While last year may have put a dampener on many people’s travel plans, it’s encouraged a lot of us to dream bigger and seek out something a little more thrilling than two weeks by a pool.
The next 12 months are perfect for trying a new adventure, shaking off the weight of the last few years and maybe even traveling solo, while ticking off some bucket list places to visit. Some of you may already have the perfect adventure in your sights – but, to those who haven’t yet decided, we’ve got you. Use this fresh list of 22 bucket list ideas to serve as inspiration for your next adventure. Build your ideal travel bucket list, feed your wanderlust, set your imagination free, and look forward to a fantastic 2022.
So here they are: 22 bucket list ideas for 2022, your ultimate list. Let’s get into it.
1. Abseil Table Mountain, South Africa
Towering over Cape Town at 1,086 meters, majestic Table Mountain is one of South Africa’s most iconic landmarks. Aptly named after its flat top summit, the trek to up is a steep challenge but the views that unfold, as you make that final crest, are truly breathtaking. Of course, the way down might take your breath away a little more – step right off the edge and grit your teeth, as you abseil down its sheer cliff face to the city below. This one is an adrenaline-fuelled bucket list activity that’ll leave you pumped with a sense of achievement for, well, ever.
2. Volunteer at a turtle hatchery in Sri Lanka
Some of the most spectacular bucket list destinations would be nowhere near as special without the local wildlife, so what could be more special than helping baby turtles make their way to the ocean? Sri Lanka has a number of turtle conservation projects where you can learn more about how their volunteers care for these endangered marine creatures, before taking a twist on a typical beach trip to help ferry the tiny hatchlings out to the water.
3. Venture into the dark and light cave by kayak, Vietnam
The rich emerald waters and towering limestone cliffs of Ha Long Bay make it a bit of a tourist hotspot, but there are plenty of secret patches where you can duck away from the crowds and enjoy this natural wonder at your own pace. One of these is the “Dark and Light” cave, which you explore by kayak. An expedition through the network of this cave will bring you into areas so dark you won’t be able to see your hand in front of your face.
4. See the wildebeest migration up-close, Tanzania
Every year, more than 1.5 million wildebeest move in a vast loop across the Serengeti plains, in search of seasonal rains. Named one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa, the extraordinary spectacle is often described as the greatest show on Earth. The Bush Rover Suites, a mobile camp that moves with the migration, is a great way of seeing the drama of these beautiful creatures up-close. You’ll get to stay in luxury converted Land Rovers, complete with hand-drawn baths, sundowners on your balcony overlooking the bush, and campfire appetisers. Best of all, you’ll have a captivating view of the migration that is unrivalled by most other travellers in the region.
5. Try sunrise volcano trekking in Bali
This one is a hiking experience unlike any other – for starters, you rise early at 2am. It’s for good reason, though, as you’ll reach the summit on Mount Batur just in time to see the sky alight with orange, pink and lavender streaks as the sun rises. One of Bali’s most sacred mountains, this pre-dawn walk is a special experience, with cool mountain air dancing through your hair and starlit skies guiding the way above. Back down on ground level, head for a prosecco breakfast to celebrate the morning’s achievement and bask in the glory of having conquered Mount Batur.
6. Bathe in the holy spring waters of Tirta Empul Temple, Bali
Ubud in Bali is a beloved travel spot, garnering it a place on many people’s bucket list of travel destinations. There’s so much to do, but our top pick involves a visit to Tirta Empul Temple. It’s this temple that Balinese Hindus come to for ritual purification because of its holy spring water source, and there are guides that will take you through the process and allow you to take part in this ritual yourself. Top off this experience by partaking in a private meditation in a beautiful secluded garden with a local Hindu worshipper.
7. Go husky sledding in Finland
Nothing can quite prepare you for the awe-inspiring moment a pack of huskies begin to pull you across the pillowy snow and through silent forests for the first time – it’s a bucket list ride that truly takes your breath away. You’ll glide across the icy tundra on a nine-kilometer husky safari, as your pack race their way through Finland’s wild winter playground. Back at base, your guide will invite you to say hello to all the dogs, and thank them for their hard work. You’ll even meet a few husky puppies…
8. Kayak down the waterfalls of Croatia
Majestic waterfalls. Serene kayaking. Both incredible in their own right. Put them together, in Croatia, and you’ve got an afternoon packed with the adrenaline of white-water rafting and the tranquility of being on water. To take on this bucket list idea, you’ll venture into Mrežnica, with its emerald rivers and secluded forests, and spend hours paddling down the river. Along the way, you’ll wild swim in natural pools and leap from white cliffs, as well as navigating your raft down small (but goosebump-inducing) waterfalls.
9. Bathe in thermal spring waters by the ancient city of Hierapolis, Turkey
At the UNESCO World Heritage site of Pamukkale in Turkey, you can explore the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis, before soaking any aching muscles in the restorative waters of the Cleopatra Pools. The pastel hues of this otherworldly landscape are truly beautiful. “Pamukkale” means cotton castle in Turkish, and unusual surroundings are created by the flowing thermal spring water leaving behind a carbonate mineral. The Cleopatra Pools themselves contain fallen pillars and ancient columns, which means after exploring the ancient city, you can swim past its relics, too.
10. Glamp on a secret island in the Philippines
Who wouldn’t want to stay in luxury on their own secret island? This is bucket list adventure at its finest. Board a private boat around islands of Northern Palawan, setting sail through a series of limestone karsts, caves and lagoons along the coast. Later in the afternoon, you’ll arrive at a secret island, where you’ll camp for the next two nights in unique mesh tents – ideal for long evenings spent stargazing. To top it off, a private chef will be at hand to conjure up a beach BBQ and sunset cocktails by the waves.
11. Discover authentic Japanese food with an expert in Osaka, Japan
The bright lights and bustling streets of Osaka could feel overwhelming, but with a guide by your side you can easily discover the gastronomical delights this foodie city has to offer. A local guide can take you from the best restaurants to lesser-known but delicious street food carts to help you find the best authentic, age-old dishes the city has to offer. Sure, you could be led around by online ratings, but a local will take the experience to a whole new level.
12. Take in the temple of Teotihuacán by hot air balloon in Mexico
Surrounded by volcanic peaks and verdant highlands greenery, the Great City of Teotihuacán was once one of the greatest cities in the Western Hemisphere. This famous archaeological site is less than 30 miles away from Mexico City and while exploring by foot is a bucket list experience in itself, viewing this ancient city from the skies brings it to whole new heights. Hop into a hot air balloon and grab a glass of something bubbly for an experience you’ll remember for years to come.
13. See the Northern Lights of Iceland
There are plenty of Icelandic adventures that make it on to travel bucket lists, from soaking in the Blue Lagoon to viewing the Northern Lights. But did you know about its incredible hotel scene, too? Hotel Rangá is right at the top of the list. Set in a remote region of the Icelandic countryside, here you’ll have access to geothermal hot tubs, luxurious rooms, and world-class Icelandic cuisine. There’s even an observatory on-site for viewing and photographing those elusive Northern Lights
14. Dine in a prehistoric cave in Argentina
A spot of artwork surrounding you while you eat may be par for the course in many restaurants, but adventure out to Los Glaciares National Park and you can tuck into fantastic Argentinian cuisine while gazing upon ancient rock art and stencilled handprints dating back thousands of years. This is a great bucket list idea for history lovers, adventurers and foodies alike. You’ll also be surrounded by remote canyons and caves on the shores of Argentino Lake, so it’s worth making a day of it so you can work up an appetite exploring this ancient landscape.
15. Discover the delights of coffee tasting in Colombia
There will be no basic bean juice on this bucket list travel experience. Instead you’ll be able to sip on the best of the good stuff while learning all about Colombia’s small-scale, sustainably produced coffee. By taking a trip to a small, family-run coffee farm, you’ll be able to get a taste of how local haciendas produce coffee in Colombia’s more remote mountain regions. Followed up with some of the best brews you’ll ever taste, and a traditional lunch to truly get a taste for vibrant Colombia.
16. Glamp under desert stars in the Sahara, Morocco
From a secret tropical island to remote desert glamping under starry skies, this one is another top travel bucket list experience. Drive out into the Sahara, as the scenic Atlas Mountains flatten out into sand dunes over a five-hour cruise until you hit your bed for the night at Sahara Luxury Camp. Bringing together the raw beauty of the Sahara with home comforts like plush beds, hot water bottles, modern showers and plenty of furniture to lounge around on, this is desert glamping in style. Desert hikes, quad biking, yoga and camel rides are all on offer but you’ll be equally happy under canvas, sampling the chefs’ authentic Moroccan dishes, and then venturing out at nightfall for a spot of stargazing.
17. Stay on a private island in Finland
An essential on many an adventurer’s bucket list, catching a glimpse of Mother Nature’s spectacular Aurora Borealis is as magical as it is phenomenal. And staying at Hotel Vartiosaari, situated a little-known private island in the heart of Finnish Lapland, is likely to give you a front-row view. Kick back at this beautiful retreat – which can only be accessed by a bridge connecting it to the mainland – for a winter wonderland that belongs exclusively to you and your group of fellow solo travelers. On a clear night, the views are unbeatable.
18. Search for octopi in South Africa
If you’re a fan of the Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher, this bucket-list experience will speak to you. The eerie kelp forests off the coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa, are an excellent spot for an underwater adventure. Strap on a snorkel to swim your way around this incredible subterranean kingdom known for its gully sharks, seals and, of course, those magnificent octopi. An expert local kelp forest guide will take you to all the best spots, on a private tour away from the crowds.
19. Hike the back door route to Petra, Jordan
The Rose City of Petra – one of the New Seven Wonders of the World – was carved into a sheer rock face over 2,000 years ago, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was rediscovered in the 19th century (and propelled to 2oth Century fame by Indiana Jones).
The best way to appreciate this jaw-dropping Nabatean kingdom is by hiking a secret back-door route through the desert – meaning you get to appreciate its ancient beauty as it emerges out of the landscape, with a perspective that is unique from most other tourists. Ascend a steep stairway over the rocks, before exploring the labyrinth of caves, temples and tombs chiselled out of the dusty-pink cliffs.
20. Zipline through the lush Costa Rican rainforest
Costa Rica tops a lot of travelers’ dream destination lists, but what should you do when you get there? Well, something adventurous is a must, add in a spot of adrenaline too and we think ziplining through the rainforest has to be on your bucket list of travel ideas. Over in the stunning Arenal Volcano National Park, you can take an aerial tram up to the highest point of the mountain, from where you can not only take in spectacular views of both the volcano and nearby lake, but also take on an adventure course through the rainforest that’s simply unforgettable. From high ropes to waterfall abseiling and canyoning, all through some of the most incredible terrain; but don’t miss the zip line. After all, how many people can say they’ve flown through a rainforest canopy?
21. Watch the sunrise over the Taj Mahal, India
If there’s one thing worth getting up early for, it’s the sunrise at the Taj Mahal – a bucket list travel experience too good to leave out for fear of tourist crowds. This white marble mausoleum was built in the 17th century on the orders of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, in tribute to his favourite wife. It changes color throughout the day and in the pre-dawn light, you can see the ornate minarets glow a pearly pink. As the night mist clears and the sun begins to rise, watch the sky turn fiery red as you take in one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
22. Mountain bike to Incan ruins in Peru
Traverse across a landscape like no other on two wheels in Peru, for a bucket list travel idea that encompasses both history and adventure. There are few better ways to cross the Sacred Valley, within which you’ll find the ancient ruins of Moray, where the Incas built incredible architectural platforms and terraces for agricultural research. From here, head on to the vast salt mines of Maras. Here, thousands of salt pans stretch out across the hillside and are quite a sight. You can also peddle on over to more ancient ruins; the tiny stone houses forged into the cliff face are the pre-Incan ruins of Pichingoto.