Exploring the “lost city” of Petra, a walking safari in Zambia, a cruise to Antarctica: This isn’t your average trip. Take your family vacation to the next level with 25 destinations worthy of your bucket-list.
If there were ever a place that could get by on its looks, it would be this Greek isle. Whitewashed cave houses framed by bougainvillea and backed by blue-domed churches spill down the rim of an ancient volcanic crater; at sunset, the Sea of Crete is bathed in a rosy glow. Santorini’s appeal also lies in its wealth of diversions: extraordinary wines, black- sand beaches, and archaeological sites like the Akrotíri settlement, often referred to as the “Minoan Pompeii.” Make your base Perivolas, in the village of Oia. Set within the alcoves of 300-year-old caves, the hotel’s 20 rooms have vaulted ceilings and cliff-side terraces. For a romantic dinner, the open-air balcony at Assyrtico Wine Restaurant, in a renovated 1960s mansion in Firá, overlooks the volcanic islands of Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni. Order the flaky pastry-wrapped saganaki (traditional fried cheese) with fig jam and wine from the local Argyros estate, then make your way back to Oia for a stroll along its nine-mile walkway.
Over the past decade, the Red City has become Morocco’s style capital, with ever-more-luxurious hotels and shopping. Combine a stay at the Royal Mansour—a palatial, over-the-top resort (and the personal project of the king of Morocco)—with a few nights at the intimate El Fenn, a riad whose courtyard is filled with deep sofas and kilims. For contemporary design, the Guéliz district, with its wide boulevards, is a must-visit. Swing by Studio Lalla for boho handbags and jewelry by Parme Marin. Then, check out 33 Rue Majorelle, which is like a well-edited mini-souk. Browse the cups and plates by Chabi Chic and clothing by Noureddine Amir, then stop at the little café for juice and a salad.
Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands continue to lure travelers 600 miles out into the Pacific. Where else can you watch a marine iguana dive for seaweed, with a blue-footed booby circling overhead, or size up short-feathered penguins darting along the equator? Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, who famously explored the area in 1835: there’s prime animal viewing on the largest island, Isabela, which is home to 70 percent of the archipelago’s wildlife. Here, you can visit a tortoise breeding center and snorkel with gentle sharks. Isabela also has the region’s best beach, in the little-known Puerto Villamil, where you’ll spot a variety of marine animals. Cruising remains the best option, and most boats—like the 100-passenger Silversea Galápagos from Silversea Cruises—pair travelers with naturalists. The new carbon-neutral Pikaia Lodge, home to a giant tortoise reserve, is pioneering a hybrid land-and-sea-based experience. The lodge pulls out all the stops: floor-to-ceiling windows, private terraces, and a spa.
With its windswept beaches and dramatic Table Mountain backdrop, Cape Town has a wild beauty and elegance all its own. The unique setting on South Africa’s coast has also given rise to a diverse culinary culture: no city captures global food traditions quite like it. At colorful markets, haute gastronomic temples, and beachside shacks, you can revel in the multicultural cuisine.