6 Retirement Bucket List Ideas for Travel You’ll Love to Dream About

These retirement bucket list ideas will have you dreaming about the life you have ahead of you once you stop working. Below, you’ll discover some incredible destinations to explore in your retirement years. The hardest question will be, which one will top your wish list?

retirement bucket list ideas

CONTENTS – In this article, you will discover six great destinations you’ll want to put on your retirement bucket list:

Best Destinations for Your Retirement Bucket List

When you stop working, you’ll have loads of time to spend anyway you please. You might take up a new hobby, find new interests, or finally get to all those books you’ve been meaning to read. Perhaps you’ll be spending time with family members or your best friend.

Like many of us, travel may be on your retirement bucket list ideas

After all, this is the perfect opportunity to go beyond your comfort zone and see some new places. Plus, you’ll have enough time to do all the fun things and check off your bucket list items. It is truly an exciting time of your life and a great opportunity to travel.

Whether you’re taking an early retirement, or it’s been a long time coming, you may well have a bucket list of places to visit in the world. If you don’t, here’s our top 6 that you won’t want to miss. 

1. Lisbon, Portugal 

lisbon portugal bucket list

The capital of Portugal, Lisbon is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. 

Lined with cobbled streets, restaurants and intimate scenery, there’s so much to explore in this coastal city. Here, you’ll enjoy the colorful buildings and a great nightlife — and so much more.

Some of the best attractions to visit include:

  • Tower of Belem (Tower of St. Vincent) – a 16th-C. Medieval defense fortress designed by Francisco de Arruda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Castelo de St. George – hilltop ruins of a Moorish castle and palace that overlooks Lisbon, parts dating from the 6th-century 
  • Jerónimos Monastery – a UNESCO World Heritage Site that typifies the power and wealth of the times through decorative details and architecture. You’ll find the stone tombs of Vasco da Gama and Luís de Camões in the Lower Choir.
  • Miradouro De Santa Catarina – a small garden park with stunning water views from the large terrace. This is a great place to enjoy some music, a cocktail, and the sunset. Plus, you can’t miss the huge statue of Adamastor, a mythical figure. 
  • Praça Do Comércio, also known as Terreiro do Paço – a magnificent plaza that faces the harbor where you’ll often find works of art and sculpture. An arch of triumph designed by Santos de Carvhallo honors the old Royal Palace, destroyed by an earthquake in 1755. 
  • Padrão dos Descobrimentos – a seaside monument dedicated to Portugal’s Age of Discoveries. Here, on the banks of the Tagus River estuary, you’ll find the most enchanting panoramic views. 

If the sightseeing gets all too much, simply stop at a café for a pastel de nata or pastel de Belem (Portuegese egg tarts) and a coffee – a local delicacy. 

2. Kenya, Africa 

kenya africa bucket list

It doesn’t get much more bucket-list than a safari in Kenya. If you’re partial to travel adventure and thrill, there’s no better way than watching animals in their natural habitat. Exploring in a 4×4 is bound to get your pulse racing! 

Kenya is home to Africa’s most prized safari destination: Masai Mara National Park. In addition to the abundant wildlife, this is where the ‘Great Migration’ happens each year.

If you want to see flamingos, head to Lake Nakuru National Park. The shores of Lake Nakuru are teaming with them, among other safari animals.

Of course, if you’ve always wanted to see Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s in Amboseli National Park. This park is also home to hundreds of species of birds, too.

Tsavo National Parks is the largest protected wildlife sanctuary in Kenya, where you’ll see enormous herds of red elephants.

What’s more, visiting Kenya is kind to your bank account while you’re there, which may come as a welcome change given the inflation rates in the UK

Related: Learn more about taking an African photography safari.

3. Sicily, Italy

cathedral palermo sicily italy

Famous for incredible food, exceptional beaches, wonderful towns and an array of ancient ruins, Sicily should definitely be on any retiree’s bucket list. 

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and is an autonomous region from Italy with its own culture. 

If you’re planning on using your new language skills, Sicily might throw you a a curve ball in speaking Italian. That’s because the Sicilian language blends words with Arabic, Hebrew, and other origins. Although it’s mostly spoken in remote villages of Sicily, you may hear fragments of Sicilian woven into the Italian spoken in Sicily.

Here, you’ll discover a perfect combination of beautiful, warm-water beaches and plenty of archeological sites to explore when you visit this crossroad of different cultures.

Things to See & Do in Sicily

A few must-see stops in Sicily include:

  • Taormina – a beautiful and chic resort city with beaches on the Ionian Sea. Visit the nature preserve of Isola Bella and the Capo Sant’Andrea grottos, as well as the Ancient Theatre of Taormina while you’re there.
  • Mount Etna – one of the world’s most often erupting volcanoes, and the largest active volcano in Europe. It’s erupted more than 200 times since about 1500 BC, and is going strong.
  • The Valley of Temples – Agrigento – in this archeological park and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sicily, you’ll find more preserved temples than elsewhere in the Mediterranean. In fact, you can explore eight temples and other remains built between 510 and 430 BC.
  • Aeolian Islands – The seven gorgeous and unique islands off the coast of Sicily include: Alicudi, Filicudi, Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli. The best way to get there is to take a ferry or high-speed hydrofoil, which depart several times a day from the mainland. These can be great day trips from Palermo.
  • Palermo – the bustling capital of Sicily is rich with culture, history, and architecture. Here, you’ll experience and authentic taste of Sicilian life. Sample the street food and markets, enjoy street art, and take in the cathedrals, theaters, and palaces you’ll find throughout the city.

And, you’ll sample the most delicious Sicilian food. Among them: Sicilian arancini, Pasta alla Norma (named after Bellini’s opera), and the highly-prized Sicilian prawns. You might even try taking a cooking class and learn a new skill.

With so much to offer, it’s a good idea to book a tour of Sicily to make the most out of your trip. 

4. Lapland, Scandinavia 

lapland arctic circle

Lapland is considered the “real” North Pole. Not only reserved for children hoping to see Santa Claus, but Lapland is also an incredible place to head to for a serene break like no other.

Due to its position within the Arctic Circle, Lapland is home to some of the most breath-taking panoramas in the world. If you’re lucky, you may be able to catch a glimpse at the Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun. 

As well as taking in the scenery while you’re there, why not enjoy some different activities, too. A couple of fun suggestions would be to book a stay in a glass igloo or get your adrenaline fix by going Husky sledding!

5. Las Vegas | Retirement Bucket List Ideas

las vegas bucket list

No bucket list would be complete without a mention of Vegas. Home to incredible food, wonderful malls and awe-inspiring casinos, this city is famous for its glitz and glamor. 

Whether you’re interested in gambling, shopping, dining or all of the above, a trip to Vegas will satisfy your every whim. 

Some of the most popular attractions are:

  • The Bellagio Hotel & Casino
  • MGM Grand
  • Caesors Palace
  • Luxor Hotel & Casino

But you can also tour some vintage signage at The Neon Museum, or if you’re a crime-buffs, vist The Mob Museum.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and the Hoover Dam are also great takes.

And what about this wonderful way to embark on your new stage of life with your spouse: Get married (again or for the first time) in Vegas?

Although not strictly in Vegas, while you’re there, why not take Route 66? By taking the road trip from Chicago to LA, you’ll get to see so much more of the US during your trip. 

As you can see, Vegas has something for everything – not just for those who love to try their luck.

6. Egypt

egypt bucket list

If you’d like to experience a slice of history on your retirement travel bucket list, then what about planning a trip to Egypt

Some of the most popular tourist destinations in Egypt need little introduction. Home to the Great Pyramids of Giza, during your trip to Egypt you’ll be able to see one of the wonders of the world and take in the ancient ruins. 

Just be sure to check the entry requirements before you book your tickets though.

Related: 7 Top Tourist Attractions in Egypt

Final Thoughts on Retirement Bucket List Ideas

These six retirement bucket list ideas have given you inspiration to start planning some trips for the future. You really can’t go wrong, as each destination will bring amazing life experiences. But the main thing is to take some time to plan your own bucket list.

Perhaps the most important thing you’ll have to figure out may just be…where will you head to first?

Then you can plan out the different things that need to get done, like saving a little money, getting conversational in a foreign language, and arranging your trip in a meaningful way. This is the ideal time of life to travel, with plenty of leisure time to spare.

If you’re still not convinced that travel is a great way for older adults to have new experiences, we understand. Now that you’re retirement age, you should know the physical health and mental health benefits of travel at any age.

It might be a game-changer as you enter your golden years.

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.

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