The world’s most popular travel bucket list experiences

Many items on the average person’s bucket list are travel related. Whether it’s flying across the world to an exotic location or soaking up history in a European city, there are so many different destinations, attractions and experiences to satisfy even the deepest wanderlust.


With travel now back to normal for many countries after a few years with restrictions in place, there’s more opportunity to get back out there to explore and tick off things from your bucket list, whether that be travelling far away or keeping things closer to home.

To reveal the most popular travel bucket list items, we looked at global search volumes for over 115 travel bucket list items, including visiting all 50 US states, experiencing an African safari, trekking Mount Everest, and unwinding and soaking up the sun in tropical destinations including Bora Bora and the Maldives.

We’ve revealed the world’s top travel bucket list items below.

The Most Popular Travel Bucket List Experiences 

Visiting the Maldives topped the list as the most popular bucket experience overall, with 121 countries searching for this experience the most. Whether it’s wanting to visit with a partner and have a honeymoon to remember, or travelling with friends to have a relaxing break in paradise, there are plenty of ways travellers can enjoy the Maldives. With gorgeous white sandy beaches, tropical blue waters and dreamy sunsets, it’s easy to see why so many people want to experience this the most in their lifetime. 

Getting splashed at Niagara Falls takes second place; the group of waterfalls border Canada and the State of New York in the USA, offering a breath-taking sight many dream of visiting. Travellers can experience the vast waterscape up close, with boat trips taking passengers to the base of the waterfall, providing a truly immersive experience. 

One for art lovers, a trip to the Louvre to see the iconic Mona Lisa is the third most searched bucket list item, with people from all around the world hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous painting for themselves. The painting by Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most instantly recognisable pieces of art in the world, drawing in countless visitors each year. 

Ranking in fourth and fifth respectively is visiting Bora Bora and climbing the Statue of Liberty. These are quite different experiences, with South Pacific Island Bora Bora offering travellers a serene sanctuary to unwind and relax as they enjoy the bright white sandy beaches and laid-back island lifestyle. This topped the list as the most searched bucket list experience for Hungary, the Maldives and Aruba. Climbing New York’s iconic Statue of Liberty rounds off the top five and was the most searched bucket list ambition in Peru and Colombia. Visitors can climb to the very top, which affords incredible views of the Manhattan skyline – although it takes a staggering 350 steps to reach the tallest point, so comfortable shoes are a must. 

The UK is home to two of the top 20; visiting Stonehenge and Big Ben both take 7th and 14th place. Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, is a protected site attracting thousands of visitors each year who want to see the historic monument for themselves. Over in the country’s capital, Big Ben, located alongside the river Thames, is one of the must-see sights for tourists visiting the city. 

The Top 20 Most Popular Travel Bucket List Experiences

Rank

Experience

Country

1

Visit the Maldives

Maldives

2

Get splashed at Niagara Falls

Canada & the USA

3

See the Mona Lisa

France

4

Visit Bora Bora

French Polynesia

5

Climb the Statue of Liberty

USA

6

See the Northern Lights

Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland & Finland

7

Visit Stonehenge 

UK

8

Visit the Taj Mahal

India

9

See Times Square

USA

10

See the Burj Khalifa in Dubai 

UAE

11

Visit Pompeii

Italy

12

Visit Sagrada Familia in Barcelona 

Spain

13

Visit Cinque Terre

Italy

14

Visit Big Ben

UK

15

Walk to Chichén Itzá

Mexico

16

Trek through the Himalayas

Bhutan, India, Nepal, China & Pakistan

17

Visit Alcatraz

USA

18

Visit the White House

USA

19

Float on the Dead Sea

Israel & Jordan

20

Admire the views at Yosemite 

USA


Europe’s Top Travel Bucket List Experiences 

Following global trends, Europeans were also searching to visit the Maldives, featuring at the top of 28 countries’ bucket lists, including Austria, Italy and Norway. Although Europe plays host to many beautiful beaches, Europeans appear to be yearning for more exotic shores, travelling much further to experience a Maldives slice of paradise. The second most popular travel bucket list item for those in Europe was to visit Cinque Terre, a string of old colourful seaside towns along the Riviera coastline. The eye-catching houses nestled along the coast are certainly a sight to behold and bring lots of tourists to Europe each year. Seeing the Mona Lisa rounds off the top three in Europe, with art fans hoping to admire the brushstrokes and beauty of Da Vinci’s masterpiece in person.

The UK’s Top Travel Bucket List Experiences 

  1. Visit the Maldives 
  2. Visit Bora Bora
  3. See the Mona Lisa 
  4. See the Northern Lights 
  5. Visit the Taj Mahal 

Like 120 other countries, the UK’s top bucket list item was visiting the Maldives, with Brits hoping to jet away and enjoy days basking in the sunshine, cooling off in gorgeous blue waters and enjoying sunset drinks. Following in second place is visiting Bora Bora, another incredibly beautiful destination where travellers can enjoy a few days in a state of relaxation as they unwind in paradise. In third place was seeing the Mona Lisa, with art lovers wanting to see this masterpiece in real life. Rounding up the top five was seeing the Northern Lights and visiting the Taj Mahal. Whilst the Northern Lights can be seen from a handful of countries, a lot of travellers head to Iceland or Sweden to see the impressive ethereal display light up the night sky.

Topping the list for 30 states including Colorado, Nevada, Texas and Utah, a visit to Mount Rushmore ranks as the top bucket list destination for Americans. The impressive sculpture of four U.S presidents is carved into Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills region of South Dakota and attracts swarms of visitors each year. 

Following behind in second is the Kentucky Derby, with nine states including Delaware, New Hampshire and Vermont wanting to experience this the most. Usually held on the first Saturday in May each year, the horse race is known for being the fastest two minutes in sports and is the first leg of the American Triple Crown; the perfect experience for a thrilling weekend away. 

Visiting Yosemite features as the top item for five states, securing its place as one of the top bucket list experiences in the US. Nestled within California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, the national park is home to the iconic Bridaveil fall and granite cliffs of El Capital and Half Dome, framed by immense and ancient sequoia trees. 

Four US states had the exotic Maldives location as the top of their bucket lists. With crystal blue waters and gorgeous sandy beaches, the idyllic island location is drawing the eye of adventurous Americans looking to explore outside of their home country. 

The United States of America’s Top 5 Most Popular Travel Bucket List Experiences 

  1. Visit Mount Rushmore 
  2. Visit the Kentucky Derby
  3. Visit Yosemite
  4. Visit the Maldives
  5. Visit the Museum of Modern Art
  6.  Visit the Las Vegas Strip

Asia’s Most Popular Travel Bucket List Experiences 

Visiting the Maldives also topped the list amongst Asian countries, with residents hoping to make it across to the beautiful islands one day. In second place was visiting the Burj Khalifa, the famous skyscraper found in Dubai. Known for being the world’s tallest building, it’s certainly a bucket list must see for those hoping to visit the UAE. Visiting Bora Bora was the third most popular travel bucket list item, followed by seeing Times Square in New York City. 

Africa’s Most Popular Travel Bucket List Experiences 

The Maldives was once again the most popular travel bucket list item for people living in the African continent, with an impressive 45 countries searching for it the most. In second place was the Burj Khalifa, with five countries searching for visiting Dubai’s skyscraper the most. Rounding off the top three is seeing the Mona Lisa, with three countries searching for a visit to this impressive piece of art in person.

Oceania’s Most Popular Travel Bucket List Experiences 

13 countries in Oceania have a visit to the Maldives at the top of their list, followed by a trip to Bora Bora where travellers can soak up the sun whilst exploring small but beautiful islands and then catch incredible sunsets overlooking the ocean at the end of the day. In third place was climbing the Statue of Liberty, with residents in Guam hoping to take a trip to New York City to experience this iconic attraction and the views over Manhattan. 

South America’s Most Popular Travel Bucket List Experiences 

At the top of South America’s bucket list is visiting the Maldives with the tropical destination sitting at the top of six countries' travel bucket lists, including Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Visiting Bora Bora, climbing the Statue of Liberty and seeing the Mona Lisa all ranked in second place for this continent, making them popular choices for travellers looking to explore different attractions. 

North America’s Most Popular Travel Bucket List Experiences 

The Maldives reigned supreme once again as the most popular travel bucket list experience with 20 countries, including Canada, Jamaica, Barbados and the United States hoping to one day visit the beautiful islands. In second place was seeing the Mona Lisa, with travellers looking to take a trip across to Europe to see the incredible piece of art with their own eyes, and no doubt hoping to enjoy more of what Paris has to offer. 

Methodology 

Google search demand for various 119 bucket list items were analysed in 219 countries across the world to ascertain the top bucket list items for each nation. As this is a travel bucket list, bucket list items within the local country were excluded. In the US, American bucket list items were included, but ones local to each state were excluded.

Inspired?


If these popular bucket list experiences have left you inspired to create your own list, perhaps including a trip to the Maldives, a European city-break or a road trip exploring the gorgeous scenery of the Italian coastline, we hope this list has awoken your wanderlust.


All data correct as of March 2023. 

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