Nothing quite beats topping off a culture-rich trip than topping up your tan with a relaxing few days of sun, sand and sea and we've got a select collection of holidays where you can do just that. Whether it's combining the sights and delights of India’s Golden Triangle with the sandy shores of Goa, the ancient treasures of Egypt with the warm waters of the Red Sea, or a thrilling wildlife safari in Tanzania with the island bliss of Zanzibar, our trips that combine the best of both beach and cultural touring are hard to look past. And for real water babies, we also offer a selection of week-long sailing and cruising holidays in Croatia and Turkey.
There's plenty of destinations that offer fascinating culture with stunning beaches that makes ideal two-part holidays - spend the first half touring around your chosen destination and experiencing what makes that country so unique before hitting the shores for a much-needed break. To the list below you could also add Burma for the temples of Bagan and the beaches of Ngapali, or Cambodia for the temples of Angkor and resort of Sihanoukville, or even Vietnam for its epic history and divine cuisine with miles of coastline to choose from.
A melting pot of religion, ancient traditions and rich cuisine, India has plenty of cultural sites to keep you entertained and also claims one of the world's New 7 Wonders - the iconic Taj Mahal. It also claims miles of coastline with the tropical beaches of Goa and Kerala star attractions on the list of beach options.
Golden Triangle and Goa
The ultimate beach destination for many travellers with famous islands such as Phi Phi and Koh Samui, Thailand is certainly not short on fun to be had in the sun. But there's plenty more to the 'Land of Smiles' from the gleaming palaces of Bangkok to the ancient temples of Ayuthaya and the cooking schools of Chiang Mai.
Best of Thailand
Fronting the Adriatic Sea where thousands of stunning islands dot the azure waters, Croatia is one of the most popular sailing destinations in the world. With a thoroughly Mediterranean vibe, rich history and captivating cities, it's the ideal place to explore from the comfort of a sailboat stopping for swim breaks and harbour town visits.
Home to the original World Wonder, the Great Pyramids of Giza, and a host of ancient cities, tombs and temples from the era of the pharaohs, Egypt brings out the archaeologist in all of us. Claiming a portion of the Red Sea, it also offers ample beach opportunities with the resort of Hurghada where you can snorkel, kite surf and more.
With the Cultural Triangle at its heart and 1,340 km of coastline along the island's edges, Sri Lanka is another prime beach and culture combo. Discover the incredible rock fortress of Sigiriya and the revered Temple of the Tooth in Kandy before checking out a varied choice of beaches from popular Bentota to the low-key Uppuveli and Nilaveli.
Buddha and Beach
Another country that claims a New 7 World Wonder is Mexico with the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza but that's not the only cultural wonder this Central American gem holds - think pretty colonial cities, delicious food and lively festivals. It wouldn't have made it on this list without super beaches either - choose from headliners Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
Best of the Yucatan
The exoticism of Marrakech's souks and the tanneries of Fes have long captured the imagination of travellers and it shows little sign of abating. There's your dose of culture and as for beaches, Morocco's are perfectly suited to those that enjoy water-based adventure with excellent surfing at Taghazoute and kite surfing at Essaouira just some of the options.
Casablanca to Essaouira
Where East meets West with influences of Europe and Asia, Turkey is an alluring destination that promises grand mosques, Roman ruins, World War history and natural marvels to boot from Istanbul to Cappadocia. Add to this endless beach options along the coast and the hundreds of islands in the Aegean Sea and you have a prime contender for culture and beach.
Istanbul to the Med
For serious outdoor enthusiasts, a beach break is the perfect end to a holiday that includes ample adventure in the great outdoors and wildlife galore. Whether it's an African safari followed by a few days R&R on golden sands or exploring the wilds of Central America before hitting the beach, here's some inspiration on how you can best combine wildlife and beach.
Home to the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania has long been a safari favourite with the Great Wildebeest Migration one of its standout spectacles of nature. Off the coast lies the idyllic island of Zanzibar where you can unwind on fine powdery sands and swim in crystal clear waters.
East Africa Encompassed
There's no end to outdoor adventure in Costa Rica with ancient cloudforests, active volcanoes and dense jungle to explore. It's a biodiversity hotspot with plenty of species unique to the region but that's not all - fronting both the Caribbean and Pacific oceans, there's a beach to suit every taste and budget.
Classic Costa Rica
A popular safari destination for families thanks to the malaria-free region of the Eastern Cape, South Africa is home to the Big 5 and then some. Here you can visit famed game reserves before following the coastal Garden Route to stop off at secluded bays, rocky coves and sandy beaches for watersports and nature hikes.
Wonders of the Garden Route
One of the world's biggest islands is a treasure trove of wildness with a jungle-clad interior home to indigenous tribes and endemic species such as the always-adorable orang-utan. As an island Borneo boasts miles and miles of coastline with stunning beaches and uninhabited islands to discover.
If this has you reaching for your passport and suitcase, get in touch! Our reservations team would be happy to discuss the destinations mentioned here and any itineraries you may have in mind so feel free to contact us to start planning that dream beach holiday with a difference.
On The Go's Signature group tours place local interaction and authenticity at the heart of your cultural travel experience. Upping the comfort stakes, this range is a clear cut above our Budget range.
Appealing to a wide age demographic from the 20s to 60+, we maximize your days with excitement and awe and then bring you home to a comfortable 4* hotel with western amenities, air-conditioning, WiFi and, where appropriate, a swimming pool. Hotels can sometimes be of 3 or 5 star standard too, ensuring you get the best value for your holiday.
Visiting all the main attractions you’ll be accompanied throughout by our highly qualified English-speaking local guides too. Group size is typically 18 with a maximum for 28, apart from festival tours, where group sizes can be larger due to the one-off nature of these events.
On our Handpicked range we bring you the most iconic experiences in destinations where you’ll join travellers from other travel brands on your tour, safari or sailing holiday. Collaborating with our carefully handpicked portfolio of local partners, these holidays represent exceptional value and there’ll be plenty of cultural experiences shared with other like-minded travellers.
Group sizes and accommodation standards vary by destination where typical group size is 28 travellers and hotels, boats and safari lodges are of a 3-4 star standard.
On our Independent range you won’t be joining other travellers, but will be on your own private itinerary. Accommodation, pace of travel and the style of trip is tailored to your individual needs. From pre-priced packages available off the shelf to fully curated tailor-made holidays, this range also includes our selection of one-night stopovers, day-tours and short breaks.
Our Independent range gives you all the great service aspects of our Signature range with the flexibility to create a truly unique and bespoke holiday or adventure to a variety of destinations around the world.