Top 10 holiday destinations
Posted March 23, 2009on:
As a British holidaymaker, I most enjoy short trips from England to anywhere within 4 to 5 hours flying distance. As a zealous traveller, I find no distance too great when incredible journeys summon!
My unending love for merriment has urged me to embark on many journeys and experience new cultures. Years of travel have taught me three important lessons: Respect for heritage, appreciation of beauty within simplicity and beholding grandeur within subtlety.
If you are planning a trip in the near future and out of UK, you may want to consider my recommendations.
Top 10 holiday destinations
Land of the finest red wine and Tango, of beautiful vineyards and of the warmest sunshine, SPAIN is the British holidaymaker’s most popular and frequently visited holiday destination. Here’s an account of my ‘exploits’ in Spain.
Majorca or Mallorca has been an experience close to heaven! Set on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Spain’s largest Balearic Island is haven for tourists in search for tranquil waters, sand, sun and frolic! With over 10 million people frequenting Majorca every year, the island is prime attraction for young pleasure seeking holidaymakers.
Adorned by the picturesque villages of Soller, with the mountains of Sierra de Tramuntara flanking the seaside, the wild terrain and soaring mountains lie beautifully in contrast with the gentle roar of the Mediterranean waters.
Arresting beaches, romantic coves and mystical mountains…Majorca is your best pick this season!
Largest of the seven Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa, Tenerife is a mix of beautiful coastline, majestic mountains, quaint valleys and dangerously alluring ravines. One of the most popular tourist destinations around the world, Tenerife’s volcanic landscape traps the serene within the untamed. A temperature averaging 20 degree Celsius, the island is one of continuous Spring.
For lovers of nature, a trip around the rugged massifs of Anaga, volcanic mountains of Dorsal, the depressed valleys of Valle de La Orotava and Valle de Güímar and the notable ravines of Ruiz, Fasnia, Güímar, Erques and Infierno make for an ideal ramble!
• Gran Canaria
One of the islands in the Canary Islands archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa, Gran Canaria’s volcanic origin endows it with fissures vents that make the island the second most populated island after Tenerife. With its varied landscape and climates, Gran Canaria is a Continent within a little island. The cool north and warm south of the island combine with beautiful beaches in the east and rockier mountains in the west.
Bird lovers can catch a glimpse of avian variety in the Palmitos Park. The botanical garden of Tafira Alta tops my list as a plant lover. Tourists looking for commercial amusement can take a tour around the lovely towns of San Agustín, Playa del Inglés, and Maspalomas, among others.
The endearing little island of Ibiza is located in the Mediterranean Sea and is the third largest Balearic Island. Infamously popular for its summer club parties, Ibiza has grown as a Spanish holiday spot in the last 35 years. Ibiza is your place if you tire of the natural world too soon. Walk into Privilege or party at Eden. Take a splash at the water parties in Es Paradís or enjoy a new experience at foam parties hosted by Amnesia.
Ibiza offers rustic beauty with long sandy beaches and unsettling weather. Prior to June and after September, expect quieter times at Ibiza as the island is empty of tourists and bereft of its nightclub frenzy.
• Other Spanish destinations:
Benidorm, the ‘Manhattan of Spain’, popularly referred to by Americans, has an interesting skyline of tall hotels and apartment buildings and is essential a tourist city and the fifth most popular holiday locale in Spain.
The ‘white’ village towns of Costa del Sol are packed with charm and old world hospitality offering rich and famous visitors with abounding amusement.
A monotonous fauna and impressive flora sums up the volcanic Canary Island of Lanzarote. Especially beautiful in the months of February and March, Lanzarote displays a colourful bloom brought by the winter rainfalls.
To a British, a leisurely Spanish holiday is a compulsion. If you haven’t been there insofar, I believe you are yet to experience your best holiday ever!
Cyprus, the third largest Mediterranean island, is immensely popular among Brits. I have loved the country for its history, not to mention the angelic sandy beaches and clear blue of the Mediterranean Sea. If you love the water, you can indulge in a variety of water sports like diving, sailing, fishing and a hoard of other activities like horse riding and mountain trekking.
The lovers’ paradise, there’s Aphrodite dwelling in every home and Adonis roaming every land in Cyprus! Set at the crossroads of European, Asian and African continents, Cyprus has a new world to discover at every bend and corner. Enjoy the exotic flora and fauna of the island and explore charming coral bays, cliffs and hauntingly beautiful under water caves.
Relive history through Greco-Roman limestone theatres in Pafos, or the imposing Gothic monuments of Nicosia and various other remnants of Greek, Roman, Turkish, and Assyrian rule at Paphos and around Cyprus.
I recommend Cyprus to anyone intrigued by the thought of time travel
As the richest empire of the ancient world, Turkey still holds dear to the Ottoman grandeur. A glimpse of exotic Asia within modern Europe, Turkey is mystical personified! Lovely towns, cobbled roads, colourful bazaars and the scent of aromatic spices… Turkey is enigmatic. Fierce men and sultry women, warm days and cool desert nights brings with it romance and mystery.
Enjoy water sports, relaxing spas and European luxury at fabulous beach resorts of the Black, the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea, delicious cuisines and entertaining night clubs at Istanbul, historic remnants at Antalya, natural beauty of Burdur and superbly accommodating towns and hotels around Turkey.
God’s own country, Greece, is nostalgic. Serene, tranquil and charming, Greece reminds you of a bygone era, when Gods and Goddesses walked the earth. Land of Hercules and Achilles, Greece is a land of fierce warriors and of passionate love!
I was lost admiring the remnants of ancient history at the Island of Crete and trudging along Mount Olympus and quite taken with the Rhodope range with its thick ancient forests. The historic towns, with its cobbled stoned roads, volcanic topography of Santorini and archeological sites, charming little harbors and the wonderful hospitality of Athens and luxurious resorts of Santorini, Paros, Myconos and Crete…left me craving for more!
Enter Africa and into the home of one of the most ancient civilizations of the world. Visions of great kings, vast desserts and pyramids rush through your mind with every step on the Egyptian soil. Set at the banks of the striking River Nile, Egypt is more than 5000 years of history that speaks for its immense popularity as a tourist destination.
Cairo is your capital city and has an abundance of male dominated traditional coffee houses, solely catering to men and for their social amusements! Colourful bazaars, jingling ornaments, flowing garbs and the busy hum-drum of old markets gives a slice of exotic old world charm.
You must visit the Giza pyramids of Kephren, Menkaure and Queen’s pyramids and the majestic Great Sphinx. Also see the pyramids of Abu Rawash, Abu Sir, Zawyet el-Aryan, and Saqqara among others. Delve into the mysterious and enigmatic Valley of Kings’ tombs and pits.
Other places you should see are Egyptian Antiquities Museum, Museum of Islamic Arts, Mosque at Al-Azhar, and Manial Palace Museum among others.
America is a land of opportunities. Unfortunately, not much of that includes an opportunity to admire natural beauty and explore virgin locations.
• Las Vegas
Las Vegas tops the tourist charts with its host of colourful and lively casinos, bars, clubs and infamous little town streets and corners. A gambler’s paradise, Las Vegas is stylishly designed for the rich and flamboyant. Not the best family getaway but frequented by many with a thirst for frolic and merriment.
• New York City
Almost every Hollywood film’s center of natural calamity, alien attack and home to super heroes, New York City has a lot to offer by way of technological advancement, but little of any excitement not found in London. You will come across every one of those plazas, malls, coffee shops, restaurants, nightclubs, and pubs that you have left back home.
A day or two should be enough to visit the Statue of Liberty or Madison Square Gardens.
The sunshine state of USA is perfect for holidaymakers looking for a classic sea, sun and sand getaway. Surf across waves, or go diving, snorkeling, paragliding and participate in volleyball games on shore. At Florida, the fun is never ending!
Children and adults alike will enjoy visiting Disneyland, Universal Studios and the Seaworld. Florida’s happy countenance and cheer makes for an ideal family holiday.
Italy, home of the greatest empire the world has ever seen and mother to European art, architecture, science and literature. Made of two islands on the Mediterranean Sea – Sicily and Sardinia, Italy is the treasure trove of European history.
Most holidaymakers visit Sicily for remnants of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum, and the leaning Tower of Pisa and no corner of this picturesque city are amiss in its rich cultural heritage. Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Petrarch, Dante, Galileo, Vivaldi, and many more, still haunt the corners and bends of this romantic city.
Throw in a generous ounce of Catholicism, a love for beauty, family and leisure and warm, nonchalant Italian demeanor and your Sicilian experience is one to be cherished!
Sardinia has that naïve, rustic quality, a peacefulness that gives comfort. Its mountainous island with sparing coastal plains attracts tourists for its natural, untouched beauty. Dry and windy summers and mild winters make up the Sardinian climate and gives way to the characteristic Italian warmth.
Did you know that Sardinia is the origin of the oldest forms of vocal polyphony? And the tradition of guitar songs that we love so much and have come to associate with romantic boat rides through Italian towns, has its origin in Sardinia too?
I loved Italy. You will too!
The Caribbean, a group of 7000 islands collectively known as the West Indies, is situated in the Caribbean Sea. Rich natural ambiance and sunny cultural demeanor are distinguishing qualities of the Caribbean.
Located in the middle of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda is a land of complex coastlines, steady winds and unbroken stretch of coral reefs. Bright and sunny, Antigua is predominantly British though the American fashion and popular culture too has its influence on the island’s deeply religious and spiritual disposition.
One major attraction of this island is the national Carnival held during the month of August. Historically, the Carnival commemorated the end of slavery in the West Indies during British rule. Our Brits can search for their special colonial relation with Antigua, though celebrations today depict anything but.
• Saint Lucia
The perfect tropical weather, romantic beaches and super fine resorts, rainforests, Sulphur Springs and the world’s only drive-in volcano, Saint Lucia is for travellers seeking pleasure, adventure and discovering the untouched.
A range of water sports like snorkeling, diving, fishing, surfing, yatching and adventure hiking, and trail riding offers the perfect family holiday experience!
‘The land of wood and water’, Jamaica is a combination of spectacular waterfalls and rivers, striking bays, romantic woodlands and forests and marvelous caves and mountains, Jamaica is vibrant, lively, colourful and much more. Guided jungle tours, raft rides down the Martha Brae waters, water sports, shopping, mouth-watering cuisine, Jamaica has something for everyone.
Be sure to carry a pair of shorts and T-shirt or sundress before you step out of the beach. Walking about in your bathing suit is offensive to Jamaicans.
Palm fringed white sandy beaches, extraordinary dance and musical culture, bloody history and multicultural ethnicity make Cuba a land of continuous excitement and wonder. The enchanting Trinidad, vibrant Havana, intriguing and isolated Baracoa and charming restored old cities are some of Cuba’s prime attraction.
Sophisticated yet charmingly naive, Barbados is one of boundless seas and endless sandy shores. Breathtaking sunsets, beaches, waterfalls and caves combined with romantic moonlight cruises, sightseeing, fishing, water sports and a vivacious culture and spirited inhabitants make Barbados your destination for endless merriment.
Situated in Southern European areas of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is a small yet densely populated European archipelago of 7 islands. Originally part of UK, Malta has gradually become one of the top holiday destinations in Europe since 1964 and after its independence.
Malta’s natural beauty is from its numerous bay harbours along the coastline, low hills and terraced fields and the formation of small waterbeds during the rainy season.
No language or cultural barriers, country bearing fishing villages and a mix of Arabian, Phoenician and Byzantine refinement, cuisine and architecture make Malta a treat and a home away from home for Brits.
Dubai, where money flows out of oil and tradition meets modernisation.
One of the seven populous cities of United Arab Emirates, Dubai today looks far removed from the charm and adventures of the Arabian Nights. Yet, one never fails to catch glimpses of timeless deserts, vibrant lifestyle and distinguished warmth that make up the exotic allure of Dubai.
Home to the Burj Al Arab, the tallest building in the world, Dubai is many of the world’s firsts like the under water restaurant of Al Manhara, the largest shopping mall, indoor ski system of Ski Dubai, and the highest tennis court at Burj among others. The trade and commercial hub of the Middle East, Dubai offers advancement and entertainment and unrivalled luxurious resort facilities.
Still not sure where to plan your vacation?
Sometimes when booking holidays, we’re more concerned with activities involved, or nature of the holiday than the actual destination. In case you’re looking for a Cruise holiday or Safaris, Honeymoons, Top luxury holidays etc, then why not try Best at Travel – They are my favourite tour operator (I booked all above destinations with them). Give them a call and they’ll help you find the right holiday for you at the right price.
For my detailed outlook on which operator to use to book which holiday, read my blog on top holiday destinations for British holiday makers (not just top 10) or go to Zip holidays for a comprehensive list of holiday destinations.