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The Ultimate Travel & Life Bucket List – 35+ Adventures Everyone Should Live

If I’m not travelling, I’m at home dreaming of travelling. The more experiences I tick off my travel bucket list, the more new adventures I add to it.

Whether you’re at home or on the road, if you’re looking for some travel inspiration, this is the bucket list for you!

I’ve listed some of the most awesome adventures and experiences that you can have around the world, which I believe everyone should live at least once in their lifetime.

So let’s start dreaming and expanding that travel bucket list!

Hiking to the base of the Catarata del Toro waterfall in Costa Rica

Hiking to the base of the Catarata del Toro waterfall in Costa Rica

35+ adventures everyone should add to their bucket list

Scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system, composed by over 900 islands and almost 3,000 individual reefs. It stretches over 2,300km and has an area of almost 350,000 square kilometres.

Need I say anything else? Exploring this beautiful underwater world is a once in a lifetime experience that should feature on everyone’s Australia itinerary.

If you don’t like scuba diving you can also snorkel (that’s what I did) and it was still magical. You will be able to see so many different fish and corals; it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Some beautiful corals that you can see when scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia - Photo by Kristoffer Trondsen on Scopio

Some beautiful corals that you can see when scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia – Photo by Kristoffer Trondsen on Scopio

Learn to surf in Bali

I strongly believe that everyone should try surfing at least once in their life. Surfing isn’t just a sport.

It’s a way of life and a practice that connects you to nature and makes you more aware of those around you. There’s more to surfing than just standing on a board and looking cool.

Bali is one of the most popular surf destinations and one where many beginners start out. Whether it’s Bali, Costa Rica or the Canary Islands, make sure to add a surfing trip to your travel bucket list.

Surfing in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Me braving the waves and learning to surf in Bali

Explore the rainforest of Costa Rica

I left my heart in Costa Rica. It’s the last trip I’ve recently come back from and I fell in love with the huge variety of natural landscapes, things to do, the tasty food, friendly locals and fun backpacker vibe.

However one thing that stood out was the rainforest in Tortuguero National Park. If you’ve ever wanted to venture into the rainforest, searching for crocodiles and sloths, this is the place to do so.

A small crocodile we spotted during our rainforest canoe tour

A small crocodile we spotted during our rainforest canoe tour

Hike in the mountains of New Zealand

If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, then you have to visit New Zealand. Even if you’re not a Lord of the Rings fan, it’s still a must-see for anyone who loves being outdoors.

I only spent one week in New Zealand but, even in such a short period of time, I was able to go on some of the most incredible hikes I’ve ever done.

When you pair a smooth hiking terrain with sweeping mountain views, it’s hard to go wrong. You will feel on top of the world, and at times also like you’re adventuring around Middle Earth.

Enjoying the view from the peak of the Sugarloaf, New Zealand

Enjoying the view from the peak of the Sugarloaf, New Zealand

Go canyoneering in the Philippines

I’ve seen my fair share of epic waterfalls in Iceland, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica and Canada. However none of them were as beautiful and fun as Kawasan Falls in the Philippines.

It might be a bit of a touristy attraction, but it’s also an epic spot where you can spend four hours hiking along the river, swimming in it, sliding down natural made water slides and cliff diving from the top of the waterfalls.

If you love being outdoors, admiring nature and enjoy a bit of adrenaline rush, then canyoneering is an experience you have to add to your bucket list.

Enjoying Kawasan Falls in Cebu Island, Philippines, before the crowds

Enjoying Kawasan Falls in Cebu Island, Philippines, before the crowds

Trek to Machu Picchu

I haven’t had the pleasure to travel to Peru yet. If I had to say what’s at the top of my travel bucket list right now, I’d say Peru and Machu Picchu.

The thought of hiking along the Inca Trail and reaching this lost city fills me with adrenaline. Not only for the hike challenge and epic views, but also for the rich culture and history.

Machu Picchu is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it’s a must on anyone’s bucket list!

Exploring Machu Picchu - photo by Jake Cunningham on Scopio

Exploring Machu Picchu – photo by Jake Cunningham on Scopio

Sleep under the stars in the Australian outback

The Australian outback had, without a doubt, the most incredible night sky I have ever seen. During my 3-day Uluru tour we spent two nights camping in the Australian outback, far from any towns or sources of light pollution.

You could clearly see the Milky Way, as well as a million other stars. I lost count of how many hours I spent just looking up at the stars.

There are many places around the world where it gets dark enough to see a beautiful starry sky. However if you want a really special one, the Aussie outback is the one for you.

The Milky Way seen from the Australian outback

The Milky Way seen from the Australian outback

Hike Kawah Ijen at night to see the sunrise

I’ve done a lot of hikes in the dark with the aim of seeing the sunrise from the peak, but Kawah Ijen in Indonesia was probably the most incredible (Little Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka is a close second).

Not only is the sunrise from the top absolutely incredible, but at Kawah Ijen you can also see the famous blue flames. A natural phenomenon visible only here, thanks to the high concentration of sulphur gases.

It’s one of those experiences that you won’t forget about.

The sun breaks through and turns East Java pink

The sun breaks through and turns East Java pink

See whales in the wild

There’s something about seeing beautiful animals in the wild that always attracts humans. We usually see them in epic documentaries, and I think it’s only natural wanting to see them for ourselves in real life.

I’ve been lucky enough to see whales in Vancouver, the Azores and Costa Rica. Whether it’s killer whales or humpback whales, watching these peaceful giants leap out of the water is guaranteed to amaze you.

One of the killer whales we saw during our whale watching tour in Vancouver

One of the killer whales we saw during our whale watching tour in Vancouver

Drive around Havana in a vintage car

I absolutely loved Cuba. The combination of colourful architecture and beautiful natural landscapes, as well as friendly locals and tasty food, make it one of my favourites.

There are lots of epic places to see in Cuba, like Vinales and Trinidad, but there’s no denying that Havana is the place that will leave you with a lasting impression.

The colonial architecture and colourful vintage cars are simply something you don’t get anywhere else. Doing a vintage car tour of Havana is an experience you will be glad to have on your bucket list!

Exploring Havana in our pink vintage Chevrolet

Exploring Havana in our pink vintage Chevrolet

See the Northern Lights

The Aurora Borealis is a magical natural phenomenon. There is nothing like standing under the night sky, surrounded by snow at -20°C and all of a sudden seeing the sky light up with dancing coloured lights.

They’re a tough show to catch. We spent a week in Lapland and only saw them one night. But they made up for the whole trip and the wait during those cold night.

Admiring the Northern Lights - photo by Photo by Oren Cohen on Scopio

Admiring the Northern Lights – photo by Photo by Oren Cohen on Scopio

Ride the Trans-Siberian Express

How does the longest train journey in the world sound for an ultimate travel bucket list? The Trans-Siberian Railway Network is over 9,000km and connects Moscow with Vladivostock, in the Russian Far East.

Depending on how many places you stop to see on the way, it can take anywhere between seven days and months, with incredible views all throughout the journey.

Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia

Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia

Hike the Sentiero Azzurro in Cinque Terre

The Sentiero Azzurro in Italy is one of my favourite hikes in the world. This 12km trail connects five coastal towns (known as the Cinque Terre) and has jaw dropping views all throughout.

As you hike along the trail you will have the bright turquoise sea on one side, and the lush green cliffs on the other.

If the natural beauty isn’t enough, as you hike you will also see the cute colourful towns perched on the cliff sides.

It’s a very distinctive view and one I’ve only experienced on this hike. There’s also the added bonus that you can take pizza and gelato breaks throughout the hike!

Admiring the colourful houses of Manarola, one of the five towns along the Sentiero Azzurro in Cinque Terre, Italy

Admiring the colourful houses of Manarola, one of the five towns along the Sentiero Azzurro in Cinque Terre, Italy

Hike & see the lakes in Canada

You’ve probably figured out by now that I love a good hike.

It may not be for everyone, but I do believe being outdoors, surrounded by nature, physically challenging your body is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

Canada is amongst the best places in the world to go hiking. The absolutely stunning mountain views and natural landscapes are second to none.

I’ve only been to Vancouver and did some awesome hikes around the city, as far as Whistler, but there are many epic spots I hope to go back to one day.

Hiking in Banff and looking down at that bright turquoise lake must be a breath taking experience.

The view from the First Peak of Stawamus Chief, along the Sea to Sky Highway in Canada

The view from the First Peak of Stawamus Chief, along the Sea to Sky Highway

Watch the sunset from Ipanema Beach

I left my heart in Brazil. The beautiful landscapes, the epic beaches, the friendly locals and tasty food, Brazil has it all.

But if I had to say what was my favourite moment of my Brazil trip; I would say sitting on the rocks at the end of Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, capirinha in hand, watching the sun go down.

It’s a magical sunset over a unique and distinctive panorama. If you’re there during the Brasilian summer, the sun will dip exactly between two rocks, urging the waiting crowd to break into a spontaneous applause.

Watching the sun set from Ipanema and Arpoador

Watching the sun set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Watch the sunrise over Uluru

If I had to rate the best sunrises of my life, the sunrise I saw at Uluru is definitely amongst them.

Watching the sky turn all shades of red and orange, with the huge outline of the Uluru monolith in sharp contrast with the sky was breath taking.

Most tourists go to Uluru for the sunset, whilst at sunrise there were considerably less people around. The sun rises behind or next to Uluru depending on the time of year you’re visiting.

Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the view. It’s not something you see every day.

Sunrise at Uluru (or Ayers Rock), Australia

Sunrise at Uluru, Australia

Explore the Great Wall of China

They say that the Great Wall of China is the only human construction visible from space. Do you need any other reason for wanting to visit it? How about that it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World?

As the name suggests the Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications and a huge wall that was built to protect the Chinese empire. It’s one of the most incredible sights you will see.

Sunrise at the Great Wall of China - Photo by Jeet Khagram on Scopio - a must on any travel bucket list

Sunrise at the Great Wall of China – Photo by Jeet Khagram on Scopio

Explore Chichen Itza & Mayan ruins in Mexico

Chichen Itza is one of the most well preserved Mayan pyramids, as well one of the Seven Wonders of the World. No trip to Mexico would be complete without a trip to Chichen Itza.

Here you can marvel at the skills of the Mayans, who built such an imposing structure thousands of years ago, which lasted through the ages. You can also learn more about this lost civilisation.

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza in Mexico

Watch the sunrise at the Taj Mahal

Continuing on the Seven Wonders of the World trend, I couldn’t compile an ultimate travel bucket list without mentioning the Taj Mahal! I’ve been to India before, but only in the southern region of Kerala.

I would love to go back one day and see the beauty of the palaces and cities in the north, amongst which the Taj Mahal.

It gets incredibly busy during the day (understandably so) so if you can make it there for sunrise, you’ll be able to beat the crowds and enjoy this beauty all to yourself.

Exploring the Taj Mahal in Indian - Photo by Erika Calle on Scopio

Exploring the Taj Mahal in Indian – Photo by Erika Calle on Scopio

Go on a USA road trip

Is there a more iconic road trip destination than the US? The long straight roads, the beautiful desert landscapes, the stunning national parks and the vibrant cities, a USA road trip has it all!

So get your friends together, jump in the car (or van) and set off on an adventure! For many people road tripping around the US is seen as a rite of passage, something everyone should have on their bucket list.

Enjoying the sunshine in St Pete, Florida

Enjoying the sunshine in St Pete, Florida

See the Egyptian pyramids

I’ve been to Egypt multiple times as a child, but only to the Red Sea for snorkelling trips. I still haven’t been to Cairo to see the pyramids.

It’s one of those must-see bucket list experiences that I still have to live, and hope to do so soon.

Exploring the pyramids in Egypt - Photo by Magomed Shapiev on Scopio

Exploring the pyramids in Egypt – Photo by Magomed Shapiev on Scopio

Cruise in the Norwegian fjords

If you’re looking for a spot of incredible natural wonder, then the Norwegian fjords are the place for you. No matter how big your boat is, when you’re cruising through the steep cliffs of the fjords, it will feel tiny.

Cruising through the narrow fjords, with the steep green cliffs towering on three sides, was one of the most awesome experiences of my life. The most famous and scenic fjord is without a doubt the Geirangerfjord.

Cruising into the Geirangerfjord

Cruising into the Geirangerfjord

Cruise in Halong Bay in Vietnam

Keeping things in a cruising theme, another magical experience you have to have is cruising in Halong Bay in Vietnam.

I haven’t done this myself yet (hopefully soon!) but I’ve seen enough photos and videos of the dramatic cliffs and epic views of Halong Bay to know I want to explore it one day.

You can explore Halong Bay as a day trip or even with an overnight cruise. Waking up in the morning on a tiny boat, and looking out to see the towering mountains of Halong bay must be magical.

Exploring Halong Bay in Vietnam - Photo by Jessica May on Scopio

Exploring Halong Bay in Vietnam – Photo by Jessica May on Scopio

Watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat in Cambodia

I’ve said before the sunrise over Uluru was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Probably because I still haven’t seen the sunrise at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

This temple complex is one of the largest religious monuments in the world. It was originally built as a Hindu temple and then got transformed into a Buddhist temple.

After watching the most magical sunrise, you can spend the day exploring the temple grounds and learning about the history and culture of Cambodia.

The beautiful silhouette and reflection of Ankgor Wat at sunrise - Photo by WOO WON JEUNG on Scopio

The beautiful silhouette and reflection of Ankgor Wat at sunrise – Photo by WOO WON JEUNG on Scopio

Go skydiving!

Ever wanted to feel the thrill of jumping out of an airplane and soaring through the sky? Skydiving is a terrifying experience, but one that will get your adrenaline levels pumping.

I personally haven’t done this yet but my best friends did it in Australia and New Zealand.

The thrill is going to be the same everywhere, but make sure to pick a skydiving location with epic views, so you can admire them as you fly!

People skydiving - Photo by Rainer Puster on Scopio

People skydiving – Photo by Rainer Puster on Scopio

Go on a safari in Africa

Searching for the Big Five on a safari was a dream bucket list activity for me for years. Going on a safari in the Tsavo East National Park was a dream come true.

We woke up before sunrise, boarded our jeep and spent the day driving around the African bush. Seeing these beautiful animals in their natural habitat is thrilling to say the least.

Elephant crossing the road during our safari in the Tsavo East National Park.

Elephant crossing the road during our safari in the Tsavo East National Park.

Snorkel with turtles

I’ve had the opportunity to snorkel with turtles in Sri Lanka, in Bali and in the Philippines, and I have to say it’s just as magical every time. I marvel every time at their beauty, even if it’s something I’ve done before.

Even if they tell you it’s a famous turtle spot, there’s never any guarantee that you will actually see them.

Jumping in the sea with my snorkel, and eventually spotting one of these beautiful sea creatures swimming around undisturbed gives me a thrill every time.

Snorkelling with turtles in Moalboal in Cebu Island

Snorkelling with turtles in Moalboal in Cebu Island

Get up close to elephants (in an ethical way!)

Not only seeing elephants, but being able to get close to them, is a dream and bucket list experience for many people. Just make sure that the elephant encounter you plan is ethical, and the elephants are treated well!

In Thailand we had the opportunity to spend a whole day with three elephants. We started off by feeding the elephants, then walked in the forest with them and even bathed with them!

There are many ethical elephant sanctuaries around the world. We went to Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, and found the elephants there to be treated well.

Seeing how happy the elephants were was a genuinely heart warming experience, as well as an incredibly fun day for us. Doing an ethical elephant encounter should feature on everyone’s travel bucket list.

In also did an elephant safari in Sri Lanka. You can’t get as close to them but here the elephants are completely free and in their natural environment.

Getting close to the elephants at Elephant Green Hill in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Getting close to the elephants at Elephant Green Hill in Chiang Mai, Thailand

See the temples in Thailand

I’m not much of a history and culture person. When I travel I prefer to be outdoors and do things in nature. However for the temples in Thailand I made an exception.

Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful temples in the world. With over 40,000 temples dotted all over the country, you are guaranteed to find at least one you will love.

Some of the most famous are in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Ayutthaya and Bangkok, but there are many more spread across Thailand.

A temple hopping trip in Thailand is guaranteed to have you marvelling at their architecture and beauty.

The front of Wat Rong Suea Ten (the Blue Temple) in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The front of Wat Rong Suea Ten (the Blue Temple) in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Fly over the Grand Canyon

They don’t call it the Grand Canyon for nothing! Located in Arizona in the US, the Grand Canyon is one of the most stunning natural attractions in the world.

The Grand Canyon is almost 1,900 metres deep. With its layered bands of red rock and steep canyon walls, it’s one of the most unique landscapes you will ever see.

There are lots of beautiful viewpoints that overlook it, but if you want to tick something truly unique from your bucket list, then you should definitely fly over it in a helicopter!

It will give you a unique perspective into this natural beauty.

Exploring the Grand Canyon in the USA - Photo by Kenedy Collins-Hanlon on Scopio

Exploring the Grand Canyon in the USA – Photo by Kenedy Collins-Hanlon on Scopio

Swim in a Wadi in Oman

I spent a week in Oman and I was genuinely blown away. I didn’t expect Oman to be so beautiful and have such a variety of landscapes. My personal favourites were the wadis.

A wadi is an Arabic term that refers to a narrow channel, ravine or canyon. We visited Wadi Shab and Wadi Bani Khalid and if I had to choose one, I would struggle.

Both wadis are characterised by clear emerald water, surrounded by steep ravine cliffs. Swimming in the fresh water of the wadis, while looking up to the surrounding rocks is something I had never done before.

Exploring the Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman

Exploring the Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman

Explore the Eternal City

Visiting Rome, the Eternal City, is something everybody should do once in their life. Walking around the cobbled streets, admiring the architecture and marvelling at the Roman ruins, is something that will stay with you forever.

There are lots of beautiful spots in Rome, where you can get your fill of history and culture, as well as of tasty Italian food!

In Rome you can also visit the Colosseum, one of the Seven Wonders of the World”.

Enjoying the beauty of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Enjoying the beauty of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Get lost in London

Samuel Johnson once said; “By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show”.

While I would say there are lots of other beautiful places and things to do in the world (36 according to this bucket list!) I do agree that London is awesome.

London is an incredibly cosmopolitan city. It’s a melting pot of people, cultures and traditions from all over the world. It’s also a beautiful city from an architectural point of view.

There is nothing quite like London. Which is why I think everyone should spend at least two days in London, exploring all that this epic city has to offer.

Girl sitting along the River Thames with Tower Bridge behind her

Chilling by More London Place and enjoying the view over Tower Bridge

Discover the Lost City of Petra

Petra is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever seen. It’s a huge archaeological site in Jordan, which used to be the capital city of the Nabataeans around 300BC.

It’s known as the “Lost City” as it only became known to the western world when a Swiss explorer re-discovered it.

Walking through the narrow path of the Siq Trail, until it finally opens up and you can admire the Treasury will make you feel like you’re in an Indiana Jones movie.

Don’t just stop at the Treasury though. Petra is a 60 square kilometres site, with incredibly detailed and well-preserved facades built into the rock dotted everywhere. There are also some incredible red desert landscapes.

The first viewpoint above the Treasury of Petra, Jordan

Enjoying the view over the Treasury of Petra in Jordan

Ski in the European Alps

I may be biased when I say this, but I wholeheartedly believe that the European Alps are the best place in the world to ski.

Whether you chose to ski on the Italian, French, Swiss or Austrian side of the mountains, you’re guaranteed an epic experience.

Nowhere else in the world will you find such a high concentration of slopes for all skiing levels, as well as epic views, great food and fun après ski.

Many of the ski resorts also have passes that allow you to ski from one resort to another, sometimes you can even ski across countries!

Whether you’re an experienced skier or you’re just starting out, skiing in the Alps is an incredible adventure and a must on any Europe bucket list.

Skiing in St Anton am Alberg, Austria

Skiing in St Anton am Alberg, just look at that view!

Go island hopping in Sardinia

This is another adventure that I might be somewhat biased about, but I really believe everyone should visit Sardinia at least once in their life.

I’ve seen a lot of beaches around the world, but I still haven’t found water as clear as the one in Sardinia anywhere else.

In Sardinia you will find white soft sand beaches, rugged pink granite landscapes and incredibly clear turquoise water. You can spend your days island hopping from beach to beach, and swimming in the clear water.

It’s an experience that should feature on everyone’s travel bucket list. Trust me when I say, you won’t forget about it anytime soon.

Relaxing on the nets of the catamaran we cruised in Maddalena Archipelago with at the Cavaliere Beach

Relaxing on the nets of the catamaran we cruised in Maddalena Archipelago with at the Cavaliere Beach

Explore the Salt Flats in Bolivia

The Salt Flats of Bolivia have been at the top of my travel bucket list for a very long time now. Driving around nothing but a white desert feels to me like a unique experience, which you can’t really have anywhere else.

I’m hoping to visit Salar de Uyuni during my big South America backpacking trip. I want to go during the rainy season, when you can’t tell where the ski ends and the desert begins.

Do a zipline adventure!

One of the most thrilling adventures you have to add to your travel bucket list is zip-lining. Zipline is an activity where through wires and a pulley system you travel from the top to the bottom of the wires, pulled by gravity.

I went ziplining across the Cetina Canyon in Croatia and around canopy trees in Costa Rica, and both times were extremely exciting, even if different. One was more scenic, whilst the other was close up to rainforest trees.

Soaring high over the ground, admiring the view is a thrilling experience, which every adventure fan will love.

Zip-lining over the Cetina Canyon

Zip-lining over the Cetina Canyon

Final thoughts on my epic travel bucket list

Are there any experiences on your travel bucket list that I haven’t mentioned here? Let me know in the comments below!

I’m always searching for more travel inspiration, and would love to hear about your own travel dreams!

This travel bucket list is based on my own experiences. It’s a compilation of awesome adventures I’ve been lucky enough to live, as well as others I haven’t yet but hope to do so soon.

I hope you find it useful in building your own travel bucket list and keeping that wanderlust alive!

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