You don’t need us to tell you the global shut down of travel in 2020 has had a serious impact on ticking items off our bucket list. But this doesn’t mean we are any less determined to get out there and explore. We just have to be patient. These are aimed at adventurous parents who have a bucket list itch that needs scratched too. Remember just because you are a parent it doesn’t mean you have to give up your bucket list and setting yourself challenges and getting out of your comfort zone is a good lesson to pass on to your offspring.
So, here are 10 things you should be adding to your bucket list for 2021 when the world is ready to welcome us once again.
1. Stargazing in the deserts of Oman
With very little pollution to cover the sky in the jewel of the Middle East, Oman has been considered paradise for celestial enthusiasts and avid stargazers for a long time. In addition to beautiful coastline, breathtaking mountains and the friendliest people around, spending a night under canvas in a remote desert camp, teaching your children about galaxies, nebula, clusters and supernova remnants whilst learning how to set up a telescope correctly, is an experience no one will forget. Especially as you will be given the opportunity to capture photographs of these magnificent sights.
2. Catching a wave off Morocco’s south coast
Whilst Morocco might not be top of your mind when you think of a surfing destination, it is home to one of the longest breaks in Africa and in the world and is a perfect spot for first timers, beginners and advanced surfers alike. On top of that, the beaches in this part of the world have a relaxed, hippy feel about them, so a chance to escape the masses and have a more peaceful surfing experience. Combine the beach visit with exploring the souks of Marrakech and a couple nights in the Sahara Desert and this could tick off more than one bucket list item.
3. Spend a night sleeping in a cave in Matera, Italy
This is an unforgettable experience in Italy’s remarkable city of caves and one that is sure to excite the youngest of the travellers in your group. In the past these caves have been refuge for monks, nuns, pilgrims, prostitutes and peasants but don’t let this put you off. With UNESCO World Heritage status, these caves now offer isolation and luxury for anyone looking to escape and with Tatler magazine calling one of these places to lay your head “one of the most beautiful hotels on the planet.” Ideal for families, cave chic could be the newest trend, think Philippe Starck bathtubs, flickering candles and flagstone floors.
4. Sampling Port in Portugal
Whilst Port Wine is born in the Douro Valley, the name comes from the city of Porto as this is where the wine ages and is shipped from to all over the world. No visit to this region is complete without a visit to some of the most famous Port wine cellars but it is worth noting that Port wine is stronger than ordinary wine and so you will feel the effects sooner than you would think. A good way to balance this is a side dish of “farturas”, which are fried dough with a creamy filling inside. Whilst not a child friendly excursion, the younger travelers can still enjoy the traditional stomping of grapes, a visit to the neighbouring biological gardens, or a visit to the Lello Bookshop which is famous for inspiring JK Rowling’s vision of Hogwarts.
Switzerland is a crossroads of culture, language, adventure and food and so is a perfect escape for travelers of all ages. Once you are finished hiking in the woodlands surrounding the lakes, enjoying the countryside where you are more likely to see a cow than another person, you can dig into the famous “fondue” dish whether you choose cheese or chocolate…we will let you decide. There is no better way to burn off your over indulgence than by throwing a leg over the saddle and pedaling until your heart is content. This could be some family friendly trails through the forests and villages or a more adrenalin pumping endless singletrack with long descents and awe-inspiring backdrops.
Undoubtedly the Blue Lagoon pool is the most famous of these natural pools in Iceland and understandably so. With transformative spa experiences, its own line of skin care and being named one of the 25 wonders of the world by National Geographic, it has helped propel the healing waters of the region into the upper echelons of travel destinations. But don’t think this is the only option available. Throughout the country, many townsfolk and villagers enjoy the benefits of geothermal seawater and it is very much a communal way to close out the day. So if 5 star luxury is not your thing, be sure to head into the rural areas and sit alongside the local Icelanders where children and adults alike are welcomed.
If you enjoy getting your heart pumping on holiday, then Croatia is a great destination for you. Be prepared to throw yourself off numerous waterfalls, as you take part in this extreme adventure in one of the most dramatic landscapes with another UNESCO World Heritage site making our list. White water rafting may not be ideal for the younger kids but there is always options to keep them entertained. A kayak based scavenger hunt through the rocky cannons is a great way to get their imagination running wild or a nature walk through the local forests following their map to the hidden treasure. Croatia never fails to excite.
Bali has it all. Sun kissed beaches, mountains, adventure, great food, value for money and much more. It is also home to world’s most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak. If you are game to drink coffee made from poo then this is one for your list. The coffee is produced from coffee beans which have been digested by a cat like animal called the civet cat, so cat poo coffee. For the aficionados amongst you, many say that the natural process of fermentation leaves the final product tasting much smoother and less acidic than any other cup of coffee. Considering a cup of this specialty coffee can cost around 50 USD in New York, it would be rude not to sample when you are this far.
Yes we know there is a perfectly good cable car carrying tourists up and down the magnificent Table Mountain. Of course you can dabble in adventure and hike up the mountain following one of the steep meandering paths. But stepping off the top of the mountain at 1,086 metres for a 112 metre descent down a sheer cliff is the only way to really turn a visit to South Africa’s most iconic landmark, a never to be forgotten experience. Do it here!
The popular game of ‘the floor is lava’ comes to life here and you stand looking down into one of 5 active volcanoes in Costa Rica just a short drive outside of San Jose. You start by winding your way through the mountainous terrain until you reach the crater which is over a mile across and 1050 feet deep. You might be lucky to see one of the spectacular explosions which can reach up to 800 feet into the night sky as the geothermal heat evaporates the underground water and creates pressurized steam to burst through the rock. Children will be amazed at this natural sight as Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures becomes reality!