Want to make the most of your holiday allowance this year? Why not roll several incredible places into one trip? Delving into the plethora of routes on offer from our specialised airfares range, we’ve picked six of the best locations, each with stopovers just as diverse and unique as your final destination. We reckon there’s some you haven’t even thought of, until now that is.
South Africa via… Seychelles
From marine magic to safari sensations: the Indian Ocean’s Seychelles and South Africa make up the perfect twin-centre combo. Spend a few days soaking up the UV rays on one of 115 Seychellois islets, home to sun-kissed sands, towering jungles, delicious Creole cuisine and a plethora of underwater life: from the hawksbill turtles of Praslin to the reef sharks and colourful corals of Denis Island.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, discover the frenetic city sprawl that is Johannesburg – home to the historic Apartheid Museum – before heading onto one of Africa’s biggest game reserves, Kruger National Park, in search of the ‘Big Five’.
South America via… Madrid
Amor Espana? Get a real taste for the tantalising flavours of Spain on this fantastic stopover route, from the country’s elegant, energetic capital Madrid, to the South American destinations influenced by the language and heritage of Spain and Portugal. Sample authentic tapas and paella, explore Prado Museum – the world’s largest art gallery – stroll through the verdant landscapes of the El Retiro palace gardens and take in quintessential Spanish classical music at the Teatre de la Zarzuela.
Next stop? Brazil for the 2016 Olympic atmosphere, Argentina for glaciers and the Andes, or Peru for the Inca Trail – to name a few.
New Zealand via… LA and Hawaii
Flying to Auckland is a mammoth journey in itself. Break up your trip by stopping off in Los Angeles and Hawaii, and getting the chance to explore three destinations that couldn’t be more diverse. You can celeb-spot in Hollywood, feel the movie magic at Universal Studios and soak up a more relaxed lifestyle in the beach resorts of Santa Monica and Venice. As for Hawaii: here be monsters. The spewing, lava kind, that is. It’s not all scary on this volcanic archipelago though: beautiful, crater-sculpted landscapes give way to pillow-soft beaches, laid-back bars and a water sports culture to rival that of Australia.
Most thrilling of all will be the delights of New Zealand’s North and South Islands though: check out the hot springs at Rotorua, delve into Tolkein’s mind in Matamata, clamber across both Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, summit lofty mountains and drink delicious Kiwi wines. Feeling adventurous? Why not do a bungee jump in this daring sport’s birthplace of Queenstown?
Caribbean via… Miami
Feeling hot, hot, hot? Enjoy a double dose of sunshine when you make a pit-stop in the Sunshine State en route to a Caribbean paradise. Choose from several islands, including big hitters like St Lucia, Dominican Republic and Barbados, and fuse them with the vibrant, Cuban influence of Miami, on Florida’s south-eastern tip. You can walk along South Beach for white silica, Art Deco buildings and glamorous nightclubs and bars, shop for cigars and fresh fruits in Little Havana, or search for crocs in the Everglades.
Once you’ve sampled a flavour of the upmarket city lifestyle, take your luxury experience to the next level by hopping across to the Caribbean – a haven for all-inclusive resorts, couples’ retreats and more palm-fringed sands than you can shake a coconut at.
USA via… Iceland
Spend a couple of days in Iceland (one of ABTA’s top travel destinations for 2016) en route to New York City, Washington DC or Boston and you’ll get a holiday of contrasts. From September to March you can search for the elusive Northern Lights just outside Reykjavik and, year-round, discover spurting geysers, continental divides and mighty waterfalls along the iconic Golden Circle route. Let’s not forget glacier walks, hot spring dips and southern coastal drives that lead to the black sand beaches of Vik or the floating icebergs of Jokulsarlon.
The Land of Fire and Ice is as wild and rugged as it gets, not to mention hugely different when compared to the bold, brashness of your main destination: the USA.
Australia via… Siem Reap
The Great Barrier Reef; Uluru; Daintree Rainforest; the 12 Apostles; Blue Mountains; Katherine Gorge – Australia is full of iconic landmarks. You can’t possibly see them all in one holiday, but you can incorporate another, equally impressive world wonder on you trip: stop off in Siem Reap and you’ll get the chance to explore Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, the biggest religious monument on the planet. A UNESCO World Heritage site and clinching the number one spot in Lonely Planet’s ‘Ultimate Travelist’, these temples are truly extraordinary. Some are strangled by jungle, others remain untouched, as if they had only been built yesterday. One thing’s for sure: you’ll be blown away by the complex’s spiritual and architectural prowess, best enjoyed at sunrise.