Welcoming a New Year is always an interesting mix of nostalgia for the year passed, and excitement for the year ahead – something definitely heightened if you were as lucky as I was in welcoming 2017 surrounded by drunkenly optimistic friends and multiple empty bottles of prosecco (oops).
Although most of my New Year’s resolutions are almost always broken by this point in January (there’s too much chocolate in the house okay), one that I’m passionate about is continuing to travel and see as many places as I can (or as many as my bank balance will allow me to…). Ticking off the 7 Wonders of the World is the ultimate goal of any traveller – but in the meantime, if your New Years Resolution is similar to mine, here’s seven of my own wonders that should definitely feature on your 2017 bucket list:
1. NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO
Made up of three breathtaking waterfalls – the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls – this renowned natural wonder is a must on every traveller’s bucket list. The last stop of our 2015 Canadian road trip was Toronto, and we found the Canadian side of the Falls and the gorgeous town of Niagara on the Lake to be very do-able as a day trip. If you want to get up close and personal with the Falls, I’d recommend a boat tour for a truly unforgettable experience (although maybe keep your phones and cameras tucked away – you will get soaked!!)
2. TIMES SQUARE, NEW YORK CITY
“As for New York City, it is a place apart. There is not its match in any other country in the world.” – Pearl S. Buck
Need we say more?
3. PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
With it’s maze of cobbled lanes and stunning scenery, Prague is easily one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. Wenceslas Square makes up the heart of the Old Town, comprising of many beautiful churches, restaurants and excellent ice cream parlours (rest assured that all were thoroughly tried and tested). Other top tourist attractions include the elegant Castle District, Charles Bridge, and the Observation Tower up Petrin Hill, where you can get panoramic views of the whole city. If you’re looking to get away from the bustling touristic areas, we found a relaxing gondola ride on the river to be a good idea. A perfect city for a wandering traveller.
4. PARIS, FRANCE
No bucket list would be complete without a trip to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Although stunning by day, I found the best way to view this landmark was by night, during the Eiffel Tower Illuminations. Every evening, the Tower lights up with a golden covering and sparkles for about 5 minutes, every hour on the hour – living right up to the city’s nickname of the “City of Light”. Other things to do in Paris include a walk through Montmartre up to the Sacre-Coeur, taking a look at the prized artwork inside the Musée du Louvre, hearing the the bells of the Notre Dame, and finishing with a climb up to the top of the Arc De Triomphe (I promise it’s worth the sweat and tears..)
5. AUSCHWITZ, POLAND
For history-lovers like me, a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial & Museum is a must to truly appreciate the extent, but also the horror, of what occurred here during WW2. A visit to both camps is essential, as not many people know that it was actually at Birkenau, not Auschwitz, that most of the genocide took place. It’s not an easy tour to be on, but a very thought-provoking one. I would recommend staying in the nearby city of Krakow, where there are many bars, restaurants and shops to enjoy during your stay.
6. CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS
If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing than a tour of former Polish concentration camps, Cape Cod is the place. Looking like it’s been plucked straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, this collection of truly beautiful, peaceful and all-American seaside villages complete an East Coast USA road trip. Home to one of the most famous American families, the Kennedys, the area is rich in history and even has a facinating museum dedicated to JFK himself. Plus, the island of Martha’s Vineyard is only a short ferry-ride away.
7. THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, SAN FRANCISCO
One word: breathtaking.
Foggy and mysterious, the best views of San Francisco’s biggest landmark come from across the bridge, up Battery Spencer in Sausalito. Perched on a hillside between the San Francisco Bay and the Marin Headlands, the pretty little town of Sausalito is a focal point in itself, and definitely worth a visit from across the bridge. San Francisco is an all-time favourite for me, which is why I am very excited to be spending my summer there later this year! Stay tuned!