Personally, I know I am always looking for bucket list holidays to take. The world is big and spanning seven continents, there sure is a lot to see. Since I haven’t been everywhere (even though it is on my list) I asked some travel writers to share their epic bucket list holidays to make this article possible. Usually when I start looking for trips to take, I look to Instagram and Pinterest to see what is trending and what seems to get my attention.
Bucket List Holidays: Asia
Boracay is an island in the Visayan region of the Philippines. It’s the ultimate tropical paradise in Southeast Asia and should be on your list of bucket list holidays!
Boracay is famous for its fine, white-sand beaches and azure waters that is often said to be unparalleled in the world. The most famous is White Beach, and it’s the tourist center in Boracay. Here you can find different resorts and hotels based on your style, restaurants, and services offering island hopping and other water sports. If you want to explore more, there’s also Bulabog Beach, Diniwid Beach, Angol Beach, and the hidden gem of Puka Beach.
There are many things you can do in Boracay. It’s a popular party scene, but if that isn’t your thing you can simply stay in one of the quieter parts of the island to beach bum and lay down on lounge beds by the sea. You can also island hop, cliff dive, go snorkeling, helmet diving, diving, or paragliding. If you want to taste seafood, head over to the talipapa (local market) and haggle for fresh catch by the sea. There are also a variety of restaurants selling local and international food. If you want to buy local products, visit the numerous souvenirs shops or buy beads and pearls by traveling local vendors.
Boracay Island is fun, lively, and beautiful and definitely a holiday bucket list destination
Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan and a dream destination for design lovers, is nicknamed India’s Pink City due to it’s plethora of pink shaded walls and buildings. It’s also the country’s capital for artisanal craftsmanship, block-printed textiles, and world renowned gem trade. The city will keep you entertained day after day with it’s numerous palaces, ornate temples, bustling markets, hand made boutiques, colorful cafes, and inventive restaurants. This is why Jaipur is atop the list of bucket list holidays.
Since it was the capital of Rajasthan, you’ll find so many intricately designed palaces such as the City Palace and Chhavi Niwas. The Chhavi Niwas is especially unique as it was the private rooms of the Maharaj family and has a stunning Blue Room that can’t be missed.
Amer Fort is a stunning fort with grand views over the whole city. Make sure to get there early to avoid the crowds. Nearby is one of the most famous Insta-worthy places – the Stepwell of Panna Meena Ka Kund.
For some beautiful surroundings while you eat dinner check out Bar/Cafe Palladio. Also, since Jaipur is the block printing capital of India – some good places to check out some beautiful fabrics are Anokhi and Tokree.
Being that the Taj Mahal has earned a spot on the list of 8 New Wonders of the World, it’s on bucket list holidays for many travelers.
To be totally honest, I thought the Taj Mahal would be an over hyped tourist trap, but I felt like it was just one of those places I had to visit while traveling in India. And while my expectations were pretty low, it actually blew me away!
Be prepared for crowds and heat, but if you come with the right attitude and have read up on some tips for visiting the Taj Mahal, this iconic place will surely make its mark on you.
Bucket List Holidays: North America
Cayman Cookout – Grand Cayman
If you are a foodie, the Cayman Cookout is by far one of the best bucket list holidays on the market. This 5 day event hosted by chef celebrities at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman is as good as it gets. Eric Ripert and friends host intimate sit downs, food tastings, epic evening bashes, and the food and drinks never stop. Some of the best chefs in the world are in attendance and the food is just sensational. The weekend ends with a brunch cook-off, a rum bash and a gala.
One thing to note, all events are individually purchased, so you only attend what you want. Take time to enjoy the Ritz Carlton and 7 mile Beach while you are there, because the crystal clear water is just stunning.
Arches National Park – Utah
Arches national park is definitely something for bucket list holidays! Located just outside of the charming and quaint town of Moab, Arches is a landscape like no other which make it worthy of any bucket list! It is a great place to visit whatever time of year but if you can avoid summer I would to escape the crowds and the desert heat! Sights that can’t be missed are delicate arch, the windows arch and double arch as well as the beautiful park avenue walk. There are hikes for all abilities and we even managed to do some primitive hikes even though we were travelling with a toddler. These are a great way to escape the crowds.
Road Trip The Pacific Coast Highway – California
One of the most iconic bucket list holidays to experience in the USA is undoubtedly a road trip along the famous Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in California. While the PCH stretches for along most of the California coast, some of the best stops occur between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Along this section of the PCH, visitors can see stunning natural beauty and go for amazing hikes in Big Sur, visit hip towns and sample delicious wines in Santa Barbara or Carmel and enjoy the famous California surf in towns like Pismo Beach. There are also plenty of amazing viewpoints to stop along the PCH to enjoy the stunning beauty of this amazing part of the world.
The PCH is one of the most famous road trips in the world due to the varied attractions and scenery that visitors can see in a short stretch of driving. Travelers are also able to see how diverse the state of California is, making this one of the best bucket list holidays in the USA.
The World Was Here First
Yosemite National Park
The US state of California is on the bucket list holidays of many avid travelers. California has it all, with dazzling cities, famous movie sets and extraordinary nature opportunities. In the midst of California’s bucket list destinations lies Yosemite National Park. The park is located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range and attracts over 5 million visitors each year.
Yosemite has a little something for anyone who adores the outdoors, from the endless hiking trail to beautiful meadows. Yosemite is home to some of the world’s most famous backdrops, biggest waterfalls and tallest trees. The park is sure to leave people wanting to come back for more. In the summer months, people visit from all over the world to catch a glimpse of the Tunnel View, El Capitan and watch as the Sequoia trees soar above them. In the winter months, the park becomes a little less crowded, yet people do still do visit to see the Yosemite coated in a sheet of beautiful white snow.
The ultimate Winter Wonderland Experience. Yosemite is 100% a must see location for any bucket list and visiting the park is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Live Adventure Travel
An awesome addition to bucket list holidays is an Alaskan Cruise. Some cruises depart from Seattle, Washington and head up the Pacific to Alaska. The destination is worth it alone, however, the journey is just as awesome. One of the most spectacular sites during the cruise, was causing through Glacier Bay.
The sites were so beautiful as the ship went through dozens of icebergs. We took the Norwegian Cruise line to Alaska, and were taken care of from the moment we stepped on the ship. A vacation that includes all your food, drinks, and a place to stay, is always a plus. Be sure to check out a lumberjack show on one of your excursions for an entertaining stop. Alaska can be be a tough place to travel, so doing it on a cruise makes it easy and allows you to see a few different areas of the huge state. We definitely recommend adding this one to your bucket list!
Our Kind of Crazy
Bucket List Holidays: Antarctica
Bucket List Holidays: Africa
Marrakech – Morocco
Marrakech is one of those cities that just takes your breath away, in a good way. The chaos of the Medina is truly what makes this city part of the top bucket list holidays. With scents a plenty of foods being cooked, cats running around, shops and their owners trying to sell you goods, and bikes whizzing past at speeds so fast, its exciting.
I traveled solo to Morocco and had the best trip! I ate all the food, I stayed at the Four Seasons and in the Medina at a traditional Riad, I explored most of the sites, took pictures of all the incredible doors (which are all different), and enjoyed the company of locals. Marrakech is one of those destinations you find your heart longing for after returning home.
When it comes to bucket list holidayss in Africa, Egypt deserves a spot at the top of your list. While the country may be best known for the pyramids, there is plenty more to see, do and discover. One of the best ways to explore Egypt is by taking a Nile River cruise between Luxor and Aswan.
Along the way you can stop and explore some of the country’s most incredible temples and tombs including the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple, and Kom Ombo. I also recommend getting up early one day to do a hot air balloon ride over Luxor, then, from Aswan, take a half day trip to see Abu Simbel; perhaps the most impressive temple in the country. After touring temples and historic sites, spend a couple of days at Sharm el Sheikh to relax by the red sea and, if you are feeling up for it, some snorkeling or scuba diving. From desert to beaches, Egypt will not disappoint.
Eat Sleep Breathe Travel
Bucket List Holidays: Europe
Iceland kind of sells itself as an epic bucket list holiday, doesn’t it? The land of fire and ice, as they call it, truly has all the magic. From the views of the Northern Lights, the waters of the Blue Lagoon, the glaciers, waterfalls and beautiful horses, the beauty of this European island is unmatched.
If you are seeking the Northern Lights, go between September and April for the best chances of seeing them. If you are after waterfall chasing and adventure, you can go all year, but summer is best because the temperatures are a bit warmer and you get 24 hours of daylight. The winter months give about 6ish hours of daylight, which limits what you can do during the day. However, going to Iceland in the winter is just as incredible – I have been twice in January and fell in love.
Amalfi Coast – Italy
The Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy is one of the best bucket list holidays one can take. Situated along the southern edge of the Sorrentine Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast is a popular destination for summer holidays and honeymoons and it is not hard to see why. All the towns on the Amalfi Coast have beautiful backdrop and colorful buildings. One can enjoy great wine, food, hiking, water activities or simply relax on the beach in the Amalfi Coast.
Each town on the Amalfi Coast offers travelers with different restaurants, gardens, activities, etc. Some of the most famous towns to visit on the Amalfi Coast include Amalfi, Ravello, Positano, Praiano, Capri. Most people stay in Positano as it is one of the most romantic towns on the Amalfi Coast but there is an option to be based in Sorrento and take the bus to all the towns as day trips. Another option is to stay on Capri for a couple of days or simply take a day trip to Capri from Sorrento.
Crete is the perfect mix of a traditional Greek vacation with its own distinct culture. Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean, and it’s the largest and furthest south of the Greek islands. This means you can enjoy sunshine longer through the year. Crete is full of fabulous beaches, charming towns, and a fabulous mix of Greek and Cretan cuisine.
Having been to Scotland twice now, I wanted my second trip to be a little more off the beaten path. So heading up into the Northern Highlands, I heard about the ‘end of the World’ and John O’Groats along the NC500 coastline. What surprised me the most was the French Chateau so far north, Dunrobin Castle. This castle is home to a Falconry Display, with a history of Scottish Clans, and a few hauntings. The number of changes this castle has been through – being utilized as a fortification, boys boarding school, navy hospital and now the official home of the Duke of Sutherland. The more I explored, the more I realized this was a hidden gem that should be on everyone’s bucket list holidays to explore.
There were so many things to see on the NC500 coastline, some I wasn’t able to get to. I plan to return and complete the full loop that takes you from Inverness up the NC500 coastline to John O’Groats, around the Northern Coast of Scotland in some of the most rugged countryside in the world.
Bucket List Holidays: Australia
When you think about Australia your mind immediately thinks of white sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters. If you are in search of a truly unique beach you can’t go past Lucky Bay. Located in the Cape La Grange National Park outside of Esperance in Western Australia’s South West, this beach boasts crystal clear turquoise water that laps on almost glaringly white sand, which is why it was named Australia’s whitest beach.
The bay is surrounded by rock formations which enclose the bay, rising from the sea in a range of colors, leaving it a sight to behold. Now while this makes the beach breathtakingly beautiful the reason the beach is so unique is the friendly locals who spend their days lounging on the shoreline. That’s right Lucky Bay is home to a few friendly kangaroos who are often spotted lounging under peoples umbrellas or raiding their picnic baskets for snacks. See for yourself why I am naming it the Best Beach in Australia.
Forever Chasing Wanderlust
Bucket List Holidays: South America
The Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
As baby boomers, my husband and I are old enough that we have already checked off many places on our travel bucket list. One of our recent favorites was a Galapagos Islands cruise. We arrived at the main Galapagos airport, some 600 miles west of mainland Ecuador, 183 years after famed naturalist, Charles Darwin.
Tours around the Galapagos islands are strictly regulated by the Ecuadoran government in order to protect the unique flora, fauna, and geology of the volcanic archipelago. You are required to visit most of the disparate islands (both above and under the water) in the company of a certified naturalist, enhancing the experience.
The wildlife is protected. While keeping a distance of at least 6 feet, this is your chance to get up close and personal with giant tortoises, primordial marine iguanas, playful (or sleepy) sea lions, colorful sally lightfoot crabs, and all manner of birds. I admit to perhaps an inordinate amount of joy at seeing my first blue footed booby. Although it can be pricey to check off the Galapagos islands from your bucket list holidays, it is well worth the expense.
The ultimate of bucket list holidays for any outdoorsy person is Argentina’s Patagonia. This massive region at the southern end of South America contains mountains, glaciers, desert and ocean landscapes. A holiday in Patagonia will require a lot of time to dedicate to all of its awe-inspiring destinations
Start on the Atlantic Coast at the Peninsula Valdes. This is a wildlife paradise where elephant seals, sea lions, orcas, penguins, and right whales all breed here and it’s one of the best places to spot wildlife in Argentina. From Valdes move westwards to Bariloche in Northern Patagonia. The lakes district here is one of the most stunning drives in the country.
Further south in El Calafate is one of the world’s most easily accessible glaciers. Visit the Perito Moreno Glacier before hopping on a bus to El Chalten, home of the best mountain day hikes in Patagonia. You can continue your adventure to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia. And if you really fancy yourself an adventurer, take a cruise to Antarctica from here to top of an epic bucket list worthy trip to Patagonia.
Peru: Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
The ancient city of Machu Picchu is nestled in one of the most dramatic settings in the Andes Mountains. The impressive ruins of what once were royal buildings and temples seem to play hide and seek between the clouds and mist of the majestic mountains that surround it. With over 1 million visitors annually Machu Picchu is a popular bucket list holiday for many travelers.
While there are easier ways to reach Machu Picchu, there is none more rewarding than following in the steps of the Incas on the 4 day Inca Trail. With an ever changing scenery of jungle, snowcapped mountains and ancient ruins, the trail itself is only around 27 miles (44 km). However, it is not an easy trek. You will spend hours climbing up steep, narrow, uneven steps, with even steeper knee bending descents.
The trek culminates with a dawn arrival at the Sun Gate. If you are lucky you will see the mist part and the sun rise illuminating the citadel and giving it the appearance of gold. Hiking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu is definitely a bucket list holiday that lives up to every expectation.
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