16 dream holidays to tick off your bucket list

dream holidays
16 dream holidays to tick off your bucket listOlena_Z

Dream holidays take you to the breathtaking places you've seen in magazines and on social media but have always wanted to experience for yourself.

They're ideal for ticking amazing places off your bucket list as you witness rare events, like wildlife encounters and natural phenomena, and visit heavenly destinations around the world.

To help you plan your next dream holiday, we thought we'd bring you some of the most amazing ideas or 2023 and 2024.

Our carefully curated selection is a one-of-a-kind, exclusive and gives you the chance to travel with like-minded Good Housekeeping readers - as well as a few of your favourite celebrities and experts.

Whether your dream holiday involves a luxurious cruise, an iconic railway journey, or exploring enchanting cities by foot, we’ve got something for you here.

From seeing Japan during the picture-perfect cherry blossom season to gliding through Scotland's Hollywood-worthy scenery on a steam train, these are the places to tick off your holiday wish list. Check out the dream holidays to experience in 2023 and 2024.

1. Glide through natural scenery on Canada's Rocky Mountaineer

When it comes to the greatest train journeys in the world, Canada's Rocky Mountaineer train is up there with the likes of the Royal Scotsman and the Trans-Siberian Express. This epic train travels through the majestic Rocky Mountains, taking in superb destinations like Lake Louise, Jasper, Whistler and Calgary, while allowing you to spot amazing wildlife, including grizzly bears, bald eagles, elk and big-horned sheep.

rail holidays
Rocky Mountaineer

With oversized glass dome windows, a large and exclusive outdoor viewing platform, and gourmet meals served in a lower-level dining room, this train is a luxurious way to see the natural wonders of North America.

On Good Housekeeping's exclusive 15-day tour, you'll ride this wonderful train into the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies. You’ll also experience the stunning Alaskan coastline on a cruise of the Inside Passage, a protected network of waterways that wind through glacier-cut fjords and lush temperate rainforests. Keep your eyes peeled for majestic humpback whales!

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2. Join a luxury Caribbean clipper cruise around the Leeward Islands

The Leeward Islands make a dream holiday destination for anyone looking for the best of the Caribbean - think white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, and warm weather near guaranteed.

There’s plenty to keep you active though, should you tire of sunbathing and dipping your toes in the ocean. What about a hike in the orchid-festooned rainforest of Dominica, or some energetic water sports on Terre-de-Haut?

dream holidays
Roberto Moiola / Sysaworld - Getty Images

Join Good Housekeeping for a cruise in January, February or March and you'll visit a different Caribbean island each day, exploring some of the most beautiful sites in the region. You’ll make stops on Nevis, Dominica, Terre-de-Haut, Deshaies, Antigua, and St Barts. Time on shore is yours to spend as you wish, getting to know the culture or seeking out a shady palm on a perfect powdery-soft beach.

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3. Discover the gourmet highlights of Bordeaux with Raymond Blanc

With its fairytale chateaux, delectable wines and enthralling scenery, Bordeaux is a near-perfect spot for a wine tasting holiday. Here, you can sample the finest clarets, sip wine as you sample oysters - which the region is famous for - and go on exciting excursions to the many inviting food markets, where you can taste the freshest of local produce.

dream holidays
Holger Leue

You might also be tempted to discover the region’s rich history, with a trip to the UNESCO-listed citadel in Blaye, the mysterious underground catacombs of Saint-Émilion, orLibourne's Gothic church.

You can join Michelin star chef Raymond Blanc on a food and wine cruise of Bordeaux during next year’s harvest season. You’ll visit vineyards for tastings and learn the art of French cooking from a true master with an interactive cooking demonstration from Raymond.

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4. Taste wines and try grape treading along the beautiful Douro River

Portugal’s Douro Valley is an incredibly picturesque wine-producing region. Its sweeping, sun-kissed hills make a dream holiday destination for any wine lover. If you visit in September or October, you’ll be arriving in the middle of the harvest season. You’ll find there’s a festive atmosphere in the hills, with live music playing through the night in the quintas - historic Portuguese wine estates.

dream holidays
Light-Lab - Getty Images

Taking a cruise along the Douro River allows you to fully immerse yourself in the wine culture, stopping off at vineyards to sample the finest port wines. You can even get involved in the harvest yourself by taking part in the traditional grape treading, where fresh grapes are trampled underfoot in a juicing ceremony that dates back centuries - it's a fun and satisfying experience.

Good Housekeeping has an eight-day Douro cruise that will take you to a picturesque quinta where you can try grape treading yourself. You’ll also stop off in buzzing Porto to sample more wine and admire the elegant architecture.

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Alternatively, you might choose to visit in the spring. At this time of year, the weather is lovely and warm and the terraced vineyards on the hills are bright with vibrant grape leaves. Join us in May 2023 for an eight-day cruise where a real highlight will be a special meal at Quinta da Avessada in the heart of the wine region.

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5. Soak up the romance of Venice and watch Russell Watson in concert

One of the world's most romantic cities, Venice is a classic European hotspot. The enchanting destination is one every Italophile needs to visit at least one. There's St Mark's Square, Doge's Palace and Rialto Bridge to explore, plus more. Foodies will be in their element, with a visit to Rialto's food markets, and if you're looking to get out of the centre, you can venture to the islands of Burano and Murano to discover their colourful architecture.

dream holidays
Getty/Grafissimo

Russell Watson is joining Good Housekeeping readers on a boutique music-themed cruise around Venice in April 2023, where he will give a private talk and host an exclusive live concert. During the trip you’ll be sailing in luxury and style on Super Ship La Venezia, with gourmet meals and unlimited premium drinks included.

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6. Travel through the Scottish Highlands like Harry Potter

If you're looking for a staycation like nothing else, a trip to Scottish Highlands offers all the goods. Here, you can take to the spectacular 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct, which was a location of the Harry Potter films and take in the impressive sight of Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, as you ride the Jacobite, one of the greatest railway journeys in the world.

september holidays scottish highlands
Catuncia - Getty Images

The Highlands make for a great spot to experience Britain's wild beauty and Good Housekeeping's dream holiday is one way to see its glorious scenery on the steam train ride of your childhood dreams.

You’ll ride the famous Fort William to Mallaig line through rugged mountains, past sea and inland lochs and onto the shores of the Atlantic at Mallaig, where you can make a pitstop for local seafood or fish and chips.

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7. Explore the highlights of Spain and Morocco on an unforgettable rail journey

Spain has an array of captivating cities, with architecture, art, and cuisine telling the story of the country’s fascinating and complex history. In Madrid you can visit the world-renowned Prado Museum, which boasts one of the world's greatest art collections. In Barcelona you can visit Gaudi's famous architectural gems, like the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo, before relaxing on the beach.

Fortunately, these two enchanting cities are well-connected by rail, making them easy to combine into one trip. For a dream holiday, you can extend your holiday by travelling south and crossing the Strait of Gibraltar by ferry to reach magnificent Morocco.

dream holidays
Balate Dorin - Getty Images

Discovering two of the most elegant and history-rich cities in Morocco in one trip is convenient thanks to a convenient express train that runs between them. You can spend time in Casablanca, visiting its Medina and the incredible Hassan II Mosque before catching the train to Marrakech, where you can enjoy its historic ramparts, intricate mosques and bustling souks..

Good Housekeeping has an exciting 10-day trip to Spain and Morocco, where you’ll explore the highlights of both countries by rail.

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8. Discover the wonderful wildlife and glorious gardens of the Isles of Scilly

These pristine islands 28 miles from the coast of Cornwall are a brilliant destination for wildlife lovers. The largest island, St Mary’s, is where the majority of the 2,200 Scillonians live, and can be easily reached by ferry from Penzance.

dream holidays
Ashley Cooper - Getty Images

The second largest island, Tresco, is famed for its dramatic headlands, quiet beaches and historical forts, plus the outstanding Tresco Abbey Garden, known as the South West’s answer to Kew. There are over 450 species of seabirds, waders and migrants to be spotted here throughout the year, and in the autumn you might be lucky enough to spot Atlantic grey seal pups.

Good Housekeeping has a fascinating tour of the Isles of Scilly with ornithologist Will Wagstaff in April 2023. Will is the islands' leading authority on birds, flowers and butterflies and he’ll join you for a day to share his knowledge of the native wildlife.

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9. Have the icy adventure of a lifetime in Antarctica

For a chilly adventure like nothing else, Antarctica offers the holiday of a lifetime. Once a destination that was mostly out of reach (and budget) for most travellers, now discerning explorers can visit the incredible White Content on guided expedition cruises. From spotting orcas, humpback and minke whales, leopard seals and a variety of penguins up close, you can experience life as a true explorer with a visit to Antarctica.

dream holidays
David Merron Photography - Getty Images

Good Housekeeping's exclusive and sustainable trip with Antarctica expert Hurtigruten is one to book for a unique travel experience. Your expert expedition team will lead ice-cruising and landings at every opportunity to go ashore and explore the impressive Antarctic scenery

You’ll make your way through Drake Passage, before attempting landings at several sites to show you the incredible diversity of landscapes and wildlife of Antarctica, this will be the most unforgettable trip you've ever taken.

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10. Learn the secrets of the English country garden with Sarah Raven

If your dream holiday involves strolling through a tranquil English country garden at the height of summer, when roses, sweet peas, and azaleas are in full bloom, a summertime trip to the brilliant gardens of Kent and Sussex might well do the trick.

Here you can witness the shrubs and perennials of Great Comp Garden, the roses and lavender of Pashley Manor, and the magnificent manicured gardens at Sissinghurst. Keen gardeners are bound to pick up tips and inspiration here to elevate their own gardens.

dream holidays
Geography Photos - Getty Images

You can visit the exceptional gardens of Kent and Sussex with Good Housekeeping on a very special itinerary in June 2023. You’ll be joined by garden designer, writer and broadcaster Sarah Raven, who’ll welcome you to Perch Hill, a former dairy farm that she transformed into 90 acres dedicated to flowers and vibrant gardens.

Sarah will give a special talk on her experience transforming the gardens before you take a guided tour with the gardeners, who’ll answer any questions you might have.

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11. Take in the beauty of the cherry blossom season on a cruise around Japan

A floral wonder that only occurs for a few weeks each spring, the Japanese cherry blossom season is a travel bucket list must-have for any nature-loving globetrotter. Its sheer beauty is something that you may have seen in pictures, but you can only truly appreciate it by being there. In the capital, Tokyo, there’s plenty of opportunity to see the cherry blossom, or ‘sakura’, in the lovely parks which can be found amongst soaring sky-skrapers. But you’ll want to make sure to travel around the country to get the fully floral experience.

cherry blossom holiday to japan
Shutterstock

On Good Housekeeping's 13-day cruise of Japan in March 2024, you can see the stunning blooms in Okinawa, Kyoto, Tokyo, Mount Fuji and more. You'll have plenty of time to take in all the culture, tick the highlights off your list and even venture to South Korea’s Jeju Island to explore more of Asia's beautiful nature.

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12. Experience an authentic paddle wheel steamboat in America's Deep South

America is packed with incredible travel experiences but one that really stands out for us is a journey along the Mississippi River on a paddle wheel steamboat. This is your chance to spend a few nights on a traditional ship that harks back to the sophisticated style of the American Victorian era, with its shining woodwork, fresh flowers and elegant antiques.

A Mississippe cruise will allow you to explore more of the Deep South in one trip than you’d get to otherwise. You can explore iconic destinations and discover the heritage and hospitality of iconic cities like New Orleans, Natchez and Memphis, as well as the small towns of the Mississippi Delta.

dream holidays
American Queen Voyages

On Good Housekeeping's nine-day break in February 2023, you'll spend seven nights cruising the river on the paddle wheel steamboat American Queen as you explore the Deep South. You'll visit charming towns, taste amazing food from the region and visit historic mansions all while sailing in stylish comfort.

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13. Glide through the Swiss Alps on the Glacier Express

If you don't have the time or energy to travel halfway across the world to experience a dream holiday, there's good news - you don't have to! Just a short hop away in Switzerland, you can ride an iconic red train that makes its way through snow-covered forests, Alpine valleys and over stunning bridges.

dream holidays glacier express
Shutterstock

Known as the slowest express train in the world, the Glacier Express offers a magical winter break. It's wonderful in autumn too, when you can see the changing colours of the seasons and witness the natural beauty of the Alps, and in spring, when the valleys are lush with green and pretty flowers dot the mountains with colour.

On Good Housekeeping's terrific trip in February, March or October 2023, you'll ride the train, explore the underrated city of Bern and enjoy a tranquil lake cruise.

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14. Admire springtime blooms along the Dutch and Belgian waterways with Adam Frost

You won't find a better time to visit the Netherlands than spring, when tulip season arrives, bringing colourful fields full of the blooming flowers. It's when you can visit the magnificent Keukenhof Gardens to see the millions of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. Elsewhere, the canals, windmills and streets of Amsterdam are also at their most beautiful.

dream holidays
Getty Images

Good Housekeeping's unique, spring-time cruise along the Dutch and Belgian waterway takes you to visit the famous flower fields and Keukenhof Gardens, as well as optional visits to Belgium’s Kalmthout Arboretum and Meise Botanic Gardens.

You’ll be accompanied by Gardeners' World presenter Adam Frost. You'll get to hear his tips and tricks to use in your own garden as you take in the culture and scenery of this wonderful part of Europe.

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15. Explore Scotland's scenery by luxury yacht with Carol Kirkwood

The Highlands and islands of Scotland boast some of the UK’s most dramatically beautiful natural scenery. There’s Loch Ness, Loch Nevis, the Sound of Mull, Iona, Eigg, Skye, Fort Augustus, and Fort William, and plenty of other serene locations to visit as you tour this well-loved region.

One of the best ways to explore is by boat, sailing through the glistening waters of the Caledonian Canal, exploring the hidden sea lochs and the magical islands of Scotland's western shore. You’ll glide past wild landscapes, towering castles, and spot majestic flora and fauna, on what is surely one of the UK’s most spectacular cruises.

dream holidays
Lord of the Glens/Carol Kirkwood

Good Housekeeping has an exclusive eight-day escape in May 2023 where you’ll sail around Scotland on a luxurious yacht-style ship, Lord of the Glens. You’ll be joined on board by weather presenter and proud Scotswoman, Carol Kirkwood, who'll give a talk and Q&A, sharing tales of growing up in the little coastal town of Morar.

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Alternatively, you can sail this captivating part of Scotland on Lord of the Glens on a shorter trip in April 2023. You’ll visit many of the same places, like colourful Tobermory on the Isle of Mull.

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If you’d prefer an autumn sailing, you can join us in September 2023 for an eight-day cruise. This is a lovely time to visit the Highlands, when the forests are awash with golden colours. This is also the beginning of the deer rutting season, so you might spot majestic red, fallow, and sika deer putting on a feisty display as they lock horns on the hillsides.

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16. Cruise around sun-drenched Greek islands on a boutique yacht

Famous for their pristine white villages, idyllic sands and clear water, the Cyclades is a circle-shaped archipelago of around 220 dreamy islands in the Aegean Sea. According to Ancient Greek legend, these islands are the rocks left over after a fierce battle between mythical giants. In reality, they formed as a result of prehistoric earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

dream holidays
© Allard Schager - Getty Images

It’s a lot less dramatic in the Cyclades nowadays. The islands offer pretty fishing villages, sandy beaches, rocky coves and the glittering azure waters, perfect for a peaceful Greek holiday. Some of the Cyclades - Santorini, Mykonos and Paros - you'll likely already have heard of, while others will be less familiar, and you’ll love getting to know them and all their individual charms.

You can explore the Cyclades with Good Housekeeping on an eight-day cruise in May 2023. You'll be cruising in the yacht Galileo, a small ship that allows access to smaller ports and secluded coves and beaches

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Looking for inspiration for your next holiday? Grab a cuppa and browse our brochure packed with unique escapes.

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