After all, what’s more memorable and intimate than that lovely instant when you draw a little gasp, turn to each other, and realize that this is one of those irreplaceable experiences that you will share forever.

The love you feel for a place, a culture, or your favorite travelling companion grows unexpectedly. But here are 10 places that reliably win raves from the passionate travelers who explore the world with Classic Journeys.

1. The Taj Mahal, wrapped in a plush robe

That’s you and not the Taj in the robe. After all, your over-the-top room in the Oberoi Amarvilas overlooks the gleaming white monument to love. The comfort is decadent. The view is the stuff of dreams. And it’s you who is living the enviable life that makes such moments possible.

Oberoi hotel

2. Under a billion Saharan stars

By camel, you arrived at your luxury Berber tent in Morocco’s Merzouga dunes. Campfire dinner is over now, and you wander just past the edge of the camp. Firelight is replaced by the dazzle of the starriest sky you’ve ever seen. Holding hands, you look up and rediscover infinity together. Even if you’ve never wished on a star, this night you will.

Berber encampment in Morocco

3. Arm-in-arm in Capri

The day-trippers are gone. Capri’s narrow streets are quiet now, except for the sounds of an evening meal drifting out from an open window. The shops seem to belong to you as their glowing windows light the sidewalk. Arm in arm, you amble aimlessly. (You can’t get lost in this village.) Life is sweet, and there’s a limoncello nightcap calling your name.

Quisisana outdoor patio

4. In the back seat of a ’56 Buick

Where else could you be but Havana? The vinyl smells new. Elvis is on the radio. The top is down in the warm air. Even if you’re too young to remember this sweet ride from when it was new, you can’t help feeling happy…and how the world of possibility is just waiting for you, the way it is for Cuba these days.

Woman riding in classic car in Cuba with arms in the air

5. Cresting the peak above Machu Picchu

The last stretch of the Inca Trail is a tease. It seems like you should be to the ancient city by now. And then you crest the top—and Machu Picchu is actually below you. Your condor’s-eye view takes your breath away. You’re happy to claim a boulder and sit for a while just to absorb it all and truly feel on top of the world.

Woman looking at Machu Picchu

6. Doing the penguin walk in the Galápagos

Of course, you want to be serious about nature in the Galápagos—Darwin, evolution, and habitat preservation. But the penguins. Oh, the penguins. They’re fearless, funny and face-to-face with you. It’s one of those moments when you realize how crazy-wonderful the world is, especially when a couple of the little guys photobomb your selfie.

Galapagos penguins

7. On the terrace of your Tuscan villa

Notice how the afternoon sun turns your glass of Chianti into drinkable rubies. Watch the breeze send a silver ripple across your grove of olive trees. Smile lazily at the good fortune that led you to this villa hotel. It’s amazing how quickly you discover your were born to live this life—and it’s such an easy life to love.
Villa Le Barone hotel

8. Floating beside your Turkish yacht

The gracious teakwood hull rides the water in a secluded Mediterranean bay. On your back in the calm waters, you look up to the bluest sky. Below, ancient ruins waver ghostlike in the depths. Later, you’ll zag to a coastal village, zig to a Roman amphitheater. But in this sensual moment, you can’t imagine being anywhere else…with anyone else.

Gulet in Turkey

9. In the silent heart of Stonehenge

For you, the legendary stone circle is unbroken. The silence is remarkable. There’s not a tourist in sight, just the pillars of stone—huge, and yet shockingly small in the vastness of the surrounding plains. You don’t need to grasp their ancient mystic meaning to feel the life-changing power of this moment in the Cotswolds.


10. Under the hoodoos’ spell

Deep in a dreamlike forest skinny red rock spires called hoodoos, it’s as if you beamed off to another planet. It’s only Bryce Canyon. And yet you get that shiver of excitement from exploring someplace utterly new, a landscape that courses through your life.

Bryce Canyon National Park