Some trips are unique, once in a lifetime experiences that leave an everlasting mark on the mind and heart. Part of this is the longing to go, the itching to get on a plane and see something else. This feeling of wanderlust is even stronger now that we can’t leave our homes, but who’s to say we can’t dream?
With that in mind, here are our top bucket list ideas. These are experiences that can warm your heart, stimulate your imagination and remind you how beautiful the world is and how much it can surprise you. These destinations promise adventure and the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in a new dimension – something we will all be craving once the madness is over.
Getting on a hot air balloon is the best way to admire the enchanting views of Cappadocia, in the heart of Turkey. When you overlook the vivid landscape of canyons, caves, and rocks, you will feel like you’re in a fairytale. The picturesque views of Cappadocia are the result of the painstaking work of mother nature and Erciyes and Hasan, two inactive volcanoes. Fairy chimneys (or hoodoos) and lava formations are beautiful emblems of this corner of Turkey. This memorable hot air balloon trip will make you feel like Phileas Fogg in the Around the World in Eighty Days!
There are over three hundred castles across the Loire Valley. Spending a night in one of these picturesque mansions means admiring authentic Renaissance architecture and enjoying the grandeur of these houses. You will become a custodian of precious treasures and a silent witness of epic historical events. The idyllic landscapes make these castles even more special; the charm is particularly irresistible at dusk. For romantics, the towers and turrets, the city walls and the masses of green space are the perfect setting for a perfect night. The rooms of the castles still have their ancient charisma but have been transformed with a combination of modern sophistication and aristocratic allure.
Seville embodies the essence of Andalusia, the southern region of Spain more tied to its millenary traditions. Flamenco is one of the best ways to explore the deep soul of the city and its influences. In addition to the numerous flamenco shows, Seville is full of welcoming places where you can learn this ancient dance. Expert teachers will immerse you in flamenco culture. Feel transported as you try on the long flounced dress and traditional spiked shoes.
White beaches of velvety sand, crystal-clear waters and the second largest coral reef in the world: welcome to the Bahamas. This is a diver’s paradise thanks to adorable dolphins, giant stingrays and multi-coloured fish. But don’t forget the pigs. In Big Major Cay, in the archipelago of the Exuma islands, there is an island inhabited exclusively by a large family of pigs who, after basking in the sun, usually take a bath in the waters. Legend has it that it was sailors who brought the pigs to the island and that these affable animals managed to survive thanks to the excess food discharged from passing boats.
An underwater restaurant is without a doubt a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is the perfect exclusive culinary experience. On the island of Rangali, in the Ari Atoll, an intimate and refined restaurant made entirely of glass was built five meters below the sea level, with a solid structure that exceeds 400 tons in weight. As you enter the dining room, your jaw will drop at the stunning views. Don’t forget to book if you want to enjoy a lunch or dinner surrounded by the underwater fauna of the Maldives.
Why not climb a rainbow-coloured mountain and walk on a palette of colours ranging from ochre to orange, from blue to green? In the Andes, at 5200 meters above sea level, Vinicunca is a must-see. The mountain owes its extraordinary colours to materials such as iron, sulfur, dolomite, copper and hematite. This pristine structure, long hidden under a thick layer of ice, can only be reached after trekking a demanding high altitude route. However, it is well worth the walk, and your effort will be rewarded by the unique sensation of walking on a rainbow mountain. You might even meet some alpacas and llamas along the way.
An ancient saying goes: "He who climbs Mount Fuji is a wise man; he who climbs twice is a fool." The highest peak in Japan, a volcano 3776 meters high, is Mount Fuji, a symbol of the Land of the Rising Sun. There are four paths to reach its summit and from there you can look towards the Fuji Five Lakes and admire a landscape made up of highlands, waterfalls and caves. Once you reach the top, if allowed, you must absolutely go around the crater. And if you want to keep a memory of your climb, go to Mount Fuji’s very own post office to send a postcard!
In Arizona, in the middle of the desert and in a landscape that leaves you breathless, you will find Antelope Canyon: a narrow and deep gorge, and living proof that the action of time, wind and water gives shape to real works of art. Beams of light shine on the walls of the rocks in purple and bright orange, inviting you to admire nature’s own architecture. An integral part of the Navajo reserve, Antelope Canyon is a true paradise for photography lovers: the best shots are those captured between 11:30 and 12:00, when the sun creates unique contrasts and unmissable views.
Everyone knows that Santa Claus comes from Finland, but not everyone knows that he is available to meet his admirers at any time of the year! In Lapland, near Rovaniemi in northern Finland, among dreamy landscapes of northern lights and midnight suns, Santa's office never closes. Not only will you be able to chat with Santa Claus, but you will also be able to cross the line of the Arctic Circle, meet Santa's reindeer and his huskies, and spend a magical day at the elf’s farm yard.
For folklore lovers, Belgium is the ideal destination, as it hosts an extravagant Carnival every year, recognised as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ by UNESCO. The protagonists of the event that winds through the streets of Binche, a town in the Walloon province of Hainaut, are the Gilles, who belong to various associations of Wallonia. These charismatic characters are easy to spot with their wooden clogs and belts with bells. As they parade through the streets, they shake sticks to ward off bad spirits and throw fruit into the crowd to create chaos. Don’t miss the drum performances.