Best Retirement Bucket List Ideas Organised by Useful Categories

by Olivier De Winne

In this post, you will find the top retirement bucket list ideas.  To help you, we have organised them into the following nine categories:

Category 1 – Travellers’ Retirement Bucket List Ideas

1 – Visit the Seven New Wonders of the World:

Travellers’ Retirement Bucket List Ideas Taj-Mahal
Travellers’ Retirement Bucket List Ideas Taj-Mahal
  • Taj Mahal (India)
  • Chichen Itza (Mexico)
  • Roman Colosseum (Italy)
  • Machu Picchu (Peru)
  • The Great Wall of China (China)
  • Christ the Redeemer (Brazil)

2 – See the Cities in One of the World’s Golden Triangles

Cities in One of the World’s Golden Triangles Hawa-Mahal-Jaipur
Cities in One of the World’s Golden Triangles Hawa-Mahal-Jaipur
  • Golden Triangle in India: Delhi, Agra, Jaipur
  • Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia: Thailand, Laos, Myanmar
  • Golden Triangle in USA: San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas
  • Golden Triangle in Europe: Prague, Vienna, Budapest
  • Golden Triangle in Sri Lanka: Anuradhapura, Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, Ancient City of Sigiriya

3 – Travel Around the World by Plane


There are plenty of different options to plan your exciting tour around the world with multi-stop flights.  This is the easiest way to visit the world with one plane ticket.  It is easy to add stops and to tailor your route.  Here are some round the world examples:

  • Los Angeles – New York – UK – Manila – Melbourne – Sydney and back Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles – Mexico – Havana – UK – Bangkok – Singapore – Melbourne – Sydney – Christchurch – Auckland – Fiji then back to Los Angeles
  • UK – Kilimanjaro – Johannesburg – Perth – Sydney – Auckland – Buenos Aires – Rio de Janeiro then back to UK

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4 – Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site


Create a list of all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites that you want to see.  Tick them off as soon as you have visited them.  In total, there are 1121 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to be explored.  Why not start with those on your doorstep?  For the full list, visit the official UNESCO website.

For Example, UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the USA:

  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Statue of Liberty

For Example, UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK:

  • City of Bath
  • Dorset and East Devon Coast (Jurassic Coast)
  • Tower of London
  • Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites

For Example, UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain:

  • Tower of Hercules
  • Historic City of Toledo
  • Burgos Cathedral

For Example, UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada:

  • Historic District of Old Québec
  • Miguasha National Park
  • Dinosaur Provincial Park

5 – Take One of the Best Train Journeys in the World

  • French Riviera Railway: Cannes France to Ventimiglia Italy
  • Sri Lanka (the most scenic train ride in the world): Kandy to Ella
  • Orient-Express (one of the most famous and romantic train journeys): Venice to London
  • The Death Railway: Thailand to Burma
  • The Reunification Express in Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi
  • The Bullet Trains in Japan: Tokyo to Osaka
  • Titicaca Railway in Peru: Puno to Cuzco
  • The Beijing to Lhasa Express: Beijing to Lhasa
  • The Bergensbanen in Norway: Oslo to Bergen
  • The TranzAlpine in New Zealand: Christchurch to Greymouth
  • Tazara Railway, Tanzania and Zambia: Dar es Salaam to Kapiri
  • Caledonian Sleeper in the UK: London to Fort William
  • Glacier Express in Switzerland: St Moritz to Zermatt
  • Coast Starlight in US: Portland to Los Angeles
  • Belmond Eastern & Orient Express: Singapore to Bangkok
  • Trans-Siberian Express: Moscow to Vladivostok

6 – Take a Road Trip Along One of the Best Roads in the World

Road-Trip-Along-One-of-the-Best-Roads-in-the-World-Route 66
  • Highway 1, California
  • Route 66, US
  • Furka Pass, Switzerland
  • Atlantic Road, Norway
  • Milford Road, New Zealand
  • White Rim Road, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
  • Overseas Highway, Florida Keys
  • Tianmen Mountain Road, Hunan, China
  • Ring Road, Iceland
  • Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Valley of Fire Road, Nevada
  • Great Ocean Road, Australia
  • Ruta 40, Argentina
  • Col de Turini, France
  • Trolls Way, Norway
  • Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar
  • Guoliang Tunnel Road, China
  • Dades Gorge, Morocco
  • Amalfi Coast, Italy
  • Transfagarasan, Romania

7- Explore the Best National Parks in the World

  • Sagarmtha National Park, Nepal
  • YellowStone, US
  • Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
  • Yosemite, US
  • Kruger National Park, South Africa
  • Grand Canyon, US
  • Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
  • Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
  • Galapagos National Park, Ecuador
  • Zion National Park, US
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park, US
  • Arches National Park, US
  • Jasper National Park, Canada
  • Wadi Rum National Park, Jordan
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, US
  • Tarutao National Marine Park, Thailand
  • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia
  • Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
  • Komodo National Park, Indonesia
  • Brice Canyon National Parc, US
  • Penada-Geres National Park, Portugal

Category 2 – Museum Enthusiasts’ Retirement Bucket List Ideas

Museum-Enthusiasts’-Retirement Bucket-List
Museum-Enthusiasts’-Retirement Bucket-List

Visit Some of the Most Amazing Museums in the World

  • Museum of Modern Art, New York, US
  • Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
  • Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy
  • Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • MACBA, Barcelona, Spain
  • Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy
  • New Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece
  • Musée de la Ville de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
  • Museum Island, Berlin, Germany
  • Getty Villa + Getty Center, Los Angeles, US
  • Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul, South Korea
  • Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb, Croatia
  • ArtScience Museum, Singapore
  • Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, China
  • Chichu Art Museum, Island of Naoshima, Japan
  • Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, Santiago, Chile
  • British Museum, London, UK
  • Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa
  • The Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum, Rio de Janiero, Brazil
  • The Museo Soumaya, Mexico City, Mexico
  • The Hanoi Museum, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • The Jewish Museum, Berlin, Germany
  • The Museum of Islamic Art, Doha Qatar
  • Denver Art Museum, Denver, US
  • Louvre-Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • The Phillips Collection, Washington DC, US

Visiting museums when you are retired has many benefits.  You will learn new things, develop your knowledge and keep your brain active.

Visiting a museum is incredibly rewarding.  You may have spent some money on the entrance fee, but you will have experienced something far more satisfying than materialistic purchases.  It is worth knowing that many UK museums are free to visit in London.

Another advantage to adding museums to your retirement bucket list is that they are great discussion topics.  You can share your experiences with your friends and family.  Perhaps, you will even be inspired to create a museum fan group and visit museums around the world together.

Category 3 – Worldwide Events Retirement Bucket List Ideas

Worldwide Events Retirement Bucket List Holi-Festival
Worldwide Events Retirement Bucket List Holi-Festival
  • Glasgow International Comedy Festival, Scotland
  • Art Deco Weekend, Miami Beach, Florida
  • Vancouver Fashion Week, Canada
  • Sturgis Rally, Sturgis, South Dakota
  • Jerez Flamenco Festival, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
  • DC Environmental Film Festival, Washington DC, US
  • Mardi Gras, New Orleans, US
  • MaerzMusik, Germany
  • A Taste of Colorado, Denver, US
  • Art Basel Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Cape Town International Jazz Festival, South Africa
  • Jane Austen Festival, Bath, England
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington
  • Head of the River Race, London
  • NFL Centennial Celebration, Canton, Ohio
  • Birkebeinerrennet, Rena to Lillehammer, Norway
  • Byron Bay Bluesfest, Australia
  • Keukenhof, Lisse, Netherlands
  • Rouketopolemos, Chios Island, Greece
  • Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany
  • Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, Elmira, Ontario
  • Snowbombing, Mayrhofen, Austria
  • Gathering of Nations, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Toronto Food and Drink Market, Toronto, Canada
  • Charleston Race Week, Charleston, South Carolina
Chinese New Year Parade, San Francisco, US
Chinese New Year Parade, San Francisco, US
  • Opening Night of La Scala, Milan, Italy
  • Coachella, Indio, California, USA
  • International Bar-B-Q Festival, Owensboro, Kentucky
  • Paris Marathon, Paris, France
  • Total Solar Eclipse, Chile and Argentina
  • Rochester Lilac Festival, Rochester, New York
  • Songkran Water Festival, Thailand
  • Fete des Lumiere, Lyon, France
  • Just for Laughs, Montreal, Canada
  • Holi Festival, Varanasi, India
  • Eurovision Song Contest, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Affordable Art Fair, Singapore
  • North American International Auto Show, Detroit, US
  • Sandfest, Port Aransas, Texas, USA
  • Glastonbury 50, Pilton, England
  • Koningsdag, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Aspen Ideas Festival, Aspen, Colorado
  • AfrikaBurn, Tankwa, South Africa
  • San Francisco Pride Parade & Celebration, San Francisco, US
  • Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Bristol Fourth of July Celebration, Bristol, Rhode Island
  • Ho Chi Minh City Marathon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, Key West, Florida US
  • Aviemore Sled Dog Rally, Aviemore, Scotland
  • Chincoteague Pony Penning, Chincoteague, Virginia
  • Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, Saranac Lake, New York
  • Chinese New Year Parade, San Francisco, US
  • National Eisteddfod of Wales, Tregaron, Wales

Category 4 – Adventure Retirement Bucket List Ideas


Get out of your comfort zone and surprise yourself with these bucket list suggestions for retirement:

  • Sky dive
  • Run a marathon
  • Explore a cave or grotto
  • Dive in a Cenote
  • Climb a mountain
  • Go west with horses
  • Do a bicycle race
  • Do a Triathlon
  • Boxing
  • Canyoning
  • Base jumping
  • Drive off road
  • Cliff diving
  • Dog sledding
  • Hang gliding
  • Jet skiing
  • Kite buggying
  • Monoskiing
  • Motocross
  • Mountain biking
  • Orienteering
  • Paragliding
  • Parascending
  • Race car driving
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Skiing
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Paddle boarding
  • Trekking
  • Windsurfing
  • Zorbing

Category 5 – Self-Improvement Retirement Bucket List Ideas


When you are retired, it is the best time to improve your skills and help others:

  • Learn New Languages
  • Computer programming
  • Start a blog
  • Start a Podcast
  • Start a YouTube Channel
  • Photography
  • Join a chess club
  • Join a drama group
  • Painting
  • Jewellery-making
  • Flower arranging
  • Make your own beer
  • Computer Skills
  • Scrapbooking
  • Candle-making
  • Upcycling
  • Birdwatching
  • Origami
  • Buying/selling antiques
  • Camping
  • Creative Writing
  • Yoga
  • Gardening
  • Fishing
  • Learn to play a musical instrument
  • Seashell collecting
  • Woodwork
  • Amateur astronomy
  • Join a debate club
  • Model building
  • Learn to teach
  • Metal-detecting
  • Join a fantasy football league
  • Learning magic tricks
  • Help local food bank

Category 6 – Spirituality Retirement Bucket List Ideas

  • Travel alone
  • Visit Tibet
  • Become a Missionary
  • Visit the Vatican
  • Practice Yoga in Bali
  • Become more loving
  • Get excited about life and human nature
  • Become a Priest
  • Go to a Mediation Retreat
  • Help to build a mosque/church
  • Bring spirituality in your life
  • Be Baptized into the church
  • Raise your consciousness
  • Learn to pray
  • Spend three months in a Buddhist monastery
  • Get your chakras aligned
  • Open the jewellery box and select pieces to give to your grandchildren. Write a short note about the history of each piece.
  • Learn Meditation
  • Reconnect with a childhood friend
  • When you become annoyed or angry, apologise right away
  • Do something you love to do
  • Turn the TV off
  • Read books that will lift your spirits

Category 7 – Social, Friends and Fun Retirement Bucket List

  • Ask someone to dance
  • Go to a psychic and get your palm read
  • Attend social events, like wine tasting
  • Learn to use Social Media
  • Eat insects
  • Learn how to recite the alphabet backwards
  • Re-connect with old friends
  • Use Skype to communicate with someone extremely far away
  • Jump into a pool with all your clothes on
  • Make a giant snowman
  • Go to a wedding
  • Updated you LinkedIn profile to ‘Retired’

Category 8 – Volunteering Retirement Bucket List Ideas

  • School board of Governors
  • Help build a house
  • Help preserve a World Heritage Site
  • Organise a beach clean up
  • Organise a river clean up
  • Coach a sports team
  • Help homeless people in your town
  • Help in your local library
  • Help in animal rescue shelters
  • Writer official letters for people in need
  • Raise money for a good cause
  • Collect unused makeup and perfume to donate to a centre for abused women
  • Help register people to vote and at elections
  • Tutor children after school
  • Organise games and activities for children in hospitals or who are visiting hospitalised relatives
  • Collect baby clothes and supplies to donate to new parents
  • Read to residents at a nursing home
  • Teach computer skills to the elderly
  • Grow flowers in your backyard then give bouquets to hospital patients or people who are housebound
  • Help create a new walking trail at a nature centre or park
  • Volunteer at a nature camp and teach kids about the environment
  • Become a certified lifeguard and volunteer at a local pool or beach
  • Organise a self-defence workshop
  • Start or join a neighbourhood watch programme
  • Volunteer as a crossing guard (lollipop lady/man) for an elementary (primary) school
  • Paint park benches
  • Become a tour guide at your local museum
  • Be a volunteer abroad

Category 9 – Food and Drinks Experience Retirement Bucket

  • Eat in a three-star Michelin restaurant
  • Participate in a cooking club
  • Try a new recipe
  • Experience coffee making
  • Try a different local restaurant and write a review
  • Visit a food factory
  • Enjoy wine tasting
  • Start a herb garden
  • Try Ethiopian cuisine
  • Make your own cheese
  • Eat Escargots and Cuisses de Grenouille in France
  • Brew your own beer

What Does Bucket List Mean?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of bucket list is:

“a list of the things that a person would like to do or achieve before they die.”

This is slightly morbid!  Today, young and older people make bucket lists.  It means making a list of all those things you want to do and achieve in your life.

A bucket list for retirees will probably be full of all those things you wanted to do but never had time before because you were working so hard!

Bucket List vs Goals List – What’s the Difference?

According to the official definition of a bucket list, you don’t have forever to tick off everything on your list as the clock is ticking.  In contrast, goals are when you think you have more time.

In reality, I see goals as being more short-term mundane targets whereas a bucket list is for long-term ambitious goals.

Why a Bucket List is Important

Making a retirement bucket list is important because it turns dreams into reality.  It will help you create some plans for your retirement.  A bucket list will enable you to explore different things and help get out of your comfort zone.  Perhaps it will help you discover a new passion or activity you had never thought of before.

Creating a bucket list will help you to know which direction you want to take during retirement.  Perhaps you want to focus on helping other people or perhaps you prefer to travel.

To write a bucket list, the most important thing is to brainstorm plenty of ideas.  First of all, however, give your bucket list a name:

  • Things to Achieve in My Retirement
  • My Retirement Dream List
  • My List of Retirement Adventures
  • Amazing Retirement Experiences

Next, think about where you are going to record your ideas.  Are you going to write your list in a notebook or a digital version?  If you opt for a digital list, you can easily amend and add to your ideas.  Think about what will work best for you!

Physically writing down your bucket list is the first step to actually achieving the items on your list.  Your ideas are no longer just thoughts in your mind but are actual words which can become concrete goals. 

Once you’ve decided on the name of your list and where you are going to write it, you need to some inspiration to generate ideas!  Perhaps the easiest place to start is to think about your life as categories.  This makes brainstorming easier and helps you organise your list like ours.

Start jotting down ideas for each category.  Some ideas may fit in several categories.  This does not matter, just choose the best fit.  The important thing is that it appears on your list.

A good way to generate ideas is to ask yourself some questions:

  • What did you dream of doing when you were younger?
  • Where do you want to visit in the world?
  • What events have you always wanted to take part in?
  • What sport or new types of food would you like to try?
  • What new skill would you like to learn?
  • What could you do to develop yourself as a person?

Friends and family can be a great source of inspiration and ideas for your retirement bucket list.  In the past, perhaps you’ve heard them talk about an exciting holiday and thought how much you would like to go there one day.  Why not think about having a retirement bucket list evening, when you share favourite ideas?

Another way to get inspiration for your retirement bucket list is to look beyond yourself and your close circle of family and friends.  Be inspired by television travel or cooking programmes.  Search the internet and tap into conversations on social media using hashtags.  Pinterest boards and magazines are another brilliant free source of ideas.  Inspiration really is all around you!

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