Best alternatives to a beach holiday

Summer is traditionally the time when we all scrounge around in our wardrobes in search of our swimsuits and try them on for size. A sunny beach holiday abroad in places like Spain or Greece is a popular choice for many holidaymakers. However, if you’re not too keen on lazing about under the sun or swimming in the sea, then there are plenty of other summer holiday options available to you.

Here are a few points of inspiration:

Cruise Holiday

A lot of people complain that there is simply not enough to do on a traditional beach holiday. The water is lovely, but it tends not to offer much beyond swimming or snorkelling. If the beach has you bored, then consider taking a cruise instead. It’s true that many cruise ships dock near popular beaches, but travelling aboard a cruise ship opens up the possibility for so many different activities.

These days, ships are outfitted with excellent entertainment and leisure facilities. That’s all on top of the fabulous shore excursions that are available. Perhaps you can explore ancient Roman ruins in exotic Tunisia or other dazzling cultural centres along the Mediterranean Sea. If you’d like to avoid the heat all together, why not choose a Scandinavian or Arctic cruise where you can view amazing wildlife, beautiful landscapes and glaciers even in the summer months.

Cycling Holiday

There is no better way to soak in your surroundings than on a bicycle. Cycling puts you at the perfect speed where you can make your way through towns and villages at a pace that is slow enough for you to appreciate the sights, but fast enough to ensure that you get the most out of your travels.

Increasingly, dedicated cycling holidays have become a popular option for holidaymakers wanting to get away from it all and burn a few calories along the way. Whilst there are many excellent cycling destinations all around the world, it’s hard to beat the French and Swiss Alps in terms of natural beauty. The elevated rides through these storied mountains are a challenge for even the most experienced cycler, but the rewards are immense. For those interested, there are plenty of holiday companies that now offer packaged multi-day and even multi-week cycling holidays through the Alps.

City Holiday

If culture is what you’re after this holiday, look no further than big cities. Destinations like New York, Paris and Berlin have a lot to offer visitors in a relatively small area. Large and capital cities are always filled with interesting cultural and historic sights, as well as excellent restaurants and nightlife. Every major city in the world has its own personality and you’ll be assured plenty to do no matter where you end up. Take Berlin for example. You could easily spend days exploring the archaeological and historical treasures housed in the city’s famous Museum Island and a whole lifetime discovering the city’s quirky nightlife and trendy eateries.

Volunteer Holiday

This is the perfect solution if you’re looking for a holiday that won’t break your budget or you want to experience something new and unique. Volunteering is an incredibly rewarding experience and can take you to the far corners of the globe. Organisations ranging from English language schools to medical and health centres are in constant search of eager volunteers ready to make a difference.

Depending on the volunteer program, some trips can come at little or no cost to you. As an added bonus, volunteering looks great on a CV and may help your job or university prospects in the future.With a little research, you could find yourself teaching English in Japan or helping out various community projects in Tanzania. There’s no arguing that the beach is a relaxing destination that has come to represent the traditional summer holiday. But there is also nothing wrong with breaking tradition either. If you’re not in the mood for endless sun worshipping and bathing in the sea, feel free to try something new this year.

Whether you choose cycling, volunteering, cruising or exploring a new city, as long as you follow your passion and interests, you’ll know that you’ve made the right decision

  •  Mikey D is a freelance writer, with a passion for travelling.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]

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