Where Instagram Users Want to Travel To Before They Die

Travel has pretty much been on hold for most people over the past 15 months due to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic — but that has not stopped anyone from daydreaming about traveling again. In fact, less time for travel meant more time to think about travel — when to go, where to be, what to see once we could move around the planet once again.

Where Instagram Users Want to Travel To Before They Die

The old saying of “a picture is worth a thousand words” leaves out the part of how a photograph can catch a memory by freezing a fleeting moment in time indefinitely — or dream of the memories yet to be enjoyed and savored…

…and what better place to view countless photographs than Instagram? The ultimate list of which places in the world to travel before you die was compiled from the social media site.

Location data was extracted and used from a sample of 26,072 Instagram posts which were tagged with the #bucketlist hashtag. This data was then extrapolated to estimate destination counts across all 10.6 million posts and create a series of maps to show the top dream destinations across eight categories — including cities, natural wonders, landmarks, beaches, attractions, nature parks and reserves, islands, and hotel and resort properties.

The data was gathered and compiled in February 2021; and the Google Places API was used 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’. Merging all these items by hand was close to impossible; so the Google Places API was used to normalize all names.

I have been given express written permission to use the illustrations and the verbatim text from this article from Budget Direct, which highlights the most popular destinations to where users of Instagram want to visit the most; so let us take a break from the news of the day and virtually travel one more time for a little fun in our lives — until the day finally arrives when which we can fully travel again.

Key Findings

  • 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.

Natural Wonders

“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 and 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.

Hotel and Resort Properties

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?


I had an opportunity to stay at the Giraffe Manor when I went on safari at Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya several years ago; but the room rates were outrageous — think $800.00 per night at the time I looked into booking a reservation — so I decided against it, figuring that I would see giraffes out in the wild and touch a giraffe while visiting the Giraffe Center.

Although I have already been to many of the places which have been mentioned in this article, the ones to which I would like to travel that I have not already visited include Machu Picchu, Serengeti National Park, Monument Valley, Mount Kilimanjaro, Taj Mahal, Grand Canyon National Park, Lofoten, and Bora Bora — and a whole lot more…

…so to which places in the world do you want to travel first and foremost — assuming no impediments were in your way?

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

One thought on “Where Instagram Users Want to Travel To Before They Die”

  1. JB says:

    Why didn’t the penis museum make the list?!

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