9 Best Bucket-List Vacations for Women

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So, you’re thinking about traveling solo or embarking on a girls-only trip? These adventures are on many travelers’ bucket lists and are particularly ideal for women. Of course, we’re not excluding men either, they might just provide inspiration for a trip of your own.

New Zealand
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand is a safe and very welcoming country for solo female travelers and groups of women travelers alike. Ideal for the adventurous, you can try a wealth of different activities, from skydiving, bungee jumping and Zorbing, to whitewater rafting, hiking, kayaking and surfing. Then there’s always the chance to go wine tasting, soak in hot springs or take a helicopter flight to walk across a glacier – all surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery on the planet. If you go it alone but find you’d like a little company when you get there, New Zealanders are famous for their generous, often exuberant nature, sense of humor and positive attitude toward life. Every dig from a Kiwi is delivered with a smile, and just about everyone you meet is likely to welcome you like a long-lost friend.

Iceland
Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland

There are few people these days who don’t have Iceland on the top of their must-visit list – after all, who wouldn’t want to have a chance to gaze up at the northern lights, or take a dip into the legendary Blue Lagoon. This incredibly beautiful country is also safe and peaceful – in fact, so peaceful, that it’s been ranked as the No. 1 most peaceful nation in the world. Part of that may be thanks to all of its hot springs that Icelanders enjoy soaking in. And, while you’re here, you can do that too, not only in the Blue Lagoon but in other natural pools found throughout Iceland. You can even do something that you probably couldn’t do anywhere else: pay a visit to the Elf School, which teaches Icelandic folklore. You’ll learn all about the mystical creatures of Icelandic culture, including 13 types of elves, four kinds of gnomes, three types of troll and three fairy varieties – all from locals who claim to have had personal encounters with them.

Ireland
sunset at the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Ireland

Ireland is not only especially safe and female-friendly, but the Irish are renowned as some of the most welcoming on the planet. You’ll enjoy lots of Irish charm, laughs and legendary hospitality, along with lush, green hills, a stunning wild coastline, ancient castles and more. And, if you’ve always wanted to travel by train, the Belmond Grand Hibernian just began offering the ultimate girls’ getaway on its luxury train, cutting a swarthy, path through the Emerald Isle with awe-inspiring, intimate itineraries. Sleeper cars are like elegant country houses, and you can even choose your own adventure filled with once-in-a-lifetime locales.

If you don’t travel by rail, rent a car and check out some of the highlights yourself, like the Dingle, Iveragh and Beara Peninsulas, Wicklow National Park, Connemara and the Aran Islands.

Hvar, Crotia
Hvar

Hvar, Crotia

Croatia offers the ideal mix of Mediterranean appeal, Old World culture, amazing cuisine and incredible hospitality that makes it a fabulous off-the-beaten-path destination for females. Hvar is one of the most popular destinations in Croatia, an island that lies off the Dalmatian coast. Spectacularly beautiful, it hosts numerous picture-perfect beaches, lush vineyards and lavender fields. Stand in the town square and you’ll be surrounded by many historic buildings, including the Cathedral of St. Stephen and the 17th-century Arsenal. Afterward, enjoy the scenery by taking a trek through the cliffs, lounging on the beach or swimming in one of the secluded coves.

Big Sur, California
McWay falls in Julia Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California

If you can’t head too far from home for whatever reason, California’s central coast is a great option. Big Sur is found in this rugged region of the coastline, where the Santa Lucia Mountains plunge into the Pacific. Not only will you enjoy some of the most impressive ocean views, but you can gaze up at soaring redwoods, and maybe even enjoy soaking in heavenly warm waters underneath the canopy of trees. Make sure to see Pfeiffer Beach State Park, which is renowned for its purple sands and even a waterfall that gently falls to a picturesque beach below.

Puglia, Italy
Puglia, Italy

Puglia, Italy

Puglia is located in the “heel of Italy’s boot,” the country’s sunny southern region. This less-visited area has a unique character and charm that hasn’t been spoiled by hordes of tourists. Glistening blue seas, golden sands, trulli and olive groves the landscape is made up of is still mostly undiscovered by outsiders. If you like good food, you can look forward to Mediterranean favorites like olive oil, artichokes and plenty of fresh seafood, all locally sourced, and wine – enjoy Italian vino from the source for only around $3 a bottle. Fill your days enjoying all sorts of activities, like taking winery tours and even a cooking class to discover how olive oil is made or even how to make fresh pasta.

The Serengeti - Tanzania, Africa
Serengeti

The Serengeti - Tanzania, Africa

An African safari can be the ultimate girls’ trip. After all, when you’re in the middle of the Serengeti looking for the Big Five, who better to share it with than your best female friends? It’s great on your own too, as smaller, group safaris make it easy to meet others who share some of your passions, while you’re mesmerized by those lions that surround the jeep. While this probably isn’t going to be the cheapest trip, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and there are some budget, rustic options along with sprawling luxury eco-retreats. But where to go? Tanzania has frequently been named Africa’s very best country for a safari, with favorites like the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park, home to millions of wildebeest that form one of the most amazing sights that can be seen on our planet as they migrate the area year-round.

Machu Picchu, Peru
Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu was widely unknown to those who lived outside the immediate area until Hiram Bingham’s discovery was published in a 1911 book called “Across South America.” As Spanish colonists weren’t aware of its existence, much of the Incan architecture and design were preserved. The site also features the mist-shrouded Huayna Picchu Mountain, rising nearly 1,000 feet above stone ruins, terraces and plazas. And a journey here can transform your life. Taking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is an unforgettable and truly inspirational adventure. Though the 26.7-mile walk can be challenging, partly because of the rough terrain and altitude, the reward for your effort is the opportunity to gaze upon the legendary “Lost City of the Incas.” You’ll pass through the Sun Gate, Intipunku, at sunrise, after following in the footsteps of the Incas, which were believed to have built the trail as a holy pilgrimage.

Grand Canyon, Arizona
Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon, Arizona

As one of the seven wonders of the natural world, the formidable Grand Canyon is a must-see for all. It’s 227 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep, with walls boasting a striking mosaic of colors and erosional forms that become even more stunning at sunrise and sunset. But don’t just peer over the edge. You can start at the South Rim, taking in the impressive vista, before embarking on a mule ride down to the bottom. Then get out and explore some of the more remote regions, like the North Rim, which is much less crowded but also offers spectacular panoramic views and twisting trails to enjoy them from. The Havasupai Indian Reservation, in the park’s southwest region, is home to the famous Havasupai Falls – a series of jaw-dropping waterfalls with turquoise-hued pools that are sacred to the Havasupai.

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