Bucket List Travels – 52 Places to Visit in Your Lifetime

Written By: The Planet D

We have put together the ultimate travel bucket list to spark your imagination. Dave and I made a dream list of our travel bucket list travels way back in 2006. And we fulfilled every travel adventure we ever dreamed of. Now we want to help your dreams come true and share the best bucket list travels that we’ve ever done.

These are 52 destinations that you need to do at least once in your lifetime. We’ve got one idea for every week of the year! You may also like The Best Adventure Destinations For The Ultimate Vacations

Travel Bucket List Ideas

So, let’s look at the most mind-blowing beautiful places in the world. Oh, by the way, these are bucket list travels that we’ve done ourselves. It’s not a Google search like so many things on the internet these days.

1. Iguazu Falls

bucket list travels iguazu falls
Iguazu Falls Viewpoint

There was something magical about staying right in the heart of Iguazú National Park at the Belmont Hotel Das Cataratas. Having this natural wonder all to ourselves in the early morning was like a fairytale. We walked from our hotel to the long platform leading to the center of the massive cascade surrounded by thundering waters.

travel bucket list iguazu falls
This Platform goes to the center of Iguazu Falls

For a bucket list experience, this was spectacular. Be sure to take a helicopter tour over the falls and hop on a jet boat to get soaked. They seriously put the boat right underneath the waterfall. If there is one item on your travel bucket list. This should be it!

2. Amalfi Coast

amalfi coast italy bucket list vacations
Amalfi Town on the Amalfi Coast of Italy

We thought we had seen the beauty of Italy when visiting the Cinque Terre, but the Amalfi Coast is the Cinque Terre on steroids. The beautiful coastal towns along the Gulf of Salerno took our breath away at every turn. Rent a car and drive this famous highway that clings to the side of sea cliffs. There is nothing more romantic than driving the towns of Positano, Ravello, Amalfi, and Sorrento. Make sure to splurge on a room overlooking the terraced buildings of Positano and its beach.

3. Maldives

maldives over the water bungalows vacation bucket list travels
Over the Water Bungalows in the Maldives

Staying in an over-the-water bungalow in Bora Bora or Tahiti is on everyone’s travel bucket list. But we did this in The Maldives and I cannot think of a place that is more beautiful in the world. The turquoise waters surrounded our bungalow complete with a glass floor so we could watch the fish swim by was superb. I don’t think I have seen such white sand beaches anywhere on earth.

4. Petra Jordan

petra jordan - petra monastery bucket list travelers dream
Petra Monastery

By the time we made it to Petra Jordan, we had seen a lot of famous ancient cities with our own eyes. We expected to like it, but we didn’t expect to be wowed by it. Boy were we wrong! Petra is in a league unto itself. The hidden city of Petra is located within a 1.2 km rock passage reaching 80 meters into the air. Once you arrive at The Petra Treasury you are treated to an awe-inspiring scene. A massive building complete with columns is carved into the stone.

5. African Safari

male lion chasing female lion serengeti tanzania on everyone's travel bucket lists
a male lion chasing a female on the Serengeti in Africa

There is nothing more magical than an African Safari. We’ve been lucky to go on Safari in Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, and Botswana. And trust me, it never gets old. Seeing the majestic lion stalk its prey and watching a herd of elephants walking through the African savanna is a scene that is forever etched into our brains. There is something special about visiting Africa. As the saying goes “I left my heart in Africa” and every time we leave the continent we feel the same way.

6. Churchill Polar Bears

polar bears in manitoba canada travel bucket list
Polar Bears in Churchill

Speaking of safaris, have you ever thought of a safari in Canada? I don’t think there was anything more awe-inspiring than seeing polar bears in the wild. It is even more of a bucket list ticket to be able to walk with polar bears. Going up to the arctic tundra in summer is not only unique, but it is also a chance to see polar bears in a different environment than in snow. We visited the Polar Bears twice with Churchill Wild. Once in the winter and once in the summer.

7. Santorini Greece

bucket list ideas santorini greece

We had seen Santorini in the yogurt ads for years and dreamed of one day visiting. Once we arrived, we understood why it has been featured in so many commercials. When we looked over the cliffs of the caldera, the views didn’t seem real. Whitewashed buildings with blue domes lined the high cliffs of the caldera. Staying in a cave hotel overlooking the Aegean Sea was the ultimate dream.

8. Kayak and Camp in Antarctica

bucket list vacations antarctica iceberg with kayakers

If you haven’t noticed on our blog, a lot of our bucket list adventures have been in cold regions. And Antarctica truly tops the list. We were lucky enough to visit Antarctica with Quark Expeditions where we fulfilled every travel dream. From camping on Antarctica to kayaking around icebergs, Antarctica was an adventure lover’s travel dream.

9. Trek to Mount Everest Base Camp

bucket list ideas for travel dave and deb at mount everest base camp
Dave and Deb at Everest Base Camp

Staying in the cold weather for a moment, the ultimate bucket list adventure is to trek to Everest Base Camp. When we can all travel again, this is something anyone can do regardless of climbing skills Follow the footsteps of Sir Edmond Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa to see the Khumbu Ice Fall, Everest Base Camp, The Tengboche Monastery, and Mighty Mount Everest herself. Secure the ultimate bragging rights among your friends and trek to Everest. Our friend Dipendra at SimRik Real Nepal Treks is waiting for you.

10. Cappadocia, Turkey

travel bucket list ideas cappadocia turkey hot air baloons over fairy chimneys

Nearly everyone is familiar with the famous scene of balloons soaring through the air above fairy chimneys. Turkey’s Cappadocia really does feel like a fairytale. This had been our bucket list since seeing dozens of balloons in the air on Instagram nearly a decade ago. A morning hot air balloon ride fulfills the ultimate travel dream list.

11. Himalayas of Bhutan

bucket list ideas tiger's nest monastery bhutan

Bhutan is the happiest country in the world and you can’t help but fall in love with the people and landscape when you visit this bucket list destination. Trekking through the Himalayas is an incredible journey but hiking to Tiger’s Nest Monastery in the Paro Valley is what draws people to the country. This iconic scene doesn’t disappoint.

12. Great Wall of China

bucket list ideas great wall of china

We have visited the Great Wall of China twice. And it lives up to everything we ever expected. Looking at this marvel of engineering truly did inspire wonder and awe. No wonder it is listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. We loved visiting both the Mutianyu and Badaling Great Wall, they were equally beautiful yet very different experiences.

13. Machu Picchu

bucket list ideas llama at machu pichhu peru

Speaking of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is another beautiful destination to add to your bucket lists. Hiking the Inca Trail is on many people’s adventure bucket list, but even seeing this extraordinary Inca City will take your breath away. Literally. Located in the Andes Mountains at 2,430 meters/7,972 feet in elevations, it is a wonder to see.

14. Great Barrier Reef

bucket list ideas helmet dive great barrier reef

The UNESCO World Heritage Site off the coast of Australia is the largest coral reef in the world. It tops many a traveler’s bucket list. Even if scuba diving or snorkeling isn’t your thing, it is a must-visit. There are many ways to see the Great Barrier Reef. You can take a helicopter ride over the reef or even take a boat out to a platform in the middle of the sea to let you swim, snorkel, and sunbathe in the middle of this beautiful piece of ocean.

15. Pyramids of Giza

bucket list ideas visit the pyramids of giza egypt

We had always wanted to see the Great Pyramids of Giza with our own eyes. We didn’t know what to expect, but when we first spotted them they seemed surreal. They cut through the haze of Cairo standing the desert looking like a mirage. We have had the privilege of visiting them twice and can say that for a fun way to explore them, hire a camel to take you through the pyramid complex to feel like a true Bedouin.

16. Gobi Desert of Mongolia

bucket list ideas ghers at sunset in mongolia gobi desert

We are always fascinated by deserts, but there was something truly unique and spectacular about Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. It is filled with life. From the herds of Bactrian camels (two-humped camels) to the nomadic people of Mongolia moving their Ghers from camp to camp that was always something to see. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

17. Galapagos Islands

bucket list ideas giant galapagos tortoise

The Galapagos Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Ecuador that have their very own ecosystem. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the most biodiverse of destinations on earth. AND 97% of the Galapagos is a national park. The top draw to the Galapagos is to see its endemic species that are unique to the islands. From the Galapagos giant tortoise, marine iguanas, and the Galapagos penguin, the wildlife experiences.

18. Mount Kilimanjaro

bucket list ideas climb mount kilimanjaro summit sign dave and deb

If there is one mountain to climb in your lifetime it is Mount Kilimanjaro, The Roof of Africa. Kilimanjaro National park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site housing the highest point in Africa. The six to seven-day climb is part of the seven summits and is a spectacular bucket list vacation. So don’t wait to start planning your climb up the highest freestanding mountain on earth.

19. Bagan, Myanmar

bucket list ideas bagan myanmar

A visit to Myanmar is a trip we’ll never forget. Bagan was the highlight of our travels through the country. Taking an early morning ferry along the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay, we emerged at the most extraordinary complex of temples we had ever seen. Built in 1057 and covering 16 square miles Bagan houses 2200 pagodas. It looks like a massive forest of temples that you must see with your own eyes.

20. See the Northern Lights

bucket list ideas northern lights rocky mountains canada

Have you ever wanted to witness the dazzling display of the Aurora Borealis? Once you see the Northern Lights dancing in the night sky, it doesn’t seem real at first. Are your eyes playing tricks on you? Iceland is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. We didn’t have good luck there but have witnessed them several times in Canada and in Greenland.

21. Mexico Cenotes

rio secreto cenote mexico

For scuba divers’ the Cenotes of Mexico are a top bucket list diving adventure. But you can tour many cenotes without diving. The Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico has several adventures where you can rappel, snorkel, and paddle through Cenotes. But it was the Rio Secreto Cenote that was truly extraordinary.

22. Rome’s Colosseum

bucket list ideas roman colosseum daytime

The city of Rome is like no other. It is packed with ancient ruins and none as famous as the Colosseum. We had the good fortune of staying directly across the street from the Colosseum with a view of the amphitheater from our room. You think that you know everything about the Colosseum, but nothing can prepare you for seeing it for the first time.

23. Christ the Redeemer – Brazil

bucket list ideas christ the redeemer overlooking rio de janiero

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most beautiful cities on earth and Christ the Redeemer stands proudly over the city keeping watch. Seeing “Christo Redentor” standing with arms outstretched at the top of Corcovado Mountain is on many bucket list travelers list. You can see it by hiking up the mountain, taking the train, or a scenic bus ride but nothing compares to flying around it by helicopter.

24. Ha Long Bay – Vietnam

ha long bay with junk boat vietnam
The wonderful Halong Bay, Unesco world heritage in Vietnam

Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that needs to be seen to truly be appreciated. 1600 towering limestone islands reach up from the emerald waters of Halong Bay. What makes the bay even more picturesque are the junk boats that take tourists to explore the many islands and caves.

25. Have Champagne at the Eiffel Tower – France

bucket list ideas eiffel tower and champs elysees lights at night

Paris is the city of love and we never tire of seeing the Eiffel Tower. Seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle in the city of lights is such a romantic scene, but you must go up the Eiffel Tower. And did you know you can have a glass of champagne? Celebrate a milestone, get engaged or just enjoy a toast as you take in the Parisian skyline.

26. Helicopter Tour of Victoria Falls – Zambia

overhead view of Victoria Falls

We happen to live one hour away from Niagara Falls in Canada and we do love that city and the iconic Canadian cascade. So when we had the chance to visit Victoria Falls in Zambia we were very excited. The Falls That Thunder is located in the center of Mosi Oa Tunya National Park and is the largest waterfall in the world. The setting is completely different than Niagara Falls as it is surrounded by jungle. At a Whopping 1.7 km wide (1 mile) it is massive, and the way to take in the scope of Victoria Falls is to get up in the air.

27. Soak in the Blue Lagoon – Iceland

bucket lists dave at blue lagoon in iceland

Sure, the Blue Lagoon of Iceland is overcrowded these days, but no trip to “The Land of Fire and Ice” would be complete without stopping to soak in its healing waters. It tops many a traveler’s bucket list, especially after National Geographic named it one of the top 25 Natural Wonders of the World.

28. Explore the Canals of Venice – Italy

bucket lists venice gondolas

We truly fell in love with Venice. Staying in the city for four days allowed us to get off the beaten path to explore more of the quiet corners of the floating city. Not bucket-list travels would be complete without adding Venice to your list. While a gondola tops many bucket lists, it was the private taxi tour that we found to be far more romantic. Riding through the Grand Canal in style viewing scenery made us feel like movie stars.

29. Spy the Sun Stream at Antelope Canyon – USA

bucket list experience antelope canyon light shining through

It is one of the most recognizable caves in the world. But where is it? Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona is located in the United States. Once a day a gorgeous waterfall of light seeps through tiny openings lighting up the layers of sandstone in this famous slot canyon. Read: The 17 Best Hikes in Arizona

30. Hike Through Meteora – Greece

bucket list destination monasteries of meteora greece

Santorini may be the luxury escape of Greece, but the Monasteries of Meteora are the wonders of Greece. Sitting at the top of massive rock monoliths reaching up to 500 meters (1500 feet) from the valley floor, ancient monasteries dot the landscape. Dating back to the 9th century, the Meteora Monasteries can be visited today by hiking to the top, walking across bridges, or simply taking in the view from one of the many lookouts.

31. Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland

bucket list destination giant's causeway at sunset in northern ireland

A visit to the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland will make you believe in giants. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is Northern Ireland’s most famous attraction and tops many a travel bucket list. To see the perfectly arranged basalt pillars leading out to sea makes you believe that a giant built a causeway to Scotland rather than a volcanic eruption some 60 million years ago.

32. Leaning Tower of Pisa – Italy

bucket list destination leaning tower of pisa

We didn’t know if we’d be in awe of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, but seeing it in person did indeed live up to the hype. Pisa alone is worth visiting. This picturesque city located on the Arno River is filled with history dating back to the 14th century.

33. Stand in the Center of Times Square – New York

bucket list destination new york city's times square

Standing in the center of Times Square in New York fills you with energy and excitement. New York is certainly one of the most exciting cities in the world, and while Times Square is filled with tourists, its with good reason. You feel as if you are in the center of the universe as massive LED screens surround the entire square.

34. Go to the Top of the Burj Khalifa – Dubai

bucket list destination burj khalifa dubai

It’s the tallest building in the world sitting amongst several other massive skyscrapers. Dubai is out of this world. With each impressive structure built, there are four more in the works. Going to the top of the Burj Khalifa to see the most impressive skyline on earth is the definitive bucket list item.

35. Go Sandboarding in Huacachina – Peru

bucket list destination sandboarding in huacachina peru

I never expected sand dunes in Peru to be so massive. When we booked a bus ticket to Huacachina in Peru, we thought we’d be sitting in a tiny oasis, but instead, we were surrounded by the largest sand dunes we’ve ever seen. The way to explore them is to take a dune buggy tour or to hop on a sandboard and glide down them. You’ll be covered in sand, but what a hoot and it is something you must try at least once in your life.

36. Cross the Shibuya Scramble in Tokyo

bucket list destinations shibuya crossing tokyo japan

Until you’ve seen Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo with your own eyes, it’s difficult to comprehend the number of people that take this crossing every few minutes each day. A quarter-million people cross this intersection each day. The best way to see this bucket list item is to go to the top of Magnet’s Mag 7 from the glassed-in viewing area.

37. Golden Temple – India

bucket list destinations golden temple amritsar

The Taj Mahal may top everyone’s bucket list, but we found the Golden Temple of Amritsar to be a more authentic experience. Don’t get me wrong, the Taj Mahal is a wonder to see, but the Golden Temple is a beautiful display that is still a working temple. Join one hundred thousand pilgrims each day as they pay their respects to Sikkhism’s most holy site.

38. Road trip to the Grand Canyon

bucket list destinations grand canyon

I must admit I wasn’t expecting much from the Grand Canyon, but during our road trip through California and Arizona we popped into the Grand Canyon and I was taken aback by its beauty and sheer size. The Grand Canyon is on everyone’s American travel bucket list and it is spectacular. The Colorado River cuts through the 466 km long (277 mile) Colorado Plateau canyon of the Colorado Plateau and let me tell you, a pop in won’t do it justice. you must get out and explore the beauty of America’s natural wonder.

39. Amazon River – Peru

bucket list destinations amazon river cruise peru

The mighty Amazon River is the largest river by water volume in the world and it is the land of legends. It still feels as if much of the Amazon River Basin has yet to be explored. When you set out on a river cruise through the Amazon, you can almost feel what it was like to be an early exploring cutting their way through the largest jungle on earth.

40. Marvel at the Glaciers of Greenland

bucket list destinations iceberg at sunset greenland

Glaciers are melting fast on this planet and nowhere on earth is it more prevalent than in Greenland. Visit the world’s most active calving glacier in Ilulissat and sail through a sea of floating skyscrapers of ice. Icebergs dwarfed our ship as we explored the west coast of Greenland on this truly magnificent bucket list adventure.

41.Swim with Whale Sharks

bucket list destinations swim with whale sharks mexico

There is something truly magical about swimming with whale sharks. While it might be a frenzy of tourists beaming with excitement below is calm and quiet. To see these gentle giants glide effortlessly through the sea is the ultimate bucket list travel experience. There are many places to swim with whale sharks around the world, most notably off the coast of Cancun Mexico, and in the Philippines.

42. Hornblower at Niagara Falls

bucket list destinations maid of the mist niagara falls canada

Okay, we cannot forget to include going into the center of Horseshoe Falls in Niagara, Ontario. We have always taken this bucket list adventure for granted because we live so close to Niagara Falls, but when you go on the Hornblower, it truly is a spectacular scene. Feel the power of one of the world’s largest waterfalls as you sit at the bottom of the plunging waters. It is so powerful that everyone gets a rain poncho to wear on the boat. If you make your way to Canada, don’t miss seeing Niagara Falls.

There are so many things to do in Niagara Falls, the Hornblower is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out our full round-up of Our Favourite Things to do in Niagara Falls – Plus Where to Eat & Where to Stay

ultimate bucket list travel guide

And these are our most amazing bucket list travels on earth. We’ve been lucky to be able to see and do all of these bucket list adventures in our lifetime. As I went through this list, I cannot believe that we have experienced each and every one of these. It all started by creating a dream list a decade ago, and now we have achieved travels beyond our wildest imagination. We can’t wait to add more when we can travel again.

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Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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5 thoughts on “Bucket List Travels – 52 Places to Visit in Your Lifetime”

  1. wow such a wonderful list for everyone. I am from India and I was surprised when I saw the golden temple on your list because everyone includes the Taj mahal in their top list when anyone visits India. waiting for your next blog. ok, take care of each other Dave and Deb.

  2. Chopta Chandrashila Deoria Tal Trek is a prestigious package for visitors to Chopta, which has mesmerizing panoramic Views of beautiful Himalayan peaks.It’s 5km and takes about 3 hours. We can organize a trip for you to this amazing destination. The hike up to Deoria Tal, amidst dense forests and filled with Rhododendrons (in summer) is part of the Chopta-Chandrashila trek. There is a famous Hindu story about it. When the 5 Pandavas were on their way to heaven, they stopped at the place and tasted the water.

  3. I love these bucket list places to travel to!! Some of my favorites from the list were going to see the Churchill polar bears, kayaking in Antarctica, the Great Wall of China, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Northern Lights. This blog post reminds me of all the beautiful places I have yet to see and cannot wait to go to!

  4. The Harmiandir Sahib (Golden Temple) of Amritsar has a unique distinction of offering free food at Langar Seva —
    The world’s largest community kitchen. People visiting the Golden temple must not miss the Langar food.

    Thanks for curating a great list.