For couples seeking to create unforgettable memories together, this ultimate bucket list of travel experiences is a must-see. Whether you’re seeking adventure, romance, or cultural immersion, these 18 travel experiences offer something for every type of couple. From marvelling at the Taj Mahal as the sun rises in India to embarking on a thrilling safari in Africa, these global adventures are sure to ignite your wanderlust and create lasting memories with your loved one.
1. Visit Fascinating Oman
If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable travel experience, Oman should definitely be on your bucket list. This stunning country is located on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, bordered by the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf. With its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and luxurious accommodations, Oman is the perfect destination for couples seeking a romantic getaway or honeymoon. Cocooned by pale, rugged mountain ranges, this oft-overlooked gem of a destination is like an Arabian fantasy come to life, with deserts, bustling townships, a stretch of pristine coastline and sparkling turquoise waters. With grand palaces, ancient forts and an old walled city, the capital, Muscat, is a history lover’s dream. See another side of Oman on a trekking expedition, caving adventure or marine life tour, or climb the highest peak on the Arabian Peninsula, Jebel Shams (“Mountain of the Sun”), to watch a spectacular sunset with your loved one. Visit one of the souqs – traditional markets filled with colourful produce, homewares and clothing – or get wonderfully lost in an archaeological wonder such as the ancient Al Balid City or Al-Ayn tombs. Safe and supremely welcoming, Oman is one of the Middle East’s most fascinating destinations.
2. See The Taj Mahal in India
An essential bucket list experience in this country is a visit to one of the world’s most photographed and iconic landmarks, the Taj Mahal. Situated in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, it was built in the 1600s as a memorial for the Emperor Shah Jahan’s late third wife, and described by Rudyard Kipling as: “the embodiment of all things pure”. The breathtaking monument to love features stunning marble work and semi-precious stones, and is surrounded by immaculate ornamental gardens and water features. For a little more excitement, visit the frantic, adrenaline-filled metropolis of Delhi; explore the Ajanta Caves, Buddhist cave monuments dating from the 2nd Century BC; and lose yourself in Indian life in one of Mumbai’s exuberant bazaars.
Related: You’ll see the Taj Mahjal, along with dozens of incredible bucket-list sights, when you do India’s famous Golden Triangle. Here’s a comprehensive guide and itinerary.
3. Explore the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru
Discover the world’s most preserved porthole into ancient Incan life with an expedition to Machu Picchu, Peru’s sky-high national treasure. The breathtaking terraced site, which sits upon a mountain ridge just above the Sacred Valley, is often cloaked in wispy cloud – the craggy mountain peaks, rich green fields and crumbling stone ruins make up the iconic image that will be burned into your memory, and heart, forever. For an unforgettable Machu Picchu experience with your loved one, rise before the sun and make your way to the summit in time for its 6am opening – with the golden morning light and far fewer people, it’s a pretty special way to experience this natural wonder.
4. Temples & Culture in Thailand’s Chiang Mai
Northern Thailand’s largest city, Chiang Mai is a blossoming metropolis which blends old with new, winding its way along the Ping River. Lose yourselves in the fragrant hum of the buzzing Night Bazaar, the original trading point of the Yunnanese caravans following the Asian trade route, or view a spectacular example of classic Thai Lanna art and architecture at the Wat Phra Singh temple. If temples are your thing you won’t want to miss the mind-blowing Wat Rong Khun temple, otherwise known as the White Temple – a glowing, all-white architectural triumph featuring unbelievably intricate detailing. Take a relaxed cruise up the Ping River in a traditional scorpion-tailed boat, or venture outside of the busy city borders to reach some of the lush national parks and traditional hill tribe villages for some rest and relaxation.
Related Article: Two Weeks in Thailand: The Ultimate Itinerary.
5. Angkor and Siem Reap
Situated in northern Cambodia, the World Heritage attraction of Angkor is an archaeological site covering some 400km2. Home to astounding temples and monuments from the ancient Khmer Empire, this enormous historical site will keep you mesmerised for hours. The stone formations – some blending into the surrounding forest, camouflaged by moss and tree roots; others rising above landscaped gardens as a soaring collection of rugged stone turrets – have a mysterious, awe-inspiring presence. In the city of Siem Reap – the tourist hub just outside of Angkor – you’ll find streets lined with brightly hued French Colonial architecture, hoards of bustling tuk tuks and a raft of modern accommodation and local cuisine. A trip to this part of the world is a fascinating cultural adventure that blends the best of ancient and modern Cambodia.
Here’s your guide to ten things everybody must do when visiting Siem Reap.
6. Go On An African Safari
Whether you’re off to discover the grassy plains of Zimbabwe, the exotic jungles of Madagascar or the seaside brilliance of Mauritius, no romantic African escape is complete without a safari experience. In recent years the world of safaris has undergone a renaissance, with hobby-specific packages, über-luxurious accommodation and sublime cuisine all now part of the experience. Rise with the sun and embark on an expedition touring the knee-high grasses of the savannah; take a languid safari cruise up one of the country’s scenic waterways; or go trekking on foot on a jungle safari. Wind down at the end of the day with a gourmet dinner, followed by an outdoor bath for two, Champagne in hand and surrounded by the glow of a hundred tea lights.
7. Get lost in the Medinas of Morocco
Morocco is a vibrant, alluring destination perfect for the couple seeking a taste of the exotic. Offering romance and adventure, the exciting cultural wonderland blends a rich history with sparse desert landscapes and fascinating townships brimming with world-renowned architecture and luxurious accommodation. Dive into the mazes that are the ancient medina quarters and arrive at the doors of traditional riads, beautiful old homes and stunning palaces featuring internal courtyards and gardens. Explore colourful souqs – traditional marketplaces overflowing with spices, textiles and homewares. Escape on a day trip to the famed Atlas Mountains; take a camel ride into the Sahara Desert; or learn about Morocco’s glorious past with a visit to historical cities and ancient ruins. The partly excavated Roman city of Volubilis, located between Fes and Rabat, is a particularly special experience at sunset.
8. Explore Japan
Japan – there’s simply no place in the world like it. Home to one of Asia’s most refined and unique cultures, Japan offers a raft of truly wondrous cultural experiences. In Kyoto you can explore stunning traditional gardens and sacred temples, indulge in some of the country’s most magnificent cuisine and see traditional geisha and architecture that has been untouched for centuries. In Tokyo, cool shops, world-class restaurants and the electric city streets beckon, while an excursion out to the majestic Mount Fuji will provide an unforgettable trekking adventure. Some of Japan’s most breathtaking scenery can be seen in Kamikochi (think pristine forests, snow-capped mountain peaks and bubbling streams), and make sure you experience a quintessential Japanese bathing ritual in a natural hot spring or an onsen, Hakone is a popular onsen destination for couples to add onto a Tokyo honeymoon.
9. Cruise Halong Bay, Vietnam
Halong Bay is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Vietnam. This stunning location, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, is just a few hours’ drive from Hanoi. Halong Bay is famous for its unique seascape, which features thousands of limestone karsts, islets, and islands rising from the sparkling blue waters. Legend has it that the bay was created by descending dragons sent by the King of the Heaven Kingdom to help the ancient Vietnamese people defend against invaders. Today, visitors can explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site by boat, taking in the breathtaking scenery and learning about the area’s fascinating history.
10. See the Northern Lights in Iceland
If you’re looking to witness the stunning Northern Lights, Iceland is one of the best places to go, and its capital city, Reykjavik, is no exception. Reykjavik is a popular destination for those seeking to experience the Aurora Borealis, and it offers a variety of outdoor activities to keep you occupied during the day while you wait for the lights to appear. Compared to domestic locations like Fairbanks, Alaska, the allure of international travel makes Reykjavik an even more appealing option. Plus, you can enjoy activities like white water rafting, hiking, and soaking in hot springs, all within a short drive from the city. And, be sure to add a few days to venture further and explore Iceland’s incredible waterfalls and black sand beaches.
11. Hike the Grand Canyon, USA
The Grand Canyon is a must-see destination for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty of the United States. With breathtaking views and challenging terrain, it’s no wonder that the Rim to Rim hike is considered one of the toughest physical challenges out there. Covering either 21 or 24 miles, depending on which side you start from, this hike is not for the faint of heart. But for those who complete it, the bragging rights are eternal. So if you’re up for the challenge, lace up your hiking boots and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.
12. Visit the stunning beaches of Bali, Indonesia
Bali is a beach-lover’s paradise, with a variety of stunning beaches to choose from. Whether you’re looking for world-class surfing, crystal clear waters for diving, or simply a place to relax and soak up the sun, Bali’s beaches have it all. From the luxurious Nusa Dua resort, located on a stretch of reclaimed mangrove swamps, to the postcard-perfect Crystal Bay, a popular dive site with clear waters and white sand, there’s something for everyone. For a more dramatic scene, head to Yeh Gangga Beach, located on the barely-touched west coast of Tabanan, where you’ll find black sand and unique rock formations offshore. No matter which beach you choose, Bali’s beaches are sure to leave a lasting impression on your bucket-list.
13. See Queensland’s Incredible Carnarvon Gorge
If you’re an adventurous couple seeking a unique natural environment, Carnarvon Gorge in Queensland’s sandstone wilderness is a must-see destination. Located within Carnarvon National Park, the gorge has stunning rocky landscapes, serene rock pools, challenging hiking trails, and rich Aboriginal heritage. Although it’s a 720km drive from Brisbane, the journey through regional Queensland is equally unique and worth adding to your bucket list. So why not create unforgettable memories with your loved one during a 9-hour drive to experience one of Australia’s most exceptional natural environments? Read more with our Ultimate Guide to The Carnarvon Gorge here.
14. Visit the stunning fjords of Norway.
Norway is home to over 1,100 stunning fjords, narrow inlets of the ocean between towering cliffs. These natural wonders are formed when glaciers retreat, leaving behind space for the sea to fill in. The fjords of Norway are world-famous for their breathtaking beauty, and exploring them is a must-do for many travellers. Luckily, many fjords are accessible by car or boat. The Geirangerfjord, Norway’s most visited fjord, is a must-see, as is the Hardangerfjord, which started Norway’s tourism boom in the late 1800s. The Sognefjord, the largest fjord in Norway, is nicknamed “The King of the Fjords” and stretches over 205 kilometres long, 6 kilometres wide, and up to 1,308 meters deep. It also branches off into smaller fjords like Sognesjøen, Arnafjord, Esefjord, Nærøyfjord, and Lustrafjord.
15. Go on a cruise to Antarctica
Going on a cruise to Antarctica is a bucket-list item for many adventure seekers. Despite being one of the harshest environments on Earth, Antarctica’s stunning beauty and untouched wilderness make it a must-see destination. For centuries, explorers dreamed of reaching this uncharted continent, and now, with modern technology and transportation, it’s possible for anyone to experience the majesty of Antarctica firsthand.
16. Go on a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway in California
Take an unforgettable road trip along California’s Pacific Coast Highway, famous for its breathtaking scenery and endless attractions. You’ll encounter stunning coastlines, abundant marine life, world-class wineries, and culinary hotspots. The drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles spans 479 miles and takes approximately ten hours, but take your time. For the best views and easier access to pull-outs, we recommend driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The beauty of a road trip is slowing down and drinking in the incredible views and experiences, and the PCH offers many opportunities to stop and explore. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!
17. Take a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia in Turkey is a stunning destination that looks straight out of a storybook. The town is especially beautiful at sunrise when the sky is filled with over 100 hot air balloons. Unsurprisingly, Cappadocia has gained worldwide recognition for its breathtaking photos and videos of hot air balloons filling the sky. The area has many other attractions, such as cave houses, open-air museums, hikes, horseback riding, quad bikes, and tours, but the main reason to visit is to experience a sunrise hot air balloon ride. If you’d rather watch the hot air balloons from the ground, the best viewpoints are either your hotel rooftop terrace or the main viewpoint on the edge of Goreme, just a short walk from the centre of town. Either way, you’re guaranteed to be amazed by the incredible beauty of Cappadocia.
18. Experience the culture and history of Rome, Italy
Rome, Italy, is a city steeped in history and culture, with a legacy that spans thousands of years and should be on every couple’s bucket list. Rome has something to offer every traveller from the ancient Roman Empire to modern-day art, fashion, and cuisine. Start your journey at the Vatican Museums, where you can explore 24 galleries filled with art and artifacts from Rome’s rich history. You’ll find the Sistine Chapel and a collection of Salvador Dali’s religious masterpieces at the end of the halls. Then, visit St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the Catholic Church’s holiest temples, and marvel at its stunning architecture and intricate altars. Climb the dome for a breathtaking 360-degree view of St. Peter’s Square. For a taste of ancient Rome, visit the Colosseum and Roman Forum, where you can stand where gladiators once fought and see the epicentre of public meetings and law courts. Afterwards, head to the iconic Trevi Fountain, one of the world’s most famous fountains, and admire its majestic beauty and intricate Baroque style. Don’t forget to toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain for good luck!
If you are heading to Rome, be sure to read our complete holiday and honeymoon guide to Italy to decide what other incredible locations you’ll add to your bucket-list trip!
Another great country that should be on this list is New Zealand. But fear not, we’ve got this guide to 9 Romantic Things to Do & See in New Zealand!