There’s a reason this spot is one of the world’s most famous wonders. Dating back nearly 5,000 years, these soaring structures and their associated tombs are spectacles of both culture and ingenuity. No one’s quite sure how they were built, and the mystery makes the attraction all the more exciting.
While You’re There: Watch the sun come up over the desert, and head out for an afternoon horseback ride through Saqqara.
If you’ve ever wondered what Roman culture looked like during the first century, Pompeii is the place for you. Mount Vesuvius buried this town under a mountain of ash in A.D. 79, but the resulting molds and natural sculptures are shockingly well preserved.
While You’re There: Stop over in Naples for a peek at the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte and a bite of the legitimately incredible pizza. Make sure to book your trip with AmEx Platinum travel; you might score some points on purchases at the city’s can’t-miss boutiques.
Terracotta Army, China
Here’s one for the bucket list. Located in Xi’an, this collection of 700 terracotta warriors is among the most captivating sights you’re likely to see. What’s more, archeologists suspect that another set of sculptures is still buried, so this wonder is likely to evolve once restorations can be arranged.
While You’re There: Head into the city to see the Shaanxi Historic Museum, Forest of Steles and ancient Wolong Temple.
Calling all mythology buffs: The Parthenon is about to become your new favorite place. Built as a temple for Athena, this Athens masterpiece nods to both classical civilization and modern democracy. Plan to spend an entire day at the Acropolis; it’s a must-see destination.
While You’re There: Take every opportunity to immerse yourself in Athens. Aside from the bevy of historical sights, the art galleries and sprawling parks can easily fill an entire month’s worth of exploring.
This sacred site is home to the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, but there’s more to see than those City of the Gods attractions. The Temple of Quetzalcoatl is an ornate structure that seems tailor made for photographers.
While You’re There: Mexico City is just a short jaunt from Teotihuacan, so you’ll want to set aside some time for exploring its vibrant neighborhoods and bustling Zocalo.
Think of this destination as the world’s first spa retreat. Situated just a stone’s throw from Pamukkale, these ancient hot springs have wowed civilizations for more than 2,000 years, and the famous Sacred Pool is studded with early Roman architecture.
While You’re There: Plan a tour of the entire Aegean region. Bergama is a great spot for ancient ruins, but coastal Izmir is thoroughly modern.
(Photo by Neil B via Flickr)