Our Top Beach Getaways for the December Holidays

Leave Father Christmas a forwarding address this year, and soak up some sun on a beautiful beach.

Aruba

Golden beaches in Aruba

With an almost guarantee of perfect weather, Aruba is the ideal destination for sun-soaking. And it has the beaches to match. One of them, Eagle Beach, was even named TripAdvisor’s 3rd best beach in the world. Pop on a mask and snorkel and explore Aruba’s gentle, turquoise waters. There are plenty of excellent snorkeling spots around the island, Boca Catalina, and Malmok are two of them. Away from the beaches, Aruba’s mountains and caves are ideal for those wanting to get active and experience the island’s diverse landscape.

Restrictions: All travellers are required to complete the Dis/embarkation travel card online (ED Card) before being granted entry to Aruba. Visitors who do not have proof of vaccination are required to take a Covid-19 test between 3 days and 4 hours before their arrival. All travellers must purchase the Aruba Visitors Insurance. The ED Card cannot be completed without it.

Bonaire

Admire the flamingos and other wildlife on Bonaire

The island of Bonaire, in the Dutch Caribbean, is a haven for those in search of a pause button. Its unspoiled beauty is emphasised through its preservation efforts – the Washington-Slagbaai National Park is one such example, providing a sanctuary for flamingos, parrots, iguanas, and other land species. Bonaire was the first Caribbean island to have a protected marine park and the diving opportunities are unapparelled. Aside from the vivid corals and kaleidoscopic reef fish, keep an eye out for pods of dolphins, eagle rays, and sea turtles.

Stay: Divi Flamingo Beach Resort

Eat: Brass Boer

Restrictions: Bonaire has a traffic light system in place for travel restrictions. Only those from safe, green listed countries do not need to be tested before arrival. A Health Certificate needs to be completed by all travellers between 72 and 48 hours of departure.

Dominican Republic

Playa el Valle, Samaná

Beaches, beaches, everywhere. The Dominican Republic is home to the Caribbean’s longest beach coastline. At 48km long, you’re guaranteed to get a sun lounger spot. If you’re looking for a wilder side to the Caribbean, then the Samaná Peninsula has it all. Rainforests, untouched beaches, and verdant mountains all play a role in a region that specializes in ecotourism. If you fancy wandering narrow, historical streets past sleek, modern art galleries then head to the capital Santo Domingo to learn more about the Dominican Republic’s culture and history.

Stay: Cosón Bay Hotel and Residences

Eat: Pueblo de los Pescadores

Restrictions: Most travellers do not need to present a negative PCR test on arrival. Travellers from some higher risk countries are required to present either a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours, or, a complete vaccination card dated no sooner than 3 weeks before arrival. All travellers must complete the electronic exit and entry form.

>> Visit the Maldives – It’s Open!

Seychelles

The Seychelles has plenty of beaches to choose from

The Seychelles archipelago consists of over 100 islands and atolls scattered across the Indian Ocean, enough to keep even the most curious traveller satisfied. The innermost are the main islands which have more amenities. Day trips can be arranged to explore uninhabited atolls such as such as Conception Island which is home to pristine beaches and undisturbed ecosystems. Situated on Curieuse Island is the Curieuse Marine National Park. Here, visitors can enjoy activities such as bird watching, nature trails, snorkeling, and diving. The latter two will introduce you to the breathtaking coral life, and maybe even some sea turtles.

Stay: Hotel L’Archipel

Eat: Moutya

Restrictions: All travellers to the Seychelles must provide a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours before departure. All prospective travellers must apply for Travel Authorization via the Seychelles official site. All arrivals must present proof of sufficient valid travel insurance for the duration of their stay. The Seychelles are open to visitors from all countries except: Brazil, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Cote D’Ivoire & Guinea.

Zanzibar

Relax on pristine white beaches in Zanzibar

If you’re looking for a bit of everything – wildlife, history, gastronomy, and tropical beaches, then head to Zanzibar. Visit Stone Town, a UNESCO world heritage site with a vivid and complex history. Other eye-catching landmarks in Zanzibar town include the Old Dispensary which has a beautiful lattice-work exterior, and the Old Fort, which was built by Omani Arabs in the 17th century. Zanzibar’s beaches each have their own character. On the island of Pemba, in particular, you’ll find a paradisiacal haven. Startlingly white beaches, and lush forests – the tranquility makes it the ideal beach escape.

Stay: Aiyana Resort and Spa

Eat: Pemba Moonlight

Restrictions: All travellers must complete the online registration form before arriving in Zanzibar. All arrivals must present the negative results of a PCR test which is no older than 96 hours prior to arrival. Travellers from, or who have travelled through, higher risk areas will be tested again at their own cost on their arrival (USD25). Children under 5 are exempt from testing requirements.

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Travel to Rodrigues – An Island Escape

If you’re searching for Indian Ocean islands to escape it all, then the island of Rodrigues is just the ticket. According to Mauritians, the unspoiled beauty of Rodrigues is what Mauritius was 50 years ago. So, experience both sides of the coin, and while you’re in paradise, travel to Rodrigues. Just over an hour away by air, and you’re in paradise of yesteryear.

About Rodrigues

The Mauritian territory is located 650km from Mauritius, but, beyond the beautiful beaches, it couldn’t be more different. While Mauritius has drawn a steady stream of tourism, and development over the last few decades, Rodrigues has not. The ultimate result of this is a tropical island without too much of the modern-day trappings of development.

Rodrigues has a small population – under 40,000 inhabitants – and the pace of life is slow, perfect for a holiday escape. The official language of the island is English, however, French and Créole are the most widely spoken.

The island’s natural beauty has been kept intact, and, as a small volcanic outcrop in the Indian Ocean, it’s surrounded by a turquoise lagoon and coral reefs teeming with marine life. Volcanic mountains, cloaked with rich vegetation provide ideal hiking routes, while coves and caves make for great exploring along the coastline.

Explore

There are plenty of islets dotted around Rodrigues
Explore the islets dotted around Rodrigues

For a small space (the island is only about 18km in length), Rodrigues packs a lot in.

The Grande Montagne Nature Reserve offers panoramic views over the island. Wind through the trails of the forest to reach the 300-350m high summit. The nature reserve is a prime spot to view the island’s rare plant life, endemic trees, and previously endangered bird species.

After working up a sweat, cool down on a boat trip to Île aux Cocos, one of the smaller islands neighbouring Rodrigues. White crystal white sands and turquoise seas are somewhat ubiquitous in this region, Île aux Cocos’ charm lies in its size – 1,2km in length and 250m across. Ensuring that you feel like you truly have escaped it all. You’ll find as your companions on your day trip, seabirds of varying species.

You’ll feel like you stepped into the pages of Treasure Island when visiting Trou D’Argent. Flanked by rugged cliffs, protecting pristine waters and picturesque beach, this little cove is only accessible by foot. Indian Ocean pirates and corsairs once sailed these waters, and it’s easy to imagine them choosing this spot to hide their loot. This spot is an ideal day trip for families as the path is easy-going and well marked.

The island has plenty to offer visitors, from intricate cave systems, to giant tortoises, and incredible diving, a few days spent here while on holiday in Mauritius is worth the trip.

Your Visit

When to visit: Rodrigues usually experiences pleasant weather all year round. November to April are the summer months, and temperatures usually peak at the mid-30oCs. The winter months, between May and October see temperatures peak at the mid-20oCs. Cyclone season usually runs from December to May, although this is often difficult to predict.

Where to stay: The island offers a range of accommodation types, although you won’t find the sprawling resorts you would in Mauritius. We love the charming beachside boutique hotel, Tekoma, or, the relaxed, garden retreat of La Belle Rodriguaise, with endless views over the ocean.

How to get there: Rodrigues is a Mauritian territory, so travel via the main island. Air Mauritius is due to restart flights to Rodrigues soon. Under usual circumstances, the airline operates daily return flights between Rodrigues and Mauritius.

Current restrictions: Until the 30th of September, fully vaccinated travellers can enjoy an in-resort stay at select hotels for 7 days. PCR tests: 3-7 days prior to travel. There is still a travel ban in place for arrivals from some countries.

From the 1st of October, Mauritius fully re-opens to vaccinated travellers. After presenting a PCR test no older than 72 hours, these arrivals are free to explore the island. Non-vaccinated travellers need to quarantine in their hotel rooms for the first 14 days.

>> Travel to Mauritius: Now Open to South Africans

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Off the Tourist Track: Our Top Picks for ‘Undertourism’

At SafeScore, we have nothing against big cities, and big tourist hotspots – we’re a fan of all travel. But, sometimes its good to discover the slightly-less-known, avoid the crowds, and head to the smaller cities.

These are some of our top picks.

Trieste, Italy

If you’re visiting Italy, and want beautiful piazzas, excellent seafood, and aquamarine views, then Trieste will be your spot. Perched on the Adriatic coast, Trieste, is almost entirely surrounded by Slovenia, so you could add another country to your itinerary. As a result of its geography, its cultural history is a melting pot of history, with influences from Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Greece and more. The city was once a great seaport, as is demonstrated by it’s grand waterside architecture. Now, however, it plays a different role. Once you’ve finished playing the tourist, you can admire the rows of elegant white yacht gently bobbing on the water while you sip on your Aperol Spritz.

Albi, France

Located in southern France, and just northeast of Toulouse, is the river-side town of Albi. Infrequently discovered by the usual tourist, Albi offers a picturesque and fascinating visit, without the crowds. The world-renown artist, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born here in the 19th century. Dive into a world of Belle-Epoque cabarets and circuses at the Toulouse-Lautrec museum. Next door you’ll find the Sainte-Cécile Cathedral, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The episcopal city is a marvel of gothic renaissance architecture, towering over the banks of the Tarn River. Venture further out of the city, and meander through the region’s vineyards, or, take a leisurely boat cruise down the river and see the city from another angle.

>>Autumn vs. Spring: Our Top Picks

São Tomé and Príncipe

Just 6 hours flight from mainland Europe are Africa’s answers to the Galapagos Islands. São Tomé and Príncipe are located on the equator, and serviced by direct flights from Portugal, Ghana, Angola, and Gabon (under usual circumstances). Once you’ve arrived, you’ll find looming volcanic mountains, flocks of endemic bird species, and waterfalls and lakes hidden by the rainforest. One third of São Tomé, the main island, is a national park, making it a unique destination and offering visitors plenty of activities. If you need to unwind, the islands have many fabulous beaches, and the rich marine life will keep you diving, or snorkeling for hours.

The Faroe Islands

If you fancy dramatic landscapes, a sense of mysticism, and plenty of outdoor activities, then head to the Faroe Islands. Out in the wilds of the Atlantic Ocean, these 18 volcanic islands will transport you to another world. The lush green valleys, and turf roofs of the houses will make you think you’ve stepped into J.R.R. Tolkien‘s imagination. Precipitous cliffs thrust waterfalls into the sea, and hiking trails will lead you to panoramic views over lakes and mountains. After a day battling unpredictable weather, relax and enjoy the local music. The haunting ballads are a deeply rooted element of the Faronese culture. When the hiking has given you an appetite, try the local gastronomy scene, which is gaining world traction.

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Autumn vs. Spring: Our top seasonal getaways

Depending on where you find yourself in the world, winter and summer are on the out. It’s the time of year where seasonal changes are at their most obvious. Bursts of colour are springing out of the ground in the Southern Hemisphere, while leaves are crisping and turning red in the Northern Hemisphere. So, will it be autumn or will it be spring?

These are our picks for a seasonal getaway.

Autumn

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is a thing of beauty all year round, but, in autumn, the leaves seem designed to match the medieval architecture. Discover the rich history of the city as you float down the winding canals alongside bevies of swans. Take in Bruges from above in the famous Belfry, in the Market Square (Markt). At 83 metres high, it is the city’s most prominent building, and offers unparalleled views over Bruges’ gables. The entire medieval inner city is a UNESCO world heritage site, and it’s easy to see why. The rich merchants who lived here in the 15th century built houses to last, leaving behind for us, historical beauty, dappled with red ivy leaves. From museums, to bridge hopping, and a stop in a local brewery, Bruges has something for everyone.

Restrictions in Bruges: All accommodation, dining venues, attractions and tours are open. Masks must be worn in public spaces. Some spaces have smaller capacities for guests, so it is advised to check, and book, in advance.

Bavaria, Germany

Medieval buildings, dark forests, misty mountains? No, this isn’t the set of Beauty and the Beast, it’s the landlocked state of Bavaria, in Germany. As it is the largest state in Germany, a trip will require some planning. The main cities, Munich, Nuremburg, and Augsburg offer a wealth of history. Augsburg is in fact Germany’s third oldest city, as it was founded in 15 BCE by the Romans. Here, head to the decadent Schaezler Palace, built in the 18th century, and home to the works of Rubens and Tiepolo.

In Munich, once you’ve exhausted the inner city sights, take a stroll under crimson trees in the English Garden. The park is larger than Central Park in New York, so you’ll probably want to make a stop at the beer garden halfway through. Escape to another realm just under 2 hours from Munich, and visit Neuschwanstein Castle. Surrounded by forest, it’s easy to see how the castle served as inspiration for Walt Disney. Forests cover much of Bavaria, so save some time for nature walking to really get that autumnal feel.

Restrictions in Bavaria: FFP2 masks are a mandatory requirement in all public spaces that are not open air. Children under 16 can wear any nose and mouth covering, and children under 6 are exempt. Germany has implemented the ‘3G’ rule for access to venues such as indoor restaurants, hotels, and attractions.  This means, persons wishing to use these facilities must provide proof of one of the following: geimpft, genesen, getestet (vaccinated, recovered, tested). It’s advised to make reservations in advance as many venues have capacity limits.

Vermont, United States of America

Probably up there with the most famous autumnal destinations, Vermont’s seasonal change is nothing short of spectacular. The state comes alive during these months, and visitors can enjoy harvesting festivals, pumpkin patches and more. If you want to learn about Vermont’s history and culture, there are many museums and galleries to choose from, such as the Vermont History Museum, or the M. Bryan Memorial Gallery in Jeffersonville. Outdoors lovers will be spoiled for choice, as Vermont has fishing, camping, rock climbing and more. Take a road trip thought Vermont’s winding byways, and discover small historic towns, surrounded by golden-hued forests. Leave some room in your itinerary to sample the local gastronomy. Vermont is known for its craftsmanship, and locally produces everything from beer to ice cream, maple syrup, and artisanal cheeses.

Restrictions in Vermont: All business, gathering, and travel related restrictions have been lifted in Vermont. While it is no longer mandatory to wear a mask, some businesses maintain stricter policies and can decline service if one is not worn.

Spring

Western Cape, South Africa

Think spring, and you’ll think bulbs blooming and colour re-emerging. In the province of the Western Cape, in South Africa, you’ll find flowers blooming, and ideal weather. Unlike other regions of the country, the Western Cape experiences heavy rains during its winter months. So, when spring arrives in September, areas of the province are blanketed with wildflowers. Although a flash-in-the-pan event, (the blooms tend to fade by the end of September) the riot of colour draws annual visitors. One of the best places to see them, while enjoy blue skies and beautiful landscapes, is in the West Coast National Park. Situated just over an hour from Cape Town, visitors can book overnight cottages in the park itself, or travel further up the coast to the picturesque town of Paternoster – known for its blue and white colour scheme.

If you’d prefer to stay within Cape Town’s reach, then pay a visit to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, where you can enjoy more manicured, yet equally beautiful, spring blooms. As the winter wanes, Cape Town’s cold evenings grow warmer, and lighter – ideal for sundowners at a rooftop bar. Or, take a hike on one of the city’s many peaks, such as Lion’s Head, or Table Mountain, to watch the sky glow, and the sun dip into the sea.

Restrictions in the Western Cape: It is a legal requirement to wear a face mask in public places in South Africa – even when outdoors. Bars, Restaurants, and attractions are open, but operate at a limited capacity, so booking in advance is required. Establishments close at 21h00, as there is a 22h00 curfew in place.

The Serengeti, Tanzania

From flora, to fauna – Tanzania’s spring season sees herds of animals migrate throughs its plains. The Serengeti National Park spans the northern part of the country, and is nearly 15,000 square kilometres in size. Winter into spring are the park’s dry months, and the ideal time for safari trips and game spotting, especially as the vegetation stays low and thin, allowing you more visibility. Although not the only perk of the park, but definitely the most famous, is the Great Migration of the Wildebeest, which takes place annually across Tanzania and Kenya. From July to October, animals frequently gather around rivers and watering holes, and, the wildebeest tend to make regular river crossings across the Mara River to the north of the park.

If you’re feeling energetic (and fit!), then this time of year is also ideal to climb Tanzania’s Mount Kilamanjaro. The spring months mean hikers can enjoy blue skies and beautiful views with fewer fellow visitors – provided they don’t mind a few light showers.

Restrictions in the Serengeti: Practicing social distancing and wearing masks is mandatory in Tanzania.

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Top Romantic Getaways – Our Picks

There has never been a better to reconnect with your other half. So, escape Covid-19 fatigue and your overused Netflix profile and head off on one of these romantic getaways.

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

If you’re into romantic walks, art deco architecture and a melting pot of history, then Budapest is a must. The city is divided into two by the Danube; Buda and Pest each have their own culture and identity. Pest combines the old-world glamour of Andrássy Avenue with contemporary museums, nightclubs and the elegant Opera House. In Buda you will find cobbled streets and Turkish baths and more.

See the city via various modes of transport. On foot allows for surprising discoveries around every corner, while a nighttime cruise up the Danube, admiring the city lights is an obvious recipe to romance. If you do choose to walk though, take note: Buda is hilly and Pest is flat, so choose your footwear wisely.

Official language: Hungarian; English and German are also widely spoken

Best times to visit: From March to May and September to November as the weather is mild and, under normal circumstances, there aren’t too many tourists.

Plockton and surrounds, the Scottish Highlands

Plockton, in the Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands hold a wealth of beauty. From quaint villages, to breathtaking architecture, evocative ruined castles, and dramatic landscapes – it’s no wonder it’s on many a dream travel list. Start as you mean to go on and visit the ‘Jewel of the Highlands’, the delightful village of Plockton.

Although small, there are over 50 accommodation options to choose from, whether you prefer B&B, self catering, or a charming hotel. Plockton is a National Trust for Scotland conservation village so the heritage of the village is well preserved. With spectacular landscapes, overlooking Loch Carron, spend your mornings sailing and your afternoons browsing the many galleries or enjoying local live music. Plockton’s ideal location at the heart of the highlands give the visitor easy access to explore further. Head north and explore the fascinating Isle of Sky – the largest in the Inner Hebrides – home to fossils, castles, and a Fairy Glen.

Official Language: English

Best times to Visit: All year round if you don’t mind the weather, although it gets more crowded in the Summer months.

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

A far-cry from blustery Scottish mountains, are the grasslands of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. One of the most important preserved areas of wildlife in the world, the lies to the southwest in Kenya, not far from the Tanzanian border. The reserve’s landscapes, offer visitors views of rolling hills, grassy savannahs, and it’s world renown for its large wildlife populations, including lions, cheetahs, elephants, and hippos. Perhaps most famous, is the annual Wildebeest migration which takes place between July and October. One of the most breathtaking natural events in the world, it is one of the few remaining mass wildlife movements on the planet.

After a day admiring nature, watch the African sunset light the sky red at one of the many tented camps throughout the reserve. These range in style, from family friendly and basic, to luxury lodges with a swimming pool. Either way, returning to nature is a great way to escape Covid fatigue.

Official Language: Swahili and English

Best Times to Visit: All year round, although the migration is between July and October

Anguilla, the British Caribbean

The island of Anguilla, British Caribbean

Forget your phone charger at home, Anguilla is the ultimate place to unwind and reconnect. The island is home to 33 beaches, giving you plenty of choice for some peace and quiet. As turquoise water gently laps the sand, lay back and enjoy the sun, dappled by swaying palm leaves – few rival it for relaxation. If you want to look into the cultural side of the island, Anguilla’s history is fascinating – find out more about it and the island’s culture in the local galleries and at live music shows.

Stay active, and enjoy golf, sailing, tennis, and, as you’re surrounded by seas rich in marine life, snorkeling. Lay your head in a charming boutique hotel, larger all-inclusive resorts, or an apartment – Anguilla has something for every taste.

Official Language: English

Best Times to Visit: February to April if you want to miss the rain. Hurricane season tends to run from June to September.

See Also: Outdoor Travel, Our Top Picks

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Our Picks in Japan (to visit when you can)

Japan is a country steeped in history, whimsy, and currently, sportsmen and women. While travel restrictions are preventing most people from visiting at the moment, there’s no harm in planning in advance.

These are our top picks for Japan:

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park

Mount Fuji is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Japan’s highest, and most famous mountain, dominates the landscape around the park. Mount Fuji plays such an integral role in Japan’s culture and history that it has been recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. For the intrepid traveller, Mount Fuji’s most popular climb begins at the 5th station, about half-way up, has an overnight stop, allowing climbers to summit around sunrise. For the less adventurous, enjoy the views of Mount Fuji from the comfort of your high speed train, or one of the many hot springs in the region.

Kappabashi Kitchen Town

Japan is known for the high quality of its knives and craftsmen

If you’re into food, cooking and kitchen gadgets then you can’t miss Kappabashi Kitchen Town in Tokyo. Chefs and restaurateurs head here to stock up their kitchens – you’ll find every type of knife imaginable. The road is a kilometre long, and has café stops for the weary shopper along the way. You’re unlikely to come away empty-handed, whether you buy for practical use, décor, or fun.

Wild Snow Monkey Park

Snow Monkeys bathe in the pools in Winter

Open since 1964, the Wild Snow Monkey Park, allows visitors to get up and close with wild monkeys in beautiful mountainous settings. In the Winter months, the Snow Monkeys, or Japanese Macaques, tend to bathe in the pools around the park. The park is unfenced and the animals roam freely – while the monkeys are a key attraction, the surroundings are appealing enough to draw visitors. The park is open 7-days a week throughout the year.

Animal Islands Around Japan

Animal islands are popular with visitors to Japan

Another fauna-based attraction that makes our list are the animal islands dotted around Japan. This might not be a trip for the easily allergic – Okuno Island, for example, is home to over 900 rabbits, hence its alternative name of rabbit island. Similarly, there are a number of Cat islands, where the feline population far exceeds the human. One of the islands, Tashiro, has a shrine to the cats that once helped the silk producers rid the island of rats.

Ghibli Museum

The Robot Soldier guards the Ghibli Museum from the rooftop

Studio Ghibli, best known for their animated work, is behind this homage to all that’s weird, and wonderful, in the colourful Ghibli world. As you near the Ghibli Museum entrance, you’ll be greeted by a large Totoro before being ushered into a blast of colour and creativity. Every room is different – there’s a theatre, and a room full of sketches illustrating the nascent days of a film. On the roof you’ll find a garden and a five metre tall Robot Soldier from Castle in the Sky. Stop for lunch at Straw Hat Café, surrounded by rare red pine trees. Please note, visitors must book their tickets to the museum in advance.

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Re-Open, Re-Charge, Relax – Our picks for your next escape

Hands up if you need a bit of R&R – we’re sitting here with both arms in the air. Sadly, the days of being able to book a cheap Easyjet flight for a few sunny days in Corsica are, for now, somewhat out of reach. Now, with great R&R comes a little bit of admin – PCR tests, and travel rules are a hassle, we agree. But, once over those hurdles, the escapism can begin. Wellness is key, but where can you go to find it? We’re here to help you relax.

We’ve brought together some of our favourite spots for a relaxed getaway with a spot of wellness. From heady rainforests, to cobbles streets dappled by bougainvillea branches, everyone’s decompression holiday comes in different packages. We’ve given you a bit of everything.

Morocco

Decompress in style in Morocco
Relax in style in Morocco

Morocco has recently re-opened to visitors and has implemented strict Covid-19 protocols on accommodation and attractions. Morocco’s tourism portfolio allows you to sprinkle your holiday with a bit of adventure should you choose. Explore the souks, go dune bashing, or, just relax on your sun lounger. Whether your choice is reveling in luxury at the Mandarin Oriental‘s new spa in Marrakech, or a simple beachside escape on golden sands along the Atlantic, Morocco has R&R for every budget.

South Africa

Let nature restore balance along South Africa's Garden Route
Let nature hit the reset button in South Africa

South Africa is open to visitors, although leisure travel to Gauteng is currently not permitted. Driving along South Africa’s scenic coastal routes is an escape in itself, add in a few decadent stops and you’ll feel like a new person. Dine under the stars after an al fresco spa session at Bushman’s Kloof in Clanwilliam, in the Western Cape. When you’re not being massaged, take in the wildlife and rock art in the reserve. Up the eastern coast of the country is the famous Garden Route. Here you will find the luxury game reserve, Godwana, not far from Mossel Bay. Godwana is home to the Big 5, as well as world-class spa facilities, and fine dining.

For the more budget-conscious traveller, South Africa has a wide selection of accommodation, from hotels to AirBnB. For more information, check here.

Costa Rica

Tropical rainforests and gushing waterfalls in Costa Rica can relax any soul
Jungles and waterfalls wait for you in Costa Rica

If you’re looking for a relaxed retreat with a twist, then head to Costa Rica. Wild mountains, verdant rainforests and abundant flora and fauna will draw you in, and the accommodation will make you want to stay. As with all our holiday spots, Costa Rica has charming, and affordable accommodation, such as La Chosa del Manglar Nature Retreat, flanked by mangroves, and surrounded by birdlife, a hammock is the escapist’s ideal spot. If you want to top your Costa Rican adventure off with a bit of pampering, there are a number of luxury resorts to choose from. Kinkara is one of them, offering an all-inclusive experience with activities beyond your usual resort package. Swim in waterfalls, hike through the jungle, and practice yoga with vast views of the landscape – the place is designed to be restorative.

Greece

Relax and sip on cocktails while watching the sun set over the Mediterranean in Greece
Blue seas and blue skies are the perfect escapism in Greece

Greece is everything, to everyone; party islands, cultural trips, and languid yachting – one holiday could be multi-themed. You’ll find a wealth of smaller accommodation options dotted over Greece’s many islands, some off the beaten track (literally), some hugging the lapping waters of the Mediterranean. But, if you’re looking for somewhere truly awe-inspiring to relax, then go no further than Cavo Tagoo. This award-winning hotel is what Greek holiday dreams are made of. The hotel’s infinity pool has endless views over the seas, as do most rooms. Watch the sun disappear behind the horizon with your evening cocktail after a day spent in the spa – it doesn’t get much better than this!

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