The Blue Lagoon, Grindavík, Iceland
Tourism in Iceland has skyrocketed in recent years, solidifying the country's status as one of the world's trendiest destinations. And most tourists don't feel like they've truly visited Iceland until they've gone for a dip in the Blue Lagoon, a popular attraction that sees about 700,000 visitors every year.
This geothermal pool may be packed with out-of-towners (you'll need to book in advance), but you'll be so distracted by the 100-degree-Fahrenheit, mineral-filled water (which is said to work wonders on your skin), that you won't even notice.
Machu Picchu, Peru
This breathtaking archaeological site is shrouded in mystery, which is likely one of the reasons that it attracted 1.4 millions visitors in 2016. Thought to be a lost city that was once inhabited by the Incas, Machu Picchu was discovered in 1911 after being hidden by the jungle for over four centuries.
While many call the attraction an expensive rip off, it would be shame to visit Peru and not see its most impressive tourist spot — especially if you hike up to the ruins and catch them at sunrise when they're most stunning. Plus, the Peruvian government recently introduced visitor restrictions for the site, requiring all visitors to either purchase a morning or afternoon ticket, which should help to stem the flow of tourists.
The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
Spanning 1.7 miles and linking the city of San Francisco to picturesque Marin County, the Golden Gate Bridge is the second-longest bridge in the world, and San Francisco's most popular tourist attraction.
If you're looking for the best Insta-worthy shot, head to Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point, or, for a more active visit, take a stroll along the pedestrian pathway on the eastern side bridge.
Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
There's something so enchanting about this island, which boasts an impressively preserved Gothic-style monastery that dates back to medieval times, as well as a small town that was built within its walls. Recently, the UNESCO World Heritage site has been in the news for issues surrounding how it treats tourists. Overcrowded shuttle buses, low-quality restaurants, museums, and shops, and a lack of information for visitors are some of the most commonly cited problems.
However, the site still makes for a worthwhile visit. Standing at an altitude of 262 feet, the monastery is made of four crypts that were built directly into the rock. The best part is catching a glimpse of the structure as you make your way across the soft sand at low tide.
The Great Wall of China, China
The Great Wall of China attracts throngs of tourists every year, creating a veritable traffic jam of people. The Badaling and Mutianyu sections are two of the most popular parts of the wall — in 2013 alone they saw more than 10 million visitors.
Despite these mind-boggling numbers, though, the wall is a true piece of ancient history. The 2,150-mile long stretch that still exists today dates back as far as the 14th century and makes up the longest wall in the world. Plus, visiting the Jinshanling section might help you beat some of the crowds.
The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland
Known as Ireland's "most visited natural tourist attraction," the Cliffs of Moher stretch along Ireland's west coast for five majestic miles. While visitors often complain about paying for parking and entry to this natural wonder, the beauty you'll be faced with is unparalleled.
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Last year TripAdvisor named Angkor Wat the number one landmark to visit in the world. So it's no surprise that more than two millions tourists flocked to the site in 2016. Many probably went at sunrise to vie for the perfect shot.
Spanning 400 acres, this elaborate complex of temples was constructed in the 12th century as a Hindu temple. Today it's Buddhist and often considered the world's largest religious monument. Rising straight out of the Cambodian jungle, it's a must-see attraction, despite the crowds.
The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Yes, the lines to get into the Colosseum are impossibly long, but you can get around that by booking tickets a few days in advance online. The structure itself is magnificent, but what's really interesting is the fate of the gladiators that fought in it centuries ago.
Be sure to take an audio tour when you visit, or, if you're feeling adventurous, opt for a night tour that allows for access to the Colosseum's underground area and arena floor.
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is Arizona's most well-known natural beauty, and for good reason: between its immense size and breathtaking views, this natural phenomenon is a must-see — despite the crowds.
The canyon stretches on for 277 river miles and spans 18 miles from side to side. While the South Rim is open all year round, the North Rim is open to visitors on a more seasonal basis. You can either stop for an hour to get some photos, or venture into the canyon for a river or camping trip.
Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
Bondi is one of the most famous beaches in the world, and one of Australia's most iconic, so visitors should be prepared to share the sand with plenty of other eager sunbathers. The beach also boasts great waves, which is why it continues to draws local surfers.
Even if you're not much of a beach-goer, you'll still want to go to explore the cute cafés and boutiques that border the beach. And you won't want to miss a glimpse of the famous Bondi Icebergs Pool, which juts right out over the ocean.
Monteverde Cloud Forest, Monte Verde, Costa Rica
The weather might not cooperate, and you might feel like a total tourist as you zip line through this rainforest, but the fact is it'll feel and look like a jungle paradise no matter if it's misty or not.
Even better, this biological reserve is known to be home to a multitude of species. In fact, it's one of only a few places around the world that boasts all six species of the cat family.
The Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Chosen in 2007 as one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World," the Taj Mahal sees as many as 70,000 visitors in a single day— it was getting so unmanageable that officials instituted a 40,000-person daily cap back in January. Many also complain that the attraction is filled with "tour guides" and "photographers" who nag visitors and then deliver less-than-satisfactory services.
All of that aside, though, this perfectly symmetrical white marble mausoleum is a beautiful symbol of India, and a trip to the country without seeing it up close would be incomplete.
Neuschwanstein, Schwangau, Germany
You'll be hard-pressed to find a castle this awe-inspiring anywhere else. After all, this is the real-life inspiration behind Disney's Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty Castles. Locals might tell you that it's not worth the 2.5-hour train ride or 2-hour car ride from Munich, but anyone who's been would beg to differ.
Nestled high up in the forests of southwestern Bavaria, Neuschwanstein was meant to be a retreat for King Ludwig II, who built the fairytale castle in the 19th century. Its many towers and turrets are matched by a large and stately interior.
Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan
You'd be hard pressed to find fresher fish than what's available at the Tsukiji Fish Market, but you also won't be the the only one browsing the wide selection of seafood offerings. It's both the largest and the busiest fish market in the world. While some TripAdvisor reviews refer to the market as a tourist trap, almost all say that it's still an interesting and worthwhile experience.
The best time to go is around 5 a.m., when you can witness live tuna auctions. Public access to the auctions isn't permitted every day though, so be sure to check the market's website before setting your alarm. After you're done exploring, treat yourself to a sushi breakfast.
Times Square, New York City, New York
New York is brimming with popular and historically significant tourist attractions: there's the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park, to name a few. And then, of course, there's Times Square.
Brimming with seedy characters trying to make a buck, locals will avoid Times Square like the plague, but if you're just passing through the city, a visit to the bustling, bright hub is akin to a rite of passage. If you can make it through those streets unscathed, you can make it anywhere.
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
A word to the wise: Don't expect to get inside the Alhambra without booking a ticket online at least one day in advance. But don't let that deter you from taking a trip to see this gorgeous palace and fortress.
Built by monarchs in the 13th and 14th centuries, the Alhambra is a prime example of Moorish architecture from that time period. The complex's many detailed designs and peaceful gardens are matched only by the sweeping views it offers of Granada below.
The Great Pyramids of Giza, Giza, Egypt
The Great Pyramid — the oldest and largest of the pyramids of Giza — is the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world that's still in existence today. The massive structure was built for the Pharaoh Khufu in the 26th century BC and is surrounded by another five pyramids as well as the Sphinx. Some travelers bemoan the fact that the pyramids are a breeding ground for locals trying to get money in one way or another, but that doesn't take away from the attraction's beauty and history.
If the mind-boggling age of the these pyramids doesn't wow you enough, their scale surely will. The Great Pyramid is made up of 2.3 million stone blocks and held the title of tallest building in the world for 4,000 years.
The Shard, London, England
A view from the top of London's 95-story glass skyscraper will cost you ($42 the day of, or $33 if you book in advance), but it's worth the money. The building itself is an architectural wonder, as it's covered in 11,000 glass panels that allow for breathtaking 360-degree views.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Ha Long Bay's natural beauty makes it one of Vietnam's number one tourist sites, but many claim that the high numbers of visitors are ruining it. Fortunately, the bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The best way to see Ha Long's awe-inspiring limestone towers is by boat. In fact, many tourists stay overnight on a boat in the bay. You do have to pay to get in, so you might as well get your money's worth.
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tivoli Gardens is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year (making it the world's second-oldest amusement park), which means the park will probably see even more visitors this year than the 4.6 million it usually does. This number makes the park one of the 25 most-visited in the world, and one of the five most-visited in Europe, according to the Tivoli's 2017 annual report.
Having served as inspiration for both Walt Disney and fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen, the park and surrounding gardens are truly a magical place — and there's an endless array of activities. Tivoli offers everything from rides to live music to food. The park's most popular ride, the Wooden Roller Coaster, dates back to 1914, and is one of only seven rides around the world that still has a brakeman in every car.
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul's Grand Bazaar is known as the first shopping mall ever built. Starting off as a warehouse commissioned by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1461, the building grew throughout the years to its current, truly grand size.
The bazaar's over 4,000 shops offer everything from silk wares to lanterns to jewelry, and of course Turkish delight and coffee. It's the ideal spot to score an authentic souvenir and brush up on your bargaining skills. So while you won't be alone in your visit — the bazaar sees more than half a million visitors on some days — you'll still be happy you got to participate in such a unique shopping experience.
The Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada
Yes, it's kitschy and jam-packed with tourists and unsavory characters year-round, but the Strip is a classic bucket-list experience everyone should have at least once. Whether you end up in Vegas for a bachelor or bachelorette party, or for a birthday celebration, spend some time exploring the Strip and taking advantage of the plethora of casinos, nightclubs, and upscale restaurants and bars it has to offer.
Known as the "top of Europe," the Jungfraujoch is the highest elevation point that can be reached by train on the continent. A trip up will cost you— as will most things you do in Switzerland — but it will also provide you with some of the most breathtaking views you'll see in your life.
Standing 11,300 feet above sea level, you'll be faced with the Aletsch Glacier and the surrounding Alp peaks. Even the train ride offers glimpses into the snowy abyss, as a window in the tunnel leading up to the Jungfraujoch allows riders to look right out onto the glacier. Plus, there's more to do at the top besides explore the Sphinx observation deck: there are shops, an ice palace, and a hike on the glacier for adventurous travelers.
Amphawa Floating Market, Samut Songkhram, Thailand
This floating weekend market is packed with tourists every Friday through Sunday, but it's one of the few floating markets near Bangkok that locals will actually visit, meaning that it actually has credibility and authenticity.
A bustling market set into winding canals, Amphawa is a great way to experience and sample Thai cuisine. You can also go at night when the fireflies come out.
The Acropolis, Athens, Greece
Although you'll be joined by hordes of tourists whipping out selfie sticks, a visit to the Acropolis is a must in Athens. You'll go through somewhat of a climb to get there, but once you make it to the top you'll be rewarded with beautiful views of the city and the chance to explore the ruins of a fifth century monument that was created to honor the Greek Goddess Athena.