Do you have an urge to escape the cold, dark December days and celebrate the festive season somewhere warm and sunny this year? Look no further than these luxurious locations for an unforgettable Christmas:
Australia is arguably the perfect place to spend Christmas if you’re looking for a combination of festive traditions mixed with something a little different. Think Christmas trees, carols and presents, but on a warm beach with the sun beating down on you!
Start your Christmas Eve celebrations with ‘Carols by Candlelight’; a local Melbourne tradition dating back to the 19th Century. An evening of carol singing and delicious food and drink amongst a sea of thousands of candles lighting up the sky, will be a surefire way to kickstart your Christmas spirit.
Enjoy Christmas Day soaking up the sun on one of Australia’s many golden beaches. Forget your turkey dinner though (just this once); a BBQ or Picnic with generous helpings of champagne is the way to mark the occasion.
Finally, round off your trip with the spectacular, and World famous, Sydney fireworks display on New Year’s Eve. It’s the only place to be for breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour Bridge, unforgettable fireworks, and to ring in the New Year in style!
Zanzibar is a very popular destination to visit over the Christmas period.
Also known as ‘The Spice Island’, it boasts amongst the best beaches in the world, with coconut palms and powder soft coral sands washed by shimmering clear seas. The landscape and coastline as largely unspoilt, and scattered with picturesque fishing villages and spice markets, making it the perfect choice if you’re looking to soak up some culture while you’re there.
Despite the allure of the beaches, Zanzibar offers a whole host of other attractions to make your trip unforgettable. You could spend the day wandering through Stone Town, an incredible mash-up of winding alleys and old Arabic-style buildings, or head to Jozani Forest, the last indigenous forest left on Zanzibar.
If you work up an appetite after your excursions, there are food options aplenty. If you want a really authentic experience, visit the Forodhani Market where you’ll be able to sample fresh local meat, fish and vegetables. If you want to splash out, The Rock restaurant offers unbeatable views over the island and also offers some of its best seafood. Be sure to book well in advance, though!
There are few better beach destinations than Seychelles, with endless talc-white crescents and stretches hemmed by granite boulders. Being one of the world’s smallest countries, with a population of just 100,000 across its 115 remote islands, it is the perfect place to spend Christmas in the peace and quiet.
Fall in love with the local Creole culture, marvel at the incredible nature (rare birds and giant tortoises), or even walk in the breathtaking Valee de Mer on Praslin.
If you’re itching for some adventure, though, the diving is a must. With over 850 species of fish and 6 marine parks, you won’t be disappointed!
During the month of December, the vibrant city of Cape Town comes alive with an array of events and not-to-be-missed attractions, making it the ideal place to visit for Christmas.
Christmas Eve activities could include watching a film under the stars at the beautiful Kirstenbosch Gardens, listening to the gospel choir in Green Point, or even enjoying a leisurely picnic in the Winelands. Christmas Day celebrations are usually spent enjoying delicious food and drink at one of the many luxury beach clubs and dancing until the early hours.
Of course, the festivities don’t end there! Be sure to stick around for New Year’s Eve, where you could watch the sun set on 2017 with a magical hike at Delvara Farm, or even celebrate in style with a sailing and dining experience around Table Bay Harbour.
The largest island in French Polynesia, Tahiti is world-renowned for its charm, colourful culture and romantic ambience. Whilst it’s very popular as a honeymoon destination, it’s often on the bucket list for holidaymakers wishing to escape the colder months and soak up the sun in style.
Should you wish to have a break from your sunlounger, choose from a range of activities on the island to discover the local way of life. Visit French Polynesia’s only winery, Dominique Auroy’s Vin de Tahiti, on the atoll of Rangiroa. You can sample the Rangiroa Wine at the end of the tour, and even take some home with you!
If you fancy something a little more upbeat, why not book yourself in for a Tahitian dance lesson. You’ll learn the different ways to wear a Polynesian pareo, then hear about the basics of this traditional art. You’ll have the chance to learn the movements that make up the Oritahiti (rapid, rhythmic dance) and of the Aparima (slow, sensual dance).
Haven’t soaked up enough culture yet? Discover Moorea’s volcanic peaks, crystalline waters and lush hillsides on an adventurous Jeep Safari tour. You’ll also stop at a pineapple plantation and visit the juice factory!
Have any of these locations inspired you? Contact us today at Lekker Boutique Travel and one of our knowledgeable and trusted experts will set about creating a unique, tailor-made trip you’ll never forget.
Iceland is the perfect winter destination. It has all the weird and wonderful geography which is pristinely kept without the tourists of the summer months. The benefits of winter travel are endless with south-coast glaciers, waterfalls which are frozen in time, the Aurora Borealis which is even more crisp, and the Blue Lagoon which is only truly blue in Winter!
This unique island offers a range of activities in its most invigorating season, like snowmobile rides, ice cave visits and whale watching!
Every tourist walks the fine line between seeing the famous sites, but also discovering something special for themselves. This blog post attempts to do the same. It features three of the essential attractions, but includes added tips and tricks that you might find useful.
The Blue Lagoon
National Geographic included the Blue Lagoon in the Top 25 natural wonders of the world. The Blue Lagoon is located in a lava field in Grindavik in the Reykjanes Peninsula. The geothermal water is all the more relaxing in the winter months, with temperatures around 37- 40 degrees celsius. Expect to be soaking in lots of natural minerals, as well as silica and algae which is what gives the water its distinctive colour. These ingredients are vital to allow this natural wonder to renew itself every 40 hours.
1) If you get there early, you will have a more private visit, so that you can avoid the crowds that congregate later on in the day
2) The lagoon has more of a spa environment, meaning just relax and wade around rather than swim laps. Also remember that the visibility in the water is low, so pack a waterproof camera, but forget your goggles
3) If your hair dips into the water you may not be able to run your fingers through it for a couple of weeks! Bring Conditioner, or tie hair up. Geothermal salt water does amazing things to your skin, but strange things to your hair
4) The cafe onsite is excellent, an absolutely fabulous location coupled with deliciously refreshing food
The Skaftafell National Park – In particular, The Svartifoss Waterfall
The Svartifoss waterfall is breathtaking. Even the best photographers find difficulty in capturing the essence of the waterfall in photos. The crystal clear water originates from the Svinafellsjokull glacier and free-falls 20 metres to your feet. Most notably the waterfall is framed by tall black basalt columns, hence the name ‘Svartifoss’ which translates to ‘Black Falls.’ Clear hexagonal shapes are formed by cooling lava. This distinctive feat of nature has directly inspired some of the country’s finest architecture including the Reykjavik National Theatre, the Harpa and the Hallgrimskirkja church.
- A tour to and around the National Park to see the Svartifoss waterfall is highly recommended to help you gain local knowledge, guidance and insight into the sites. They also are extremely important for safety. Tour guides can navigate you effortlessly through the dangerous landscapes. Icelandic people tend to keep their landscape uncluttered therefore their areas of outstanding natural beauty have no safety warnings, fences and ropes. This is great news for all your photographers, but best not to venture out alone.
- Don’t be deterred by the short hike to see it! It’s a moderately challenging uphill hike from the carpark (around 1.5 km). There is another waterfall on the way around half a km. After this, it’s about 1km to the top. The steady hike is a great experience in itself, with surrounding vistas of nearby glaciers and mountains.
Reykjavik is full of hidden treasures!
The capital city of Iceland is one of the greenest, cleanest and safest cities in the world. Located on the South West on the southern shore of Faxa Bay and is also a stylish choice for high-end shopping and a centre for cutting edge Nordic design. This Christmas, the city is hosting a wide range of events to celebrate the season, including ice skating in Ingólfstorg Square, a world-class market in the Heiðmörk woods, special concerts at Harpa and a light show at the Botanical Gardens. The luminous snow of the winter months, and the more regular northern light displays are an added bonus and often the main reason for a visit to Iceland.
- Bergsson Mathús or Perlan (see above) in Reykjavik is a must for lunch or dinner
- The Hafnarhúsis is a wonderful gallery in Reykjavik. It is based in an old harbour warehouse and shows some fantastic artwork from local as well international artists. Most notably the gallery has acquired around 2,000 artworks from internationally established Icelandic Pop Artist Erró. Included in the ‘The World Goes Pop’ exhibition at Tate Modern in 2015. His exhibition, ‘More is beautiful’ runs at the gallery until the 1st May 2018.
- If you fancy seeing the more tranquil side of the city be sure to head west to Grótta. This secluded corner of Reykjavik is a peaceful nature reserve rich in birdlife. There is a small hot pool to dip your feet into if you’re brave enough to find the right one!
- Reykjavik can also be used as a springboard for excursions and trips to see the Golden Circle, to Faxaflói Bay for whale-watching, or to the South Coast and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
- There are loads more to choose from, and can all be arranged through the experts at Lekker Boutique Travel and all catered to your distinct needs.
Contact us to discuss your tailor-made trip to Iceland. Góða ferð!
As well-seasoned travellers, we thought we’d share our Top 10 Tips to ensure you get the most out of your travels:
Eat local food. Think you already know what a Chicken Korma tastes like? You’re probably wrong. Make an effort to try all the different types of foods on offer when you travel, and find out about the ingredients from the locals. Our top tip: stick to vendors with big queues outside. For when it comes to eating out, speak to your Travel Consultant at Lekker Boutique Travel and they’ll be able to make the best recommendations.
Slow Down. Don’t attempt to cram 5 different countries into as many weeks. It’s near impossible to get the true feel of a place after just a few days. Taking more time to explore will likely lead you off the beaten track and open you up to meeting new people and trying activities that aren’t necessarily listed in your guidebook. We recommend leaving the planning and organising to us so that you can focus on making great memories.
Keep an Open Mind. Don’t judge the lifestyle of the locals you meet whilst you’re travelling, even if they are completely different to your own. Embrace a change of pace, routine, suggestions and interests. You don’t have to agree with all of them, but you may be surprised how much you learn from the experience.
Take Lots of Photos. You may only visit these places once in your lifetime. It doesn’t matter if you look like a classic “tourist”. Photos are completely free, easy to share with friends and family, and, more importantly, allow you to permanently store all the memories and experiences you build up. Top tips: Don’t forget to also enjoy the views with your own eyes, and don’t forget to back the photos up in case you lose or damage your camera!
Pack Earplugs. They will be a life saver when you have to try and sleep on noisy transport, block out crying babies, barking dogs, honking horns… the list goes on.Smile and Say Hello. If you’re having trouble interacting with the locals, consider whether it could be your body language that’s giving off the wrong signals. Often all it takes is a smile and a friendly ‘hello’ (in the local language, if you can) and the ice is broken.
Wake Up Early. Lots of interesting things happen just after sunrise. Watch the locals go about their morning routines, watch the town or city slowly rouse, and capture the best photos with the soft, morning light. Not to mention, the main attractions will likely be quiet first thing in the morning. We can help you organise your trip around your favourite activities.
Stash Extra Cash. In socks, under the insoles of your shoes and even sewn within a patch of your backpack always make good places. The last thing you want is to lose your wallet and be stranded with no means of getting to the nearest bank.
Get Lost on Purpose. Explore the authentic part of the country you’re visiting by purposely getting lost. It’s usually best to do this on foot. Ensure you write down the name and address of your hotel or resort before you leave, just in case you need to get a taxi back, and start walking in a certain direction. You’ll be amazed at what you find!
Don’t forget your Travel Insurance. It may be the final point, but is arguably the most important one. Nobody expects to fall ill, get robbed or have an accident whilst on holiday or travelling, but it does happen. We can help advise on the best Travel Insurance for your specific trip.
We arrange tailor-made trips personally designed for each customer. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if we can assist with your travel arrangements.
Contact details: email@example.com or +44 (0)20 3290 3321 www.lekkerboutiquetravel.com
With 5,000 miles of white-sand beaches, pristine rain forests, thundering waterfalls, a year round warm climate, vibrant music and dancing, baroque colonial towns and impressive cities, it’s no wonder Brazilians say ‘Deus e Brasileiro’ (God is Brazilian)!
What is Brazil Famous For?
- Brazil’s passionate Carnaval
- The mighty Amazon Jungle
- Rio’s Corcovado Mountain, home to the famous Christ the Redeemer Statue
Cuisine to try
- Feijão preto (black beans served with meat and rice)
- Churrascarias(barbequed meat)
- Tacaca (Amazonian soup with shrimp)
- Caipirinha, Brazil’s famous cocktail
- Views of Rio from Corcovado Mountain (home of Christ the Redeemer statue)
- One of Brazil’s best preserved colonial towns, Paraty
- The power and beauty of the majestic Iguaçu Falls
- Rio’s famous festival, Carnaval, grandly celebrated in Rio, Salbador and Olinda
When to go
Brazil can be visited year round. The north of the country is always warm and humid and rainy season is from Jan to Apr. The coast down to Rio is generally warm and sunny with some rain in the summer months (Nov to Mar). South of Rio there are seasons, and the winter months Jul to Nov can be cool (down to 10C).
Things to see
If you’re visiting Brazil, these are things you shouldn’t miss
- Enjoy the vibrant and picturesque city of Rio
- Visit Salvador to experience its vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture
- Explore the colonial streets of Paraty
- Enjoy the futuristic architecture of Oscar Niemeyer in the capital, Brazilia
- Explore the Pantanal, the world’s largest wetlands and wildlife reserve
- Witness the majestic Iguaçu Falls
- Soak in the sun on a white-sand beach with a Caipirinha in hand
- See fresh water dolphins and fish for piranha’s in the mighty Amazon Jungle
If you’re looking for a bit of action, these are some of our favourite Brazilian activities
- Go horseback riding in the Pantanal
- Kayak through flooded forests in the Amazon
- Learn to surf on the north east coast’s many palm-fringed beaches
- Snorkel in crystal-clear rivers and coastal reefs
- Take a boat ride in the basin of the mighty Iguaçu Falls
- Learn to Samba or try your hand at Capoeira
Contact us to discuss your tailor-made trip to Brazil.
Luxuriously laid-back Noosa
With its sun-drenched beaches, lush green hinterland, enviable national parks, pristine river and Everglades system and a cosmopolitan lifestyle, Noosa offers the perfect combination for a luxurious and laid-back escape.
Stay on Makepeace Island, a sanctuary of seclusion on the Noosa River. This magnificent little castaway island is the Australian home of Sir Richard Branson and offers a unique fusion of luxury and nature creating an idyllic place to escape and unwind, and is also a refuge for koalas!
Satisfy your taste buds with an exclusive and personalised foodie experience! From Noosa’s coffee trail, award winning restaurants, sea-to-plate fishing experience or meeting local food producers in Noosa’s beautiful hinterland – the possibilities are endless.
Explore the pristine waters of the Noosa Everglades system
One of only two in the world! Home to 44% of Australia’s bird species, these wetlands are a wilderness area with intrinsic value. Join an expertly guided tour with a world champion kayaker.
Hit the beach – but not as you know it!
Noosa offers incredible horse-riding experiences on remote beaches, led by ex-Olympian Alex Watson and his wife.
Alternatively, you can “ride” along the majestic coloured sands in a privately chartered 4WD. Look out for dolphins, whales, turtles, stingrays, birds of prey and monitor lizards as you cruise along the Great Beach Drive to Rainbow Beach. These amazing beach drives are your gateway to world famous Fraser Island.
From private islands to bistros, bars and boutiques, untouched forests and waterways to beautiful beaches; Noosa really does earn its name as the ‘Relaxation Capital of Australia’.
If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch.