2020 Holiday Hot Spots
By Helen Foster and Caroline Richards
Embrace a fresh new year and open up new horizons to explore with your DAE membership. From the glamour of Australia’s Gold Coast, to the stunning lakes of Hungary, check out our guide to five hot spots that are generating a buzz in the 2020 holiday calendar.
The Gold Coast, Australia
We’re bound to be biased, but Australia has to top our 2020 holiday hot spots calendar. Australia is where it all started for DAE, and it has long been a popular destination with holidaymakers from all over the world, who are drawn to it by its days of endless sunshine and legendary beaches.
Sadly, you will have read the headlines and seen the videos of the fires which are raging in some regions of the country. However, it is a big country with a big heart, and it is important that for the people in the vast regions which are unaffected by the fires that life goes on; they want – and need – to continue to welcome visitors to their resorts.
Famed for its beautiful beaches, Australia’s Gold Coast is also home to the Nerang National Park and plenty of cycle and walking trails that can be enjoyed before you retreat to the beach for a little rest and relaxation.
Australia’s Gold Coast is open for business. There is so much to see and do in this beautiful part of the country, from the incredible stretches of golden beaches and adrenalin-pumping theme parks, to stunning bush walk trails and quaint mountainside villages to explore. Before you hit the beaches, you might want to take to Nerang’s cycle trails. With miles and miles of mountain bike trails through the Nerang National Park for all skill levels, this is an activity to be enjoyed by the whole family, and by the adrenalin junkies who might want to take the more challenging trails at speed. The trails take you through dense and exotic rainforest terrain, and out into more open woodland, past rock gardens and creek beds; exploration and adventure is the name of the game here. Visit the Mountain Bike Shop in Nerang West, where you can join the Gold Coast Mountain Bike Club most Saturdays on their social bicycle rides out.
Surfers’ Paradise is one of Australia’s most famous beaches and sits at the heart of the country’s Gold Coast.
If you find yourself exploring the town of Nerang and its National Park, you are just 7.5 miles from one of Australia’s best beaches – Surfers’ Paradise – so you don’t have far to go to chill out on the warm sands and watch the surfers at play while you relax. You may want to dive right into the water activities yourself! You have just over a mile of some of the best sand and surf in the world on this beach and activities of every kind. More than a beach, however, walk along these golden sands with the Pacific Ocean on one side of you and, beyond the beach, you should take time to meander about the Surfers’ Paradise Beachfront Markets. A unique experience, these markets have been run since 1995 and today there are as many as 100 stalls to browse, artisans at work to watch, and so many handmade clothes and accessories available for you to take home some very personalised presents and mementos of your time in Australia. This beach is a holidaymaker’s playground and has more than its share of restaurants, bars and dining options to delight, while by night it becomes entertainment central for those with an appetite to party.
Tenerife, The Canary Islands
Kick back on the largest of the stunning Canary Islands and adjust to island life in sun-soaked Tenerife. Bask in the sunshine and get your vitamin D boost after a cold and wet UK winter. Perhaps spend your time enjoying once-in-a-lifetime activities, such as whale watching, or passing sunset evenings cocktail-tasting, and not forgetting to savour a tipple from one of Tenerife’s luscious vineyards. But this island isn’t just a sun-worshipper’s paradise...
Tenerife's tallest mountain, and still an active volcano, Mount Teide, dominates the skyline and is the beating heart of the island.
A tour of the peaks of rugged Mount Teide will be rewarded with gasp-out-loud views during a daytime climb or drive, taking the cable car to the very snow-capped summit. Teide by night, however, is a really special experience. Walk through thick, moonlit pine forests and turn your eyes to the velvety night sky to take part in Teide's stargazing events. Teide National Park is recognised as a 'Starlight Destination'. Gazing up from the peak of the volcano, expect to be dazzled by the Milky Way, the Summer Triangle and even sporadic meteor showers!
The turquoise-blue waters lap the volcanic shoreline of Tenerife.
Meanwhile, back at sea level, supplement your days with delicious seafood, fished fresh from the ocean, and enjoy lazy lunches and intimate evening dinners as you watch the blood-orange sunset stain the sky. A favourite spot to enjoy this is the stretch of Playa de las Américas, on the southwestern stretch of the island. The setting sun glistens on the island's sandy shores, as the town comes alive with its famed bustling nightlife.
Lake Balaton, Hungary
Float away on Lake Balaton, aptly dubbed ‘The Hungarian Sea’, and enjoy a break in this splendid summer lakeside spot. Nestled at the foot of softly climbing hills, this sprawling lake is a drop of tranquillity which is only 84 miles from the bustling city life of Budapest. But don’t be fooled by the rolling landscapes and peaceful waters; Lake Balaton is a hot spot of activity that makes a perfect lakeside haven, either as a couples' retreat or for a family summer break.
The tranquil shores of Lake Balaton stretching out into the horizon.
At nearly 50 miles long, the lake is awash with the crisp white sails of boats and the spray of water - and it’s not just for admiring! Take to these warm waters and make a splash with water sports, such as kayaking, or even wake boarding (if you’re feeling brave), or perhaps just take a dip and enjoy the views as you paddle. Sun-worshippers can lounge on the lake's sandy shores, and those with a nose for exploring have a wealth of nearby bustling towns and villages to meander through, from places such as Siófok, a lively party town that dubs itself 'the capital of summer', to the elegant, historic town of Keszthely and laidback villages near Badacsony, where walking and wine-tasting tours are more the order of the day.
Why not explore the area by one of the many cycle paths that crisscross across the landscape? It’s a gorgeous way to spend a day taking in the sights and is a fantastic activity for all the family. Take from this European waterside destination what you will, be it an active break or a flop and drop retreat, but make sure it's on your destination list for 2020!
Lush vineyards blanket the hills surrounding Lake Balaton. Book a tour and while away a day wine tasting to savour all this gorgeous landscape has to offer.
For a thrill-ride - quite literally! - consider Orlando as a leafy metropolitan sunspot that will answer your call for adventure. With Florida being the theme-park capital of the world, it's easy to see why Orlando is such an attractive family holiday destination, but we know that theme parks aren't for everyone and there is so much more to fill your days here, while you're on holiday...
A sunset shot across the reflective waters of Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando, Florida.
The city of Orlando is a cosmopolitan destination that buzzes with life. You don't need a roller coaster to enjoy this place! Sat nestled right in the city centre of downtown Orlando, is Lake Eola Park. A glassy stretch of water surrounded by parkland, this urban spot is the perfect place to unwind and watch the world go by. The art-deco style Linton E Allen Fountain fizzes and spurts at the centre of the lake and you can rent a boat and paddle out to the middle for a front-row view of the city.
Further downtown there are indoor activities to keep everyone occupied, such as a visit to the Orlando Museum of Art, indoor go-karting and even sky diving! Or how about living life through the eyes (or spacesuit) of an astronaut during a visit to The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex? It's the perfect day trip for young and old alike. Or if a sandy shore-side retreat is your holiday-must, Cocoa Beach is a pretty spot, and it's only an hour from the heart of Orlando. Take the chance to enjoy a day on the pier, perhaps fishing or watching the sun slip behind the horizon while you enjoy a delicious supper.
North Island, New Zealand
Roughly three quarters of New Zealand’s population live on North Island, home to the country’s largest city, Auckland, national parks, glamourous cities and beautiful bays are what you can expect to find on a holiday to this destination.
There are also some hidden holiday gems on this island, the resort town of Turangi being one of them. Sitting on the banks of the Tongariro River, on the southern shores of Lake Taupo, unsurprisingly, this is the place to fish in New Zealand, and there are some fine trout to be fished in the river here. Visit the Tongariro National Trout Centre, which is run by the Department of Conservation, to learn about the sustainability of trout fishing and see the trout hatcheries for yourself, as well as an aquarium full of native freshwater fish.
You don’t have to be a fisherman to appreciate the beauty of the river and lake on which the pretty town of Turangi sits. The landscape of North Island is stunning, and its towns are full of life.
Lovers of life out in the great outdoors will have more than enough to fill a week or two’s holiday in Turangi. From the town you can catch a shuttle bus into the Tongariro National Park for hiking fun, and go on to walk the iconic Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the country’s most popular hiking routes. This walk will take you through red rusty craters and azure lakes, and all in the most dramatic of landscapes.
Turangi is also a winter ski resort, and taking to the pistes in New Zealand will be an exciting change from the more traditional ski holiday destinations. Just 40 minutes’ drive from the crossing, you should head for the Whakapapa ski resort on Mount Ruapehu, which is also just five minutes from Tokaanu’s hot thermal pools – ideal therapy after a day on the slopes.
Mount Ruapehu on New Zealand’s North Island is a great winter holiday location for those who like to ski, as well as a wonderfully scenic sunny summer retreat.
Mountain shuttles make it easy to access New Zealand’s largest ski field which also enjoys a long season, opening as early as June on North Island, helped by snowmaking machines, and running to late October. The Happy Valley area is dedicated to ski beginners and is very safe for them, while for the more experienced skiers, there are 30 intermediates and 24 black trails. Though don’t forget that ski resorts make exquisitely pretty summertime holiday hot spots, when you can walk, hike, cycle and even get help from cable cars, to enjoy the spectacular views and rugged new Zealand landscape.
Wherever you decide to head off to for your holidays this year – summer, winter and the months in between – remember that you will holiday in the comfort you have come to expect using your DAE membership to access spacious and well-equipped accommodation that allows you to holiday exactly as you want to, at your own pace. Your DAE team wish you happy travels throughout 2020.
With great destinations available for Exchange, Bonus or Rental, start planning your 2020 holiday and have something on your calendar to look forward to.
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