The most popular pre-COVID long-haul destinations for Germans
Winter is showering Germany (and other central European countries) with rainstorms, snow and ice. The short, grey days let many Germans escape towards the sun.
Sun, sand and sea are still favourites and relaxing on the beach to enjoy a prolonged summer - this is how most Germans imagine their perfect autumn and winter holidays (November through to March).
But what are the most popular pre-COVID long-haul destinations for Germans?
Here are the ten most popular pre-COVID long-haul destinations for Germans during winter
Source: Lufthansa (the national German airline).
1. Dominican Republic
The Caribbean island paradise ranks No 1 this winter with the Germans. Fantastic sandy beaches, azure waters and temperatures around 30 degrees make the Dominican Republic in the autumn an ideal destination for sun-seekers. The absolute highlights for bathing are the paradisiacal beaches with palm trees on the Samana Peninsula and the Costa del Coco in the east of the island.
The "Sunshine State" attracts with a total of 1,400 kilometres of coastline. Florida is a peninsula whose east coast is on the Atlantic Ocean and the west coast is on the Gulf of Mexico. The east coast is a mecca for surfers. Palm Beach, Cocoa Beach or Bay at Sebastian Inlet are just a few hot spots where surfers ride the whole year on perfect waves. The nightlife here is at least as turbulent as the Atlantic and many restaurants and clubs are located along the waterfront. The Gulf of Mexico brings warm and calm waters. The beaches are perfectly suited for a relaxing vacation. The temperatures will be at a pleasant 25 to 28 degrees. Additional attractions in the Sunshine State are the Everglades National Park, Kennedy Space Center and Walt Disney World Resort.
The Seychelles are for many Germans the epitome of a dream trip: deserted powdery sand beaches, turquoise water and luxuriant flora and fauna that makes one believe to be in paradise. Due to the proximity to the equator year-round temperatures are ranging between 25 and 30 degrees. The cultural centre of the Seychelles is the main island of Mahé which offers a wide selection of restaurants and hotels as well as many recreational activities such as diving or sailing trips around Mahé.
4. Sri Lanka
The island nation in the Indian Ocean, although smaller than the state of Bavaria, boasts eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A two thousand year old culture, endless beaches and exotic flora and fauna attract year after year more visitors. The national parks are home to leopard, water buffalo, exotic birds and monkeys which you can observe on elephant back in their natural environment. The mountains are lined with tea plantations like green carpets, which can be explored on foot or by railway. The deserted sandy beaches stretch around the entire island and the temperatures are a moderate 28 to 30 degrees.
Located in the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand is truly the "Land of Smiles". Sun-kissed beaches, an amazing underwater world and the Buddhist culture attract the German tourist. Whether backpacking, an active holiday or a family vacation - Thailand offers the perfect holiday for everyone and deserves to be among the most popular tourist destinations worldwide. Starting point for many tourists is the capital Bangkok from where travellers journey into the highlands to Chiang Mai or to the beaches of Phuket, Ko Samui or Ko Kadan. In addition to these beautiful destinations Thailand has more than 500 islands, from small to large and from developed for tourism to almost deserted. What unites all the regions is the constant good weather. Even in January temperatures prevail around 30 degrees.
Those looking for cultural treasures and breathtaking landscapes, will be rewarded in Vietnam. More than 3,000 kilometres of coastline, two vibrant cities and diverse nature provide plenty of variety. Travellers who want to plunge into the bustling city life will feel right at home in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City while those seeking peace and relaxation will find it in the jungle-like national parks. Beach holidays are big in Vietnam - Nha Tang is perfect for the young party animals, Mui Ne is a paradise for kitesurfers and the island of Phu Quoc offers pristine nature that invites you to relax. A mystic idyll awaits visitors in the Ha Long Bay. Nearly 2,000 limestone islands rise up more than 100 metres out of the majestic sea.
Special highlights are the floating markets of Cai Rang and Cai Be in the Mekong Delta, which offer not only fruit and vegetables from local producers, but also clothes and makeup. Climatically the country is divided into three zones. The South and Central regions have a tropical climate and it is warm all year round. The North around Hanoi is blessed with winter dry subtropical climate. The best time to visit Vietnam is from November to April.
The Maldives fulfil every cliché of a dream island vacation. Located 500 km south of India, the Maldives are a paradise for beach holidays and scuba diving. Palm fringed powder-fine sand beaches, turquoise waters and a fascinating underwater world attract every year many stressed-out travellers. Nowhere else can you relax better and rejuvenate your soul than in the Maldives. The golden beaches, green lagoons and exclusive spas are of the highest level. The crystal clear water lets you encounter huge schools of fish and colourful coral reefs while diving. Numerous other activities are a welcoming change from the beach life and a visit to the capital Malé offers insight into the culture and history of this amazing island nation.
When one thinks of Mauritius, immediately images of white beaches with palm trees and azure water pop into your mind. Rightly so, because this paradise in the Indian Ocean is a true natural beauty and with the many idyllic beaches a real bathing heaven. Mauritius is considered a cultural melting pot based on its colonial past and the island combines different ethnic groups. So it is no surprise that Hindu temples, churches and mosques dominate the skyline. The scenery of Mauritius enchants its visitors with impressive mountain ranges of volcanic origin and lush sugar cane plantations. In addition, visitors are spoilt with a variety of recreational activities and the national parks can be explored on foot, by mountain bike or by horse and carriage.
Cuba is the largest island of the Antilles and the epitome of Caribbean vitality. The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico make the seemingly endless white sand beaches a perfect place for swimmers and sunbathers. With a Mojito in hand and hot Rumba rhythms from the beach one quickly forgets everyday life and becomes one with the Cuban serenity. The capital Havana, with its three million inhabitants, is the cultural and political hub of the island. The colonial charm of the past is still present here. The historic Old Havana was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. While strolling through the picturesque alleys up to the cathedral and through the avenue El Prado or El Morro or to the legendary fortress on the opposite side of the harbour, you feel the strong Spanish influence.
Many natural beauties await the visitor. The Baconao Park near Santiago de Cuba is a popular recreation area. The grounds are home to a botanical garden, an aquarium and many other attractions. Because of its varied vegetation the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the wildly romantic Zapata peninsula lies the Montemar Nature Park, the largest contiguous wetland in the Caribbean which is the home of countless water birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
10. South Africa
The diversity of South Africa, from deserts and forests to bizarre mountain ranges and many beautiful beaches, characterizes the image of the country at the southern tip of Africa. Not only the landscape but also the climate is unique. The East is mild and almost Mediterranean, the Northeast is throughout the year tropical and warm. The Western Cape region in the far Southwest of South Africa offers not only the well known city of Cape Town but also one of the most famous travel routes of the country - the Garden Route with the most beautiful seaside resorts such as Mossel Bay, Wilderness, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. The bungy jump from the 216 meter high Bloukrans Bridge east of Plettenberg Bay is truly an adventure of a lifetime.
Further northeast, the province of KwaZulu-Natal offers many beautiful beach sections and the multicultural city of Durban. The Drakensberg, the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, awaits nature lovers with numerous national parks. To complete your South Africa experience, go on a safari through the Kruger National Park, situated in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, where you can meet the famous "Big Five" of Africa - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard.
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