After finally finishing the 2019 list it was time to agree travel priorities with the wife for the next few years. You might notice an overwhelming island theme through the list. That is because islands are awesome, especially when they have been formed by volcanoes. We have seen a lot of mainland Europe and some of these harder to get to places have captured our imagination.
Topping the list is the French island of Corsica in the north of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a big island, 181 km long by 80 km wide with its tallest peak being 2706 m high. The island has a permanent population of 339,000 which is much less than the smaller Spanish islands of Mallorca and Tenerife that have around 1 million. The main draw for us is the pretty nature and French cuisine. The place is probably going to be expensive so we will plan to be there for around a week.
The Turkish city of Antalya is on the northeast side of the Mediterranean Sea above Cyprus. It is famous for its beautiful mountains and lovely beaches. We would love rent a car and do a bit of traveling along the coast. Antalya is a good family destination – we can spend 3 weeks there without breaking the budget. Flights there are a bit expensive from Finland so we will need to search around for a good deal. Spring and autumn are also options. The summer can be a bit hot and humid.
Madeira is a Portuguese island 700 km off the coast of Morocco and 430 km north of the Canary Islands. The volcanic island is small being about 53 km long by 20 km wide with a permanent population of around 250,000. Madeira’s lushly vegetated jiggered rock faces and remoteness make it an interesting destination to explore. It is usually expensive to get there but we have seen tour agencies offering very attractive last minute deals so if we are patient and flexible we might get lucky.
#4 Gran Canaria
The Canary Islands are now our go-to place in the winter. Being able to enjoy sunshine and 26°C in December is a godsend. In 2021 we spent an unforgettable month in Tenerife. Let’s hope we can spend 2023 on the neighboring island of Gran Canaria. Accommodation and food are relatively cheap and internet connections work great so remote working is a possibility.
The Portuguese Azores island chain is located 1400 km west of Lisbon. The 9 islands that make up the chain spread over a distance of 600 km. All the islands are volcanic in origin with the oldest being dated as far back as 8 million years. The island is a hiker’s paradise with plenty of lovely trails. The Azores enjoy a mild climate all year round due to warm currents that move up from the tropics. We would like to get out here some time in the off season when it is less crowded but just like Madeira it requires finding affordable ticket.
The main attraction to Egypt is the famous Red Sea. It is regarded as a top diving location up there with the Maldives and Great Barrier Reef. While we are there we should probably also make a trip to the Pyramids and ancient city of Cairo. For this one we will probably wait till it is a bit easier to travel with our youngest daughter because the trip to Pyramids is over 10 hour return by bus. It is our understanding that the security situation in the country has already improved.
#7 Lefkada, Kefalonia and Zakynthos
You can’t go too wrong with any of the Greek islands. These 3 are on the west side of Athens and are part of the Ionian Islands chain. These islands are famous for their gorgeous white cliffs and turquoise water. We would probably try to island hop if it is possible. At least geographically the islands are close together. Greece gets too hot in the summer so the idea would be to visit in the spring or autumn.
The Greek island of Rhodes is close to the Mediterranean coast of Turkey and is the 4th largest Greek island. Rhodes has been inhabited since the ancient times moving between Greece and Turkey with the rise and fall of empires. When we go there it will be for the beaches and not the history though. I believe it might be possible to get to the island from Turkey which would mean we wrap it in with the Antalya trip, time permitting.
My wife Tania has an old school friend in Mexico and we have been looking for an opportunity to go visit. The beaches facing the Caribbean have caught my interest but there are also some nice beaches on the west coast as well. When we go to Mexico I would like to visit for a few months. There are also a bunch of National Parks that could be nice to check out as well.
#10 Costa Rica
We have heard a lot of good stuff about Costa Rica. It could be a gentle introduction to Central and South America. Crime is low and the people are said to be lovely. I am most interested in the rainforests and beaches.
Bonus Place: Iceland
The land of Ice and Fire. I have visited Iceland but my wife Tania hasn’t. I would definitely go back there because it is such a fascinating and unique place. Maybe early Spring could be a good time if we can find some affordable tickets. Iceland is an expensive destination so we will probably just go for a week. That should be enough time to loop the island.