Vacations are the highlight of the year for many, the time to rest, recharge, and explore new corners of the world. But to make these vacations extra special, one must look for destinations offering holiday extras. These are the added experiences or benefits that can make a holiday more memorable, such as wine tours, spa retreats, or cultural festivals. This blog post will guide you to the best destinations to visit with holiday extras. Pack your bags and get ready to explore.
Freiburg | Germany
Nestled at the foot of the Black Forest, the enchanting city of Freiburg, Germany is a destination brimming with holiday extras that will surely captivate any traveler. As you meander through the city’s quaint cobbled streets, its charm effortlessly seeps into every corner of your experience.
Begin your exploration with a visit to the stunning Freiburg Cathedral, a towering masterpiece of Gothic architecture that paints a dramatic picture against the city’s skyline. Ascend its tall spire for an unparalleled panoramic view of the city and the surrounding Black Forest. Be sure to visit on a Saturday when the weekly farmer’s market envelops the cathedral grounds, providing an excellent opportunity to sample local produce and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.
From there, venture into the Black Forest, a region renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and abundant recreational activities. Opt for a guided hiking tour to unearth the area’s hidden gems, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, mountain biking trails are at your disposal. The Black Forest isn’t just about the great outdoors; it’s also home to the Schwarzwald Museum, where you can delve into the region’s rich history and culture.
Freiburg’s culinary scene is another exceptional holiday extra. Visit the historic Hausbrauerei Feierling, a family-owned brewery dating back to 1877. Here, you can enjoy traditional German dishes, perfectly paired with their home-brewed beer. For a more intimate experience, consider booking a cooking class where you can learn how to prepare authentic German cuisine.
Don’t miss out on exploring the quaint and colorful Altstadt (Old Town), adorned with beautiful half-timbered houses, babbling brooks, and lively squares. Here, you’ll find plenty of local artisan shops, offering everything from handcrafted jewelry to Black Forest honey and homemade schnapps. Take a leisurely stroll and perhaps pick up a unique souvenir to remember your trip.
Freiburg is not just a city; it’s a destination offering a myriad of holiday extras. It’s an immersion into a culture that values history, appreciates good food and drink, and celebrates the beauty of nature. It’s a place where every street corner, every forest trail, and every bite of food tells a story. So why wait? Start planning your Freiburg getaway today.
Nantes | France
The vibrant city of Nantes, located on the Loire River in western France, offers an array of holiday extras that are bound to make your vacation unforgettable. A rich history, stunning architecture, innovative art installations, and delectable cuisine are just a few of the things that make Nantes a top holiday destination.
Start your journey with a visit to the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, a grand castle that was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany. The castle’s historical museum presents an engaging narrative of the city’s history, from its early beginnings to present times. Stroll around the battlements for magnificent views of the city and take a moment to appreciate the manicured gardens that surround the castle.
Next, embark on a whimsical exploration of Les Machines de l’Île, a unique artistic project that brings to life the imagined creations of Jules Verne and Leonardo da Vinci. Here, you’ll find fantastical mechanical creatures, including a towering elephant that you can ride, and a magical carousel filled with sea creatures.
Art lovers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to explore the Le Lieu Unique. This former biscuit factory has been transformed into a dynamic cultural space, hosting a plethora of exhibitions, performances, and workshops. Its quirky, industrial charm, coupled with a commitment to showcasing innovative contemporary art, makes it a must-visit destination in Nantes.
Nantes is also a gastronomic delight, renowned for its fresh seafood, locally grown produce, and sweet Muscadet wine. Indulge in a leisurely lunch at La Cigale, one of the city’s most beautiful and historic restaurants, serving traditional French fare. If you’re a foodie at heart, consider joining a cooking class or a food tour that will introduce you to local specialties and the best places to dine in town.
Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant shopping scene at Passage Pommeraye, a stunning 19th-century shopping arcade. Browse through high-end boutiques, antique bookstores, and charming gift shops as you admire the arcade’s beautiful sculptures and intricate ironwork.
Venture to the quaint district of Trentemoult, a former fishing village on the banks of the Loire. This enchanting neighborhood is a colorful labyrinth of narrow lanes, filled with artistic murals and charming houses painted in a rainbow of colors. You can explore Trentemoult by foot or on a traditional wooden boat, and end the day savoring fresh seafood at one of the many riverside restaurants.
A visit to Nantes is like stepping into a vibrant tapestry of history, culture, and innovation. Every street, every building, and every plate of food is an invitation to discover and savor something new. As you plan your journey to Nantes, anticipate the multitude of holiday extras that await you in this lively French city.
A jewel in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a paradise filled with holiday extras that will make your vacation truly unforgettable. This tropical island offers breathtaking landscapes, a rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisine, and a host of adventures. Every inch of Sri Lanka promises an exciting and exotic experience that you won’t find anywhere else.
Kick off your journey in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s vibrant capital city. Known for its colonial architecture, bustling markets, and delectable street food, Colombo is a melting pot of cultures. Explore the historic Pettah Market, where you’ll find everything from fragrant spices to colorful textiles. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the iconic Gangaramaya Temple, a stunning mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architectural styles.
For history enthusiasts, a trip to the ancient city of Anuradhapura is a must. As one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Anuradhapura is home to some of the most significant archaeological and architectural wonders. Explore the sprawling ruins of ancient temples, palaces, and stupas, including the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi Tree, believed to be the oldest tree in the world with a known planting date.
Unleash your adventurous spirit in Kitulgala, the country’s white-water rafting hub. Here, you can navigate your way through thrilling rapids surrounded by lush forests, making it a favorite among adventure junkies. Besides rafting, the area also offers opportunities for rainforest trekking and bird watching.
Sri Lanka is also a haven for wildlife lovers. Embark on a safari at Yala National Park, home to a large population of leopards, elephants, crocodiles, and a wide variety of bird species. Experience the thrill of spotting these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Tea enthusiasts will find their paradise in the hill country of Nuwara Eliya, also known as ‘Little England’. Known for its verdant tea plantations and cool climate, Nuwara Eliya offers breathtaking vistas and the chance to learn about the intricate process of tea-making. Take a guided tour through a tea factory, learn about the different types of tea, and savor a fresh cup amidst the stunning landscape.
A visit to Sri Lanka wouldn’t be complete without a taste of its famed cuisine. Influenced by Indian, Arab, and Malay flavors, Sri Lankan cuisine is an explosion of taste and color. Be sure to try traditional dishes like hoppers (pancake-like bowls), kottu (stir-fried flatbread), and the iconic rice and curry. For a truly immersive experience, consider taking a cooking class to learn the secrets behind these flavorful dishes.
Continue your journey to the southern coast and soak up the sun on the beautiful beaches of Unawatuna or Mirissa. Go snorkeling, surfing, or simply relax by the crystal-clear waters. Don’t forget to visit the historic Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasting well-preserved colonial architecture amidst stunning coastal views.
Sri Lanka‘s holiday extras extend to its wellness practices. The country is famous for its centuries-old Ayurvedic treatments. So why not indulge in a rejuvenating Ayurvedic spa session? Or join a yoga retreat to harmonize your mind, body, and soul amidst the tranquil natural surroundings.
Cultural enthusiasts should not miss the Kandy Esala Perahera, a grand festival held annually in July or August. It’s a spectacular parade of decorated elephants, traditional dancers, drummers, and fire-breathers. Witnessing this vibrant spectacle is a holiday extra that will surely leave you spellbound.
With its diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, unique wildlife, mouth-watering cuisine, and heartwarming hospitality, Sri Lanka offers a myriad of experiences that will delight every type of traveler. Each town, each trail, and each dish is a story waiting to be discovered. So, get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey filled with thrilling holiday extras in Sri Lanka.
Murcia | Spain
In the southeastern part of Spain lies the sun-drenched region of Murcia. A hidden gem, Murcia is an ideal destination for those seeking holiday extras, with its rich history, distinctive cuisine, vibrant festivals, and stunning natural landscapes. It’s a place where tradition and modernity come together, promising a holiday filled with discovery and delight.
Start your journey in the city of Murcia, the capital of the region. At its heart, you’ll find the magnificent Cathedral of Murcia, a blend of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. Climb to the top of the cathedral’s bell tower, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city’s terracotta rooftops and the surrounding countryside.
Next, head to the historic Casino of Murcia, a lavish 19th-century social club now open to the public. Admire the intricate Moorish-style architecture, the stunning ballroom, and the tranquil English-style library. A guided tour of the casino is a perfect way to delve into the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.
Stroll along the Segura River, and cross over the old stone bridge for a picturesque view of the city’s waterfront. On the other side, you’ll find the lush Murcia Garden, a green oasis filled with exotic trees, sculptures, and fountains. Here, you can relax and enjoy the Mediterranean sunshine.
Venture outside the city and head to the Calblanque Regional Park. This natural reserve offers stunning landscapes of unspoiled beaches, sand dunes, and mountainous terrain, making it perfect for hiking and bird-watching. Don’t forget your camera, as the park offers some of the most beautiful coastal views in the region.
The region of Murcia is also known for its vineyards. Visit the Yecla Wine Route, where you can explore vineyards, wineries, and wine cellars. Enjoy wine tasting sessions, where you can learn about the winemaking process and sample the region’s famous Monastrell wine.
One of the many holiday extras in Murcia is its unique gastronomy. The region is known for its ‘huerta,’ a fertile garden that produces a variety of fruits and vegetables. Taste the local flavors in dishes like ‘michirones’ (a hearty bean stew), and ‘pastel de carne’ (a meat pie with a sweet crust). Try ‘paparajotes,’ a dessert made from lemon leaves coated in dough and dusted with sugar and cinnamon. For a truly immersive culinary experience, consider joining a cooking class to learn how to prepare these traditional dishes.
Murcia’s calendar is filled with vibrant festivals. In April, the city comes alive during the Bando de la Huerta festival, a celebration of Murcia’s agricultural heritage. Locals dress in traditional ‘huertano’ costumes, and there are parades, dancing, and food stalls selling regional specialties. In September, don’t miss the Fiesta de la Vendimia, a wine harvest festival in the town of Jumilla. Here, you can join in the grape-stomping tradition and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
For a touch of wellness, visit the Balneario de Archena, a thermal spa resort located on the banks of the Segura River. The spa’s mineral-rich waters are known for their therapeutic properties. Indulge in a soothing massage, or unwind in the spa’s thermal pools and saunas.
Art lovers will appreciate Murcia’s vibrant arts scene. The city boasts numerous galleries and museums, including the Murcia Museum of Fine Arts and the Salzillo Museum, dedicated to the work of Francisco Salzillo, a famous Spanish sculptor. For contemporary art, visit the MURAM (Regional Museum of Modern Art), which hosts a variety of exhibitions and workshops.
Head towards the coast to the town of Cartagena, where you can explore ancient Roman ruins, including a well-preserved Roman theater. Take a walk along the city’s marina and enjoy a seafood meal at one of the many restaurants overlooking the sea.
Murcia is a place of contrasts, a region that brings together the old and the new, the countryside and the sea, tranquility and vivacity. It’s a destination offering a host of holiday extras, inviting you to explore, taste, celebrate, relax, and immerse yourself in the richness of its culture and the warmth of its people. So, come and uncover the delights that await you in Murcia, Spain.
Small but mighty, Luxembourg is a country that packs a big punch. Despite its size, Luxembourg offers a multitude of holiday extras that make it a unique and unforgettable destination. Its rich history, diverse culture, stunning landscapes, and world-class cuisine are sure to captivate every traveler.
Kick off your exploration in the vibrant capital, Luxembourg City. One of Europe’s oldest fortified cities, it effortlessly blends ancient fortifications with avant-garde architecture. Start your journey at the Bock Casemates, a labyrinth of underground tunnels and galleries dating back to the Spanish era. A tour of these historic defenses offers panoramic views of the city and a glimpse into Luxembourg’s past.
Next, immerse yourself in the city’s cultural scene by visiting the Mudam Museum. Housed in a building designed by renowned architect Ieoh Ming Pei, the museum showcases a vast collection of contemporary art from around the globe. It also hosts a myriad of workshops, talks, and performances, making it a hub of cultural activity.
If you’re a fan of grand palaces, don’t miss a visit to the Grand Ducal Palace. Although it is the official residence of the Grand Duke, the palace opens its doors to the public during the summer months. Marvel at the elegant interiors and the Renaissance architecture as you explore the opulent state rooms and grand halls.
Take a break from the city’s hustle and bustle and head to the picturesque region of Moselle. Famous for its vineyards, Moselle is the cradle of Luxembourg’s wine industry. Go on a wine tour, where you’ll sample the region’s renowned crisp whites and sparkling Crémant. If you visit during the fall, you might even get a chance to witness the lively grape harvest.
While in Moselle, make sure to explore the charming town of Schengen. This small wine-growing village is known for the Schengen Agreement, which led to the creation of Europe’s borderless Schengen Area. Visit the European Museum Schengen, where interactive exhibits bring the history of this groundbreaking agreement to life.
Luxembourg’s cuisine is as diverse as its population. Influenced by its French, German, and Belgian neighbors, Luxembourgish food is a delightful fusion of flavors. Enjoy local delicacies like ‘Judd mat Gaardebounen’ (smoked pork with broad beans) or ‘Friture de la Moselle’ (small river fish, fried and eaten whole). Don’t forget to finish your meal with a slice of ‘Quetschentaart’ (plum tart), a popular dessert in Luxembourg.
Another great holiday extra in Luxembourg is its abundance of outdoor activities. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adrenaline junkie, or a leisurely stroller, there’s something for everyone. Visit the Mullerthal region, known as Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland. Its verdant forests, rugged cliffs, and cascading waterfalls provide a perfect backdrop for hiking, biking, or rock climbing.
For a touch of serenity, visit the Abbey of Echternach, the oldest in the country. Surrounded by peaceful gardens, it’s a great spot for quiet reflection. If you’re lucky to be there in May, you can witness the traditional dancing procession of Echternach, a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Luxembourg’s shopping scene is equally engaging, offering everything from high-end boutiques to quirky independent shops. In Luxembourg City, you’ll find the Grand Rue, a bustling shopping street lined with international brands. For a more traditional shopping experience, visit the weekly market in Place Guillaume II, where you’ll find a wide variety of local produce, flowers, and handmade crafts.
Despite its small size, Luxembourg is big on festivals. From the lively ‘Schueberfouer’ summer funfair in Luxembourg City to the traditional ‘Octave’ pilgrimage and market, these vibrant events offer a glimpse into Luxembourg’s culture and traditions. Music lovers will enjoy the many music festivals, particularly the ‘Rock um Knuedler’ and the ‘Blues and Jazz Rallye’, which attract artists from around the world.
Suffused with a rich tapestry of history, a vibrant culture, and a stunning natural landscape, Luxembourg offers a unique blend of holiday extras. It’s a place where every fortress, vineyard, and traditional dish tells a story. So, come and create your own unforgettable stories in Luxembourg.