The Ultimate Travel A to Z Bucket List: 26 Places & Experiences You Won’t Want to Miss

The world is full of countless wonders. You could fill your calendar end to end with travel plans and not even scratch the surface. But how do you get out of the dreaming stages and actually get around to the doing part? Simple, with an A to Z bucket list that covers the gamut of gorgeous sites and unforgettable experiences. If you want to start traversing the world, laying eyes on astounding wonders, and experiencing life-changing firsts, then it’s time to start making your travel plans.

From lively festivals in far-flung countries to thrilling adventures in mystical lands, here are 26 places and experiences to complete your ultimate A to Z bucket list.

Table of Contents

A – Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar

A to Z Bucket List - Avenue of the Baobabs

Madagascar is a land of dancing lemurs and shifty penguins, according to the movies anyway. You won’t find any penguins here, or dancing lemurs for that matter, but what does await will take your breath away. One hundred and fifty-foot tall baobab trees line the Avenue of the Baobabs, a national monument in Madagascar. 

These renalas, or mothers of the forest, are thousands of years old, with a unique appearance that has inspired interesting local myths. Those myths extend to another strange sight only seen in Madagascar: the ​​baobab amoureux. These two baobab trees twine together like lovers in a sweet embrace.

Wander amount these ancient trees, glimpse the root-like tops set ablaze by the sunset, and you’ll undoubtedly feel as though you’ve left the world behind for a more magical setting.

B – Bryce Canyon National Park

A to Z Bucket List - Bryce Canyon hoodoos

Snow, Mormons, and Butch Cassidy—all classic Utah. But something else defines and distinguishes Utah among its peers: national parks. Utah has more national parks than all but two other states, and Bryce Canyon National Park stands out as a must-see. 

Gorgeous trails, the largest collection of hoodoos in the world, and the darkest night sky in the US set Bryce Canyon apart. On moonless nights, you can see over 7,000 stars and catch glimpses of the Milky Way.

If that wasn’t enough, riding on horseback through the trails or taking to the skies in a hot air balloon above will elevate this summer bucket list item to the next level.

C – Camping in New Zealand

A to Z Bucket List - scenic view of lake with mountains in background in New Zealand

What’s more exciting and bucket list-worthy than camping in the magical land of Middle Earth? 

New Zealand is a dream destination for many reasons, but mark it on your summer bucket list for the outdoor adventures awaiting at every bend and turn in the road. Visit the heart of the north island at Taranaki, gaze upon stunning turquoise waters in Hokitika Gorge, or trek to Mackenzie Country for open space and stargazing. 

On top of breathtaking campsites, New Zealand’s freedom camping system makes it easy to camp anywhere. As long as it’s not restricted land, you can pull over and enjoy the views free of charge.

D – Disney Resort in Japan

A to Z Bucket List - shot of the Disneyland logo in Tokyo

The magic of Disneyland is even more magical five thousand miles across the sea in Tokyo Disney Resort, which includes Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. 

While it shares a name with the California park, you’ll find unique experiences in Tokyo, with one-of-a-kind rides like Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage. In addition, Tokyo Disneyland has all sorts of tasty treats. Where else can you snack on popcorn flavored with curry, soy sauce, or chocolate? 

Commemorate this experience on your A to Z bucket list with popcorn buckets, Duffy bears, Tomica cars, Disney-themed chopsticks, and much more.

E – Egyptian Pyramids

A to Z Bucket List - shot of the three Pyramids of Giza

The pyramids of Giza are over 4,000 years old and are the only surviving structure among the Seven Wonders of the World. So, it’s no mystery how it earned the status of a Unesco World Heritage Site.

These giant behemoths measure over 480 feet tall. If standing in their shadow doesn’t impress upon you the enormity of their size, this tidbit might do the trick: the pyramids are large enough to view from space. 

For the best views of these ancient wonders on earth, try a camel ride across the Giza plateau or set up by the Great Sphinx—the platform here is also an excellent spot to nab a picture “kissing” the Sphinx.

The pyramids may have been built as tombs for the dead, but their size and grandeur assured the living would admire them for years to come.

F – Fjords In Norway

A to Z Bucket List - Geiranger fjord in Norway

The most stunning views in the world are often a combination of beautiful sights. In Norway’s fjords, towering cliffs part for narrow inlets of glistening blue water to form some of the most beautiful and unspoiled natural wonders. 

Geirangerfjord is one of the most impressive fjords in the world, worthy of a place on any A to Z bucket list. Grand, snow-capped cliffs? Check. Stunning blue waters? Check. Cascading falls surrounded by lush vegetation? Check and check. 

But, there’s no better place to start your exploration of Norway’s wonders than the heart of the fjords: Bergen. The city sits nestled between the king and queen of the fjords, Sognefjord and Hardangerfjord, and is the perfect location to dive headfirst—figuratively anyway—into the fjords of Norway. 

G – German Oktoberfest

A to Z Bucket List - Oktoberfest cookies in the shape of a heart

This two-week-long festival is the biggest Volksfest in the world, celebrating Bavarian culture and beer. Lots and lots of beer. This giant fest originally started in 1810 as a celebration of the marriage of Bavarian Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. In the years since, it hasn’t changed much. 

The days of drinking, tasty food, and fun games are mostly the same. Just swap out the wedding bells for parties and parades. You’ll still find plenty of traditional dress, with festival-goers adorned in Bavarian lederhosen and dirndl.

When it comes to fun bucket list items, Oktoberfest is the kind of party you need to mark down on your A to Z bucket list.

H – Hiking in Nepal

A to Z Bucket List - view of mountain village in the Himalayas, Nepal

Nepal is a land of beauty and serenity. Snow-capped peaks pierce the heavens, monasteries decorate the mountainside, and quaint villages dot the landscape. In short, it’s a hiker’s dream destination, with easy access to the famed Himilayas. You don’t have to be an advanced mountaineer to scale the Himalayas, though maybe leave dangerous trails like the Kanchenjunga Trek to the experts.

That still leaves plenty of scenic and challenging trails for the less diehard explorers. Teahouse treks are incredibly popular in Nepal, so after a long day of hiking along the beautiful trails, you can look forward to warming your fingers and toes by the fire and digging into a home-cooked meal. Take in the stunning panoramas from Poon Hill on a fairly easy trek, or dive into Tibetan culture and Himilayan views in Upper Mustang.

I – Israel’s Dead Sea

A to Z Bucket List - view of the Dead Sea from Israel

If you’ve ever gotten a mouthful of water in the ocean and gagged tasting all that salt, you’ll want to keep your lips firmly sealed in Israel’s Dead Sea. Its salinity sits at thirty-four percent, nearly ten times that of the ocean, making its Hebrew name, which translates to Sea of Salt, pretty accurate. Of course, knowing that nothing but bacteria, and the occasional human floating on the outskirts, can live in the saline waters makes the name Dead Sea spot on too.

While you can find saltier places, the Dead Sea is by far the most famous among them. Here, you can float in the lowest point on earth. With some acrobatics, you may even score a picture of you reading the newspaper—just a day in the life of an intrepid traveler. 

J – Jamaica’s Reggae Sumfest

A to Z Bucket List - view of Montego Bay in Jamaica

You don’t typically need a reason to visit Montego Bay in Jamaica. The white sands and crystal-clear waters are usually more than enough to lure in crowds from all over. But the Reggae Sumfest that takes place in mid-July is the perfect addition to your summer bucket list. 

The largest music festival in the Caribbean kicks off with a beach party followed by four nights of themed parties before the main event: two nights of live music at ​​the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex. For a taste of local Jamaican culture, wild parties, and music from dusk to dawn, the Reggae Sumfest guarantees a fun summer vacation.

K – Kissing the Blarney Stone, Ireland

A to Z Bucket List - landscape view of Blarney Castle

Have a public speaking event coming up? It may be time for a trip across the pond to Ireland for some afternoon tea and kissing.

Hundreds of thousands of travelers descend upon the town of Cork in Ireland every year to pucker up and kiss the Blarney Stone, a block of limestone built into Blarney Castle. Now you may wonder, why would people travel thousands of miles to lock lips with a slab of rock? As the locals say, for the gift of the gab. Legend says those who kiss the Blarney Stone are gifted with masterful oratory skills, perfect for nailing that thesis presentation or epic speech. Hey, it worked for Winston Churchill

L – Lake Bled, Slovenia

A to Z Bucket List - island with bell tower in the middle of serene Lake Bled

Lake Bled is surrounded by enchantment and charm, from stories of vengeful fairies to wish-granting church bells. As the only natural island in Slovenia, there is some mystery as to how it came to be. The only way to get to the island is via boat ride, on a traditional pletna. Once there, scale the 99 steps to the top of the church and try to earn a wish from the wishing bell. Or travel to the castle’s cellar for a unique wine-tasting experience. 

Lake Bled may be a popular summer spot, but you’ll find fun things to do in every season. So, don’t tie yourself down by adding this as a summer bucket list item. This could easily be a winter retreat you’ll remember for years.

M – Marble Caves, Chile

A to Z Bucket List - photo inside the Marble Caves of turquoise-colored cave walls and rippling water

Also called the Marble Cathedral, this cave system is one of ethereal beauty. Though the cave is full of fascinating shapes and tunnels, the real star is the kaleidoscope of colors that looks like a magic trick happening right before your eyes. 

The cave walls change color with the seasons. Because water levels shift throughout the year, anytime you decide to visit will offer a unique experience. 

The Marble Caves can only be seen by boat—the waters are a bit too frigid for a swim—and it feels like sailing through a magical world. When the light hits just right, the caves shine with a rainbow of colors.

N – Namib-Naukluft National Park

A to Z Bucket List - view of the Sossusvlei salt pan in Namib-Naukluft National Park with red dunes in the distance

If you’re looking for excellent bucket list ideas, look no further than the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Located in Namibia, this park is famous for several reasons:

  1. It’s the largest park in Africa.
  2. It’s home to the oldest desert in the world.
  3. It features unique colored sand dunes.

Plenty more reasons exist, but these three alone make the park a great addition to any bucket list. The Sossusvlei salt pan is a popular place to see the massive red dunes, but travel closer to the shore, and you’ll find wetlands, lagoons, and mudflats that become a bird watcher’s paradise. 

O – Onsen Towns, Japan

A to Z Bucket List - Kusatsu hot spring and onsen town

Everyone loves a well-rounded bucket list, and for creative A to Z bucket list ideas, Japan offers up some strong contenders. A unique experience you won’t find anywhere else is visiting an onsen town.

Onsens are natural hot springs caused by volcanic activity. Inevitably, traditional inns (ryokan) and resorts crop up around these springs, creating onsen towns. Japan has over 2,000 onsens dotting the country, from northern Hokkaido to southern Kyushu. 

One of the most famous hot springs in the country is in Beppu, where you can add another strange experience to your bucket list: burying yourself in a volcanic sand bath. But sand baths or not, onsen towns offer a unique method of pampering and a one-of-a-kind experience.

P – Pamukkale Thermal Pools, Turkey

A to Z Bucket List - view from the Pamukkale pool terraces

In a country full of wonders, both man-made and natural, the Pamukkale Thermal Pools in western Turkey stand out. That’s quite an impressive feat against the Hagia Sophia’s stature and the enchantment of the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia. But stand out, they do. 

Over 100 meters high, the white terraces are visible from the next town over and gleam in the light. Their color and shape inspired their Turkish name, Pamukkale, meaning cotton castle. From certain angles, the white mineral baths indeed resemble their namesake or even fluffy, exaggerated clouds. Whatever their shape calls to mind, this unique place is worthy of its spot amongst the A to Z bucket list elite, with seventeen pools, gorgeous turquoise waters, and an ancient city, Hieropolis, tucked away at its crown. 

Q – Queensland’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

A to Z Bucket List - view of koala in a tree at the Queensland's Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

You may have heard not to pet the wildlife in Australia. Considering the deadly critters that call it home, we recommend taking that advice to heart. However, there is one native critter you can safely cuddle up to, and all it requires is a visit to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Queensland. 

Queensland is one of only four states in Australia where you can find koalas naturally living in the wild, and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the oldest and largest sanctuary for these adorable marsupials. So if you’ve ever wanted to feed a kangaroo, watch a peregrine falcon in action, or snuggle with a fuzzy koala, you can cross all of these experiences and more off your bucket list at once and bring home some pretty incredible memories. 

R – Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park

A to Z Bucket List - baby gorilla clinging to tree at Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park

Travel to the heart of Africa in the unassuming country of Rwanda, and you’ll find towering volcanoes, misty mountains, and thick, verdant jungles. The park is named after the dormant volcanoes making up the Virunga Massif, but surprisingly, the impressive volcanoes are not the main attraction. Instead, that honor lies with the park’s mountain gorillas. 

Only around 1,000 mountain gorillas exist in the world, and Rwanda is one of only three places you can find them. As one of the world’s most endangered species, seeing these creatures in person is both special and unforgettable. Ten gorilla families call the park home, and tourists can visit any of these families on a group tour of the park. 

S – Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

A to Z Bucket List - lake view with mirror effect of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Few things in this world are perfect, but the creators of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque took eleven years to get as close as they could. The result is indisputably one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. 

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque puts the grand in its own name. It’s the largest mosque in the UAE, holds the largest hand-knotted carpet in the world, and its largest chandelier is 49 feet tall. Nothing about Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is ordinary, and every bit is awe-inspiring, from the marble courtyard featuring mosaic flower tiles to the lighting system that changes with the phases of the moon.

Whether you hope to offer prayer or marvel at this incredible structure, this is one item you’ll want taking up space on your A to Z bucket list. 

T – Taj Mahal, India

A to Z Bucket List - lake view with distorted mirror effect of the Taj Mahal

Considering the sheer number of recognized monuments in India, it’s telling that the Taj Mahal comes up again and again as a must-see attraction. But more than beauty and grandeur, what may capture many is the Taj Mahal’s heartbreaking story of love and loss. 

After the death of his beloved soulmate, Mumtaz Mahal, Shah Jahan moved heaven and earth to build the Taj Mahal—literally. Thousands of elephants and oxen were used to drag marble to the building site, and a 10-mile earthen ramp was constructed to reach the heights of the Taj Mahal.

When you consider the love weaved into every marble block, calligraphy inscription, and inlaid flower, it paints an even more magical and enchanting picture than seen at first glance.

U – Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

A to Z Bucket List - view of the Uyuni Salt Flats mirror effect

Tucked away in the southwest corner of Bolivia, the Uyuni Salt Flats stretch for miles in every direction. Once a great, prehistoric lake, the water dried up, leaving a desert-like sprawl of earth in its place. However, unlike a desert, you won’t find an abundance of sand, just miles and miles of crystallized salt. But that’s only during the dry season. When it rains, the flats transform into the world’s largest mirror, reflecting the changing skies from below.

Picture it. Your feet stand on solid ground, but the earth below you looks exactly the same as the sky above you. And miles in every direction, you see the same. Alone between these two endless skies, you might be forgiven for confusing which way is up and which is down. But the surrealism of the experience is exactly why this is a top bucket list destination.

V – Visiting all 50 US States

A to Z Bucket List - open road image of Route 66 in the Mohave Desert

Traveling to every state making up America’s diverse and colorful landscape could very well be its own A to Z bucket list. Not only that, it’s the ultimate recipe for a fun summer full of thrilling experiences and once-in-a-lifetime memories. With a trip around the US, you can knock out a bunch of summer bucket list items: a road trip along Route 66, seeing a drive-in movie in a classic car, attending a baseball game (maybe even catching a world series game). 

Of course, you don’t have to limit your travels to the summer months. Every state has something incredible to offer no matter the season. So, make an A to Z list, a summer bucket list, and everything in between to concoct the most epic tour of the United States.

W – Wat Arun, Bangkok

A to Z Bucket List - close up shot of the Wat Arun temple details

Land of temples may not be an official title, but we think it describes Thailand perfectly. When people think of Bangkok, they often think of towering skyscrapers and Wat Arun. It’s one of the most famous temples in Thailand and one of Bangkok’s most stunning landmarks, intricately decorated with colored glass, floral designs, and statues of demons, monkeys, and of course, Buddha himself.

Sat on the bank of the ​​Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun’s majesty truly shines at sunrise, when the temple is bathed in the light of dawn. If you’re ever in the city, it’s worth a visit, but planning a trip around this breathtaking temple is even better.

X – Xochimilco’s Island of the Dolls 

A to Z Bucket List - nearly headless hanging doll on the island of the dolls in Xochimilco

This small island isn’t really an island at all but a floating garden in the channels of Xochimilco. Of course, that’s not the most intriguing part about this Island of the Dolls, that honor lies with, you guessed it, the dolls.

Dolls dot the island, hanging from trees and missing limbs, with beady eyes that follow visitors’ every move. With creepy dolls strung up from fences and dangling from branches, it’s no surprise many consider the island haunted. Some legends claim the spirit of a girl who drowned on the island haunts the dolls. However, others suspect it’s the soul of the island’s previous owner, Don Julian Santana Barrera, who died in the same spot he claimed to find the drowned girl. Haunted or not, many still pay tribute to the doll collector by leaving a doll behind on the island, ensuring the story lives on.

Y – Yurt Camping in Mongolia

A to Z Bucket List - yurt camp in Mongolia at dawn

Yurts are portable dwellings that have been used in Asia, specifically Mongolia, for thousands of years. While modern yurts are built as more permanent dwellings, old-school yurts took between thirty minutes to a few hours to construct and were perfect for a nomadic lifestyle, easy to move and bring along as families traveled from place to place.

Ger camps are still prevalent today and are the perfect way to experience traditional Mongolian life. They also set you right in the heart of Mongolia’s gorgeous landscapes, from snow-capped mountains to serene lakes and everything in between.

Z – Zakynthos Island, Greece

A to Z Bucket List - aerial view of Navagio Beach and shipwreck

The Greek Islands draw in crowds year-round, and one Greek island draws them in for a very particular reason. While the words “ship graveyard” conjure thoughts of rusted boats crowded together in murky waters, this image couldn’t be further from the truth in Zakynthos. This island’s famous ship graveyard claims only one shipwreck, and it’s surrounded by tall cliffs, white sands, and stunning blue waters.

While several accounts and legends surround the ship’s history, viewers can’t deny the results. Navagio Beach is a magnificent mixing of wonders, half man-made and half natural, together creating an image of decaying man and thriving nature that’s worth seeing in person.

From A to Z, Take Your Bucket List to New Heights with Next Vacay

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