20 Bucket List Travel Destinations

Compiled from all over the globe, below are some of the ultimate bucket list to-dos for those with an insatiable fernweh.

20. Santorini, Greece

Santorini is a collection of islands in the Aegean and an active volcanic complex. With a picture perfect landscape and an impressive wine reputation, Santorini is the romantic getaway destination of your dreams.

19. Great Barrier Reef, Australia & Belize Barrier Reef

As the first and second largest reefs in the world, these two natural systems offer pristine habitat for threatened animal species from manatees to crocodiles. No scuba license? You can either get certified while you’re there or just elect for the snorkel gear. Either way, get in the water.

18. Riding the rails through Europe

With a Eurail pass for US Citizens or Interrail pass for EU Citizens, you can travel this rail across nearly every European country, hopping on and off at your heart’s content. Numerous ticket options exist for every budget and travel agenda.

17. Homestay on Lake Titicaca, Peru

Located between Bolivia and Peru, Lake Titicaca has two main coastline hub cities – Copacabana (Bolivia) and Puno (Peru). During your homestay, be sure to visit the small local villages and get a taste of the culture.

16. Zanzibar and Mt. Kilimanjaro

After a hike up the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, what better way to relax than on white sandy beaches with a few beers and the sweet scent of nutmeg and cinnamon in the air. Heaven on earth – if you believe in that sort of thing.

15. Vatican City

It’s own country, Vatican City is at the center of the Roman Catholic Church. Don’t just see St. Peter’s Basilica though; go to the top of the cupola, get outside on the roof balcony, and roam around the ground floor for a once in a lifetime experience rooted in history. Don’t forget the wine, pasta (get the lasagna!), and gelato. And then get a second helping of gelato.

14. Havana, Cuba

If you can manage to get into the country, immerse yourself in the Cuban salsa nightlife. Consider taking a salsa class from those who know best.

13. Rafting the Zambezi, Zambia

rafting the Zambezi

It’s considered the ‘Mt. Everest’ of whitewater rafting for a good reason with some of the biggest Grade 5 rapids in the world. As the fourth-longest river in Africa, the Zambezi flows eastward through six countries before emptying into the Indian Ocean. One of its best features is Victoria Falls (see no. 8), just don’t go over the edge of it in a raft.

12. Alaskan Cruise

What more could you want in a cruise than to see incredible wildlife and take a bite out of real glacial ice (they’ll make you a margarita on the glacial rocks too)? Get up close and personal with 17 of the country’s 20 tallest mountains and some of the most impressive glaciers.

11. Great Wall of China, China

Built along the historical northern border of China, the Great Wall has a history of more than 2,000 years. With endless tour options, you can customize your Great Wall visit to satisfy your inner historian.

10. The Great Migration, Kenya/Tanzania

Two spots famous for hosting The Great Migration are the Masai Mara Reserve and Serengeti National Park. From June to September, book a safari to see millions of wildebeests make their journey.

9. The Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Despite the inevitable crowds you’ll meet, the Taj will surpass all expectation. Try to get in at dawn to avoid the worst rush and see the Taj in a soft pinkish hue.

8. Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe border

At 1,700-m wide and 108-m tall, Victoria Falls stands as the world’s largest waterfall, pouring more than five hundred million cubic meters of water over it’s edge every minute. You can spot the best views from rim-level which is on the Zimbabwe side during the dry season.

7. Island Bumming in Malaysia

The Southeast Asian country of Malaysia is renowned for its exotic islands full of forests, white beaches and pristine swimming and diving spots. With your choice of 878 islands, you can find everything from a quiet, calm escape to shopping and eating in a bustling city.

6. Easter Island, Chile

Easter Island is your ultimate escape destination. With the nearest neighboring human population close to 1,300 miles away, the island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. Explore the “moai” statues and read about the bizarre theories that comprise Easter Island’s history.

5. Machu Picchu, Peru

Explore the 15th century ruins at an altitude of 2,500m and discover what this stone city has to offer. Snag the necessary permits far in advance and hike the classic 43km Inca Trail for the experience of a lifetime.

4. Ancient Petra, Jordan

Carved into colorful sandstone cliff faces and nestled in the Jordanian desert, the “Lost City” of Petra is a must see. A UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the seven wonders of the world, Petra was once a lively trading center at the center of the Nabataean empire between 400 B.C. and A.D. 106. Explore the city by one of the only two approved modes of transportation: on foot or on camel/donkey/horse.

3. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat is a temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world with hundreds of Hindu and Buddhist temples. The modern hub town of Siem Reap is less than 4 miles south and must see add-on to your Angkor Wat adventure.

2. Salt Flats of Bolivia

During the dry season, these salt flats are covered with end-to-end hexagons white as salt. During the rainy season, the flats are covered in a layer of water, turning it into a still mirror. No matter what season you visit, crossing the salt flats will be an unforgettable, picture-perfect experience.

1. Cruising the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Located on the equator and made famous for being the center of Charles Darwin’s studies on evolution, the Galapagos Islands consist of 19 separate islands. Get there by plane from Quito, Ecuador then tap into your inner Darwin by exploring the landscape by boat.


Go forth, young traveler, and explore the world. Leave your own amazing travel stories below!

Additional images: Flickr



Eli Stewart
Eli Stewart
When she's not writing, she's baking...or traveling the world with a pack on her back and a camera 'round her neck. She's got a wild imagination and an insatiable fernweh. Try to keep up. Follow her on the Tweeter at @TheWritingBaker.