Been anywhere nice lately? Most of us haven’t travelled much since the pandemic hit. But less travelling leaves more time for daydreaming – and sharing our own personal bucket lists of must-visit destinations.
Instagram is the place to post those #bucketlists. Nothing catches a memory – or a dream of what’s to come – like an Instagram picture. So that’s where Budget Direct looked to compile our ultimate world bucket list: the cities, landmarks, and attractions that Instagram users want to visit the most.
We used location data to figure out which locations Instagram users are tagging with #bucketlist. And then we made a series of maps to show the top dream destinations across categories including natural wonders, hotels, and islands.
- Cappadocia in Turkey is the most popular #bucketlist destination on Instagram, with 30,994 tags.
- The Great Barrier Reef is the Australian location that Instagram users most want to visit in their lifetime, with 4,078 tags.
- The most desired city destination in our study is Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, with 82,785 tags.
- The top natural wonder on Instagram’s #bucketlist is Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, with 7,341 tags.
Cappadocia dominates the world map of Instagram bucket lists. The central Turkish region lends itself to photography (and wanderlust) thanks to a fantasy landscape of “fairy chimneys” – protruding rock formations with a 60-million-year history. And beneath the surface beckon underground cities dug into the soft rock over a thousand years ago.
The remainder of the world top 10 is filled with celebrated sights and paradisal landscapes. Second most-popular bucket list destination is Santorini, the “supermodel of the Greek islands” in the southeast Thira region. Bora Bora (“jewel of the south seas”) and the Grand Canyon take third and fourth place – but Cappadocia has more #bucketlist tags than both of these destinations combined.
It’s no wonder Dubai tops the list of cities that Instagrammers want to visit in their lifetime: it’s a regular destination for influencers and Love Islanders alike, even during lockdown. New York, Paris, and London are the familiar dream destinations in the runner-up spots. Malé, the blue-skied capital of the Maldives, takes fifth place.
“I know that I must do what’s right, as sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti,” sang Toto, and two generations later everyone started singing along (and questioning Toto’s sense of geography, since Africa’s highest mountain is 200 miles from the Serengeti.). Anyway, the imagery seems to have worked, as Tanzania has five destinations in the overall top 100 on Instagram.
Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys are the top landmark and top overall destination in our study. The second most desired landmark is Machu Picchu, an abandoned (but not lost) Incan city in the south of Peru. Both of these locations are picturesque, but both also have a ‘hidden’ side – the underground cities of Cappadocia, and the underground architectural engineering of Machu Picchu.
Tanzania tops the list of #bucketlist beaches, with the white sands of Nungwi Beach in the Mjini Magharibi Region taking the title. The second most sought-after oceanfront destination is an oddity: Pig Beach, in the Exuma region of the Bahamas, gets its name from the feral pigs that roam the sands and paddle the waters.
Theme parks and park parks dominate the top of our attractions category. The exception is second-placed Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The legendary stadium of the Green Bay Packers is known for being a chilly proposition: three hours of standing in an open-air stadium in Wisconsin? Wrap up warm!
Nature parks & reserves
The Grand Canyon tops Instagram’s bucket list of nature parks by a country mile, with more tags than runners-up Maasai Mara National Reserve and Serengeti National Park combined. The 12 top nature parks and reserves in our study are all in the US or Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa).
The Mediterranean, Hawaii, Polynesia… northern Norway? The Lofoten archipelago is the outlier among Instagram’s most-dreamt-of islands. But while it may not be balmy coconut country, the remote Scandi islands of Lofoten have beaches, Viking history, unrivalled natural vistas, and the Northern Lights.
Instagram’s #bucketlist hotels are destinations in themselves. Top of the list is Giraffe Manor, “one of the most instagrammed properties in the world.” If you’ve read about Pig Beach, you know what to expect from Giraffe Manor: free-roaming giraffes, not averse to poking their heads into the hotel windows.
Travel may be limited for a while yet, but you’ve got to have a dream to have a dream come true. As these destinations show, Instagrammers have plenty of ideas about must-visit places to reach in their lifetime. What locations are on your #bucketlist?
METHODOLOGY & SOURCES
We extracted location data from a sample of 26,072 Instagram posts tagged with the #bucketlist hashtag. We then extrapolated this data to estimate destination counts across all 10.6 million posts.
The data was gathered and compiled in February 2021.
Notes: We used Google Places API to normalize places names. For example, the Instagram tag name can be ‘Eiffel Tower’ or ‘Tour Eiffel’ or ‘La Tour Eiffel’ or ‘eiffel tower’ or ‘エッフェル塔’. It’s close to impossible to merge all these items by hand, so we used the Google Places API to normalise all names.
EA Given. (2017). Crocosaurus Cove.shutterstock.com
Hotel Chalet Al Foss. (2021). Chalet Al Foss Alp Resort. hotelchaletalfoss.it
Borealis Base Camp. (2021). Borealis Basecamp. borealisbasecamp.net
This post was brought to you by Budget Direct Travel Insurance