The Staycation Bucket List

Did you know that every US state and Canadian province and territory are represented on Not just visitors, but every state, province and territory appear on someone’s bucket list. That means that someone actually wants to come to where you live no matter how boring you think the place might be.

So here’s a quick guide on how to build a local, staycation, even, budget bucket list for your very own home state.



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The Irish Bucket List

Mackenzie-GuinnessIreland is many people’s favorite place in Europe. The accent, the food, the history, and the pubs, all make it a really fun place to visit.  You could spend all of your time in a pub, just hanging out, talking to locals, or enjoying the green-ness of everything and feel totally fulfilled with your visit. I know many people who have done just that! But if you want to cross a few things off your bucket list while you’re there I have some ideas for you.

5 Bucket List Ideas for Ireland

1. Drink Guinness

You can find Guinness everywhere in Ireland. I recommend drinking it whenever you can, but I’m just in love with the black stuff.  You can visit the Storehouse in Dublin where you learn how it’s made and have two free drinks. Worth a visit just for that.

2. Visit the Aran Islands

Off the coast of western Ireland near the Cliffs of Moher are three islands that make up the Aran Islands. These islands have nice beaches to dip your toes in cool water, plenty of restaurants and pubs, and horse-drawn carts for sightseeing.  These islands are a departure from typical Ireland and deserve a visit.Mackenzie-Blarney2

 3. Kiss the Blarney Stone

Everyone’s heard of the Blarney Stone.  Near Cork, Blarney Castle is a massive attraction for people who just want to kiss the stone.  There is also a small complex or gardens and forest around the castle ruins. But up at the top of the castle, you can wait in line for your turn at the Blarney Stone.

Lay on your back, lean over a scary ledge while you’re held by a lovely Irish man giving you instructions, and pucker up.  Just remember the sanitizer after…

 Mackenzie-cliffs24. Cliffs of Moher

On the west coast of Ireland, south of Galway, the Cliffs are spectacular.  Viewed from either land or sea, you will be impressed by their size. Walk along the path near the edge to get as much out of the cliffs as possible.

5. Giant’s Causeway

Though this is in Northern Ireland I’m including it because it’s a must-see if you’re on the island.  You can visit the Causeway by car or tour but alone with seeing a natural wonder you’ll visit a slightly different culture in the north.  There’s also a museum near the Causeway where you can learn about the formation of the rocks.

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Top 5 Travel Destinations to Add to Your Bucket List

The world is your oyster, and you are it’s shining pearl. There are so many fabulous places to see in this beautiful world, that it was nearly impossible for me to narrow down this list to just 5 places. But I am fortunate enough to have access to one of the world biggest bucket list sources of inspiration.

Ever wonder where people just have to see before they, you know, kick the bucket? Well wonder no more my friends. Because I’m here to share with you the top 5 travel spots that you just have to add to your Bucket List.

5 Most Popular Bucket List Destinations

1. France

Vive le France, or at least Paris. It seems the city of lights, and specifically the Eiffel Tower is at the top of the travel destination bucket list.


What to do in France:

Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower

– Walk over to Mont Saint-Michel

Eat a crepe in France

2. Italy 

Anyone who’s witnessed the beauty of Tuscany know just how appealing Italy is to the average tourist. So it is no surprise that cities such as Rome, Venice and Milan pop up on so many people’s Bucket Lists.

rome bucket list idea

What to do in Italy

See the Colosseum

Visit Cinque Terres 

Make a wish at the Fontana di Trevi

3. Bora Bora

So nice you say it twice, the beautiful island of French Polynesia is surrounded by crystal clear water, and pristine beaches.

bora bora

What to do in Bora Bora

Stay in a bungalow on the beach

Scuba dive with Manta Rays

4. UK 

Great Britain, oh she is go great. The history, the scenery, the people, the accents, all work together to make the United Kingdom an amazing place to visit. Tally ho, and check out some of the top things to do in her majesty’s kingdom.


What to do in the United Kingdome 

Visit a castle

Ride the London Eye

Go whisky tasting in Scotland

5. Egypt 

Finally, this (short) list wouldn’t be complete without one of the great wonders of the world, the pyramids of Egypt. It seems the bucket list community is as mystified as ever as how these great wonders came to be, but Egypt has a lot more bucket list worthy activities to offer.

pyramid of egypt

What to do in Egypt

– Visit the pyramids

The Egyprian Antiquities Museum

Ride a Camel

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It’s tulip time! – A Bucket List Story

*Editors Note* we are pleased to share this story from Laura Vanderkam

A few years ago, I put “visit the Netherlands during tulip time” on my List of 100 Dreams. I am thrilled to say that I can now cross that off.

We spent the past week in the Netherlands, staying in a farm house about an hour outside of Amsterdam, and exploring the whole country. Traveling with small kids (6,4,2) is always challenging, let alone traveling internationally, but we had a good time. Some memories, day by day:

Sun April 13: We arrived in Amsterdam after the overnight flight from Newark. Some of us slept more than others. My husband slept, which is good, since he was driving (neither “L” — nanny, who came with us — or I can drive stick, which is what the van Hertz had to special order for us was. I allegedly learned, but couldn’t start the car at a busy intersection years ago and was so traumatized from the experience that I haven’t tried since). We flew on my husband’s frequent flier miles — 6 free-ish tickets on Delta! — so I guess all that traveling was good for something. The long list of Disney movies made the flight a lot more bearable than it would have been, as did the 1-to-1 adult-to-kid ratio.

We landed and drove to the Artis Royal Zoo, and took in the elephants, lions, butterflies, etc. The kids were most taken with the playground, playing amidst all the blond children while the adults pounded coffee. We lost intensity halfway through the zoo when the jet-lagged 6-year-old started falling asleep on benches. No one can carry him, so we had to leave. We drove to our lovely house (rented online) out in the country, and after a short nap, headed to Hoge Veluwe national park, where we biked with the 3 kids on the backs of our bikes Dutch style — no helmets. No one wears them there, but it is a flat country built for cycling, and everyone cycles, which means that drivers expect to see bikes flying through every intersection. I’m wagering that the Dutch also aren’t that litigious, given the playgrounds we visited. We ate at a little roadside place that had a playground outside with a zip line. They took credit cards, but the line was broken, and since we were short on euros, my husband wound up driving 5 miles to another tiny little Dutch village to find an ATM. The playground came in handy during that wait!

netherlands bucket list

Mon April 14– The kids slept surprisingly well (only I was up at 4 a.m.) We threw the kids a bone with a visit to Efteling, the Dutch Disneyland. An article in the Wall Street Journal several months ago claimed this was extremely kid friendly and worth a visit. The fairy tale forest of animatronic type scenes was all in Dutch, but the kids still liked looking at Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, etc. We rode several rides, and despite it being horribly cold and intermittently rainy, the kids had a good time, especially the 4-year-old who got to ride a roller coaster. We had trouble finding a restaurant open on Monday night, but eventually stumbled into an empty bar that served us amazing savory pancakes (and Heinekens). Sometimes you get lucky.

Tues April 15 — back to Amsterdam for the day. We went to the Rijksmuseum, splitting into groups of 1 kid per 1 adult, though unfortunately, all 3 kids managed to be pills in their own way. I thought I had lucked out, drawing the 6-year-old, but he got so obsessed with the multimedia touchscreen tour guide that he didn’t want to look at the art and he walked straight into people. I started putting him on the benches in the middle of the rooms while I checked out the Rembrandts. L had the 2-year-old and eventually just took her out, figuring that running around the entrance area beat running through exhibits. My husband reported that the 4-year-old started lying on the floor whenever he stopped carrying him. Good times! We recovered after a late lunch and went to Vondelpark, the Amsterdam version of Central Park (think Central Park with way more obvious pot smoking). The kids played on a playground with another zip line, then we drove home on an alternate route that took us through some bulb fields — beautiful tulip fields where the colors alternate every few rows. The stripes are striking. My husband and I went out for dinner in Harderwijk, a village on the water, enjoying a lovely 4-course dinner with beverage accompaniment for me (he was driving!) It was a walled city with those picturesque tiny roads you see in old cities in Europe. These are not cities built for cars, so it’s always humorous maneuvering a 7-passenger van down the streets.

wind mill bucket listWed April 16 — A relatively low-key day at Hoge Veluwe National Park again. We started at the park’s Kroller Muller museum, which — like the Rijksmuseum — offered my children a chance to be at their best. Ha ha! At least no one actually touched the Van Goghs. We wound up not going to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam precisely because we were so traumatized by our museum experiences. We biked around afterwards, ate ice cream by a lake, and played on another Dutch playground. This featured an even bigger zip line! The kids loved it. We went back to Harderwijk en masse for dinner, and ate in an Italian restaurant that served pizza for the kiddos. I eat everything enthusiastically, which makes international travel fine for me. Even if I can’t read the menu, I’m willing to eat whatever it is. My kids don’t seem to feel this way. They ate bread and cheese much of the trip. Pizza was a nice break. We walked along the water, drove home and played on our house’s swingset. After we put the kids to bed, my husband took off for Brussels for a 24-hour trip.

Thurs April 17 — A home day for L and me and kids, as my husband took the car, not that either of us could drive it if he hadn’t. We traded off taking our runs into the local village of Uddel and playing with the kids. I got a few hours of work done. When I couldn’t figure out the Dutch washing machine, I washed our clothes by hand — communing with my Dutch farmwife ancestors, I suppose. The kids liked running around the fields and were alternately good, playing beautifully with each other in the spring sunshine, and awful. There was biting. Ugh. Hubby came home at 11 pm.

Fri April 18 — We traveled north to Houwerzijl, where my grandfather was born. It’s about half an hour outside Groningen, but it is really in the middle of nowhere. We were driving on one-lane roads through the open fields and past windmills to get there. The little village was charming, and the old church is now a nice tea and sandwich shop with a clean (and free) WC. Alas, they did not take our version of credit card, and we were short on cash again, so my husband had to make another 5 mile drive to a neighboring village’s ATM. We explored a little book store, and an old cemetery, where I found a Van Der Kamp, but no Van der Kams (and my mom tells me it wasn’t just a matter of dropping the “p” on American arrival). Oh well. We drove on to Bourtange, a fortified city (and massive tourist trap) near the border, then briefly crossed into Germany to drive — with no speed limit! — part of the way home.

tulip fest bucket list

Sat April 19 — It is tulip time in Holland, and we drove to Keukenhof, the big flower show. It was crowded but dazzling, with thousands of tulips blooming amid azaleas, cherry trees, daffodils, lilacs, etc. We went crazy with the camera, taking our Christmas card photos, then we went into Amsterdam to a place that supposedly had awesome mussels. Upon arriving, we were told that it was not mussel season, so no one was serving them. We had cheese fondue instead, and walked around old Amsterdam, then drove home and had a picnic dinner in our lovely yard before packing up and getting ready to leave on…

Sun April 20 — iIt’s a long haul back to the US, but the 1-to-1 adult-to-kid ratio helped, and so did the movies. I know the parts of the trip my kids liked the best — the amusement parks, the playgrounds, etc. — could obviously have been done at home, too. But I’m not willing to put off traveling until they’re older, and there were enough good parts to make up for the challenges. I saw lovely Van Goghs and Rembrandts, I biked through a gorgeous forest, I saw where my grandfather is from, I enjoyed the tulips. I’m happy to have crossed this one off the bucket list.

About Laura

Laura Vanderkam is a nationally recognized writer, journalist and author who questions the status quo and helps her readers rediscover their true passions and beliefs in pursuit of more meaningful lives.READ MORE »

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Bucket List Destination Idea – Tanzania

I’m not sure if many of you can tell from some of the older blog articles… but I kind of really want to go on an African Safari. In fact it’s one of my top travel bucket list destinations that I want to do before the time I hit 30.

There is just so much to be discovered in the beautiful country that just draws me in…. and I think you’ll be just as enamoured with Tanzania. So here’s why I think Tanzania is the puuurrrfect bucket list destination.

But first, a little background info is in order. Tanzania is borders the Indian ocean, and has long been acclaimed as one of the best places you have to see before you die. Here’s a little fun fact about the country, did you know Tanzania has both the highest and lowest points of Africa?

4 Reasons Tanzania is the Perfect Bucket List Destination

1. You can go on a safari

Well, the intro pretty much summed it up, I think safaris are the best. Seeing an abundance of animals in the wild, animals I’d only previously seen in the Lion King, would probably be one of the best moments of my young life so far. I know my chances of seeing Pumbaa, Timon, and Simba all happily playing together on the savannah are pretty slim, but let me hold on to that 1% chance that they might all break out into Hakuna Matata.

zebra tanzania

lion tanzania

giraffe tanzania


2. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa (fun fact), and one of the most sought after peaks to climb in the world. Here’s a story from our own founding partner, Jason, on his experience hiking to the peak,

“My wife and I climbed Kilimanjaro as a part of our honeymoon. It was an amazing experience. My wife, was wonderful and booked the whole trip with our travel agent. We used a guide company called Wild Safari. We hiked Rongai route which took us five nights. The route was surprisingly mellow (and flat for the first few days). You could’ve ridden a bike up the trail if it wasn’t so dusty and sandy. Although we were scheduled to go on a group hike it turned out that it was just my wife and I supported by approximately 5-6 guides and porters. We were totally spoiled, when we arrived at camp each day dinner would be cooked and our tent was already set up. My dad, who’s an avid climber/hiker says this isn’t really hiking but I had a great time. As we approached the summit, the elevation became very noticeable. I was in decent shape having just come off triathlon training and was comfortable running long distances but on summit day I was totally winded. I’m going to keep adding to this post over time.”

kilamanjaro tanzania

digitalphotography.net3. Visit some of the most beautiful beaches in the world

Tanzania borders the Indian Ocean and boasts some of the worlds finest beaches in the world. Safaris, meet tropics, meet beaches, sounds like paradise to me.

tanzania bucket list 1

4. Experience Maasai Culture

The Maasai culture is distinctive in customs and dress, traditional and nomadic to the land. I’m sure I’m not doing the Maasai people any justice by trying to tell you about them, so as they say, a picture says a thousand words.

masaii 2(photomaasai tanzania

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10 things to add to your Summer Bucket List

I don’t know about you, but there’s just something about this time of year that makes me so excited for summer to start. The sun’s out, the trees are in full blossom, and it’s time to start whipping out your summer wardrobe. I have a feeling my summer bucket list will be growing to a mile long in no time, but let’s just start with the top 10 things (activities, goals, trips, etc) that you NEED to add to your Summer 2014 Bucket List!


1. Road Trip

Summer = spontaneity. Have a free weekend, grab a buddy, pack up the car and drive! Life is all about the adventures you make. This will make me sound like a fortune cookie, but it’s all about the journey. Blast some Beyonce (if you’re into that…and you should be) roll down the windows and just drive. If you’re looking to complete a mini bucket list within a bucket list, take a gander at our Ultimate Road Trip Bucket List!

2. Summer music festival

Maybe because this summer I’m particularly impressed with the music festival lineups (check out Pemberton) but I’m itching to cross this bad boy off my bucket list. And I may also have bad jealousy to everyone who is at Coachella right now (send us a pic, let us live through you).

3. Camp on the beach

As someone pointed out so poignantly on our Instagram account, make sure you can high enough away from the tide, so you’re now swept away during the middle of the night, even though that would be a pretty cool story.

4. Learn to surf/boogie board/wakeboard/skimboard

To me summer means water sports. But I understand that some of you’s aren’t so lucky to have the ocean a stones throw away… So I left this goal a little open, because lakes are just as awesome.


5. Go fruit picking and bake (mmmm)

Fresh fruit in the summer is simply the best, but fresh fruit in a pie is even better.

6. Host a bbq/summer solstice party

Why not kick off the start of summer with a bang! Since June 21 is the official start of summer, and the shortest night of the year, things just sort of make sense! Plus since it is the shortest night of the year, this party is the perfect place to complete #8!

7. Watch Fireworks

A summer staple, watching fireworks with family and friends is a must do for every summer bucket list!

8. Watch the sunrise (after staying awake all night)

There is something so magical about staying up all night to watch the sun rise on a warm summer evening. The silence is beautiful as everything is still, for even just a moment.

9. Volunteer at your local park clean up

Since old man winter was a particularly nasty one for so many of us this year, the parks got quite a beating. Help make your local community as beautiful as the people living in it.


10. Finally (and most crucially) make the perfect S’more

No explanation needed, but we’ll volunteer as quality control, for the sake of your goal!

Got anything you’re dying to do this summer? Let us know, we’ll keep adding to the list!

PS. We’re about to kick off our crowd-funding campaign to raise the funds we need to complete the Bucket List App! Help us check off one of the biggest items from our bucket list, and you’ll get some pretty neat stuff in return!

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The Ultimate Las Vegas Bucket List – Part 1

Recently I had the pleasure of going to Las Vegas for my 23rd birthday. With my best friend in tow, we set out to have the best time ever in the city where anything can happen. With a little bit of research (hey, someone has to do it) we set off to create the Ultimate Las Vegas Bucket List. Because we had such a great time, I’ve decided to split this post into two. But without further a due, here are 5 things you have to add to your Las Vegas Bucket List.

1. The Strip

I know, I know, what a cliche first suggestion to have on your Las Vegas bucket list, but you have to go there. Not only is it truly awe inspiring to think that all of these attractions were completely man made and constructed, but you can start in Egypt and travel to the canals in Venice, all in an afternoon.


2. The Grand Canyon

If you really want to up the adventure side of things, try taking a short plane ride or helicopter ride to the wonder. The vast canyon is indescribable. Nature at its finest. The glass bridge isn’t for those of the faint of heart, look straight down into the canyon. I truly recommend going to the grand canyon, it’s a welcome break to the hustle of Las Vegas. If you head to the Grand Canyon by car, no doubt you’ll stop by the Hoover Damn an American jewel and man made amazement.

3. Old Vegas

The sites you see in the tv and movies depicting Las Vegas is usually Old Vegas. Specifically Fremont Street. Covered in a blanket of lights, Fremont street is not only reminiscent of an older time in Las Vegas, but also a lot cheaper. Want a meal for under $5? Fremont Street is probably your best bet.

welcome sign

4. XS

XS is the best club in the world. No really, XS was named the best night club in the entire world. With house dj’s like Avicii, and David Gueta, get there early or prepare to wait in line. But once inside, prepare to be amazed. Where else in the world is there a swimming pool in the middle of the club? The inside is plated with real gold status and fittings. And not to sound like a small town kid (I’m a small town kid) the bathrooms were amazing. Probably the nicest ones I have ever seen.

5. The Chippendales

Finally, we’ve come to the end of the first half of my ultimate Las Vegas bucket list, but we’re going to finish strong. The Chippendales are a Las Vegas institution. For those of you who don’t know. the Chippendales are ‘male dancers’ similar to Magic Mike, but impeccable. Whether you’re into the more traditional fireman dance, or a more specific 90’s R&B performance, the Chippendales have something for you.

Although at first I was a little nervous (to say the least) ladies, don’t worry these men are pros! If you’re interested in having one of the best nights of your lives, check out their site here. PS get your photo taken with the Chippendales after the show…it’s the only Vegas souvenir you’ll ever need.558996_10153851704090012_138151699_n

Vegas was just so much fun! If you’re over 21 I 100% recommend going. Check out if you’re thinking of going. It had some really great deals. Have you been to Las Vegas? Let me know if there’s anything you’d suggest to do. I know I will be back soon.

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5 Places to add to your Bucket List

Who wants to see the world? I recently read a quote from St. Augustine that really inspired me to search for beautiful and unexpected destinations I hope to one day add to my bucket list.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”

If you can’t get off school/work but are day dreaming about the moment you buy your plane ticket and leave, check out the 5 places you need to add to your Bucket List!

PS want more inspiration like this post? Check out my own personal bucket list at

1. Cinque Terres 

Located in the rugged and scenic Italian coast, Cinque Terres is unlike any area I’ve ever seen. Named for the surrounding 5 villages, you can find beautiful buildings, crystal blue sea, and jaw dropping-ly beautiful cliffs.

2. Mauritius 

Fun fact, Mauritius was the last known country of the famed (but extinct) do-do bird. From pristine white sandy beaches, to a diverse cultural hub, Mauritius is truly unique.

3. Bora Bora 

So nice you say it twice. (I’m sensing a theme here) It may be because it’s winter, or because it’s been raining for a while now but my wanderlust seems to be focus on beaches, and Bora Bora isn’t anything to be surprised about.

4. Tanzania

I mean it’s the inspiration for the Lion King, do you really need any more of an explanation? Well, Tanzania is also home to Mt. Kilimanjaro, one of the most sought after mountains to climb in the world! And to boot, Tanzania has one of the worlds largest Safaris where you’ll be able to see lions, and elephants.

5. Vancouver

There are not many places in the world where you can ski and surf in the same day, but Vancouver is one of them (if you’re up for the challenge). Surf in legendary Tofino, a surfers paradise, and then take the ferry across to one of Vancouver’s local mountains, which is open late for an evening ski sesh. I’m not saying you won’t be exhausted, but it will be a memory you won’t soon forget.

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The Barcelona Bucket List

There is no place on earth like the city of Barcelona, Spain. From beaches, to architecture, to a night life that can’t be beat, Barcelona is truly a spectacular place to experience. I’m a little bias because when I visited Barcelona, I felt like I was at home in a place that was 5000 miles away. I don’t think I’ll ever want to stop exploring the streets of the city. If you’re heading there yourself, check out some of my ideas for, The Barcelona Bucket List.

About Barcelona

Located in the sprawling Catalonia region, Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain. What drew me in the most was the beauty of the city and its surroundings. From mountains to the Mediterranean Sea, the city really does have it all. Did you know that Barcelona is the 10th most visited city in the world? And for a reason. Check out the top 10 things to add to your:

Barcelona Bucket List

1. Visit Park Güell

Like stepping into Dr. Seuss’s imagination, the parks filled with an array of mosaic tiles that seamlessly flow throughout the area. Gaudi’s work is like nothing else on earth, imagined to replicate the magic of nature in the art everywhere you turn. PS, if you’re an America’s Next Top Model fan, you’ll recognize the caves from the season finale runway show.

2. Go to a Flamenco Dancing Show

Some of the often shrouded culture of the city is the gypsy history. However through the expression in flamenco dancing you’ll feel not only the pain and struggle of the people, but the perseverance and survival. If nothing else it is gorgeous to see the men and women move their feet faster than lightning, and hear the classic instruments being played perfectly.

3. Oogle the street performers on Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas is possibly one of the most famous streets in Spain. What makes it so renowned, isn’t just the historical buildings or the fact that it is said to stretch from the mountains to the ocean, but it is now known for some of the world most mind-boggling street performers. Seriously I ask you to tell me how a man can float in the air using just a long walking stick as support!DSC_1172

4. Cheer for Barcelona in a La LIGA Game (soccer)

Again I may be a little biased because let’s be honest, FC Barcelona are the greatest team in the world. However if you aren’t a Barce fan, or god-forbid you don’t even like soccer, I still think you should check out a match. The atmosphere alone is worth it.

5. Spot Guadi’s Architechture

Here’s an easy item to check off your Barcelona Bucket List, spot one of Guadi’s architecture in the city. If you’re anything like me you’ll wonder how a man could conceive the flow of these buildings, and create something with function and such beauty.

6. Have a Sangria on the Beaches of Barcelonetta

Sangria is the quintessential Spanish beverage. It is a mix of red wine, fresh fruit and sugar, and I don’t like to brag, but I’ve tasted quite a few in my travels through Spain. And there’s nothing quite like sitting at a small cafe at the beaches of Barcelonetta sipping a cold glass of Sangria.

7. Marvel at the Sagrada Familia

This is one of the most unique, spectacular churches in the world. It’s been in construction since the 19th century! Words don’t do it justice, so just do me a favour and go see it for yourselves? Thanks!

There are so many more breath taking sites to see and quintessential Spanish activities to do, that I found it hard to narrow the Barcelona Bucket List down to just 7 items! I’d love to hear some of your favourite things you’ve done in the city, just leave us a comment below!

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