Turning 18 is a huge milestone worth celebrating. While you can never go wrong with presents, a cake, and a bash, an 18th birthday deserves extra flair and pizzazz. And what better way to mark this fresh chapter in life than by travelling?
Becoming an adult brings new responsibilities, perks, and adventures. Travelling, whether with friends or alone, highlights that sense of freedom and independence many young adults crave. On the other hand, going on a family trip is a fantastic way to bond and bring loved ones closer together.
Indeed, travelling is a great birthday gift. To help you pick the right destination, here are five ideas for the best 18th birthday celebration trip.
1. Try the Ring of Picos Challenge, Spain
The Ring of Picos (Ring of Peaks) is a circular trekking route in the Picos de Europa National Park, a 671 square kilometre UNESCO Biosphere Reserve spanning three regions in northern Spain. The area is known for its dramatic sceneries, rich flora and fauna, and towering mountainous peaks, said to be the first sight sailors returning from the Americas see upon reaching Europe.
Covering 120 kilometres of breathtaking landscapes, the Ring of Picos takes about five to six days to complete. The route is challenging and requires scrambling up rocky summits and steep mountain paths. But the views are rewarding and worth the effort. Along the way, you will pass lush meadows, deep gorges, ancient forests, rare wildlife, glacial lakes, epic lookouts, and isolated villages that remain untouched by time.
More than an adventure, a trek on the Ring of Picos is a cultural experience. You will sleep in mountain huts and learn about life in a rural village. Additionally, you get to sample the region’s tasty local delicacies, including Fabada Asturiana, a hearty bean and pork stew, and the celebrated blue cheese, Queso Cabrales.
2. Visit Kings Landing in Croatia
You don’t have to be a fan of the Game of Thrones to appreciate the stunning sights of Dubrovnik. From towering walls to narrow alleys to ancient towers, Dubrovnik is the real-life King’s Landing and an embodiment of an authentic medieval city.
You’ll easily recognise the immaculately preserved stone walls used countless times in the series. You can climb up the fortifications for a small fee and explore the entire circumference of the city while soaking up spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea.
St. Dominic Street in the Old Town was in many market scenes, while the Jesuit Staircase is where Cersei began her iconic walk of shame. The interiors of the 11th-century Fort Lovrijenac served as halls of the Red Keep, and Tresteno Arboretum, located about nine miles from the city, was the Red Keep’s gardens.
But no King’s Landing tour is complete without seeing the Iron Throne. Take a ferry to Lokrum Island, roughly 15 minutes from the city’s port, where you’ll find a small museum that houses Game of Thrones artefacts. Luckily, you do not need dragons, armies, royal birthright, or devious plotting to sit on the throne.
Finally, Dubrovnik is a gem worth exploring, Game of Thrones or not. And if you want to see more of Croatia’s top sights, you’ll find some excellent Croatian cruises that will take you around the county.
3. Go Skiing in Switzerland
Striking Alpine scenery, powder-covered peaks, thrilling vertical drops, and superb ski resorts – what’s not to love about skiing in Switzerland? Regarded as the first European country to create winter tourism, Switzerland has a long and celebrated skiing tradition. It has something for every kind of skier – steep runs for adrenaline-seeking experts and gentle slopes for amateurs to hone their skills.
Then, there are loads of après-ski options to choose from when it’s time to unbuckle your boots after the day’s skiing. Sip cocktails at a hilltop bar, soak your aching muscles in a hot tub, enjoy a massage at a spa, or swap stories by the fireside with other skiers.
Some of the top ski resorts in Switzerland are Verbier, Les Portes du Soliel, St Moritz, and Zermatt, home to the towering Matterhorn.
4. Experience the F1 in Italy
Eighteenth birthday or not, getting tickets for the F1 in Italy is going to impress any motor enthusiast. After all, Autodromo Nazionale Monza is one of the world’s most storied and exhilarating circuits. Here, you can bask in an incredibly festive atmosphere, marvel at cars speeding more than 350 kilometres per hour and enjoy the thrill of close racing.
The Monza circuit is an icon, not only because it’s smack in the middle of a lush parkland or because few other venues display such overwhelming support for the Ferrari team. The circuit is a legend.
Opened in 1922, it has hosted every Italian Grand Prix except for the 1980 race. It holds the record of the quickest track on the F1 calendar since 1991, thanks mainly to its long straights and fast corners.
If you like to see other places in Italy, Monza is merely 20 minutes by train to Milan, the country’s second-largest city. But if you prefer the calm and quiet of the countryside, head north to Lake Como, roughly 25 miles away.
5. Cruise the Greek Islands
There’s something uniquely magical about exploring Greece by sea. Imagine dreamy white sand beaches, ancient landmarks steeped in mythology, gleaming white-and-blue villages perched on seaside cliffs, fresh seafood galore, spectacular sunsets, and the deep brilliant blue of the Mediterranean.
Home to over 2000 islands, Greece is an island hopper’s paradise. And your choices are as boundless as your destinations. Fancy a relaxing yacht cruise with free-flowing champagne and candle-lit dinner under the stars. Or go for an adventure in a small boat and sail to less-known destinations full of hidden gems.
One advantage of cruising is you can visit as many spots as you want without the hassle of switching from one mode of transportation to another. Can’t decide whether to go to Mykonos or Santorini? Why pick one when you can go on a cruise that visits both islands?
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