Safe to say, 2020 has not been the best year. While you might have perfected your downward facing dog and banana bread recipe, the year of coronavirus has lacked in lots of ways. Career aspirations? Cancelled. Festivals? Forget it. Travel plans? You must be joking. Sigh.
Still, we can dream. And what’s more, we can plan! This is all bound to end sooner or later, and when it does, you can be sure we’re hopping on the first flight out of here to enjoy a much-needed change of scenery.
If you’ve spent most of the pandemic scrolling through social, you might have some ideas about where to head to first. Still not sure? Check out our 2021 bucket list for inspiration. Then pull your plans together while you have time to spare and book your next trip without the fuss, whenever normality rolls back around.
See some classic and unheard of hotspots in Europe
Europe is a treasure trove of bucket-list destinations. Depending on where you choose, you can hit up a few hot spots in one trip and get working on that bucket list in double quick time. Fitting a year of missed holidays into one trip is looking more and more doable!
1. Experience Midnight in Paris for yourself for a night to remember
Can it really get better than visiting the Eiffel tower at night for a sparkling show? The bulb-encrusted monument is the jewel in the crown of Paris. And there’s nothing like Paris for a little romance either! Tourist hotspots aren’t always worth it, but it’s hard to argue with this one.
2. To see flying squirrels (yes you read that right), head to Finland’s Nuuksio National Park
Nature lover? Have we got the bucket list adventure for you! You’ll find the Nuuksio National Park just outside Helsinki. It’s truly spectacular and is packed with mile after mile of mountain biking and hiking trails as well as picture-perfect forest-fringed lakes. It’s also home to plenty of rare flying squirrels – you have to see them to believe it! Don’t forget to look to the sky, you don’t want to miss them.
3. Channel Russell Crowe in Rome
If you haven’t seen Gladiator, what have you been doing? We recommend watching the film, then visiting Rome’s Colosseum to channel your inner champion. We love Rome and it really doesn’t get more classic Rome than this – the giant ruined open-air theatre is one of the most impressive landmarks in Europe, with a centuries-old history that you can learn all about on your tour.
4. Float around Puglia’s Polignano a Mare
You’ll find Puglia right at the heel of Italy’s boot. Not heard of it? You’re not alone. It’s actually one of the country’s lesser-known regions – which means you can often get to enjoy it just with the locals. And when you’re in Puglia, there’s nothing like heading straight for Polignano a Mare to join the locals in crystal-clear waters, followed by handmade pasta and Aperol nearby. Best day ever?
5. Head to Iceland to explore the Land of Fire and Ice (not Westeros)
There’s more to Iceland than Reykjavík (but add that to your wish list too). For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for us it’s all about Vík. So, what’s Vík we hear you ask? Well it’s a seafront village in the shadow of the Mýrdalsjökull ice cap. And why should it be on your bucket list? The black sand and dramatic rock formations at Reynisfjara beach are sure to leave you speechless. You can thank us later for this one.
6. Pretend you’re a celeb and drive the French Riviera in style
There are few things better than a road trip. Throw in the glistening Med, rolling vineyards, and glamorous port cities to stop along the way, and you’ve got yourself a bucket list holiday. So, when’s the best time to go? Anytime really if you ask us – but if you visit in June or August you’ll see the area’s famous lavender in bloom.
7. Get your fix of secret (and not-so-secret) beaches in Albania
Stick with us on this one! Yes Albania might not be the first place you think of when you’re planning your next beach holiday, but what you might not know is that Albania is home to a Caribbean-ish coastline, complete with turquoise waters and white sand beaches. So, where should you go first? Our favourite spots include Drymades, Ksamil, and Gijpe.
8. Break out your hipster threads and dive into underground Berlin
The German capital is known for its underground culture. See the landmarks, sure – you are in Berlin after all! But a visit here wouldn’t be complete without a trip into the underbelly of the city. Don’t worry it’s not as scary as it sounds! It’s pretty fun actually. The city is packed with hidden gems, like tiny clubs, cult galleries, and independent eateries. So, where are the best hangouts found? Make sure you head out of central Mitte into Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, and beyond.
9. Celebrate diversity at Amsterdam Pride
Ever been to Pride before? Pride weekends offer some of the most memorable parties around. And Amsterdam’s offering is (shock) one of the best in the world. We’re thinking watching the canal boat parade with a drink in-hand, then weaving between spontaneous street parties and clubs long into the night. Sounds fun, right?
10. Take your new most-liked photo at Lake Bled
Never heard of Lake Bled? This is a classic spot for those looking to discover the best of Europe. And for lots of good reasons. From shocking blue waters and the medieval Bled Castle to the hiking, biking, and water-sports possibilities the area offers, this is a trip you’ll remember forever.
Australia and New Zealand’s Bucket List destinations
And if that got you thinking about ticking off your bucket list destinations in Europe, what about Australia and New Zealand too? Now this really can be the stuff of dreams!
Australia and New Zealand are always worth a visit if you can set aside a few weeks for your trip. Ready for some once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list stuff? In our next post we’ll run through our unmissable experiences in Australasia in full, giving you your essential need-to-knows. But these are our favourites – just to whet your appetite.
1. Snorkel or scuba on the Great Barrier Reef
2. Gawp at Uluru, or Ayres Rock, at sunrise or sunset
3. Drive the Great Ocean Road
4. Look out for crocs (the reptile, not the shoe) in the Daintree Rainforest
5. Flex your tan on Byron Bay beaches
6. Bodyboard down dunes at Ninety Mile Beach
7. Hike or kayak to Cathedral Cove
8. Visit the Shire (no, really, it’s called Hobbiton)
9. See whales in the wild at Kaikōura
10. Glimpse the southern lights, aurora australis, the northern lights’ magical relative
So, where are you heading to first in 2021? Or 22, or whenever you next make it out of the country. Until then, dream, plan, and scout out the best bucket list hotspots to make your next trip, the trip of a lifetime.