Travelling the world is a dream for many of us, but realistically you need to narrow it down slightly. Here’s where the bucket list comes in: an essential list of destinations.
But where exactly do people around the globe aspire to visit most? We found out which destinations across the world feature most on people’s bucket lists.
Unsurprisingly, countries with naturally beautiful scenery or world-famous landmarks came out on top. 22% of the top bucket list destinations have white sandy beaches, while 52% are an iconic city. The average number of destinations on a bucket list is 11, with people hoping to visit at least seven of those places during the lifetime.
People were also more likely to add a destination to their list if they had seen it on social media – we saw that 33% of people research holiday destinations via their Instagram feed.
From tropical islands to sprawling urban cities, consider this your must-visit list…
Check out the Top Bucket List Destinations in Europe here
Top 50 Bucket List Destinations in the World:How do these rankings work?
The Matterhorn is one of the world’s most iconic peaks – you might recognise it from the Toblerone chocolate bars! The pyramid shaped mountain, which is very difficult to climb, is said to be the most-photographed mountain in the world.
With the bright lights, party atmosphere and endless things to see and do, it’s now wonder that Las Vegas has become a glittering global tourism destination. Take a chance in the casinos until the early hours or see world-class entertainment.
A cosmopolitan blend of European grandeur and Latin flair, Buenos Aires is a vibrant and colourful city.
Bookstores set in palatial theatres, salsa dancing in the streets and brightly painted neighbourhoods… These are just some of what makes Buenos Aires so beautiful.
Is there anything prettier than this area of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline? The five towns (Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare) are made for bucket lists.
The capital city of Hungary, Budapest is a fairytale city in Eastern Europe. The city itself is separated by the 19th-century Chain Bridge that connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest – hence the name Budapest!
Beijing is China’s political, economic, and cultural centre, with six Unesco World Heritage Sites in this city alone. Discover Forbidden City, street food dishes of Peking duck and of course, the Great Wall of China.
While you’ll have your fair share of techno club experiences, Ibiza is also one of the most beautiful Spanish islands, with a pretty Old Town and scenic beaches. Spend the day on the beach and the nights in legendary clubs.
From the hustle and bustle of Oahu to the romance of Maui and off-the-beaten-path adventures on Lanai and Molokai. The Hawaiian Islands are pure paradise.
Explore colourful canyons and waterfalls and eat your bodyweight in fresh Poke.
Lisbon, the hilly capital of Portugal, is postcard perfect with its cobbled streets, pristine waters and local Atlantic beaches.
Throw in the gorgeous old town and lively bars serving wonderful food and you’ll soon see the need to visit Lisbon as soon as you possibly can.
Virunga National Park is one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet and home to the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas. It’s full of lush rainforest and has received even more attention since the documentary Virunga.
The best way to get here? Arrive to Machu Picchu in style on the 360° Train that will bring you through the Peruvian countryside to the ‘lost city’. The wide, panoramic windows are perfect for soaking up the view, plus they serve Pisco Sours on board.
The Colombian island of Providencia is the perfect combination of South America and the Caribbean. It’s best known for Crab Cay: an unspoilt little island where all there is to do is snorkel and lie on the beach.
Laucala Island Resort is a private island in Fiji, in absolute paradise. It is one of three small islands off the northeast coast of Taveuni in Fiji.
There’s coconut trees, a sustainable farm and miles of beach, as well as coral reefs, postcard-perfect beaches and lush rainforest. Paradise.
South Korea is known for its green, hilly countryside dotted with cherry trees and centuries-old Buddhist temples, as well as the high-tech city of Seoul.
Seoul is a vibrant metropolis where old-meets-new, with pop culture (K-Pop!) alongside Buddhist temples.
Copenhagen’s rustic fishing ports, modern graffiti and winding red brick streets are just some of what makes it such a beautiful bucket list destination. It oozes Scandi cool from every corner, with top notch food, stylish design and an always hip atmosphere.
Cairo is one of the most ancient cities in the world. Sitting on the Nile river with wonderful museums, vibrant culture and friendly locals, it makes for a great holiday.
Where better to see one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World than here?
Santiago is a cosmopolitan city with the very best of Chilean culture; art galleries, design shops and handicraft markets, as well as lively Latino nightlife.
You’ll stroll through historical neighbourhoods with pretty winding streets and charming bars and cafes.
This charming 17th-century canal-covered city has heaps of interesting sights that will keep you busy for an entire weekend, or even longer.
Forget about cliched images of smoke shops and gaudy red lights… From floating flower markets to bohemian neighbourhoods, this city has it all.
Barbados is one of those magical holiday destinations that everybody dreams about visiting. Who wouldn’t put this on their bucket list?!
Nestled in the south of the Caribbean, it offers stunning beauty and wonderful local culture and is the perfect place to unwind.
As a Special Administrative Region of China, Hong Kong is made up of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories and the Outlying Islands.
Famous for its skylines and vibrant food scene, what most people don’t know is that 70% of Hong Kong is mountains and lush parks. Colourful playgrounds and sci-fi apartment blocks give HK an enviable edge.
The ancient Nabatean city of Petra in southern Jordan is surrounded by beautiful red rocks and steep gorges. The world wonder is without a doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction.
It has to be seen to be believed.
Rio de Janeiro has always been one of the most iconic cities in the world with instantly recognisable landscapes and landmarks.
The Brazilian city, which stretches form Copacabana beach to the Sugarloaf Mountain, is a destination that does every little thing in spectacular fashion.
Pretty pink restaurants, futuristic space-age toilets and jungle skyline views are just some of our favourite things about London. And of course, all the classics: Big Ben, red phone boxes and world-class museums and galleries.
Singapore is a small island city-state off southern Malaysia which punches way above its weight on a global level. It’s a modern city with colourful buildings, futuristic bridges and a ‘cloud forest’.
Watch Crazy Rich Asians and this will be on your bucket list, too.
Russia’s cosmopolitan capital, Moscow is a beautiful destination to visit in any season.
Colourful domes and bell chimes ring out from over 600 churches in the city, and the sense of history is immense. Culture lovers will be impressed with the museums and ballet.
Santorini is actually a group of islands; Thíra, Thirassiá, Asproníssi, Palea and Nea Kaméni. Beaches with volcanic black or red sand and clear blue waters make this an ideal holiday spot.
With its famous Santorini sunsets, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular bucket list destinations.
The Kruger National Park is a vast space in North Eastern South Africa, that covers 19,485 km² and is home to a huge array of wildlife.
The park has safari experiences of all kinds, allowing you the opportunity to escape busy city living and get back to nature.
In a city with year-round sunshine, glam bars, beaches and hikes, there’s endless incredible experiences to enjoy in Los Angeles . It’s no wonder there’s almost 5O million ‘LA’ hashtags on Insta.
Whatever you’re into – neon lights and pop up bars or stunning scenery – you’ll find it in LA.
Vancouver is surrounded by water yet close to the mountains and has world class art, restaurants and heaps of other attractions to keep you entertained.
From colourful downtown neighbourhoods, to culturally diverse suburbs and mountainside districts, Vancouver is a slick city.
Earth’s southernmost continent, Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime destination. Nowhere else can compare with the extreme remoteness of this snowy place.
It’s not an easy trip to make, but you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the white wilderness, icy sea kayaking and whale sightings.
Visiting Tokyo is like visiting the future – flashing neon lights, incredible technology – yet there’s still a rich sense of culture and history. From modern art installations to ancient temples, Tokyo is a seriously amazing city.
Cuba’s capital is almost 500 years old and a riot of colour. Brightly painted buildings and vintage cars make Havana a photogenic dream.
Bohemian bars, colonial squares, and an emerging contemporary art scene? They all make the city so exciting. It can be confusing to navigate, but it’s worth it.
Waikato, a region in New Zealand’s North Island, is home to massive underground caves, lush rainforest and the buzzy city of Hamilton.
But the area’s main attraction? A Middle-earth adventure on the film set of Lord of the Rings. Hobbiton Movie Set still has the original Hobbit holes from the making of the films.
Jaipur is known as the ‘Pink City’, for its pale terracotta buildings. This was originally done to impress the visiting Prince Albert during his 1876 tour of India by order of the Maharaja (Sawai Ram Singh). Even today, it’s illegal to paint buildings any other colour.
It’s a historically royal city and you can still visit palaces from throughout the ages
Paro Valley South Asia known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes.
Tucked between China and India, Bhutan is a mysterious country that prides itself on sustainable tourism. You’ll find Paro Taktsang here, a Himalayan Buddhist sacred site.
Whether it’s your first time in Rome or your 50th, the best thing about this city is that you’ll always discover something new each time you stroll the scenic streets.
There’s countless museums and ancient architecture, as well as heaps of culture and gourmet food. Rome is nothing but brilliant.
No trip to Scotland is complete without a visit to the picturesque city of Edinburgh.
With the historic Edinburgh castle looming over the city, culture in spades and wonderfully friendly locals, this is one of the world’s greatest city breaks.
As George Bernard Shaw once said, “those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik.” With its winding streets, cliffside beach bars and UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Old Town, it’s no wonder Dubrovnik is such a popular spot.
New York is one of America’s most exciting state. With charming upstate scenery, world class cuisine and culture and more things to do than you could fit in one lifetime.
The city’s five boroughs all have special features; it’s almost impossible to narrow it down.
Bora Bora is Tahiti`s most famous island. How do overwater bungalows and underwater adventures sound to you? To us, it’s everything we could want from a bucket list destination.
Turquoise waters and crystal clear snorkelling spots make this paradise.
The high-flying city of the U.A.E, Dubai is one of the most glamourous destinations you’ll ever visit, and is particularly popular with Big 7 Travel readers.
Burj Khalifa, an 830m-tall tower, dominates the skyscraper-filled skyline, while traditional mosques are must-sees.
Cape Town is a dream location to visit: endless natural beauty and clifftop views, pastel pink neighbourhoods and turquoise waters.
Hike Table Mountain National Park, learn about the country’s history and see penguins up-close. Cape Town is also home to amazing wine and food.
One of the most iconic cities in the world, Paris tops many people’s bucket lists. You’ll see so many famous landmarks here: the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame cathedral… The list is never ending.
The city is also home to glorious food, shopping and culture. An ideal city getaway.
Looking for paradise? You’ll find it in the Maldives. This tropical nation in the Indian Ocean is made up of more than 1,000 coral islands.
It’s home to some of the world’s most luxurious hotel resorts, with white sandy beaches, underwater villas and restaurants and bright blue waters.
Sydney is known around the world as one of the greatest and most iconic cities on the planet. Amazing things to do aren’t hard to find; the city has gorgeous beaches, great cafes and world class entertainment on offer wherever you look.
You can’t miss out on Marrakech when travelling around Morocco. This ancient walled city is home to mosques, palaces and lush gardens.
It’s known as The Red City thanks to the colour of the brick walls surrounding the city. Plus, the medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
All the way west in Ireland is one of the country’s most scenic counties. Kerry’s mountains, lakes and coasts are postcard-perfect, and that’s before you add in Kilarney National Park. The unique small towns such as Dingle add to its charm.
It’s no wonder Kerry is so many people’s dream destination…
The lively American city known for its street music, festive vibe and a melting pot of French, African and American cultures is well worth the trip.
NOLA is a city packed with adventures at every turn and should be on everyone’s ‘must-visit’ list. There’s no other carnival like Mardi Gras – party, eat, dress in costume and catch beads at parades as you soak up the incredible NOLA spirit.
Indonesia is a Southeast Asian nation made up of thousands of volcanic islands, such as the beautiful island of Bali. You’ll find beaches, volcanoes, Komodo dragons and jungles sheltering elephants, orangutans and tigers.
Basically, it’s paradise. It’s likely you’ve seen an image of Bali on social media at least once in the past seven days, as it’s such a popular bucket list destination for 2019.