From looking up in wonder at the famous ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, to motorbiking through Paris, floating down the Chicago River, and exploring the Nevada desert via electric bike, there’s one thing all of these globe-spanning experiences have in common. Those, and a handful of others, are what TripAdvisor travelers have identified as the top tours, activities, and experiences around the world you need to do at least once in your lifetime. So get your passport ready and your bags packed. From the canals of Amsterdam to the jungles of Bali and the whitewater rapids of New Zealand—a literal world of adventure and unforgettable memories awaits.
Whether you’re in the middle of planning a trip or just daydreaming about your next vacation, use this list of the world’s best travel experiences as a guide for creating a remarkable getaway.
Faster Than Skip-the-Line: Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica Tour
The Vatican museums are home to some of the most iconic artistic masterpieces in the world, a collection gathered over centuries that includes Renaissance-era paintings among the roughly 20,000 pieces on display here. What’s more, you don’t have to be an art historian to appreciate the master craftsmanship and talent you’ll see all around you, culminating in Michelangelo’s handiwork that graces the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. On this tour, you’ll visit the chapel, as well as Raphael’s Rooms and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome—impressive monuments and storehouses of artistic and spiritual wonder. Book your Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica Tour on TripAdvisor!
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
Visitors to the Windy City, take note. One of the best ways to behold the splendor of the cityscape here is on this architecture cruise. Led by a knowledgeable expert guide, you’ll float lazily down the Chicago River as impressive sights drift by. Chicago is a place where architects apparently once came to dream, and dream big—a realization you’ll quickly come to as this cruise gets you up close with landmarks like the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), the Wrigley Building, the Old Post Office and much more. One traveler strongly recommends the evening cruise, saying, “the buildings are beautiful as the light changes from daylight to dusk to night.” Pro tip: Bring a camera! Book your Chicago Architecture River Cruise on TripAdvisor!
Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour
The first time you visit the Tuscan countryside, it can feel like you’ve stepped into a painting that’s come to life. This region in central Italy seemingly has it all: from world renowned landmarks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the vineyards of Chianti, medieval-era locales like San Gimignano, and so much more. Tuscany is a place of art, exquisite food, and natural beauty—home to works like Michelangelo’s statue of David, the rugged Apennine Mountains,and stunning beaches along the Tyrrhenian Sea. This tour begins at the Santa Maria Novella Train Station in Florence, and will include a three-course winery lunch and wine tasting to go along with the sights you’ll take in over the course of the day. Book your sightseeing tour of Tuscany on TripAdvisor!
Snorkeling Silfra Tour with Pick up
When TripAdvisor travelers visit Iceland, one of their favorite activities is this 5-hour snorkeling adventure at Silfra, which is a water-filled fissure between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates at Thingvellir National Park. For this experience, you’ll don a dry suit and plunge into ultra-clear water to behold luminous plants and rock formations at a most unique destination. This is, in fact, the only place in the world where you can snorkel between tectonic plates. One TripAdvisor reviewer had this to say about their experience: “This was one of the most unique and special things that we did on our trip to Iceland… The snorkeling itself was amazing—the views were indescribable, and you don’t really feel the cold because of how beautiful it is!” All equipment, including hotel pickup and dropoff, is included. Book your snorkeling tour of Silfra on TripAdvisor!
Red Rock Canyon Electric Bike Tour
Las Vegas, Nevada
To get a true sense of all Las Vegas can offer, you’ll want to explore beyond the casinos and restaurants, and instead venture to the great outdoors, where Nevada’s stunning scenery will leave you in awe. One of the best ways to do this is this bike tour that will take you on a 13-mile ride in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, providing ample time with Mother Nature. The area sits about 15 miles west of Las Vegas and is famous for its massive red rock formations, as well as sandstone peaks and walls, measuring up to 3,000 feet in height. During this experience, you’ll strap on a helmet and settle in for an electric bike ride across the desert landscape, traveling a paved backcountry loop through stunning natural beauty that includes distinctive rock formations and a grove of Joshua trees, among other photo-worthy sights. Book your Red Rock Canyon electric bike tour on TripAdvisor!
Private Guided Tour on a Vintage Sidecar from 1 Hour to 7 Hours
It sounds crazy, but just do it. That’s the advice from one TripAdvisor reviewer about this admittedly unusual-sounding way to explore the City of Lights. But, hey, it’s Paris, one of the utmost once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list destinations for many travelers, so you might as well venture into the heart of the city in style. And what could be more stylish than riding through the French capital in a vintage motorcycle sidecar? All you have to do on this experience is to sit back, relax, and let your guide drive you from one attraction to another, from sights like the dazzling Eiffel Tower to the elegant Champs Elysees. Your guide will tell you stories and secrets that will make your visit to Paris one to remember. Book your private guided tour of Paris on a vintage sidecar on TripAdvisor!
1-Hour Luxury Canal Tour starting at Anne Frank House Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
This Amsterdam experience is a comfortable open-air boat ride that will whisk you along Amsterdam’s canals in style and luxury. A knowledgeable guide will regale you with stories and interesting factoids about this capital city that’s known for its artistic heritage and narrow houses with gabled facades. Settle into your cushy seat, wrap up in the blanket provided if the weather happens to be chilly, grab a drink from the cash bar, then sit back and enjoy the ride. This 1-hour cruise departs multiple times each day from the Anne Frank House. Book your canal tour of Amsterdam on TripAdvisor!
Best of Ubud Tour with Jungle Swing
The village of Ubud in the uplands of Bali is like something out of a movie. Its surroundings include everything from rainforest to rice paddies, Hindu temples and religious shrines, and adventurous travelers will find plenty here to see and be enriched by. On this trek through the jungle, you’ll visit everything from rice paddies to a coffee plantation that you’ll get to tour, in addition to cooling off with a swim at the Tegenungan waterfall. Your driver will also take you to a popular monkey forest, where some 700 Balinese long-tailed macaques live in the wild. And if you’re up for it, this tour also includes a stop for a super-fun jungle swing, which takes you on a ride through a stretch of the jungle via 30 meters of rope. One traveler says, “Don’t miss out on that swing, it was exhilarating!” Book your Ubud tour with jungle swing on TripAdvisor!
Xi’an Evening Food Tour by TukTuk
One of the best and quickest ways to immerse yourself in a new culture is through its food. Meals are a staple of life, no matter where you set foot anywhere in the world, and it’s how those meals are prepared, scheduled and enjoyed that helps distinguish one culture from another. This food tour is a great way to experience the ancient city of Xi’an in central China, once the last stop on the fabled Silk Road. Today, Xi’an is a melting pot of culture, and on this tour an expert guide will take you through the winding streets of the Old City via tuk-tuk to learn about the myriad food traditions. You’ll also be taken to quaint, family-run eateries to get a literal taste of the city’s underground food scene, where you’ll learn about classic dishes like yangrou paomo (mutton stew with flatbread), and watch the noodles that are famous to the region get hand-pulled to order. Finally, head to a local brewery to drink a fresh print of local brew, or, if you’ve opted for a morning tour, sample a classic breakfast platter. Book your Xi’an evening food tour on TripAdvisor!
Kaituna River White Water Rafting
Rotorua, New Zealand
There’s a reason this whitewater rafting experience along New Zealand’s Kaituna River boasts a nearly perfect score among TripAdvisor travelers. You’ll take off along whitewater rapids through a rainforest that lines a deep canyon, rafting down the tallest commercially rafted waterfall in the world—plus a few others, to boot! One happy traveler said, “This was the most adventurous activity we did in New Zealand and really made our trip that much more of an incredible experience.” Travelers receive access to the best rafting section in New Zealand for an exciting, three-hour adventure, capping it all off by floating right under a couple of majestic waterfalls. If you want, you’ll even have a chance to jump in the river right off a 10-foot cliff and marvel at the 23-foot Tutea Falls. Nothing but gorgeous, camera-ready beauty all around you. Book your Kaituna River whitewater rafting experience on TripAdvisor!