Do you need some inspiration for your holiday destination this year? Well, check out our top ten tips for 2011 ranging from long haul secluded beach retreats, places of rich culture and historical significance to bustling cities and activity packed holidays.
Dubai is often considered a stopover destination for more far-flung places, but in fact it is an extremely superior holiday destination. Dubai strives to be known as the entertainment capital of the Middle East and this multicultural society has an abundance of attractions. Featuring a number of luxurious, extravagant hotels, Dubai constantly endeavors to be bigger and better than ever before. The famous palm islands have now been outdone by the world islands, the 7 star Burj Al Arab is the most extravagant hotel ever, and the Mall of Emirates is the biggest shopping mall in the world. Dubai is the ultimate destination for shopping, nightlife and pampering.
9. DENIS ISLAND – SEYCHELLES
A charming dot in the vast Indian ocean, this tropical hideaway has stunning surroundings, powdery white beaches a sheltered aquamarine lagoon. Denis is a private island and a perfect little haven to get away from it all. Relax in one of the 25 secluded villas, sunbathe on your own beachfront, bathe in the tranquil waters or meander through the forest. If you feel like some activity then you can visit the farm, giant tortoise colony and craft workshops.
There are a number of places worthy of a visit in Mexico. It’s quite capable of providing a holiday to suit everyone, from the spa resorts in Cancun for the silky soft white beaches and ancient Mayan healing rituals, the historical landmarks and museums of Mexico City to the amazing landscape of Copper Canyon of Chihuahua and the 2,000 miles of scenic coastline on the Mexican Riviera.
7. DEAD SEA – JORDAN
The Dead Sea has long been thought of as the ultimate place for restorative spa treatments due to the mineral rich seawater, the therapeutic black mud and highly oxygenated air. Considered a haven for rejuvenating body, mind and soul, the Dead Sea will provide the perfect natural spa experience and there’s also the significant religious, biblical and Islamic pilgrimage sites for those who want to experience the country’s history.
6. PORTO SANTO – MADEIRA
Described as the ‘Golden Isle’ because of the 9 kilometers of soft golden beaches, Porto Santo is still relatively off the tourist radar. A quirky little island in the archipelago of Madeira with a year round moderate climate, air of calm, lack of crowds, rolling hills and natural beauty. Don’t be surprised if you see holidaymakers burying each other in the sand, as it’s renowned to have healing qualities. The mineral composition of the sand means it’s particularly good for those suffering from rheumatism, arthritis and other bone complaints but if you don’t fancy taking your bucket and spade you can always check into one of the spa resorts and try out the hot sand therapy.
Well established as a tropical paradise, Hawaii should be on anyone’s list of desired locations. As much as Hawaii is renowned for it’s heavenly beaches with clear blue waters, fine restaurants, luxury spas and golf resorts, it’s other attractions should never be overlooked. Ensure that your itinerary includes the jet black sands of Punaluu beach, jungle garden of Kolekole beach park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, historic Pearl Harbour in Oahu and the Walmea Canyon of Kauai.
4. BRAZIL – SOUTH AMERICA
Having been selected for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic games Brazil is destined to become a holiday hotspot in the next year or two, so make sure you visit before the hoards arrive. Brazil is unique, diverse and rich in its culture, people and ecosystems. A great place to holiday, with the only problem being knowing where to start with the 7,000 miles of striking tropical beaches, amazing landscapes, dense Amazon rainforest, cosmopolitan cities and the megapolitan Rio De Janeiro.
3. HONG KONG
Think of Hong Kong and you’ll probably conjure images of a bustling vibrant city, bright lights, skyscrapers and big shopping malls. While all this may be true about Hong Kong it has much more to offer those who wish to visit. Hong Kong is unique in that it is a blend of western and eastern cultures. There are some stunning sights that are not to be missed including the skyline of the city from the Peak and the symphony of lights over Victoria Harbour. Lantau Island is also worth visiting for the secluded beaches, monasteries and a chance to spot the Chinese White Dolphin and for those big kids out there, Hong Kong even has it’s own Disneyland!
Hidden away in the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan only opened its doors to tourists in 1974. The government still adopts a very cautious approach to tourists to prevent any negative impact on their culture and environment. The Bhutanese make a point of living in harmony with nature. Anyone wishing to visit must either be guests of the government or on an approved travel program, but don’t let that put you off. Because of these endeavors to preserve heritage there is an unspoiled environment to be explored, unrivaled architectural style and an undoubtedly unique culture for visitors to appreciate.
1. LAPLAND – FINLAND
Lapland is a place of magic and wonder, the Lappish culture is an assortment of influences from all directions. There’s a plethora of National Parks to marvel at and dramatically distinct seasons with activities to complement the climate. Trekking, cycling and horseriding are great ways to explore throughout the summer season while the winter snowscapes can be explored by sled or snowmobile. And one of the most enchanting things to experience in Lapland is the Northern Lights. Visit in October or next February/March for the best chance to view this spectacular phenomenon.
Have a fantastic time and don’t forget to let me know how you get on!
Matt Beswick is an avid writer who loves to travel. He blogs on his personal website, along with writing on behalf of No.1 Traveller – a boutique company specialising in gatwick, stansted and heathrow airport lounges.