Your Next Getaway

As the Christmas season inches closer, or as you start looking ahead to the possibility of jet-setting for reading week next semester (nobody’s blaming you, the month of November is too depressing), you’re probably thinking about where you should go. 

For me, the hardest thing about traveling is often picking my destination– there’s a myriad of cities that hold a myriad of possibilities. How can you know just where you should be blowing your money? 

So, seeing that some of you are likely catching the travel bug and experiencing a bit of wanderlust, I wanted to put together a list of the top three places I would recommend to satisfy your traveling desires this year.

  1. 1. Antigua (in the Caribbean)

    Antigua is one of two major islands that make up the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. I had the chance to go there over the Christmas break two years ago during a cruise. To be honest, I hadn't even heard of Antigua before my family and I arrived there, so I can't say that I was exactly anticipating loving it as much as I did. 

    During our time there, my family and I did a bit of sightseeing (Nelson’s Dockyard is the most renowned attraction of the island), but my favourite part of Antigua was definitely the beaches. I’ll never forget this one beach called Turner’s Beach; the water was the clearest you could ever imagine and the most stunning, piercing turquoise colour. It was the perfect temperature, colour and depth. The water stretched miles and miles in every direction, and you didn't have to swim out far before it felt like you were the only person on the island. Just floating there, weighing nothing, in a canvas of blue. Light and barely there, but fully present.

    I would definitely recommend this place if A) you love beach-lounging and B) if you’re looking for a place to escape the Canadian winter.

  2. 2. Dubrovnik, Croatia 

    This place isn’t called the Pearl of the Adriatic for nothing. Dubrovnik is one of those ports that stays with you long after you leave it. Its beauty is astounding. Even now, I can close my eyes and picture the deep blue colour of the sea and the vibrant orange roofs. I can feel the sun on my skin and imagine the same breeze that I felt while standing on the top of the fort.

    There’s so much to do in Dubrovnik, but if you had limited time, I would definitely say that the best thing to do is walk the old city walls. You have to pay for a ticket when you get to the main Pile Gate but the views from the top are so completely worth it (the picture above was taken from there). Rising six meters above the ground, it’s one of the city’s coolest features, and walking the walls is such a fantastic (and healthy!) way of seeing the old city, Adriatic Sea, and surrounding areas from above. The whole walk is only about 1.5 miles. 

    If you ever find yourself in Europe (ideally over the summer months when it’s warm out), pay a trip to Croatia. You won’t regret it.

  3. 3. Olden, Norway

    I always rave about Norway, mostly because it’s just so different from a trip to the Caribbean or even to several cities in Europe. It’s full of natural beauty - fjords, crystal clear water, and lush green mountains. It’s just one of those places you can’t stop talking about, but it's hard to put a finger on exactly what makes it so special. 

    My family went to Norway on a cruise that stopped at a few different ports including Geiranger, Trondheim, Honningsvag and Olden. My favourite of them all was most definitely Olden. Olden proudly boasts Nordfjord, the sixth-longest fjord (a narrow inlet with tall sides, formed by a glacier) in Norway. The fjord made the views coming into the port on the cruise ship magnificent, with mountains and beautifully clear water surrounding the ship. This is one of the reasons I would highly recommend traveling to Norway by cruise.

    Another reason I loved Olden so much was because of how peaceful it was. You just got to walk around, breathe in the mountain air and admire the turquoise waters. When my family and I went, we did a lake cruise on Lake Lovatnet. Just being on the boat, surrounded by mountains with fog at the top of their peaks and water so vibrant was an experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world. 

    I think Norway is a great spot to head during the summer if you need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and are looking for something a bit different than your typical beach vacation. It’s an incredibly stunning and unique experience.

So, if you are debating traveling over the winter or spring break, I would definitely say to bite the bullet. People never regret travel, especially to the unfamiliar hidden gems of this world. Add one of these places to the top of your 'To-Go' list and I promise that you won't look back!