If you're anything like me, you're sick of the COVID-19 pandemic. You want to travel, but due to our leadership's poor handling of the global health crisis, international travel is a no-go. That doesn't mean I can't dream about some of the places I will visit once everything clears up, however!
Italy is internationally renowned for its delicious food, rich culture, and beautiful landscapes. Italy's capital, Rome, is the country's most popular hotspot with the Colosseum and the Vatican among the most popular sites. Another popular destination is Venice, a city with canals for roads famous for its gondola boats. Other cities to visit include Florence, the center of the Renaissance, high fashion hub Milan, and the beaches of Sicily.
Most of what makes France famous is located in its capital, Paris. Iconic locations in Paris along with the Eiffel Tower include Versailles, the former home of French royalty, the Lourve, a world-famous art museum that houses the Mona Lisa, and numerous cathedrals, including Notre Dame. For those who love the beach, the Riviera in the south of France is home to miles of beautiful beaches along azure Mediterranean waters. Like Italy, France is famous for its cuisine, and it is a hub for art, especially the renowned Cannes Film Festival.
The United Kingdom has seen Britons, Celts, Picts, Gaels, Romans, Normans, and Vikings in its millennia-long history. These civilizations are all responsible for shaping the United Kingdom into what it is today. London, the capital, is famous for its red phone booths, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and even the studio that produced the insanely popular Harry Potter films. Outside of cities, Stonehenge is a popular location that showcases Britain's rich cultural history, along with medieval castles scattered across England, Scotland, and Wales.
Ireland, also known as the Emerald Isle, is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and for its pubs. Ireland's culture is among the most vibrant in the world, and Celtic music is enjoyed by millions around the world. Like Britain, Ireland is home to many castles, with the Blarney Castle ranking among the most famous. Ireland, especially Northern Ireland, is home to most of the locations filmed for the TV fantasy drama Game of Thrones, based on the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Finally, to continue with the food theme, Ireland is home to world-renowned soda bread and fresh seafood in its many fishing villages.
When it comes to tourism, Germany is one of the most diverse countries in Europe and is famous for its fairytale-like villages and beer. Beer lovers who travel to Germany will especially enjoy its famous festival that celebrates all things beer: Oktoberfest. Munich, Bavaria's capital and the home of Oktoberfest, is renowned for its beer halls. Other cities to visit include Hamburg, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, and Berlin, Germany's capital.
India has been one of my favorite countries since childhood. Food in India is among the most diverse cuisines in the world, varying by region and being especially vegan and vegetarian-friendly. Most Indian cuisine is also halal-friendly as roughly ten percent of India's population is Muslim. My boyfriend's family is from Kolkata, a city in northeast India most famous for Mother Teresa's work with the poor. Perhaps the most famous landmark in India is Agra's Taj Mahal, a 17th-century Mughal mausoleum for an emperor's wife. Agra, along with Delhi and Jaipur form what's known as India's Golden Triangle due to their rich cultural history. This area contains many must-sees in northern India, such as the Red Fort and Lotus Temple. Southern India has many colorful Hindu temples, many of which are UNESCO world heritage sites. Nagarhole National Park was a royal hunting ground in ancient India, and today, it is home to iconic animals such as Asian elephants, leopards, and tigers.
Among international travelers, Japan is one of the most popular countries in the world, be it for business, pleasure, or both. Japan the home of anime, a film style that gave rise to popular franchises such as Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z, as well as Nintendo. One thing that stands out to international tourists is the emphasis on politeness in Japanese culture. Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, especially in and around Tokyo, yet the Japanese have immense respect for others' personal space. Japan is home to some of the best beef in the world, Wagyu, which can fetch over $200 per pound in America. Japan is also famous for sake, a rice wine that is the country's traditional alcoholic beverage. Most of what Japan has to offer is in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. However, one of the most famous memorials in East Asia is located in Hiroshima, a vital port city. Along with Nagasaki, Hiroshima was the site of two American atomic bombings toward the end of World War II. The Hiroshima peace garden serves as a grim reminder of the horrors of nuclear war and is a must-see for those interested in World War II.