Take a good look at the above image, which is the layout of a standard search result here at Travel Indicator. It's quite obvious that it gives you a thumbnail of the destination, a description and a price, but what does it all really mean? Let's get into some of the things that may not be immediately obvious, shall we? From left to right, top to bottom:
1. Thumbnail with indicator of current price level - As you might know we download hotel prices every few hours for all destinations where those are available, and compute an average nightly hotel rate from that. Based on that you can see that staying in city X will, on average, be cheaper than city Y. What's more, the red or green button hovering over the thumbnail shows you whether the location is currently (i.e. 2 weeks from now) cheaper or more expensive than it has historically been. You can imagine London at Christmas being significantly more expensive than it is during September, for instance!
2. Tags - If a destinations scores more than 50% on a certain theme, we tag it with that and show it at the end preceded by a #. Click on these to see more destinations matching this theme.
3. Similar and nearby places - We link to this from the destination overview pages itself, but also straight from the search results. Let's say Barcelona shows up in your results and you love it but have already been there, so you're looking for something similar. Just click the "[Similar]" link and we'll present you with the 25 closest matches.
4. Current relative price level - +102%. We store the average hotel price on daily basis and compare each destination's current price to it's historical levels. In the [102%+] you see above, you can see that Perast is currently twice as expensive as normal! You might want to pick another time to go.
5. Saved destinations - We have saved the above location as a "must-see". For you it might be none at all, or maybe a might-see or should-see. In any case, once you save it, this flags it in our search results.
6. Historical average and current temperature - 13°C and 4°C-10°C. We know what the weather has historically been in a place and show you the monthly average. But in addition to that we show you the actual range of maximum temperatures for the next 14 days. Above you can see that actual weather is slightly cooler than what it has historically been in Perast.
7. Historical rainfall - 165mm. Self explanatory.
8. Altitude - 365m. Self explanatory.
9. Distance to you - 7287km. This is based on the home city that you have selected.
10. Cost - €180 and €801+. The first is the current hotel cost. The latter is the estimated return travel cost from your city to this destination based on Rome2Rio.
Maybe we are spoiled. We are running this website out of tropical Singapore, which means year-round warm temperatures at home anyway, but also countless fantastic South-east Asian travel destinations just a weekend trip away. Whether we want to jet off to Bali or Phuket, to Bangkok or Hong Kong, it is often a matter of conveniently flying off on a budget airline after work on a Friday and returning late on a Sunday.
The only downside to this is that we are not the only one doing this! You can fly to Krabi or Nha Trang, but then in many places you will still spend your weekend packed like sardines on a beach, next to your neighbours back home. Long story short, sometimes you want to head off to a place with palm trees and white sand beaches but at the same time get away from the crowds as well. If that's what you are after, we have some suggestions for you (that are not just located in Asia, of course). For even more inspiration just use our Destination Search.
The first destination is an island well off the coast of Brazil in South America called Fernando de Noronha. This is a renowned eco travel destination that might just be one of the most pretty spots to visit in Brazil. But as it is pretty out of the way, the (domestic and foreign) crowds don't seem to have quite discovered it. So go here, enjoy some hiking into the rocky jungle covered interior, or enjoy the water and go swimming, surfing or diving. Take note that accomodation here is basic at best, but then that's the whole point isn't it?
Bohey Dulang is one of the islands the forms part of the Tun Sakaran Marine Park in Sabah of Malaysia. You will need to travel to Semporna and spend the night there, then make your way here by boat. The main sight is the volcanic crater that is under water and which you get spectacular views over after you have made the effort of climbing your way up through the thick jungle... Once you find your way down again you can go swimming or snorkeling although you won't find any real beaches. But then again you won't find many people either!
Everybody knows Bora Bora. Nobody knows Moorea (which lies 240 kilometer or 150 miles to its south-east, right next to Tahiti). This island is sometimes described as a more authentic alternative to Bora Bora. There is certainly accomodation here that is far from basic (looking at you Hilton and Intercontinental), but the crowds are by any definition less thick too. The interior is covered with mountains and lush rain forest, while the beaches are nothing less than dreamy.
This place in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is not really a household name. Yet, as sooner or later tourists will start discovering it right? Part of India but with a vibe that is more comparable to Thailand, white sand beaches that are likened to the Maldives and fantastic scenery both around the beaches and inland. Best of all? It is cheaper and much, much quieter. For now.
And finally, back to the Caribbean. Carriacou is an island of the Grenadines island chain that is part of Grenada. Travel to the main island of Grenada and you will have no trouble finding golf courses and luxury resorts, but travel to Carriacou and you will find a quieter and much more back-to-basics kind of place.
Of course, sometimes you go on a beach holiday to do nothing else than to kick back in the sand and salty water, perhaps sip a cocktail or two but generally do absolutely nothing of any use whatsoever with your time. We completely understand the need to switch off.
Having said that however, we reckon there are also times that you want to head to a beach destination yet stimulate your mind as well. Perhaps that is by exploring big cities or small towns with architectural gems, by checking out a museum here or there, exploring castles, palaces, temples or whatever else floats your boat. Allow us to introduce 11 travel destinations (in no particular order) to you that are perfectly fit for those looking to undertake a cultured beach holiday.
The beaches in Cape Town are claimed to be some of the best in the world. The water may not be the warmest here, but beaches like Camps Bay or Clifton with their white sands are exactly how we like them. And the scenery obviously doesn't hurt either. Being the second biggest city in South Africa and having an extensive European heritage ensures that there is enough to see and explore when you're not lazing away on the beach. Main sights include the Castle of Good Hope and St. Georges Cathedral.
Where yo dou even start with a city like Barcelona? 2000 years of history, Gaudi and his Sagrada Família, the old town, on the cultural front you are assured not to be bored here. And the beaches? Well, seeing as that it was named the number one beach city in the world by National Geographic, you're spoilt for choice, really. Pick the busier beaches near the town center or head further out if you prefer things a bit more quiet.
Tulum, pretty as it may be, in fact only has two attractions of quite a narrow scope. On the one hand there is the extremely pretty Mayan fortress ruin of the Castillo perched on top of some rocks next to the sea, and on the other hand there is the turquoise sea and its breathtakingly beautiful beaches. So I guess you're going to have to find a way to combine the two, don't you?
Predictable you say? Fair enough, but Bali simply couldn't be excluded from this list. Think about it, the gorgeous beaches of Kuta, Nusa Dua and Sanur, or the black sand beaches of Lovina up north. And all that in combination with temples, rice paddies, Balinese culture and other fantastic scenery... We think everyone should travel here at least once in their lives. There is almost no better place in the world to combine beaches with cultural explorations.
Salvador lies in between Rio and Recife. If you know how good the beaches in either of those are, you have a pretty good idea of how those in Salvador look. In our review we used the word "mesmerising" to describe them. But it wouldn't be on this list if it didn't have some seriously impressive cultural offerings too. Just head up to the Cidade Alta (old town), pass the neoclassical Palacio Rio Branco Salvador and explore the other sights.
Penang offers visitors a colorful mix of colonial and historical sights and neighbourhoods, temples, mosques night markets and great beaches. Batu Feringghi is a picture perfect beach near the capital city of Georgetown, but if you have more time then by all means venture further out as there are some hidden gems here.
Crete may be mostly known for its beaches, but thousands of years ago this was also home of the first European civilization, the Minoans. Plenty of monasteries, picturesque towns and the main sight of the Palace of Knossos are just some examples of what is on offer here. And the beaches? Well, the coastline is dramatic and long so there's something for everyone. Up north you find the more developed spots, whereas if you look south you may find some much more quiet beaches.
Well, if that picture doesn't look inviting then I don't know I am sure what does. Zanbzibar is an island archipelago off Tanzania in East Africa. It is home to 30 beaches that are as perfect as it gets: white sand, palm trees, the deep blue ocean, you get the idea. Culturally, there is the Moorish, Persian, Indian, African and European architecture of Zanzibar City which was pronounced a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
With its Opera House, pretty Sydney Harbour and loads of excellent museums, Sydney is a class city with plenty to see and do. And for the beaches, well... does Bondi, Manly or Bronte really not ring a bell at all? In that case you've been missing out. Surfing is a way of life here.
As we argued in our review, San Diego tends to get overlooked by California's cities further up north, and we think that makes no sense. San Diego is laid back, has great beaches (the very wide and long Mission Beach offers not only a great beach but also plenty of activities and nightlife), and on the cultural front can compete with the best. Of particular interest there is Balboa Park with its 15 museums. Or else go check out the old town or La Jolla.
Of course we realise that it looks a bit odd to have a list of 11, instead of 10 or 15. But well, we had to make sure to include Sintra here. This Portuguese city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to the famous Castle of the Moors which resembles the Great Wall of China and Palácio da Pena. And while it may be situated on a hill amidst the plains, just a few minutes from here you'll be at the beach. And when it comes to those, too, Sintra has quite a bit to offer.
There is something special about spending December in Europe. Wearing thick winter clothes, shuffling around on a German Christmas market spread out across a medieval town center, holding a glass of mulled wine in hand, surrounded by families on their day out... Bright lights and decorations all around. Walking into a fancy shopping mall to get away from the cold and leaving the building an hour later with half of your Christmas shopping already done.
That's a pleasant mental image, isn't it? And around this time of year, you will struggle to find a town anywhere in Europe that does not make an effort to create that extra special Christmas atmosphere. We would not dare to tell you that we have decided which ones are best (how does one decide that anyway), hence we are not calling this the "7 best Christmas destinations" or anything like that, but here are 7 places that we think are worth highlighting. Highlights in most of these places are, of course, the Christmas markets...
The throngs of tourists descending upon Bruges in summer may not realise this, but Bruges is one of those cities that is actually more appealing in winter. An ice rink is set up on the market square, buildings are spectacularly lit up and small Christmas markets dot the center of town. Head for a stroll around the canals after darkness sets in and you will be hard pressed to find a more attractive town anywhere else in Europe.
Okay, so if you know anything about Christmas markets in Germany, the inclusion of Nuremberg is not exactly going to be surprising to you. But for those of you less familiar with it, it just may be. The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is huge and the most famous in Germany, pretty much defining the whole concept: the old town gets filled with nearly 200 stands selling everything from Christmas decorations, mulled wine, gingerbread and bratwurst. It's all in perfect harmony with the lovely historic town center.
Český Krumlov is a kind of mini-Prague and a UNESCO world heritage site that is a tourists favorite in summer months. In December it is not exactly empty here, but definitely less crowded. Combined with snow (fingers crossed) in December, the whole town takes on a magical atmosphere. And of course, Český Krumlov too has a Christmas Market. This is one to go purely for the atmosphere. Highly recommended.
With its German cultural background, it is no surprise that the Alsace does Christmas markets exceptionally well. In December, Colmar looks nothing short of a fairy tale. In fact the whole historic town center with its canals and half-timbered houses turns into a Christmas market: châlets all around sell everything from Christmas decorations to pastries and sweets.
We just discussed a town in a French region with a German background (Colmar). Now its time to discuss a town in an Italian region with a German background: Bolzano! Located in South Tyrol, it houses Italy's most famous Christmas market. The mix of Italian and German influences makes this one of the most interesting markets in Europe, and the romantic backdrop of the town with its arcaded streets and a good chance of snow in winter doesn't hurt either. The gastronomic variety is even better than in some of the other markets mentioned here, mixing the northern European and the Mediterranean. Oh, and even without all the Christmas there is plenty to see and do here. Ötzi?
Salzburg is basically the quintessential Christmas destination in Europe. The castle towering over the town and brightly lit, the streets often covered with a blanket of snow and Cathedral Square filled with the yearly Christmas market selling everything from Christmas ornaments to mulled wine, Lebkuchen and caramelised almonds. And if you get bored of strolling the town and market, why not pack your skis and head up the mountain in one of the nearby ski resorts?
Wroclaw is picturesque. During the Christmas season this becomes even more the case. Poland seems more in touch with the religious origins of the festive season than the rest of Europe, which makes it a joyful place to spend some days around Christmas. The Rynek (Main Square) and Swidnicka Street house the Christmas market and an ice rink. At the market you will find the typical type of Christmas market food, but also Polish Christmas decorations and gifts which make for nice souvenirs.
Travel Indicator has quite a bit of functionality under the hood that may not be immediately obvious to all of our users who are just starting to use the website. One of those functions we would like to highlight today is the ability to search and filter down the hundreds of holiday destinations that we cover on their weather.
Simply put, if you are looking for a summer travel destination and want to avoid places with too much rain or lower temperatures, you can filter those out. Or if you are looking for warmer weather in winter or colder weather in summer, or cold destinations in winter with a high chance of precipitation... you get the idea.
Better yet, all of this can be combined with the regular searches on themes. So if you are looking for a mountainous destination in a remote area, but you want to have a good chance of warm weather, Travel Indicator enables you to do so. Finally, besides historical temperatures we also show you the current 14 day weather outlook for every destination. We download the maximum temperatures for the next 2 weeks and show you the range of them below every destination. In summary it looks something like this:
Remember that filtering down on expected temperature and rainfall works in combination with the selected months of your search. If you search in August, we will combine it with the data for August. Change your search to December and that is what you get.