This week’s photo showcase highlights seven of the best destinations around the world where travellers can combine a culture-rich trip with a relaxing few days of sun, sand and sea. Whether its combining the temples and fortresses of Sri Lanka with the sandy shores of Kalutara, the ancient Mayan ruins of Central America with the mangrove islands of Belize, or the archaeological treasures of Jordan with the warm waters of the Red Sea, these destinations are the perfect combo of culture and beach.
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1. Culture in Sri Lanka
Over 2,000 years of history and culture have inundated this small island nation with a wealth of sacred sites, ancient cities, and lush tea plantations, resulting in UNESCO recognition of an astounding eight World Heritage Sites. Explore the ancient ruins of the impressive rock fortress of Sigiriya, the medieval city of Polonnaruwa, and the legendary rock cave temples of Dambulla before heading to the coast for some sun, sand and sea...
2. Beach in Sri Lanka
After a week exploring Sri Lanka’s wealth of cultural sites, it’s time to kick back and relax on the beautiful palm fringed beach in Kalutara on the south west coast. This huge white sandy expanse of a beach is north of town and remains relatively unspoilt. There is myriad of water sports available so why not try your hand at snorkelling, waterskiing, windsurfing or jet skiing? Or head off in search of the giants of the sea on a whale watching tour.
3. Culture in Central America
From the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Tikal to the enchanting colonial cities of Antigua and Granada, Central America is a thrilling destination with a fascinating history and long cultural heritage. Kicking off in Cancun in Mexico, learn about ancient civilisations, explore ancient ruins, discover archaeological treasures and ramble through charming cities before heading to the beautiful beaches of Caye Caulker island...
4. Beach in Central America
A short water taxi from Belize City takes you to the mangrove island of Cayes. Renowned for having a laid back and relaxed pace of life, this island are the idyllic spot to kick off your shoes and enjoy some rest and relaxation. Spend the days wandering the sand filled streets, biking around the island, snorkelling in the azure waters, or trying your hand at fishing, and while away the evenings indulging in seafood, cocktails and relaxing reggae music.
5. Culture in India
Dubbed the Golden Triangle for the extraordinary amount of culture and history the region possesses, the fascinating cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur are a must see for any visit to India. Witness the chaos and colour of Delhi, marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the Taj Mahal and journey up to the majestic Amber Fort on elephant back in Jaipur. After you’ve had your fill of culture it’s time to head to the white sand beaches of Goa...
6. Beach in India
Thanks to its picturesque location on the Mandovi River, between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, Goa is one of India’s prime destinations. A fun way to explore Goa is by renting a bike or scooter, though you may find it difficult to drag yourself away from the sandy shores of the Indian Ocean. A fun hands-on cooking course is a great way to see local markets and restaurants while still enjoying time on the beach.
7. Culture in Morocco
A truly fascinating and unique destination, Morocco is home to an exotic mix of imperial cities, bustling souks, spicy aromas and a kaleidoscope of culture. Soak up the eclectic atmosphere of Marrakech, camel trek into the vast wilderness of the Sahara, bed down in a Berber camp, and explore ancient kasbahs of the Atlas Mountains. Following a week of culture and history make your way to the Atlantic Coast to Morocco’s hippest coastal town...
8. Beach in Morocco
The windswept fishing port, broad beaches and ancient walled medina of Essaouira have long been a favourite refuge for artists, sculptors, food lovers, and surfers. Opt for a swim in the Atlantic, a game of football on the beach with the locals, or an afternoon at the hammam. By nightfall sit back and relax at any one of the many al fresco cafes, pubs or bars serving cold beer and the freshest seafood.
9. Culture in Turkey
With a history stretching back to ancient times, Turkey boasts a wealth of cultural sites and is a fascinating land to explore. Following the famed Aegean coastline, uncover the cultural delights of Istanbul, step back in time at the legendary Roman ruins of Troy and Pergamum, explore the excavated ruins of ancient Ephesus, and marvel at the surreal landscapes of the hot springs of Pamukkale before heading to the spectacular Mediterranean coast...
10. Beach in Turkey
Leave the shores of Turkey behind and set sail along the Mediterranean coast, dropping anchor at small islands, inlets and bays for a week of sunbathing, swimming and relaxation. Stop off at Oludeniz Bay, one of the most photographed beaches in the Mediterranean and home to a gorgeous blue lagoon; the popular coastl town of Fethiye; and Mantasir Bay, the home to Sunken Bath Bay and an underwater ancient bath.
11. Culture in East Africa
Go wild on an adventure through the best of East Africa’s game reserves, from Kenya Masai Mara to the vast plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania. In Kenya visit a traditional Masai hamlet where you can witness the traditional way of life they still lead, offering intriguing insight into Eastern Africa’s long history and heritage. Next stop, the sunny isle of Zanzibar.
12. Beach in East Africa
With pristine white sand beaches and the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar is a little slice of paradise, with many stunning beach resorts. It also offers some of the best diving in the world, with lush coral reefs, dolphins, whale shark and manta-rays. If you can drag yourself away from its gorgeous beaches, a visit to historic Stone Town and the spice plantations are an absolute must.
13. Culture in Jordan
Sitting at the crossroads of ancient civilisations between Arabia and the Mediterranean Sea, the Kingdom of Jordan possesses an intriguing history and culture. Venture back in time and explore the ancient ruins of Jerash, discover the treasures of the lost city of Petra, and camp under the stars in the vast red landscape of Wadi Rum. Then continue your journey through Jordan to the idyllic beaches of the Red Sea...
14. Beach in Jordan
Indulge in a few days of rest and relaxation by the Red Sea on the Gulf of Aqaba. Renowned for its pristine sandy beaches, clear waters and colourful reefs studded with marine life, Aqaba is just the ticket for sun, fun, diving, snorkelling and swimming. It’s also a great place for water sports such as waterskiing, parasailing, jet-skiing and fishing and ideal for a spot of relaxation. Explore, swim, snorkel, dive or simply relax, the choice is yours.