• 18 July 2019

Make 2020 the year of adventure and brand-new experiences by ticking off these ultimate bucket-list trips. Whether you’re looking for your next travel bucket list ideas, or simply need some fun experiences to spice up your life, we have exactly what you need!

We’ve found some must-try bucket list places, experiences, and activities, and put them together for you to choose from. In no particular order, here are the 20 things you have to try at least once this year. 

1. Start the Year Right – Celebrate Hogmanay in Edinburgh

Hogmanay is the Scottish word for New Year, and it is celebrated fervently and vibrantly throughout the country each year. The Scots never turn down a good party, and Hogmanay will usually pan out over 3 days. 

The most electric city to be in during these celebrations is, of course, the capital. Edinburgh fills with laughter, lights, and lots of cheer as locals and visitors alike dine on feasts and wash it down with the finest whiskeys. Make sure you start your year of travel the best way possible – by ringing in the New Year in Edinburgh!

Hogmanay in Edinburgh

Related: Join Expat on a New Year’s tour through Great Britain and ring in the new year with a Scottish twist. 

2. Get Up-Close to the Ocean’s Gentle Giants

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to a giant Humpback whale? Probably not as close as you’ll get while on a whale watching tour along the coast of South Africa’s Garden Route. 

These magnificent beasts are easily spotted during the winter months, and the experience is truly breathtaking. Guided by knowledgeable locals, you can sail out into the water and stop within the splash zone as they break the surface –  a delight for everyone! You may even spot the southern right whales and dolphins! 

Whale watching in Hermanus, South Africa

The Garden Route and its magnificent whale watching opportunity is just one reason to take a tour through South Africa.

3. See the Stars From the Surface of the Moon (Almost)

Moon Valley in the Atacama desert is undoubtedly the driest desert in the world. So much so, that its name, Moon Valley, fits it so well, as the landscapes are quite out-of-this-world. From here, you can enjoy undiluted views of the stars above, away from the city lights and air pollution. 

A close up view of the moon in the Atacama desert

This is a truly magical sight, and watching the sunset over the Valley is an unforgettable experience. Add Moon Valley to your bucket list places to visit in the world, and then tick it off along our spectacular Argentina, Chile and Bolivia Jewel tour.

4. Discover Some of the World’s Iconic Mud Volcanoes

Azerbaijan may not be one of the most obvious bucket list destinations, but it sure does offer a unique view of the world. The mud volcanoes here are a sight unlike any other and are sure to be an interesting addition to any trip. 

Local guides safely escort you through the Gobustan National Park in Azerbaijan where you can witness these unimaginable landmarks for yourself. 

Mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan

Related: Enjoy a guided group tour to Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia to discover unique and enthralling treasures. 

5. Taste Traditional Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire pudding is a baked batter pudding that goes with just about any meal! Traditionally an English dish, this delightful pudding is, of course, best enjoyed in Britain. Savour the hearty bread-like pudding with an authentic Sunday roast, consisting of roast beef, roast potatoes, vegetables and delicious gravy. 

Traditional Sunday roast with Yorkshire pudding

While the recipe for this scrumptious dish can be found anywhere, no one quite makes it like the Brits. Cross this unique experience off your bucket list experiences by joining us for a tour of Great Britain

6.  Zipline over an Ancient Temple

Angkor Wat is an iconic landmark in Cambodia. This abandoned religious monument draws in crowds all year round. The stunning combination of stone temples and the large tree roots and plants that have begun to grow over the ruins, which make it a sight to behold. 

Famous Angkor Wat temple as seen in Tomb Raider

Enjoy the fascinating views from atop, while soaring through the trees on a thrilling zipline adventure. Visit Angkor Wat and all of its magnificence while experiencing the Taste of Cambodia tour

7. Meet Rare Animals in Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park, in Croatia, is home to many rare animals. Take the opportunity to meet unique mammals, birds, and insects. The park is large, and made of many diverse eco habitats. 

Find multiple species of bats within natural caves, various types of fish swimming about in the lakes, and numerous bird species to enthral you.  

Salamander seen in its natural habitat in Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Related: Explore beautiful countries like Croatia and more on the Balkan Explorer Tour. 

8. Experience a 5-Star Nile Cruise Trip

Egypt has many captivating gems to explore. While the pyramids and camel rides are definitely must-sees and dos, another unmissable activity is a cruise down the Nile. This activity takes you down the mighty river and allows you to stop in the towns and cities along the riverbanks. 

Famous Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx in Egypt

View ancient ruins, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and many other fascinating landmarks in Egypt. You can experience all of this and more on a 5-star cruise while on our Nile Jewel group tour!

9. Travel Up to Highest Point in Europe 

Stand at the top of Europe in Jungfrau – Europe’s highest point. The train journey to the top is an experience in itself! This splendid attraction offers captivating views, as well as the grand sight of the Swiss Alps’ year-round snow. 

The train to Jungfrau making its way up the mountain

Visit the ice palace, the Lindt chocolate heaven, and the Sphinx observation deck. Make the Swiss Alps one of your stops while discovering the Best of Europe this year!

10. Make Friends with the Big 5

Africa’s Big 5 includes the lion, rhino, elephant, leopard, and Cape buffalo. These magnificent mammals are found in very specific places throughout the continent. Mostly, they’re found in nature reserves and parks, able to roam freely in their natural habitats whilst still being protected from hunters and poachers. 

Enjoy guided safari drives through the Kruger National Park. There is no better way to spend time in the African wilderness!

Safari through Kruger National Park

Related: Spend 3 full days exploring the Kruger Safari Park on our guided group tour.

11. Be an Argentinian Cowboy (or Girl) for a Day

If you’ve ever dreamt of being a cowboy, soaring freely on horseback through a fully-functional ranch, you’re in luck. A trip to Argentina’s ranch land offers exactly that. 

Beautiful horse ready for an adventure

Visit a true ‘Estancia’ (cattle ranch) with real gaucho (Argentinian cowboys) located out on South America ‘pampas’ (plains). Here you can ride a stallion, and learn the ins and outs of running the ranch. Do this all while enjoying the day with a friendly local family as they welcome you into their home. Take this opportunity while travelling through Argentina on a guided tour of South America.

12. Sip on Spanish Wine

While wine can be enjoyed in most places around the world, there is something truly special and unique about Spanish wine. Take a trip to northern Spain (the famous wine-growing region) and enjoy an inside look at how this delightful drink is made. 

Spanish wine in the cellar

With the warm weather and spectacular countryside, a wine tasting in Spain is the paradise you’re looking for. Enjoy a wine cellar visit while experiencing the true Taste of Spain.

13. Take Your First Tai Chi Lesson

This ancient form of martial arts is known for its amazing health benefits – especially helping with clearing the mind and is a moving meditation. If you’ve never tried it before, we suggest you take this year to tick Tai Chi off your bucket list!

Tai Chi on the Golden cruise ship in Ha Long Bay

What could be better than learning Thai Chi on the sundeck as you cruise through iconic Ha Long Bay? Start your morning with a sunrise Thai Chi lesson on a trip through Vietnam and Cambodia. 

14.  Visit a Fairytale French Castle

Throw in a magical twist to your bucket list by adding a French Castle onto your to-do list. Make the most of a trip to France and visit the many Chateaux scattered across the picturesque countryside. These glorious buildings hold years of history, and most are kept as close to their original state as possible. 

Visit the castles and admire their beauty from the inside and out. Take some beautiful holiday photos, as you will want to save these memories forever. 

Famous French castle Chateau d’Azay le Rideau

Related: Take a guided France tour and let our Expat tour leaders show you all the gorgeous hidden gems in the magnificent French countryside. 

15. Receive the ‘Gift of the Gab’ – Kiss the Blarney Stone

Legend says that those who travel to kiss the Blarney Stone, in Ireland, will receive the gift of the gab (speaking easily and confidently – in a way that makes people want to listen to you). Whether you want to improve your public speaking skills, have always wanted to kiss a stone, or simply want a photo of this legendary landmark, this is a must!

The Blarney stone

The Blarney Stone is found outside the Blarney Castle, which is one of the stops you’ll make on an Expat Irish Explorer trip. 

16. See the Stunning Turkish Landscapes from a Hot Air Balloon

Not often topping travellers’ bucket lists, Turkey offers so much more than you’d think. Spanning over both Europe and Asia, Turkey is a melting pot of culture, heritage, and stunning landscapes.

Beautiful sunrise from a hot air balloon in Turkey

There is so much to see and do from the ground, but it’s from the sky that you get to see the true mix of sights and sounds in this fascinating country. A hot air balloon ride gives a fairytale feel whilst sightseeing from up high. Experience this, and more thrilling activities as you discover all the Highlights of Turkey.

17. Hike Up a Volcano

Hiking up gorgeous mountains is, in itself, a bucket list item. Hiking up a volcano, however, is on a whole new level when it comes to bucket-list travel ideas. While many volcanoes around the world would be unsafe for such an activity, there are a few that are dormant, and more than safe to hike up.

Arenal Volcano hanging bridge

The Arenal Volcano National Park offers such a volcano, surrounded by natural beauty and manmade adventure activities. If you’re daring enough, take a guided hike up Arenal Volcano during a Panama & Costa Rica Escape

18. Cycle over the Canals and Through Dutch Countryside

An activity that one should take part in at least once in their lives – bicycling through the Netherlands. From the charming fishing villages all the way to the popular city of Amsterdam, the roads are easy to cycle and offer famously scenic views. 

While the canals are ideal to cruise along, the many bridges and flower-lined banks make them the perfect place to enjoy a picturesque cycle as well. 

Bicycles used to explore the Dutch Countryside

Related: Take advantage of a free day in Amsterdam when joining our group tour through Eastern Europe.

19. Rejuvenate in the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea, which is, in fact, a salt lake in Israel, is well-known for its health benefits. The water is extremely salty and is thought to be especially great for your skin. The mud from the lake is also used for treatments in many of the local spas. 

Dead Sea salt shore in Israel

Give your body a treat and take the opportunity to float in the Dead Sea when exploring the Highlights of Israel and Jordan.

20. Visit a Norwegian Viking Village

The chance to meet an authentic Viking doesn’t come around every day. It is often thought that the Vikings and their culture completely disappeared after their king was killed in 1066. However, in Norway, there are quaint villages where traditional Vikings still live. 

You can visit them and see their way of life as you are welcomed in to see the traditions that they have long preserved throughout the years. 

Traditional Viking house in Norway

Related: Go on a Scandanavian Escape to see the beauties of Norway, Sweden, Copenhagen, and more!


With these fantastic options to add to your bucket list, travel is bound to be high up on your to-do list for 2020. Enjoy these amazing experiences as a solo traveller, or with your nearest and dearest. However you decide to travel this year, you’re in for the time of your life. 

If you’re still not sure where your next journey should lead you, get in touch with our team and we’ll help you pick the best tour for you.  

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