top 10 holiday destinations
Where, in your opinion, is the best travel destination in the world? And what would you do once you got there? Would you visit a naturally beautiful beach resort, or are you a city slicker more interested in bars, restaurants, and the local arts scene? Perhaps you prefer walking holidays where travelers spend most of their time on hiking trails. Walking holidays are actually one of this year’s most popular travel trends. After all, spending time outdoors can help you burn off those restaurant meals and keep you fit during your holiday. That said, most travel experts would agree that your ideal destination depends on the kinds of activities that interest you most.
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Deciding on the When and Where
Due to work and school responsibilities, the best time to visit your destination of choice is probably during the summer months. Read on to find out about some of the top summer holiday destinations (and a few fall and winter ones.} The following destinations are perfect for sightseeing as well as taking in the rich culture of other countries
If you love Asian food and enjoy shopping, Hong Kong, known as a shopper’s paradise, boasts an exotic food scene. Hong Kong tourists will enjoy breathtaking views of the city from high altitudes, and it seems like there’s always some sort of fun festival going on there. Since Hong Kong is extremely multi-cultural, you can sample not only local cuisine, but food from all over the world. If you enjoy the anthropological aspect of traveling, Hong Kong is perfect, because you will get an overview of Asian culture without having to visit each country individually. Best of all, Hong Kong holidays are relatively affordable. For example, it would cost you a lot more to fly to an obscure Asian destination such as Koh Samui, Thailand. And let’s face it, traveling in certain parts of Thailand can be quite dangerous. Visit Hong Kong instead, and be sure to try their dim sum and fresh seafood. Any time of year is a great time to visit Hong Kong, but travel experts recommend November and December based on the moderate weather that time of year.
When you visit South Africa, you will most likely be flying into the capital city of Cape Town. One of the most important travel tips for wandering through Cape Town is to travel in groups and keep your belongings secure. There’s a criminal element there, and they want to steal your cell phone. This is why it’s best to stay at an upscale resort near the international airport and spend your time on guided tours as opposed to randomly roaming around. Cape Town’s touring options include snorkeling with seals or enjoying a bird’s-eye-view of the Cape from a helicopter. If you want to do some whale watching while you’re there, keep in mind that the whales arrive between July and November.
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, so if you decide on Crete, you’ll have plenty of island resorts to choose from. The beaches in Crete are the main attraction, because it’s warm enough to swim year round! If you enjoy a Mediterranean diet, you’ll love the food in Crete, so be sure to order some of the local fare. Savor their deliciously-seasoned lamb while sampling the best local produce mixed into a legendary Cretan salad. The weather in Crete is beautiful in June, making it a convenient destination for a summer holiday.
Although things are relatively peaceful in the Middle East right now, it’s always best to stick with one of the Middle East’s safer countries like Dubai. These days, Dubai is one of the top travel destinations in the historical fertile crescent. When planning your trip to Dubai, consider an all-inclusive cruise, which is probably the safest and most affordable option for visiting an Arab country. That said, cruises to Dubai and the Indian Ocean offer a drastically different experience than the typical beach resort cruise. Don’t worry, you won’t be traveling through the Bermuda Triangle or anything, but the ports you’ll be visiting will reveal a rich culture heritage that is drastically different from Western civilization. Art museums might be on the agenda, and as an added bonus, one of the stops on your luxury cruise to Dubai will probably be Athens, Greece. January and February see a lot of tourist traffic, so if you don’t care about the Dubai Shopping Festival, it’s best to visit some other time during the off season. Dubai is a wealthy country, so you can’t expect to find many bargains at that festival anyway.
Although not necessarily the ideal summer destination, The Canary Islands are a great place to go scuba diving or snorkeling in September and October when the water there is at its warmest. That’s summer to the people in the islands, so in a sense, the Canary Islands are a summer destination. The unique type of algae on the coral reefs there attracts a wide variety of marine life. Risco Verde is one of the best beaches to visit if you’re traveling with your family. Families seeking an exotic island experience travel to this beach so their kids can catch a glimpse of the brightly colored fish. Even though Risco Verde Beach will be quite crowded, you will likely spot some beautiful damsel fish, which enjoy gracing its clear-blue waters in spite of hoards of tourists. Playa de La Arena on the island of Tenerife is another notable beach because of its black sand. The Canary Islands are Spanish Islands, but they are autonomous in that they make their own laws. Canary Island residents have their own unique dialect, but you’ll probably still be able to communicate with the locals if you did well in Spanish class. The climate in the Canary Islands is surprisingly moderate. In fact, Europeans often head to the islands in late fall to escape the frigid Nordic winter. If you’re planning a beach holiday, May through September is the perfect time to escape the cold and enjoy your own island adventure.
If you want to vacation in Europe on the cheap, staying at a luxury beach hotel in France can be surprisingly affordable if you do your research, and French cuisine isn’t as expensive in France as it is in other countries. That having been said, certain parts of France are actually quite expensive. If money is no object, visit the French Riviera aka Cote d’Azur, which is known for its glamorous beach resorts. See how the other half lives by shopping in glitzy boutiques and strolling down the docks of posh, yacht-lined marinas. Although there are regional variations in weather, the best time to go to France is probably during spring and summer.
If you love all things French, you might also look into visiting Bora Bora in French Polynesia. Bora Bora has a rush of tourists during its high season, which runs from May through October. Their high season is so popular because the rain showers are more isolated than usual during this time. If you hate rain, Bora Bora probably isn’t for you.
If visiting an archaeological site floats your boat, then you should consider a trip to Italy. The Colosseum, which is located there, is the most iconic of Roman ruins in Europe. Italy’s charming Baroque buildings are also of architectural interest, and there’s just a lot of classical historical sites and significant art museums throughout Italy.
If you’ve already been to Rome and the typical tourist attractions and want to experience another part of Italy, the Amalfi Coast is the perfect alternative destination. Although the beaches of the Amalfi Coast are more rocky than sandy, they are beautiful nonetheless. If you’re looking for a romantic destination, it will be easy to find a beach hotel there with an amazing view. July and August are the best time to visit any part of Italy due to warmer temperatures in the summertime.
Of course Italy and France aren’t the only interesting places to visit in Europe. The 2020 European Capital of Culture was awarded to Galway, Ireland, for a reason. From Irish dancing to an obsession with potatoes, Ireland has a quirky culture that’s just a lot of fun. When visiting Ireland for cultural reasons, you will want to make a stop in Waterford, the Emerald Isle’s oldest city. Founded by Viking traders in 914 AD, Waterford has a rich history. As one of Ireland’s beach towns, Waterford boasts a strong maritime tradition. Ireland has a beautifully mild climate. It can be rainy at times, but it’s a great place to visit year round. Fun fact: There aren’t any snakes in Ireland!
If you just want to hit some white sandy beaches for a bargain price, going with an all-inclusive vacation to Costa Rica is the obvious choice. Many of these packages are customizable and can include a small boutique hotel along the beach. Boutique hotels are all the rage right now due to the personal touch a small hotel can offer as opposed to an overly commercialized beach resort. Costa Rica is perfect for vacationing with kids due to lots of family-friendly activities and interesting wildlife. What kid wouldn’t want to spot a monkey in a tree or touch a sloth up close? With plenty of hiking trails complete with waterfalls and volcanoes, Costa Rica is also perfect for those walking holidays. Don’t forget to sample some of the decadent local produce while you’re there. It’s always a good time to arrive in Costa Rica, but travel experts recommend scheduling your trip between November and June, which is the mildest season in Central America.
The United States
Of all the countries in the world, The United States is the most popular travel destination. The climate varies by region, but when planning a beach vacation, keep in mind that the summer months in the Continental United States will always be June, July, and August. Note: You will probably want to skip visiting Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital city, due to political protests and civil unrest. If you spend much time on social media, you’ve probably heard about the looting and rioting that have recently taken place there.
The Western States
Visiting a few Western states is probably your best bet when it comes to experiencing the best of life in the United States. If you enjoy hiking through nature reserves, Stimpson Family Nature Reserve in Sudden Valley, Washington, would be a great place to do just that. Keep in mind that it rains a lot in Washington state, so bring your umbrella. The travel guide, Lonely Planet, also suggests visiting Phoenix, Arizona, but there’s really not much to see there–and it’s dreadfully hot in the summer. A better option would be Carlsbad National Park in New Mexico. If you like exercising in the shade, you can wear yourself out descending deep underground at Carlsbad Caverns. If this isn’t a walking holiday for you and you prefer to save steps, there’s an option to take the elevator. Las Vegas, Nevada, might be another interesting stop if you’re keen on bright lights and gambling in large casinos.
Also located in the Southwestern United States, Aspen, Colorado, is a popular destination for the rich and famous. If you do end up traveling during the winter months, Aspen, Colorado’s snowy peaks are perfect for snow skiing. The breathtaking views of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains make the town of Aspen a paradise on earth. If you have fair skin, be sure to wear sunscreen to protect yourself from the winter sun. It’s important to remember that even when you’re surrounded by snow and skiing in freezing weather, your face is still getting hours of sunshine. The ski season in Aspen goes from mid-December through the beginning of April.
California is a must see. Ride a cable car down the famous streets of San Francisco, where boat trips to Alcatraz are affordable and available daily. While you’re there on Fisherman’s Wharf, be sure to order some clam chowder served in a bread bowl. People living in nearby Sacramento regularly make day trips to this popular destination. Although San Francisco is located on the Pacific Coast, you won’t need your bathing suit for the golden beaches there. If you are from the U.K., the cold, brisk weather of San Francisco may remind you of the most dismal days in London. If you’re dreaming of a beach holiday in the sun, Northern California beaches probably aren’t what you have in mind since they tend to be windy and cold.
Southern California, on the other hand, is famous for its sunny beaches. In fact, “So-Cal” has the best climate anywhere, making it the most popular travel destination in the world. One of the most famous cities in the world, Los Angeles, California, is located in Southern California and is the best of all summer holiday destinations. Downtown Hollywood is the main attraction in Los Angeles because of people’s fascination with movies and celebrities, but the nearby sandy beaches are perfect for relaxing during your summer holiday. Disneyland in nearby Anaheim is a major attraction as well and is perfect for family holidays. Not too hot and not too cold, Southern California is the perfect summer destination, complete with plenty of palm trees. If you’re into water sports and boat rides, renting a boat at Lake Castaic should be included in your Southern California vacation plans. Pismo Beach is a great place to camp, and there’s even skiing in the winter in the nearby mountainous town of Big Bear Lake.
Consider Visiting a UNESCO World Heritage Site
If the primary purpose of your traveling is to learn about other cultures, consider looking into something called UNESCO culture sites. Wondering what those are? A World Heritage Site or World Culture Site is a travel destination that has been recognized by an organization called the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO.) There are over 1,100 world heritage sites. Most of them are cultural, and a few are considered natural or of “mixed property.”
Whatever your reason for traveling, now is the time to do it. Any of the above travel ideas would work for those planning family holidays as well as couples seeking honeymoon destinations. Or budget travel, traveling solo would also be an adventure at these naturally-beautiful destinations. Now that you’ve mulled over the above holiday ideas and selected your dream destination, it’s time to book your flight. If you’re reading this article at the end of 2020, you’ve probably been preoccupied with watching the Rugby World Cup on TV, but airfare is cheap right now. Jet2 City Breaks, for one, is offering great deals on European flights now that Fashion Week is over. Whichever website or travel agency you go through, don’t wait too long to plan a trip to one of these amazing holiday destinations.