Do you already know what to ask for Christmas this year? Why not make it a long-distance trip for a change? Here are some useful tips just in case good old Santa still has no idea what to get you…
There’s nothing lovelier than an unforgettable holiday packed with beautiful experiences. Because at the end of the day, memories are the only thing nobody can ever take away from us. To make Christmas time something really special for you and your loved ones this year, therefore, we’ve picked out a few destinations guaranteed to produce those moments, memories and much more besides.
Note to Santa: we should always try to make our dream journeys real – especially the ones that seem particularly unlikely! flymeto lets you buy vouchers, either directly or together with friends, to finance a larger gift.
Like the idea of being chauffeured to the beach in a sky-blue Cadillac, slurping on the world’s best Mojito once there, hitting the dancefloor to the sounds of merengue or salsa, then going for a swim in crystal-clear, warm water? Oh yes, and before we forget – at some point, smoking an original Cohiba cigar while lying in your hammock!? Sounds pretty enticing to us. And all the more so because the months from November to April are the best time to visit Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean. The capital Havana is an attraction in its own right – a kind of vast, open-air museum. Despite restoration efforts, the countless magnificent old buildings in the old city district of this city of two million people have been left to go derelict. In amongst the backstreets of the area, you have the equally run-down but brightly-coloured vintage American cars from the fifties. One thing you have to have experienced, though, is sunset at Havana’s famous waterside promenade, El Manecon. Although the area is a buzzy attraction at any time of day, it only really comes to life in the evening hours, as locals and tourists alike smoke cigars, dance, make music and enjoy a drink. The latter involves Cuba’s world-famous rum, of course – in the form of a ‘Cuba libre’, for example. You’ll find dreamy Caribbean beaches par excellence on Cayo Guillermo – a small island just off Cuba’s northern coast, and serious insider tip – and Varadero, the island’s package tourism hotspot. At both spots, the sea is an intoxicating blue, the palm trees simply everywhere and the beaches white and apparently endless. One or two other must-dos while in Cuba: go for a hike in between karst cliffs and tobacco plantations in Viñales, and visit the city of Trinidad, down on the south coast, where the old city, like Havana’s, is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
Welcome to Miami
Visit the ‘Magic City’ on the South coast of Florida, and it won’t take you long to notice just how proud the city is of its glamorous image. And it has a right to be: few other cities combine shopping, nightlife, beach life, good food, art and architecture in quite the same way as Miami. If you’re staying near Miami Beach, you should definitely treat yourself to an extended walk first thing in the morning – the beach is still empty at that time of the morning, and you’ll be able to snap up those sunloungers, which are like gold dust! You’ll find pastel coloured façades as far as the eye can see on Ocean Drive, the legendary promenade where the elegant art deco buildings are home to numerous hotels, restaurants and clubs serving local delicacies. Take a free guided walk through the area, and you can check out the architecture and history of the place at your own speed. The Cuban community has put down its permanent roots in Miami’s Little Havana district. Here, you can watch men playing dominoes, listen to the sounds of jazz or learn how a classic Cuban cigar should be rolled properly in one of the countless cigar shops. Miami’s artists’ quarter, Wynwood, is particularly worth a look. The area – where drug bosses were still calling the tune just twenty years ago – is now home to what is possibly the world’s largest open-air museum of street art. Murals decorate the windowless façades of the disused factories here, and artists from around the world have created unique, outsized graffiti and works of street art – open for anyone to view, for free, 24 hours a day. Wynwood is also home to over 70 galleries, five museums, studios, restaurants and the Wynwood Brewing Company. An absolute must, therefore, and not just for art lovers!
New York, New York!
New York is like no other city on Earth! The Big Apple is a place of longing that every one of us should have visited at least once in our lives. The area where the World Trade Center stood until 2001 is now the One World Observatory. The newly-constructed Freedom Tower – the highest skyscraper in the USA at a dizzying 380 metres straight up – offers a unique 360-degree view of the East Coast metropolis – best visited in the evening, when the Big Apple is bathed in countless millions of different lights. Under no circumstances should you miss attractions such as Broadway, with the Theatre District on Times Square, the best place to get hold of tickets in advance for one of the much-loved musicals. A stroll through Central Park, the green lungs of the city, is also a must-do while in the city, as is a walk across one of the oldest suspension bridges in the USA, the Brooklyn Bridge, from the Brooklyn district across to Manhattan. Do Chinatown, a walk along the High Line, a former goods train line in the west of the city now transformed into a great mid-air park, and a visit to New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) or one of the countless other temples to the arts are just some of the other must-dos in this city of all cities. Then, of course, you can test the seemingly endless range of clubs and restaurants, visit a typical New York deli, or take a boat trip out to the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island. The ultimate New York experience, though, has to be taking a helicopter flight over the world city’s countless skyscrapers on the Hudson River – that’s one you’ll really never forget!
Culture shock with cherry blossom
Tokyo, home to just short of ten million people and Japan’s biggest city, is full of records and contrasts. At the world-famous Shibuya crossing, for example, anything up to 15,000 (!!!) people cross the road every time the lights change. Neon signs the size of a house, skyscrapers as far as the eye can see, trucks rolling past bombarding you with the girlie hits of tomorrow – and people, people, people everywhere! At the same time, though, exploring the soul of the Japanese is a nigh-on impossible task – the people here are so different, opaque and diverse. At the same time, that’s also what makes Tokyo quite so exciting and attractive to visitors. Thousands of years of culture appearing and reappearing in amongst cherry blossom and skyscrapers, and at religious and royal monuments such as the Imperial Palace and the Asakusa Shrine. Ueno Park, in the north of the city, is an amazing network of green space, lakes and museums, as well as being home to Japan’s oldest zoo. The artists’ quarter of Asakusa is where you’ll find the holiest Buddhist temple in Tokyo, the Sensō-ji, which is definitely worth a visit. And you should be absolutely sure not to miss the daily tuna auction at Tsukiji fish market – the largest space of its kind in the world. Then, of course, there’s Tokyo Sky Tree Tower, which at 634 metres is the highest television town on Earth, and offers amazing all-round views of the mega-city. Just breathtaking!
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Maybe you can help Santa with his work right away and work out your perfect trip: