Disclosure: This post (probably) contains affiliate links. If you click on one, I may make a small commission. Of course, this will come at no extra cost to you and helps keep this site running.
A couple years ago, I wrote out this wishlist to honour the new year, as an aspirational post on the countries I’m most keen and excited to visit. Since then, I’ve had the good fortune to visit some of the countries that were first on my list. Places like Malta, Myanmar and Georgia have all been extraordinary and justified their inclusions but that doesn’t mean I’m not hungry for more.
While it would be fantastic if I could manage to visit some of these this year, there’s no certainty of that happening. As I continue to travel the world and get the opportunity to visit the below, I’ll keep coming back to revise this list. For now here are the countries at the top of my wishlist, in no particular order.
Somewhere that really has only appeared on my radar the last few years is the small country of Kyrgyzstan in central Asia. I’ve always been most interested in Uzbekistan from that corner of the globe, but this small country has shot up to take that spot. The reason behind that is the exposure that Kyrgyzstan has received from other bloggers like Nomadasaurus, who have shown me what makes this place special. Having seen photos of the beautiful scenery, I can’t wait to one day go hiking here and experience the nomadic culture up close.
There are still a handful of countries in Europe that I’ve yet to visit, but right now Ukraine is the one I’m most excited to see. I almost visited the Ukraine this year while travelling through the nearby Baltic states but alas, wasn’t to be. I’m keen to continue exploring eastern Europe and this complex country is the next logical step. Although there are troubles in parts of the country, I constantly hear how safe places like Kiev and Lviv are. Everything about the Ukraine has me intrigued, from the food and architecture to just life in general. It also seems a great place to go further afield with lesser known cities like Kharkiv and Odessa ripe for exploration.
Few countries I’ve read about seem to offer as many diverse and quintessentially African experiences as Tanzania. This east African country has so much going for it. For starters there’s the opportunity to go on safari and attempt to see the ‘Big 5’ in places like Ngorongoro Crater. Next there’s the country’s coast and island of Zanzibar, which conjures up images of pirates but also the restaurant on the rock. Lastly, who can ignore the beck and call of hiking Kilimanjaro on the country’s border with Kenya. Tanzania seems like the perfect place to get multiple unforgettable experiences.
For a long while Jordan was on my list for a single reason, Petra. The countless photos I’ve seen of the treasury at Petra (not to mention repeat viewings of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) had me enthralled. However, my parents had the chance to visit Jordan last year and I learned that it also had plenty more to offer. From other major archaeological sites to the Dead Sea to camping out in the desert of Wadi Rum; it all sounds like awesome fun and a chance to explore Middle Eastern culture in one of the safest and secure countries in the region. And again, Petra!
After visiting Georgia this year, my desire to explore the rest of the Caucasus has only intensified. Both Armenia and and Azerbaijan now have an even greater allure to them and once I visit all three, only then will I know which of the countries I most like. The Caucasus intrigue me as they’re on the fringe of Europe and as I found in Georgia, are quite unlike anywhere I’ve been. Armenia and Azerbaijan are bound to show me again a new perspective on this region of which I’ve grown quite fond. As for major sights, I don’t know many but am keen to see the Flame Towers of Baku and the church in Yerevan.
South America is a big place made up of few countries and yet it’s hard to find much information on a place like Guyana. As someone who likes to flick through photos of places, the only spot I’ve ever really seen is the Kaieteur Falls and even those photos are rare. That either means there is nothing else worth photographing in Guyana or there’s plenty of exploring to be done. I’m going with the latter. That it also has strong Caribbean ties means it likely has a culture unlike almost any other in South America. Consider my curiosity piqued.
When I learned that there was a Middle eastern country with fjords, it took me a moment to process that. Try as may, I still have terribly stereotypical ideas of what the Middle East looks like. And yet Oman is supposedly meant to challenge many of these with diverse climates and landscapes, not to mention a deep sense of history compared to its neighbours the UAE. That sailing the coast is meant to be a great way to see the country was the final piece of the puzzle telling me to get my butt to Oman – once I can afford to. For a better idea of what you can see in Oman, check out the Bonds’ guide to their weekend in Muscat. I can’t wait to see it for myself.
When I talk to people who have visited Southern Africa, there’s consistently one country they all rave about – Namibia. I always take that as a good sign but the photos I have seen clinched the coastal country as one of my most anticipated destinations to visit. From its Skeleton Coast of shipwrecks, to the breathtaking Dune 45, to the surrealist dream that is Deadvlei, I honestly can’t wait to see to see this country with my two eyes. One day!
Out of all the destinations on this list, I’ve probably read the most travel blogs on Sri Lanka. I take that as a strong endorsement of a country that I knew a modest about before hand. There are some aspects of Sri Lanka that are immediately appealing, like its island nature and a distinct culture from its more popular and well-known neighbour India. It’s been from travel blogs however that I’ve learnt about the epic train journeys you can take through the country, the country’s vast tea plantations, plus cool sights like the rock of Sigiriya or the fisherman above. All that I’ve read about Sri Lanka has drawn me in and I look forward to one day sharing with you my tips and experiences from there as well.
Ethiopia’s tourism market truly seems to have been blossoming of late and I’ve definitely been taking notice. This country in East Africa seems to have turned a corner and is starting to get its name out there. The region still appears to have a rough edge to it but that’s often half the appeal. The other half is not lacking either: dramatic landscapes like the Simien Mountains; plenty of rare wildlife spotting opportunities; cultural experiences with various local tribes; and even mighty ruins like the fortress of Gondar. I’m curious about just about everything relating to Ethiopia and know that only by going there can I scratch that itch.
While technically not a country, I just had to include the Faroe Islands as it has been near the top of my list for so long now. I almost managed to visit back in 2014 as part of my trip to Iceland but couldn’t figure out the logistics or where to switch it in for. These isolated islands in the North Atlantic are meant to be home to some staggering natural beauty rivalling even Iceland plus there’s just something about visiting a remote destination such as this. I’m a big fan of the Scandinavian/Nordic countries and would love to see how things have developed in this secluded corner of the Danish Kingdom.
I know a handful of people who have been to Iran and it’s always the same story: It was nothing like what they expected and everyone is super friendly and welcoming. Iran tends to be portrayed very narrowly in western media, so I always find it fascinating when they say things like that Tehran is a fairly cosmopolitan city. This is of course on top of all the historic Persian historic sights like Persepolis that the country is home to and a broad range of climates from the mountains in the north to the southern coast. And still a big part is the idea of getting to know the people and learn more about the true Iranian culture that we just don’t get to see overseas.
Which countries are on your travel wishlist? Where are you most excited about visiting in the future? Please share in the comments below.
Why Not Pin It For Later
Very ambitious travel bucket list for 2017! I hope you get to see them all! We also hope to make it to Malta this year! Happy New Year!
Happy New Year to you too Lorelei! I doubt that I’ll be able to cover it all this year but if I can visit a few that’d be great. In fact, after writing this all I decided to head to Malta in a few days, so I’m on my way!
Ahhh I’m incredibly jealous! Can’t wait to see what you discover! Have fun!
So I am obviously not well traveled, I haven’t been to any of the places you mentioned EXCEPT for Malta. And maybe that makes up for the rest, since I’ve been to Malta eight times now. It is a really great place to visit (especially in the warmer months) with lots of historic towns and buildings etc. Well worth your time! #FlyAwayFriday
I haven’t been to any of them either but hope to some day. Thanks for reading Kat.
This is an awesome list! So many interesting places! In my case, I will be happy if I can visit more countries in Europe. There are still more than 20 that I have not visited. Peru is another country I am dying to visit. Wish you the best in this year! #FlyAwayFriday
What an amazing list! The only one I’ve been to so far is Tanzania, which is incredible. I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to follow along and see how your year pans out!
Awesome list! I would love to go to Malta. And I’ve heard great things about Namibia, as well. As for me, I’d really like to go to Croatia. London and the Galapagos Islands are high on my wish list as well. #weekendwanderlust
Amazing places guys! I would love to visit all these places, but on top of the list is The Caucasus & Myanmar. I hope I will visit one of these soon. Thanks for sharing.
Your list sounds wonderful. I too would love to hit some of those countries! Particularly Jordan, Tanzania, and Georgia. For me Japan is up there as well as the Philippines, St Barths, South Africa, and Russia. I hopoe you are able to visit these places this year to tick a few off the bucket list 🙂 #flyawayfriday
Your list sounds pretty awesome too Janine, I’d love to visit all of them too! The world’s just too big!
Love the list – hope you make it to all of them! (I’d have to say Ste Lanka would be at the top for me!) I’m only visiting one new country this year- Korea – but you never know.
That’s still pretty cool, have a great time Korea. It’s somewhere else I’d also like to visit, so can’t wait to read about your experiences.
Great list. I hadn’t thought of Guyana, but it looks like a great place to explore the outdoors in South America, which is always a good idea. I’ve also heard the same things about Iran that you have–that it’s not what you expect. I hope you get to some of these places soon!
Iran always seems to get great recommendations which matters a lot to me. I haven’t heard much about Guyana which adds to its intrigue for me.
There are some seriously exotic locations here. I don’t think I have been to any of them yet.
Maybe one day Lyn!
This is very ambitious indeed. I bet most travellers wouldn’t even dream about going to places you have listed. Can you pack me in your suitcase when you go? If I could only afford all of the places I dream to go.. 🙂
Haha I have strange tastes Kreete. At this point, money is my biggest stumbling point but ambition trumps money right?
Some great places in there David! A lot I haven’t been to! I lived in South Africa and Botswana and never made it to Namibia – hear great things about it! Malta is one of my favourite countries in Europe – we don’t often return to the same place but I have been there 5 times – we love Comino and swimming off the island it’s just beautiful. Lots to see in Malta too – Valletta is fantastic (take a harbour cruise!) Enjoy your travels in 2017! #flyawayfriday
That’s a great list! Unfortunately I haven’t been to ANY of those places to I can’t wait for your posts when you do get there! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday, hope to see you again this weekend! xo
Hell yes to all of these!! I really really want to go to the Faroe Islands too, they look amazing (thinking they’ll soon become the new Iceland….that and Greenland) haha!! Great list!
Yeh, I’m a little worried about that too Chloe. Thanks for reading.
Ohh you’re newest wishlist is quite similar to ours! We’ve been talking about the Faroe Islands, and I desperately want to visit Jordan, Iran, Ukraine and Sri Lanka! But they’re not exactly at the top of my list atm! Eventually!