The Best Bucket List Ideas You Can Do In Europe
Everybody’s got a bucket list. And it’s amazing how many of our deepest dreams in life are reflections of the resonance that many aspirations have with all of us. Europe often comes up in bucket lists the world over, whether it’s dreams of travel, exotic places or special experiences. Here is a list of some of the top bucket list ideas you can do on your next trip to Europe.
Bucket List Ideas in Sweden:
See the Northern Lights
Aurora Borealis tops bucket lists the world over. Usually occurring in the winter months, they can be seen occasionally as early as September, and as late in the year as March. To see the Northern Lights, the night should be cold, clear, moonless and cloudless. Wild places are better to see them than cities, as the light pollution from cities tends to dilute their effects. You can see the Northern Lights from most places in Swedish Lapland, including Abisko National Park, Jukkasjärvi and the Torne Valley and Porjus and Laponia.
Drive a dog sled
You can find many places to go dog sledding in the ski resorts of the Swedish mountains. These tend to be the most accessible trips as they are short day trips and take place with an instructor. Afterwards, if you’d like to get more adventurous, you can book a multi-day trip with a dog sledding operator.
Stay at an Ice Hotel
The village of Jukkasjärvi has the world’s first Ice Hotel (and is also a great place to view the Northern Lights). Existing from December to April each year, it is rebuilt every November based on the designs of artist applicants – around 15 out of 200 are successful. The ice is harvested from the nearby Torne River, and everything in the hotel is constructed from ice – even the drinking glasses!
Rent a treehouse
Sweden boasts a range of unusual accommodation, but a treehouse would have to top them all. The Treehotel, located near the Arctic Circle, has five rooms all individually designed, and all uniquely off the ground. At Falköping, Sjunde Himlen: “Seventh Heaven” has a quaint elevated cottage built seven metres up an oak tree. Renting a treehouse is the perfect way to embrace your inner child before you die.
Bucket List Ideas in Germany:
See Neuschwanstein Castle
King Ludwig II’s masterpiece was the inspiration for the Disneyland castle and currently attracts more than 1.3 million visitors annually. Indeed, more than 61 million people have visited it since it was opened to the public shortly after King Ludwig’s mysterious death in 1886, such is its magical attraction. Built as a Romanesque tribute to Richard Wagner, you can reach Neuschwanstein Castle on an easy day trip from Munich.
Go to Oktoberfest
This 16 day festival is famous the world over for being a beer-fest like no other, and there’s no better place to celebrate Oktoberfest in the Bavarian capital Munich. There are strict rules about the beer that may be served at Oktoberfest: the beer must be brewed within the city limits of Munich, and have a minimum of 6% alcohol. Enjoy the beer tents, music and funfair rides, and don’t forget to wear your Tirolerhüte, a traditional goat-hair hat.
Visit a drive-in movie
Europe’s oldest drive-in cinema is Autokino Gravenbruch, located near Frankfurt. Opened in 1960 and based on the American model, it boasts an old-fashioned all-American diner where you can get special-recipe cheeseburgers to go with the films.
Bucket List Ideas in France:
Climb the Eiffel Tower
This world-famous monument never fails to charm either travellers or Paris locals: built for the World Exhibition 1889, it remains an iconic symbol of France, and climbing it tops bucket lists the world over. You can choose to walk up the 600+ steps to the first and second level, or take the elevator to the very top, where you’ll be rewarded with forever-memorable views over the city of Paris and beyond.
See a show at the Opera Garnier
The Opera Garnier is an opulent architectural delight, resplendent with gilded rooms, stunning marble staircases, breath-taking doorway details and lavish mythological references. Bucket-listers can tour this beaux-arts jewel very cheaply with self-guided tours, or better still, to really tick this off in style, buy tickets for the ballet and imbibe the monumental surroundings from the comfort of a plush audience spot.
Visit the Louvre
The Louvre is said to have so many artworks that if each of its 70,000 pieces were viewed for one minute, it would take more than a month to view them. That certainly shouldn’t stop you from trying though! For a good tip, it’s best to use pre-paid tickets if you’d like to skip the lines, which otherwise start to accumulate more than an hour before it opens.
Have your portrait painted
At Montmartre’s place du Tertre, you can find a thriving art community who are usually only to willing to paint your portrait while you wait. With Montmartre already famous for birthing the Impressionist movement, having your portrait painted there is a memory you’ll no doubt treasure forever.
Go to Eurodisney
If your dream is to go to Disneyland, but your heart is taking you to Europe, why not combine the two and put Eurodisney on your bucket list? You’ll find all the thrills of Disneyland, along with all the little extra European touches: the recently opened Ratatouille ride, for example, is a special way to celebrate Disneyland, French-style.
Enjoy a dinner in the sky
Available in Paris, Brussels and Dubai, Dinner In The Sky lets 22 guests eat at a seven ton table attached to a crane, hovering over the most picturesque parts of the city. Seatbelts are of course compulsory, and the experience is more expensive than most of us would be able to contemplate (the whole experience for 22 diners is priced at around $30,000!), but if the appeal of eating a meal while hovering 165 feet in the air appeals to you, and you’ve got time to save up for it… why not? Add it to that list!
Bucket List Ideas in Italy:
Take a gondola around Venice
Taking a gondola through the romantic Venetian canals is a dream for many, and a popular bucket-list entry. Although gondola fees are officially determined, be prepared for this experience to be a little costly (fees are for up to six people, so cost-conscious travellers may wish to share). Many gondolas are differently furnished, so make sure you choose the style that fits your bucket list dream… and above all, don’t forget just to lean back and just enjoy.
Visit the Colosseum
Said to be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Roman Colosseum was the largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire, and is now almost 2000 years old. Formerly used for gladiatorial challenges and public spectacles, it is estimated that it could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators in its prime. It is now one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions, and forms a stunning backdrop to any Roman holiday, as well as an unforgettable memory.
See an active volcano
Italy has three active volcanos that have erupted in the last one hundred years: Sicily’s Mount Etna, Stromboli on the Aeolian Islands, and Mount Vesuvius, close to Naples. Mount Vesuvius, the only to be located on the Italian mainland, is now located within a national park that is accessible to visitors, and the summit may be accessed by car (to within 200 metres) and then by foot. But beware: visiting mount Vesuvius is not for the risk-adverse: this active volcano, with a population of 3 million people living nearby and a tendency for violent eruptions, is considered the most dangerous volcano in the world.
Bucket List Ideas in Ireland
Sleep in a castle
If your dream is to sleep in a castle at least once in your life, Dublin has no shortage of high-end castle dwellings for you to lay your aspirational head. The prices are often quite affordable, and you can choose to be surrounded by lush estates, forests or views over lakes and rolling parkland. See Celtic Castles [http://www.celticcastles.com/castle-search/list/ireland/] for a selection of castle accommodation.
Kiss the Blarney stone
Join the millions of pilgrims who’ve journeyed to Blarney Castle in County Cork over the last 200 years, and kiss the Blarney Stone. Reputed to give anyone who kisses it the gift of eloquence, you might just tick off another popular bucket list item too: to make a speech in front of a crowd!
Bucket List Ideas in Austria:
Ride a hot air balloon over the mountains of Salzburg
A popular activity in Salzburg is to take a hot air balloon over the Austrian alps and surrounding countryside. The village of Fizmoos is said by some to be “Austria’s Ballooning Village”, and the best time of year appears to be winter, where you can really take in the fresh air and stunning sight of the snowy mountains below.
Go to one of Vienna’s famous Christmas Concerts
Vienna hosts a number of concerts in the lead-up to Christmas, celebrating the city’s rich cultural heritage in a very special way. You can choose between classical music concerts, operas, gala concerts, shows and dinner concerts, and concerts are often held in exquisite locations throughout the city. They may also be accompanied by ballet or opera dancers in full costume, famous singers and more. Tickets are available through a number of online merchants; it’s good to get in early to ensure having a place.
Bucket List Ideas in Spain:
Attend La Tomatina Festival in Valencia
Held on the last Wednesday in August each year, the Tomatina Festival in Valencia is the biggest and most famous food fight in the world. Festivities begin at 10am, with the fight itself usually kicking off at around 11. The intense one-hour tomato battle is estimated to use around 150,000 tomatoes: that’s more than 40 metric tons of vegetable!
Walk the Camino de Santiago Trail
Also known as Saint James’ Trail or Saint James’ Way, the Camino de Santiago Trail is a pilgrimage route for Christians, and consists of dozens of different routes that all converge at Santiago de Compostela. It is possible to do the pilgrimage by foot, by bicycle, or even by horse or donkey, and the walk can take weeks or months to complete. There are a number of starting points both in France and in Spain, and many also take the journey for non-religious reasons: a personal spiritual journey, or for the adventure and health benefits of a long hike.
Visit a Harvest Festival
The Fiesta de San Mateo in Longrono has a reputation for a profusion of Bacchanalian delights that will see you ticking off your bucket list in high spirits. Hosted in September each year, there are official wine stomping demonstrations, wine fountains, music, parades and (of course) lots and lots of wine. This week-long festival is said to be so much fun that many participants return to do it all over again!
Bucket List Ideas in Portugal
Swim under a waterfall
There is no shortage of beautiful, secluded waterfalls to swim under in Portugal. Visit the Fonte dos Amores to swim or promise your love, as the legendary muslim woman did whose story inspires this waterfall’s name. Alternatively you can also swim at the Pego do Inferno, which delights with its turquoise coloured water and striking rock formations.
Bucket List Ideas in the UK:
The mystery of Stonehenge attracts people from the world over who wish to see this unique ancient construction with their own eyes. It was believed to have been built between 3000BC and 2000BC, and as it is located within a few hours drive of London, is easily accessible as an iconic day trip.
Run the London marathon
The London marathon is one of the most popular marathon events in the world. It’s held in April every year and holds the Guinness World Record for the largest annual fund raising event in the world. So if you have some charitable aims included on your bucket list, participating in the London Marathon just might let you tick off two at once!
Bucket List Ideas Just For Memories:
Learn A New Language
There are, of course, many bucket list ideas that aren’t place-specific. One of the most popular desires of people the world over is to learn a new language. The most popular languages people dream of learning? French, Spanish and Italian. Europe is a wonderful place to study the romance languages, where you can be truly surrounded by beauty and culture, and most importantly, have to use your newly acquired language on a daily basis!
Backpack And Jet Around Europe
Other bucket list activities people often mention are backpacking through Europe, or just going to an airport and jumping on the next plane… anywhere. Again, Europe lends itself so beautifully to these kinds of scenarios. The continent is unique for its proximity of languages, cultures, histories and cities, all so different, and all so close in place! Take a plane trip of one or two hours in Europe and you’ll truly be nowhere like the place you were when you left.
Take Amazing Photos
A final yearning for bucket listers was to complete a 365 project: taking a photo a day for one year, to create and keep special memories. Indeed, if you’re considering taking a trip to Europe to tick off any bits of your bucket list, we have to agree that having photographic memories is such a precious way to remember the feelings and emotions of achieving a life-long dream.
It’s part of the reason why we at TripShooter love so much what we do.
By Jade Riviére
Tags: Adventure, Austria, Eiffel Tower, France, Fun, Germany, Inspiration, Life, London, Madrid, Munich, Paris, Salzburg, Spain, Sweden, Things To Do, UK, Vienna