I’ve just touched down back in London after a just under a week stay in Barcelona alongside my boyfriend. Can you believe I’m British and this is only my first time going to Spain?
I counted, and the trip marks my 13th country visited (outside of England, of course), it’s also the ~29th city I’ve visited, and a couple of these trips being taken multiple times (e.g. Paris, Amsterdam, U.S.). 13 at 22 isn’t bad (I do have a friend that has visited over 30…) – but there’s so much more to see. I’ve never been to Canada, Australia, Asia or the Caribbean – it’s safe to say I have a lot more trips to make. I would without a doubt book another trip away right on this spot, if it didn’t involve having to first look for someone to drag along with me!
Keeping in the summer spirit – I thought I would share a few of my dream holiday destinations…
Narrowing down travel destinations can be tough if you, like so many people, are subject to chronic wanderlust. But there are all different kinds of travel. Sometimes we travel for specific attractions or activities, sometimes to see friends or family, and sometimes to explore new areas. But when you’re looking for a relaxing holiday you can at least narrow things down a little in search of beauty, relaxation, and a few fun things to do.
Here are four dream destinations that fit the bill.
Phuket can be one of the most stunning places in the world to visit. If you have an image in your mind of the postcard quality of the coastlines of Thailand, chances are you’re picturing something very similar to Phuket. It’s packed with exotic animals, sandy beaches, and blue waters unlike anything else in the world. You can spend the morning observing wild monkeys and the afternoon scuba diving in a crystal clear cove. Or, if you’re having a low energy day, you can kick back in one of a number of classy but comfortable beach resorts.
One thing you’ll want to try to fit into a visit to Thailand is a temple tour. We almost tend to think of Far East temples as relics of the past. In Thailand, and around Phuket in particular, such temples are very real, and are downright extraordinary. Take the time to check out some of the most famous temples. The scope and scale of these ancient wonders will be sure to take your breath away.
I did some of research putting this list together just to make sure I wasn’t forgetting any interesting destinations. The most striking thing I discovered was that one publication actually listed Porto as the third best place in the world to visit. Last year I actually visited the Algarve in Portugal which was pretty amazing – so it doesn’t surprise me too much to see this make it onto the list. For perspective, the rest of the top five in the same article consisted of Rome, Sydney, London, and Paris — all of which are far more standard for traveling bucket lists than this Portuguese getaway.
Porto is a traditional seaside European city filled with intriguing old buildings, fascinating museums, and local cafés. Like many other cities that fit this description, it’s the kind of place a lot of tourists will want to simply lose themselves in. But Porto is also interesting in that it isn’t as massive as some of the other cities it might be compared to. That both makes it easier to explore and leaves more time for lounging around (without feeling like you’re missing out on something). The top of my list would definitely include checking out the beaches.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
I pointed out Porto as a Mediterranean paradise that is often overlooked, so it feels only natural to also mention perhaps the greatest of these paradises. Monte Carlo is known for luxury and extravagance, as evidenced by celebrities who visit and the mind-blowing yachts that dock in the famous harbor. It’s also about as dazzling a place as you can imagine, and you don’t have to spend extravagantly to enjoy it.
There’s something to be said for just wandering around in Monte Carlo. There’re countless gorgeous views to enjoy if you walk about and also plenty of unique attractions. A lot of people adore the Oceanographic Museum, and if you go during the right time of year the Monaco Grand Prix is the main draw. However, the biggest attraction might be the Monte Carlo Casino. There are popular slot reels, legendary poker tables, and there’s also space for blackjack. You might be surprised to learn that blackjack is second only to poker in the hall-of-fame gaming stakes, and is actually more popular. This makes sense because it’s a simpler game, and is easy to play online.
Napa Valley, California, United States
As with seaside European cities, you could pick dozens of different destinations in the U.S. that are fitting for an excellent holiday. But if you’re primarily looking for a relaxing getaway, you’re going to have a hard time topping the beauty and serenity of the Napa Valley area in California. Best known for being one of the world’s top wine producing regions, Napa is also a hub for luxurious hotels, awesome spas, and, if you’re into this sort of thing, highly regarded golf courses.
A trip to Napa isn’t complete without finding a cosy hotel to enjoy, and you may wind up spending a lot of your time simply hanging out and letting go of the stress of the ‘real world.’ But let’s be honest: the main draws here are the vineyards and all the wonderful wine you can taste. A list of the best wineries to tour would be exhausting to get through, so you should ask around and do a some research before you go. These places aren’t just great because of the wine they make, but often because of how incredibly beautiful they can be.