Stay A While: Five Destinations Worth Visiting For A Few Weeks – Or Longer
Mykonos, Greece. Photograph by Getty Images
We may not have had a holiday for a while, but we like to look on the bright side at MR PORTER. One of the few benefits of never venturing farther than the Costa del Couch in more than a year is that some of us have accrued a considerable amount of holiday to use in the coming year. Dreaming up ways to spend those extra weeks of annual leave is hardly a chore, but while many destinations could easily keep you occupied for a week, some places need a bit more time to explore fully and warrant a longer stay. Here are a few ideas for making the most of a longer holiday of two weeks or more.
Island hopping in Greece
Folegandros, Greece. Photograph by Mr Vasilis Tsikkinis/Getty Images
There’s more to the Greek Cyclades than Santorini and Mykonos. More than 220 islands make up this postcard-perfect Aegean paradise. Visiting one or two is perfectly acceptable for a long-weekend jaunt, but an extended stay allows for a more immersive experience, which could include sailing, snorkelling and wreck diving.
Skip the hotel and, instead, book a home away from home with The Greek Villas, a premium rental outfit with plenty of properties dotted around the Cyclades, such as Villa Russell on the island of Kea, where you can dive the Patris shipwreck, or Villa Holiday on Antiparos, a prime spot for snorkelling.
Zip between islands via public and high-speed private ferries, or try SamBoat, a peer-to-peer boat rental service (like the Airbnb of the sea), which lets you hire boats of all budgets for a day, a week or longer.
What to pack
A natural adventure in Iceland
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland. Photograph by Mr Puripat Lertpunyaroj/Getty Images
Iceland is practically the perfect size for a two-week trip and, because it’s packed with otherworldly natural wonders at almost every turn, it’s easy to plan a self-guided scenic tour. Build your trip around the Ring Road, the Nordic nation’s main artery, which provides direct access to must-see sights such as the iceberg-studded Diamond Beach and the thrashing Goðafoss waterfall. With two weeks, there’s time for detours. Traverse the lava fields of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, go whale-watching on the Arctic Coast Way and spy puffins in the remote Westfjords.
Top or tail your tour with a stay at The Retreat At Blue Lagoon, just outside Reykjavík. There’s a reason why the high-concept hotel is at the top of everyone’s list – it’s simply unlike anything else. Soak it up in style with a suite, which grants guests exclusive private access to the mineral-rich, geothermal lagoon waters.
What to pack
An epic African safari
Okavango River in Shakawe, Botswana. Photograph by Mr Wynand Uys/Unsplash
African safaris are often billed as once-in-a-lifetime trips, but to experience only one safari in one destination would be to miss out on the staggering diversity in geography and wildlife between countries. While time is on your side, consider a multinational journey, such as the Best of East and Southern Africa Safari by eco-tourism company Great Plains. Spanning 24 nights and three countries, this undeniably epic adventure starts in Kenya with stays in the Maasai Mara, site of the Great Migration (when you’ll see herds of wildebeest and zebra crossing rivers), and at ol Donyo Lodge, in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro and on the border of Chyulu Hills National Park.
Next up is Botswana’s lush Okavango Delta wetlands, followed by a stay at the well-appointed Selinda Camp in the Selinda Reserve, home of the famous Selinda pride of lions from the National Geographic film Birth Of A Pride by Great Plains’ founders Mr Dereck and Ms Beverly Joubert.
The final leg takes you through Zimbabwe with a few nights at Matetsi Victoria Falls, just 25 miles upstream from the dizzying majesty of Victoria Falls, and the new Tembo Plains Camp, nestled in the dense riverine forests on the banks of the Zambezi River. Yes, there are still many more African safari destinations to explore, but this is a roaring start.
What to pack
High altitude and high culture in Argentina
Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina. Photograph courtesy of Explora el Chaltén
Argentina has it all. From marvelling at the Iguazú Falls, sipping malbec in the sky-high winelands of Mendoza and digging into grass-fed bife de lomo good enough to make you weep in Buenos Aires, travellers need a minimum of two weeks just to make a dent in this country’s seemingly endless inventory of attractions and activities.
The one place you can’t miss? Argentinian Patagonia. With towering views over the Electric Valley and the Marconi Glacier and multiple daily expeditions that include overland trips, ice hikes and rock climbing in Los Glaciares National Park and Mount Fitz Roy, the soon-to-open Explora El Chaltén is your best bet for a base camp. Stay a minimum of four nights to get your fill of the spectacularly dramatic surroundings.
What to pack
The ultimate US West Coast road trip
Pacific Ocean at Big Sur, California. Photograph by Getty Images
It’s not all about the destination, it’s about the journey – and nowhere is this truer than on a quintessential West Coast road trip from San Diego to Seattle. Driving the mythic Pacific Coast Highway and Route 101 through California, Oregon and Washington requires a solid chunk of time because there’s just so much to see along the way.
While it’s impossible to tick off everything, Californian highlights include SoCal surf spot Huntington Beach and the cliff-hugging, twisting roads of Big Sur, where you can treat yourself to a night in one of the cloud-high cabins fashioned from recycled redwood at Post Ranch Inn.
In Oregon, don’t miss the superlative Crater Lake or the lovable weirdness of Portland. And Washington’s moss-draped Hoh Rainforest and the orca-filled waters of the Puget Sound, just off of Seattle, should also be added to every itinerary.