Sun, Sand, and Culture: The 3 Best Holiday Destinations for 2012

Travel is a break from the daily routine – an opportunity to unwind somewhere; somewhere with sea-breezes, sunny beaches, and a healthy dose of the unfamiliar. We take a look at the best holiday spots to visit this summer.

Turkey

Holidays to Turkey – one of the world’s most underrated destinations – offer all of the above, with a cultural edge. Check into the Mediterranean coast in the seaside town of Marmaris, where you can tour the mountain-fringed bay on a yacht, relax poolside at one of the many fine resorts, and experience a luxurious Turkish bath before heading out for an evening of tasty traditional cuisine and tableside belly-dancing.

If history is your thing, hop on a flight to the ancient city of Bodrum, home to the ruins of one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the gorgeous medieval Bodrum Castle, situated right at the mouth of the harbour. Bring walking shoes for exploring, but be sure to enjoy the town’s chilled-out beaches and excellent nightlife – Bodrum starts swinging once the sun goes down.

Sun, Sand, and Culture: The 3 Best Holiday Destinations for 2012

With the World Cup on its way, Brazil is increasingly on holidaymaker’s radars. But football aside (and who would put it aside, in a country where the sport is art?) the climate, not to mention the culture, be it food or architecture, has got people’s pulses racing.

If you are thinking about making a trip to Brazil, make it São Paolo. The largest city in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s truly buzzing. For architecture buffs, it doesn’t get much better than the incredible Ibirapueera Auditorium: the sleek, sloping building is adorned with a red, wave-like fin which juts out, above its main entrance.

Like any great city, though, São Paolo really has it all: from great food (try Feijoada, a dish of stewed beans, usually with beef or pork) to vibrant bars and clubs. There’s a reason why the city is so popular at the moment, in a nation that is ever-growing in popularity.

Spain

Tenerife

It might seem like you couldn’t say anything new about Spain – its cool charm, gorgeous Mediterranean waters and defiantly beautiful people have long been the refuge of us pale Brits. But Spain continues to be (and probably always will be) a favourite, for people from all over the world.

Increasingly a hotspot, more than five million people book holidays to Tenerife each year. It’s easy to see why: the island is home to beautiful weather and amazing sights.

But it’s a fun lover’s island too. If you plan to go this summer, go in August: the feast for the Virgin of Candelaria, held in celebration of what is believed to have been the appearance of an apparition of the Virgin Mary on the island, it’s a heady mix of food, decoration and celebration. Go to soak up the sun; stay for the parties.

Of course, Spain is a diverse and richly cultural country. If you’ve never been, Barcelona and Valencia are must-visits. As is, not surprisingly, Madrid.

Benidorm is one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations too, and there are plenty of good hotels in Benidorm, offering easy access to the wonderful sun, sea and sand of the region.

This is a guest post.

Photo Credits (Flickr Creative Commons): Marmaris by Mimar Sinan/Sao Paolo by leosia niezgodka/Tenerife by iansthree

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