By: Bryan Herb – Zoomvacations

Are you ready to embark on an extraordinary journey? Get ready to explore the world’s most sought-after bucket list places that will awaken your wanderlust and leave you with unforgettable memories. From breathtaking natural wonders to iconic historical landmarks, I have curated a list that encompasses the essence of travel and discovery. I scoured various polls to put together my list of the top 10 bucket list destinations that have captured the imagination of millions.

1. The Serene Serengeti: Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, where you can witness the Great Migration, a natural spectacle like no other. I once saw the most spectacular sunset while the migration of wildebeests happened all around our safari jeep.

2. Majestic Machu Picchu: Journey to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru and immerse yourself in the mystique of the Inca civilization, surrounded by breathtaking mountain landscapes and the Urubamba River. When people ask me what my favorite place I have ever been is, I always answer, “Machu Picchu.” It combines so many things I love in one place: It is spiritual, historic, visually impactful, and mesmerizing, and since I am a fitness and nature buff, hiking in Machu Picchu makes me incredibly happy.

3. Enchanting Santorini: Lose yourself in the allure of Santorini, Greece, with its picturesque white-washed buildings, stunning sunsets, and crystal-clear blue waters. It is also arguably the most beautiful island in the world, architecturally. My favorite thing to do is just meander through its beautiful villages.

4. Captivating Grand Canyon: Stand at the edge of one of the world’s most magnificent natural wonders, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA, and marvel at its sheer size and breathtaking beauty. I saw the Grand Canyon from the plane one time and was blown away. Then, seeing it in person was just astounding. It was so much wider than I thought it would be, even after seeing it from the sky.

5. The Pristine Maldives: Escape to the idyllic paradise of the Maldives, where crystal-clear turquoise waters meet powdery white sand beaches. Dive into a vibrant underwater world and encounter an abundance of marine life. Indulge in luxury resorts, unwind in private overwater bungalows, and experience true tranquility on this tropical island getaway. Some people think that the Maldives is a couples destination. I actually had one of the best vacations of my life, in the Maldives by myself. I snorkeled, took surfing lessons, had spa treatments, took cooking lessons, met new people, relaxed—it was amazing.

6. Cultural Extravaganza in Kyoto: Immerse yourself in the rich Japanese heritage and tradition as you explore the temples, gardens, and geisha districts of Kyoto. The centuries-old Fushimi Inari Shrine, in particular, is pretty spectacular. The shrine consists of a path leading up 233-meter-tall Mt. Inari and is dotted with many stone altars (otsuka) and marked by approximately 10,000 torii gates, which are orange upside down U’s as tall as inches to dozens of feet.

7. Ancient Wonder of Petra: Discover the hidden city of Petra in Jordan, carved into the rose-red cliffs, and unlock the secrets of this archaeological marvel. I think what is most captivating about Petra is how you enter. After you walk about a mile through a gorgeous narrow canyon, Petra becomes visible at the end, carved into the rocky mountain behind it. There is something beautiful about the lighting at Petra, that you have to experience firsthand to understand.

8. Magical Northern Lights: Witness the mesmerizing dance of colors in the night sky as you chase the elusive Northern Lights in destinations like Norway, Iceland, or Canada. Or, you can get lucky like I did, and see the Aurora Borealis while on a flight. When I flew from Norita, Japan to Chicago, the flight attendant woke me up to show me the Northern Lights, which were incredibly vivid and magical from that vantage point.

9. Iconic Taj Mahal: Marvel at the architectural masterpiece that is the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, and experience the eternal love story behind this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The thing that impressed me most about the Taj Mahal, is that the entire building is adorned with semiprecious inlaid stones. We all have seen pictures of the Taj and know that it is a beautiful structure. But the intricate carvings can only really be appreciated when you are there in person.

10. Enigmatic Easter Island: I decided to close with the only one that I haven’t been to, and it is currently my number one Bucket List destination. Some day I will venture to the remote Easter Island, Chile, and gaze at the enigmatic moai statues that have baffled historians and archaeologists for centuries. Who’s with me?

While these reflect the top destinations that kept appearing over and over as I researched, I have to say that Bagan, Myanmar and the gorilla safari experience in Rwanda could definitely make this list, and towards the top. Bagan is famous for its thousands of temples that were built from the 9th to 11th centuries. The best way to see them is as I did, via hot air balloon at sunrise, as the morning mist rolls off the Irrawaddy River, covering the base of temples like an ethereal dream. As for seeing the gorillas up-close and personal in Rwanda, when you lock eyes with a gorilla, just a matter of feet from you in the wild, it feels immensely spiritual, and almost like a kind of awakening.

These 10 bucket list destinations are a testament to the diverse beauty and cultural richness our world has to offer. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking new adventures, these iconic places will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on your soul. So, pack your bags, embrace the unknown, and let the journey of a lifetime begin.

Bryan Herb is co-owner
of Zoom Vacations®,
a US company that creates stylish
international private events and gay group vacations to the world’s hottest destinations. Learn more about them at or call 773.772.9666.