Beach and Culture Travel Destinations
The Best Travel Destinations for Beach and Culture Lovers
If you travel in a group or with your loved one, you often have to make compromises. One might like an active adventure trip to the mountains, while the other wants to relax on the beach or go visit historic sites and museums. And most of us want to spend a few days relaxing on a beach AND go out to explore and learn about the history and culture of the country we are visiting. Here are our travel destination recommendations that will make Beach and Culture lovers happy:
Positano Beaches: The beaches of central Italy are stunning – not for the beach itself, but for the coastline. Colorful houses dot the steep cliffs, fishing boats bring their fresh catch, and the deep azure of the ocean will capture your attention for hours.
Positano Culture: Positano is a great location to visit cultural and historic sites in the area. Naples has an abundance of museums and theaters, Pompeii is a historical site not to be missed, and you can even climb Mount Vesuvio and learn about the impact of the volcano throughout history.
Additional Tips: Positano is a city of stairs. Bring good walking shoes and maybe even a lightweight walking stick, so you make it to the top and can enjoy the incredible views.
Goa Beaches: Goa is known as THE Beach Destination in India, yet you will still be able to find stretches of untouched natural beauty and devoid of tourists. You may have to share your beach with the occasional wandering cow though ;-)
Goa Culture: Known as the “Rome of the East” and a former Portuguese colony, you will find an abundance of churches, temples, and mosques in Goa. Make sure you also visit a traditional Goan dance performance, which is influenced by the mixed heritage of the state.
Additional Tips: The end of December is really crowded, so if you are planning to visit during that time, make reservations for all your Goa Hotels early!
Cote d’Azur, France
Cote d’Azur Beaches: The Beaches of the Cote d’Azur are the playground of the rich and famous. But they are also a top choice for everyone else. Check out Cap Ferrat, which is a top dive spot in the area and the mile long sandy beaches of Cannes for a beach vacation with a taste of luxury.
Cote d’Azur Culture: Cannes, Nice, and Monaco are amazing destinations for culture lovers. Museums, art galleries, and palaces, as well as a great selection of theaters, opera, and more, give you plenty of options to fill your day AND night with entertainment.
Additional Tips: While Nice is a beautiful town to visit, I don’t recommend it’s beach. Most of it is covered in large pebbles, which are rather unpleasant to lay on.
Corfu Beaches: The beaches on this Greek island will satisfy any beach lover. Sand from white to golden and crystal clear waters invite you to swim, snorkel and dive. As a well-developed tourist destination, Corfu beaches don’t lack anything. From umbrellas to water sports equipment, you’ll find it all.
Corfu Culture: You don’t have to travel far in Greece to find historical sites and attractions. The Achilleion, the palace of Sisi – Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, is a must see. The Asian Art Museum has a sublime reputation and features collections from Japan, China, Central and Southeast Asia.
Additional Tips: The Archeological Museum is currently closed for renovations. Also: Remember that between 3-5 PM, most shops, restaurants, and attractions close for Siesta.
Israel Beaches: Israel has access to three oceans: The Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and the Dead Sea, which makes it a perfect destination to spend a few relaxing days by the ocean. Head to Tel-Aviv for touristy beaches and a fun nightlife. The Red Sea is a top spot for divers and snorkelers and the Dead Sea is a natural spa. The mineral rich mud will make your skin look amazing and floating in the high-salinity waters is pure bliss.
Israel Culture: As the center of religion for Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, Jerusalem is paradise for anyone interested in history, culture, and religion. You could spend weeks wandering the city and still only see a fraction of the sights.
Additional Tips: Make sure that you get your entrance stamp on an extra sheet of paper or you may run into problems when visiting certain other passports in the future.
Sardinia Beaches: Sardinia is a real gem of the Mediterranean islands, and many of its beaches have made the list of “World’s Best Beaches” repeatedly. 2000 kilometers of coastline, from rugged to sandy, Sardinia’s beaches come in many shades (they even have a pink sand beach!). Sardinia is perfect for Beach lovers.
Sardinia Culture: Sardinia is famous for the Nuraghi – stone dwellings from the bronze age and the most well-known one, Nuraxi su Barumini, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nature lovers will enjoy a trip to the National Park of La Maddalena, which you can only get to by boat. Monte d’Accoddi, a temple dating back to 4,000-3,650 BC, should also be on your list if you are in the Northern Part of Sardinia.
Additional Tips: Sardinia is larger than it seems, and the roads are narrow and winding. Plan enough time for your visit, so you get to experience this beautiful island.
PLUS: You can join me on a private yacht sailing in September 2017, going from Sardina to Corsica and back. Here is more information about the sailing cruise.
Barcelona Beaches: I admit that the Beaches in Barcelona are not the most stunning in the world. But they are accessible by metro and are located directly in the city, which makes this city a top choice for Beach and Culture Lovers. Barceloneta is even in walking distance to La Rambla. Icaria Beach is a little further, but less crowded and if you head to Mar Bella Beach, be aware that on this beach nudists are welcome.
Barcelona Culture: Barcelona is world famous for its architecture. The Gothic Quarter, the Sagrada Familia and of course the architectural wonders by Gaudi are a must. For more modern art, visit the Picasso Museum.
Additional Tips: Barcelona is one of the hottest tourist destinations in Europe at the moment. If you want to avoid the masses, travel in the off-season or follow our tips to experience Barcelona like a local. Even in the spring or fall, it will be warm enough to enjoy the beach, though.
Belize Beaches: The Blue Hole is a top diving destination in the world, so if you like to add some diving or snorkeling to your days on the beach, Belize is perfect. If you like to be in the center of all the action, Placencia Peninsula is an excellent choice. This beach offers great hotels, restaurants, and nightlife. If you are looking for a more quite and secluded experience, Hopkins Village Beach offers 5 miles of pristine coastline.
Belize Culture: Belize was an important center in the ancient Maya world. Once home to over 2 million Mayas, this country has an abundance of temples, pyramids, and artifacts of this ancient culture. My personal favorite was Lamanai. You have to go by water taxi to reach its location in the middle of the jungle.
Additional Tips: Belize is a popular cruise stop, so a lot of places are very busy during the day and then become quieter in the evening. Make sure you check opening hours, as many cater to the cruise tourists.
Egypt Beaches: The Red Sea is a fantastic beach destination. The underwater world near Hurghada is famous for its incredible dive spots and the clear waters, and hot weather makes Egypt a perfect destination for beach and culture lovers.
Egypt Culture: The Pyramids of Gizeh, Luxor and the Valley of the Kings are what is left of one of the most fascinating cultures on earth. Cairo offers some of the best museums in the world, especially for religion and history buffs.
Additional Tips: Add a Nile Cruise to your itinerary. You won’t regret it, I promise!
Bali Beaches: For a sophisticated and cosmopolitan atmosphere, Seminyak Beach is an excellent choice that offers fine dining, luxury hotels, and designer shopping.
Bali Culture: Ubud is the cultural center of Bali. Visit the temples, rice terraces and the elephant cave are a must, if you are in the area. Tirta Empul, the Hindu Water Temple, and Tirta Gangga, the Royal Water Palace, are stunning and so picturesque.
Additional Tips: Be careful, if you choose to visit the Monkey Forrest near Ubud. There have been many cases of tourists being bitten by monkeys.
So you can see that there are quite a few destinations around the world that make beach AND culture lovers happy.
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