The earth is full of magical and special places to explore and enjoy but it can be easy to forget amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life. With long to-do lists, calendars filled with appointments, and laundry baskets that never seem to stay empty for long, time can slip away and we often find ourselves at the beginning of a new year wondering how the last one went by so fast. Maybe you are dreaming of sandy beaches or of exploring colorful foreign cities and taking a break from the usual day to day tasks of life. Here are a few exciting, interesting, and amazing places to add to your bucket-list.

Petra, Jordan

The city of Petra, capital of the Nabataean Arabs, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Located 240 km south of the capital Amman and 120 km north of the red sea town of Aqaba, Petra is one of the world wonders and is Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction, visited by tourists from all over the world.

It’s a mystery when Petra was originally built, but the city began to prosper as the capital of the Nabataean Empire from the 1st century BC. The Nabataens grew rich through trade in frankincense, myrrh, and spices. Though later annexed by the Roman Empire, Petra continued to thrive until a large earthquake in 363 AD which destroyed much of the city in the 4th century AD.

Land use and human settlement for over 10,000 years can be traced in Petra where natural, cultural, archaeological and geological features merge. Add exploring the magnificent remains of this Nabataean city to your dream list of places to visit one day!

Neushwanstein Castle, Germany

The shy King Ludwig II built Neushwanstein castle, nestled in the Bavarian Alps, in order to withdraw from public life. Now, vast numbers of people come to view his private refuge. Seven weeks after King Ludwig II’s death in 1886 Neuschwanstein was opened to the public and every year 1.4 million people visit “the castle of the fairy-tale king”, streaming through rooms that were intended for a single inhabitant.

Spending the majority of his time wrapped up in Romantic literature and operas, especially the works of composer and fellow German Richard Wagner, King Ludwig’s eccentric interests and expensive tastes are apparent throughout the castle’s interior. Neushwanstein’s third and fourth floors reflect Ludwig’s love of Wagnerian operas and feature interior decor that was inspired by many of the composer’s characters.

Today, Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular of all the palaces and castles in Europe and was inspiration behind two of the most well known fairy-tale castles. Neuschwantein’s romanesque style, cylindrical towers, and romantic views made it the perfect architectural model for Disney’s Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Get lost in a world of romance and make-believe in this dreamy castle.

Jaipur, India

Known as a “sea of palace windows”, Jaipur is historical, enthralling, and affectionately called “India’s most flamboyant state”. The city streets are colourful, chaotic, and showcase a dazzling mixture of old and new in every nook and cranny. There are buzzing auto rickshaws, buses dodging slow-moving camels, and swarms of motorbikes in this bustling and beautiful city.

Feed friendly monkeys, take a hot air balloon flight, and shop in markets filled with precious stones, jewelry, clothes, perfumes, pottery, and exotic textiles. Visit Amber Fort where you’ll find a series of lavish palaces, halls, gardens, and temples. On your tour, make sure to stop by Rajasthan’s oldest museum, Albert Hall where there are portraits of kings, woodcarvings, sculptures and most notably, an exhibit featuring an Egyptian mummy which belonged to the Ptolemaic dynasty. You won’t regret journeying to this unforgettable place!

These are only a small handful of the amazing places our world has to offer. What are some spectacular places you are dreaming of visiting and exploring?