Wanderlust alert! Here’s the ultimate list of dream destinations to add to your bucket list. I dare you to tick off everything on this list.
As you might have guessed from my site, I’m an avid traveler! I’ve always wanted to create an ultimate list of dream destinations that I think everyone should visit before they die. I’ve seen plenty of these spots myself and can attest to just how incredible they all are.
Boasting an impressive range of cultures, stunning landscapes, and unforgettable experiences, each of these dream destinations has something unique that makes it stand out from the crowd.
Whether you’ve always wanted to recreate scenes from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusades in the ancient city of Petra or want to marvel at the bright lights in the Big Apple, there’s bound to be a city on this list of dream destinations that immediately piques your interest.
I must warn you, though – you’re about to get a major hit of wanderlust. So, don’t blame me if you find yourself jumping into itinerary-planning mode as soon as you click away from this page.
41 Dream Destinations
1. Petra, Jordan
With its impressive ancient ruins, sprawling sandstone formations, and picturesque cliff views, it’s unsurprising that Petra tops my list of ultimate dream destinations to visit. In case you didn’t know, it’s believed Petra was established back in 312BC, making it one of the oldest cities in the world!
As soon as you arrive, you’ll spot an enormous sandstone gorge called the Bab Al Siq. This is the traditional entry point to the city, and it meanders through to The Treasury. This iconic building is around 40 meters tall and covered with intricate statues and ancient columns that are beautifully preserved.
If you continue, you’ll find the Royal Tombs, The Street of Facades, and The Monastery(that’s only accessible via an 800-step trail, by the way!). Each attraction is surrounded by a collection of red-rose canyons and rock formations that make the area totally unique.
Before leaving, set aside time to visit Wadi Rum. Otherwise known as the “Valley of the Moon,” this desert is famed for its connection to Lawrence of Arabia, towering dunes, and incredible stargazing opportunities.
Oh, and if you’re visiting Petra for the first time, it’s an excellent idea to stop by the Petra Visitor Center. This small (but informative!) museum is the perfect place to pick up maps, store luggage, or ask any burning questions you may have. Alternatively, you can check out my list of things to do when visiting Petra that acts as a great springboard!
While in Wadi Rum, book into the famous Full of Stars Hotel, located right in the middle of the desert. It offers guests the chance to stay in transparent bubble rooms which boast incredible views of the starry sky (or you can opt for more traditional tents, as we did).
2. Serengeti, Tanzania
If you’re a nature-lover and have always wanted to go on an incredible African safari, then the Serengeti should be on your list of dream vacations to check out. The park spans 15,000 square kilometers, and the plains stretch as far as the eye can see.
The Serengeti is one of the world’s most popular Bucket List destinations, as The Great Migration takes place here each year. This mass movement of zebra, wildebeest, gazelles and other migratory animals is a natural phenomenon that everyone should try and see at least once.
If you’re not here for the Great Migration, you may be interested to know that over 3000 lions call the Serengeti home. So, if you’re heading here on safari, you’re almost guaranteed to spot a few!
When you’re not out on the savannah, you’ll be winding down in rustic camps, sharing campfire stories, and watching unforgettable sunsets after jam-packed days of exploring.
For the best weather, visit the Serengeti during the dry season, which runs from late June to October. Although crowd levels are slightly higher, the wildlife viewing opportunities are unparalleled!
Home to pristine beaches, bougie private islands, and exceptionally clear waters, this South Pacific spot remains one of the top dream destinations around. Believe it or not, Fiji is an archipelago of over 300 individual islands, and each private island boasts rugged landscapes, rows of palm trees, and vast coral reefs.
Speaking of reefs, the Great Astrolabe Reef is one of the area’s main selling points. It appeals to keen divers who want to spot sharks, vibrant fish species, and unique critters that line the ocean floor. If you’d prefer to get your adrenaline pumping (but still want to make a splash!), you can head to the Upper Navua River for a whitewater rafting spot on immense Class III rapids.
With a bit of trekking, you’ll also come across Tavoro Falls, the Signtaga Sand Dunes, and beautiful Turtle Island. Throw in a few fire-walking performances, traditional Kava ceremonies, and a handful of delicious local delicacies, and it’s easy to see why Fiji is worth visiting.
While in Fiji, I recommend heading on a Captain Cook Sunset Dinner Cruise that sails past several idyllic islands. You’ll get your fill of local food, cultural entertainment, and a gorgeous sunset! Talk about a great deal.
4. The Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast may be small, but it’s prized for its scenic beaches, luxurious hotels, and picturesque villages. Despite its size, more than 5 million tourists pass through this place every year on their very own dream vacation.
When I first visited the Amalfi Coast, I was blown away by its sheer duality. On the one hand, you have a charming historical town and medieval buildings. On the other, you have the modern boutiques and chic inclusive resorts of Positano that lend the area a contemporary edge.
Whether you feel like taking a dip in the sapphire waters of Fornillo Beach or hitting the laidback town of Ravello for boutique shopping and medieval vibes, you’re bound to enjoy a trip to this gorgeous Italian hotspot.
When traveling to the Amalfi Coast on your honeymoon, check out the Infinity Terrace at Villa Cimbrone. It offers unbeatable views of the coast. And its Roman-style statues and immaculate gardens give the place an air of romance (ideal for those envy-inducing vacation snaps!).
5. New York City
New York, New York – it’s a wonderful town!
If you feel like taking a leaf out of Frank Sinatra’s book, add the Big Apple to your list of ultimate dream destinations to visit.
This incredible city is best known for the bright lights of Times Square, the buzz and immense talent of Broadway, and a stunning skyline littered with gems like the Empire State Building and the beautiful Chrysler Building.
I’m not joking when I say everything you do in NYC will feel exciting, from walks along the Brooklyn Bridge to strolls through Central Park and barhopping in Manhattan.
Although NYC is glorious at any time of year, it’s particularly popular during wintertime. It can be bitterly cold, but the Christmas displays at the Rockefeller Center, 5th Avenue, and department stores like Bergdorf Goodman are an attraction in themselves.
Before leaving, don’t forget to visit the many iconic museums – the American Museum of Natural History is my favorite, but you can spend hours getting lost in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MOMA) and the Tenement Museum.
Don’t miss the food scene in NYC – seriously. There are several iconic bakeries (Dominique Ansel is a must for croissants and sweet treats!), hot-dog carts, bagel stands, and ice-cream parlors just waiting for your patronage.
Aruba usually appears on dream vacation lists, as it’s simply one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.
Located 20 miles from the Venezuelan coast, this Caribbean island combines rich culture and culinary delights with uber-aesthetic sandy beaches. And hey – the year-round tropical climate doesn’t hurt either!
While you’re here, check out the unspoiled Eagle Beach and Savaneta Beach for sunbathing and romantic hidden alcoves. When you’ve had your fill of beach life, you can visit Alto Vista Chapel, grab some barbecued fish at a local restaurant, and marvel at the Dutch colonial architecture in the capital of Oranjestad.
There are several beautiful hotels in Aruba, but I suggest staying at the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort. Not only is it conveniently located downtown, but this resort is known for the pink flamingoes that freely wander through the beach area. Be sure to have your camera at the ready!
7. Bali, Indonesia
From the glimmering waters of Seminyak Beach to the glorious mountains, tropical weather, and rich biodiversity found on the sprawling landscape, it’s unsurprising that a trip to Bali is considered a dream Southeast Asian vacation. Most people visit Bali for a touch of TLC at the many beachside resorts, but there’s more to this Indonesian island than first meets the eye.
Once you’ve meandered through the paddies, head to the stunning island of Nusa Penida for scuba diving excursions and dramatic cliffsides. If you’re spending more than a few days in Bali, take a trip to the pink sand beaches of Komodo Island, which is home to manta rays, sharks, turtles, and other spectacular reef life.
Another major draw of this Indonesian island is Ubud, which is known as Bali’s cultural heart. It boasts several bars and shops, but the markets also sell a gorgeous selection of wooden sculptures, Batik prints, and one-of-a-kind jewelry that will make you the envy of all the folks back home.
There’s no wrong time to visit Bali as the weather is consistently tropical, but hotel prices tend to take a dive between January and March. Take advantage of this and visit unique hotels like the luxurious Jimbaran Puri for less!
Affectionately known as the Lion City, Singapore is a buzzing metropolis that has come a long way since gaining independence in 1965. Not only does this tiny island in Southeast Asia boast an incredible cultural heritage, but it has what may be the most impressive skyline in the world.
Gardens by the Bay is home to three major attractions – the iconic Super Tree Grove (best visited at night for the light show, just FYI), the Cloud Forest Dome, and the Flower Dome. Just adjacent to this site, you’ll find Marina Bay Sands with its incredible infinity pool and rows of designer boutiques.
Singapore is also known for its fascinating mishmash of cultures. You can experience the best of this at the vibrant stalls of Chinatown and Little India before checking out Singapore’s most extensive collection of Peranakan artifacts (an impressive 1500 of them!) at The Intan.
If you’re exploring the city, Lau Pa Sat is an amazing place to visit for hawker food (hawkers are basically the country’s local cafeterias!). But you can honestly pick up incredible dishes from any hawker center in Singapore. If you’re after something truly amazing, visit Tiong Bahru for a plate of Teochew Crystal Dumplings. Believe it or not, you can pick up Michelin Star-rated goodies here for as little as $0.70!
9. The Dolomites, Italy
If you’re planning a dream holiday but haven’t quite landed on the perfect location, consider visiting The Dolomites. This European mountain range is built for outdoorsy types who enjoy hiking and biking, but there’s plenty to love for culture, wine, and food lovers too.
The Dolomites are just three hours away from Venice and two hours from Verona. They boast several impressive mountain biking passes that will challenge even the most experienced riders (Giau Pass and Sella Pass are particularly popular!). If you’d prefer to keep your feet planted on the ground, the extensive network of hiking trails promises to keep travelers occupied for days.
As you work your way across these trails, you’ll be treated to a dramatic backdrop of towering peaks, green fields, and quaint buildings that feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of typical cities.
When you’ve exhausted the outdoor activities in The Dolomites, treat yourself to a few glasses of Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc as you drink in the sensational views around you.
You can escape the worst of the crowds by visiting during spring and autumn. But my secret time to visit is a couple of weeks before Christmas. It’s still considered low season here, but you’ll get all the Christmas vibes for a cheaper price tag. Miramonti Boutique Hotel is my go-to dream stay.
10. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Tucked away in the South Pacific, Bora Bora is French Polynesia’s most luxurious vacation spot. Surrounded by dazzling lagoons and set against an impressive mountain backdrop, this romantic island is a palm tree-lined wonderland built for newlyweds.
Beneath the clear waters, you’ll encounter playful manta rays and colorful fish. Prefer to stick to the land? You’ll find long stretches of golden sand, luscious greenery, luxurious resorts that boast spas, oversized tubs, and tropical bars.
Perfectly blending natural beauty with manmade creature comforts, Bora Bora is a mecca for hopeless romantics and stressed-out city slickers.
I’ll warn you – visiting Bora Bora is expensive. If you’ve got the cash to splash and are doing a once-in-a-lifetime trip, book a room at the InterContinental. It has a private beach, it’s rated 5 stars, and the staff will leave you wanting for nothing.
Iceland is an otherworldly dream destination home to dramatic mountains, black beaches, the glorious Northern Lights, and a generous helping of Nordic culture.
Also known as the “Land of Ice and Fire,” this perfect vacation spot allows you to stroll through ice caves, pass through areas of volcanic activity, and then relax in natural hot springs to decompress after a long day of sightseeing. As the sun rarely sets in summer, you’ll also have limitless time to uncover everything this beautiful country offers.
Whether you’re here for a relaxing and remote vacation or want to spend time trekking to the Jökulsárlón Lake, the Reykjanes Peninsula, or any of the gushing waterfalls, your trip is bound to prove unforgettable.
If you want guaranteed sights of the Northern Lights, this unmissable tour of Akureyri takes you from your hotel to the center of the action. You’ll even get a twisted donut and hot chocolate to stave off the cold!
12. Costa Rica
Costa Rica has been on my list of dream countries for years. It’s prized for its tropical beaches and super-friendly locals but is better known for its unique wildlife-spotting opportunities.
Although you’ll want to dedicate some time to Costa Rica’s 1000 miles of coastline and the beautiful Playa Manuel Antonio, what makes this South American spot such a dream destination are the creatures that call this place home.
If you look up while hiking through the forestry, you’ll see sloths slowly moving through the trees, playful monkeys swinging from the branches, and an incredible 812 recorded bird species flitting through the air. As Costa Rica is the Hummingbird Capital of the World, keep your eyes peeled for these charming (but fast-moving!) beauties.
As one of the world’s most popular eco-tourism sites, you can also trek through the forests, surf the waves, and lie back on the balmy beaches without impacting the area’s untouched natural beauty.
You’ll spot quite a few animals on your own, but I highly recommend heading out on a guided Walking Nature Tour. Costa Ricans are experts in the local wildlife, so you’re almost guaranteed to tick off the must-see creatures on this tour.
13. Paris, France
No list of dream places to visit is complete without Paris – period. Considered one of the world’s most romantic destinations, the French capital is an ideal spot to visit for honeymooners, retirees, and everyone in between!
In addition to being a fashion and lifestyle hub, Paris is a cultural hotspot. Not only will you find iconic architecture at Notre Dame, the Panthéon, the Eiffel Tower, and the Grand Palais, but you’ll be spoiled for choice with museums like the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay.
If you’d prefer a relaxing vacation not dominated by sightseeing, you can easily stroll along the Seine, grab fresh pastries from a bakery, or sip wine at one of the many street cafes in picturesque Montmartre.
If you want to take your Parisian vacation to new heights, consider booking a stay at Hotel Montalembert. It’s almost offensively bougie and is just 10 minutes from the Louvre in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. I don’t think I can bring myself to ever spend that money on a room! For a cheaper yet incredibly charming stay, opt for Le Relais Montmartre. It’s my favorite place to stay in Paris!
14. The Pacific Coast Highway, California
The Pacific Coast Highway is a marvel and spans an impressive 900 kilometers across California. Covering the entire thing takes a while. But seaside towns, major cities, and must-visit attractions along the way will distract you from the long drive.
After passing through Monterey and Carmel, you can take the coastal road and cross the Bixby Creek Bridge to reach Big Sur. Thanks to its remote location and towering redwood trees, this place is a total panacea for nature lovers. Oh, and did I mention the 80-foot McWay Falls and ridiculously aesthetic Pfeiffer Beach are just a short drive away? Plus, you can’t miss watching a truly stunning nature display at the Elephant Seal Vista Point. Here you can admire thousands of sea lions in the wild for free. It was the highlight of the trip for both Dan and me.
Although the average PCH adventure finishes in San Diego, I recommend spending time in Los Angeles. You can explore Hollywood Hills, the Sunset Strip, and Venice Beach. If you have the cash to burn, walk down Rodeo Drive and explore the high-end boutiques!
Keep an eye on the weather before leaving. It’s tricky to plan your trip to the letter, but having torrential rain hit as you explore Big Sur will dampen the mood (literally!). We took the trip in February, and it was absolutely amazing!
If you’re a fan of white sands, quaint small towns, and breathtaking sunsets, you’ll appreciate everything Greek islands offer.
Crete’s mild weather and ancient sites make it one of the more popular areas to visit, but there’s plenty to love about Milos and Santorini too.
Milos’s rich mineral landscape makes it one of the Cyclades’ most glimmering gems. Its alabaster stone walls, enormous basalt columns, and impressive peaks provide a gorgeous backdrop for Insta snaps during summer.
For outstanding views of the Aegean Sea and a romantic atmosphere, you can’t beat Santorini. Offering everything from picture-perfect houses perched atop calderas to a range of luxury hotels that provide unbeatable sunset views, sunny Santorini is undoubtedly a dream vacation spot.
As these islands can get extremely busy during the high season, it’s best to book during the shoulder seasons to avoid jostling with thousands of tourists. Our favorite time to visit is from mid-May to mid-June. The weather is perfect, and you still miss most of the crowds.
Tibet is among the world’s st remote and spiritual regions, making it a dream destination for soul searchers. Surrounded by the Himalayas, 38 beautiful lakes, and an impressive stretch of alpine forest, there’s much more to Tibet than meditation and monks.
Spend time exploring the Newari architecture in Kathmandu Valley before coming to the majestic Norbulingka Palace. Just as a heads up, Tibetan people are known for being incredibly welcoming, so don’t be surprised if you’re invited in for a cup of tea at one of the many Buddhist temples or monasteries.
Another good reason for visiting Tibet is Mount Everest. You’ll need a ridiculous amount of training and endurance to scale this bad boy, but you can visit the Tourist Basecamp for a panoramic view of the world’s most menacing mountain.
For the ultimate mountaineering adventure, head on a 12-day trek to Everest Base Camp. You won’t want to tackle this hike without guidance, so I recommend checking out this wonderful tour.
It may sound strange to visit a destination just for the friendliness of its people, but Oman’s locals are something else. They’re always smiling, happy to help, and actively welcome tourists. When you pair the amazing people with 16th-century forts, rolling desert dunes, and a beautiful Old Town, it’s easy to see why it’s one of my ultimate dream destinations.
Muscat is the main area that tourists visit and is home to the Old Town, Al Jalali and Al Mirani forts, and the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. The mosque is particularly impressive and artfully decorated with elegant, latticed paintwork and glossy marble.
If you head further out, you’ll find the livestock market of Nizwa and small villages that are nestled by the Al Hajar Mountains. Some truly incredible tours of the Hajar Mountains from Muscat cover the traditional markets that sell textiles and antiques, the great canyon of Wadi Ghul, and the small village of Misfah.
For 5-star luxury in Oman, check out the Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel. Offering impressive views of the Al Hajar Mountains, it’s totally splurge-worthy.
18. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat is the world’s single largest religious monument, and it dates back to the 12th century. Many of the carvings, corridors, and moats of the original structure remain today, and it’s seriously cool to walk through this culturally significant, five-towered temple and its surroundings.
While in Siem Reap, keep an eye out for the carvings of apsaras (essentially beautiful dancing maids) that cover the walls of the ancient temples, and marvel at the intricate detailing and cruciform terraces that make Khmer architecture so unique.
Exploring Angkor Wat with a guide isn’t strictly necessary, but it makes the experience so much better. This tour covers transportation and will easily get you through the best of the complex.
19. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Tucked away in the northwest corner of Wyoming is Yellowstone National Park. Not only is Yellowstone the world’s first official national park, but it’s lauded for its outdoor adventure opportunities, wildlife, waterfalls, and spurting geysers.
Trek through the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone before hitting the Grand Prismatic Spring (the largest hot spring in the USA!). True to its name, you’ll also be able to spot the Old Faithful Geyser erupting every 90 minutes.
As you drive through the park, you’ll cross paths with bison, bears, wolves, moose, elk, and badgers. However, with over 300 species of birds and 67 species of mammals roaming free here, the wildlife-spotting never stops!
Offering something for nature lovers, wildlife fanatics, and hot springs enthusiasts, Yellowstone should be on anyone’s list of dream family vacation spots.
Be aware of bears at Yellowstone. They roam all over the park, so you’ll want to follow all rules and carefully read guidelines on how to handle an encounter before visiting.
Madagascar is one of the largest islands in East Africa, and it’s full of unique wildlife, beautiful beaches, and wide plains of baobab trees. As it’s rarely visited, you’ll have the place to yourself if you decide to put this spot on your Bucket List.
Most of thMadagascar’sildlife and plant life are endemic to the country, so you won’t find them anywhere else. According to the WWF, 98% of its land mammals (including the adorable lemurs!) can only be found here, which I find amazing.
Among the unique flora and fauna are the iconic baobab trees. The forests of Madagascar are packed with these fascinating trees, and you’ll feel tiny when you stand next to these 30-meter beasts.
Throw in the 80,000-hectare Malagasy Grand Canyon, the surf opportunities in Mahambo, and the super-affordable food and accommodation, and you’ll have a vacay for the books.
Madagascar is never that busy, but I recommend visiting in September or October as the lemurs are far more active during these months.
21. Scotland, United Kingdom
Not only is the Scottish accent charming, but this country is home to fairytale castles, impressive mountain peaks, and one of the world’s best-loved festivals – The Edinburgh Fringe!
Start your Scottish adventure by exploring Eilean Donan Castle, Dunrobin Castle, and Glenapp Castle. Each one is idyllic and steeped in history, and the rugged coastline and deep lochs just add to the whimsical feel.
Once you’ve had your fill of fairytales, explore the Isle of Skye and Glencoe Valley. Although the Highlands feel isolated and rural, you’ll find several charming villages and local pubs to refuel after tackling the Lost Valley or Bidean Nam Bian trails.
Did you know that you can stay overnight at Glenapp Castle? This beautiful castle is located on the Ayrshire Coast, and it’s essentially an upscale Victorian manor house with added 5-star amenities and top-notch service.
22. London, England
London is a dream vacation for many, home to the Royal Family (and mine for the last 15!), centuries of history, and a buzzing theater scene.
You’ll want to tick off classic attractions like Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, but you’ll also find several quirky bars in Soho, hipster boutiques in Camden Passage, and an impressive number of top-rated restaurants in the West End.
Speaking of the West End, be sure to watch a musical, opera, or ballet at one of London’s world-famous theaters while you’re here!
As a first-timer, don’t miss riding a London bus, snapping a photo inside one of the few remaining red telephone boxes, and splashing out on a traditional afternoon tea!
Don’t bother with the Hop On Hop Off Tour Buses. They might sound like a great way to see the city, but you’ll be able to cover London using the easy-to-navigate public transport system. This way, you won’t feel rushed and will also save plenty of cash.
23. The White Cliffs of Dover, England
The White Cliffs of Dover are among England’s most impressive landmarks. Although the bright chalk is the first thing you’ll notice here, the lush greenery and gentle lapping waves add a gorgeous contrast to this natural site that makes it well worth visiting. If nothing else, this site is super Instagrammable.
Standing at 110 meters above sea level, these beautiful cliffs were once a significant part of Britain’s defense system against foreign invaders. If you look closely, you’ll even spot a couple of wrecked vessels from the base of the cliffs – the 1926 SS Falcon and 1910 Preussen!
While you’re here, walk the England Coast Path, which offers excellent views over the coastline. Then, visit the stunning Victorian-built South Foreland Lighthouse before stopping for a traditional Cream Tea at the quaint Mrs. Knott’s Tearoom.
If you’re traveling from London, it’s worth combining the White Cliffs of Dover with a trip to Canterbury. You can easily drive there or get on a day tour from London. This all-encompassing tour covers the Cliffs, the Kent Countryside, and the majestic Canterbury Cathedral.
Egypt is an incredible country with a rich history. But there’s much more to this perfect place than the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and the Valley of the Kings.
Although Egypt’s archaeological wonders are the area’s main selling points, you shouldn’t sleep on the idyllic beaches. The Red Sea is particularly stunning. Scuba divers consider it a dream destination thanks to its rich biodiversity, vibrant fish, and colorful corals.
But I’d be lying if I said Egypt wasn’t one of my dream holiday destinations because of its history. Imposing pyramids that speak to the power of mankind? The spooky legend of King Tut’s Mask at the Egyptian Museum? The holy site of Mount Sinai? Sign me up.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s one of the cheapest countries in the world to visit? Your money will go way further in Cairo than it would at other popular holiday spots.
Who said that dream vacations had to break the bank?
I suggest booking a guided tour if you want to see the Luxor Valley of the Kings in all its glory. This excellent tour covers some of Egypt’s most impressive tombs. Plus, you’ll be accompanied by a professional Egyptologist guide who’ll leave no stone unturned.
25. Rome, Italy
With its ancient ruins, authentic street food, and gorgeous landmarks, Rome deserves a place on anyone’s list of dream destinations.
As you wander through the city’s cobblestone streets, you’ll spot monuments like the Colosseum, admire the priceless sculptures and tapestries in Vatican City, and spot some truly gorgeous medieval and Baroque fountains that once provided clean water to the city.
When you’re all tuckered out, round off your day sampling some of the best Roman food. Pizzas, pasta, gnocchi, grilled vegetables, and creamy scoops of gelato from local restaurants and cafes, to name a few.
I recommend checking out my dedicated post on Italy travel tips if you’re visiting Italy for the first time. It’ll help you navigate the city like a pro!
If you want to do as the Romans do, why not try a Pasta & Tiramisu Workshop? This popular cooking class teaches you how to make two Italian food staples. And you’ll even get to enjoy an authentic dinner afterward!
26. Lake Como, Italy
Lake Como is a dream holiday for any traveler, as it’s home to Italy’s third-largest lake, countless colorful villas, and forested mountains that offer some seriously beautiful hikes.
Take a journey across the lake on a water taxi as you take in the dramatic mountain views before grabbing some incredible Italian food while sipping an aperitif by the waterfront.
As Lake Como is a popular weekend getaway spot for the Milanese (it’s a mere 32 miles away!), it’s worth hopping over to Milan to enjoy the historic Il Duomo, elegant townhouses, and incredible shopping scene.
If you’re looking for the best food in Lake Como, visit Al Prato Varenna on the eastern shore of Lake Como. With its charming décor, excellent pasta, and reasonable prices, it’s a great place to stop for a bite to eat.
Peru is one of the most multi-faceted dream destinations around, as it just does it all. It’s got ancient ruins, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking landscapes that will make you feel transported.
This city was once home to the ancient Inca tribe. The remains of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley are both incredible historical sites. In the center of Peru, you’ll find vibrant markets that sell decorative carpets, knitwear, jewelry, and ornate wood carvings.
Pair Peru’s Incan history and eclectic local culture with the area’s 28 unique climates and diverse Amazonian wildlife, and you’ll have a vacation that you’ll never forget.
It’s a great idea to head on small group tours to cover Lima’s historical city center efficiently. This 3.5-hour small group tour covers the best of the city’s architecture and attractions for a price that you can’t beat.
28. Raja Ampat, Paupua, Indonesia
Although Bali may be Indonesia’s most coveted beachfront destination, Raja Ampat is a panacea for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Boasting crystal-clear waters, balmy sands, and exotic marine life, this tiny slice of paradise should be on anyone’s list of dream vacation spots to check out.
As the area is extremely difficult to get to, few tourists bother to make the pilgrimage through Jakarta, Makassar, and Sarong to reach Raja Ampat. However, that does mean anyone visiting will get the luscious forests and azure waters to themselves!
You can spend your time exploring the picture-perfect viewpoints on Piaynemo Island before heading to one of the many diving lodges in the area. You can expect to spot everything from playful dolphins to majestic manta rays beneath the waves, and the coral here is said to be among the most vibrant in the world.
Whether you’d like to explore the deep-blue sea or just want to feed the fish and engage with the locals in Sawinggrai Village, a vacation to Raja Ampat will be unforgettable.
This area is beautiful year-round, but it’s best to visit between September and April if you’re planning to dive. Not only will the manta rays be around in droves, but the waters are calm with excellent visibility during this period.
29. Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia
This fascinating place is the largest salt flat in the world and is serious proof of just how incredible the natural environment can be.
The main reason people visit this spot is to catch the incredible mirror effect on the flats after significant rainfall. It creates an uncanny reflective surface that looks utterly otherworldly on camera. For this reason, it’s a dreamy spot for photographers, artists, and anyone with a creative vision.
You can spend a single day covering the plains on a tour. But I recommend staying for at least two days to explore the glorious mineral lagoons, sweeping rocky valleys, and endless stretches of Bolivian desert. Then, you can wander through the 25-hectare Isla Incahuasi to marvel at the native cacti.
Offering several one-of-a-kind experiences and a landscape unlike any other, it’s easy to see why Salar De Uyuni is considered a dream vacation spot!
If you’re willing to experiment with accommodation, why not stay in one of the area’s iconic Salt Hotels? The Palacio de Sal in Colchani is the most popular and allows you to sleep under the stars in luxurious comfort.
30. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands is consistently named as one of the world’s most impressive natural landscapes. This unique area is home to endemic species like the Darwin Finch, and adorable Galapagos Fur Seals (typically found lounging on the western shores) call these islands home.
Whether you want to go birdwatching to spot some of the 200 species that reside here, go snorkeling amongst the tropical fish, or be charmed by the Old Town in Quito, there’s plenty to love about this remote archipelago.
I recommend visiting the Galapagos Islands between November and December. Visibility is great for snorkelers, and the temperatures really start to warm up!
31. Hampi, India
If you’re trying to tick off every UNESCO World Heritage Site, then you’ll need to add Hampi to your list of dream destinations to check out.
This fascinating city takes you back in time with spectacular temple ruins and fascinating rock formations that date back to the Vijayanagara Empire. With over 2000 monuments from the Empire still standing, there’s plenty for history buffs to explore here.
To further your cultural education, visit the oldest operational temple in India – the Sri Virupaksha Temple. If you’re at the local river early enough, you may even spot Lakshmi, the resident temple elephant getting her daily bath. For a minimum of 10 rupees, she’ll even offer you her blessing!
Hampi is a fascinating historical city that deserves a second look with its impressive ancient ruins. It’s one of the most magical places I’ve ever visited!
Traditions are extremely important in Indian cities, and you’ll need to respect all local practices in Hampi. When visiting temples, never step on thresholds, always remove your shoes before entering, and wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.
32. Patagonia, Argentina
Patagonia stretches across Argentina and Chile, and outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and nature lovers adore it.
Visit Bariloche for the beautiful alpine scenery and the imposing Volcán Lanín. Then check out the quaint artisan stores and the German feel of El Bolsón.
Much of Patagonia is encased within Los Glaciares National Park and Torres del Paine National Park. You’ll be met everywhere with endless glacial lakes and panoramic views of the Fitz Roy Mountains.
As Patagonia is one of the closest areas to Antarctica, Magdalena Island is an excellent place to visit for penguin spotting. Home to approximately 60,000 nesting penguins at a time, it deserves a place on anyone’s Travel Bucket List!
If you fancy visiting hot springs during your visit to Patagonia, head to Lahuen-Co Eco Resort & Spa, surrounded by biodiversity and native forestry. It’s one of the most blissful places ever, so it’s well worth checking out.
33. Venice, Italy
Boasting a rich royal history, relaxed gondola rides, and delectable food, Italy’s iconic floating city is a dream destination for many people.
This place is worth visiting just for the sprawling palazzos and iconic St Mark’s Basilica. But I’d say that the winding cobbled streets, waterfront Cicchetti restaurants, beautiful bridges, and Venetian glass-blowing boutiques make this area uber-special.
If you only have one day to spare in Venice, I recommend booking a tour of the Doge’s Palace, grabbing a cocktail in St Mark’s Square, and going on a boat trip through the winding waterways.
Perfectly balancing Eastern traditions with modern culture and innovation, Japan is a diverse and beautiful country that attracts tourists from all across the globe.
What I love about Japan is just how multi-faceted it is. You can visit the kitsch stores in Harajuku, climb Mount Fuji, visit ancient shrines and cultural hotspots in Kyoto, or travel at the speed of light (or close to it!) on the country’s world-class bullet trains.
Whatever you choose to do here, you’ll be met with friendly locals, pristine scenery, and plenty of “kawaiiness” that can be found in everything from square watermelons to Sanrio plushies!
Japan is gorgeous year-round, but it’s worth visiting in April to catch the cherry blossom season between late March and mid-April (although it can get expensive).
35. Myanmar (Burma)
Tucked away in Southeast Asia, Myanmar is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed area. It’s best known for its gold temples, rugged landscapes, and stunning pagodas.
Take to the skies in a hot air balloon that allows you to see the best of the Bagan temples. Or spend time strolling through markets to engage with the friendly locals (and grab a selection of Burmese delicacies!).
You can also spend hours marveling at the religious complexes in Myanmar. Between you and me, the renowned monastery of Maha Bodhi Ta Htaung, with its towering golden figures, is particularly impressive.
If you prefer natural beauty, the deserted islands of the Mergui Archipelago are packed with idyllic white beaches. I swear, they rival the likes of the Maldives and Bora Bora!
If you have a few days in Myanmar, I recommend heading on this full-day excursion to Golden Rock. It’s the spiritual heart of Buddhism in the country, and the rock itself is truly something to behold.
36. Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany is widely regarded for its art and history. But it’s also a wonderful dream destination for Vespa lovers, scuba divers, and wine and food fanatics.
You’ll undoubtedly want to visit Tuscany to check out its UNESCO World Heritage Sites (some of which date back to the Bronze Age!), but I’d say that an old-fashioned road trip is the most popular thing to do here.
Feel the wind in your hair as you whizz past vineyards. Stop off at world-famous wineries for some impeccable Italian pours. Then, you can while away afternoons visiting the small villages that take you slightly off the beaten track.
Florence here is a must, but my other recommended places are Lucca, Volterra, San Gimignano, and Siena. Oh – and don’t miss the world-famous Tower of Pisa while you’re here!
The best time to visit Tuscany is mid-to-late spring. The landscape looks beautiful, the weather is pleasant, and the wines will be glorious.
37. Hawaii, USA
Hawaii has always been considered one of the best places to visit. Its world-class beaches, luscious rainforests, and bubbling volcanoes remain completely untouched.
The black sand beaches of Punalu’u Beach are particularly impressive. They’re surrounded by towering palm trees and crystal-clear water that immediately draw you in. Lanikai Beach is a picture-perfect option for sunbathers if you are looking for golden sands and pristine waters.
When you throw in the area’s ethnic diversity, cultural shows, and authentic food (poi is a must-try!), it’s clear why Hawaii is a once-in-a-lifetime destination.
If you want to experience a traditional Luau, grab a ticket for this buffet and Luau show in Kauai. It’s one of the most popular experiences in Hawaii, so don’t miss out!
38. Cappadoccia, Turkey
If you’ve ever dreamed of soaring above it all in a hot air balloon, you must visit Cappadocia. From the sky, you’ll be able to see everything from the city’s intricate pastel houses to its breathtaking rock formations.
I highly recommend exploring Cappadocia from the sky, but there’s a lot to love on the ground too. The vibrant Alaturca Tuner Bazaar is brimming with handmade rugs and jewelry, while the local restaurants serve the most delectable kebabs.
If you’re feeling brave, explore 36 underground cities once used as hidden bunks. Most of the cities were built during the Byzantine era. They provided shelter during the Arab-Byzantine wars between 780 and 1180 AD. Once your head’s back above ground, ride to the city’s ancient castles and monasteries by camel.
Feeling worlds away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Istanbul, this destination is a total feast for the senses.
For unbeatable views, book accommodation in the Uçhisar region. This is the place to be if you want the best vantage point of the stunning chimneys and fairytale houses that characterize the city.
39. New Zealand
New Zealand is the place to be for outdoor adventuring and natural wonders. Not only is it home to gushing waterfalls and breathtaking glaciers, but the country has a rich indigenous culture that remains central to its national identity.
Pack your itinerary with visits to volcanoes, geothermal springs, and gorgeous alpine lakes. Then go kiwi-spotting in Rotorua, which boasts a wealth of Māori history at the Ohinemutu Village.
Whether you want to kayak across the picturesque lakes of Queenstown or decide to tackle the volcanic landscape of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, you’ll leave New Zealand feeling like a true adventurer!
To appreciate the best of New Zealand’s natural beauty, stick to camping. The Matauri Bay Holiday Park is a wonderful choice for Northland visitors. Pohara Beach Holiday Park is a solid option if you’re heading to the South Island.
40. Cenotes, Mexico
Mexico may be better known for its gorgeous beaches and Mayan ruins, but it’s also home to over 6,000 ethereal cenotes that will take your breath away. In case you didn’t know, cenotes are freshwater sinkholes formed by meteors way back in the day (around the time dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago!).
These permanent pools of underground water were once extremely important in Mayan culture and would often serve as sacrificial sites and portals to the underworld. These days, they are stunning snorkeling and swimming spots that create the most breathtaking photo backdrops.
There are thousands of cenotes dotted throughout Mexico, but the most beautiful ones are in the Yucatán Peninsula and around Tulum.
El Pit is one of the deepest cenotes in the country, and you can spend a couple of hours exploring the enormous complex, marveling at the sunbeams that sneak through the cave’s narrow opening. If you’re feeling morbid, visit the Calavera Cenote and explore the infamous “Temple of Doom,” which is packed with animal skeletons.
As figuring out the cenotes can be tricky if you’re flying solo, I recommend booking a tour that covers a couple of them with a professional guide. This Cenote Trail is an excellent option that takes you through several gorgeous cenotes in Yucatán and around the outskirts of Tulum.
41. Cinque Terre, Italy
There are so many incredible things to do in Cinque Terre, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of my dream vacation spots. When I first visited, the quaint colored houses, dramatic scenery, and perfect azure waters enchanted me.
Aside from the aesthetics, Cinque Terre offers some seriously great food. Visit Monterosso for the most famous focaccia in Italy before diving into a delicious plate of anchovies that are sold in many of the excellent restaurants in Cinque Terre.
To glide through the crystalline waters, I recommend renting a boat. Otherwise, you can go old-school by jumping into the sea from the beaches of Riomaggiore, Manarola, or Monterosso!
As one of the most laid-back Italian destinations, Cinque Terre is among the best European vacations around!
Cinque Terre is extremely popular between mid-June and mid-September, and it can become an unpleasant tourist trap. Try to stick to the shoulder seasons if you can (but avoid Easter like the plague!). Check out this guide for all my tips for visiting Cinque Terre.
42. Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong blends the best of Chinese and European cultures to create an incredible hybrid nation that feels incredibly distinctive.
The city is renowned for its skyline. You’ll get beautiful views of the city from any of the 40-story skyscrapers here.
Looking for a touch of retail therapy? You’ll be spoilt for choice. Not only can you explore the authentic Chinese markets, but the sprawling shopping malls stock everything from high-end designer goods to unique boutique finds.
It’s not an entirely metropolitan city, though. You’ll also come across several nature hikes through sprawling forests and sandy beaches.
The Peak Tram is a fascinating way to explore the upper levels of the island and offers unparalleled views of the city below. I suggest grabbing a Peak Tram Sky Pass in advance to save time!
Whether you’ve always dreamt of climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge, want to learn more about aboriginal culture and art in Melbourne, or fancy hitting the Great Barrier Reef for snorkeling and surfing, there are plenty of incredible things to do in Australia that make it an ultimate dream destination.
If you’re visiting during an Australian summer, you’ll want to hit one of the country’s 11,011 incredible beaches. Then visit the iconic Ayers Rock and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site!).
Hit the local clubs or catch a performance at the Sydney Opera House to enjoy Sydney’s vibrant nightlife
Be careful of when you choose to visit Australia, as the seasons essentially flip. This will quickly become obvious when you start booking tours and activities. Remember: December = summer!
44. Zhangjiajie National Park, China
Zhangjiajie National Park is in the Hunan Province in central China and remains one of the most naturally beautiful areas on the planet. Home to enormous pillar-like rock formations that are over 200 meters tall, this place was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.
The park spans an incredible 153.5 square miles. You can spend days walking along the river’s edge, marveling at the famous Avatar Mountains (officially known as Yuanjiajie!), and greeting the local monkeys as you tackle the various trail routes.
As fog often shrouds the National Park, it lends the entire area a mythical appearance that makes each viewpoint even more breathtaking. And hey – it’s great for Instagram shots too!
I don’t recommend this attraction to anyone afraid of heights, but I wouldn’t leave without trying out the Zhangjiajie Tianmen Mountain Glass Skywalk. Suspended 180 meters above ground, this glass bridge has a spectacular glass bottom that allows you to see the rock faces and vegetation beneath you. It’s perfectly safe but may give you the heebie-jeebies.
With its towering icebergs, fantastic wildlife, and reputation for adventure, Antarctica is possibly the ultimate dream destination and can only be reached if you’re traveling on cruise ships.
Once you dock from your cruise, marvel at the majestic Leopard Seals and adorable Adelie penguins before learning more about Antarctica’s most famous explorers of the ‘Heroic Age’ at Scott’s Hut.
If you’re feeling adventurous, take a closer look at the glacial structures and floating icebergs on a kayak as you marvel at just how remote the entire area is.
Unmarked by civilization and boasting some seriously gorgeous polar sunsets, Antarctica promises to be a truly unforgettable vacation.
Make sure you know your limitations before visiting Antarctica. Kayaking through unforgiving waters or trekking through ice may seem reasonable. But not everyone can handle the rugged terrain or bitter winter air here.
How to Decide Which Dream Destination to Visit First
It’s almost impossible to decide which of these dream destinations to visit first.
However, I suggest saving up for your ultimate dream destination first and then gradually working through your Travel Bucket List.
Alternatively, you can tick off the dream vacations on your continent first (which will be understandably cheaper to cover!). Then your way across the globe like a true adventurer.
Just as a heads up – massive summer road trips are an excellent way to cover multiple destinations in one go. And you can easily keep costs down by booking budget accommodation, keeping excess spending to a minimum, and looking for cheap tours and bargain tickets wherever possible.
Realistically though, any of these dream destinations will blow you away – so don’t let overthinking prevent you from getting started!