aesthetic summer bucket list, Aesthetic Summer Bucket List: Most Beautiful Things to Do Around the World

Aesthetic Summer Bucket List: Most Beautiful Things to Do Around the World

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This summer, I invite you to put together an “Aesthetic Summer Bucket List” and tick off these mesmerizing destinations. 

In the age of digital aesthetics and travel wanderlust, the very act of exploring the world has become an art form. 

If you’re like the modern-day traveler, your Pinterest boards are strewn with pictures of stunning locales, and your Instagram feed is a testament to your unyielding quest for picturesque perfection. 

In this post, I am specifically talking to travel enthusiasts, Instagrammers, and photographers who are in constant pursuit of the visually extraordinary.

What Is an Aesthetic Summer Bucket List? 

An aesthetic summer bucket list is different than the traditional checklist of destinations and activities. 

This type of bucket list emphasizes the aesthetic value of each location, focusing on picturesque landscapes, architecturally stunning buildings, and culturally rich environments that offer visually striking experiences. 

For the modern-day traveler, it’s about crafting a summer filled with moments that are as breathtaking in reality as they are through the lens of a camera.

Unlike a normal bucket list, which might prioritize popular tourist attractions or personal milestones, an aesthetic summer bucket list prioritizes visual appeal and the emotional response it evokes. 

This list is about seeking out destinations that offer unique, Instagram-worthy photo opportunities that capture the essence of summer. It’s a personal challenge to look beyond the surface, to find beauty in the hidden corners of the world, and to document these experiences in a way that inspires others. 

The Ultimate Aesthetic Summer Bucket List

Creating an aesthetic summer bucket list is more than just an exercise in wishful thinking. 

It’s about setting attainable travel goals that lead you to beautiful moments, stunning vistas, and unforgettable experiences. 

Each item on this list is carefully curated to ensure that it not only looks good on your feed but also leaves an indelible mark on your memory.

Take a Flower Bath in Bali

Bali, known for its spiritual and holistic healing experiences, offers the tranquil practice of taking a flower bath.

This indulgent experience is not just visually stunning but is believed to cleanse the body and soul, infused with the aromatic scents of frangipani, jasmine, and rose petals.

This is an undeniable treat to any aesthetic summer bucket list!

…Or just do anything in Bali. 

I am not going to sugarcoat it, Bali is the most aesthetic location I have ever traveled to. I saw lines of travel influencers just salivating at the mouth. 

From the iconic jungle swing to more “hidden gem” temples, Bali is quite literally a tsunami of aesthetic travel experiences. 

Read More about BaliBali Bucket List | Full Flower Bath Guide | Indonesia Bucket List

aesthetic summer bucket list, Aesthetic Summer Bucket List: Most Beautiful Things to Do Around the World
Relaxing in a gorgeous flower bath in Bali.

Do a Flying Dress Photoshoot in Santorini

I know you have seen the iconic landscapes of Santorini, Greece. But have you seen the EPIC flying dress photoshoots? If you haven’t, I guarantee that you will have a hard time picking up your jaw from the floor. 

This is an essential for every traveling woman looking to boost self-love and choke after she sees these photos. I have literally NEVER seen a bad photo of a long dress photoshoot in Greece. Ever. 

Plus, the island’s breathtaking scenery provides the perfect backdrop for these ethereal photo shoots. The villages of Oia and Fira, with their iconic blue domed churches and sweeping caldera views, offer the ideal setting. 

This experience often can’t be done by yourself (unless you own a super long dress for some reason?) so you will need to hire a photographer: 

Witness Golden Hour at the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon transforms during the golden hour, casting a warm glow over its rocks. 

For a stunning viewpoint, Mather Point offers stunning vistas and is accessible enough for all kinds of travelers. Plus, it is only a 5-minute walk from the Visitor Center. 


When photographing at the canyon, always stay behind guardrails and keep an eye on your equipment, as strong gusts can sweep things away.

Rent a Kimono and Wander through Japan

Exploring the historic streets of Kyoto or the bustling atmosphere of Tokyo while dressed in a traditional kimono offers a unique way to immerse oneself in Japanese culture. 

This experience connects you with the country’s rich history and traditions, allowing for a deeper appreciation of its aesthetic and societal norms.

I had a delightful opportunity during my visit to Tokyo with my best friend while I was studying in Cambridge for uni. We figured that we were going sightseeing anyway, and we wanted to deepen our appreciation for traditional Japanese culture.

And we were right! The entire experience was beautiful and extremely meaningful.

Cultural Immersion

Renting a kimono and strolling through ancient temples or participating in a tea ceremony provides not just a picturesque moment but also a profound insight into the elegance and etiquette of Japanese customs.

aesthetic summer bucket list, Aesthetic Summer Bucket List: Most Beautiful Things to Do Around the World
Wandering around Tokyo in a kimono.

Bask at the Ancient Ruins of Petra

The rose-red city, half as old as time, will dazzle you with its rock-carved beauty. 

Odds are that if you follow a travel blogger, they will have this on their feed. It is also common to have a camel be your mode of transportation. 

And what is more aesthetic than you on a camel in front of Petra? Not much.

Early Morning Excursion

The site opens at 6 am, and the Treasury is a 10-minute walk from the entrance. The early morning light is ideal for photos.

Arrive early to beat the crowds and wander through the Siq to witness the sun’s first rays on the Treasury.

I would also suggest going on this adventure in early or late summer to avoid the heat.

Wander the Taj Mahal at Dawn

The Taj Mahal, bathed in the soft morning light, is a sight that cannot be captured in words alone. This also makes it a stunning place for travel photography.

When I was in India, I was told to arrive early. And by early…I mean early. If you see my photo below, there are NO people in my shot. This is because I got up before the sun, cried a little bit, and waited in line at the East Gate before they opened. 

Was I tired? Yes. Was it worth it? YES! 

Wearing a Sari

Now, I have a family that married into an Indian family. Ever since then, I knew that I wanted to get a sari made for me. With the guidance of my family, I ended up getting a gold and teal sari when I was in Agra. 

And I’m only a little obsessed with it. 

My travel companions also got saris which made for an epic shot of all of us in front of the Taj Mahal. 

My only warning to you is that if you do this all eyes will be on you. I had several people wanting my picture and stopping to talk to me. I didn’t mind it, but this might put some travelers on edge. 

aesthetic summer bucket list, Aesthetic Summer Bucket List: Most Beautiful Things to Do Around the World
The epic shot that I got in front of the Taj Mahal in my sari at sunrise.

Take in the Beauty of Cinque Terre

The five villages that makeup Cinque Terre sit precariously on the cliffs above the Ligurian Sea and are renowned for their stunning vistas and pastel-colored houses.

If you are looking for that iconic view of this colorful city, you are going to want to hit the Santa Maria Belvedere terrace for that epic photo on your aesthetic summer bucket list.

The Blue Path

The ‘blue path‘ that connects the towns is a popular hiking trail and offers some of the most breathtaking views of the region.

It is about 7.5 miles (12 km) and starts from the westernmost village, Monterosso, and ends in the easternmost village, Riomaggiore. 

Swim in the Blue Lagoons of Malta

Malta’s Azure Window may have collapsed, but the island still boasts incredible blue lagoons

The island of Comino’s Blue Lagoon is a paradise for snorkelers and swimmers, with shallow, crystal-clear water.

The Blue Lagoon also has some of the most bought and highly rated tours on both Viator and GetYourGuide. I would highly suggest checking them out if you want to check this off of your bucket list. Here are few examples:

Best Conditions

Since it can be very hot, especially in July and August, it is highly recommended to go early in the morning. This also helps you avoid those pesky photobombers. 

Have an Adventure in Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine National Park, located in Chile’s Patagonia region, is a spectacle of nature that epitomizes the untamed beauty of the wilderness. 

Visiting during the summer months unveils a vibrant tapestry of flora and fauna against the backdrop of majestic mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and expansive glaciers.

This makes it one of the most aesthetically pleasing places in the world to visit!

This destination promises stunning photo opportunities and moments of reflection amidst some of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders.

Relax in Bora Bora’s Overwater Bungalows

Luxuriate in the famous overwater bungalows, a signature of this paradise. 

With the legendary Mount Otemanu as a backdrop, Bora Bora offers an unparalleled setting for exquisite photos.

Lodging Choices

Book a bungalow to ensure you wake up to the sight of the lagoon and have perfect lighting throughout the day.

This might cost you a pretty penny but this is a once-an-a-lifetime experience that will surely shine on your aesthetic summer bucket list. 

Photograph the Fiords of New Zealand

New Zealand’s Milford Sound is a must-see for its granite peaks jutting out of still, blue waters. The sound comes alive after a rainfall, with countless waterfalls cascading down the cliffs.

It is astounding that I did not hear of Milford Sound’s awe-inspiring beauty before visiting it myself. However, when I saw its wonders first-hand, I quickly learned why it demands such attention from travelers. 

In fact, it was one of the coolest things I saw in New Zealand (and that’s saying something). Well, other than my bungee jump, of course. 

Cruise or Kayak?

A cruise provides the best vantage points, especially for photography. The local companies are adept at maneuvering close to the waterfalls for a unique shot.

However, if you are looking for an adventure and a picture of yourself, then you might want to consider a kayak. 

Or, better yet, some offer both options (linked below!)

Cruise Tours
Kayak Tours

…or you could extra extra and just fly over it!

aesthetic summer bucket list, Aesthetic Summer Bucket List: Most Beautiful Things to Do Around the World
A shot taking from a cruise on the Milford Sound in New Zealand.

Run Through the Lavender Fields of Provence

Nothing is more Instagram-worthy than the purple sea of lavender in France. The best time to visit is mid-June and mid-August. Mid-July is when the fields are in full bloom.

I would make sure to wear your best outfit because you are going to look absolutely stunning surrounded by purple!

Ideal Locations

Valensole Plateau and Sénanque Abbey offer some of the most iconic views of the lavender fields.

Hike The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

A trek to Machu Picchu in Peru is not only rewarding for the soul but also for the camera. 

The Sun Gate boasts the classic view of the citadel, especially during the dry season (May to October) when mists are rare.

Permits and Preparation

Limited permits are available each day, so booking well in advance is essential.

I would also encourage you to actually TREK to Machu Picchu, instead of just taking the bus. I’m not saying that taking the bus is kinda cheating, but this jaw-dropping landmark is 100% more meaningful when you’ve earned it

I might have earned it a bit too much by trekking both the Salkantay and the Incan Trail for a week (51 miles and we reached over 17,000 feet)…but I bawled once I got to Machu Picchu. 

…and that’s also why all of my “aesthetic” photos were taken from the back: because I hadn’t showered in over a week! 

aesthetic summer bucket list, Aesthetic Summer Bucket List: Most Beautiful Things to Do Around the World
The final destination from our trek through the Andes in Peru to Machu Picchu.

Enjoy a Ride in the Canals of Venice

Exploring the canals of Venice offers an experience like no other, a chance to step into a living masterpiece of architecture and history

This city on water, with its intertwining canals, stunning Gothic and Renaissance buildings, and timeless bridges, presents a unique blend of beauty, romance, and mystery.

Venice’s labyrinth of canals is best explored early in the morning to avoid the crowds and enjoy the stillness. Among the most photogenic locations are the Grand Canal and the Bridge of Sighs.

Photography Tips

Gondolas and Vaporetto ferries add charm to canal shots. The first vaporetto along the Grand Canal leaves at around 5 am in summer.

Book a Venice Gondola Ride

Take a Stroll Through Sunflower Fields in Tuscany

Tuscany’s sunflower fields are a summer spectacle, with their bright yellow flowers contrasting the green of the rolling hills. These vibrant fields stretch as far as the eye can see, painting the countryside in a brilliant hue of yellow from June to August

The sunflower symbolizes the region’s sunny disposition and enriches the already picturesque scenery. 

For photographers and nature lovers alike, the sunflower fields of Tuscany offer a unique opportunity to capture the essence of Italian summer, where the warm, golden tones of the flowers contrast beautifully against the deep blues of the Tuscan sky.

Although it is possible to go “sunflower hunting” in this area, it is recommended to travel via Cassia, between Siena and Montalcino for a true sea of yellow. 

Ideal Time

Mid-June to early August is when the sunflowers are in full bloom, so visit then for the perfect shot.

You might need to be flexible since there is only a small window of full bloom.

Explore Banff National Park in Canada

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers. 

Its vast wilderness, characterized by towering mountain peaks, turquoise glacial lakes, and expansive forests, offers a natural playground unparalleled in beauty. 

Whether you’re hiking the scenic trails in the summer, skiing the powdery slopes in the winter, or soaking in the natural hot springs year-round, Banff provides an unforgettable experience. 

The park’s wildlife, including elk, bears, and wolves, adds an element of awe and respect for nature’s inhabitants. Visiting Banff National Park is not just a trip; it’s an immersion into one of the planet’s most spectacular landscapes.

Top Things to Do in Banff National Park

See the Magic of Bioluminescence

Witnessing bioluminescence is like capturing the stars in the sea. Mosquito Bay in Puerto Rico, is one of the brightest and most reliable spots for this natural phenomenon.

Although I attempted to witness this while I was traveling in Costa Rica, I finally caught a glimpse of this phenomenon while in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand.

I was night kayaking and it was as if the water glowed as I paddled through the water. It was, to put it simply, magical. 

Ideal Conditions

The bioluminescence is best seen during the new moon when the sky is darkest. It is also best seen in areas with very little light pollution. 

You can find examples of bioluminescent tours below. Although you can see it by yourself, it is sometimes tricky without a local guide…


Shooting bioluminescence is challenging but rewarding. It might be hard to capture this incredible natural phenomenon without a professional camera. 

You might need a tripod and a full-frame camera. Use a wide aperture and high ISO for long-exposure shots.

Cruise Through Halong Bay

Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Vietnam, is celebrated for its breathtaking seascape of limestone pillars and islets rising from emerald waters. 

Taking a cruise through this geological wonder allows you to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of nature up close. 

While summer voyages might greet you with a sprinkle of rain, this actually enhances the mystical ambiance of the bay and results in fewer crowds, offering a more exclusive and serene experience.

When I visited this incredible Vietnamese location, my mind was blown by all of the natural wonders that surrounded me. 

It is surely one of the most beautiful natural places I’ve ever been!

aesthetic summer bucket list, Aesthetic Summer Bucket List: Most Beautiful Things to Do Around the World
A view from a cruise in Halong Bay, Vietnam.

Respect the Temples of Angkor Wat at Sunrise

Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument, is beautifully preserved and a testament to the Khmer Empire. Built in the 12th century by Suryavarman II, the entire thing is an architectural wonder. 

I found myself in complete awe at how they built such impressive structures that are still standing today.

The best times for photos are during sunrise and sunset, offering golden and pink hues that reflect off the temple surfaces.

Most tours (including mine) opting for the sunrise tour. I didn’t see a ton of bright orange colors like I expected to and there were a lot of people there.

However, it still was absolutely magical and a moment I have dreamed about ever since I was a wee little mermaid.

Angkor Wat is More than the Main Structure

When I first desired to explore Angkor Wat, I thought that it comprised of those three iconic pillars and that was it. I was so wrong! 

The temple complex is vast, so explore the less-visited areas for solitude and unique angles.

Ironically, I actually enjoyed the Ta Prohm temple the most and found its photography opportunities plentiful! Think Lara Croft aesthetic! I was in love!

Another one of my favorites was the Bayon Temple with its 37 Buddha faces and intricate passageways. 

Top Tours of Angkor Wat

There are some very highly rated tours of Angkor Wat! I will list a few below, but I would suggest you click here to see them all.

aesthetic summer bucket list, Aesthetic Summer Bucket List: Most Beautiful Things to Do Around the World
Wandering around the ruins of Ta Prohm, Cambodia.

Explore the Snow-Capped Peaks of the Swiss Alps

The Swiss Alps are synonymous with charm, with their perfect, snow-capped peaks, blue skies, and rolling clouds. Interlaken and Zermatt are the gateways to some of the most scenic alpine experiences.

Even though I am accustomed to majestic mountains here in my native Colorado, there is nothing quite like the Swiss Alps. 

Plus, there are aesthetic opportunities galore! From vast mountain landscapes to cozy Swiss chalets (and fondue?), you will have no trouble finding beauty in Switzerland. You can even paraglide over them!

Seasonal Considerations

During the summer, most snow will have melted in the lower elevations and stunning hiking trails will be open. This is a perfect excuse to get outside to capture the quintessential Swiss Alps.

With that being said, I would also consider coming back during the winter ski season for a complete change in landscape and some snowy adventures. 

Top Tours in the Swiss Alps

Discover Antelope Canyon in Arizona

The Navajo sandstone slot canyons of Antelope Canyon are a photographer’s dream. 

The Upper Antelope Canyon with its beams of light shafting through at midday, and the Lower Canyon, offering less crowded photo ops throughout the day.

Just prepare for some intense summer heat in the summer!

Optimal Light

For ideal light conditions, schedule your visit around midday, but avoid the months of December and January when the beams don’t hit the canyon floors.

Witness the Emerald Green Waters of Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site but also home to vibrant, azure waters that cascade through a series of lakes and waterfalls.

It is a perfect place for an outdoor lover to wander around and take in its beauty. 

As soon as you enter Entrance 1, you will be treated to Veliki Slap, one of the tallest waterfalls in Croatia. 

As you start to make your way through the park, there are plenty of opportunities for lakes, waterfalls, and enchanting hikes.

If you do not feel comfortable taking this stunning park on by yourself, there are several highly rated day trips available:

Seasonal Beauty

The park is stunning year-round, but the lakes are at their well-known emerald best in the sunlight of summer, which is why it earned its place on this list.

aesthetic summer bucket list, Aesthetic Summer Bucket List: Most Beautiful Things to Do Around the World
An example of the stunning green emerald water at Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash.

Get Lost in the Colorful Streets of Burano

The Venetian island of Burano boasts a collection of rainbow-hued houses that are a joy to photograph. Explore the quieter alleys to find charming sights without the crowds.

Although this might not be as popular as the Venice canals itself, it should not be overlooked. 

If you are in Venice already, you might consider taking a tour that irons out all of those pesky travel details for you:

Best Time of Day for Photography

Early morning or late afternoon light will make the colors pop without the harsh midday shadows.

Visit Lofoten Norway 

The Lofoten Islands are an archipelago of natural beauty with their fishing villages, scattered islands, and towering mountains that drop directly into the sea.

This place looks like it was taken straight out of a Scandinavian postcard. 

Adventure Surrounds

Hiking, sea kayaking, and even surfing are available, offering unique perspectives ruled by nature’s unfiltered beauty.

Discover Zhangye Danxia Geopark

The Zhangye Danxia Geopark, located in China, is renowned for its extraordinary landscapes of colorful rock formations. 

These striking geological wonders, often referred to as the Rainbow Mountains, are the result of millions of years of mineral deposits and weathering. 

A visit to the park offers a unique opportunity to explore its array of colors, with hues of red, yellow, orange, and green painting a surreal and vibrant landscape. 

The best time to visit is during sunrise or sunset when the sunlight enhances the colors, providing a breathtaking view that resembles an impressionistic painting brought to life.

I got the chance to visit the same phenomenon while in Peru. It was nothing short of spectacular!

aesthetic summer bucket list, Aesthetic Summer Bucket List: Most Beautiful Things to Do Around the World
Wandering around the Rainbow Mountains of Peru.

Packing and Preparation Tips for Aesthetic Travel

Packing for an aesthetic summer bucket list trip is different from your average vacation.

Your list should contain not just practical items like map, adaptor, and sunscreen, but also camera gear and outfits that pop in photographs.

Invest in a good backpack that can hold your camera gear comfortably, and always carry a waterproof backpack cover or a dry bag to protect your equipment from the elements. 

Portable tripods and stabilizers can be a lifesaver in uneven terrains or when the lighting is low. Don’t forget extra batteries and memory cards—you’ll be snapping more than usual.

Lastly, remember to travel with an open mind. Your most aesthetically pleasing photos may come from the unplanned moments and the unforeseen corners of the world.

The Best Gear for Aesthetic Travel Photography

However, arming yourself with a DSLR camera or mirrorless equivalent will undoubtedly level up your photography game. Features like a full-frame sensor that excels in low light, manual settings, and RAW capabilities are indispensable.

Good lighting is crucial to taking enviable photos. Equip yourself with a Speedlight for portraits or a continuous LED light for videos and vlogging. If you’re traveling to destinations with stunning night skies, consider a fast prime lens or a camera with excellent low-light performance.

For landscape or architectural shots, wide-angle and standard zoom lenses are best. Look for lenses that are versatile and can handle varying lighting conditions. A macro lens will come in handy when you want to capture the small details of a location.

An extra battery pack and power bank are essential, especially when traveling to remote locations with limited access to electricity. It’s also wise to have a sturdy tripod for long exposure shots and time-lapse videos.

aesthetic summer bucket list, Aesthetic Summer Bucket List: Most Beautiful Things to Do Around the World
Donning my mermaid tail at Hanging Lake in Colorado.

Final Word on this Aesthetic Summer Bucket List

This aesthetic summer bucket list is more than just a guide to taking beautiful photos—it’s an invitation to explore, to see the world through a new lens, and to find beauty in every corner

Whether you’re watching the sunrise from a mountaintop, capturing the vibrant hues of a bustling city street, or enjoying the serene moments of a sunset beach picnic, each experience adds a unique layer to your summer story. 

Remember, the best accessory you can bring on any adventure is your perspective. This summer, challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone, to make connections with the places and people you encounter, and to share the stories that unfold. 

Happy travels, and may your summer be filled with unforgettable moments and breathtaking sights.

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