Make 2015 an incredible year with an epic holiday. To help get the planning started, we’ve got a list of destinations to visit that will give your friends holiday envy.
Tumon, Mariana Islands
Tumon will school you on what you think you know about the west Pacific islands. It delivers on what’s expected—pristine beaches, bountiful sea life, exotic island culture—but it also happens to be located on the most populated island of the Micronesia region, making it surprisingly cosmopolitan. Snorkel the day away in the shallow waters at Ypao Beach Park then party all night along Tumon Bay’s main strip.
Port Douglas, Australia
Known endearingly as ‘Port’, visitors make their way to this northern Queensland city to escape the touristy vibe of Cairns. Port Douglas serves as the perfect base for easy access to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation beaches. When you’re done exploring nature at it’s finest, enjoy yourself a five-star meal back in the city that has the reputation as the culinary gem of Queensland.
Bodrum City, Turkey
This once-sleepy fishing village tucked alongside the Aegean Sea has transformed into a holiday hotspot over the past few decades. With generations of writers, artists and musicians calling it home, Bodrum packs a vibrant cultural scene matched by a bustling nightlife. From glimmering beaches to idyllic backstreet cafes, a well-balanced mix of glamour and serenity narrate this seaside escape.
Old world Japanese manner and 21st century design collide in this ancient Ryukyu Kingdom. Hop on the convenient monorail elevated above the city and make your way to Shuri Castle. This is where Japanese royalty once lived and nowadays it’s the city’s top attraction. When you’re done exploring castles, Naha’s action centers around International Blvd, an eclectic 2km strip of restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels.
San Sebastian, Spain
San Sebastian has been described as charming and well-mannered by day while elegant and flirtatious by night. Known for the best tapas in Spain (which is like saying the best pasta in Italy), its restaurants boast a collection of 16 Michelin stars making it one of the best places in the world for the most dedicated foodies. Even its beautiful beaches and fiestas (Spanish for party time) are better with amazing food and drink always within reach.
Da Nang, Vietnam
The world has been flocking to Da Nang over the past decade to enjoy its fresh, flavourful food and explore its lush countryside. Slurp down bowls of spicy noodles and explore the caves of the Marble Mountains all in the same day in this Central Vietnamese port city. With a recently renovated international airport and new five-star hotels quickly making their way onto the scene, nowhere else in South-East Asia is transforming as fast as Da Nang.
Less than a two hour drive south of Cancun is the breathtaking coastline of Tulum. Known as a less touristy, less commercial alternative to Cancun, Tulum has come into its own over the past decade as one of Mexico’s top holiday destinations—and for good reason. Palm-lined beaches, dazzling sunshine, great diving and snorkelling, exotic cenotes (awesome underground swimming holes), and ancient Mayan ruins make Tulum a must to visit.
As a city that radiates out from a central castle, it’s as if Limassol jumped off the pages of a Disney storybook. The not-so-straight lanes that run through the city are lined with modern boutiques as well as bars and restaurants where both locals and tourists alike find a way to happily co-mingle. From sun and sand to festivals and museums, Limassol is chock full of character.
Charming, eclectic and laid back would all be great ways to describe this seaside city on the Amalfi Coast. In the heart of Salerno, medieval churches co-exist alongside neighbourhood trattorias, trendy wine bars and gritty tattoo parlours. In Salerno, relax, enjoy a plate of Frutti di Mari (Italian seafood pasta), and unwind in a chill Mediterranean atmosphere.
Experience the best of Amazonian nature and culture in Brazil. And you’ll find yourself trekking through the lush vegetation of the Amazonian jungle in the morning, rafting down the Rio Amazonas in the afternoon, and sampling the local bounty at dinner in the evening. While in town, check out a performance at the historical Teatro Amazonas opera house. Sydney is undoubtedly blessed with one of the world’s best when it comes to opera houses, but this one in the heart of Manaus was built in the late 19th century when there barely was a city.