Skydiving, backpacking through Europe, meeting your favorite celebrity… people put all kinds of things on their bucket lists. However, most people get too busy to do much beyond just creating that bucket list.
Enter: this list. Traveling the world is probably the most frequent item on bucket lists. That is, the most frequent item besides skydiving. But not all of us have the will to throw ourselves out of a plane. So, traveling the world it is!
And we’ve got your destinations covered. These 10 destinations are definitely the most worthy of a red circle and gold star on your bucket list.
1. Taj Mahal (Agra, India)
The Taj Mahal stands tall and stunning in Agra, India. Its architecture blends multiple cultures, including Persian, Indian, and Islamic influences. It took over 20 years of careful construction, but the Taj Mahal’s brilliant, shimmering marble will leave you breathless.
When people think of marble, they usually picture stark white with perhaps a few grey-black strokes. But the Taj Mahal’s marble seems to shimmer a thousand different colors, depending on how the light hits it. While the Taj Mahal’s beautiful architecture is enough to put it on this list, it’s the story behind the mausoleum that really holds the beauty.
Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor, had the Taj Mahal built for his most beloved wife, who died after giving birth to their 14th child. Shah Jahan grieved hard for his wife and had the beautiful Taj Mahal built for the sole purpose of housing his wife’s remains – his greatest romantic gesture.
2. Great Wall of China (Northern China)
Speaking of amazing architecture, the Great Wall of China is probably one of the most renowned constructions. It was originally created to keep dangerous intruders out of China, but now stands as one of the greatest wonders of the world.
Construction of the Great Wall started under the rule of the first emperor of China in 220 BC! The majority of the Wall that still stands today was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
The Great Wall deserves a top spot on any bucket list, as it’s simply incredible and humbling to walk across something that seems to have been built in a completely different world.
3. Antelope Canyon (Arizona, United States)
Quite the opposite of our first two destinations, Antelope Canyon was completely constructed by nature, not man. Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon that lies east of Page, Arizona. Slot canyons are formed by water and are characterized as being a lot deeper than they are wide.
Antelope Canyon is especially amazing because of the spirals of creviced rock that seem to change color as the light hits them. Unless you see it for yourself, you’d think photos of the canyon were created and manipulated in Photoshop.
This amazing canyon lies on Navajo land and is only accessible through guided tours. But if you manage to get a tour, count yourself incredibly lucky. Not many people get to see this beautiful, awesome canyon.
4. Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada / New York, United States)
Niagara Falls is made up of three waterfalls that straddle the border between the United States and Canada. Its total height is a whopping 167 feet! It was formed when the glaciers of the last ice age receded. Imagine that… giant, frozen glaciers from one era are now beautiful, powerful waterfalls.
When met with your first view of Niagara Falls, you’ll immediately be shrouded with a sense of how small you really are compared to this wonder of the world. But the power of these falls doesn’t just lie in their beauty; Niagara Falls is also one of the world’s most valuable sources of hydroelectric power!
5. Redwood National Park (California, United States)
Redwood National Park is located in Northern California. It’s home to the tallest growing plant species on Earth: the redwood tree. Redwood trees can easily grow over 300 feet tall!
You can hike through or camp in this national park. You can also take a scenic drive through certain parts of the park if you’re not exactly the adventurous outdoorsman.
Redwood National Park doesn’t just house redwoods. It also covers prairies, rivers, and the coastline. And if the towering, giant trees aren’t enough, the park is home to tons of animal wildlife, from elk to whales to banana slugs.
6. Yellowstone National Park (United States)
Redwood National Park isn’t the only bucket list-worthy park in the U.S. Yellowstone National Park is truly one of the country’s best treasures. Yellowstone stretches across Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park is known for its hundreds of different species of animal wildlife as well as its awesome geological features.
Old Faithful is probably one of Yellowstone’s most famous features. The natural geyser erupts every 44 to 125 minutes and can reach heights of up to 185 feet! Beyond geysers, Yellowstone also holds mountain ranges, lakes, rivers, forests, and waterfalls.
And for all you thrill-seekers, a portion of the national park lies on top of the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The Yellowstone Caldera is still considered an active volcano.
7. Machu Picchu (Peru)
Machu Picchu is an ancient Incan citadel that rests on a mountain 7,970 feet above sea level. Even if you don’t know much about the Incan culture, this views of – and from – this citadel will take your breath away.
Besides breathtaking views, Machu Picchu has quite an amazing story. The citadel was created, maintained, and inhabited by the Incas. However, they had to abandon it after only one century because of the Spanish Conquest. It was left abandoned and its existence was unknown to anyone who wasn’t local.
Machu Picchu remained unknown and off the rest of the world’s radar until 1911.
After the previous specific locations, it seems odd to put a whole country on the list, but bear with me. Iceland makes this bucket list primarily because of its access to the Northern Lights.
The Northern Lights are an aurora made up of collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter Earth’s atmosphere. These dancing lights can be viewed in Iceland for eight whole months out of the year. While some might say that the highlands of Iceland are the best spot to see the aurora, most of country offers once-in-a-lifetime views.
And while you’re in Iceland, you might as well visit the Blue Lagoon, one of the world’s most famous geothermal spas. The Blue Lagoon offers bright blue waters that steam warmly in the middle of Grindavik’s icy plains.
9. The Great Blue Hole (Belize)
The Great Blue Hole is a giant submarine sinkhole near the center of Lighthouse Reef off the coast of Belize. The sinkhole is 1,043 feet wide and 407 feet deep. It was formed up to 153,000 years ago when sea levels were much lower than they are today.
The Great Blue Hole is one of the most coveted spots for divers. They’re drawn by the crystal blue waters and the chance to meet interesting, unusual fish, including Midnight Parrotfish and Caribbean reef sharks.
10. Reed Flute Cave (Guilin, Guangxi, China)
Reed Flute Cave tops this destination bucket list off as one of the most stunning tourist attractions in the world. Reed Flute Cave is a natural limestone cave that lies in Guilin, China. It holds a large number of awesome, out-of-this-world stalagmites and stalactites.
The cave also holds inscriptions that date back as far as 792 AD. Today, the cave is artificially lit by multicolored lights, which turn Reed Flute Cave’s rock formations into stunning rainbows that would fulfill anyone’s sightseeing dreams.