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1. Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
The idyllic island of Phu Quoc is home to a National Park that hosts 23 species of orchid and numerous rare mammals, including lorises, the long-tailed macaque and the silver langur. As well as treks through the lush jungles, there are plenty of opportunities for spotting rare marine species while scuba diving and snorkelling in the crystal clear waters that surround the island. Explore holidays to Vietnam.
2. Lombok, Indonesia
Bali may steal the limelight, but the real star of the Indonesian islands is its neighbour Lombok. It attracts far fewer visitors than its flashy cousin, and boasts some stunning island scenery. Mount Rinjani dominates the view – at 3,726 metres, it’s the second-highest volcano in Indonesia, and adventurous types can book onto a multi-day hike that takes you right up to the rim of this active volcano. The crater-lake at the top provides an utterly astounding vista. Explore holidays to Lombok.
The almost alien landscape of Iceland is best explored by 4×4 – hire a suitably robust vehicle and head off to see the island’s dramatic geysers and glaciers. When you’ve had your fill, drive to Reykjavik and hop aboard a cruise to see the Northern Lights, or head out on a boat trip to look for minke whales, white-beaked dolphins and majestic humpback whales. Explore holidays to Iceland.
4. Goa, India
Goa became a haven for hippies in the 1960s, as they flocked to form alternative communities on the stunning golden beaches. Nowadays Goa is much more of a mainstream destination, but if you head far enough north, it’s still possible to find isolated beaches where alternative-types tie dye like its 1969. Visit Arambol and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to join a drum circle on the beach, and Anjuna flea markets can provide you with all your jewellery and handicraft needs. Explore holidays to Goa.
5. Cruises around the Norwegian fjords
A cruise is the best way to appreciate the myriad, almost magical waterfalls that stream down the sheer cliffs of the Norwegian fjords like something straight from Lord of the Rings. Some trips also take you up beyond the Arctic circle, where you can view the Northern Lights and experience the eerie wonder of the midnight sun. Explore Norwegian cruises.
6. Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
The Julian Alps are one of the most stunning yet least visited mountain ranges in Europe. The tiny mountain town of Kranjska Gora is nestled in a valley near the Austrian border, surrounded by peaks up to 2,864 metres high. The mountains are criss-crossed with hiking trails, and there are 18 ski slopes in the local area, not to mention plenty of opportunities for cycling and fishing. Explore holidays to Kranjska Gora.
7. Kalutara, Sri Lanka
Kalutara is home to some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka, but it’s also a great base for exploring off the beaten track. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is around a three and a half hour drive away, and the dense foliage is home to around 20 species of rainforest bird, including the greater racket-tailed drongo and green-billed coucal, not to mention various tree frogs and deadly vipers. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is also about a three-hour drive, where you can see rescued elephants bathing in the river and being fed by their carers. Explore holidays to Kalutara.
8. Playa Conchal, Costa Rica
The iridescent pink beach of Playa Conchal is a sight in itself – rather than grains of sand, the waterfront consists of tiny fragments of shell and coral. But the real reason to visit Costa Rica is for its astonishing abundance of wildlife – it’s one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Playa Conchal is part of the Tempisque Conservation Area, which hosts dozens of National Parks, reserves and wildlife refuges. The wetlands of Palo Verde National Park are around a two-hour drive away, and offer amazing views of myriad bird species, including great curassows, scarlet macaws, white ibis and jabirus. Explore holidays to Costa Rica.
9. The Dolomites, Italy
The muscular mountains and sheer cliff walls of the Dolomites make this mountain range one of the most distinctive and beautiful in Europe. For a real adventure, you could try hiking along some of the high-altitude paths, a trek that can take up to two weeks. But if you’re feeling really adventurous, various outfits offer climbing courses that will take you straight up the sheer walls themselves. Explore holidays to The Dolomites.
10. Khao Lak, Thailand
Khao Lak is an excellent place to sample native Thailand thanks to its undeveloped beaches, which are important nesting grounds for leatherback turtles. But the real treasure lies inland: Khao Lak has three pristine National Parks to its name, and various operators offer treks through the lush jungles as well as kayaking trips that thread through the mangrove forests along the coast. Explore holidays to Khao Lak.
11. Budva, Montenegro
Montenegro is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s most exciting destinations – the medieval town of Budva, with its cobbled streets and shady piazzas, is rightly seen as a rival to Dubrovnik in Croatia. But Budva is not the only gem Montenegro has to offer – just half an hour north, Kotor has earned a deserved place on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. This medieval city was purposefully built like a maze to bewilder invading forces and protect it from attack, so even finding your way around is an adventure. Explore holidays to Budva.
Kuala Lumpur is an exciting enough place to visit, with its skyline of skyscrapers and minarets – but the truly adventurous will want to catch a cheap flight to the eastern island of Borneo. This remarkable island is the third largest in the world and is home to one of Earth’s oldest rainforests, where you can discover dozens of unique endemic species, including orangutans. Explore holidays to Malaysia.
13. Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech is not a city for the faint-hearted. The maze-like souk can easily entrap the unwary, and you can expect to find yourself threading your way through hawkers, snake charmers and snack sellers, all loudly proclaiming their wares, and all regularly drowned out by the blaring call to prayer from the nearby Koutoubia Mosque. It certainly gets the pulse racing. But if it all gets too much, you can always head for a supremely relaxing full body scrub and massage at one of the many hammams. Explore holidays to Marrakech.
14. Boa Vista, Cape Verde
Boa Vista is the easternmost island of the Cape Verde archipelago, off the coast of Senegal, and it’s teeming with dazzling white sandy beaches. But the Cape Verde islands offer a wide range of environments to explore if you’re prepared to hop on a ferry and see what’s out there. Sal has a Mars-like interior, Fogo hosts a massive, 2,829-metre volcano where people actually live inside the crater, while Santo Antao and Sao Nicolau offer dramatic hikes through lush vegetation. Explore holidays to Boa Vista.
Here’s a quick look at some more great holidays offered by TUI:
Thailand should be on everyone’s bucket list! Here we’ve got a bunch of reasons why you should go there, just in case you actually need some… TUI has a brilliant range of holidays to Thailand. Take a look at their luxury, all-inclusive and budget trips to Bangkok, Krabi, Phuket and Khao Lak.
Wondering how to bag yourself a multi-centre holiday in Italy, Vietnam or Morocco? TUI are offering some amazing multi-destination combo holidays at the moment. Take a look at these double-destination holidays for your travel adventure.
TUI are offering some amazing winter deals on exotic destinations around the world, from Cape Verde in Africa to Thailand and Vietnam in Southeast Asia. We’ve picked out some of the best winter-sun breaks.
*Published November 2017. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.