Travel Bucket List: Absolute Must See Vacation Spots
Written & Researched by Guest Blogger, Hannah Withrow
Hello, fellow travel enthusiasts! We feel everyone has bucket lists in their life, whether it’s learning to do certain trades, riding in a hot air balloon, running in a 5k, or visiting various places of the world. For all those travel junkies, we’ve decided to help you add to or create your own travel bucket list! Instead of listing the top tourism locations of the world, we have created a unique assortment of the world’s absolute must-see vacation spots. Sure, another time we’ll tell you all about the wonders of New York City, London, & Disney World… but for now, we’re diving deeper into the rarer treasures of the world.
After browsing through our recommendations, we challenge you to create a list of 15 places you want to visit in your lifetime. You’ll find destinations for everyone: adventurers, lovers, families, party people, fitness fanatics, tropical lovers, people who want to go go go, and those who want to take 5 the whole vacay…the list goes on. Feel free to send us your customizations, and we will give you proposals for vacations designed entirely for you! Even though the world is an enormous place, you can visit many of these stunning places in one vacation. Talk about more bang for your buck! Enough chit-chat, let’s go on a virtual vacation.
Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
Metropolis seaside city with amazing Copacabana beaches, sporting events, food & drinks, nightlife, scenic attractions, shanty towns, and raucous Carnaval festival.
Moraine Lake – Lake Louise, Alberta Canada
Glacially fed lake in Banff National Park surrounded by the Valley of the Ten Peaks. During the warmer months, visitors can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, swimming, and hiking. Turquoise waters are visible late June through early October.
Niagara Falls – Borders Niagara Falls, New York & Niagara Falls, Ontario
Three combined waterfalls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America with a vertical drop of more than 165 feet. When visiting this outstanding waterfall, make sure to take time to go on one of the many tours available. Guests’ favorite tour is the Maid of the Mist.
Tunnel of Love – Klevan, Ukraine
Approximately 4-mile industrial railway surrounded by green arches that links with Orzhiv. A well-known place for couples to take romantic walks.
Sea of Stars – Raa Atoll, Maldives
Bioluminescent waves generated by phytoplankton on the island of Vaadhoo. While in the Maldives, visitors can enjoy luxurious private island resorts, white sandy beaches, turquoise lagoons, and breathtaking reefs.
Eileen Donan Castle – Dornie, Scotland
Perched on a small tidal island where three sea lochs meet, is a picturesque thirtieth-century castle that frequently appears in photographs and films. It’s a wonderful venue for weddings and historical tours.
Denali National Park & Preserve – Alaska
This contagious park and preserve encompasses over 6 million acres containing the highest mountain in North America, Denali (Mount McKinley). Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views, hikes, glacial lakes, skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, and numerous Alaskan wildlife.
Amazon Rainforest – Costa Rica
Magnificent broad-leafed rainforest covering an impressive 1.7 billion acres. There are countless activities to do while visiting including jungle tours, piranha fishing, water sports, hikes, zip-lining, and swimming with pink river dolphins.
“Rose Red City” is a well known Nabataean city due to its breathtaking grandeur and fabulous ruins. Tourists staying in Egypt or Israel can spend approximately $130 to travel to the city without spending the night in Jordan. While here, you can enjoy archaeological parks, tombs, temples, monasteries, and narrow walkways through rock walls.
Moonscape region famous for unique geological features such as fairy chimneys and volcanic cone-like formations. Visitors often describe their experience as magical pertinent to the unique landscape. There are many attractions while staying here such as underground city tours, horseback riding tours, castle tours, cave tours, and the infamous hot air balloon ride.
Bamboo Forest – Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan
Enthralling natural forest consisting of several pathways for exploring. Best viewed early in the morning as it is routinely a busy attraction.
City dominated by spires and domes of mosques with medieval architecture where tourists can enjoy a European experience with an Islamic grace.
A giant marine sinkhole near the center of Lighthouse Reef, which is declared as one of the top five scuba diving sites in the world.
Halong Bay – Northern Vietnam
Halong Bay (Bay Descending of Dragons) is famous for its scenic ocean karst topography, which is included in lists of natural wonders of the world. There are over 1600 spectacular islands and islets emerging from emerald water most commonly enjoyed via boat cruises offering additional tourism attractions and unique cultural experiences.
Navagio Bay & Shipwreck Beach – Ionian Islands, Greece
The most famous beach in Greece solely accessible by boat; however, most certainly worth the trip. Tourists planning to lounge in the sun are advised to bring all beach day necessities as there are no facilities in this secluded bay.
The Icelandic Highlands cover the majority of the country. Strange landscapes of roaring white rivers, black desert sands, and fresh oases of moss, fern, and Birchwood are a few of the many impressive natural attractions.
Meteora – Kalambaka, Greece
Playground for nature and adventure lovers encompassing 24 monasteries emerged on the countless summits of the rock pinnacles.
Redwood National Park – Northern California
A string of protected forests, beaches, and grasslands containing numerous tourist attractions. Some of the most common include hiking, camping, whale watching, and scenic drives viewing the sequoia trees, crescent beach, and fern canyon. While here make sure to visit General Sherman, which is the world famous sequoia tree that is approximately 272 feet high with a diameter of 36 feet. It is considered to be more than 4,000 years old, and the largest living tree.
Zhangye Danxia Landform – Gansu, China
One of the top 10 geographical wonders of the world is these “Rainbow Mountains.” This landform contains undulating fiery-red ridges and amazing multicolored mountain folds transforming into an immense sea of fire waves.
Plitvice Lakes National Park – Croatia
This national park is considered to be one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. You can view the wonderful blend of oak forests, meadows, rocks, and lakes by walking along trails, electric trains, or electric boats.
Great Wall of China – Huairou, China
There are numerous ways to experience this historical landmark, but it is best enjoyed with a private tour guide during the Spring or Fall months. There are more extreme routes for the physical fit adventurers, and some entirely handicap accessible.
Reed Flute Caves – Guilin, Guangxi, China
Natural limestone cave with multicolored lighting. The cave got its name from the type of reed growing nearby, which can be used to make flutes. Inside contains more than 70 inscriptions dating back as far as 792 AD.
Easter Island – Rapa Nui Chile
One of the most isolated islands on Earth lying far off in the Pacific Ocean halfway between Chile & Tahiti. It is most famous for its enigmatic giant stone statues built centuries ago. While vacationing here, there is far more to do than see these statues. Tourists can see ancient ruins, volcanic craters, preserved stone villages, beaches, historic geological sites, caves and caverns, cathedrals, and gardens. Guests enjoy island tours, learning about the culture, oceanic dives, and exotic food.
Grand Canyon – Arizona, USA
Carved by the Colorado River 20 million years ago lies this incredible marble canyon. Visitors can enjoy hikes, caves, waterfalls, river rafting, and multiple tours via helicopters, trains, foot, or hot air balloons.
Mount Kilimanjaro – Tanzania, Africa
The highest mountain in Africa with three dormant volcanic cones. With a relatively easy ascent, this mountain has become a major destination for mountaineers and trekkers around the world. When visiting, make sure to take advantage of other amazing excursions such as African safaris, camping tours, cultural tours, and rock-climbing tours. Additional landmarks to visit would be Kikuletwa Hotsprings and Materuni Waterfalls.
Phuket – Thailand
Thailand’s largest island with world-class experiences such as cave excursions, sailing tours, water sports, beaches, sightseeing tours, and cultural dining.
Cinque Terre – Liguria, Italy
Rugged coastal portion of northwest Italy comprised of five charming villages. Visitors can partake in many walking and hiking trails, day tours, cruises and sailing tours, nature parks, landmarks, and top class cultural experiences. Uniquely, cars are not allowed so in order to get between the villages, one must take trains, ferries, or walk along one of the spectacular trails that connect them.
Great Barrier Reef – Queensland, Australia
If you’re a mermaid or merman, then this place is for you. While here, visitors can enjoy virtually any water sports or activities imaginable. This reef is the largest living thing on earth with over 600 types of coral and immense wildlife. If staying in Queensland, make sure to visit Daintree Rainforest, Whitehaven Beach, and North George Walk.
Patagonia – Argentina & Chile
Massive, beautiful, and desolate Andes Mountains with amazing geography and wildlife.
Benagil Cave – Algarve, Portugal
Located near Benagil beach, is this stunning cave accessible only via the sea. Best way to see the cave is by boat tour; however, it is accessible via kayaks.
British Virgin Islands
Encompassing 60 picture quest islands is this go-to Caribbean destination offering abundant beaches and bays. Tourists enjoy various water sports, sea tours, snorkeling, scuba diving, and beautiful landscapes.
Eiffel Tower – Paris, France
Paris is a must-see city in itself, but while there the Eiffel Tower is an absolute. There are many ways to enjoy its charisma, either by a walking tour, guided climb, summit priority access, or from afar while dining and enjoying a French sunset.
Prague – Czech Republic
Nicknamed the city of 100 spires, Prague is known for its Old Town Square, historic core, colorful baroque buildings, Gothic churches, and medieval Astronomical Clock. Additional must-see attractions would be the Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, St. Vitus Cathedral, Petřín, Power Tower, and Dancing House.
Victoria Falls – Livingstone, Zambia
Commonly known as the place of the rainbows, is this massive waterfall. This waterfall is twice the height of Niagara Falls. While visiting, guests can participate in dinner cruises on the Zambezi River, helicopter flights over the falls, wildlife day trip tours, guided falls tours, white water rafting, and African dinner and dance shows.
Biltmore Estates – Asheville, North Carolina
America’s largest private home built by George Vanderbilt between 1889 and 1895. The residence has over 135,000 square feet of livable area. The property contains approximately 7000 acres of breathtaking views of gardens, fountains, pools, vineyards, aesthetically pleasing restaurants, and a seasonal farm. Visitors can walk the property, tour the home, enjoy an exclusive private tour, wine and dine at the estate, or partake in many of the outdoor activities available.
Colosseum – Rome, Italy
When in Rome, do not miss your chance to tour the Colosseo district in the heart of ancient Rome. There are many exclusive tours to enjoy this historic amphitheater.
Banff National Park – Alberta, Canada
Established in 1885 is Canada’s oldest national park encompassing mountainous terrain, numerous glaciers, ice fields, coniferous forests, and alpine landscapes. While here, tourists can see many turquoise glacial lakes, wildlife, and partake in various world-class summer and winter outdoor activities.
Angkor Wat – Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Capital Temple with the largest religious monument in the world. Originally built as a Hindu temple, it was transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. While here, tour the temple, visit the Angkor National Museum, visit a floating village, cycle around town, feed the exotic birds, get a $3 massage, watch the sunset at Srah Srang, and shop at the local night market.
Bathsheba – Barbados
Along the rugged eastern coast of Barbados, you’ll find some of the most beautiful sights of Barbados with amazing surfing, cliffs, rock formations, and beaches. While visiting the island be sure to take part in island tours, west coast sailing charters, snorkeling or scuba diving, cave tours, nightlife cultural experiences, and the pink sandy beaches.
Bali – Indonesia
Indonesian island with the biggest Hindu population. Tourists enjoy village sightseeing excursions, quad bike adventures, hot spring waterfall tours, jungle experiences, sunrise hiking, white water rafting, snorkeling and scuba diving, and seaside charters.
Lençóis Maranhenses National Park – Barreirinhas, Meranháo, Brazil
National Park composed of rolling sand dunes. During the rainy season, the valleys among the dunes fill with freshwater lagoons.
Amalfi Coast – Amalfi, Italy
Stretch of the coastline of southern Italy with incredible views, historic colorful buildings, mountainous hikes, botanical gardens, 100 beaches, sailing tours, and woodsy preserves.
Great Pyramid of Giza – Egypt
The oldest and largest of three ancient pyramids built over a 10-20 year period around 2560 BC. It was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years. To properly enjoy these historical structures, guests enjoy exclusive camel ride tours to the pyramids and sphinx with cultural influences and unique pyramid access.
St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Located in the Lesser Antilles, lies this 150 sq mile territory consisting of the main island St. Vincent and the northern two-thirds of the Grenadines, which are a chain of smaller islands. Often referred to as dream sailing islands, those with private or rented vessels can enjoy different island hopping excursions surrounded by crystal blue waters, profound scuba diving and snorkeling, and gorgeous landscapes.
Jerusalem – Israel
Middle Eastern city on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, considered holy to three major Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The main attractions to see are the presidential library, Arkansas River Trail, Big Dam Bridge, Lake Ouachita and State Park, Old State House, and Little Rock River Market.
Bora Bora – French Polynesia
Famous destination well known for aqua-centric luxury resorts surrounded by a lagoon and barrier reef. These resorts are very commonly experienced by honeymooners. Some of the best attractions are Playa Matira, Place Matira, Āmanahune, Fitiiu Point, WWII Guns Faanui, Pofai Bay, Mt. Pahia Summit, and Mt. Otemanu Cave.
Blue Lagoon – Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland
Wonderful place for guests to renew their relationship with nature, soak up the scenic beauty, and enjoy breathing the clean, fresh air while relaxing in the warm geothermal seawater. Many magnificent hotels and restaurants are located around the lagoon. Make sure to stop by nearby tourist attractions such as the bridge between two continents, volcanoes, arctic horses, Viking World, Hopsnes lighthouse, and whale watching.
Even though the Colosseum is a must see vacation location, Rome deserves it’s own shine. It is one of the most important tourist destinations due to the incalculable immensity of its archaeological and art structures, as well as for the charm of its unique traditions, the beauty of its panoramic views, and the majesty of its magnificent parks.
Mendenhall Ice Caves – Juneau, Alaska
Immaculate ice caves where water runs over rocks illuminating blue ceilings inside a partially hollow glacier. There are a few places where visitors can experience every stage of the water cycle at once. These caves are only visible to those willing to kayak to, and then ice climb over the glacier.
Tahiti – French Polynesia
The largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia composed of two volcanic mountain ranges. Tahiti is split into two islands, Tahiti Nui (the larger part) is in the shape of a turtle, and Tahiti Its (the peninsula). The two islands are linked by the isthmus of Taravao and skirted by black beaches. When traveling here, guests should take advantage of the turquoise waters, incredible snorkeling, and magnificent beaches in addition to other various attractions such as Bougainville Park, Point Venus Lighthouse, Faarumai Waterfall, Pā’ōfa’i Gardens, Vallée de Tipaerui, and the Arahoho Blowhole.
Preachers Rock – Preikestolen, Norway
Also known as Preikestolen or Pulpit Rock is this famous tourist attraction with a steep cliff rising nearly 2000 feet. Atop the cliff, there is a unique flat top. It is situated on the north side of a gorgeous Norwegian fjord. Due to recent tourism increases, there is currently a project underway to improve the path to the site, as it is now only accessible via a 2.4-mile hike. Aside from hiking, this is one of the most popular locations for BASE jumpers.
Galápagos Islands – Ecuador
Volcanic islands well known for their vast number of endemic species that were studied by Charles Darwin. Some of the top attractions would include The Tunnels, Kicker Rock, exotic animal experiences, Charles Darwin Research Station, scuba diving, Lava Tubes, Chinese Hat volcanic formations, Wall of Tears, Tortuga Bay, and the Twin Sink Holes.
Phi Phi Islands – Thailand
These islands are some of the loveliest in Asia. Quick trips from Krabi or Phuket allow guests to enjoy postcard-worthy views with ultimate tropical getaways featuring beautiful beaches, stunning rock formations, and vivid aqua waters with a vast amount of colorful marine life.
Hitachi Seaside Park – Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan
Located on the Pacific Ocean side of Japan incorporates this unique natural environment of sand dunes, forests, grasslands, and springs. This breathtaking park surrounds many other tourist attractions including an amusement park, bicycling tracks, forest athletics fields, and many restaurants. Nearby also includes Fukuroda Falls, Kashima Shrine, and the Aqua World Oarai Aquarium.
Stonehenge – Amesbury, England
An iconic symbol of Britain is this prehistoric monument consisting of a ring of standing stones. Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC.
Blue Grotto – Biševo, Croatia
A sea cave that emits a blue reflection when sunlight is passing through the underwater cavity. The cave extends about 165 feet into a cliff at the surface and 492 feet deep with a sandy bottom. The grotto is best experienced via exclusive Capri boat tours.
Baphuon Temple – Angkor Thom, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Mid-11th-century temple located in Angkor Thom, northwest of Bayon. It was built as a temple dedicated to the Hindu God, Shiva. In order to properly experience the temple, expect a difficult climb; however, its promised to be extremely worth it.
Yosemite Valley – Sierra Nevada Mountains, California
A glacial valley surrounded by granite summits and densely forested pines. The valley includes a multitude of streams and waterfalls. One of the biggest attractions, Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America. Visitors can tour the area starting by going through the famous entrance tunnel. Additional attractions are Mirror Lake, Happy Isles, Glacial Point, Taft Point, Four Mile Trail, Sentinel Rock, and Ribbon Fall.
Santorini Island – Greece
Quite possibly the most popular island in the world combining beautiful beaches, active volcanoes, spectacular scenery, ancient cities, amazing restaurants, and some of the world’s best wine.
One of the most unique cities in the world that is separated by canals and linked by 400 bridges. Some of the must-have experiences would be visiting St. Mark’s Square, climbing the Campanile Di San Marco, seeing Rialto Bridge, taking a Gondola Ride, and visiting Dodges’ Palace.
Pamukkale – Denizli, Turkey
A natural site famous for thermal pools of carbonate mineral left by the flowing water. Additional activities around these pools include Pamukkale Natural Park, Mount Honaz National Park, famous amphitheater, Cleopatra Pools, paragliding, magic travel tours, and Laodicea.
Machu Picchu – Andes Mountains in Urubamba River Valley, Peru
Known as the lost city, these ancient Incan ruins contain a lot of archaeological sites with immense cultural experiences.
Tianzi Mountains – Zhangjiajie, China
Often surrounded by mist, these mountains contain stunning tower-like peaks with a tree-covered ground like no other. The best time to visit these mountainous pillars would be September through early November. There are many packages, tours, and excursions to give you the ultimate experience.
Taj Mahal – Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
One of the best-known buildings, and arguably one of the most beautiful is this ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna River. There are a vast amount of tours available ranging from quick private tours to full day Taj Mahal & Agra Tours from Delhi.
Antelope Canyon – Navajo Land East of Page, Arizona
Exquisite canyon experience including two separate scenic slots sectioned into upper and lower sandstone canyons walls. Tourists can enjoy the scenic sites during guided sightseeing tours, lakes, water sports, and hikes.
Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming, Montana, & Idaho
Nearly a 3,500 square mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. Yellowstone features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, immense wildlife, and lush forests including its most famous geyser, Old Faithful. Adventurers will enjoy many of the thrills this park has to offer.
Salar de Uyuni – Andes, Bolivia
Amid the Andes is the world’s largest salt flat. During prehistoric times, this lake went dry leaving behind a desertlike white salt rock. Often, visitors will see many pink flamingos in the unique ecosystem. In order to experience this area to the fullest expect to go on a multiple day tour excursion.