Synthetic nucleoside mimics are important candidates for antiviral and anticancer drugs. Ribavirin, the first antiviral nucleoside drug, is unique in its antiviral activity with mutilple modes of action, which are mainly due to its special triazole heterocycle as nucleobase. Additionally, introducing aromatic functionalities to the nucleobase is able to confer novel mechanisms of action for nucleoside mimics. With the aim to combine the special characteristics of unnatural triazole heterocycles with those of the appended aromatic groups on the nucleobases, novel 1,2,4-triazole nucleoside analogs bearing aromatic moieties were designed and developed. The present short review summarizes the molecular design, chemical synthesis and biological activity of these triazole nucleoside analogs. Indeed, the discovery of antiviral and anticancer activities shown by these triazole nucleosides as well as the new mechanism underlying the biological activity by one of the anticancer leads has validated the rationale for molecular design and impacted us to further explore the concept with the aim of developing structurally novel nucleoside drug candidates with new modes of action.