Looking for travel inspiration and want to discover 25 must-see destinations, that offer potentially life-changing possibilities? Following on from Part 1 of our 24 Best Travel Experiences, we look at the places customers want to visit time and time again. Theyre bucket-list worthy and will enrich your life experience.
New England in the Fall
The seasons are often associated with the colours, but nowhere in the world is the autumn revered as it is in New England. You havent truly experienced golden and deep red leaves until youve seen the maple forests that line the East Coast of the USA.
To appreciate the visual feast of the Fall through different towns, and species of trees, you could take one of our dedicated New England in the Fall tours which will take you right into the heart of the leaf harvest. The main destinations will be Stowe, North Conway and Boston, all of which youll explore with your own personal tour manager.
Picnic in Tokyo under the cherry blossom
Enjoying a picnic under the auspicious cherry blossom in Japan is such a revered pastime, enjoyed by everyone, it has its own word; Hanami. You can bring your own Bento box from home, or buy a ready-made one from the shop, before heading out to your nearest park. Dont be fooled into thinking this is an activity you can take lightly; simply a bit of fun. The Japanese take Hanami very seriously. Youll be fighting for room and your chosen tree with seemingly everyone else in Tokyo.
However, once you have spread out your rug, laid out your sushi rolls and looked up at the sky filled with the confetti of petals in every conceivable hue of pink and white, youll understand what all the fuss is about. Given the extremely small window of opportunity youll have to see the blossom at its peak; usually just a few days, its important to plan your trip carefully.
Hanami countdowns are ubiquitous online so the more flexible you can be in your travel dates, the better your experience will be. All the parks around the major cities; e.g. Tokyo and Kyoto, will present you with a chance to immerse yourself in Hanami. But equally, if you want to take yourself off into the villages, you wont be disappointed.
Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings is Egypts most well known sight. It contains the well preserved remnants of a sophisticated, but mysterious ancient civilisation. There are many theories about how the pyramids were created and built to such height using nothing more technical than thousands of slaves and logs. One of the most far-fetched theories being, it was actually put together by an advanced alien race!
Westerners may have uncovered the secrets of some of the tombs, but there is still lots that can be learned by simply seeing the place with your own eyes. The full extent of the treasures of the pharaohs are still to be discovered.
The Amalfi Coast
Commonly referred to as the prettiest stretch of coastline in Western Europe, the Amalfi Coast consists of chic restaurants and boutiques, perched high on towering cliffs, that befit the sophisticated image of this part of Italy.
If you fancy enjoying a glass of Costa dAmalfi as you look out over the sparkling water, waiting for your Michelin starred meal to be served, you probably enjoy the Amalfi Coast. Similarly, if you enjoy sunning yourself on the deck of your hired yacht as you sip champagne, after a hard afternoons snorkelling with sea turtles, while you drift lazily in and around lesser-known inlets, caves and coves, this could also be the sort of holiday that will give you some quality relaxation time in stunning surroundings.
The Great Barrier Reef
Coral reefs make up less than 1% of our oceans, yet they contain a quarter of all marine life and the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral ecosystem in the world. Its home to thousands of different species of multi coloured fish. Situated off the north-eastern shores of Australia, the area is best viewed from the air, from the hull of a glass bottomed boat, and with only the lens of your snorkel between you and incredible aquatic life.
Fancy having Nemo nip at your wetsuit boots (once youve found him of course), or watching huge rays glide past you? This underwater treasure trove is a big hitter on every divers to do list and can be experienced as part of the tour to Australia that will take you from Sydney, through Brisbane and up to Cairns; the gateway to this part of the world.
The Norwegian Fjords
With narrow inlets and impossibly high cliffs, when you first see the fjords looming over you as you approach from the sea, youll be shocked by the sheer majesty of this unusual landform. Theyre all the more strange for their apparent isolation. You wont find large cities attached; just the odd farm by itself.
Youll be struck by the stillness of the water, but that just makes it all the more special when you discover the stirring of the surface beside your boat is a whale breaching. The Norwegian Fjords constantly come out top in international polls detailing the sites people most want to see in the world. Hurtigruten and Viking Cruises both do excellent tours of the Norwegian Fjords, tracking the countrys coastline to provide you with the most exciting itineraries.
Avenue of the Baobabs
The only country in the world in which youll find lemurs is the cut-off island of Madagascar; a landmass covered in jungle, whose most iconic landscape features are the startling Baobab trees. Arranged famously in an Avenue, they are hundreds of years old and over 100 feet tall. Whether youre looking for a wildlife adventure, or a hiking and biking trail, Madagascar offers many tempting adventures.
The Canadian Rockies consist of a series of snowcapped peaks that link fascinating towns and are best accessed by luxury train carriage. Great rail journeys will give you all the thrills of mountain climbing, without any exertion. You can even sip your favourite alcoholic beverage while youre doing it! Great Rail Journeys offer a fantastic tour of the Rocky Mountains, that will expose you to Canadian wildlife, picturesque glaciers and beautiful mountain towns and villages.
Its a giant rock in the middle of the desert, so why does everyone keep going on about it? When we say giant though, we mean it. Its so huge it can be seen from miles around and it changes colour according to the position of the sun. In the flat red Antipodean landscape, scorched by centuries of high temperatures, this is the one thing that stands out on the horizon among the scruffy little plants of the Australian outback. It is sacred to the Aboriginals.
To get there, you can approach it from the north or the south, but be aware, its not tucked into an alleyway behind Sydney Opera house. Its on its own, in a vast tract of land, thousands of miles from the nearest city.
The Ghan train will take you from Ayers Rock, south to Adelaide, in order to hit Victoria and New South Wales in the south-east corner of Australia. But you can also fly to Ayers Rock as part of your trip from Sydney to Perth, or while travelling west from Cairns in the north, particularly if youve just been on a cruise around the Great Barrier Reef. Its worth the distance to take a traditional dream-time walkabout and put yourself at one with nature, under huge open skies.
Okavango Delta Safari Game Reserve
Until youve experienced a game drive at 5 am with the pale sun soaking the ground of the Okavango Delta in a half-light, while you watch local wildlife drinking at the watering hole, you havent really seen what the African plains are all about.
Safari holidays are addictive. Keeping a tick list of the creatures youve seen is not enough. You want to get to know them all, and best of all make a connection with at least one of them. To look a wild buffalo in the eye and have him acknowledge you, is like no other feeling. Safaris by Somak, Saga, or Cox and Kings include your flights, accommodation, meals, game drives, and a guide. Youll have everything you need to experience a dawn and dusk filled with some of the planets most incredible creatures in their natural habitats.
An Overnight stay in a Bedouin Desert Camp
Only under the desert skies do you become aware of how many stars there are in the night sky. Without any street light to pollute your view, the darkness of the universe is punctuated with trillions of little lights.
A trip into a traditional Bedouin camp is a must for any visitor to Oman and the Middle East. Youll take a 4×4 over the sand dunes to experience an hospitable welcome in a hostile terrain. Your roof will be the canvas of a luxurious Bedouin tent and youll have a guide to drive you around, as well as introduce you to the chef who will cook your meals. This is a great excursion that can be booked as part of a holiday to Oman or Jordan.
A day in Beijing
Beijing is astonishing for many different reasons. Here you can explore the history of the infamous Tiananmen Square, visit the exquisite Summer Palace, see with your own eyes the Forbidden City, and even stand on top of a wonder of the world; The Great Wall of China! Theres so much to do and see here, we heartily recommend you come here as part of an escorted tour to China.
Wendy Wu is one of our favourite tour operators with a speciality in China. Her tours will incorporate a few days in Beijing, Xian province, where youll see the Terracotta Warriors, Shanghai; for a taste of cosmopolitan city life, and the tour might even include a flight to Szechuan Province in search of baby pandas.
Our dedicated team of travel advisors have spent many years perfecting their craft, so if youd like help booking your holiday, or indeed, finding the holiday that will best suit you, please get in touch. Well find a break, or tour, that is ideal for your budget and preferred travel dates.