Reset Inspiration #004
Making decisions is hard, especially when it comes to some well deserved R&R. We've taken the hard work out of your holiday planning so you can sit back, relax, and rest assured that we're here to offer a helping hand with some inspiration each month, covering the why, when, and most importantly, where.
Relax: Stellenbosch - South Africa
When: October - March
South Africa's wine country is something that needs to be seen to be believed. Whether you're after world-famous wines, mouth-watering gastronomy, or scenery you could only dream of, Stellenbosch is the perfect destination to tickle all three fancies. With some of the best restaurants on the continent at unbelievably affordable prices, Stellenbosch is a great way to have a luxury holiday without the luxury price-tag. Just a 40 minute drive from Cape Town, a trip to the wine country can fit comfortably between a more cosmopolitan exploration of the city, and a safari on the other side.
Make sure to visit Babylonstoren for dinner; their restaurant produces meals made only with the produce of their own land, which is open to the public. Spier Winery organises picnic baskets for all diets, which you can enjoy on the vast grounds of the resort for only £30 per person. If you're stopping in Cape Town, try hiking to the top of Table Mountain (or alternatively get a cable car if you're not quite feeling up for it) and finish it off with a cocktail in Camp's Bay.
Where to Stay: For a true Stellenbosch experience it is worth forking out for a night or two in a winery, but the town itself has plenty of gorgeous boutique hotels that are very affordable.
Culture: Bagan - Myanmar
When: October - May (Dry Season)
Myanmar has only been widely open to tourism for less than a decade, yet the top-notch hospitality of the locals is the very first thing you will notice. Every restaurant, hotel, and guest house meet their visitors with attentive kindness, which after a long, sweaty exploration of Bagan's temples feels like coming home.
Make sure to dress respectfully when exploring Bagan, and consider renting an electric bike to get around the thousands of temples waiting to be discovered. Waking up at sunrise to see the hot air balloons float across the sky is a must, and if you're really keen, you could even book yourself onto one of them. Temperatures can reach over 40 degrees by midday, so consider exploring the temples early in the morning, or at dusk. And in the evenings, try Sharky's restaurant, which produces much of its excellent food in-house.
Where to Stay: Depending on how you get around, you can either choose to stay in the main town and explore the temples by foot, or alternatively there are plenty of affordable larger hotels on the outskirts of the historical site that often offer electric bikes to whiz around on.
Adventure: Chania - Crete
When: April - June & September - October
With crystal clear waters, as many gorges as you could ask for, winding cobbled streets, and new sights to be found on every corner, Chania is a dream if you're looking for a little bit of everything. Visiting Crete in low season makes for emptier streets and comfortable temperatures whilst the sea stays warm (even in October!), and just like most Greek towns, they really come alive at night. Make sure to spend time in Chania's Old Town from dusk onwards, leaving time for you to go on adventures during the day; from Samaria Gorge to the Gouverneto Monastery hike.
We'd highly recommend renting a car, which not only allows you to visit Crete's natural wonders, but also other towns. Rethymno is about an hour away, home to a gorgeous fortress worth exploring early in the morning. Southern Crete also has lots of quaint villages with taverna a-plenty just waiting to be explored, whilst the drive there which takes you between cliffs and gorges is half the fun. For more Greek inspiration, check out our recommendations for Santorini.
Where to Stay: We recommend finding a hotel in the Old Town. During off-peak season, some of the nicer hotels lower their prices to very affordable rates, meaning that souvlaki and sight-seeing are right on your doorstep.