With 233 sunny days a year, thrilling theme parks, exciting sports and world-class spas, it’s no wonder Orlando, Florida was recently named the number one most visited city in the U.S. by Travel Pulse. To really grasp all that the city has to offer, install the Visit Orlando App, but in the meantime, here are our top 11 reasons why you should make Orlando your next vacation destination.
Be a kid again
While there is nothing quite like seeing the magic through a child’s eyes, even grown-ups can be kids again at one of Orlando’s many theme parks. Walt Disney World® alone boasts four uniquely different parks, while thrill seekers and Harry Potter lovers alike will marvel at Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure™. SeaWorld® Orlando’s more relaxed pace and animal exhibits make it an ideal option for families, big and small. And for those who are looking to escape the heat, cool off at one of the many water parks, such as Universal’s brand-new Volcano Bay™. Orlando has something for the kid in everyone!
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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.
There’s always something new
This year marks the arrival of several highly anticipated attractions at Orlando’s theme parks. Universal Orlando Resort™ recently opened Volcano Bay™. The park, which combines thrills and relaxation in an island paradise, will allow guests, via the wearable technology TapuTapu, to hold their spot in line virtually and go to the ride once the device alerts them. At Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon™ at Universal Studios™, get ready for a wild and hilarious ride as a Tonight Show audience member. At Walt Disney World’s® Animal Kingdom Resort, a new Avatar-inspired land called Pandora -The World of AVATAR features floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests, and new nighttime entertainment.
If you happen to be at Walt Disney World’s® Epcot® between August 31, 2017, and November 13, 2017, expect to be taken on a gastronomical experience as flavors of the countries come alive. Sample delicacies and libations from around the globe, attend a beverage boot camp or the Eat to the Beat concert series. But you don’t have to visit Epcot to taste a variety of cuisine from around the world.
Nearby, International Drive plays hosts to a variety of restaurants such as the Greek, Taverna Opa; Ethiopian, Nile Ethiopian Restaurant; or the Brazilian Pão Gostoso Bakery. With such amazing culinary experiences on offer, it’s no surprise that WalletHub recently named it the Best Foodie City in the nation.
If you are looking to immerse yourself in the many cultural offerings of the City Beautiful, catch live music, Broadway shows, ballet, orchestra and even dance performances at the elaborate Dr. Philips Center for the Performing Arts. Or head to one of the many museums such as the Orlando Museum of Art or the unique Museum of Osteology.
Not only does Orlando offer a bevy of entertainment and attractions but an abundance of natural beauty as well. From pristine beaches, a little over an hour away to the more nearby nature parks, experience the untouched beauty that the city has to offer.
See what Florida was like years ago when the Timucuan Indians roamed the lands at the Wekiwa Springs State Park. Here you can swim in the crystal clear waters of the springs, which stay at a refreshing 72°F (22.2°C) year-round. Or head to the nearby Wekiva Island, rent a cabana and spend the day kayaking, listening to live music and grabbing a cold beer at Tooting Otter, the islands indoor/outdoor bar.
Adventure lovers can come up close and personal with live gators, the touristy way, at Gatorland, or experience these majestic creatures in their own environment at Black Hammock Adventures. If you prefer exploring along waterways, the Winter Park Boat Tour is a great way to see some of the area’s most beautiful, and pricey, real estate.
The much-anticipated 25,500-seat Orlando City Soccer Stadium, home of Orlando City SC’s Major League team, the National Women’s Soccer League’s Orlando Pride, and Orlando City B, recently made its debut in the city. U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) has also opened a new National Campus in the Lake Nona area of Orlando. The 65-acre complex is the largest tennis facility in the world, according to the USTA, encompassing 100 courts (hard and clay) and a multi-use building that includes a pro shop, fitness center, locker rooms, cafeteria and players’ lounge. But for those who would rather participate than be spectators, Orlando is home to over 170 golf courses. And, if you are really looking for a white-knuckled experience, get behind the wheel of a NASCAR race car at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Daytona International Speedway.
In 2016, Forbes Magazine named Orlando the most affordable destination in the country. Indeed, the city offers plenty of ways to save, including a free Visit Orlando App (available in Apple App and Google Play stores) with deals, assistance and even games to enhance any trip. There is also a host of activities in Orlando that range from free to under $25; these include Kings Bowl Orlando, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!® Orlando Odditorium, SAK Comedy Lab, Madame Tussauds, and The Coca-Cola® Orlando Eye.
Great for multi-generational families
Travel Pulse recently named Orlando an up-and-coming destination for multi-generational travel in 2017. Many of Orlando’s accommodations have family suites, including Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, whose suites can accommodate up to six guests and feature a kitchenette. In order to provide all the comforts of home, the brand-new Grove Resort & Spa offers two- and three-bedroom residential-style suites that come with full kitchens, washers and dryers, plus multiple bathrooms.
Orlando’s attractions also offer something for everyone in the family. Universal Orlando Resort’s™ new Skull Island: Reign of Kong and Walt Disney World® Resort’s newly revamped Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot® aren’t wild rides, yet both of these attractions and many others at the parks are exciting fun for all.
Orlando for couples
Orlando is widely recognized as a must-see destination for families, but couples can find romance and memorable experiences just for them. In fact, Orlando was one of the top two Best Places to Get Married in 2017, according to WalletHub. Ivanhoe Village, named one of the top five most romantic main streets in the U.S., lies just two miles (3.2 kilometers) from downtown Orlando. Start your evening with dinner at Mesa 21 and catch the sunset over Lake Ivanhoe; grab a craft beer at The Thirsty Topher, and end the night with a seductive and decadent journey at Better Than Sex, the adult café offering sweet treats and chocolate-dipped wine glasses. If your journey takes you downtown, enjoy an intimate meal at newcomer DoveCote, an inviting French-style brasserie.
Relaxation and wellness
Say om because according to WalletHub, Orlando is one of the top five Best Cities for an Active Lifestyle for 2017. That may surprise many people, but the destination offers a plethora of unique ways to explore the city while also recharging and focusing on improving physical fitness. From tennis lessons at the new USTA national training campus and paddleboarding in a natural habitat to biking the West Orange Trail and enjoying a signature spa treatment at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort, there is a lot to make anyone happy. Orlando’s dining scene also offers a variety of healthy and fresh farm-to-table fare, so even vegetarians, vegans, and diet-conscious visitors can find something to elevate their Orlando experience.
Whether your idea of a night out consists of swanky cocktail bars, dancing the night away or a cozy pub, Orlando has a copious amount of options. If you are looking to stay near the resorts, grab a pint at Raglan Road™ Irish Pub at Disney Springs or dance to two levels of music at the lavish ultra lounge, the Red Coconut Club™ at Universal CityWalk™.
Venture to downtown Orlando’s Church Street District and grab an expertly made cocktail at the swanky Bosendorfer Lounge, or for the budget conscious, don’t miss out on Cahoots, home of nickel beer Wednesdays. But for the “real” Orlando experience, see where the locals hang; the Mills 50 District packs an enclave of bars, such as Wally’s Mills Avenue Liquors, The Guest House, and The Thirsty Topher, in a walkable couple of miles.
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meet our Local Insider
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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.
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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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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.