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Travel icons

Travel icons recommendations

There are some wonders of the world you really do have to see before you die – here's Wanderlust's take on 10 travel icons

Top 10 travel icons

They're popular destinations for a reason: these classic travel spots are must-sees, and with a bit of insider info, you CAN avoid the crowds

  1. The Inca Trail, Peru – hike one of the spectacular routes to Machu Picchu, the 'lost city' of the Incas. Numbers on the main trail are limited, so book well in advance to secure your permit, or consider one of the region's alternative treks.
  2. Angkor Wat, Cambodia – explore the world’s biggest, and most fascinating, temple complex, which is slowly being reclaimed by the jungle. Enlist a local guide for insider knowledge or hire a bike to reach the more far-flung temples.
  3. Great Wall of China – visit the best remaining sections of the epic barrier against the Mongol hordes. There are some great sections easily accessible from Beijing, or head to the Wall's far west for a true frontier feel.
  4. Taj Mahal in Agra, India – be awed by the world’s greatest monument to love. Get up early to see the sun rise over the Taj, and to see it before the tour buses arrive.
  5. Grand Canyon, USA – delve into the mile-deep chasm and discover Native American history. The North Rim tends to be less-visited than the South Rim; the region's Havasupai gorge offers lush waterfalls and few tourists.
  6. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador – meet the welcoming wildlife that spawned an evolutionary theory. Book as long a cruise as you can afford to enable access to the more remote landing sites – it's well worth the cost for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
  7. Petra, Jordan – gallop down a canyon like Indiana Jones to discover the rock-hewn city. Plan to spend several days in Petra – the sight is vast – and consider accessing it via the three- to four-day trek from Dana Nature Reserve. 
  8. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania – pull on your boots to tackle the world’s highest trekking peak. There are multiple routes up the mountain: consider the lesser-used Rongai route for fewer people and a higher chance of animal sightings.
  9. Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia – go bush to watch the sun rise over Australia's Red Centre. Activities in the area abound: Aboriginal owners prefer people not to climb Uluru, but you can still camel-trek across the desert or walk around the rock's base.
  10. Iguaçu Falls, Argentina & Brazil – feel the spray – and meet the wildlife – at the world's most impressive waterfall. Don't miss the nearby bird park for the best chance of spotting region's profuse avian inhabitants.

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