Not everyone wants to zip line above a rain forest canopy or scale a cliff during their vacation. Some seek a more leisurely holiday. The opposite of adventure travel, couch potato vacations are perfect for people who want to explore the world, but at a slower pace.
Here are 10 vacation ideas that require no hiking, biking or strenuous activity of any kind (remember you can always add something adventurous later if you want to):
1. Switzerland: Glacier Express
Get a first-hand view of the Swiss Alps, all from the comfort of a heated train car! The Glacier Express connects the iconic resort towns of Zermatt and St. Moritz. Along the way, you’ll travel through 100 tunnels and across 300 bridges, all while taking the majestic grandeur of the mountain peaks. During the eight-hour trip, you’ll get views of the Matterhorn, the Rhine Gorge, known as Switzerland’s Grand Canyon, and the Oberalp Pass. You’ll also get treated to scrumptious Swiss meals served right in your panoramic train car! Plan your trip to Switzerland with the help of go-today.
2. Thailand: Phuket Beaches
Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are located on the island of Phuket in Thailand. Located in the Andaman Sea, Phuket draws visitors from all over the world who want to simply relax and unwind in an exotic tropical paradise. If you feel like leaving the beach, Phuket has amazing restaurants, stunning temples and vibrant nightlife to enjoy. Want some peace and quiet? The island’s northern end offers a more relaxed atmosphere.
3. Greece: Island-Hopping
The Greek isles are among the most picturesque in the world. Fly into Athens and take a ferry to see these iconic Aegean gems. With its white-washed buildings, blue-domed roofs and miles of colorful sandy beaches, the beauty of Santorini has been lauded for centuries. Mykonos offers fine dining, nightlife and picture-postcard views of windmills looking down at old town. Or head to Kos to see ancient structures dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries B.C.
4. Iceland: Northern Lights
A trip to Iceland may seem, well, adventurous, but it doesn’t have to be! Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa that’s touted for its health benefits. Then order some plokkfiskur, or Icelandic fish stew. Don’t forget to dip a piece of hot spring rye bread in it. The bread is baked underground near geothermal springs. When the sun goes down, find a spot where you can turn your eyes to the sky. The Aurora Borealis puts on a show nightly that’s visible for miles.
5. Argentina: Buenos Aires
Exploring Patagonia isn’t for the faint of heart. So don’t! Base yourself in Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires that’s known as the “Paris of the South.” A sophisticated city steeped in European culture, Buenos Aires is rich in history, gastronomic delights, museums, galleries and charming neighborhoods. Watch street performers in the Boco district. Shop til you drop along the world’s largest street, the Avenida Independencia, or catch a soccer match or rousing game of polo.
6. United Arab Emirates: Dubai
Immerse yourself in Arab culture in Dubai, the pearl of the Middle East. With gorgeous turquoise waters, immense skyscrapers and luxurious resorts, this city located in the United Arab Emirates is for you! The Dubai Mall offers so much more than shopping. Not only can you get out of the desert heat, but the mall is home to many attractions like an aquarium, sledding and a movie theater. Watch water dance in the Dubai Fountain that sits in front of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. And if you feel like exploring further, tour the desert by 4×4 or camel.
7. Australia: The Outback
Yes, venturing into Australia’s Outback seems intimidating. It’s hot, it’s dry and it’s really remote. But there is an easy way to take in the unique scenery while being pampered along the way. Book a trip on the Ghan, the legendary railway that takes you through the heart of Australia. The train connects Adelaide in the south to Darwin in the north, making three stops so travelers can get an up-close view of the fiery-red landscape, cattle stations and geologic sites.
8. Italy: Tuscany
Italy tops many travelers’ bucket lists, and it’s with good reason that people want to visit. For a spectacular holiday, base yourself in Tuscany. The region boasts magnificent countryside vistas, delectable food and wines, stunning flower markets, incredible coastline and the cities of Florence, Sienna, Lucca and Pisa, all of which can be reached on a brief train ride. Or meander through the smaller villages of the region where you’re sure to discover some incredible food, historic sites and stunning views.
9. Hong Kong
One of the top culinary destinations in the world, Hong Kong is a feast for the senses. A bustling city that offers impeccable public transportation, Hong Kong is easy to navigate. Dine in incredible restaurants, shop in ultra-glamorous shops, peruse chic vintage shops or haggle in a side-street market. Visit the city’s many museums, take in a film festival, watch Chinese opera in a bamboo theater or simply gaze out on the magnificent harbor.
10. Austria: Cafe Culture
Austria is famous for its winter sports, but the coffee culture of its capital city Vienna is unmatched. In Vienna, making the perfect cup of coffee has been elevated to an art form. From the Maria Therese that’s laced with orange liqueur and topped with whipped cream to the cappuccino-like Melange, each cup of coffee is served on a silver tray along with a glass of water. Sometimes called “the city’s public living rooms,” Viennese coffeehouses offer beautiful places to sit and watch the world go by. Order one up of coffee and you’re welcomed to stay all day. But since you’ve come this far, venture out to see the city’s chic neighborhoods, world-class museums and grand Baroque castles.
Even if you shy away from strenuous activities, you can still see the world! Our guide to couch potato vacations provides some great options for your low-key holiday. Hopefully, you’ll be inspired enough to lay down the remote and start planning today!