What the world wants on its bucket list: Fascinating map reveals every country's dream experience – and there is one destination that is the overwhelming winner

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  • Reading time:9 min(s) read

  • Country names have been supplemented with their residents’ most-searched-for bucket-list experiences
  • Researchers studied 12 months’ worth of Google data in 219 countries to generate the map
  • READ MORE: Fascinating map reveals WORST-rated tourist sights across the globe 

A fascinating reworked world map reveals the most popular bucket list experiences in countries around the globe – and it’s visiting the Maldives that’s number one.

On the map – generated using Google search data – country names have been supplemented with their residents’ most-searched-for bucket-list experiences. Researchers drew up a list of 119 bucket-list items and studied 12 months of Google data in 219 countries to ascertain the top bucket-list items for each nation.

A separate breakdown shows the top bucket-list experience favoured by residents of each U.S State.  

Visiting the Maldives tops the global list, compiled by travel firm Kuoni, thanks to being the most popular bucket-list experience in 122 countries around the world, including the UK, Australia and the U.S. Kuoni says: ‘With gorgeous white sandy beaches, tropical blue waters and dreamy sunsets, it’s easy to see why so many people want to experience this the most in their lifetime.’

Visiting Bora Bora earns second place because a total of 19 countries – including Hungary and Aruba – appear to be searching for the bucket-list experience. Kuoni says the South Pacific island offers holidaymakers ‘a serene sanctuary to unwind and relax in as they enjoy the bright white sandy beaches and laid-back island lifestyle’.

A fascinating reworked world map reveals the bucket-list experiences that are the most popular globally – and it's visiting the Maldives that’s number one

A fascinating reworked world map reveals the bucket-list experiences that are the most popular globally – and it’s visiting the Maldives that’s number one

The Maldives archipelago is renowned for its dreamy resort islands

The Maldives archipelago is renowned for its dreamy resort islands

Seeing the Mona Lisa ranks third, as it’s top in 16 countries. ‘The painting by Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most instantly recognisable pieces of art in the world, drawing in countless visitors each year,’ says Kuoni.

In fourth place it’s visiting Italy’s colourful Cinque Terre region (top in 11 countries), while seeing the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – at 830m/2,722ft in height the world’s tallest skyscraper – is fifth, as it’s number one in nine countries.

The UK is home to two of the top 10 – visiting Stonehenge (top in three countries) and Big Ben (top in two countries) take joint seventh and joint eighth place respectively.

The U.S is home to four of the top 10 – climbing the Statue of Liberty is sixth (top in four countries), seeing Times Square is joint seventh (top in three countries), seeing the White House is joint eighth (top in two countries) and getting splashed at Niagara Falls is joint ninth (top in one country).

THE MOST POPULAR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST EXPERIENCES AROUND THE WORLD

1. Maldives – top in 122 countries

2. Bora Bora – top in 19 countries

3. Mona Lisa – top in 16 countries

4. Cinque Terre – top in 11 countries

5. Burj Khalifa – top in 9 countries

6. Climb The Statue of Liberty – top in 4 countries

7 = Stonehenge – top in 3 countries

7 = Times Square – top in 3 countries

8 = Big Ben – top in 2 countries

8 = Chichen Itza – top in 2 countries

8 = Forbidden City – top in 2 countries

8 = Northern Lights – top in 2 countries 

8 = Pompeii – top in 2 countries

8 = Sagrada Familia – top in 2 countries

8 = Taj Mahal – top in 2 countries

8 = The Louvre – top in 2 countries

8 = The White House – top in 2 countries

9 = Angkor Wat – top in 1 country

9 = Christ the Redeemer – top in 1 country

9 = Float in the Dead Sea – top in 1 country

9 = Get splashed at Niagara Falls – top in 1 country

Source: Kuoni  

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A series of regional maps show the breakdown of the results more clearly across the globe. Maldives is top in 20 countries in North and Central America, including Canada, Turks and Caicos and Barbados

A series of regional maps show the breakdown of the results more clearly across the globe. Maldives is top in 20 countries in North and Central America, including Canada, Turks and Caicos and Barbados

A separate breakdown shows the top bucket-list experience favoured by residents of each U.S State

A separate breakdown shows the top bucket-list experience favoured by residents of each U.S State

On the maps - generated using Google search data – country names have been supplemented with their residents' most-searched-for bucket-list experiences

On the maps – generated using Google search data – country names have been supplemented with their residents’ most-searched-for bucket-list experiences

A series of regional maps were also produced to show the breakdown of the results more clearly across the globe.

In Europe, visiting the Maldives is top in 28 countries including France and Spain, while exploring the Cinque Terre region is top in Malta, Greece and Cyprus. In Ukraine, it’s seeing Stonehenge that is number one.

Moving across the Atlantic to North and Central America, exploring the Maldives is top in 20 countries including Canada, Turks and Caicos and Barbados. It’s seeing the Mona Lisa that reigns supreme in Mexico and Guatemala while seeing the Northern Lights tops the podium in El Salvador.

While the Maldives is the most searched-for bucket-list experience overall in the U.S, the map that breaks down each U.S State reveals that a visit to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial – a giant sculpture of U.S presidents that’s been carved into a South Dakota peak – tops the list for 30 states including Colorado, Nevada, Texas and Utah.

In South America, visiting the Maldives reigns triumphant in several countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay

In South America, visiting the Maldives reigns triumphant in several countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay

Visiting the Kentucky Derby is also popular, with nine states including Delaware, New Hampshire and Vermont searching for this experience the most. Kuoni says: ‘Usually held on the first Saturday in May each year, the horse race is known for being the fastest two minutes in sports and is the first leg of the American Triple Crown – the perfect experience for a thrilling weekend away.’

Travelling down to South America, seeing the Sagrada Familia is top in Paraguay while seeing the Northern Lights is top in Venezuela. Visiting the Maldives again reigns triumphant in several countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

In Africa, the Maldives is once again the most popular travel bucket list item, with an impressive 45 countries – such as Egypt and Zimbabwe – searching for it the most.

In Africa, the Maldives is the most popular travel bucket-list item, with an impressive 45 countries – such as Egypt and Zimbabwe - searching for it the most

In Africa, the Maldives is the most popular travel bucket-list item, with an impressive 45 countries – such as Egypt and Zimbabwe – searching for it the most

The Asia-specific map reveals that visiting Yosemite is top in Yemen, while in Turkmenistan, the preference is to visit Big Ben

The Asia-specific map reveals that visiting Yosemite is top in Yemen, while in Turkmenistan, the preference is to visit Big Ben

In Oceania, 13 countries have a visit to the Maldives at the top of their list. They include New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu

In Oceania, 13 countries have a visit to the Maldives at the top of their list. They include New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu

The Mona Lisa is also popular, with three countries – South Africa, Guinea-Bissau and Tunisia – searching for a visit to this impressive piece of art more often than any other bucket-list experience.

Looking to Asia, visiting the Maldives also tops the list in several countries, including South Korea and Laos. Visiting Yosemite is top in Yemen, while in Turkmenistan, the preference is to visit Big Ben. In Malaysia, it’s seeing Times Square that’s number one, while in Pakistan, it’s visiting the ancient city of Pompeii.

In Oceania, meanwhile, 13 countries have a visit to the Maldives at the top of their list. They include New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu. Climbing the Statue of Liberty takes the gold medal in Guam while visiting Bora Bora tops the leaderboard in French Polynesia.

Kuoni’s research also produced a ranking of the world’s most popular bucket-list experiences based on search volume alone. Interestingly, even though some places are incredibly popular globally, they rank as number one in very few countries. 

An example of this is Niagara Falls, which ranks as the second most popular experience worldwide in terms of search volume, with more than 24million searches over 12 months, but only takes the top spot in one country – Guam. 

Commenting on the research, Kuoni says: ‘With travel now back to normal for many countries after a few years with restrictions in place, there’s more opportunity to get back out there to explore and tick off things from your bucket list, whether that be travelling far away or keeping things closer to home.’

THE WORLD’S MOST SEARCHED-FOR BUCKET-LIST EXPERIENCES, BASED ON SEARCH VOLUME 

1. Visit The Maldives – 45,289,700 searches

2. Get splashed at Niagara Falls – 24,337,110 searches

3. See the Mona Lisa – 23,828,620 searches

4. Visit Bora Bora – 23,226,760 searches

5. Climb the Statue of Liberty – 20,321,860 searches

6. See the Northern Lights – 19,129,700 searches

7. Visit Stonehenge – 16,797,890 searches

8. Visit the Taj Mahal – 16,452,180 searches

9. See Times Square – 15,583,040 searches

10. See the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – 14,187,620 searches

11. Visit Pompeii – 13,994,240 searches

12. Visit Sagrada Familia in Barcelona – 13,941,920 searches

13. Visit Cinque Terre – 12,893,190 searches

14. Visit Big Ben – 12,497,660 searches

15. Walk to Chichen Itza – 10,558,100 searches

16. Trek through the Himalayas – 10,091,970 searches

17. Visit Alcatraz – 9,082,880 searches

18. Visit the White House – 8,588,870 searches

19. Float the Dead Sea – 8,497,180 searches

20. Admire the views at Yosemite – 8,089,710 searches

Source: Kuoni 

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