Do’s and don’ts for visiting famous landmarks

Visiting the world’s most popular landmarks like an expert globetrotter

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Are royal palaces and ancient cities calling your name? Do you crave a peaceful park and picturesque temple? Read our list of do’s and don’ts for some of the most beloved sights on the planet. You’ll fit in like a local and get the most of your adventures with these indispensable travel tips.

1. Alcazar – Seville, Spain

Dan Letchworth

In the southern Andalusian region of Spain, the relatively small city of Seville is home to beauty on a grand scale—from charming cobblestone streets to the stunning architecture and lush gardens at the Moorish palace, Alcazar. Here are a few travel recommendations for visiting this gorgeous fortress:

Do book your entrance tickets in advance. Skip the long lines with a timed entry, so you can spend hours exploring the expansive gardens and quiet courtyards. Most dining establishments close between 4 and 8 p.m. in preparation for a long dinner rush. So, book your Alcazar entry and plan your visit with meal times in mind.

Don’t wander up the sectioned-off stairways. Built during the 12th century, Alcazar is the oldest palace in Europe that still houses royalty, who reside on the upper floors.

2. Balboa Park – San Diego, U.S.A.

Before the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition, wildflowers and bobcats were in charge of Balboa Park. Nowadays, it’s just as beautiful, but Mission revival architecture and themed gardens cover the 1,200-acre grounds.

Do pace yourself. Balboa Park is home to more than 15 museums and cultural venues, including San Diego Museum of Man and Mingei International Museum. Take your time and savor the experience.

Don’t miss any awesome events. Balboa Park is always busy with celebrations, from art fairs and exhibition openings to Food Truck Friday and Bunny Fest. Many are free to attend, so plan your trip with the park calendar in hand. These festivities have a local, “not for tourists” feel, but this is SoCal: Join the party!

3. Borobudur – Magelang, Indonesia

Since the 9th century, the massive Buddhist temple Borobudur has been a center for spirituality, culture, and meditation in Indonesia. It’s the largest Buddhist temple in the world and the site of an annual pilgrimage. Plus, the surrounding scenery is absolutely breathtaking.

Do take off your hat and shoes, but wear clothing that covers your shoulders and legs. Locals aren’t likely to make a big deal about it if you forget, but they will be grateful for the show of respect.

Don’t touch the monks. Women and monks can’t have any physical contact—even accidentally brushing clothing-to-clothing—or the monk will have to fast and take part in ritual cleansing. Local tourist information can help you be mindful of the monks’ customs, so that everyone will have a fulfilling visit.

4. Petra, Jordan

As one of the Seven Manmade Wonders of the World, the ancient city of Petra ought to be atop your bucket list. Established around 300 BCE, its architecture is literally carved right into the mountainside.

Do explore. Petra has many structures, crevices, and canyons to hike through, and you don’t want to miss any of them. Some travelers feel more agile on foot, but if the climb or walking is a bit much, you can always hire a camel or donkey and take a load off.

Don’t hesitate to say, “No, thank you”—or “La, shukran”—to sellers who follow you persistently. It may seem overwhelming, but Jordanians are generally very polite and they’ll get the message if you refuse them and continue your exploration.

5. Buckingham Palace – London, U.K.

No trip to London is complete without stopping to see the queen’s fabulous digs. See if you can catch sight of Her Royal Highness and wander through the regal hallways like a kid in a gilt candy store. It’s OK; the curators are used to awe-inspired silence.

Do mind your manners. State dinners and fancy garden parties take place here, so speak at a moderate volume and be mindful and respectful of other visitors and the palace’s carefully curated artifacts.

Don’t skip the gardens. This vibrant smorgasbord of wildflowers, roses, tennis courts, and a lake is the perfect counterpart to the dignified palace. Frolicking welcome.

6. The Las Vegas Strip – Las Vegas, U.S.A.

With over 29 million visitors each year, the Las Vegas Strip is more than a street—it’s an icon and a pretty popular one at that. Ready to take in all the glam of glittering shows and give into a few of your vices?

Do hydrate. You’ll save yourself an unpleasant headache or a nasty bout with heat exhaustion. Whether you’re sipping colorful cocktails after Cirque du Soleil or hiking through the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, remember, Vegas is in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Don’t miss a trip to downtown. We know your evenings will be booked with concerts, magic shows, and lots of rolling dice, but before the sun goes down, get to know downtown Vegas, located north of The Strip. Explore historical Freemont Street and museums you’ll find only in Vegas, baby, like the Mob Museum and the Neon Museum.

With this globetrotter-tested, local-approved travel advice, it’s time to visit these amazing destinations you keep hearing about. Because, yes, they are as incredible as everyone says.

Which landmark is next on your list?

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Kohleun Adamson

Kohleun is a fan of high tea in Scottish villages and low tide on Coronado Beach, and she can’t get enough of rolling vineyard vistas. These days it’s no easy feat to pull her away from the California coast, but she can be wooed with Moroccan cous cous and ancient palace ruins. As a writer, Kohleun has a passion for sharing the intricate details of a journey well traveled, whether it involves crossing continents or exploring close to home.

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