25 bucket list destinations you absolutely MUST visit

I recently celebrated my birthday. I hit the magical 25, and except for a mild quarter life crisis (what am I doing with my life?!) I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to think about 25 destinations I’ve put on my bucket list. In case you’re looking for a present for my 26th birthday I just wanted to casually mention flight tickets to the destinations below ;-) Sit back and enjoy the shameless travel inspiration with these bucket list destinations. What’s on your bucket list?


1. Safari

One of my biggest travel goals is to experience a safari. I love animals and I think it would be amazing to see them in real life in their actual habitat, while riding a jeep trough the rough African landscape.


2. Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a little kid. Whenever my teacher spoke about it during geography or history classes I always dreamt that one day I would be able to travel as far as China.


3. India

India has been on the top of my wish list for years, but then again, you wouldn’t go here for just a quick week trip. I mean: if I go, I would want to go for at least three weeks and really explore a part of the country. On top of that it’s extremely hot, there’s a lot of poverty and it’s not really known to be female-friendly, so for me it’s quite an intimidating destination. But those temples… that food… wow.


4. Zanzibar

Not only this is where Freddy Mercury was born (quite important, right?) but I often see pictures of white beaches and bright blue waters. It sounds amazing to relax at the beach for a week and combine it with a week of safari in Tanzania.


5. Rio de Janeiro

After a summer full of beautiful sports imagery from Rio de Janeiro I would really like to go to Brazil. What an amazing country that seems to be! I would love to enjoy the view at the Christ the Redeemer statue on the mountain in Rio.


6. Machu Picchu

For years I’ve been wanting to visit Machu Picchu, but hiking all the way to the top: I’m not so sure. Maybe I’ll just catch the train. Doesn’t matter for enjoying the view, right?


7. Mexico

During my history classes Mexico was always one of my favorite subjects, with the fascinating Maya culture and temples. Add to that the beautiful coastline and the delicious food and you’ll want to visit Mexico straight away! ;-)


8. Southern road trip US

I’ve visited the United States four times by now, both the east- and west coast, but I’ve never been somewhere in between. Such a shame, I would love to see it!


9. Cruise to St. Petersburg & Moscow

I want to visit Russia so bad, but if I think of all the administrative work I have to go through for a Russian visa (a medical certificate, a travel itinerary, your firstborn child) I’d rather go back to bed and hide underneath the blankets. Nevertheless I would love to see the beautiful orthodox architecture – and the fascinating stories about Russian tsars still have a hold on me.


10. Iceland

I have no idea why I still haven’t visited Iceland with all these ridiculously cheap flights happening all the time. I think it’s a matter of not knowing what to choose: should I go in summer when there’s more daylight and better temperatures, or in winter when everything’s so beautifully white and frozen? Or both? #whynot


11. A tropical island

See number 4. As a teenager I always had a screensaver of a tropical island, with a beautiful white beach and bright blue waters. However, I always thought that this was only meant for very rich people, but luckily that’s not the case anymore. I’m thinking of going to Palawan, or maybe the Maldives?


12. Egyptian pyramids

The only time I visited Egypt was when I did an all-inclusive trip to Hurghada. It’s still one of my favorite memories, because it’s where my fascination to visit non-western cultures started. Next to Hurghada, a visit to the Sahara desert and a snorkeling trip, we also visited Luxor where I saw a lot of ancient architecture. Unfortunately I haven’t visited Cairo yet, something I would really love to do.


13. Japan

Japan is all the way on the top of my wish list. Just thinking of wandering along the cherry blossom trees, eating sushi in a deserted alleyway, or bathing with monkeys up north makes me extremely happy. And then I haven’t even mentioned the fact that it seems like Japan has an island for every type of animal (cat island, deer island, rabbit island)… Someone book me a ticket!


14. Petra, Jordan

Just in case you didn’t notice: I’m kind of a history nerd. History was my favorite subject in high school. I couldn’t get enough of all the fascinating stories, cultures and people. For that reason Petra in Jordan is a real bucket list location. I love the Middle East a lot anyway, so I would love to go.


15. South-Africa

From buzzing Cape Town to the wild nature in Kruger Park, the beautiful coastline and the wonderful wineries: there’s hardly anything I don’t like about South-Africa. The only problem is time: I could easily entertain myself for three weeks, but where do I find the time?!


16. Marrakesh

I’ve been secretly dreaming about escaping to Marrakesh for a while, just wandering through the city like ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, lost in thought in a fairytale world. Ever since my first visit to Morocco I’ve been only wanting more!


17. Vietnam

Overlooking the rice fields, or catching a boat through Halong Bay… I love to lie in bed and dream about it. And of course I’d love to try the Vietnamese kitchen!


18. Australia

It took a while before the dream of traveling Australia kicked in, but it’s finally here in all its glory. I would love to drive from Melbourne up the east coast – with a detour to Uluru obviously.


19. Learning how to surf

I’ve made two efforts previously, both in California. I really enjoyed the first time, but the second time I was mostly saving myself from drowning constantly. I think the circumstances just weren’t good the second time. Nevertheless I would still love to learn how to surf, I think it’s a cool challenge! But where? Portugal? Bali? I think I should skip Hawaii for now ;-)


20. Spanish language course in Spain

I recently started to learn Spanish with the Duolingo app. But hey, although it works fine just from my hometown Utrecht, wouldn’t it be much more fun to learn Spanish in a lovely Spanish city? Spanish lessons in the morning, exploring the city in the afternoon and eating delicious tapas in the evening. Sign me up!


21. Cuddling with elephants in Sri Lanka

I really love animals, and I can get really upset when tourists choose to ride an elephant. I’d rather cuddle them and take care of them in an sanctuary in Sri Lanka. What a magical experience it would be to see such a creature from up close!


22. Spotting gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda

Another animal experience. I would love to spot gorillas in their natural habitat. The pure strength that animal has: I think it’s really scary, but therefore extremely fascinating.


23. Moving to the USA for a while

As you might know I’ve already lived in London for a while, but there’s a lot more destinations on my list where I would like to live. For instance both LA and NYC are quite high on the list. I think NYC would suit me well since there’s always something to do, but it’s still quite focused on work, whereas LA is quite the opposite: a lot more relaxed. Unfortunately it’s quite hard to arrange a visa for a longer stay, unlike London where I could just plop down without any notice.


24. Cross off all European countries

I’ve crossed off quite a few countries by now, but to be honest there’s still a long way to go. Especially in Eastern Europe I’ve missed out on quite a few, as well as in Scandinavia. In October I’m going to visit Poland, so I can cross off another one, and next year I am going to Finland and Estonia.


25. Traveling without a goal, plan or deadline

One of the few things I really hate about traveling is that it always ends :’) There’s always a reason to return back home, and I would love to buy a one way ticket without any idea when you will return or where you will go exactly. The ultimate freedom!

Those are my ultimate bucket list destinations – what are yours?

If you're looking for any travel inspirations, I've got your covered. To celebrate my 25th birthday I've put together a list of 25 bucket list destinations!.


  1. Rachel

    So many great ideas! I’m constantly living in a state of wanderlust :)


  2. Elena


    The visa application for Russian visa is not as hard as it might seem. If you apply for a tourist visa (and I assume that would be the case), all you need to submit in addition to an online application form is your passport, photo, and visa support documents (which can be easily purchased online for around 15-20eur or requested from a hotel should you choose to stay at a hotel), and a prove that you have enough funds for the trip.
    No medical requirements are out there for tourist stays, only for long-term migration arrangements. Itinerary is rarely required for trips over 2 weeks.

    Hope it helps :)


    1. Explorista

      That’s a great addition, thank you! Might have to really look into it now then :-)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *