Tired of looking at the screen for the past couple of years? There’s no time like the present to go off-grid and rediscover yourself. Of course, switching off is easier when you’re amid divine beaches and palm trees. We’ve picked the following destinations to help you plan the ultimate digital detox.
Big Sur, California, US
Probably the best place to decompress in the US, Big Sur feels worlds away from the city buzz of San Francisco and Los Angeles. This rugged stretch of California coastline has long provided creatives with inspiration, thanks to its towering mountains, old-growth redwoods and pine forests, which give way to wild, beautiful beaches. You’ll be so mesmerised by the scenery here that you’ll forget all about your phone, if only for a few days. Venture a thrilling hike along the Manuel Peak Trail, see the McWay Falls trickling into the ocean and watch the sunset from the picture-perfect Keyhole Arch Rock at Pfeiffer Beach. This is nature at its finest.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
If you’re looking for unspoilt landscapes that deserve to be experienced in silence, no electronic device in hand, Alaska will not disappoint. Dubbed the last frontier, this vast, largely unexplored state boasts snowy peaks and charming fishing villages; it’s a land where time stands still and emails are a foreign concept. Cruise your way through the winding rivers and lakes of the Chugach National Forest, hike along the 12mi (20km) Mendenhall glacier that’s almost 3,000 years old, hang out with bears at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and learn all about the Alaskan Indigenous culture at the Totem Bight State Historical Park. A ride back to the 1800s on the quaint White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad is a must.
Machu Picchu, Peru
It doesn’t get more mystical and awe-inspiring than the legendary Inca citadel dating to the 15th century. About four hours away from the city of Cusco in Peru, you’ll find Machu Picchu, one of the world’s most iconic archaeological sites, which rises 2,430m (8,000ft) above sea level in the middle of a tropical mountain forest. As you slowly hike your way through the ruins, you’ll see gems such as the Temple of the Sun – said to have been used for astronomical observations in the past – the sacred Huayna Picchu rock, which comes with splendid vistas, and the agricultural terraces the Incas built on the mountainous Andes terrain. If you can’t find the strength to let go of technology here, there’s a good chance you never will.
This town in western Turkey is known for its mineral-rich thermal waters, which flow down a series of bright white limestone terraces. The basins cascade over a cliff to form a landscape of snowy slopes marked by petrified pools and waterfalls. Apart from this stunning sight that will surely help you find your zen, the therapeutic hot waters are known to cure chronic illnesses, as well as digestive and circulatory problems. Pamukkale also neighbours Hierapolis, an ancient Roman spa city where you can bathe in Cleopatra’s hot bath – said to have been a gift from Mark Antony. Living off the grid comes naturally when your muscles are this relaxed.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
It’s not every day you see limestone pillars rising out of emerald waters, but in northeast Vietnam, in Ha Long Bay, that’s what you’ll find. This Unesco-listed bay is dotted with almost 2,000 islets that sit among sinkholes under the surface, creating an otherworldly landscape. Only 40 of these tiny landmasses are inhabited, and not all of them offer accommodation, but it’s still worth taking a cruise, even if it’s a day trip from Hanoi. Some islands, such as Cat Ba, are ideal for hiking and rock climbing, while others, like the super-secluded Cong Do, are the ultimate detox sanctuary, their waters brimming with marine life. Many are named after their shapes, such as Stone Dog and Teapot, which only adds to the fun.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
These volcanic islands spread on either side of the Equator – about 1,000km (600mi) off the coast of Ecuador in South America – are as close as it gets to finding inner peace. Each of the Galápagos Islands is unique, yet what they all have in common is the amazing wildlife that ranges from penguins to giant tortoises and iguanas. You will find the latter chilling on the white sand of Tortuga Bay beach on Santa Cruz; this island also hosts the Charles Darwin Research Station where you can marvel at the region’s rich plant life. Hike along the active Sierra Negra volcano on Isabela Island and you can snorkel amid all the peculiar tropical fish.
If the full Tom-Hanks-castaway vibe is what you’re after, head to the Bazaruto archipelago, off the coast of southern Mozambique. Benguerra, the second largest of the five islands in the group, lies 14km (9mi) from the mainland. Hop on a boat or helicopter and expect to find pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters and swaying palms, as well as a number of resorts where you can just kick back and do nothing. Try sailing or scuba-diving around the coral reefs – there are often conservation projects going on so you might end up volunteering with local people to help out on a good cause.
Wild Taiga, Finland
This little gem, on the eastern border of Finland, is as wild as the name suggests. Perfect for a digital detox weekend, Wild Taiga has evergreen forests, clean waters and astonishing wildlife: think rare or extinct bears, wolves and wolverines, roaming freely in the woods. Plus, there’s so much to do you here, you won’t need your phone – whether it’s trekking, canoeing and fishing or berry and mushroom picking. The Hossa National Park, famous for its Värikallio cave paintings that date back to the Stone Age, is worth a visit – take a reindeer sleigh ride to get here in winter. In summer, a series of festivities and music events take place; for maximum isolation, book a stay in a wilderness cabin.
Latvia might not seem an obvious choice when it comes to switching off, but this resort town, just west of Riga, could become your hideout. Pine forests, mineral waters, white sand dunes and beautiful beaches are some of the calming features of Jūrmala. Spend your days cycling or jogging along the coast, wander around the art-nouveau villas and see unspoilt flora and fauna in the many nature parks. Discover Jūrmala’s recent fascinating history at the Open-Air Museum, which depicts the life and work of local fishermen in the 19th and 20th centuries, and catch a spiritual music concert at one of the churches.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
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WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.