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Travel bucket list ideas:

Last updated: 13 November, 2023

Embark on a transformative adventure with our curated list of outstanding bucket list trips – be it an unforgettable cruise, epic road trip, evocative train journey, or a long-distance hike or cycle ride.

The ‘trips’ explore multiple destinations along the way, that make sense to visit together. All of the trips are easy to do, with good transportation links and accommodation, and all include some world-beating bucket list attractions and activities along the way.

Table of Contents

Al Andalus train | Andalusia

Andalusia, Spain

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Bucket List Experience

A luxurious, 6-day odyssey train journey taking in the rich culture, history and rolling landscapes of Andalusia. Stops include the fascinating cities of Seville, Cordoba, Baeza, Granada, Ronda, Jerez and Cadiz; bucket list highlights include Seville’s magnificent cathedral, the sherry bodegas of Jerez, Ronda’s eye-popping gorge, the sensational Alhambra in Granada and the gasp-worthy Mezquita in Cordoba.

Best for ages: 13+ | £6,000 | 6 days

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Around New Zealand's South Island road trip

South Islands, New Zealand

This primordial playground has truly spectacular scenery on the grandest scale, outdoor adventure activities galore, colourful and compelling Maori culture and terribly nice Kiwis. The only factories here are wineries and breweries. With safe, well-maintained roads, driving around is a road-tripper’s dream. Highlights include the Milford Sound fjord, exquisite wines at Marlborough, plus world-renowned whale-watching, rafting and hiking trails.

Australia (Sydney, Uluru & Port Douglas)

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Bucket List Experience

For most of us, Australia is such a distance that it requires a ‘bucket list trip’ to make it worthwhile. Top of the bucket list is a stop in Sydney to see the dazzling Opera House and climb the famous Bridge. Next head to the awe-inspiring Uluru for an unforgettable Outback experience, then last to chic Port Douglas, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the ancient wonders of the Daintree Rainforest.

Best for ages: 8+ | £110 | 2- 3 hours

Aerial Bixby Bridge (Rocky Creek Bridge) and Pacific Coast Highway near Big Sur in California, USA America. Drone Shot
Experience

California State Route 1 road trip

California, United States of America (USA)

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Bucket List Experience

The drive down Highway 1 between San Francisco and LA is around 6 hours non-stop, but this region of unsurpassed coastal beauty will have you stopping and staying over. Expect dramatic craggy coastlines, dreamy ocean views, giant redwood trees, exceptional hiking, condors and whales. The stand-out stretch is the 90-mile mountainous section of the California State Route 1, between Carmel and Heart Castle – arguably the US’s most scenic drive.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free | 6+ hours

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Cruise the Baltic Sea | Copenhagen, Tallin, Stockholm & St Petersburg

Multiple countries

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Bucket List Experience

This cruise is a must for any culture vulture’s bucket list, an enchanting voyage that serves up a trove of treasures. Highlights include canal tours of the colourful, vibrant Nyhavn district of Copenhagen, navigating the jumble of cobbled squares and church spires of medieval Tallinn’s Old Town, admiring the imperial splendour of St Petersburg, and admiring faberge eggs, masterpieces and other Tsar treasures at the astonishing State Hermitage.

Best for ages: 18+ | Varies | Min 7 days

Cruise the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

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Bucket List Experience

A visit here is a life-changing experience. You’ll see wildlife that exists nowhere else, from prehistoric-looking iguanas to penguins, blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises and sharks. Extraordinary wildlife encounters take place against a backdrop of ancient volcanoes, jagged lava rocks, cacti and beaches ranging from powdery white to glittering olive. Visit by ship and you’ll see a real contrast of settings, as a week-long voyage typically stops at around 12 different spots.

Best for ages: 13+ | Varies | Min 7 days

Cruise the Mekong | Vietnam & Cambodia

Multiple countries

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Bucket List Experience

A voyage through these two enchanting South-East Asian countries is days of bustling floating markets, dazzling Buddhist temples, the sizzle and aroma of street food and mist hanging over the water at dawn – all part of the experience. Cruises are bookended by stays in hipster Siem Reap, gateway to the magnificent temple of Angkor Wat, and Vietnam’s dynamic Ho Chi Minh City.

Best for ages: 18+ | Varies | Min 7 days

Cruise the Nile

Upper Egypt, Egypt

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Bucket List Experience

One of the world’s all-time great bucket list trips, a cruise down the evocative Nile reveals a tapestry of astonishing ancient monuments, beautiful papyrus-dotted river banks, and a landscape that has remained largely unchanged in 4,000 years. Bookended by stops at the Valley of the Kings at Luxor, and the Temple of Abu Simbel at Aswan, to marvel at two of the world’s great ancient wonders.

Best for ages: 13+ | £800 | 3-7 days

Cruise the Norwegian Fjords

Western Norway, Norway

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Bucket List Experience

Endless skies, snow-capped mountains, sheer-sided fjords, ribbon-like waterfalls and emerald green meadows ablaze with wildflowers – all combine to make Norway’s Fjordland one of the world’s most beautiful and serene cruising routes. Highlights include the Flam Railway, kayaking among the gargantuan, twisting fjords, visiting charm-filled villages, or simply sitting back and enjoying the scenery from the ship. You may see the fickle Northern Lights too.

Best for ages: 10+ | Varies | 3-5 days

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Cruise the River Amazon

Amazon, Peru

Earth’s largest and most spectacular tropical wilderness is a landscape of huge waterfalls tumbling off table-top mountains, vast, coloured rivers, and fragrant cloud forests. All filled with astonishing, endemic wildlife. The Amazon is the pinnacle of ecotourism.

Sail its broad, muddy rivers, with bottle-green forest stretching in every direction, as scarlet macaws flying overhead. Flat-bottomed skiffs take you deeper along the skinny, snaking waterways to look for caiman, turtles and piranhas.

Cruise to Antarctica

Antarctica, Argentina

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Bucket List Experience

For many, it’s the ultimate bucket list trip, for the wildlife, the incredible scenery and the sheer remoteness. You’ll be surrounded by mountains, some of them 8,000 feet high, their peaks and ridges softened by snow. Vast, blue-white icebergs in dramatic shapes are strewn across the freezing sea. Penguins bustle about their business, seals bask on the rocks and whales feed in plankton-rich waters.

Best for ages: 13+ | Varies | Min 10 days

Family group cycling along the banks of the Danube
Experience

Cycle the Danube Path

Multiple countries

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Bucket List Experience

This idyllic path following the banks of the Danube will take you from Passau in Germany to Budapest, taking in Linz, Vienna, Bratislava and numerous enchanting small medieval villages along the way. Highlights include history-laden castles, baroque churches, the acclaimed vineyards of the Wachau Valley, Viennese coffee houses, ending at Budapest’s therapeutic spa baths. It’s 16 days in all, but easily broken into shorter sections depending on which parts you want to visit.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free | Up to 16 days

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Garden Route road trip
Experience

Garden Route road trip

Western Cape, South Africa

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Bucket List Experience

Africa’s most famous road trip takes you from ever-delightful Cape Town up the eastern coastline to whale-inhabited Hermanus, through the charming towns of Mossel Bay, Knysna and Plettenberg. It’s a route of spectacular coastal cliffs, lush forests, serene lagoons and golden beaches – a dream for wildlife and outdoor adventure enthusiasts. It’s nothing to do with gardens; it takes its name from the Garden Route National Park that it passes through.

Best for ages: 10+ | Free | 3-14 days

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Marrakech to the Sahara Desert road trip

Marrakech-Safi, Morocco

Start your odyssey with a few days in exotic Marrakech, shopping the souks, feasting on street food at Jemaa el-Fnaa. Then it’s a drive over the breathtaking Tizi n Tichka mountain pass to Ouarzazate, home to the Atlas Film Studios, and then on to the desert. A safari in the desert here is an evocative, unearthly and surreal experience; the chance to sleep and wake in one of the world’s most extreme and beautiful landscapes.

NC500 road trip | Scottish Highlands

Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

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Bucket List Experience

The 500-mile loop skirting the north coast of Scotland is a spectacular coastal route that takes in some of the unmissable sights of the Highlands. Head clockwise or anti-clockwise north from Inverness, it careers along snaking mountain passes, across vast swathes of wild, windswept moorland and beside craggy cliffs and endless white-sand beaches. Travel by sports car, motorbike, campervan or bike and tick off ancient castles, whisky – and gin – distilleries, bagpipes and a must-try haggis.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free | 5-9 days

Orient Express train | Amsterdam, Paris & Venice

Western Europe, Multiple countries

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Bucket List Experience

The most iconic, romantic and historic of tourist trains – and a sumptuous way to combine visits to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Verona and Venice. The superbly restored period carriages of exquisite art deco marquetry and glass panels, and generous armchair seats in the three dining cars combine with fine dining an silver service, evoking the glamorous Golden Age of travel.

Best for ages: 25+ | £1,700 | 2-5 days

Rocky Mountaineer train | Rocky Mountains

Canadian Rocky Mountains, Canada

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Bucket List Experience

As John Denver fans will tell you, everyone should visit the Rocky Mountains. The three Rocky Mountaineer routes through the ‘Rockies’ from Vancouver have become known worldwide as the finest way to soak up the mind-boggling scenery in comfort. Listen to the crew reciting local lore as you spot bear and elk, with eye-watering mountain vistas soaring up all around.

Best for ages: 13+ | £1,500 | 2-5 days

Classic vertical panorama view of an endless straight road running through the barren scenery of the American Southwest with extreme heat haze on a beautiful hot sunny day with blue sky in summer
Experience

Route 66 road trip

United States of America (USA)

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Bucket List Experience

An epic 2,450-mile, 3-week route crossing eight states. This legendary highway reveals a fascinating insight into America’s forgotten past; days of the Great Depression, displacement of native Americans, and ghost towns. Expect a fare of colourful diners, quirky roadside attractions and even quirkier personalities. It starts in Chicago, ends in LA, and passes through the mind-boggling vistas of the Grand Canyon.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free | 3 weeks

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Rovos Rail train | South Africa, Namibia & Victoria Falls

Southern Africa, South Africa

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Bucket List Experience

This luxury rail journey through endlessly-compelling African scenery, stops off at some of Africa’s top bucket list destinations – Cape Town, Victoria Falls and Etosha National Park. Highlights include world-class wineries in the Cape Winelands, the height-defying Victoria Falls waterfall, safaris in Etosha and climbing the massive ochre dunes of Sossusvlei.

Best for ages: 13+ | £1,400 | 4-14 nights

Trans-Siberian Railway

Siberia Region, Russia

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Bucket List Experience

This classic journey offers an unrivalled insight into Russia’s vastness, on a 15-day journey from Moscow to Vladivostok. Highlights include St Basil’s Cathedral, the fortress in Kazan, the classic wood buildings of Irkutsk, the ‘Paris of Siberia’, and ancient Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world.

Best for ages: 18+ | £15,000 | 15 days

Tuscany road trip

Tuscany, Italy

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Bucket List Experience

Postcard-perfect Tuscany, Italy’s most beguiling region, has it all: art cities and ancient hill towns, long sandy beaches, luxurious hotels and some of Italy’s best food and wine. Drive from art-filled Florence to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, on to the world-renowned vineyards of Chianti and then the heart-stoppingly beautiful landscapes of the Val d’Orcia. Stop at captivating medieval towns, hunt for truffles, and soak in Tuscany’s wonderful natural spas as you go.

Best for ages: 8+ | Free