When it comes to life-affirming experiences to add to your travel bucket list, there are few things more rewarding than seeing the world. The notion that travel is for energetic youngsters is old news. In fact, research shows that new experiences challenge our assumptions and make us feel young.
Sounds pretty great right? But now you might be asking yourself – where on earth do I begin?
Whether you’re starting your first ever bucket list or are searching for incredible ideas to add to your existing list, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some jaw-dropping travel bucket list ideas for fabulous women over 50 with a thirst for adventure.
#1 Hot Air Ballooning Over Turkey
It’s a scene straight out a dream as you float over the breathtaking landscape of Cappadocia at sunrise. The aerial views of the rocky landscape caused by a volcanic eruption some time ago are like something from the face of the moon. Spindles, spires, and wrinkled crevasses stretch as far as the eye can see.
The scenery is surreal and exquisite, but so is being surrounded by the multitude of other colorful balloons that take to the skies at the same time. Make sure you have your camera ready for this one!
#2 Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
This 101-hectare nature park set in the heart of Singapore is above and beyond your run of the mill botanical garden. Conceived to transform the ‘Garden City’ into a ‘City in a Garden’, the resultant space is like something from a futuristic Utopian dream.
Gardens by the Bay comprises of three distinctly different gardens; Bay South, Bay East, and Bay Central. Bay South is home to the iconic Supertrees – 18 gigantic feats of vertical gardening that are shaped like massive trees and filled with lush ferns and orchids. The Flower Dome, also located in Bay South, is the largest greenhouse in the world, containing an exotic array of flowers from different biomes around the world.
A dream come true for anyone with a passion for plants.
#3 Visit the Moai on Easter Island
These monolithic human figures have enchanted and transfixed travelers for centuries. The giant sculptures were carved out of volcanic ash by the Rapa Nui people sometime around 1250 – 1500 and transported from the quarry around the island.
To move these gigantic blocks of stone – most of which are around 13 feet tall and weigh 14 tons – is a mindboggling feat. But this isn’t the least of the mysteries that the fascinating island holds for you to uncover.
#4 Behold the Northern Lights
Take in nature’s magic show, the aurora borealis. This incredible natural phenomenon is caused by disturbances to the magnetosphere as a result of solar wind. Seeing it in action is a once-in-a-lifetime-experience.
It’s possible to see this spectacular shimmering light display from Alaska, Canada, and Iceland. However, the Lofoten archipelago in Norway, which has dramatic scenery and quaint towns, is one of the most popular places for viewing the skies.
#5 Attend the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro
The Rio Carnival is widely regarded as the biggest carnival in the world. The festival, which is held annually ahead of Lent (February/March) sees some two million revelers take to the streets in a celebration of music, floats, and samba dance.
The event culminates in a dazzling parade held in the custom-built Sambadrome, but for the entire duration, there are parties, parades, and balls held throughout the city. Don’t forget to pack your feather headdress!
#6 Take A Trip On The Orient Express
Experience true indulgence and style of the golden era by taking a trip on the Venice Simplon Orient Express. The impeccably restored 1920’s, ‘30s, and ‘50s coaches are available for a five-star 24-hour train trip between London, Paris, Verona, and Venice.
This is luxury train travel at its best. You’ll enjoy the finest dining in elegantly restored historic coaches while taking in the picturesque Alpine scenery. During the day, the sublime sleeping compartments transform into private sitting rooms that allow for the ultimate relaxation. But the beauty of this experience is in the details, from the inlaid wood marquetry to the sumptuous slippers and gown provided for guests.
#7 Traverse the Silk Road
This 3000-year-old network was once a trade route that connected the east to the west. The route runs from East and Southeast Asia to South Asia, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa, and Southern Europe. The Chang’an – Tianshan corridor was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2014.
It’s possible to explore this historic highway via guided tours, self-drive car, or train. Highlights include the superb mosques of Samarkand, the surreal rainbow-colored sandstone mountains of Zhangye, and the eerie Terracotta Warriors at Xi’an’s Hanyangling Mausoleum. There are also numerous markets, relics, and breathtaking scenery, amongst other marvels.
#8 Swim in the Sea of Stars
The Maldives may already be on your travel bucket list, as its pristine beaches and aquamarine water make it a tropical paradise of note. If you’re not convinced, you will be after discovering Vaadhoo Island. It’s a tiny blip on the radar that turns into a fantastical otherworldly sight when the sun goes down.
Vaadhoo Island is surrounded by bioluminescence, a natural chemical reaction that affects phytoplankton, and turns the water into a spectacular glowing phenomenon. The bioluminescence usually occurs towards the end of summer, however, it’s best to check with local tour guides before booking to avoid disappointment.
#9 Cherry Blossom Season in Japan
As spring dawns across Japan, the country burst into beautiful pink bloom. Sakura – or Cherry Blossom – viewing is possible at over 1000 different spots, so options are plentiful.
Some of the best places to take in the magic are Mount Yoshino, which has over 30 000 trees, Himeji Castle, and Maruyama Park, which has a massive tree that is illuminated after dark. Cherry Blossom season usually occurs at the end of March and beginning of April. But if that timing doesn’t work you could also consider visiting during plum blossom season; it’s just as beautiful.
#10 Take in the Rose City
Originally known as Ramqu, Petra is sometimes called the Rose City because of the pinky color of the sandstone rocks it’s carved out of. This valuable archaeological site in Jordan will take your breath away as you explore tombs and temples that were carved into the cliffs as far back as 300BC.
One of the most famous structures is the ornate Al Khazneh temple, which stands some 45 meters high. Petra is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s a must-visit destination for culture and history enthusiasts.
Whether travel takes you out of your comfort zone to an island paradise or encourages exploration of new cultures, it feeds the body and soul. For women over 50, any one of these experiences deserve to be added to your travel bucket list – and then ticked off!