40th Birthday Travel Ideas

Our Guide on the Best Places to Celebrate Turning 40

Where will you choose to celebrate?

Turning 40 certainly calls for a celebration. And what could be a better way to mark the start of a new decade than with an amazing holiday? To help you decide where to go, we’ve selected the best active adventures, safari holidays, city breaks and more, so you’ll be sure to find the perfect destination no matter what your interests, timeframe or budget.

Active Adventures

If you’re the type that prefers to spend your holidays exploring on two wheels or taking on a challenging trek, then these active adventures will be a great way to kickstart your 40th year.

Snow on top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Amboseli
Africa’s Biggest Challenge

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Rising majestically from the Tanzanian savannah, the world’s tallest freestanding mountain provides a truly unforgettable way to celebrate turning 40. The invigorating climb takes you through diverse scenery to Mount Kilimajaro's iconic summit, where you’ll not only enjoy breath-taking views but an incredible sense of achievement. Then back down on the ground, you could spend your recovery either with a spectacular safari on the Serengeti or sunbathing on the pristine beaches of Zanzibar.

The Monastery at Petra, Jordan
Off the Beaten Track

Trek the Jordan Trail

Starting in Dana Nature Reserve, follow the most famous section of the ‘Jordan Trail’ through spectacular desert scenery, deep gorges and high ridges to the UNESCO-listed city of Petra. Along the way, camp Bedouin style and experience traditional Jordanian hospitality, as well as stunning star-lit skies. The trek is suitable for fit and active individuals, such as weekend walkers, with Petra making a worthy finishing point. Carved from the dusky-red rock face, this ancient city is not only one of the world’s most incredible archaeological sites, but one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Coastal town of Rovinj, Istria, Croatia
Picturesque scenery

Cycle through Croatia

To the north of Croatia’s stunning coastline, you’ll find the scenic Istria Peninsula. Offering picture-perfect cycling, the peninsula features olive groves and undulating vineyards inland, and pretty towns and fresh seafood by the coast. Pedal along quiet country roads and discontinued railway tracks at a leisurely pace, stopping along the way at wine cellars and local eateries - or even for a refreshing dip in the Adriatic. End your birthday adventure in Pula, discovering the city’s roman ruins and fantastic outdoor festivals.

Bucket List Destinations

Everyone has a bucket list of destinations they’d love to see and experience. And turning 40 is the perfect excuse to tick one of yours off. To give you a little more inspiration, here’s our pick of bucket list destinations guaranteed to make your birthday memorable.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall

Few sights are more impressive than the longest wall in the world. Stretching for over 21,000 kilometres, the Great Wall of China traverses steep mountains and stunning natural scenery, making it an incredible feat of ancient defensive architecture. Take the relatively easy walk along the Badaling section close to Beijing, then enjoy some sightseeing in the capital discovering its palaces, temples and culinary delights.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay

This breath-taking natural wonder is Vietnam’s top tourist destination for a reason. Hundreds of towering limestone pillars and jungle-clad islets are dotted over sparkling emerald waters, with grottoes, caves and hidden coves all awaiting discovery. Spend your birthday on a traditional junkboat enjoying a relaxing cruise around the surreal landscape of Halong Bay, then enjoy a spectacular sunset over the peaks.

Northern Lights in Iceland

Northern Lights

Seeing the Northern Lights is one of the world’s most incredible travel experiences. And one you can ensure will make your 40th birthday one to remember. Iceland is one of the best locations for seeing the Aurora Borealis, meaning you could also spend your holiday exploring the magnificent waterfalls of the Golden Circle, whale watching off the coast or simply unwinding in the thermal waters of the famous Blue Lagoon.

Machu Picchu in Peru

Machu Picchu

Much like the pyramids or the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu is an iconic site that everyone must visit at least once in their lifetime. Offering a spectacular setting amongst mist-shrouded mountains, this Inca Citadel was deservedly awarded UNESCO World Heritage status and is quite possibly the most famous archaeological site in all of South America. Reach it by the Inca Trail or Lares Trek, or take the easier train journey, no doubt it’ll be worth it.

Safari Holidays

Whether you’re a nature lover or not, nothing beats the thrill of encountering some of the world’s most famous animals in the wild. So to celebrate your 40th birthday, why not consider a safari holiday? In between game drives you could be enjoying a dip in the pool and spectacular views from your luxury lodge.

Lion and safari truck in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Natural Wonders

Zimbabwe

A classic safari destination, Zimbabwe is home to the beautiful Hwange National Park. Home to one of the largest elephant populations in Africa, the park is also roamed by lions, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and more iconic wildlife. Then just one hour south you’ll find the mighty Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and one of Africa’s most popular attractions. Treat yourself to a birthday helicopter ride for the most unique and breathtaking views of the falls.

Elephants in Addo Elephant National park
Great for Families

South Africa

South Africa is a long-time safari favourite, particularly if you’re travelling with younger members of the family. Along the Eastern Cape, you’ll find malaria-free reserves such as Kariega Game Reserve or Addo Elephant National Park, meaning you can have fun spotting the Big Five without the worry of taking your pills. Following your safari, you could also spend some time driving the famous Garden Route, soaking up the stunning mountain views and stopping off at the many gorgeous beaches along the way.

Cheetah in the Masai Mara, Kenya
Wildlife and Beach

Kenya

Home to the world-renowned Masai Mara, Kenya boasts epic sightings of the Big Five, as well as the annual Great Migration of the wildebeest between August and October each year. And the highlights don’t stop there. A safari holiday to Kenya also offers the chance to learn all about the local Maasai culture. Then, once you've finished your safari, you can always spend some time relaxing on the white sands of Mombasa, Diani and more of the coastline’s tropical beaches.

Lemur in Madagascar
Unique Experience

Madagascar

A safari destination like no other, Madagascar offers a vast array of diversity, with much of its flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. Its signature animal is, of course, the lemur, and you can find up to 13 different species of these wonderful primates in the stunning Andasibe National Park. Alongside wildlife spotting, Madagascar offers a wealth of activities including diving, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing. Those looking for a little relaxation also have plenty of beautiful beaches, natural pools and hammocks to unwind on.

Cultural City Breaks

If the thought of an active adventure or safari holiday doesn’t fill you with excitement, why not consider a cultural city break to celebrate your 40th? Here’s a selection of our favourites to help inspire your birthday festivities.

Cityscape image of Madrid, Spain during sunset
Top Sightseeing

Madrid

Packed with historical and cultural attractions, Madrid has enough to keep you entertained for several weeks, let alone a weekend city break. World-class museums and galleries include the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the Museo del Prado, and you could pass many an hour people watching in the vibrant Plaza Mayor. Stroll about the fantastic Buen Retiro Park or marvel at the 18th century Royal Palace. Madrid boasts more bars than any other city on Earth, so end your birthday feasting on delicious tapas and enjoying the nightlife.

Marrakech by night, Morocco
Taste of the exotic

Marrakech

One of the world’s most evocative cities, Marrakech is truly a feast for the senses. Its undisputed highlight being Djeema el Fna, which comes alive after dark with food stalls, musicians, street performers and more. The bustling souks surrounding this central square sell everything from exotic spices to colourful leather, so you can be sure to bag yourself a bargain. Then, further afield, you could trek in the scenic High Atlas Mountains or spend your birthday evening camping under the stars of the Sahara Desert.

Ginkaku-ji Silver Pavilion during the autumn season in Kyoto
Traditional Culture

Kyoto

Showcasing the heart and soul of traditional Japan, Kyoto is home to a whopping 27 UNESCO-listed sites and some 2,000 temples and shrines. Discover the famous Gion District, where Geisha can be seen on the way to their engagements and traditional machiya houses line the pretty streets. Attend a tea ceremony, explore the city’s world-class gardens and dine on delicious local cuisine. Then top off your birthday city break by staying in a ryokan and experience authentic Japanese hospitality.

City Palace under sunset, Udaipur, India
Old world charms

Udaipur

Set beside the shimmering Lake Pichola, Udaipur is one of India’s most alluring cities. Best known for its splendid Rajput-era palaces, the city boasts the largest palace complex in Rajasthan - the City Palace - and the incredible Lake Palace, which appears to float on the surface of the water. Visitors can discover the bustle and colour of the ancient bazaars or enjoy a tranquil boat ride on the lake. The surrounding Aravalli hills are also well worth exploring either by car, motorbike or on a horseback safari.

Join a group or do it your own way?

Our group tours visit an exciting range of destinations all over the world, perfect for if you’re travelling on a budget or planning a solo adventure. Alternatively, we also arrange private tailor-made holidays, so you can create a customized birthday trip to enjoy with your friends and family.

GET IN TOUCH TO START PLANNING YOUR 40TH →

If you’d like to discuss any of the destinations mentioned here or any other itineraries you have in mind, then get in touch! Our reservations team will be more than happy to help plan the perfect holiday to celebrate your 40th birthday.