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25 bucket list destinations: must-see places to visit in your lifetime

views of Antartica

Planning your bucket list? We’ve rounded up 25 places around the world not to be missed, to help give you some travel inspiration.

This list includes the seven wonders of the world, as well as some truly unique places. Whether you’re visiting to see the sights, or to tick historical landmarks off your list, we’ve got you covered.

1. Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

Why it’s a must-see: The only Ancient Wonder of the World still standing

Constructed between 2584 and 2561 BCE for the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, the Great Pyramid at Giza is the only one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World still standing today.

For nearly 4,000 years it was the tallest man-made structure on the planet, and today the perfect symmetry of its construction continues to amaze visitors from around the world.

2. Angel Falls, Venezuela

Why it’s a must-see: tallest waterfall in the world

Plunging from a height of 979m, Angel Falls in Venezuela’s Guiana Highlands is the tallest uninterrupted waterfall on earth.

These impressive falls crash over the side of the table-topped Auyán-tepui mountain in the Canaima National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

3. Great Wall of China, China

Why it’s a must-see: one of the New Seven Wonders of the World

Built between the 7th Century BCE and 1878, the Great Wall of China remains the longest wall in the world, at a staggering 21,196km long. This iconic structure is a must-see for any travel lover!

4. The Ghan, Australia

Why it’s a must-see: longest train journey in the world

Running between the cities of Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin, The Ghan is the longest passenger train journey in the world. It can take 54 hours to travel the full distance of 2,979km. The railway traverses the continent from north to south, passing through the heart of the iconic Australian outback.

5. Sahara, North Africa

Why it’s a must-see: largest desert in the world

Covering most of the northern third of the African continent, the Sahara is the largest desert in the world. Watching the sun rise or set over the rolling sand dunes makes for an unforgettable travel experience.

6. Colosseum, Italy

Why it’s a must-see: one of the New Seven Wonders of the World

Built between 72 and 80AD, the Colosseum in Rome is the largest amphitheatre in the world. The enormous and ancient structure is truly a marvel, with capacity to host around 80,000 spectators.

7. Burj Khalifa, UAE

Why it’s a must-see: tallest building in the world

At a staggering height of 828m, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai has been the tallest building and tallest structure in the world since it was built in 2010. It’s almost 200m taller than the next contender, Shanghai Tower, with 163 floors, and stands as a shining example of Dubai’s fascinating architectural scene.

city lights in dubai

8. Aurora Borealis, Arctic Circle

Why it’s a must-see: a unique natural light show

An aurora is a stunning natural light show caused by collisions between particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. These can only be seen around the Earth’s magnetic poles.

Although there is an aurora in the South Pole, the Aurora Borealis, better known as the Northern Lights, in the northern Arctic Circle is much easier to visit, making it the more popular with travellers.

9. Amazon Rainforest, South America

Why it’s a must-see: largest rainforest in the world

Spanning nine countries, the Amazon is the largest rainforest on the planet. It’s also one of the most biodiverse places on earth, home to 10% of all known species. It’s this abundance of wildlife that makes the Amazon a true bucket list destination, especially for nature lovers.

10. Chichen Itza, Mexico

Why it’s a must-see: one of the New Seven Wonders of the World

Famed for its incredible historical value, Chichen Itza is a pre-Columbian city built in Mexico’s Yucatán region by the Maya people. Once a major Mayan city, the site is a fascinating area to explore, with several important examples of ancient archaeological styles.

11. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Why it’s a must-see: world’s largest coral reef system

Off the coast of Queensland, Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest and longest coral reef system in the world. It’s made up of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands, and stretches some 2,300km – and is so large that it’s visible from space. Easy to see why it was named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

12. Fjords, Norway

Why it’s a must-see: two of the longest fjords in the world

The Norwegian Fjords often appear on travel bucket lists, but what makes them so special? Formed by giant glacier tongues over several ice ages, fjords are sea-drains that are longer than they are wide. Two of the longest fjords in the world can be found in Western Norway and offer a stunning landscape for cruising, with mountains towering on either side.

13. Taj Mahal, India

Why it’s a must-see: one of the New Seven Wonders of the World

Well known around the world for its romantic story and stunning beauty, the Taj Mahal in the Indian city of Agra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It was built in 1632 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz, as a testament to his love for her.

sunrise over the taj mahal

14. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Why it’s a must-see: largest religious monument in the world

Built for King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is an iconic site in Cambodia and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. It’s also the largest religious monument in the world, on a site measuring 162.6 hectares. The expansive site offers incredible insight into the culture and history of the region.

15. Tokyo, Japan

Why it’s a must-see: largest city in the world

With a metropolitan area population of over 38 million, Tokyo is the largest city in the world. A visit to Japan’s sprawling capital offers an incredible insight into a unique and fascinating culture of the country.

16. Machu Picchu, Peru

Why it’s a must-see: one of the New Seven Wonders of the World

Another of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes is an ancient Inca city renowned for its sophisticated architecture and astronomical alignments. An icon of the Inca civilisation, and one of the most popular attractions in all of South America, this archaeological site is certainly a must-visit destination!

17. St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

Why it’s a must-see: largest church in the world

The Vatican City is a bucket list destination for many reasons. This is the smallest country in the world, measuring just 0.2 square miles, yet it’s home to the largest church in the world! St. Peter’s Basilica covers an area of 21,095m², with space for an impressive 60,000 people

18. Himalayas, Nepal

Why it’s a must-see: home of the tallest mountain in the world

At a staggering 8,848m, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world (above sea level) and is definitely one not to be missed. In fact, the Nepalese Himalayas are home to eight out of ten of the highest peaks in the world, so there’s no shortage of incredible mountainscapes to discover.

19. Christ the Redeemer, Brazil

Why it’s a must-see: one of the New Seven Wonders of the World

Towering over the city of Rio de Janeiro, the art deco statue of Christ the Redeemer has become something of an icon for Brazil. Although it’s not the tallest statue of Jesus in the world, the statue is impressively tall (38 metres!), and it’s easy to see why it makes the list of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

aerial view of Rio de Janeiro

20. African Safari, Africa

Why it’s a must-see: only place to see the Big Five

Seeing the ‘Big Five’ in the wild is a big bucket list tick for many travellers. Lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino are all icons of African wildlife. There are several countries where all five can be seen, and a safari experience in any is something all travel lovers should try to do at least once.

21. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Why it’s a must-see: home of modern ecology

The Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador often top travel bucket lists, and with good reason. The abundant wildlife and sheer beauty of these pristine islands is an enormous draw. What makes them so special is the geographic isolation, which allowed the flora and fauna of the Galapagos to develop in a unique way. These islands are home to species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world, so visiting is a truly unique experience.

22. New York City, USA

Why it’s a must-see: most filmed city in the world

There’s a reason New York is one of the most iconic and instantly recognisable cities in the world. It’s a true movie star of a city, home to four out of five of the most frequently used movie locations.

Central Park tops the list, officially the most popular set location in the film and TV world, while Greenwich Village, Coney Island, Times Square and several others appear in the top ten. Perhaps NYC is a bucket-list tick for so many because it features in one of their favourite films!

23. Petra, Jordan

Why it’s a must-see: one of the New Seven Wonders of the World

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the ‘Rose City’ of Petra is an iconic site in Jordan’s southwestern desert and a jaw-dropping tourist attraction.

Al Khazneh in Petra, Jordan

24. Göbekli Tepe, Turkey

Why it’s a must-see: oldest temple in the world

The ruins of Göbekli Tepe in south-eastern Turkey are the oldest temple on the planet. The numerous circles of standing stones that dot the site are thought to be some 11,000 years old, and in fact may have been the world’s first temple!

25. Antarctica

Why it’s a must-see: only uninhabited continent in the world

Antarctica is one of the most remote destinations on the planet. An otherworldly landscape of towering glaciers and creaking icebergs, this is a bucket list destination for the adventurous at heart

Not only is Antarctica the only uninhabited continent, it’s never had an indigenous population, and there’s no evidence to suggest anyone set foot there before the last few centuries. This is great news for the wildlife, especially the local penguin populations, and the abundance of fauna offers another great reason to visit this unique landscape.

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