sure, the imperial palaces are beautiful but it’s the city’s leap into the contemporary that sets it apart. Wander the oddly fashionable streets of Harajuku, eat as much sushi as possible, and experience the colorful, and at times bizarre, nightlife.
Cambodia Home of the World’s Most Famous Temple
There are very few words or pictures that can do Angkor Wat justice. The mystical series of temples in Cambodia are striking the moment they come into view. Up-close they reveal hand-carved details and nature bursting through the stone seams that are just as jaw-dropping as the temple as a whole.
Off the Beaten Path Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Long Bay, and Hanoi get the majority of tourist attention in Vietnam, but while traveling between the great northern and southern cities, all of Central Vietnam is skipped. We believe that the food, history, beaches, and architecture of places like Hoi An, Hue, and Da Nang are inspiring and wildly overlooked.
Walk the Great Wall of China, experience the nightlife and food of Korea, follow in the footsteps of millions of backpackers in Thailand, see the temples of Bagan, stare down the tallest peak in the world in Nepal, and attend a colorful festival like Holi in India — the opportunities are endless in Asia.
Europe is the original travel destination. There is perhaps no place better suited to all kinds of travelers. It has everything: architecture, museums, beaches, great food, mountains, diverse culture, and an easy to navigate travel infrastructure. If it also didn’t happen to be the most expensive continent to visit, it might have a monopoly on tourists.
Spanish Tapas and History
A lot of travelers go to Spain and seem satisfied with a two-city visit, and after Madrid and Barcelona, they’re ready to move on. We’d advise against that. Our favorite things to do in Spain is a trip to the world’s greatest food city, San Sebastian, then a visit south to Granada to see perhaps the most amazing historic place in Europe, the Alhambra.
An Italian Sampler
From sampling (or diving head first into) a bowl of seafood linguini in the south to wandering around the mountains and coastlines of the north, it’s hard to go just one place in Italy. Dust off those walking shoes and get a train pass to skip around from Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, and everywhere in between.
An Obvious Choice in France
Allow us to be cliché, but everyone needs to go to Paris. Taking in the art in the Louvre, walking the boulevards lined with cafes, and climbing the Eiffel Tower should be at the top of everyone’s European travel goals.
There are too many to list, start with seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland, island hopping in Greece, wandering wintery Nordic cities, Oktoberfest in Germany, and exploring the less-traveled cities of Central and Eastern Europe.
North America, in many ways, is all about stunning diversity; a melting pot of cultures and a natural landscape that seamlessly shifts from desert to mountain and forest to sea.
USA’s Wild Wild West
While New York City may be the center of the cultural universe, we urge travelers to look westward. Home to the world’s most amazing National Parks like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Olympic there are few spots that can match the West’s nature. They have some pretty cool cities too; San Francisco’s Bay Area, Seattle, Boulder, Colorado and San Diego top our list for travelers.
Canada’s Up and Coming Cities
Canada’s natural beauty is well-documented but their cities are really on the rise. Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto are all on the verge of becoming “global cities” for business, culture, and of course tourism.
Ancient and Traditional Culture in Mexico
We get it. It’s going to be hard to put down that margarita in Cancun to see the rest of the country but it needs to be done. The Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza are our top pick for Mexico. Just below that on the list is going to a city like Oaxaca, to experience traditional Mexican culture.
Everyone needs to remember Central America is a part of North America too. Tikal in Guatemala and experiencing ecotourism where it started in Costa Rica make a trip well worth it. Also experiencing the luxury of a resort in the Caribbean is pretty nice.
Otherwise just called Australia, things may revolve around The Land Down Under, but the continent is more than that. It is also a complex series of proud island nations ready to give a warm welcome to travelers.
Australia’s Natural and Human-Made Wonders
We are going to point you in the direction of three Australian marvels that need to be seen. The Great Barrier Reef is nature’s architectural masterpiece, but its beauty is fleeting, so anyone able to get there soon should go ASAP. Sydney’s Harbor is one of the most recognizable cityscapes in the world and full of great experiences. The mystical monolith Uluru is the perfect excuse to go into the Northern Territory’s Outback.
Attend an All-Blacks Match in New Zealand
New Zealand has as much natural appeal as anywhere in the world, but the chance to see a rugby match featuring their national team, The All-Blacks, is an opportunity that cannot be missed. There are no sporting events that are met with such passion or that are as heavily engrained with the spirit and native culture of a place. This is clear as soon as the team performs a pregame Haka, a traditional Maori battle cry.
Many visitors to Pacific Island nations (like Fiji or Tahiti) are there for over-the-water bungalows, however, before settling into the luxurious relaxation, stop in a city and witness the intact and proud Pacific Islander culture, unique to each island.
Europe and Asia have long attracted backpackers, while Africa takes the wildlife enthusiasts, but South America is a bit of the new kid on the block. As cities and countries become safer to travel to, the continent has been seeing a boom in tourism of all kinds. Once down there, it’s not hard to understand why. The physical beauty, the passion of its people, and the energies of change and tradition are all extremely palpable.
Going to Brazilian Carnival is essentially like going to the biggest party in the world. We suggest strolling around Rio’s harbor to take in the sights and sounds, but that’s impossible. Anyone going will not be able to stroll, they’ll be dancing, shimmying, and drinking their way through the crowds.
Chile is quickly becoming the gem of South America due to its high safety ratings and diverse lineup of charming cities. That said, the real reason many come here is for adventure. Trekking through Patagonia and seeing its jagged peaks and glacial rivers is a once in a lifetime type experience for outdoorsy folk.
Peru’s Incan Roots
South America has a strong and fascinating indigenous history, best seen in Peru’s Incan centers. For the Peruvian To Do List, begin a stay in the ancient capital of Cusco where indigenous and colonial imagery collides, then trek to the unforgettable ruins of Machu Picchu.
Salsa dance your way through revitalized Colombia. Sip wines at Argentina’s many world-class vineyards. Find out why Uruguay is getting the reputation for being the “chilliest” country in South America. And get lost (not literally) anywhere in the Amazon.