Booking a flight to these remarkable destinations guarantees your cultural excursions, alongside much-needed downtime to soak up the sun and listen to the ocean. If you love immersing yourself in the vibrant newness of a town, but don’t want to be far from the sea, these holidays are ideal.
1 – Barcelona
Barcelona has arguably some of the most vibrant cultural heritage in Europe. The art and architecture alone are a worthy reason to visit this lively city. Be sure to check out Gaudi’s surreal buildings, as well as the work of famous Catalans Salvador Dali and Joan Miro. By night, a whole new cultural experience opens up. Begin with a few drinks at Las Ramblas, where any good night out begins, before working your way through the rabbit warren of bars the city has to offer.
Parties start late and end late in Barcelona, so don’t expect to be in bed any time soon. Recovery on the beach will be essential, fortunately, Barcelona offers some beautiful coastline to enjoy. If you’d like to visit Barcelona but are short on time, check out this guide with advice on how to spend a day in Barcelona.
2 – Bali
Bali is somewhat unusual amongst tourist hotspots, in that it has retained a cultural authenticity. Traditions and customs live on here as if mass tourism never happened, and there has never been a better time to visit. You will be spoilt for choice regarding stunning beaches on which to surf or sunbathe. For your culture-fix, visit one of the islands historic water temples for a ritual bathing ceremony, or check out one of the kingdom’s majestic palaces.
3 – Cuba
Up-and-coming Cuba is a culture-shock in the best way possible. Only recently opened to tourism, you will feel as if you’ve stepped back in time as you wander the former colonial streets of Havana. The city has an unusual music scene with salsa in every bar, for a real immersion, why not take a dance class and wrap your hips round some of those famous moves. Regarding beaches, Cuba is the perfect place for a beach holiday and has some of the best beaches around. Varadero is famed for being up there as the most picture-perfect coastline in the Caribbean; you will never want to leave.
4 – Goa
Goa has been on the backpacker map for years due to the heady mix of stunning natural beauty and fascinating Indian culture. There are some atmospheric Hindu temples in the region, as well as a wealth of Latin colonial architecture from the Portuguese occupation. To make the most of your time here, go on a tailor-made tour of Goa suited to your interests, this way you won’t miss anything. Another great way to learn about the culture of the area is through its food, and a Goan cooking class will have you preparing the ubiquitous fish curry, amongst other intensely flavored dishes. When it comes to some well-earned beach time, Goa’s stretches of sand are sure to impress. After the sun sets, hit the infamous beach bar scene for a few beers.
5 – Palawan
When you think of Palawan in the Philippines, the pristine beaches, uninhabited islands and full blue ocean probably spring to mind. But the island has a fascinating and often tragic history of being run by the Spanish, the Americans, and the Japanese, and each left their cultural mark. Also, many indigenous groups still live on Palawan, and it is possible to visit these communities to learn more about their lives.
For a beach holiday with more than just sunbathing, head to these five destinations and enjoy an immersion in a different culture, alongside those much-needed lazy beach days.