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12 Spectacular Bucket List Travel Ideas (Our Top Picks for 2024)

12 Spectacular Bucket List Travel Ideas (Our Top Picks for 2024)

We share 12 mind-blowing bucket list travel ideas for all types of trips in this guide – historic sight-seeing, rainforest adventures, wonders of the world, secluded islands, ancient ruins, and more. 

From Italy’s architecture and wine to Hong Kong’s culinary scene and temples, you won’t want to miss out on these once-in-a-lifetime trips. 

12 Spectacular Bucket List Travel Ideas

We all love a good weekend trip or nearby destination, but if you’re serious about planning something that you’ll remember for a lifetime, you need to look at the 12 most spectacular bucket list travel ideas below. 

1. Get a Dose of Culture in Italy

Roman Forum ruins in Italy stand in afternoon sunlight with columns and domes for a list of the best bucket list travel ideas

Viacheslav Lopatin/Shutterstock

Italy is home to some of the world’s most famous art, architecture, cuisine, and culture, all wrapped up in the country’s beautifully mild Mediterranean climate. It’s an essential bucket list trip! 

Rent a car to zip around the country, checking out the best places to visit in Italy from the ancient Colosseum and Trevi Fountain in Rome and charming seaside villages in Cinque Terre to the Uffuzi Gallery in Florence and the Grand Canal in Venice. 

Along the way, you’ll taste classic Italian flavors that differ by the region. Try risotto in Milan, pasta bolognese in Bologna, a glass of Chianti with fresh Pecorino in Florence, bruschetta in Rome, and pizza in Naples. 

Stay at hotels in Rome, rent a guest room in Cinque Terre, or find a place to stay in Venice as you move around Italy to soak up all this country has to offer. 

2. Explore the Golden Triangle in India

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India with the reflecting pool in the foreground during the afternoon tops the list of the best bucket list travel ideas

R.M. Nunes/Shutterstock

Amid the aromas of spiced Indian food, wondrous architecture rising to the sky, and dusty streets packed with pedestrians, cars, tuk-tuks, and rickshaws, you’ll fall in love with India from the moment you arrive. 

The Golden Triangle refers to trips that visit 3 of the best destinations in the country: Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. The cities form a triangle and let you experience the best India has to offer – and one of the 15 best places to visit in the world (Taj Mahal) – in a single trip. 

You’ll start in Delhi (Jamaica Masjid mosque, Red Fort, and Chandi Chowk bazaar), head to Agra (Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Itmad-ud-Daula), and end in sandy Jaipur (“Pink City” with City Palace complex, museums, and gardens).

Fly to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi during the best time to visit India (October-March) and complete the Golden Triangle circuit via car, train, or plane to experience the fullness of India and its incredible sights. 

3. Feel the Romance in Paris, France

Eiffel Tower rising above Paris in an aerial view overlooking the city for a list of the best bucket list trip ideas


From the prominence of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe to romantic bites at an outdoor table in a street-front cafe, you can feel the warm energy and history of Paris, France when you take this bucket list trip to the City of Love.

There are countless places to visit in Paris, but don’t miss the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre Museum on the banks of the Seine River, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, and the sprawling Jardin des Tuileries. 

You can easily spend 5 or more days exploring the whirlwind that is Paris, but no romantic trip here is complete without staying in one of the most amazing hotels in Paris where you can walk or cycle to nearby attractions. 

Spring and summer are the best time to visit Paris, so plan your visit between April and September for the most incredible sample of the City of Love’s sights, tastes, and culture. 

4. Visit Ancient Castles in Scotland

Edinburgh Castle in the capital of Scotland with a fountain in the foreground during summer shows one of the top bucket list travel ideas

Michal 11/Shutterstock

You’ll feel like you’ve been drawn into an enchanting fairytale when you book a trip to visit the majestic, still-standing medieval castles of Scotland amid the Scottish Highlands, in Edinburgh, and in the Central Lowlands. 

Fall into the pages of history when you glance up at the strength of old stone forts, towers, and sprawling living quarters made to be impenetrable to enemy forces and standing strong centuries later. 

You can’t skip medieval Edinburgh Castle in the capital, palatial Stirling Castle from the 12th century, Dunnottar Castle atop red coastal cliffs on the North Sea, and Glamis Castle that inspired Shakespeare to write Macbeth.

You’ll find tons of other places to visit in Scotland after checking out these marvelous forts and castles. While there are tons of great hotels in Edinburgh, this is a bucket list trip. Why not stay at one of the incredible castle hotels in Scotland and feel like royalty?

5. Stay in a Luxurious Riad in Marrakech, Morocco

A luxurious riad at Le Jardin Secret in Marrakech, Morocco with palm trees and a pool outside the porch covered with curtains is an example of the top travel ideas for a bucket list trip

Tiad-museum Le Jardin Secret in the medina of Marrakech/Dobroslav Grygar/Shutterstock

If you want to step into Arabian bliss, head to one of the best riads in Marrakech, Morocco where you’ll stay in a palatial guesthouse complete with beautiful courtyard gardens, rooftop pools, and traditional Moroccan dining. 

The best and most luxurious riads are located in the medina district of Marrakech – the old part of town where you’ll find the stunning Bahia Palace, ruins of El Badi Palace, and colorful souk markets with spices, textiles, and wares for sale. 

Stay in a riad outfitted with all the modern-day comforts you could want, just steps from the narrow streets and alleyways that lead you through palace gardens, markets, and mosques that feel worlds away from home. 

Marrakech makes a phenomenal destination if you’re interested in visiting North Africa, especially if you head there during the best time to visit Marrakech: Spring (March-May) or fall (September-November).

6. Bask in the Sunshine in the Maldives

Overwater bungalows in the ocean on the Maldives islands, one of the top bucket list travel ideas for those seeking sunshine and beaches


The Maldives islands belong on every world traveler’s bucket list, offering warm sunshine, vast stretches of ultra-fine, coralline sand, and deep blue ocean as far as the eye can see. 

If you’re searching for a tropical paradise – somewhere secluded or right among the action – you’ll embrace the Maldives with open arms. Snorkel, dive, sunbathe, take a boat ride, jet ski, or paddle board in the gorgeous waters. 

Pick a small island with a single resort for privacy or head to Malé, the capital and most-visited island with lots to see and do. A trip to the Maldives costs around $8,600, but it’s well worth it for absolute bliss. 

There are over 1,000 islands in the archipelago, but Rasdhoo, Ukulhas, Dhigurah, Fonimagoodhoo, and Maafushi are ranked as the 5 best Maldives islands.

January through April is the best time to visit the Maldives, so be sure to book a stay at one of the best resorts in the Maldives well in advance to score a reservation in the peak season.

7. Enter the Forbidden City in Beijing, China

The Forbidden City in Beijing is guarded by a large lion statue with ancient royal palaces inside the old walled city, making it one of the great bucket list travel ideas

Hung Chung Chih/Shutterstock

Beijing, China is a fascinating place to visit if you’re in search of history, beautiful architectural styles, and delicious food on the other side of the world. The Forbidden City makes Beijing one of the best bucket list travel ideas! 

The historic 15th-century palace complex built for Chinese emperors within the Forbidden City contrasts with the futuristic buildings in Beijing, making it feel like it’s been suspended in time. 

The Forbidden City palace and surrounding walled complex is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and museum where you can wander through and learn about the dynasties of China’s past. 

In Beijing, you’ll be just over 40 miles from the Great Wall of China (one of the 7 Wonders of the World), excellent food in the city, lush parks, and endless shopping options. 

8. Take in Gorgeous Scenery in the Swiss Alps

Swiss Alps with a turquoise Oeschinnensee lake and trees with a bench to relax indicates Switzerland's mountains as one of the best bucket list trips

Eva Bocek/Shutterstock

The Swiss Alps conjures images of snow-capped mountains, charming Swiss chalets, peaceful lakes, and verdant grass dotted with vibrant wildflowers. As incredible as it is, that’s really what it’s like to visit Switzerland! 

This is certainly a bucket list travel idea if you’re into picturesque scenery, outdoor adventures, and uniquely tasty culinary offerings that will bring you to Central Europe. 

Go skiing, taste famous Swiss chocolates, enjoy a relaxing or grueling hike along mountain trails with varied difficulty, soak in a thermal spring in Leukerbad, or ride a gondola lift up into the Alps in Grindelwald. 

Switzerland is one of the safest countries to visit right now with tons of places to visit during your trip. Come between June and August, the best time to visit Switzerland, to experience the Alps in the peak season. 

9. Ascend to the Machu Picchu Ruins in Peru

Peru's Machu Picchu ruins in the Andes Mountains at sunset with fog rising beyond and colorful clouds in the sky for a list of the best bucket list travel ideas

David Ionut/Shutterstock

Sitting on top of a mountain nearly 8,000 feet high in the Andes of Peru is the ancient Incan fortress city of Machu Picchu, Peru. Dating back to the 15th century, this wonder belongs on your itinerary. 

This incredibly old and intact citadel spans over 32,000 hectares with a maze of terraces, aqueducts, altars, and stone buildings expertly laid by Incan masons (without mortar!) all those years ago.

There’s a profound sense of mystery surrounding the site since we don’t have written history of the Incan civilization that built it.

When you approach the ruins via Carretera a Machu Picchu (Hiram Bingham Highway), adrenaline will course through your veins as your vehicle winds around the impossibly narrow, unpaved mountain road.

Just 50 miles from Cuzco and some of the best places to visit in Peru, your trip to Machu Picchu doesn’t have to be limited to this area alone. Head here between May and September in the dry season, the best time to visit Peru.

10. Go Glamping Under the Northern Lights in Iceland

Glamping domes in Iceland under the Northern Lights in the winter makes for an excellent bucket list trip

Michael Cola/Shutterstock

If chilly temperatures don’t faze you, one of the best bucket list travel ideas is going glamping in Iceland with incredible views of the dancing Northern Lights (aurora borealis). 

Can you imagine anything more life-changing than camping in a luxury glamping dome under the dancing waves of spectral color moving across the Icelandic sky?

While you’re here, you’ll have plenty to explore. Go hiking to see glaciers, geysers, volcanoes, black sand beaches, and massive waterfalls that will blow your mind. Reykjavik, the capital, has excellent hotels, dining, and shopping options. 

Visit during the fall or winter months for the best chances to see the Northern Lights and to save money. A trip to Iceland costs over $7,000 in the peak summer season!

11. Take an Amazon Riverboat Cruise in Brazil

The Amazon rainforest and river winding through Brazil and Ecuador makes one of the top bucket list travel ideas for adventurous travelers


If you’ve always wanted to visit the Amazon rainforest to learn about the local cultures and see amazingly diverse wildlife, lush flora, and the Amazon River teeming with life, now’s the time to go. 

The Amazon is one of the best places to visit in Brazil, but not everyone’s up for a grueling multi-day hike through the rainforest. That’s why a thrilling Amazon riverboat cruise from Manaus, Brazil is a true bucket list travel idea! 

The best time to visit the Amazon via riverboat cruise is between December and May, when there’s enough rain to make all parts of the river and creeks navigable by boat.

It’s also the period when wildlife, from caiman and pink dolphins to jaguars and spider monkeys, is most active in the Amazon and lines up with their mating seasons. 

12. Get Enveloped in the Flavors and Sights of Hong Kong

Colorful sunset over Victoria Bay in Hong Kong for a list of the top bucket list destinations in the world

Rad Radu/Shutterstock

Hong Kong is considered a foodie capital of the world, offering an astonishingly diverse culinary menu from delectably greasy street food to fine dining at Michelin-starred restaurants. 

Snack on spicy fishballs, Cheung fun rice noodles with chili sauce, and tea eggs from street-side vendors. Head to a famous dim sum hall decorated with dragon motifs or enjoy a gourmet meal in Central Hong Kong. 

It’s not just known for its intoxicating flavors and aromas, but also its uniquely futuristic architecture and well-preserved natural beauty in pretty parks and mountainous areas throughout the country. 

Stop by the Hong Kong Museum of Art, make base camp at any of the abundant accommodations options here, explore traditional Chinese temples, or head to any of the 100 beaches here to make your trip truly bucket list worthy.

October through December is typically the best time to visit Hong Kong, but you’ll save big if you visit between June and September during the wetter and warmer monsoon season. 

Things to Consider

Aerial overlooking view of Vernazza port in Cinque Terre, Italy for a list of the 12 best bucket list travel ideas

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Planning a trip with these bucket list travel ideas can be so much fun! You’ll do some research, learn about the scenery, climate, and cost of places you’re interested in, and get excited as you inch closer to booking your tickets. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind while you plan to have the best trip possible. 

  • What kind of traveler are you? Know what you’re willing to do – and what you’re not – on your bucket list trip to narrow down your options. Are you adventurous or laid-back? Do you want to spend lots of time outdoors, inside, or sight-seeing around historic locations? Are you looking for a warm, mild, or cold climate? These questions will help you cross some destinations off your list. 
  • What’s your budget? Your trip budget is a great qualifier when you’re trying to hone in on the perfect bucket list destination for you to check out next. If you’re operating on a limited budget, look for destinations that are closer to home with shorter flights to save money. You should also check out the cheapest time to visit different places so you can plan a more affordable trip! 
  • Are your passport and travel documents in order? Nothing’s worse than planning an incredible bucket list trip only to discover your passport is no longer valid or that you missed a requirement to get a tourist visa. The best way to sidestep these issues? Check on everything ahead of time! Get your passport and any needed travel documents in order before you make it official by booking. 
  • Do you speak the language? Heading out on an amazing trip somewhere new in the world holds so much excitement and promise that it’s easy to forget all about communication and language barriers until you get there. If you’re heading somewhere that doesn’t speak your language, do yourself a favor and learn basic words and phrases to make communicating much easier when you arrive. 
  • What will you do to stay safe? Traveling abroad can be very safe, but criminals (petty and violent) exist everywhere on the globe. Take care of yourself by making plans to stay safe. A fanny pack under your shirt with your money and phone in it can help prevent pickpocketing or bag theft. Avoid traveling alone, especially at night, in unfamiliar cities and make sure your phone is always charged. Watch your drinks and don’t bring lots of valuables with you!

Frequently Asked Questions

The Great Wall of China seen from above at sunrise with clouds in the sky for a list of FAQs on bucket list travel ideas worldwide


If you’ve still got questions about coming up with great bucket list travel ideas, take a look at the FAQs below to see if you can find the answers!

What should be on my bucket list to travel?

A sightseeing trip to Italy, India’s Golden Triangle, Paris, Scottish castles, the old medina and mosques in Marrakech, island vacation in the Maldives, the Forbidden City in Beijing, and Switzerland’s Alps belong on every bucket list.

Consider Peru’s Machu Picchu ruins, seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland, an Amazon riverboat cruise in Brazil, and eating your way through Hong Kong to add to your travel list, too.

What are the top 10 bucket list destinations?

Italy, the Golden Triangle of India, Paris, France, Scotland, Marrakech, Morocco, the Maldives, Beijing, Switzerland, Peru, and Iceland are the top 10 bucket list destinations to visit.

In each place, you’ll find stunning architecture, natural beauty, famous landmarks, or historic wonders that are awe-inspiring for truly memorable trips.

How do I start a travel bucket list?

You can start a travel bucket list by grabbing a travel journal and jotting down a few places that have always sparked your interest. Create a page for each destination and start researching to flesh out the entry.

You might research the best time of year to visit, general costs for hotels and airfare, top sights or places to visit there, and what makes it appealing to you to fill out each entry page.

Once you’ve filled out a few, take a look at your current travel budget. Do any of the destinations make the cut? If not, keep saving up while you add to your bucket list - or start planning your trip if you’ve got enough saved up!

What is the #1 travel destination?

France is the world’s most visited country for 30+ years in a row, according to the World Population Review. Most of France’s visitors head to Paris, one of the best bucket list travel ideas due to the many sights, attractions, shopping, hotels, and excellent cuisine found here.

Where is the nicest place to travel?

Of all the bucket list destinations on our list, Italy might be the nicest place to travel. The country is so diverse with unique cuisine, wines, landmarks, and landscapes in the 20 regions that it’s truly a delight to explore.

From charming Cinque Terre and the stunning beaches along the Italian Riviera to arts and culture in Rome, Florence, and Venice, Italy is spectacular to visit and beyond bucket list worthy.

So, Ready to Cross Off Some Bucket List Travel Ideas?

Now that you’ve got a list of 12 spectacular bucket list travel ideas to research and mull over, you might be feeling ready to pull the trigger and start planning your next trip! 

The great thing about creating a travel bucket list is the accomplished feeling of crossing another destination off once you’ve visited.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first time leaving the country, making your way to a destination you’ve always dreamed of visiting is a type of satisfaction that’s hard to put into words. 

May your travels be safe, memorable, and rich with new experiences that you carry with you long after you arrive home – that’s the beauty of these inspiring bucket list adventures!

Read Next: Still looking for recommendations on where to go, but aren’t sure where to start? Use our destination recommendation generator to recommend destinations that you’ll love!