From adventurous trysts and historical extravaganzas to epicurean explorations and shopping sprees, every brood has a holiday mood. This festive season, weʼve rounded up the worldʼs best destinations to suit every clanʼs plans. After all, the family that vacays together, stays together!
BY RHEA MULANI
FOR ADVENTURE ADDICTS
QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand
Welcome, or as the locals say, “Nau mai, haere mai,” to the Adventure Capital of the World! Blessed with verdant environs that play host to a plethora of activities on land, in water, and the sky, is it any wonder that anyone seeking an exciting holiday heads to this lively destination? Those looking for a rush of adrenaline should begin with bungee jumping at Kawarau Bridge, the birthplace of this extreme sport. Try and touch the river below as you leap from a height of 43 metres! Or go Tandem Skydiving at Shotover Street to free fall with an experienced instructor—the views of Lake Wakatipu and surrounding mountains (aptly named The Remarkables) are sure to take your breath away. After all that high-energy activity, unwind with your kids on a slower, expert-led kayak ride down the same scenic lake you had seen from the sky, before hopping aboard the Skyline Gondola to ascend 450 metres to Bob’s Peak. Here, partner with your child for a speedy ride downhill on a three-wheeled cart called a luge. Be sure to try jet-boating on Shotover River to feel the exhilarating pleasure of racing past towering canyons with the wind in your face!
Don’t miss: Queenstown Gardens, a green oasis ideal for family picnics and exploratory rides on Segways.
Thrill thrives in the thick of this dense jungle— possibly the best destination to introduce children to creatures of the wild at their candid best. Large families will fi nd this erstwhile royal stomping ground perfect for spending quality time together as they trace the Royal Bengal Tiger’s pugmarks on jeep safaris through the Ranthambore National Park. If you’re lucky (and silent), you could spot this elusive cat on the prowl in its natural habitat. All of the park’s safari zones are open to visitors from October to June, so this is the best time to get up close and personal with nature in this deciduous forest, also home to the sambar and spotted deer, sloth bears, leopards, langurs, crocodiles, and an impressive variety of birds. And if you want to take things up just a notch, hop on a hot-air balloon ride for a gorgeous view of the entire park. Sure to delight the little ones!
Don’t miss: A visit to Jogi Mahal on the banks of the Padam Talab. A former royal hunting abode, it now serves as a
FOR UNAPOLOGETIC SHOPAHOLICS
DUBAI, The United Arab Emirates
From mega malls to street-side souks, no one does retail therapy quite like Dubai! Couture connoisseurs, head downtown to the world’s largest shopping centre, The Dubai Mall, and browse through over 1,200 stores offering an exquisite range of everything your heart may desire—almost!—including the legendary attar at Ajmal. Meanwhile, the kids will have a great time at the mall’s ice-skating rink or trampoline park. Make sweet memories at the Al Nassma Chocolate Shop, the first and only maker of camel milk chocolate. From here, drive 15 minutes to Deira, a heritage district of souks brimming with dates, saffron, and sumac for a fragrantly wonderful experience and some great gifts for the folks back home. Finally, head to the nearby Gold Souk for some artisanal treasures— here, all that glitters
really is gold!
Don’t miss: Unwind at a desert camp with camel rides, dances, and sumptuous delicacies!
FOR NATURE LOVERS
What’s in store for you in a tiny seaside paradise in God’s Own Country, you ask? Landscapes punctuated by blue waters, lush, green fields, and chirping birds, of course! Book an overnight stay aboard a kettuvallam (houseboat), while cruising down the tranquil Karamana River for a dreamy excursion. With delicious Malabari fare included! The piquant meen (fish) curry is a must-try, and the kids will love the fluffy appams, all prepared on the boat! You can also try paddle boating in a traditional catamaran at the Hawah Beach, before heading to the popular Lighthouse Beach to catch the glorious sunset. A short drive from Kovalam is the verdant expanse of the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Climb to its highest point here to enjoy a lovely picnic in a stunning setting. Or try its famous lion safari! Wrap up your trip with a couple’s Ayurvedic massage at a wellness resort. Truly heaven on earth!
Don’t miss: See the fishermen in their element at Vizhinjam Village, a fishing harbour in the city.
FOR ART AND ARCHITECTURE FANS
The centuries-old historic monuments and an abundance of antiquity justify why Rome wasn’t, in fact, built in a day. Start your artistic journey at the world’s largest church, St. Peter’s Basilica. Climbing up its majestic dome, designed by Michelangelo, is a must-do here. You can use the stairs or the elevator. Either way, the view from the top is worth it! The kids simply love it and you’ll get some amazing pictures, too. Sign up for a guided tour of the grand Colosseum, a landmark amphitheatre originally used as a battleground for gladiators. A symbol of enigmatic Roman engineering, the Pantheon is a must-visit, not just because of its offering of free entry for children. Next, head to the nearby Baroque-style Trevi Fountain. When in Rome do as the Romans do and toss a coin into this spring to ensure you return to this bellissima Eternal City. Couples, don’t forget to take a sip from the adjacent Fountain of Lovers to seal that eternal romance. Also, do make sure to reserve an evening for a theatrical show at the I Virtuosi dell’opera di Roma. And once you’ve done with all the sightseeing, there’s always pizza!
Don’t miss: Villa Borghese Gardens for a boat ride on its lake and cycling around on a four-seater e-bike.
FOR THE FOODIE FAMILY
LONDON, The United Kingdom
The UK’s capital is famous for whetting one’s appetite for all things iconic. Quite literally, given their array of culinary treasures! Foodies will delight in beginning their mornings with a full English breakfast comprising eggs, baked beans, bacon, and grilled tomato at the famous Caravan restaurant in King’s Cross; they also serve contemporary meals for those who like to keep their holiday calories in check. Make a trip to the iconic Borough Market packed with stalls selling tasty fare: try the Scotch eggs, a quintessential British snack of deep-fried eggs wrapped in sausage meat. For a more regal repast, head to the Ritz London for a traditional British Tea: a platter of scones, sandwiches, and beverages—there’s even a Children’s Afternoon Tea menu! All-adult groups must visit the Bermondsey Beer Mile, a popular stretch of breweries, that’s sure to leave you craving more treats.
Don’t miss: The London Eye, with great views of Buckingham Palace, the Big Ben, and more.
FOR RELAXATION SEEKERS
BAA ATOLL, Maldives
Time and tension cease to exist at this ring-shaped atoll, home to several gorgeous coral reef bays and resort islands, all merely half an hour from the country’s capital, Malé, by seaplane. Whether you’re a couple on a romantic getaway or parents travelling with toddlers, a relaxing escape is assured. Simply book a waterfront villa at any of the many luxury resorts here for indulgent days spent unwinding on an ocean-side deck, wading in a private pool, getting massages, and eating delicious food— all while being cut off from the hustle and bustle of city life. Or dive into serenity at Hanifaru Bay, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, to enjoy guided snorkelling amongst whale sharks. A short boat ride will take you to Milaidhoo Island, where a swim in crystal-clear waters, with hundreds of mantas gliding beneath you, makes for an experience of a lifetime. Now here’s an island we don’t mind getting stranded on!
Don’t miss: Dine at an underwater restaurant with stunning views of sea life and coral reefs.