So, it’s the New Year and you’re full of new resolutions. Resolutions that you’re definitely going to stick to this year. You’re going to be kinder, eat better, go to the gym more, and stay motivated. But most of all, you’re going to take this opportunity to really think about what you want out of the coming year. Now you just need to find the perfect destination to relax, unwind and give yourself time to think. We’ve all been there, so we’ve brought you the lowdown on the best places to enjoy some serious ‘me’ time with our unmissable guide to ‘New Year, new you: the best destinations to find yourself‘!
Ah, the Canary Islands. There’s a reason they always top everyone’s list of favourite places to escape for some winter sun. Well, lots of reasons, actually: gorgeous landscapes, remote villages, lively towns and resorts, stunning national parks, every imaginable outdoor activity. Whether you want to stroll along the endless beaches of Fuerteventura, tramp through the glorious lunar landscape of the Caldera de Taburiente National Park in La Palma, or glory in the amazing panorama afforded from the top of Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain, in Tenerife, these islands provide the spectacular scenery and that essential peace to concentrate the mind.
If you’re looking for somewhere to go ‘ommm’, then the Balearics hit the spot. Ibiza may be the Mediterranean’s most infamous party island, but that’s just half the story. The other half is all yoga retreats, traditional villages, gorgeous coastline, and the enchanting capital of Ibiza Town which oozes a relaxed, boho-chic island vibe. Perfect for relaxation and contemplation. Majorca, the largest of the Balearics, has mountains, beaches, coves and some superb hiking routes – exactly what you need to give yourself some quality ‘me’ time. If that all sounds too energetic, you could chill out in the stylish cafés and boutiques in Palma, one of the loveliest cities in all Spain. To really get away from it all, head to Menorca, the quietest and most tranquil of the main Balearic Islands. With its craggy coastline, superb cliff walks and unspoilt coves, it’s an idyllic spot to recharge your batteries. Plus, there’s the lively capital of Mahón or exquisite Ciutadella if you want to do some shopping and sightseeing too.
Few places compare the Greek Islands when it comes to seeking out that blissed-out island feeling. There’s something about those magnificent ancient ruins, timeless olive groves and dreamy villages that make our day-to-day worries seem insignificant. They are utterly different in winter than in summer (not least in terms of temperature) but the extraordinary Greek light, warm local welcome, and unique island serenity is very conducive to some high quality ‘me’ time. You can usually count on the warmest weather in Crete, one of the largest and most southerly of the islands. The phenomenal, untouched meadows and mountains in the interior are blissful for long tramps, and you can unwind in the enchanting harbour town of Chania. Naxos is also a fantastic option: tranquil all year round, it has some blissful beaches on the southeast coast, scores of fantastic hiking routes, and a wealth of charming villages to explore. And the island capital of Chora (also known as Naxos Town) is a miniature delight, with plenty to see and do whenever you choose to visit.
If you are dreaming of some winter sun, then the Caribbean won’t disappoint. Its heavenly white sand beaches are the stuff of dreams – who can’t unwind on a hammock under a palm tree? You can mix the bright lights of Cancun with the magnificent and evocative Mayan temples on the Riviera Maya, or head to sleepy Tulum to soak up the gorgeous sunshine in peace. Barbados offers more spectacular beaches of blazing white sand, including some (particularly in the far north) which are overlooked by tourists, giving you all the peace and seclusion you need. And, the lively resorts and handsome capital of Bridgetown offer plenty of options for eating, drinking and sightseeing.
Head to the ‘land of smiles’, as Thailand is often called, and you’ll be halfway to finding that new you. The sultry heat, the exotic culture, the friendly locals (among the happiest in the world), the beaches and the stunning landscapes, so different from those at home, all combine to create the perfect environment for really getting in touch with yourself. Whether you choose to bask in the sunshine on a remote beach on one of the islands, or trek through the mountains near Chiang Mai, or soak up the sounds and colours of vibrant Bangkok, a holiday in Thailand will help you take that first important step to finding the new you.