Travel destinations: Where’s your favourite place to visit?
PUBLISHED: 11:00 20 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:50 01 February 2018
Why not beat the winter blues by booking yourself a trip to one of these top travel destinations, as chosen by people in Norfolk and Suffolk.
New York City, USA
For those wanting to visit New York City, each season offers something a little bit different. The city is equally worth seeing whatever the time of year - Central Park is as beautiful in spring as it is blanketed in snow in the winter.
Despite being famously congested, New York City is one of the most attractive urban centres in the US and has something for every taste and traveller. As well as its world-famous landmarks, such as The Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Centre and The Empire State Building, the city is heaving with art galleries, museums and some of the world’s best eating and drinking establishments.
Mark Heath said: “There’s something special about the Big Apple - a buzz and vibe I’ve not felt anywhere else. The sheer size of the place and its buildings is both overwhelming and exciting, and there is so much to do and see. Embrace the jet lag, get up early and pack as much as you can into the day - you can walk everywhere and, when your legs do eventually give out, you’ll soon be hailing taxis and yelling at traffic like a proper New Yorker. And don’t miss out on the nightlife - the city takes on another guise when night falls. It’s twice as intoxicating after dark.”
Bali, Lombok and Gili Islands, Indonesia
These small Indonesian islands are truly paradise. In Bali, each town and village you visit offers something completely different from the last. Lose yourself in the chaos of Kuta, surf the wild southern beaches of Uluwatu or immerse yourself in the natural beauty and culture of Ubud.
The idyllic coastal town of Padang Bai in eastern Bali serves as the ferry port for onward travel to Lombok and the Gili Islands. The Gili Islands are easily recognised by their sandy beaches fringed with palm trees, and their stunning coral reefs just offshore. On the smallest of the three islands, Gili Meno, sea turtles can even be spotted swimming at Turtle Point.
Jack Cotton says: “Gili Meno was by far my favourite island to visit, mainly because of its idyllic setting with friendly locals and amazing beaches. There are no motor vehicles on the island either, which makes the destination a much needed escape from modern civilisation. It was the perfect place for a romantic, peaceful break with breathtaking and unrivalled views.”
When compared to other Australian cities, Sydney is loud, uncompromising and in your face – It is the show pony of the country for sure. But beyond the shiny lights of the harbour, the city’s natural beauty beams through, with unspoilt beaches and beautiful public gardens.
Drive less than 20 minutes east from the centre and the iconic Bondi Beach beckons. On top of its perfect surf, tasty café scene and cosmopolitan vibe, the coastal walk along the cliffs from Bondi to Coogee present the most fantastic ocean views.
Paul Assirati said: “The most momentous [destination I have visited], although all were fascinating and wonderful, is Australia. I loved the country and the people and the experience of climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge on my 60th birthday was awesome!”
With a mix of ancient ruins, awe-inspiring artwork and exciting street life, Italy’s capital is one of the world’s most romantic and breathtaking cities.
Nearly 3,000 years of culture on display, ancient ruins such as the Forum and the Colosseum evoke the power of the former Roman Empire, while inside the many museums and art galleries, you’ll find thousands of paintings and sculptures of the Renaissance and the Baroque.
Becky Rodwell says: “Rome is one of my favourite places as my husband proposed to me at the Colosseum. Around every corner is an amazing architectural delight or a historical monument, and who could forget the amazing ice cream? I haven’t tasted better since my trip…”
Whatever time of the year you visit Reykjavik, the world’s most northern capital, your time there is guaranteed to be enchanting to say the least.
Take the Golden Circle tour to Thingvellir National Park, Gulfoss waterfall and Haukadalur (an active geothermic valley home to the geysers Geysir and Strokkur), to see some of the most magical sights this country has to offer. Then, by day or moonlight, relax in the Blue Lagoon, the country’s famous natural geothermal spa.
Georgia Watson says: “I visited Iceland for my partner’s 30th birthday at the beginning of the year and it was unlike anywhere we’d been before. The volcanic terrain covered in snow is mesmerising and I remember staring wide-eyed out of the bus window for the entire journey from the airport to the centre of Reykjavik. From whale watching to Northern Light searching, lazing in geo-thermal lagoons and finding wild waterfalls, there’s a lot to discover!”
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Located roughly halfway between capital city Zagreb and Zadar on the coast, Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the oldest and the largest national parks in Croatia.
Around 300 square kilometres of woodland is made up of sixteen lakes, inter-connected by a series of waterfalls, and is home to a population of deer, bears, wolves and rare bird species.
Ryan Connor says: “While the whole of Croatia is a treat for the eyes, I was particularly awed by Plitvice Lakes National Park. The journey to Plitvice Lakes included a drive through the Velebit mountain range in the Dinaric Alps, which offered spectacular views over the island of Pag and the Adriatic Sea, and the National Park, which is located close to the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina, featured a dramatic view of the lakes below. The walking paths alongside the cascades and waterfalls mean the views are a must-see!”
Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand
While this idyllic island, which sits off Thailand’s east coast, may be best known for its full-moon parties, don’t let this deter you from a visit to the pristine paradise.
Located on the north of the island, Mae Haat beach is something special. As the place where two currents meet, it is mesmerising to see two different shades of water come together at high tide, and separate only by a small strip of land when the tide is out.
Charlotte Segger said: “In Ko Pha Ngan the sea is as warm as the sand and there’s tropical fish at your feet. There are also plenty of markets to explore with street food to try - It’s the most peaceful place to be on a budget.”
Lapland is Finland’s most northern region and is sparsely populated. It borders Sweden, Norway, Russia and the Baltic Sea, and is best known for its subarctic wilderness and natural phenomena, including the Northern Lights.
In the winter months, Lapland is most popular for its themed child-oriented attraction Santa Claus Village, however is also an incredible region of Finland to visit in the summer. In the summer, experience the phenomenon that is the ‘Nightless Night’, which, due to the Earth’s axis being tilted in its orbit around the sun, means endless hours of daylight even throughout the ‘night’.
Charlotte Read says: Lapland was my favourite place in the world I’ve ever travelled to. It’s like no other country I have ever experienced - full of excitement, adventures and culture. It was so cold, but it was amazing. My husband and I went on husky rides through the wilderness and also night time snowmobile rides across frozen lakes. I won’t ever forget our last night in Lapland when we saw the northern lights!”
Los Angeles, California
Despite possibly being the centre of the world’s film and television industry, this sprawling southern California city offers so much more than just the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.
As well as near-perfect beaches, beautiful weather year-round, and a parade of seemingly famous, good-looking people on one side, LA is home to legendary tangles of freeways, an abundance of great museums, vibrant communities, and cutting-edge culture.
Mark Edwards says: ‘Maybe it was the jet lag, but a couple of nights in Venice Beach, which is a bit like Camden Market-On-Sea, made me think coming to LA was a mistake. However, once we set off up the California coast on the Pacific Highway it was all forgotten. The views are spectacular as you weave around roads cut into the cliff edge with plunging drops into the ocean just inches from your wheels. We stopped regularly – surfing in Santa Cruz, watching the sun set from the pier while wolfing down a fresh tuna taco in Cayucos or hiking among the giant redwoods in Big Sur – until we got to the end of our trip in fog-shrouded San Francisco. I hope to go back, but those memories will stay with me forever.”
Occupying the number one spot in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel list for 2018, Seville is the capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region. Its historic centre sits around its colossal Gothic cathedral, and is an intoxicating mix of palaces, churches and winding medieval streets.
The city however is as much about the here and now as the past - tuck into tapas in one of the many glorious restaurants, enjoy a drink on a buzzing plaza or flamenco dance your evening away in one of the many clubs in Seville’s Triana neighbourhood.
Charlotte Smith-Jarvis said: “Seville is surely one of the most beautiful of Spain’s Moorish cities? Known as the ‘frying pan’ of Europe, the best time to visit is spring or autumn, when the weather’s cool enough to appreciate the myriad architectural gems she has to offer. Tapas is life in Seville, and the old Jewish quarter, with its sparklingly clean cobbled streets, accented by teensy squares of orange trees and bars, is one of the most magical places to lose yourself on a warm evening.”