I have to admit that when it comes to booking holidays I can be pretty predictable, preferring places not too far away from home where I can get in some quality relaxation as well as exploring local culture and history. So far this year I have plans to visit Amsterdam for a long weekend and it is looking like a Scandinavian Christmas market is on the cards for December.
When looking into travel destinations for 2017 I came across a few amazing options which I would never have thought about and I really wanted to share them with you in the hopes of inspiring you to go somewhere a bit different this year.
For the culture buff – Málaga
I have visited a few different places in Spain but I have never visited Málaga which seems like an oversight as it is described as Andalusia’s museum-goer’s paradise. The city boasts a Picasso museum, the CAC (Centro de Arte Contemporáneo) as well as an outpost of Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum that houses Carmen Thyssen’s extensive private collection. Holidays in Spain always include sun-kissed beaches and fabulous local cuisine and Málaga is no different.
Try one of the city’s foodie tours where you can try specialities like Iberian ham, or visit one of the many tapas restaurants for some local flavour! There are 15 beaches within Malaga’s city limits, so plenty of sun and sand to enjoy.
For the nature lover – Madagascar
I would never have thought of visiting the island of Madagascar as a holiday destination but it is tipped to be popular this year. Madagascar is perfect for anyone who loves nature as the island is home to thousands of unique species with more than 90% of the flora and fauna being restricted to the island. Created in 1991 following the 1986 discovery of the golden bamboo lemur, the Ranomafana National Park is a must!
Don’t forget to visit the Avenue of the Baobabs, a row of about 20 – 25 imposing Baobab trees along some 260 meters. Antananarivo is the capital and largest city in Madagascar with rich historical, architectural and cultural sites to explore including beautiful cathedrals and the Queen’s palace.
For the flavour hunter – Cambodian Coast
If you’re looking to go further afield this year then consider a visit to the Cambodian Coast which boasts some of Southeast Asia’s most stunning islands. There are now direct flights into the coastal Sihanoukville airport via Ho Chi Minh City making for a smooth journey to the perfect island escape. Visit the capital of Phnom Penh for extraordinary historical architecture, modern malls, and an incredible food culture. Khmer red curry (coconut-milk-based), Nom banh chok (noodles) and Kdam chaa (fried crab) are some dishes which shouldn’t be missed.
Why not try your hand at bartering in one of the local markets? A good tip is to suggest 50% of the original price and then settle somewhere in between. If you’re looking for some relaxation why not indulge in a the Cambodian-inspired treatment at the wellness-minded Six Senses Spa on Krabey Island or visit the Alila eco-resort on Koh Russey to experience Khmer cuisine and community service.