12 Bucket List Cities You Need to Visit

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12 Epic Bucket List Cities You Should Visit

When we think of our bucket list destinations, it’s usually made up of countries, however, it’s the cities within a country that draw us in! In my opinion, a bucket list can always grow! Well, at least mine does with every swipe through Instagram and Pinterest!

If you are looking for some travel inspiration for cities that have amazing food, great people, and unique experiences, make sure these 12 cities (in no particular order) make it onto your travel bucket list! I have personally visited each of these cities, so you are not just reading some random round-up! 

Temple of Zeus in Athens Greece

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1. Reykavik, Iceland

With dramatic landscapes, glaciers, and waterfalls galore, Iceland has made it to the top of most travelers’ bucket lists, including the main city of Reykjavik! This unique city has a town vibe with colorful buildings, tons of restaurants (serving unique food), and a glimpse of the Northern Lights during the winter months! Find Iceland travel tips here, or use this Iceland itinerary to inspire your trip! 

reykjavik Church in Iceland
Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavik

2. Ubud, Bali

Picture lush jungles, rice patties, and waterfalls. Welcome to Ubud, Bali’s spiritual hub and heart of the island! I can’t tell you how many times we contemplated moving here. Have you ever just visited a place and felt like your home? This is that kind of city. 

When visiting Ubud Bali, make sure to add visiting the Water Palace, Tegalalang Rice Terraces, the Tegenungan Waterfall, and the Sacred Monkey Forest to your Bali Bucket list!

The Rice Paddies in the city of Ubud, Bali should be on everyones bucket list
Ubud, Bali Rice Paddy Fields

3. Old San Juan, PR

If you love visiting cities on the water with vibrant colors and Caribbean flare, then Old San Juan, Puerto Rico deserves to be at the top of your bucket list! Old San Juan is actually said to be the oldest USA city. Visit Old Forts, explore through the most colorful allies, indulge in amazing food, meet some of the nicest people in the world, and get endless ocean views!

You can easily spend your whole Puerto Rican itinerary within Old San Juan, however, I also suggest getting outside this city and exploring this island! Feeling inspired to visit Old San Juan yet? Here are the best photo spots in Puerto Rico, along with the best things to do in Puerto Rico!

Colorful Streets in Old San Juan Puerto Rico
Colorful Streets in Old San Juan

4. Paris, France

Paris is the first European city that stole our hearts. With famous monuments, charming streets, art, and crepes galore, this is one of the best European cities to visit and belongs on everyone’s bucket list… seriously! Paris has tied for our number 1 favorite city we have ever visited. I think the saying goes, Paris is always a good idea. This statement couldn’t be more true!

When visiting Paris, you won’t want to miss the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and Versailles!

Ready to book your trip? Here is a 5 day Paris itinerary, top Paris AttractionsParis travel tips, and the best Paris photo spots for your viewing pleasure!

The City of Paris is easily a bucket list destination sitting under the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower in Paris

5. Los Angeles, California

The city of Angels offers boho vibes, endless stretches of beaches, awesome food with a south-of-the-border kick, and palm trees for days. Enjoy great California weather all year round, and if you get lucky, you might even get to bump shoulders with some celebrities. What more do you need for a bucket list city, am I right?!

Some of the best things to do while visiting LA include seeing the Hollywood Sign, visiting Griffith Observatory, and walking down the Venice Boardwalk – all of which are free things to do in LA.

Update: After being back in LA, and then visiting San Diego, I would put San Diego above LA.

Hollywood Sign in the City of LA
Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, California

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Besides being one of the most charming cities in the USA, Philly has a ton to offer! Take a walk back in time through United States history. See the Liberty Bell and where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

You might even want to take a walk down the oldest inhabited neighborhood in the US or chant the Rocky theme song while running up the steps. Philadephia is easily one of the top bucket list cities in the USA. Here are some photo-worthy places in Philly to inspire your trip!

Elfreth’s Alley Philly

7. Rome, Italy

Another one of our favorite cities and total bucket list destination goes to Rome. Find the best food you have ever tasted, the most romantic cobblestone allies, ancient Roman ruins, a heap of beautiful Rome fountains, and so much more! Tied with Paris (for me), Rome will always hold a special place in our hearts and once you visit, I am sure yours too!

Known as the Eternal City, some things you won’t want to miss include the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Roman Forum, and Vatican City! Feeling inspired to visit Rome yet? Here are some of the best free things to do in Rome and some photo-worthy places in Rome to inspire your trip!

The Roman Forum
Ancient Roman Ruins in Rome, Italy

8. New York City, USA

The city of dreams, the city that never sleeps, the big apple, the concrete jungle, there’s nothing you can’t do, welcome to New York. Ok peeps, I might be biased since I’ve lived in New York for over 11 years, but this city is definitely special.

NYC has a culture in itself with people of all walks of life, pizza that makes my mouth water, incredible architecture, and a new meaning for the phrase hustle and bustle. I can easily say New York City has something for everyone and belongs on every bucket list! Additionally, NYC at night is also incredible! Here is an epic 4 day itinerary for New York! Want more NYC inspiration? Here are the best photo spots in NYC and the best NYC skyline views!

New York Travel Skyline
New York City Skyline

9. Lahaina, Maui (Hawaii)

In search of tropical views with low-key city vibes? Look no further than Lahaina in Maui, Hawaii! Within the tiny city that more so resembles a town, find a chain of restaurants, art galleries, the largest Banyon tree, and local vendors. Expect jaw-dropping beaches, crystal blue water, and even some Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles!

This is the perfect bucket list city to visit if you want to mainly relax with a cute little town vibe! Here is your ultimate Maui itinerary here!

Sea Turtle in Maui Hawaii
Swim with sea turtles with 5 days in Maui

10. Bangkok, Thailand

According to Forbes, did you know that Bangkok, Thailand, has been the most visited city in the past 4 years?! That has to be saying something for being one of the top bucket list cities! If you have never been to this side of the world, Bangkok can hit you with a bit of culture shock with its bustling streets, strange taxis (tuk-tuk), and open markets.

Even though Bangkok can be a little overwhelming at first, it’s a great city with kind people, great food, and hands down,  some of the most incredible temples I’ve ever seen!

Bangkok City View
Bangkok CIty view

11. Jerusalem, Israel

Known as one of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem is easily a bucket list destination. As you might already know, it’s also known as one of the holiest places, rich in culture and history. Roam the ancient walls of the city or wander through the open markets that sell everything under the sun!

Also, if you are interested in some nightlife, you can find it here!

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and easily a bucket list destination
The Wall in Jerusalem

12. Athens, Greece

Last, but not least, Athens, Greece! While most flock to the islands of Greece, it would be a big mistake to skip Athens. Athens might be known for being a little dirty, but that shouldn’t deter your visit to see some of the most incredible ruins, art, food, and culture!

Walk along Ancient Greek ruins, including the Acropolis, Panathenaic Stadium, and the Temple of Zeus. Indulge in incredible Greek food and even take a day trip to one of the nearby beaches. This city has so much to offer before making your way to the islands. Fun fact: Athens is known as the oldest still-functional capital city in Europe! Get inspired with quotes about Greece.

Temple of Zeus in Athens Greece
Ancient Greek Ruins in Athens

Bucket List Cities to Visit Wrap Up

I hope this list inspired you to add some epic cities to your bucket list and keep your wanderlust flowing! Find more destinations to add to your bucket list here. From the USA, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, this list of cities will have you traveling around the world!

You may also be interested in: Movies that inspire travel | How to Cut Your Expenses to Travel More | Useful Gifts for Travelers | Tips for traveling abroad

If you love this List of Bucket list Cities, I’d appreciate it if you could share it below!

12 bucket list cities and destinations to travel to
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Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

17 thoughts on “12 Bucket List Cities You Need to Visit”

  1. There are still amazing places on this list that I didn’t visit! I cannot wait to travel again to tick them off my bucket list! Iceland is high on top of the list!

  2. Great ideas! Reykavik & NYC were actually on our list for this year, but yeah….we all know what happened with that 🙁 Hopefully soon!

  3. Wow, this is a great list. I’ve always wanted to go to Jerusalem and Greece. My bucket list keeps on growing, so many beautiful places. Thanks for this!

  4. Ahhh I agree about Iceland. I think that’s the #1 place I’ve traveled to that left a huge imprint on my heart. And I love how you included places in the States — I tend to forget that there are some awesome destinations not too far away 🙂

  5. This is a great list Sam! I’m thankful I’ve been to a lot of these places. I really want to get to San Juan and Jerusalem at some point. 🙂 Your photos are beautiful!

  6. So many great destinations on this list! I have yet to go to Athens and now after seeing this I absolutely have to go!!


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