Your favorite cites, countries, monuments and natural wonders go head-to-head in Lonely Planet's first travel "bucket" list bracket. We know international travel may be on the distant horizon for many of us, but we can still dream. 

Here's how it works: we've broken up the most popular lifetime bucket list destinations (selected by Lonely Planet digital editors) into four categories. Each category (cities, countries, monuments and natural wonders) has eight ranked entries that have been pitted against one another. Your weekly votes will determine which spots advance to the next round (there are five rounds), plus what bucket list items will represent the entire category and what country, monument, city or natural wonder will be named champion.    

First-round voting ends March 19.

Lonely Planet Bucket List bracket
Lonely Planet Travel Bucket List © Lonely Planet


Spain, the country of tapas and flamenco, grabs the No. 1 spot, but how will it compete against the natural wonderland of sixth-ranked New Zealand? Will Greece's (the No. 2 seed) beautiful blue waters be enough to beat the otherworldly landscapes of Iceland? 

Spain © Ruben Earth / Getty Images; Canada © Feng Wei Photography / Getty Images

Greece © Sylvain Sonnet / Getty Images; Iceland © Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images

Cuba © Kriangkrai Thitimakorn / Getty Images; New Zealand © Southern Landscapes-Australia / Getty Images

Peru © Christian Declercq / Getty Images; Japan © Thatree Thitivongvaroon / Getty Images


No. 1 seed Istanbul is so hot right now thanks to its beautiful architecture and delicious cuisine. The most interesting matchup by far features two European powerhouses in No. 3 London vs. No. 6 Paris. The two cities share so much history, this could be a close one. 

Istanbul © Danny Hu / Getty Images; Montreal © Henryk Sadura / Getty Images

New York © Busakorn Pongparnit / Getty Images; Rio de Janeiro © Emir Terovic / Getty Images

London © Sylvain Sonnet / Getty Images; Paris © James O'Neil / Getty Images

Tokyo © Matteo Colombo / Getty Images; Florence © Suttipong Sutiratanachai/ Getty Images


The Pyramids of Giza, Angkor Wat, The Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, all in the same category! This is by far, the toughest group. Soccer fans, here's your group of death. 

Pyramids of Giza © Ratnakorn Pyasirisorost / Getty Images; Machu Picchu © Kelly Cheng Travel Photography / Getty Images

Petra © Paul Biris / Getty Images; Rapa Nui © Volanthevist / Getty Images

Great Wall of China © J.Castro / Getty Images; Taj Mahal © Emad Aljumah / Getty Images

Sagrada Familia © Prasit Photography / Getty Images; Angkor Wat © Ashit Desai / Getty Images


The stunning but elusive Northern Lights nab the No. 1 seed in this section. But can one ever count out the Grand Canyon? In a battle of climatic zones, the Amazon (the No. 3 seed) vs. No. 6 Everest will solve that age-old argument. Winner will get to set the thermostat.   

Northern Lights © Nutexzles / Getty Images; Grand Canyon © Stephen Yelverton Photography / Getty Images

Great Barrier Reef © Felix Martinez / Getty Images; Salar de Uyuni © Art Wolfe / Getty Images

Amazon © SL_Photography / Getty Images; Mt Everest © Boy_Anupong / Getty Images

Uluru © Fairfax Media / Getty Images; Galapagos © Mary Ann McDonald / Getty Images

Explore related stories