TOP 10 TRIPS OF A LIFETIME
Your complete guide to the must-have travel experiences across the globe.
For those of us suffering from an incurable case of wanderlust, the question is always 'where am I going to vacation to next?' If you don't have your travel bucket list already mapped out, luxury travel consortium Virtuoso is here to help. According to Virtuoso's 2015 Travel Dreams Survey, which polls luxury travel agents across the globe, these 10 getaways are the trips that everyone should embark upon in their lifetime.
European River & Canal Cruises
Virtuoso Trend: "The extreme popularity of river cruising continues unabated. What's new? A focus on families. River cruise lines are offering dedicated sailings, shore experiences, onboard programs, and even ships configured to target family groups."
Trip To Try: Skip the traditional Parisian vacation for a river cruise through France's most beautiful canals and countrysides aboard Belmond Afloat in France line. The cruise takes you along the less-touristy paths, showcasing the hidden travel treasures throughout France.
Virtuoso Tip from Janet Lavern, travel advisor, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: "World cruisers are often seasoned travelers who have already been to some of the ports of call and done the typical excursions. A Virtuoso travel advisor can arrange for a local guide to dig deeper beyond the tourist sights to discover something completely new."
Trip to Try: Cruises often have a negative, less-chic stereotype, but there are plenty of luxe lines offering unique, incredible travel experiences. Try Regent Seven Seas Cruises all-inclusive suites experience, offering up picturesque views from aboard incredible rooms or their personalized cruise experience to tailor your trip precisely. For the travel daredevil, Regent also offers a World Cruise which takes you to 31 different countries for a 128-night trip.
Virtuoso Statistic: "A major travel trend unveiled at 2015's Virtuoso Travel Week was the rise of multigenerational trips—getaways the entire family from the grandparents to the children can enjoy."
Trip to Try: Fleming Villa at GoldenEye is the private villa where Ian Fleming penned all 14 James Bond novels. Perfect for large families, the five bedroom villa offers up a private pool, private beach, private staff along with plenty of activities for all ages.
Exploring the Greek Isles
Virtuoso Statistic: "Travel to Greece is back on the rise, even placing it on Virtuoso's list of top 10 summer destinations as well as the Hot List of fastest-growing destinations. Overall, travel to Greece is up 41 percent, with 58 percent of Virtuoso's bookings occurring from June through August as travelers head to their favorite isles: Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, and Rhodes."
Trip to Try: The fashion set loves to vacation along the coast of Greek's most popular islands from Santorini to Mykonos. Try Villa Katikies, a luxury hotel in Santorini favored by some of fashion's top bloggers and jet setters.
Virtuoso Statistic: "Australia is the fastest-growing destination for luxury travelers, according to Virtuoso sales data."
Trip to Try: Submerse yourself in the center of the land Down Under, with a stellar view of the iconic Opera House by staying at the Park Hyatt Sydney.
Italy's Amalfi Coast
Virtuoso Tip from Vicky DiMichele, travel advisor, Willoughby, Ohio: "Springtime along the Amalfi Coast, specifically on Capri, is my favorite time to visit. There are some amazing restaurants, such as Ristorante Michel'angelo, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the shopping district. At Da Paolino Lemon Trees Restaurant, guests dine at tables in the middle of an actual lemon grove!"
Trip to Try: Hop along all the major stops of the Amalfi Coast, from Positano to Capri with a private tour with the Artisans of Leisure.
Ireland's Castles and Countryside
Virtuoso Tip from Kimberly Georgi, travel advisor, Memphis, Tennessee: "Whether you play golf or not, a trip to Old Head Golf Course is a must. Set on a peninsula with breathtaking views atop steep cliffs of the blue Irish Sea on three sides, Ireland never looked so enchanting. Stop for a pint at the outdoor bar and catch a panoramic view of green fairways that drop sharply into the ocean where your caddy might be heard saying, 'You won't be playing that ball, Laddie.'"
A Month in Provence
Virtuoso Tip: "Rent a villa for a live-like-a-local experience. Virtuoso has access to more than 160 villas in this French region. Villa concierges can manage everything from pre-stocking the kitchen to organizing live music shows."
Trip to Try: Step into the shoes of a Provence local. Peruse Virtuoso's incredible villas to rent in this region of France here.
Galápagos Islands Expedition
Virtuoso Statistic: "Ecuador is the fastest growing destination–as well as the most popular– in South America, according to Virtuoso sales figures for summer 2015."
Trip to Try: Along with an incredible resort, Pikaia Lodge also offers customizable explorations of the Galapagos Islands ranging from 3-7 nights on land and sea.
Tahitian Overwater Bungalow
Virtuoso Tip from Laura Crafton, travel advisor, New York, New York: "My favorite activity in Bora Bora is a boat trip to swim with the rays and reef sharks. I make sure my clients book a beach barbecue afterward. After a morning of adventure, there is nothing better than eating fresh coconut and feasting on delicious Tahitian cuisine while relaxing on a private motu."
Trip to Try: Upgrade your bungalow experience by staying at the St. Regis Bora Bora. The property offers incredible overwater villas and bungalows that feature infinity pools, fine dining, and a spa experience.
Written By Lauren Alexis Fisher