It’s a big world out there with a staggering amount of destinations that will take your breath away. One seasoned traveller who can vouch for this is Staysure customer Roger Bruton, who we wrote about last month. The 65-year-old took a two month trip of a lifetime earlier this year to visit 11 different countries around the world – and is now busy planning his next adventure.
Along his bucket-list journey he enjoyed the sights and sounds in Las Vegas, trekked along the Great Wall of China and hopped on board the Trans-Siberian Express. Somewhat inspired by his adventurous activities, we decided to make our own list of ten must-see destinations that will leave travellers with serious bragging rights and memories to last a life time.
1. The Galapagos Islands (Near Ecuador)
Lauded as the most famous wild-life watching destination in the world, these islands were certainly on Charles Darwin’s bucket list when he pondered his ground-breaking theory of natural selection. A 600-mile jaunt west from Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, this remote archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and visitor numbers are restricted to preserve the wildlife. Filled with animals and birds that have no fear of humans, this is an open-air classroom for nature aficionados.
2. Machu Picchu (Peru)
The mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu were the last stronghold of the Inca Empire. Abandoned in the 16th century for reasons unknown, the network of palaces, temples and homes perch on a high ridge some 2,000 feet above the Urubamba River. Built at the height of the Inca’s power, history buffs are still unsure as to why the mountain top citadel was constructed in such a dramatic location.
3. The Grand Canyon (USA)
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, this massive gorge can be found in Arizona and is 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide in some places. Created by the Colorado River, the canyon has a number of look out points where visitors can soak up some of the most astonishing scenery on Earth.
4. Angkor Wat Temple (Cambodia)
This grand temple is used as one of the settings for the movie, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie. Built nearly 1,000 years ago this is one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed. The temple is surrounded by thick forests, meaning it still retains a romantic feeling of isolation, so you can imagine the feeling of awe when western explorers discovered it in the late 19th century.
5. Trans-Siberian Express (Russia/China/Mongolia)
Adventures don’t get much more memorable than a trip aboard this legendary train. This route connects Moscow with the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan – with connecting lines to Mongolia, China and North Korea. Built between 1891 and 1916, it’s 5,753 miles long, spans seven time zones and takes eight days to complete. It’s said to be one of the most extraordinary journeys on the planet.
6. The Taj Mahal (India)
The Taj Mahal is one of the most instantly recognisable and breath-taking buildings on Earth. It took 22 years and 20,000 stone carvers, masons and artists from across India and as far away as Turkey and Iraq to build the Taj. It was built as a tomb for the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who asked her devoted husband to build a great palace in her honour as she lay on her deathbed following childbirth. The epic task was completed in 1648.
7. The Great Wall of China
The wall to end all walls – it spans 13,171 miles from east to west China (more than twice as long as the Trans-Siberian Express!), along the historical northern borders of the country. Originally built to protect the Chinese Empire from intrusions by outside forces, construction started in the 8th century BC and continued over hundreds of years. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t see this manmade structure from space. But you can run the Great Wall Marathon and combine two bucket list entries in one!
8. The Pyramids of Giza (Egypt)
These ancient pyramids have left visitors awestruck for thousands of years. And did you know there are 138 scattered throughout Egypt? Most were built as tombs for the country’s Pharaohs. But the most famous are those found in Giza on the outskirts of Cairo, which are some of the largest structures ever built. The Pyramid of Khufu at Giza (pictured) is the largest and the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence.
9. The Northern Lights
Resembling flickering, brightly coloured rolls of smoke, nature’s greatest fireworks display has been fascinating people since time immemorial. It’s the sun that forms these auroras, as during large solar explosions particles are thrown into deep space by the sun. These interact with the Earth’s upper layers of the atmosphere in the North Pole (around 62 miles above our heads) to create these spell-binding lights. Your best chance of seeing them is in Norway, Sweden and Iceland. Although you can sign up to AuroraWatch UK to get updates on when you can see them in the UK.
10. The Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
Another one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, the Great Barrier Reef is the planet’s largest living structure. Made up of 2,900 reefs and 900 islands that stretch for 1,429 miles – it’s bigger than the UK, Switzerland and Holland combined. Unlike the Great Wall of China, the Great Barrier Reef can be seen from space. It is teeming with life and is home to 1625 types of fish, 133 varieties of sharks and rays and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins.
For more inspiration visit the Bucket List website.