If you’re like many people, you can’t wait until it’s time to stop working and start enjoying a leisurely retirement. Without the burden of a job and other responsibilities, you’ll have more time for the things you’ve always dreamed of doing — like traveling and exploring new, exciting places.
If you’re planning to retire and travel the world, you might not be sure which locations you’d like to visit. The following retirement travel guide can provide helpful information regarding many of the more popular global destinations.
Table of Contents
- Northern Europe
- Start Planning Your Retirement Adventures Today
When people think of Asia, thoughts of Japan and other destinations in the Orient often come to mind. While these places can provide an exciting travel adventure, they’re only a small sampling of what this magnificent continent and the surrounding islands have to offer.
The “Land of the Rising Sun” is steeped in thousands of years of intriguing history. Your journey can include island-hopping through the country and enjoying the allure of the small ports and other captivating sites. You can also visit the historical cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which have made a remarkable recovery from the devastation left by the atomic bombs of World War II and are now popular, thriving tourist destinations.
As the world’s largest island nation, Indonesia offers ample opportunities for exploration. Your travels may take you to Bali (Benoa), where you can take in the unparalleled beauty, tranquil waters and small village atmosphere. And if you enjoy nothing better than relaxing on a sandy beach and listening to soothing ocean sounds, you’ll want to make stops at Pantara Island and Kepulauan Seribu.
Many people only know the Philippines for its bustling capital city, Manila. While you’ll want to spend some time in Manila and do a walking tour, visit the historic San Sebastian Basilica and take in all the other fabulous sites, there’s so much more to see and do. Be sure to spend time exploring Boracay, known as the “Best Island in the World,” and experience the splendor of Hundred Islands National Park.
While Vietnam has an extensive war-torn past, it has much to offer to travelers willing to take the time to explore this beautiful, enigmatic Southeast Asian nation. Ha Long Bay, located in northeast Vietnam, is renowned for its shimmering emerald waters containing thousands of islands filled with majestic rainforests. You’ll also want to visit Phong Nha National Park in the country’s North Central Coast region to see the world’s largest cave.
Northern Europe generally encompasses the Fennoscandia (which includes the Scandanavian and Kola Peninsulas), British Isles, the peninsula of Jutland, the Baltic plain and numerous offshore islands. Some of the best places to experience memorable travel adventures in this region include:
Iceland is one of the more remote and mysterious island nations, but it offers some of the world’s most magnificent scenery. Besides visiting the capital city of Reykjavík, referred to by many as “the smallest big city in the world,” you can also check out the raging waterfalls, isolated fjords and quaint fishing villages that comprise the scenic landscape. You’ll also be intrigued, and possibly inspired, by the Icelanders’ creative, independent spirit.
The lush, green landscape, centuries of history and unique culture combine to make Ireland a perenially popular tourist hotspot. You can spend your time on The Emerald Isle exploring destinations like the cities of Dublin, Cork or Killarney, the Cliffs of Moher or Blarney Castle, or hoist a pint or two at an authentic Irish pub.
Like Iceland, Norway is renowned for its stunning scenery and myriad of fjords, mountains and glaciers. Some favorite sites in this westernmost nation in the Scandinavian peninsula include Tromsø and the spectacular northern lights, the western fjords of Bergen and the Trøndelag region in the center of Norway, which is a favorite destination of foodies and history buffs. If you’ve more of a city person, you’ll want to spend time in the Norwegian capital of Oslo and visit its many museums and other attractions.
This southernmost Scandinavian nation comprises the Jutland Peninsula and an assortment of islands. The capital city of Copenhagen rests on the coastal islands of Amager and Zealand and contains must-see tourist sites like the Christiansborg Palace and the Renaissance-era Rosenborg Castle. Travel to the center of Copenhagen to visit Frederiksstaden, a historic district constructed during the latter portion of the 18th century.
The Caribbean conjures images of sandy beaches, sparkling waters, exotic cuisine and refreshing tropical beverages. If you’re looking to retire early and travel the world, this spectacular chain of enchanting islands is the perfect place to start. Some of the best places to visit in the region include:
This group of islands and islets has long been a top destination for retirees and others who want to enjoy an unrivaled beach experience. The U.S. Virgin Islands is an unincorporated and organized territory consisting of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix and other smaller islands and cays. While you’re there, you can experience activities like sailing, visiting the many fantastic eateries and exploring the secluded coves and underwater coral gardens.
Many people forget that this Caribbean island is an unincorporated U.S. territory. And with its vast array of picturesque waterfalls, mountain vistas and tropical rain forests, there’s so much to see during your visit. You’ll also want to spend time in San Juan, the capital and largest city in Puerto Rico. Enjoy the beautiful beaches, fine restaurants, casinos and other exciting attractions.
Situated where the western Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, the Leeward Islands extend southeast to Guadalupe. This small island group derives its name from its location in the lee of the prevailing trade winds. Some of the major islands in the chain include Antigua, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica and Anguilla. Depending on which area you visit, you can enjoy activities like shopping, gaming at the numerous casinos and even exploring a volcano or two.
Do you prefer cooler climates with lots of open spaces and spectacular mountain views? A journey to the “Great White North” should be part of your retirement travel plans. Some of the best places to visit in Canada include:
Located in the eastern Canadian province of Quebec, the sparkling city of Montreal offers a seamless blend of French and Western culture. While you’re there, you can traverse to the top of Mont-Royal, a rock hill with an elevation of approximately 800 feet that offers a breathtaking view of the city and surrounding mountains. And, as when exploring any French-influenced area, you’ll want to sample the excellent cuisine.
Journey three hours northeast of Montreal and check out Quebec City. This picturesque city, which rests on the shore of the St. Lawrence River, is home to preferred travel destinations like Old Quebec, a historic neighborhood that once served as a strategic military fortification. Quebec City is also home to a collection of world-renowned chefs, making it a can’t miss destination for foodies and others wishing to indulge in the numerous culinary delights.
Prince Edward Islands
This large island is one of the maritime provinces in eastern Canada and rests in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Lush farmlands, red-sand beaches and an abundance of lighthouses define the island’s beautiful landscape. If you’re a seafood lover, you can gorge on the lobster, mussels and other mouthwatering selections you’ll find in restaurants everywhere. You can also visit the capital city of Charlottetown and art galleries, museums and other cultural offerings.
Few European nations have had more of an impact on Western culture and cuisine than Italy. If you’d like to make this beautiful and fascinating region a part of your retirement adventures, you’ll want to spend time in the following areas:
The capital city of Italy, Rome’s founding dates back to before the birth of Christ. During your visit, you can explore the multitude of historical sites like the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. And a guided tour of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City is a must for any art enthusiast who wants to admire the works of Michelangelo in person.
This northeastern Italian city is the capital of the Veneto region. Venice rests on a series of more than 100 small islands separated by canals and connected by a series of bridges. Taking a gondola down the Grand Canal, the channel that forms one of the major water-traffic corridors in the city, is one of the most popular activities for travelers. You’ll also want to sample the sumptuous local cuisine like sarde in saor, baccala mantecato and bigoli in salsa.
The Tuscan region in central Italy is renowned for its scenic landscapes, history and artistic influences. Florence, the region’s capital, is one of the most frequented tourist spots in all of Italy. The city once served as a center of medieval trade and finance. Many academicians also identify Florence as the birthplace of the Renaissance.
The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily is also one of the five autonomous regions comprising Italy. The Sicilian culture is distinct from many areas of the Italian “boot,” as there are profound differences in the arts, architecture, literature, music and cuisine. Things to do during your visit to the island can include taking a food tour through the markets of Catania and marveling at a stunning Etna sunset.
Journey south of the U.S. border to experience Mexico and portions of Central America. Soak in the vibrant Latin cultures and enjoy an excellent meal or two along the way as you explore areas such as:
Sea of Cortez
The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, separates Baja California from the Mexican mainland. A sea cruise down this 700-mile waterway offers access to 37 islands. The numerous sites you can take in during your excursion include ancient Mayan temples, an abundance of aquatic life and miles of beautiful, uninterrupted coastline. When you port, you can sample an eclectic array of mouthwatering cuisine.
This beach resort on Mexico’s western coast is an internationally famous vacation destination. Cobblestone streets meander through charming Mexican neighborhoods, giving the city an old-fashioned look and feel. No wonder Puerto Vallarta has earned a reputation as one of Mexico’s most livable beach towns. Besides spending time soaking up the sun, you can enjoy hikes through the jungle and have a fabulous lunch or dinner at one of the many excellent restaurants, followed by a big piece of luscious banana cream pie.
Central American Coast
A leisurely cruise along the coastline of Central America is a great way to begin your exploration of beautiful, exotic countries like Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. Belize, in particular, has earned a reputation as a tourist mecca. During your stay, you’ll want to explore the Belize Barrier Reef, a series of coral reefs resting just offshore that attracts numerous visitors who enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving. Other fun things to do are canoeing, horseback riding, fishing, sailing and caving.
This southeastern European nation is steeped in world history. Because of its status as the birthplace of democracy, many refer to Greece as the cradle of Western civilization. Examples of the many excellent places to visit in Greece include:
The largest Greek city and the nation’s capital, Athens is also a prominent tourist destination. Your travel itinerary should include a stop at Acropolis and its Parthenon Temple, which served as the center of ancient Athens and functioned as a protective citadel due to its hilltop location. You can also pay a visit to the Byzantine Museum, an architecturally stunning 19th-century palace that offers insight into the highly influential Byzantine period of Greek history.
Mount Olympus is the tallest mountain in Greece and was the mythical home of Greek gods and goddesses such as Zeus, Apollo, Athena and Apollo. Besides the picturesque views, the surrounding areas are home to a variety of flora and fauna. You can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and swimming or admire numerous waterfalls. There’s even a museum where you can examine notable architectural discoveries and learn more about the thousands of years of Greek history.
The Sanctuary at Epidaurus
If you’re seeking more of a spiritual destination, there’s no better place than Epidaurus to soothe the soul. The circular sanctuary at Asklepios welcomes all visitors with a warm embrace. And the remarkable beauty of the area enhances the feeling of tranquility that’s impossible not to experience while you’re there and provides an additional healing touch.
Start Planning Your Retirement Adventures Today
No matter where you decide to travel when you retire, there’s no better way to get there than a Windstar cruise. Our smaller cruise ships enable you to enjoy intimate moments away from the crowds and offer a more streamlined experience. And with the tremendous selection of ports to choose from, there’s sure to be a Windstar cruise ship heading to your preferred destination.
The time to start planning your retirement travel adventure is right now. Get started by exploring the wide range of exciting Windstar cruise packages and make your selection today.