With summer-holiday season right about to end, you may be trying to decide what hot-spot location to grace with your presence at the end of this year’s summer vacation. Some people enjoy adventure vacations, complete with white-water rafting, hiking and other adrenaline-packed activities. If a vacation, however, is all about unwinding for you, then there are a number of spots on the globe that cater to your tastes. Though weekend getaways can be relaxing, there’s nothing quite like a true getaway to get your stress to fade away and recharge your batteries, especially if your workweek is long and arduous. Want a beach, a spa, some relaxing hiking trails, world-class dining, and a few unexpected sights to see? Drop your kids off at your parents’ place, pack a few travel-bag essentials and get to the airport with your significant other. Here are some really cool laid-back destinations for you to discover.
Known for its hot, humid climate, Bali is a perfect destination if you’re into relaxation. True, there are many adventure activities here, such as hiking, exploring vast palaces and finding out cool things you didn’t know about the region’s volcanoes, but Bali is something of an extensive retreat center, with postcard-perfect beaches, yoga and mediation centers, spas, and pristine resorts. And if you need a little exercise, but not anything too adventurous, Bali’s parks and botanical gardens were made to bolster tourism.
Dubrovnik is a location packed with history, and while you can choose to sculpt your vacation around the region’s coastline or island beaches, you can also soak in the atmosphere and culture with a guided or self-guided walking tour. Dubrovnik’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is picturesque and stunning, as is a tour of the ancient city walls or a cable-car ride over the city. If the walking tours are as much activity as you can handle, you can relax at the end of the day by visiting any one of the city’s restaurants and sampling Croatia’s Mediterranean diet.
Many Greek islands are known for their party scene, but Kefalonia is ideal if you’re more into relaxing on the beach. Your visit could be entirely comprised of hanging out at Kefalonia’s beautiful turquoise-water, white-sand beaches and fine-dining restaurants. If you’re so inclined, you can take a walk through the island’s hilly terrain and stop at any number of tourist destinations, such as the Sami Acropolis.
Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is one of those destinations that offers just about everything. If relaxation is on your agenda, the region has a number of scenic parks and animal sanctuaries to visit, as well as many wineries to tour and miles of sandy beaches to enjoy. Auckland is known for its Pacific Rim cuisine, a style that blends Pacific and Asian ingredients and cooking styles together.
Finding a spot on the beach along Costa Rica’s 762 miles of coastline is easy, but if you want to increase your relaxation, many resorts include eco-friendly spas, where you can enjoy massages, detoxifying baths, yoga, and more. You can request local products such as volcanic mud during your spa treatments. Many of Costa Rica’s hotels and resorts are beachside, so, once you arrive, you can spend your entire holiday going from your room to the beach to the spa. Away from the ocean, Costa Rica contains vast jungles, lakes and mountains, which you can tour with walking groups.
Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler is an ideal skiing destination if you’re into a wide range of other leisure activities, such as golfing, ziplining and mountain biking, but regardless of the time of the year of your visit, you can leave the sports to the adventure-inclined and enjoy some R&R. Whistler has world-class shopping, galleries, dining, and spas throughout the tourist areas of the village. And, because this area relies heavily on the tourism industry, you’ll have a hard time finding a friendlier place to visit.
Sonoma County, California
Sonoma County is known globally for its abundance of wineries, but the region also features spas, Pacific Ocean beaches, forests, and golf courses. If you’re a wine connoisseur, determine if one of your favorite California brands is produced here (it probably is), and then add a tour and tasting session to your agenda. Otherwise, you can visit a spa or rent a convertible and take a drive down one of the world’s most beautiful coastline roads.
France’s Provence region is known across the world to painters and artists who flock to the area for inspiration. But even if you’re not an artist, you’ll find yourself captivated by the sights of the ocean and the vineyards. After you’ve taken in the view, you can indulge in the wine region’s world-renowned cuisine, then visit a botanical garden with majestic views. such as Le Jardin d’Eze.
The Seychelles Islands are made up of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, and many are known for their legendary beaches. The area has a hot, humid climate, so sticking close to the beach may top your to-do list if you visit this region. Away from the sand are parks and nature reserves that are ideal for snorkelling, bird watching and hiking. Seychelles has a number of island-hopping boats, which take tourists from island to island through the day.
The Algarve, Portugal
Whether it’s lounging on the beaches of the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, playing any number of championship-caliber golf courses or eating as much fresh seafood as you can handle, Portugal’s Algarve region has a multitude of ways to relax. If you’re into walking, you can tour the historic cities of Sagres and Silves, or explore the caves around Lagos. To achieve ultimate relaxation, visit the spas of Caldas de Monchique, known for its water that is believed to contain healing properties.