Sometimes, a stay-cation or a budget holiday closer to home is just what you need. Other times, you think, ‘treat yo’self’ and need something a little more luxurious and exotic.
Sure, these are holidays that you have to save a little harder for, and wait a little longer for. But, ticking these things off your bucket list is worth the wait. Yes, there is a lot to be discovered on our doorsteps in our home countries or within a short haul flight… but there’s so much more to the world too! Alone or with company, these destinations that are slightly (!) further afield are just as worthy of exploring.
With a little planning though, these aren’t out of reach. To get you started and inspire you a little, I’ve put together a list of…
12 exotic places you must experience at least once
1. Island hopping in Croatia
Blue skies, crystal clear waters, and views that rival any other destination I’ve been to. I spent 5 days exploring Split, Hvar and Dubrovnik with WMGT in September 2019 (as well as a day trip to Brac before the guests arrived!), and Brac and Vis in 2015. Korcula is also apparently beautiful, and I don’t doubt that for a second. But, there are so many islands, so it would be easy to extend your trip for a couple more weeks (or even longer!) – especially if you consider exploring the mainland too.
See my posts about Croatia here.
2. Explore the Hawaiian Islands
This one’s been on my personal bucket list for a while. The islands have everything you need for an amazing holiday – beautiful beaches and mountains, city life and so much history and culture to soak up. So, it’s a great place if you want a little bit of everything on your travels!
4. Hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey
One of the most famous places in the world for hot-air ballooning. Once you’ve finished seeing the city from the sky, be sure to explore the culture and the city from the ground too – there’s so much history to absorb.
5. A Middle-Eastern Cruise
Taking you through Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain and Oman, this P&O cruise is an amazing way to explore this exotic corner of the world.
See my experience here.
6. Experience Carnival in Brazil
Taking place just before the Christian period of Lent, this time of celebration includes street parties, samba, fabulous music and eccentric costumes. Party party party time! Rio de Janiero, São Paolo, Olinda and Salvador are some of the best places to experience this huge festival.
7. The Body Holiday, St Lucia
The Caribbean is a tropical paradise just itching to be explored. Why not explore this exotic area of the world while treating yourself to some self-development? Yoga, meditation, healthy food & spa treatments combined with the sun, sea and fresh air made for a fantastic week.
See my experience in St Lucia here.
This exotic African island is famous from the film, but it’s also stunning in real life! With an abundance of wildlife (including the well-known lemur) and beautiful weather, this isn’t one to miss.
9. Take a boat around the Whitsundays, Australia
Somewhere I have visited and will continue to visit time and time again. You just can’t beat the feeling of the soft, white sand between your toes and the sun beating down on you.
10. Porto Heli, Greece
Postcard picturesque… sun, sea and sand, and peace and quiet. Add some culture to your holiday in nearby Athens and Olympia, and you’ve got yourself the complete package!
11. Visit an Indonesian island
We all know Bali is the famous one (see my complete guide here), but Indonesia is in fact home to over 18,000 islands – giving you plenty to explore. Bali, Borneo, The Gilis, and Nusa Lembongan are all popular – so take your pick from one (or more!) of those, or choose somewhere less well-known for a quieter experience.
See all my posts from Indonesia here.
12. Cancun, Mexico
Stunning beaches, luxurious hotels, and clear Caribbean waters… how could you say no to this piece of paradise?!