Your travel bucket list
Make it the year your wildest holiday dreams come true. These ten travel highlights are a good place to start – which will you tick off your list first?
1. Hike a volcano in La Palma
Despite its small size, La Palma in the Canary Islands boasts a hugely diverse landscape of lush forests, deep valleys and beautiful beaches. Get a bird’s-eye view of it all from the peak of a volcano; a highlight on the Volcano Hike shore experience.
First, you’ll descend the 3,000-year-old San Antonio crater before you hikeup Teneguía, the youngest volcano in the Canaries – in certain places you can still feel the warmth of the magma and smell the sulphur. Enjoy spectacular views over the south and west coasts before heading back down to the southern most tip of La Palma, where you can check out the salt pans and the Fuencaliente Lighthouse or take a refreshing dip.
2. See a different side of Rome
The Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain – you’ve seen them all. So when in Rome for a second (or third, or fourth) time, what to do? Try crossing the River Tiber into Trastevere, one of the city’s most charming neighbourhoods. The district feels like its own village within Italy’s sprawling capital city, and here you can wander narrow alleyways, shop for souvenirs at artisan boutiques or grab a seat at a coffee bar and watch the world go by. Be sure to also see Santa Maria in Trastevere, one of the oldest churches in Rome, and Isola Tiberina, the only island in the Roman section of the Tiber.
3. Go ziplining in Bergen
At 643m high, Mount Ulriken is Bergen’s highest mountain. What better way to tackle this towering natural wonder than by zooming across it on Norway’s fastest zipline? On the Ziplining at Mount Ulriken adventure, you’ll enjoy a scenic trip up in the cable car and have time to snap some photos from the summit before your downhill adventure begins. You’re in for a thrilling ride as you race across the mountain’s twin peaks on a 300m-long flight, enjoying breath-taking panoramic views of Bergen, across the fractured fjord landscape and out towards the North Sea as you go. It’s a unique way to see the city – and one that comes with Instagram-worthy bragging rights.
4. Sip wine in Lanzarote
Lanzarote’s vineyards are like nowhere else on earth. You won’t find perfect rows of vines as you would in the likes of France or Italy – these plantations were built from the ashes of a long-ago volcanic eruption, and wine makers had no choice but to work with what was available. Man-made craters and stone walls protect each individual vine from the elements, all surrounded by black volcanic hills. The white Malvasia grape is the most common variety on the island, though flavourful reds and rosés are also produced. Travel the wine route for a taste of Lanzarote in a glass. Most vineyards are clustered in La Geria, where you’ll find the oldest bodega in the Canaries.
5. Bike through Bruges
Bruges’ compact size makes it perfect for exploring on two wheels. Hire a bike (a number of rental points can be found throughout the city) or join an organised tour and explore castles, canals and cobblestone streets (making frequent stops to fuel up on the city’s renowned chocolate, of course). If you’ve seen the key sights and want to explore life outside the city walls, Bruges’ beautiful countryside beckons. The village of Damme is a good place to start – cycling alongside the serene, tree-lined canals, you’ll pass pretty windmills and mysterious war bunkers.
6. Visit the beaches of Normandy in Cherbourg
2019 marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. The city of Cherbourg and the Normandy region pay tribute to the epic Second World War battle through museums, historic sites and cultural institutions, and throughout summer 2019, will commemorate the historic milestone with an extensive programme of events. Discover some of the battle’s key sites - visit the German bunker fortification, stand where soldiers once did on Utah Beach, and stop at Sainte Mère Eglise, where paratrooper John Steele’s parachute caught on the spire of the town church.
7. Swim with angel fish in Martinique
Explore the kaleidoscopic subaquatic world off Martinique’s coast. Even if you’ve never snorkelled before, there no time like the present! Book a shore experience and expert guides will be on hand to give you a few pointers.
The shallows just off the white-sand beach at the sleepy fishing village, Anse Dufour, provide the perfect place to get the hang of this activity. Head to the legendary Bat Cave and hop back into the pristine water to search for new types of creatures. You might find parrotfish and angelfish among the exotic ‘locals’ in this iconic undersea zone.
8. Hit the beach in Muscat
Oman boasts some 3,000km of shoreline, its sandy beaches and turquoise waters a draw for locals and visitors alike. For a resort experience with all the trimmings, visit Al Bustan beach, the country’s longest private beach and part of the luxurious Al Bustan Palace Hotel near Muscat. Grab a day pass and enjoy watersports like kayaking or snorkelling, or simply relax with the sun on your face and the sand between your toes. For something a little more secluded, take a drive out to Yitti beach, about 40 minutes from Muscat. Surrounded by craggy cliffs, it makes for a picture-perfect escape.
9. Savour Singapore’s street food
Singaporean cuisine is a mouthwatering melting pot of influences – think Malay, Chinese and Indian, to name a few. And luckily, getting your fill of it doesn’t have to break the bank. The country’s street food scene is known the world over. Visit its famed hawker stalls and try dishes such as laksa, mee goreng, roti and chicken rice. For a mind-blowing version of the latter, visit the Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle inside the Chinatown Complex Food Centre. The stall is famous for receiving a Michelin star in 2016, which it maintains today. It’s worth the inevitable queue – where else can you get a world-class meal for little more than £1?
10. Get artistic in Abu Dhabi
A desert metropolis might be an unlikely spot for a world-class art collection, but the UAE’s capital city is nothing if not surprising. The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened its doors in November 2017 and has since attracted over a million visitors. Its formidable collection, much of which is on loan from the Paris Louvre and other French institutions, ranges from the prehistoric to the contemporary. The gallery’s exterior is just as much of a draw: designed by architect Jean Nouvel, it features 55 buildings and an all-encompassing dome with a tapestry of 7,850 aluminium stars that create a captivating effect of light and shadow inside as the sun passes above.