After a bit of a holiday drought, daydreaming of exotic getaways is thankfully very much back on the agenda. Having a holiday on the horizon is a perfect way to see you through the sometimes-dreary winter months, and brainstorming destinations and creating a mood or vision board is often half the fun. If you’re not sure where to start and your travel bucket list is lacking, Pinterest is a fun way to get inspired – pin images that get your heart racing, and you’ll quickly start to notice themes appearing. Whether it’s white sandy beaches and swoon-worthy sunsets, sumptuous spa-like hotel rooms, or lush tropical forests – use these visual cues as inspiration and motivation to work towards creating your activities-driven travel bucket list. And if you’re really stuck, take a cue from these 10 must-visit destinations destined for your travel bucket list.
If you’re looking for a unique and off-the-beaten-track destination, this small country nestled in the Balkan Peninsula bordering Montenegro and Greece is a must-visit. It’s probably not the first spot you’d think of when planning a trip to Europe, and that’s a big part of its charm. Boasting stunning scenery – from the mesmerising turquoise waters of the Albanian Riviera to the rugged Albanian Alps – combined with UNESCO-protected towns dripping in history, and vibrant cities, Albania has plenty on offer to pack out your itinerary.
Whether you’re a Game of Thrones fan or just looking for a breathtaking travel destination, the hype around Croatia is very much deserved. Bordering the Adriatic Sea, it’s blessed with an incredible archipelago best seen by one of the numerous boat cruises – whether you choose to soak up the islands on a luxury super yacht cruise, or party your way around the coastline, there are options for all budgets and lifestyles. And when you’re not taking in the stunning coastlines, indulge in some of Europe’s best seafood accompanied by a glass of the local Plavac Mali.
3. Kruger National Park, Africa
Joining a safari through the national parks of Africa is truly an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The continent is home to some of the most incredible wildlife on the planet and seeing it up close and personal is like nothing else. The Kruger National Park is our pick for taking in Africa’s Big 5 – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalo, plus there are over 500 bird species to spot, 100 reptiles making the park home, multiple archaeological sites, all with a backdrop of unique flora and fauna. From tented safaris to self-driving, family adventures or honeymoon packages, the touring options are abundant.
4. The Maldives
This tropical paradise is known worldwide as one of the top honeymoon destinations – but it’s not just for honeymooners! Dotted off in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the crystal-clear turquoise waters, sugar-white sandy beaches and gently swaying palm trees that make up this group of islands look just like something out of a magazine. Stay in an overwater bungalow and drift off to the sound of the ocean, explore the colourful reefs and abundant sea life and be sure to take in the candyfloss-coloured sky with a glass of bubbles in hand on one of the many dolphin-spotting sunset cruises. No nuptials are necessary.
5. Santorini, Greece
Easily recognised by its gorgeous all-year weather, white-washed buildings, blue rooftops and picture-perfect beaches, Santorini is well deserving of a spot on your travel bucket list. And if the idyllic backdrop isn’t enough to convince you, there’s delectable cuisine to sample around every corner – think authentic Greek salads, saganaki (yes, it’s fried filo-covered cheese), the most mouth-watering moussakas, and many more filo covered goodies like spanakopita and baklava to indulge in.
6. The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
A bucket list classic, the Pyramids of Giza is an iconic destination guaranteed to impress. Located in Cairo, these ancient wonders date back over 4,500 years and are packed to the brim with culture and history. Marvel at the sheer size and engineering feat that is the Great Pyramid (the largest of the three), imagine what life was like back then, feast your eyes on the Sphinx guarding the entrance and take in ancient hieroglyphics. This isn’t just a spot for history buffs – it’s an opportunity to take in the last remaining Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
7. Northern Lights, Norway
Visible from a number of locations but best viewed from Norway, this epic light show (also known as Aurora Borealis) is a natural phenomenon caused by energised particles from the sun meeting the earth’s upper atmosphere. The result is a dazzling display of ethereal green and pink hues dancing across the sky. And while you’re taking in one of the Seven Natural Wonders, you can also experience the unique culture of the indigenous Sami people, sleep in an igloo or see what huskies are really bred for and try dog sledding.
8. Machu Picchu, Peru
Adventure and ancient history collide at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed ruins of the Incan Empire in Machu Picchu. Perched high in the Andes mountains and often surrounded by mist and a touch of mystery, you can either hike the famous Inca Trail, and your effort will be rewarded tenfold, or ride the train to Aguas Calientes and take the reasonably short climb up to these historic ruins. Whichever way you get there, you’ll be blown away by its scale, the engineering genius that created it, and the breathtaking landscape surrounding the site.
9. Tokyo, Japan
With neon-lit streets sitting alongside shrines and temples to snow-capped mountains and the cherry blossom-lined streets of Shibuya, Tokyo has a unique blend of traditional culture and futuristic innovation that makes it like nowhere else on earth. You can spend days wandering history steeped sites like the Imperial Palace and Sensoji Temple, then pop to a quirky cat café or be served by a robot barista at Henn Na Café – it’s this stark contrast that makes Tokyo such a unique and fun must-add to your travel bucket list.
Take your pick and start planning!
There are so many incredible travel destinations out there, each offering the opportunity to create unique and special memories. Whether you’re lucky enough to visit one or a couple of these destinations in a lifetime, it’s essential to do your research about keeping safe and ensure you’re using credible sources when booking your holiday. And above all, have fun out there!