The fabled bucket list has been dressed up in many guises, but while it’s satisfying to tick an adventure off your list, wouldn’t it be great if you could reap some health benefits from the experience too?
In conjunction with the Samsung Smartwatch, the Bucket List Burner pinpoints twelve exciting destinations around the globe – one for each month of the year – that will scratch your itch to travel. Furthermore, we’ve hand-selected activities that will burn some serious calories while you’re at it.
We’ve calculated the average number of steps it’ll take to complete each activity, the calories you’ll likely burn doing it, and a delicious local delicacy that you can replenish yourself with afterwards.
Here are a few highlights:
Hiking the Rongai Route up Mount Kilimanjaro will burn a whopping 13,549 calories
The Polar Night marathon in Tromsø, Norway is run in complete darkness and sub-zero temperatures, but sightings of the Northern Lights are possible
You could eat 2.6 delicious servings of Raclette for the calories burned during 5 hours of skiing on the Aiguille du Midi slopes in Chamonix, France
The Khmer Empire Marathon is possibly the most cultured running event in the world, passing by nearly 40 ancient temples in Cambodia’s magnificent Angkor Wat
Cycling ‘Death Road’ will see you descending narrow cliff-side tracks with a vertical 1000 metre drop by your side
A whole year of travel and fitness awaits!
The Polar Night half marathon in Tromsø, Norway
Best time to visit: January – The Polar Night half marathon will next take place on 4th January 2020
Steps taken: 39,996
Total calories burned: 1,676
Local food or drink to try: Krumkake
The Polar Night half marathon takes place in Tromsø every January, when northern Norway is met with perpetual darkness around the clock. Adding a sense of eeriness to the experience, the race takes place in the middle of the day under a blanket of black sky and follows a 13.1 mile course starting in Storgata and winding around the island. The real selling point, however, is the opportunity to sight the spectacular Northern Lights as you complete your run!
While icy conditions can slow you down, exercising in freezing temperatures can push your body to work extra hard to keep warn – in turn, burning more calories!
Ski in the Vallée Blanche in Chamonix, France
Best time to visit: February – You’re guaranteed excellent snow conditions
Steps taken: 54,000
Total calories burned: 2,667
Local delicacy to try: Raclette
Famed as the home to one of the longest ski runs in the world, The Vallée Blanche (White Valley) is a route situated on the famous Mont Blanc range within the French Alps. Take the Aiguille du Midi cable car to the top of the Aiguille du Midi peak and proceed through the ice gate. Once on the slopes, you’ll be gifted fantastic views of Mont Blanc, and beyond into Italy, France and Switzerland. The route ends in the town centre of Chamonix, which is packed with cosy spots to reenergise at.
In terms of health benefits, there aren’t many activities that leave you feeling quite as invigorated as downhill skiing. Combining endurance and resistance training, it’s the ultimate lower body workout.
Walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain
Best time to visit: March – For mild weather and to beat the crowds over the summer months
Steps taken: 960,000
Total calories burned: 41,760
Local delicacy to try: Tortilla Española
Stretching hundreds of miles across the top of Spain and concluding at the tomb of the apostle St. James, the Camino de Santiago is a famous pilgrimage that brings thousands of people together from across the world. One of the most popular routes is the Camino Frances, which takes people on an epic 480-mile journey from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to the final destination in Santiago. Generally speaking, it takes approximately one month to walk this particular route, so set some time aside in your 2019 diary.
Not only will you reap the usual health benefits of hiking, but due to the long completion time of the pilgrimage, your stamina will improve from day to day – in turn, this will boost your metabolism and burn even more calories.
Hike Italy’s Cinque Terre in Liguria, Italy
Best time to visit: April – For warm weather and quieter routes than during mid-summer
Steps taken: 8,448
Total calories burned: 1,600
Local delicacy to try: Focaccia
Italy’s Cinque Terre on the north-western coast boasts one of the most picturesque coastlines the globe has to offer. Embark on a hike through five unspoilt towns and miles of walking trails along narrow stone paths, beginning in the tiny commune of Corniglia and finishing in the ancient village of Vernazza.
As you climb up and down the hilly coastal path, you’re guaranteed to feel the lower body workout it is providing. Be aware that some sections of the path are steep, so if you’re not a fan of hiking on an incline you may want to skip them.
Hike Through Yosemite National Park in California, USA
Best time to visit: June – The waterfall is at peak runoff
Steps taken: 15,206
Total calories burned: 2,286
Local delicacy to try: Trail Blazer
Nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the Yosemite National Park is home to towering sequoia trees, waterfalls, and abundant wilderness. Choose the Yosemite Falls Hiking Trail and embark along the zigzagging path that scales 2,700 feet to the top of America’s tallest waterfall outside of Hawaii. Not only do the breath-taking views of the Sierra Valley make it worth the climb, but uphill hiking can do wonders for your cardiovascular fitness and lower body strength.
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
Best time to visit: July – it is best to visit outside of the rainy season
Steps taken: 103,448
Total calories burned: 13,549
Local delicacy to try: Nyoma Choma
Africa’s largest mountain, Kilimanjaro, is a dormant freestanding volcano in Tanzania that hits nearly 20,000 feet at its peak. While there are a few different routes to choose from, the gradual slopes of the Rongai Route make it a popular choice for lesser experienced hikers. The seven-day excursion begins gradually through corn and potato fields, onto the Lunar Desert and finally to the summit of Uhuru.
After trekking for seven days, you’re guaranteed to feel improved strength in you lower body and gain a boost to your cardiovascular fitness. Being amongst nature has also been proven to have benefits for your mental wellbeing and mood.
Run a Marathon at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Best time to visit: August – The 6th ‘Khmer Empire Marathon’ will be taking place on 4th August 2019
Steps taken: 52,400
Total calories burned: 3,429
Local delicacy to try: Fish Amok
Buried deep in the Siem Reap jungle is the world’s largest religious structure, Angkor Wat – a treasure trove of surviving Buddhist and Hindu temples. The incredible temple complex is so vast – spanning 400 sq. km – that there’s space for an annual marathon on its holy ground. The 26-mile course runs through the impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor, passing by nearly 40 ancient temples, through flourishing Cambodian forests and past village rice fields.
We all know that running is the ultimate calorie-burning exercise. Add 30-degree heat to the mix and you’ll be burning even more! This is because, in order to cool your body down, your heart is forced to work harder to pump blood to your skin. Just be sure to stay hydrated.
Cycle ‘Death Road’ in Yungas, Bolivia
Best time to visit: September – This is the warmer end of Bolivia’s dry season
Steps taken: 711,480
Total calories burned: 3,048
Local delicacy to try: Silpancho
Yungas Road isn’t nicknamed “Death Road” for nothing. Narrow single-track is bordered by mountain on one side and sheer cliff-faces on the other, with few barricades preventing one from going over the edge. Not for the faint-hearted, cycling ‘Death Road’ will see thrill-seekers climbing to 4,650 metres above sea level before descending to 1,000 metres. The buzz from danger, married with outstanding views of untamed Bolivia stretching as far as the eye can see make it all worthwhile. Fortunately, the notorious route isn’t as dangerous as its reputation suggests now, thanks to an alternative route being opened for trucks to use.
While the adrenaline rush is the true draw of Bolivia’s ‘Death Road’, cycling is a fantastic full body workout, increasing muscle strength in your legs and core, while improving aerobic fitness.
Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains, Peru
Best time to visit: October – For dry conditions and comfortable temperatures
Steps taken: 54,912
Total calories burned: 11,888
Local delicacy to try: Cuy al Horno
Set high in the Andes mountains, shrouded by mist and lush vegetation, sits one of Peru’s most beloved treasures – the enchanting Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most iconic treks in the world, taking you on a four-day excursion through the Andes mountains, the magical Amazonian cloud forest and past other historic ruins.
While there are other ways to get to Machu Picchu, this is by far the most spectacular. Plus, by trekking for approximately six hours a day over hilly and rugged terrain you’ll give your legs a good workout, while building stamina.
Hike the Great Wall of China from Jiayuguan – Shanhaiguan, China
Best time to visit: November – To avoid the exhausting heat of the summer and cold of the winter
Steps taken: 47,000
Total calories burned: 2,515
Local delicacy to try: Xiaolongbao
Estimating the total size of the Great Wall of China is difficult, in part because the wall isn’t a long, continuous structure. Different walls from different empires dot different parts of China, including as far south as Henan. While it is possible to walk the entire stretch, it will take approximately ten months to complete. There are, however, a number of different – shorter – hikes to choose from.
The two-day trek from Hexi Village to Gubeikou and Panlong is a great option for those who enjoy country hiking, spanning an appealingly rugged section of the wall. On day one, head up Wohu Mountain to the guard towers and admire the spectacular view before spending the night in Hexi and setting out along the Panlong stretch on day two.
Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Best time to visit: December – This is Rwanda’s dry season
Steps taken: 10,560
Total calories burned: 500
Local delicacy to try: Ubugali
For a life-changing experience, visit Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and sight mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Listed as one of Travel and Leisure’s top places to visit in 2019, the park has seen a surge in visitors, thanks to being one of the last remaining places on earth that you can glimpse the critically endangered primates.
Incredibly, the gorillas are located close to the entrance of the park, meaning you don’t need to trek far before catching a glimpse of the magnificent animals. On average, you can expect to walk around 5 miles in the day and trekking poles are provided to help tourists navigate the muddy, sometimes steep terrain.