Some destinations around the world can never fully be appreciated until you’re there, in the flesh. Whilst the Maldives and the Caribbean might be high on everyone’s bucket lists (mine included), there are several destinations, closer to home that are just as luxurious, just as relaxing and just as ‘bucket list’ worthy, but they’re often overlooked. Over the past year, whilst on a gap year – I have had the pleasure of visiting all five of the below destinations, each of which I thoroughly enjoyed and am already planning my next trip back. Having recommended each of the below to family and friends galore, I thought it was about time I wrote about them too.
With its world famous palaces, lakes and hotels, Vienna is a city not too be missed. Whether browsing designer shops is your idea of heaven, or if you prefer a relaxing cocktail overlooking the canal, Vienna is beautiful all year round (but especially in summer) for those wishing to have a city break, without the hustle, bustle and stress many other cities bring. We stayed in the smart Hotel Daniel, which offers luxurious, eco-friendly modern rooms, for affordable prices. Their breakfast and brunch spread is well known by locals (especially on a Saturday, so make sure you head down early) and their brownies are (quite literally) unbelievable. Located within close proximity to the Belvedere Palace and the main city centre, it offers everything any tourist (or non-tourist) could wish for.
As the romance capital of the world, Venice is commonly linked to ‘couples’ holidays however I personally think it’s a fantastic destination for groups of friends, as well as those in the ‘honeymoon period’. With fresh pasta, pizza and risotto galore, it’s not only a foodies heaven – but a tasty one too. Whether it’s friends or your partner that accompany you, getting lost in among the winding streets is never as fun as it will be in Venice, especially when there’s a ‘gelato’ or an ice cream stall around every corner. We stayed in the Hotel Papadopoli Venezia, part of the stunning Accor collection and located in the perfect position for access to all the main attractions, whilst still maintaining a little peace and quiet. Although an expensive destination, all year round – there are many little quirky restaurants, bars and cafes that offer affordable food and drink, away from the main square – but still with breathtaking views.
3. La Manga, Spain
If golfing, tennis and football is your idea of a holiday, then La Manga Club in Murcia is the perfect destination for you. With world class sporting facilities, on site restaurants (suitable for all ages), added security and beautiful surroundings, this resort is not only a hidden gem, but it’s very luxurious too. Best enjoyed during the heat of summer, when the resort is packed with families, friends and couples alike, the 37 little community resort offers a variety of bars, restaurants, cafes, shops and pools, all within walking distance. If you’re looking for a secure, stunning and relaxing holiday, with sporting activities galore – this is for you.
Paris is another bucket list destination for many, but again – it can never fully be appreciated until you’re there in the flesh. I visited in March when the cold winter winds are still rather harsh, however all year round – the attractions can be enjoyed. Shopping addicts should head to the Champs Elysees for the most amazing array of stores ever offered, whilst foodies should visit the Marais markets, with tiny winding streets full of all kinds of food items. We stayed in the Renaissance Arc De Triomphe Hotel, which was a three minute walk from all of the action – and luxurious beyond belief.
If going abroad isn’t within your price range, or you’d prefer a break closer to home, then Bath is definitely the place for you. A city break, with a home from home feel, Bath is quiet and peaceful, yet dynamic at the same time. Visit the Roman Baths to peak your historical interest, or relax in the beautiful Bath Thermae Spa, which uses Bath’s natural springs to heat it’s pools. During our stay, we resided at the Francis Hotel, which again – was in the perfect location to enjoy all the city has to offer.