Birthday trips are a wonderful way to celebrate a milestone birthday. Whether you want to party in Vegas with friends, tick off that bucket list destination with your partner or maybe take on a new challenge on a solo trip, the possibilities for birthday trips are endless – it’s your special day so everything can be just as you want it.
In this post I’ve put together over 50 brilliant birthday trip ideas for milestone birthdays. Because I can only have one birthday a year, I’ve enlisted the help of some of my favourite travel bloggers to tell me about their most memorable birthday travels.
Read on for fun, inspirational and adventurous ideas for places to travel on your birthday that’ll make travelling on your special day the perfect celebration.
- 21st birthday trip ideas
- 30th birthday trip ideas
- 40th birthday trip ideas
- 50th birthday trip ideas
- 60th birthday vacation ideas
- More fun places to go for your birthday
21st birthday trip ideas
A 21st birthday trip to Las Vegas
By Serena from Serena’s Lenses
Las Vegas is one of the best places to celebrate a birthday, whether it be your 21st birthday or 51st birthday. Known as the sin city, Las Vegas has something for everyone, whether you want to be nice or naughty.
Located in the desert of Nevada and only a 4-hour drive from Los Angeles, Las Vegas is the ultimate birthday trip destination because it offers endless choices of entertainment. I personally have travelled to Las Vegas several different times for different birthdays.
For my 21st birthday, my group of friends and I went “all out” in Las Vegas and we flew in Friday night from the Bay Area. Since we had more guys than girls in the group, we decided to visit Sapphire, one of the largest strip clubs in Las Vegas just to see what it’s like. The night ended embarrassingly when I threw up in front of a stripper and got escorted out, but hey at least we left in a limo!
The next night was more “tame” and we all went to the famous night club Xs, located between the Wynn and Encore.
For my 28th birthday I went to Las Vegas again with my parents and this time the celebration was much more relaxing, involving only Cirque du Soleil shows, shopping and eating on the Strip, some gambling in the casinos and a side trip to the Grand Canyon.
More travel inspiration
- Things to do in Ischia, Italy’s stunning island of thermal spas
- Why you need to book your trip to Vilnius, a CNN top destination for 2023 immediately
- Visiting San Marino: tips for your trip to one of the world’s smallest (and most magical) countries
Surprise 21st birthday trip to Amsterdam
By Gemma from Highlands2Hammocks
Where could be a better place to celebrate your 21st birthday than in a cosy caravan in the north of Scotland with your other half? That’s what my special day would involve with my other half, however, he had something much better in mind.
The day before my 21st birthday I woke up to find that we would instead be jetting off to Amsterdam, where we would be spending the weekend in a converted caravan by a lake.
The Netherlands is a country that had always been on my bucket list, so I was certain it would be the best place to spend my birthday. We were staying at Lucky Lake Hostel, a hostel of vintage caravans converted into dorms or private rooms.
The adjacent lake provided the perfect spot for a peaceful, morning stroll and there was even free breakfast of pancakes and eggs, served (of course) from a converted double-decker bus in the middle of the park. We were in cloud nine as we gorged on Dutch pancakes for breakfast and lay in our hammocks as the sun set.
Amsterdam is a city full of activities and history and the Lucky Lake hostel was a just brief train ride away from the city centre. We explored the town, dodging bicycles and soaked up the atmosphere in Dam Square for a blissful 3 days, swearing to return one day and do it all again.
21st birthday getaway partying in Ibiza
By Marta from Backpackers.wro
Ibiza is a Spanish island located in the Mediterranean Sea, not far from Majorca. Ibiza is known for the best clubs and parties, and during the summer it is full of young people from all over the world.
If you plan to visit Ibiza, don’t miss the Old Town and Castle, as well as Hippie Market, when you can buy some handmade souvenirs and clothes. My favourite place on the island is the Cafe del Mar. I love watching this the most beautiful sunset in this part of the world.
I had a fantastic opportunity to spend my 21st birthday in Ibiza. I celebrate my birthday in August, and that time I was in Ibiza, working in one of the chiringuitos (beach bar) during the summer season. As always, I finished work at 10pm, and honestly, I was not planning any birthday party.
Surprisingly, my friends took me to one of the biggest discos on the island – Amnesia for their famous Foam Party. We were partying until 6am when foam flew from the disco ceiling. It was a really refreshing experience! Finally, I was at home a few minutes before 8am, and at 9am, I had to be back at work again!
Celebrating a 21st birthday with friends in Savannah
By Sydney from A World In Reach
There are few places better to celebrate a 21st birthday than Savannah, Georgia. This charming city is full of fun things to do, delicious food, and exciting nightlife. It’s also a short drive away from the beach!
When I tagged along to celebrate my friend’s 21st birthday in Savannah, we spent our days drinking delicious frozen daiquiris from Wet Willie’s while exploring Savannah’s beautiful historic district (Savannah allows for drinking in the street as long as you’re in the historic district and if the drink is in a plastic container). Many restaurants in Savannah will even ask if you’d like a to-go cup for your alcoholic drink! A nice, refreshing cocktail is a great way to stay cool in the Savannah heat.
What’s a 21st birthday without hitting up some fun bars and clubs? If you’re looking for a nightclub for drinking and dancing, check out Club 51 Degrees, a huge nightclub where you can dance the night away. For a more relaxed vibe, check out the Alley Cat Lounge, a basement bar with great cocktails and a great atmosphere – this bar was my personal favourite!
While visiting Savannah, you won’t want to miss out on all of the delicious, Southern food that the city has to offer. Make reservations at the Olde Pink House for a special birthday dinner, and don’t forget to get ice cream from Leopold’s for dessert! If you’re ready to take a beach break, spend a day in nearby Tybee Island. This fun beach town is just a half-hour away from downtown Savannah!
21st birthday in Nepal
By Hanna from SolarPoweredBlonde
Still one of my favourite and most memorable birthdays was my 21st birthday in Nepal. I travelled here on a university placement in a hospital as a nursing student. I was staying in Pokhara with three other friends. We had no idea about the nightlife in Pokhara. There was an 11pm curfew whereby everyone was meant to be home and the street lights were off, as well as all bars closed. We had no idea that after the curfew, many bars do actually stay open for a while longer, behind closed doors!
After partying the whole night at the bar, we eventually decided to leave, after the curfew. We walked the 15 minutes back to our hotel in the dark with only our phone torches. We were followed by a few dogs who diligently made sure we made it home safely. Unfortunately we were met with another pack of dogs, and had to run away from a dog brawl.
Then, as we fell over the barriers to our hotel one by one, after a few too many birthday drinks, we were back in our hotel. I decided this wasn’t enough and I didn’t want my birthday celebrations to end! We ended up having a silent disco on the roof of the hotel amongst the washing!
Unfortunately for us, Nepalese hotels were not built for people dancing and jumping on the roof. Soon after the security guard came up to tell us that the hotel was shaking and could we please stop! We stopped and finally went to bed, but it will always be a memorable night.
Partying and sightseeing in Hong Kong for a 21st birthday
By Inna from the Executive Thrillseeker
I chose to celebrate my 21st by taking a birthday trip to one of the most dynamic and cosmopolitan cities in the world, Hong Kong. This city has a variety of entertainment for every taste. What attracted me most and made me choose it as my birthday destination is its vibrant nightlife and a great number of high-end clubs.
Along with that, at the time of my visit, Hong Kong was considered to be extremely safe. The city never sleeps and all the streets are illuminated at night, which made me feel quite comfortable and safe.
I spent a total of one week in Hong Kong, and for my special day, my friends and I went to an area called Lan Kwai Fong that is full of bars, karaoke, and clubs. We checked out a couple of places but the most memorable one was the club Dragon-i. This place truly is a playground for the rich and beautiful but the great thing is that it’s not overly exclusive, meaning that even normal people like us managed to get in with no problem.
So, my actual 21st birthday was spent partying, yet I also managed to explore some other highlights of Hong Kong. I climbed the Victoria Peak to admire gorgeous views of the city and spent a day on the beach. I also treated myself to an almost luxury shopping experience which I normally don’t do but since it was my birthday I made an exception.
Hong Kong is full of activities and I feel like I haven’t explored even half of them, so I’m looking forward to going back!
Celebrating a 21st birthday with penguins in South Africa
By Riana from Teaspoon of Adventure
One of my most memorable birthdays was turning 21 in Africa. I spent that summer interning with a psychology group at a children’s orphanage in Swaziland, in southern Africa.
On my actual birthday, my colleagues took me out for lunch and we celebrated with brownies that evening with my homestay family. But at the end of the week, we decided to kick the celebrations up a notch by heading to Cape Town, South Africa!
After a stressful last few weeks at our internship, my colleague (and travel buddy) and I were so excited to kick back and enjoy Cape Town. We loved walking along the waterfront and exploring the craft markets while eating delicious fresh seafood.
As a special treat, we headed up to Simon’s Town for a night to see the penguins! Boulder Beach in Simon’s Town is famous for its colony of resident African penguins – and they were the cutest! If you had told me I would be celebrating my 21st birthday with penguins on a beach in Africa I never would have believed you.
We rounded out the trip with a visit to Cape of Good Hope, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, and with views of Table Mountain. I would highly recommend celebrating a birthday in Cape Town! It’s a beautiful place with lots to see and do, and a great part of the world to discover.
30th birthday trip ideas
City break in Barcelona for my 30th birthday
My first real birthday trip was a city break in Barcelona for my 30th birthday. I knew I wanted to celebrate my birthday somewhere special and I’d seen loads of amazing pictures of the beautiful Gaudi buildings.
I travelled to Barcelona with my partner a couple of days before my birthday and we visited all the big Barcelona sights; the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, the Olympic Stadium and Las Ramblas.
I spent my actual 30th birthday in the stunning surroundings of Park Güell. I got my camera stolen from my bag while we were there, but it didn’t matter, I was just happy to be in such an amazing place to celebrate my 30th.
Barcelona is a brilliant place to travel to on your birthday because you can have whatever kind of birthday you want there. Want to celebrate over food and wine with friends? Spend your birthday on the beach? Take in some culture? Go to a funfair? See world-class football? For all of these and more, Barcelona has you covered.
A 30th birthday trip to Santorini
By Lindsey from Seven Day Weekender
Greece had been on my bucket list for a very long time – ever since I was in grade school and learned about Ancient Greek history, further amplified by the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens when I was in high school. I made this dream a reality on my 30th birthday, travelling to Athens, Mykonos and Santorini.
Greece is the perfect place for a big birthday trip because it’s nice for the majority of the year, the types of activities are endless and the food is out-of-this-world.
Although the entire 10-day trip for my 30th birthday was amazing, my favourite part of the trip, and the thing I think should be on everyone’s birthday list, was the ½ day catamaran tour my friend and I took in the caldera of Santorini.
This was the one thing my friend and I splurged on and I would do it again in a heartbeat! It was the most perfect way to see the island – and in my opinion is the only way to see Santorini, from the water, the way Poseidon intended.
We chose to go on an afternoon tour in order to maximize the heat of the day for swimming, lounging and eating. The views were unreal, and it was also the first time I had properly snorkelled. There were so many little fish swimming around me, and the water was also (and still has been to this day) some of the clearest I have ever seen!
It was an afternoon I will never forget, and when people ask me what my most favourite thing was while I was in Greece this will always come out on top.
A bucket list Key West road trip to celebrate my 30th birthday
By Kylie from Between England and Iowa
For my 30th birthday I ticked off a road trip that had been on my bucket list for quite a while! I drove from Miami, Florida to Key West through the Florida Keys with my husband. The journey itself is quite a short one, it’s around 160 miles which takes roughly 3 hours without any stops. The route is via what is known as the Overseas Highway, as it travels through 29 islands which are connected by 42 bridges!
My birthday is in December so travelling to the far south of Florida (and the most southern point of continental USA!) was very much welcomed treat and a bit of respite from the usual cold winter!
Key West is a great place to spend a birthday. Even though it’s part of the USA, it has a very Caribbean vibe to it. I got to hand feed nurse sharks at my hotel and they even gave me a free room upgrade to a beach front room as it was my birthday.
Not only did we go on a snorkelling trip and spent some time at the beach and chilling in hammocks, but Duval Street is the main place to go for evening entertainment. It is packed full with bars, restaurants and live music entertainment.
As it was my 30th birthday trip I took great pleasure in trying the different cocktails, of course I had to celebrate with pina coladas and rum punches! Each evening there is a sunset celebration at Mallory Square which is fun too.
Visiting Nusa Penida in Indonesia for my husband’s 30th birthday getaway
By Penny from GlobeTrove
When my husband Shawn turned 30, I wanted to make his birthday extra special and what better way to do it than to take a birthday trip.
While I was narrowing down on our choices, I finally settled on Indonesia because he loved it there the previous time we visited. The highlight of our trip was spending time on Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan. The numerous things to do on Nusa Penida made it our personal favourite.
While Nusa Lembongan was a chill place to kick back and relax, the views on Nusa Penida were stunning. Even our accommodation had a brilliant view of Mount Agung and we loved watching the sun rise over the horizon every morning.
Most people choose to head here as part of a day trip but trust me, staying on the island is an otherworldly experience. It is serene, peaceful, beautiful and the food is excellent. The only thing about the food is that it caters to the western palate more. Once you make peace with that (if you have to!), all is well.
A big bonus is that we could choose to mix up peaceful days with active ones. It suited Shawn and me well. In fact… it was perfect!
A spiritual 30th birthday trip in the mountains of Colombia
By Daniel from Layer Culture
Over the years I have got into the habit of travelling for my birthday. What I usually do, around 3 months before, is to start to make a list of places I’d like to see. Because I love to travel to Latin America, the places I choose for my birthday trips are usually within the continent. I travel on my birthday to be able to reflect on life and see how far I’ve come since the previous year.
For my big 30, I was lucky to have chosen a place in Colombia called Minca. For me, it was the perfect place to spend my 30th birthday, because I love to be surrounded by nature and feel at peace with myself. It is said that Minca is the sustainable capital of Colombia. So what I did was look out for Eco-lodges and yoga retreats to be able to maximise my spirituality during the stay.
Not only do I love Colombian culture but I like to learn more about myself from being in new environments and meeting new people. I felt that the Nuevo Mundo Eco Lodge, where I stayed, was at the perfect place for this type of introspection. Arriving in Minca, a small mountain village, I walked up to the lodge which took about 1 hour. It was all worth it to get the amazing view of the mountains at sunset.
Celebrating on a 30th birthday trip with friends in Andalusia
By Corina from Another Milestone
Your 30th birthday is an important milestone in everyone’s life, so when my friend said she wanted to celebrate her birthday in Andalusia, Spain, we agreed to join her. We had a road trip in Andalusia, Spain, and she decided to celebrate her 30th birthday in Cordoba.
Cordoba is a magical city and a great place to spend a day you will remember a lifetime. My friend was thrilled to walk the narrow white streets of the city until we found Calle de las Flores, to get lost in some patios full of red carnations in blue flowerpots, to enjoy a coffee in the Plaza de la Corredera and to explore la Juderia, the Jewish neighbourhood in Cordoba.
In the afternoon we visited Cordoba’s landmark La Mezquita, the Mosque-Cathedral with charming architecture. She said she had a great birthday, but that was not all. In the evening we prepared her a surprise and bought tickets for the light and sound show in the Alcazar de los Reyes palace.
The beautiful music, the fountains dancing and the story told using only sounds and lights touched her. She was impressed by the show and thanked us for the surprise.
We finished celebrating her 30th birthday with some tasty sangria in a local bar and she told us she had a perfect birthday.
Going on a cruise vacation for my 30th birthday
By Andrea at One Savvy Wanderer
I knew I had to do something special for my approaching 30th birthday. I just had my first baby 6 months prior and I was looking to get away just my husband and I to celebrate. As a new mom, I was looking forward to a relaxing vacation but also wanted the ability to let loose a little bit since we wouldn’t have any responsibilities. Taking a Caribbean cruise was the perfect trip that checked all the boxes for my 30th birthday celebration.
Being the budget-savvy traveller that I am, we were able to get cheap airfare using some of my favourite airfare hacks and we booked our cruise through Carnival because I’ve found that they are the most affordable cruise line.
When we got off the boat in San Juan, Puerto Rico, we took a taxi to the Isla Verde beach and found ourselves on the private beach of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Since we were not guests of the hotel, we probably shouldn’t have enjoyed the beach loungers, umbrellas and bar service, but they never asked if we were hotel guests so we made ourselves right at home for the day!
Since it was my actual birthday on the day we were in San Juan, we stopped at the Senor Frogs that is right by the port to take a quick celebratory birthday shot!
Overall, the Caribbean cruise was a fantastic way to celebrate my 30th birthday and I can’t wait for another reason to go back!
Celebrating with a 30th birthday trip to Peru
By Gigi from Beach Addicted
I am not sure about you, but I have always wanted to celebrate my birthday somewhere unusual and especially in a different country or even better on a different continent.
I was so excited to finally celebrate my 30th birthday in beautiful Peru. We choose Huacachina oasis near Ica, as I have never seen an oasis in my whole life. And to my surprise and expectations, my day was absolutely wonderful. In the morning we had an amazing breakfast, I opened my presents and we went for a walk to dunes. We were so impressed with a little oasis we have found.
After taking many pictures, of course, we walked all the way to the top for the outstanding view on Huacachina. We spent a few hours sitting in the sand, talking and planning our upcoming trip.
We went back to our hotel and had a few cocktails at the pool.
After, we just waited for the beautiful sunset and pinky sky. It was a very unusual and extraordinary birthday which I will never forget. Also Huacachina oasis belongs to one of the most beautiful places we have seen during our 4 weeks in Peru.
Turning 30 on a birthday trip to Cape Town’s best wineries
By Cal from Once in a Lifetime Journey
For my 30th birthday trip, my wife organised a bespoke weekend wine getaway of some of my favourite wineries near Cape Town and some surprises. While tourists usually head straight to Groot Constantia, the oldest winery in the Southern Hemisphere, I had been too many times to count, so we started in Stellenbosch.
This home to the local South African varietal Pinotage, a blend of Pinot Noir and Hermitage (or Cinsault). Kanonkop is the most awarded winery in the Cape and makes a delicious Pinotage.
Some wineries I love for the wine, others for the views, a few for the food and most for the general relaxed vibe. Uva Mira and Tokara have my favourite views in the area. Spier, Boschendal and Babylonstoren are all like little villages with their own working farms, hotels, spas and fine-dining restaurants.
Franschhoek is the French enclave of the Cape, which is a unique part of the otherwise Dutch heritage and architecture. La Motte was where we went, with a brilliant meal at Pierneef a La Motte.
We ended our weekend at the Hemel-en-Aarde wine valley in the Overberg which is famous for its land-based whale watching. The area, translated to Heaven and Earth, produces Burgundy-style cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and my goodness does it deliver. We powered through several wineries in the area and standouts were Bouchard Finlayson, Hamilton Russell, and the gastronomic Creation Wines.
There was no better way to spend my birthday weekend lapping up the sun and ocean breezes while sipping some of the most amazing wines in the world.
History and beaches on a 30th birthday trip to Egypt
By Monica from Ahlan Monica
Milestone birthdays like your 30th, are the perfect occasion for a once in a lifetime trip, and what better place than the cradle of civilization – Egypt! In recent times, the country has had its stability returning, and so are the tourists, which is why now is the ideal time to travel and a birthday is a perfect excuse to do so! Imagine experiencing Ancient Egyptian temples and even the Pyramids, (almost) all to yourself.
There really are SO many incredible places to visit in Egypt and unique experiences to have (even beyond the great pyramids!). I’ve been fortunate to travel to Egypt many times, including for my 30th birthday just this year!
When you first arrive in Egypt, in many ways it can feel like you’ve been transported to another world. Cairo is a great jumping-off point to any visit to Egypt. You’ll get to sharpen your bargaining skills at the local markets and get a feel for the local culture by visiting some of the many beautiful mosques.
Then travel through upper Egypt as the Ancient Egyptians used to – by sailing the Nile. Take a cruise down to visit Aswan and Luxor and all the incredible sites in between, many of which you’ll only have seen in movies or in your dreams!
Egypt also may not always be the first country that comes to mind when you think of a beach vacation, but they truly have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
If you’re looking to relax, definitely spending some time at a seaside resort is a must, with the option of either the Red Sea or Mediterranean (or why not both!). Immerse yourself in Egypt, a country full of rich cultures and history and who can forget, delicious food too
Halloween festival fun in Key West for a 30th birthday
By Derek from Robe Trotting
I celebrated my 30th birthday by travelling to Key West for their amazing Halloween-week party, Fantasy Fest.
Fantasy Fest is an annual celebration held the last week of October. The party peaks on the last Saturday of October with an over-the-top parade down Duval Street. Fantasy Fest has been compared to Mardi Gras or Carnival and from my experience that comparison is accurate. There is a lot of drinking and partying all week. The parade features costumed partiers tossing beaded necklaces to the crowd and the most popular costume is bodypaint.
The party mood in the city is contagious! We spent most of the day hopping from bar to bar on Duval Street. Key West’s nightlife made it the perfect place to celebrate my 30th birthday. Key West has all the charm of a Caribbean port city with the party vibes of New Orleans.
My birthday trip there was great because we were able to jump in and out of the party-scene by walking a few blocks off of Duval Street. We were able to enjoy a nice dinner and then stumble over to the bars quite easily. The weather is beautiful all year long and the locals and visitors are super-friendly and up for a good time.
30th birthday trip to the theatre in London’s West End
By Valerie from ValeriesAdventureTime
I wanted to see the Lion King Musical for as long as I can remember. The Lion King is and always has been my favourite Disney movie. I am not actually sure why it took me so long to see the musical but it turned out to be the perfect event for my 30th birthday this year. My boyfriend got the tickets for us and he bought the champagne package seats, which were incredible!
As the name says, we not only had a fantastic view and access to the ambassador lounge, we also got a glass of champagne and some ice cream during the interval. The musical itself… I mean… I am still speechless. Literally! I had to really pull myself together to not cry all the way through. It was breathtaking and I can only recommend it to literally anyone!
Besides the musical, I thought London was a great choice to celebrate my birthday. We did some sightseeing, went on the London Eye and visited the Dungeon which was loads of fun. On the day of the musical, we also had a slot booked to visit the Sky Garden. It is free to enter but you need to book your visit in advance. The view from up there is incredible and we booked our time so that we were able to watch the sunset over London.
From there we walked to Chinatown and had some delicious Chinese food before heading to the theatre. All in all, I’ve had a fabulous time in London and I thought it was the perfect way to celebrate my 30th birthday.
Going to New Orleans for a 30th birthday getaway
By Theresa from Fueled By Wanderlust
For my 30th birthday, my husband and I met my two siblings and their significant others for a weekend in New Orleans. These few days were filled with excitement and warm memories, but especially with lots of delicious food.
We opted to stay somewhere a little different, and booked the La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast in the Tremé neighbourhood, just north of the French Quarter. La Belle Esplanade was very New Orleans, with bright, vibrant colours and Mardi Gras beads livening up this beautiful historic building.
The next few days were spent eating all that we could. My husband and I had the first night to ourselves, and dined at Gabriel Restaurant, where we devoured items off their traditional creole menu. The next day we did a food tour of the French Quarter, which took us through all the NOLA staples, like po-boys and gumbo.
We capped these days off with fun nights on Frenchman and Bourbon Street. After doing a lot of bar-hopping, Three Muses on Frenchman street ended up being my favourite spot for its low-key atmosphere and great music. It was the perfect place to top off two and a half fun-filled days of celebrations before entering my 30’s.
40th birthday trip ideas
Taking my partner to Iceland for his 40th birthday
For my partner’s 40th birthday trip, we went to Iceland – a real dream destination for both of us. His birthday is in February, so Iceland was at its snowy, icy best. We didn’t manage to see the Northern Lights, but we did do the Golden Circle tour, and we went to the Blue Lagoon.
The day he turned 40, we took an amazing day trip to southern Iceland. The highlight of the day was getting to walk on the Sólheimajökull glacier. It was the first time either of us had seen a glacier and we were both in awe at how enormous it was, and how blue!
Iceland is definitely expensive, so isn’t the best place to go for a birthday getaway if you want to celebrate with lots of food and drink. For incredible experiences though, it’s a fabulous place to visit for your birthday. My partner’s 40th birthday holiday is one we’ll never forget.
Visiting the Norwegian fjords to celebrate my 40th
My partner’s a few years older than me, and after we went to Iceland for his 40th, I knew I wanted to go somewhere special for my birthday too. For a while we’d planned to go back to Iceland and drive the Ring Road, and even started a savings account to make it happen, but that money ended up going towards a house deposit.
With our house purchase about to go through, we didn’t have a lot of spare money, but I still wanted to do something memorable for my 40th birthday. I kept researching different places to go and even asked for ideas for a birthday trip on the listener questions segment of the Women Who Travel podcast.
Eventually, I came across Norway In A Nutshell, a loose, self-guided “tour” which offers various itineraries between Bergen and Oslo. Since Norway’s another really expensive country we cut costs by going for as short a time as possible, packing in as much as possible.
We only spent a day and a half in Bergen, then on my actual 40th birthday we travelled by train, boat and bus from Bergen to Oslo on a 15-hour journey that took in a UNESCO World Heritage-listed fjord, a road with 13 hairpin bends, countless waterfalls and one of the world’s great railway journeys.
We arrived in Oslo at nearly 11pm and flew back home the following day: maximum Norway in the minimum time, and a brilliant idea for a 40th birthday trip.
Getting away on a 40th birthday trip to Israel
By Bella from Passport & Pixels
I was terrified about turning 40. I’m single and child-free, and my 40th birthday felt like the end of my youth. I didn’t feel like celebrating at all, I didn’t want a party, I just wanted to get as far away from real life as possible and pretend it wasn’t happening. So I persuaded a friend to come with me to Israel for a week, and it was the best decision I could have made.
We based ourselves in Jerusalem, and spent two days exploring the city before heading out on day trips to see the rest of the country. I loved Jerusalem: the way the limestone walls glow in the sunlight, the way history and spirituality ooze from every pore, the way the people are so friendly and welcoming – if you’re feeling a little lost in life it really is a wonderful place to be.
On the day of my 40th birthday we took a trip to Masada and the Dead Sea. Masada is an ancient fortification that sits on top of a plateau and was the site of a famous siege in the first century; the history is fascinating and the views over the Dead Sea are spectacular.
Later in the day we descended back down to the Dead Sea itself and spent an hour or so messing about in the salty water.
Finally in the evening, it was back to Jerusalem in time for a delicious meal with celebratory cocktails. The day was so busy I barely even had time to remember it was my birthday – which was exactly how I wanted it!
Celebrating my 40th birthday on safari in Tanzania
By Alex Kallimanis of Wanderlust Marriage Travel
For my 40th birthday, I felt it should be something BIG. Fortuitously, I won a plane ticket at a Travel Massive event to anywhere in Africa that Turkish Airlines flies. Ultimately, I chose Tanzania because it’s one of the best countries for safari. It’s also home to Africa’s tallest mountain – iconic Mount Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar (aka Spice Island).
We took a 3 day safari in Tanzania – which included the National Parks of Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire. While Serengeti National Park is regarded as the best park to view the big five animals, we were still able to view four of the big five (we missed seeing leopards).
The National Parks of Tanzania are dramatically beautiful. The treasure trove of animals mingling in a vast plain like Ngorongoro resembles the Noah’s Ark fable. The resorts we stayed at like Maramboi Tented Camp were also beautiful.
When we arrived at the camp 3 giraffes crossed our path, with the sun setting behind them. You can hang out for drinks and enjoy breakfast as zebras and wildebeest graze around the property – which includes a pool deck.
Another fantastic spot is the Masai Lodge, nestled between Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. The wonderful people and vibrant culture of Tanzania also contributed to an epic 40th birthday!
An incredible 40th birthday trip to Machu Picchu
By Fiona from Passport and Piano
Every birthday is an event which should be celebrated, but certain milestones should be marked uniquely. For my 40th birthday, I wanted to travel somewhere that would provide unforgettable memories, and my trip around South America certainly did.
My actual 40th birthday was spent at Machu Picchu. We travelled the night before from Ollantaytambo where the Inca ruins had already been impressive, for an early start in Aguas Calientes.
In fact, I think my 40th birthday was the most extended celebration ever. We caught the bus to Machu Picchu at 5am, and by 9.30am, I was standing at the top of Huayna Picchu with one of the most amazing views I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing.
For the most part, it’s a pleasant climb which although steep the path is easy. However, your nerves are challenged in the last section as you climb some very steep steps with no handrail. It’s also busy, and with people trying to come down as well as up, there were moments when I thought if I fall now at least, I will have seen one of the greatest wonders of the world.
The rest of the day was spent exploring the incredible ruins before returning to Ollantaytambo on the train. The remains of the village and the sculpted terraces which the Incas made for irrigation and agriculture are a fantastic feat of engineering.
Overall the location is remarkable and every bit as beautiful as the postcard images you see. It was both an enjoyable and memorable birthday – the perfect 40th birthday trip.
Seeing a favourite band in Mexico for your 40th birthday
By Julie from More Than Main Street
Imagine soaking up the sun, your toes in the perfect white sand, laying by crystal clear water in Mexico. Now imagine all that but add in your favourite band for three nights in a row for your 40th birthday. It’s a pretty incredible way to celebrate a milestone birthday, if I don’t say so myself!
The Barcelo Maya Caribe and Beach Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico hosts several different bands each year with a stage set up literally on the beach! This all-inclusive resort along with CID put together an experience of a lifetime. (CID is the company that organises all the details associated with the concert).
My husband and I have always loved Dave Matthews. One of the things that bonded us at the beginning of our relationship was live music. So, when my husband said let’s go to Mexico to see Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds for your 40th birthday, I was beyond excited!
It was a dream vacation. We are usually very active travellers but this vacation we chose to lounge by the pool or beach with a drink in hand and just relax. Time at the spa, free water activities all followed by three incredible nights of music made it a birthday I’ll never forget!
A festive 40th birthday trip to Edinburgh
By Gillian from Scotland Bucket List
I usually dislike having my birthday in December – Christmas is around the corner (everyone loves a joint Christmas and birthday present, right?!), inflated prices on all the festive menus and people are generally skint as they’re either spending their pennies on Christmas work dos or having to save up for presents. Nonetheless, I have to say that when my 40th birthday came round, I couldn’t have been happier to be a December baby…
We moved from Scotland to France in 2012, however, despite the move, Edinburgh had always remained as a very special place in my heart. It’s also an amazing destination to head to during the month of December – think Christmas markets, winter festival, ice rinks, pantomimes and plenty of mulled wine! There’s so much going on as the whole city comes to life during the festive period. So, hubby went on a secret mission to get me to the Scottish capital to mark the beginning of my new decade…
The celebration started with a surprise birthday party with friends and family in a lovely restaurant in Edinburgh’s New Town, however, the festivities didn’t stop there. We indulged in many mulled wines at the Scottish Christmas Market, went to the Panto, had a spin on the ice at St Andrews Square and fell under the spell of the magical illuminations at the Botanical Gardens. It was a truly memorable 40th birthday trip and we’d definitely recommend visiting Edinburgh at Christmas-time!
Celebrating turning 40 on the Amalfi Coast
By Katy from Untold Morsels
If there was ever a destination that cried out “pick me!” for milestone birthday celebrations it is Italy’s Amalfi Coast. And that’s exactly where I chose to celebrate my 40th birthday.
The spectacular cliffs, sparkling blue waters and picturesque towns that seem to tumble into the sea were the perfect backdrop to my entrance into a new decade. Basing ourselves in Amalfi and Sant’Agata we explored the dramatic coastline town by town, trying local delicacies and basking in the rays of the southern Italian sun.
Birthdays are best celebrated with drinks and dinner and amazing views and fortunately they are in abundance on the Amalfi Coast. Our very special lunch at Villa Cimbione in Ravello and stroll along the Terrazzo dell’lnfinito (Terrace of Infinity) was matched only by sunset aperitivo hour at the too perfect for words bar at Le Sireneuse in Positano.
But despite these luxurious treats, the highlights for me were splashing in the sea at retro beach hamlet Nerano, the jaw-dropping views from the Furore fiord and out day spent cruising to and around the magical island of Capri. These were truly some of the best days of my life and the perfect way to enter my 40s. In fact, I can’t wait to do it all again for my 50th birthday.
A 40th birthday trip to Phu Quoc, Vietnam
By Nicole from The Passport Kids
If you are looking for a place to celebrate the big 4-0, I would highly recommend the beautiful island of Phu Quoc in Vietnam. This paradise island is a great destination to relax, soak up the sun and enjoy some of the best beaches in Vietnam.
There are so many things to do on the island if you want to go explore and adventure including the Phu Quoc National Park or the Suoi Tranh Waterfall are great outdoor fun things to do during the day. We spent most of the days beachside and poolside enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of this island and resort life. The sunsets are amazing on the island and we loved the romantic walks on the beach while the sun went down.
We found this island to be tranquil, quiet and peaceful as compared to other spots in Vietnam so it offered a great break from the hustle and bustle of busy Vietnam. Plus, it was extremely affordability to enjoy some of the luxuries to celebrate a big 40th birthday.
Phu Quoc is the perfect place to enjoy a 40th birthday vacation if you are looking for beach life and luxury at a great price. The island of Phu Quoc is a quick flight away from the capital of Ho Chi Minh City so it’s somewhat easily accessible worldwide.
50th birthday trip ideas
Tango in Argentina to celebrate a 50th birthday
By James Ian from Travel Collecting
I wanted to go somewhere fun for my 50th birthday, but it’s in November, which is a terrible month for a vacation in the northern hemisphere, because the fall colour is done, the snow hasn’t really started in most places, it’s cold and grey… So I decided to head south. To Patagonia. But first stop, Buenos Aires. I’d always wanted to see tango in Argentina, so the night of my birthday we saw a tango show, which was amazing.
But a birthday should never be limited to just one day, so my 50th birthday weekend also included an incredible steak dinner at one of Buenos Aires’ famous parillas / steak houses. I didn’t do this the same night as the tango so that we didn’t rush dinner. It was seriously the best steak I’ve ever had.
The weekend was spent shopping at the Sunday San Telmo antiques and crafts fairs (it WAS my birthday, how could I not get what I wanted?!); having breakfast of churros and hot chocolate at the iconic Tortoni Cafe; and some sightseeing in between. It was the perfect 50th birthday trip.
Celebrating turning 50 on a five-day Grand Canyon expedition
By James Ian from Travel Collecting
For my husband’s 50th birthday, he wanted to do something special, but didn’t want to have a big party. So he decided to do something as far from that as possible. Which is why we found ourselves sitting in a tiny wooden boat, bailing water like crazy as we rocked and tipped and rolled and dipped with water pouring into the boat from the churning rapids all around us, surrounded by the towering walls of the Grand Canyon.
The 5-day trip through the Grand Canyon starts at the beginning of the canyon and the walls slowly rise higher and higher as the river gets deeper and the canyon gets bigger. Soon, layers of rock that had been right beside were high above us.
Each night is spent camping on a sandy beach. In between rapids, there are opportunities to hike into side canyons, explore a mining tunnel, and climb up to an ancient granary. There is no other way to experience these things other than to ride the Colorado River rapids. It ends with a hike up the Bright Angel Trail to the south rim.
The best part? The guides baked a chocolate cake in a Dutch oven on an open fire for him on his birthday. So, he got his 50th birthday party after all!
50th birthday cruise to the Western Caribbean
By Bridget from The Flashpacker
50th birthdays need to be celebrated in style. And what better way to mark this important milestone than by taking a cruise around the Western Caribbean?
I’ll level with you. An independent traveller in spirit, I had resisted exploring our world from the comfort of a floating hotel. But I soon came to realise that there’s a lot to be said for having the ability to visit multiple destinations over a short period of time. What’s more, there’s no need for frequent packing and unpacking.
What sets Western Caribbean cruises apart from others in this region is that their ports of call have more of a cultural and historical focus and concentrate less on beaches and shopping.
Stopping at Grand Cayman, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Belize and Mexico, this cruise gave me the opportunity to dip my toes into the balmy waters of Central America with very little effort.
Awesome experiences like swimming with stingrays in Grand Cayman and transiting the modern engineering marvel that is the Panama Canal. The gorgeous colonial city of Cartagena in Colombia was unforgettable as was sailing along the Tortuguero Canals in Costa Rica.
Celebrating my 50th birthday on a cruise was a turning point for me, sailing on a further four cruises, with more in the travel pipeline.
A Greek getaway to Paros for a couple turning 50
By Sandra from Greece Travel Secrets
A couple of years ago my husband and I both turned 50 (6 months apart) and really wanted to have a truly memorable trip to celebrate this milestone.
Although we live in Australia he is Greek and we try and travel to Greece most years. The year prior we had visited a few new destinations in Greece to scope out a good spot for a celebration and Paros soon revealed itself as the winning destination.
We sent out an expression of interest email to a bunch of family and friends and were not really surprised when strong interest came back from over 50 people. I mean who needs an excuse to visit the Greek Islands, right!?
Paros ticked all our boxes for a number of reasons. It’s quite accessible with a domestic airport and regular ferries and is relatively close to Athens and islands like Santorini that we knew a lot of people would be interested in, especially first-timers.
It doesn’t, however have an international airport or a cruise port so it’s not as crowded nor as expensive as most islands that do. It’s the perfect size and has a wide variety of things to see and do that would suit the diversity in our group, from teenagers and people with young kids to Baby Boomers.
After further research, I decided on the town of Naoussa and a hotel which, it turned out, is run by Greek Australians! I also chose a special restaurant for a dinner and they were even able to organise a live band for us.
In the end, there were 38 of us who spent 5 days in Naoussa, with much love and laughter over that time. We went on a fabulous sailing trip around the Small Cyclades islands, had numerous fabulous meals and plenty of cold drinks in the pool and at the beach.
The birthday party itself was one we will never forget with dancing until the sun came up. It truly was an incredible stay on this amazing island.
A 50th birthday vacation in Aruba
By Annick Lenoir-Peek from The Common Traveler
As fans of travelling, we celebrated my boyfriend’s 50th birthday with a one-week trip to the beautiful Caribbean island of Aruba. All but one night of our stay was at an environmentally friendly resort located on the widest part of one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. We could open our patio screen door and walk out onto a white sand beach with deep blue waters.
Relaxing under palapas on the beach, our only concern was deciding when it was time to put up our little flag that indicated we wanted to order food or a drink from the bar. We enjoyed sunrise and sunset yoga on the beach. We divided up our time between relaxing on our slice of paradise and exploring the island’s natural beauty, including on an ATV.
On his actual birthday, we stayed at the Renaissance Marina Hotel in Oranjestad which allowed us access to their private island – renowned for its famed Flamingo Beach. A knock on the door shortly before dinner surprised my boyfriend – a waiter entered with a bottle of bubbly and a small chocolate cake! The waiter even sang Happy Birthday!
In the lobby bar, upon hearing that it was his birthday, the bartender gave him another dessert with a sparkler on it.
Aruba’s natural beauty mixed with refinements like duty-free shopping and casinos meant that his 50th birthday vacation was the perfect mix for us – a little relaxation, exploration, and celebration.
Animal encounters in Kenya for a 50th birthday
By Bret Love & Mary Gabbett of Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide
Last summer, to celebrate my 50th birthday, I took my wife/business partner and my teenage daughter on an incredible 3-week tour of Kenya’s finest national parks and wildlife conservancies. As someone who’d dreamed of exploring the East African country since I first saw films like Born Free as a boy, it was everything I’d imagined and then some.
In terms of wildlife, Kenya boasts approximately 390 species of mammals (including 20 primates, 37 carnivores, and 43 ungulates), 1100 species of birds, 280 reptile species, and 115 amphibians. So for diehard animal lovers/wildlife photographers like us, the trip offered unimaginable sightings (including watching a mama Cheetah and her two cubs take down a Gazelle).
The most popular of Kenya’s national parks include Nairobi National Park, one of the few places in the world where you can go on safari in a major metropolitan area. There’s also the less-frequented Meru National Park and Lewa Conservancy, and the world-renowned Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
I’ll never forget our after-hours encounter with baby Elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Orphanage (after we symbolically adopted two of them), going behind the scenes at Jane Goodall’s Sweetwater Chimpanzee Sanctuary, and hanging out with the world’s last two Northern White Rhinos at Ol Pejeta.
Another highlight of our trip was the Masai Mara National Reserve, which needs no introduction as the northern stop of the Great Migration route. But the 583-square-mile reserve is just one part of the Greater Mara Ecosystem. This includes neighbouring, Maasai-owned private wildlife conservancies and conservation areas.
The Greater Mara area is home to about 25% of Kenya’s wildlife, including an exceptional population of Big Cats (Cheetahs, East African Lions, and Leopards) as well as their prey.
Exploring this area with my family at the end of our journey was truly the adventure of a lifetime, and a worthy way to celebrate my own half-century on this planet!
A dream trip to Ireland for a 50th
By Roxanna from Gypsy With a Day Job
I wanted to visit Ireland when I was 10 years old. My father’s Irish ancestry and the charm of leprechauns and 4 leaf clovers, intrigued me. A few years later the Irish Tourism commercials were visually stunning and evocative. I was hooked. I had a deep yearning to visit the island, and the impression that I would feel home when I got there.
Then a lot of life happened. I was a young mother of 4 sons, a career woman, and eventually a grandmother. At 49 I realized that if I did not visit soon, it might never happen. So I planned a tour of Ireland for my 50th birthday.
My youngest son and I arrived in Ireland 6 days before my birthday for a 12-day journey. We visited Dublin and Belfast, hit major attractions, including the Cliffs of Moher, Giant’s Causeway, the Ring of Kerry, and the Rock of Cashel. We mingled in small towns, Doolin, Dingle, Portmagee, and Kildare. Everywhere was green and gorgeous as I had imagined.
The big day was spent in the tiny seaside town of Portmagee, with a drive along the coast, having a delicious dinner, and drinks at a local pub. I did feel as if I had finally made it home. It was the perfect 50th birthday trip!
60th birthday vacation ideas
Visiting Ljubljana for a 60th birthday
By Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles
If you are looking for a European getaway for a milestone birthday trip, consider Ljubljana! We celebrated my husband’s 60th in this charming European capital, and it was an amazing day for him (and me!).
Ljubljana is a very picturesque and compact city. While there are lots of things to do in Ljubljana, it is also the perfect place if you want a do-nothing-but-wander-or-relax kind of day. And the food is amazing!
We started our day by taking the funicular up to Ljubljana Castle, which sits on a hill overlooking the city. After enjoying the panoramic views from the viewing tower, we explored the complex. The chapel is lovely, and the old prison fascinating.
Back down in the city, we browsed the open markets, and bought some fresh fruit to snack on as we explored. The Ljubljanica River runs through the historic centre, and we walked along the river, pausing to admire and walk across the many historic bridges over the river. After lunch, we cruised the river as well!
Then it was time for a walking tour, to learn more about Ljubljana’s history and the architecture of Jože Plečnik, whose work you can see everywhere in the city. We also stopped to take photos of Ljubljana’s famous “pink church.”
We finished off the day with a fabulous dinner at Julija, one of Ljubljana’s well-known restaurants, followed by gelato at Cacao, one of Ljubljana’s top gelaterias. It was the perfect sweet ending to a wonderful day!
More fun places to go for your birthday
A birthday hike in Patagonia
By Philip from Zen Travellers
One of the best places that I’ve spent my birthday was in Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia. It was my 31st birthday and we were 6 months into our 14 month trip around the world at the time.
We had planned to hike the length of the 130km O Circuit in Patagonia and we were 5 nights into the trek and nearing the end. The night of my birthday we were in the beautiful Paine Grande campground. And the timing worked out well, because Paine Grande campground is one of the more popular campgrounds on the trek it had more services than your traditional campground, meaning that we were able to purchase a bottle of Chilean red wine to celebrate properly!
My wife also purchased a WiFi package from the campground and arranged a surprise video call with some friends from back home which was an unexpected treat.
We watched the sun set over the rugged Patagonian mountains while enjoying our bottle of wine, appreciating how lucky we’ve been to be able to travel extensively and explore a lot of the world. It was a truly memorable birthday, in a beautiful part of the world, and not one that I’ll soon forget.
Celebrating my 35th birthday on Easter Island
By Rhonda from Travel Yes Please
The most incredible place that I’ve celebrated my birthday was Easter Island (Rapa Nui), a remote volcanic island in Polynesia. It was a bucket-list destination for me, so to be celebrating my 35th birthday there made it all the more memorable.
My husband and I spent the day driving around, stopping at some of the island’s most beautiful and fascinating archaeological sites. We explored Rano Raraku, the quarry where Easter Island’s famous moai statues were carved from the bedrock before being moved to different locations around the island. Next, we marvelled at the 15 moai atop of Ahu Tongariki, the largest ceremonial structure in Polynesia.
For my birthday lunch, we ate at a small restaurant at Anakena Beach, the main beach on Easter Island. As I looked around at the swaying palm trees and platform of moai nearby, I almost couldn’t believe that I was in such an incredible place, nevermind getting to celebrate my birthday here.
The rest of my birthday on Easter Island was spent relaxing at Anakena Beach and searching out the smaller, more secluded Ovahe Beach. It was a perfect day full of my favourite things- ancient sites, beautiful views, and exploration. I honestly couldn’t think of a more intriguing place to spend a birthday!
A 1st birthday in Morocco
By Jenny from TraveLynn Family
Travelling is something that has always been important to me and my husband, and as soon as the kids came along, we knew that nothing would change and we would keep on travelling. For one reason or another, we always seem to be overseas for our kids’ birthdays. What better way to celebrate?
Perhaps the best of these birthday trip was when our youngest turned one. As any parent will tell you, this is quite a milestone and had to be celebrated. We decided to visit Essaouira in Morocco.
Essaouira is a bustling port city, with a beautiful windswept beach on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. There is so much to keep the kids entertained; sandy beach with safe, shallow waters, camels to meet and ride, the medina, souqs, fishing port and ramparts to explore. It’s a perfect destination if you’re looking to visit Morocco with kids.
For Ezra’s first birthday, we rented a gorgeous Airbnb in the medina. We took balloons, banners and bubbles with us from the UK, and we found a little patisserie in the medina who made a personalised birthday cake for him. If memory serves me right, it was only £5. We also celebrated with a camel ride on the beach that day and a paddle in the Atlantic Ocean.
He won’t remember it. But for us parents it marked a special occasion with fantastic memories, and I hope that when he looks back on the photos in years to come, he’ll think it was a pretty cool way to celebrate his first birthday. He has since then celebrated his second birthday in India, his third in Zambia, and his fourth in France.
Special 2nd birthday in North Sulawesi
By Lisa from FlipFlopGlobetrotters
When our son was 17 months old we decided to take a sabbatical for a year and travel around South East Asia. By the time our son’s second birthday came around we found ourselves in North Sulawesi, Indonesia at a great Dutch Airbnb called Sendowan Baru, in Amurang. They were happy to help us celebrate his birthday.
When travelling long term, birthdays always tend to be fairly improvised. We were lucky we found a number 2 shaped candle in the local supermarket which, paired with a piece of chocolate cake, made a perfect birthday cake. I fashioned a birthday crown out of some card stock and we even had some Duplo (which we had carried in our luggage since we first left) for his present.
All in all, he had a really fun birthday and we had a great day too. We sang for him, he had cake and then we went swimming in Sendowan Baru’s lovely pool. Our hosts even got him a marvellous soft football as a birthday present. It was a big hit and we carried it around with us the entire time we travelled, always remembering this special birthday.
Birthday trip to a surfing and yoga retreat in Costa Rica
By Katie from Just Chasing Sunsets
For my 29th birthday, I took myself to a surf and yoga retreat in a small town in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. 10 days of surfing in beautiful water in the mornings and afternoon yoga in the jungle. In between, I napped in hammocks, snorkelled in the ocean, and took naps on the quiet and pristine beach.
The day before I left, which also happened to be my birthday, my surf instructor took me out to the big waves. I’d surfed many times before and trusted my instructor, so I agreed to go for it. It was a battle to get past the breaking waves and it seemed that just as we did, my instructor set me up to catch the next wave.
I wasn’t ready for it. I didn’t feel confident. There was someone paddling in front of me I thought I might hit. But I pushed all of these doubts aside and started to paddle. I couldn’t commit to the pop-up and fell off the surfboard…hard. When I finally came up for air, my instructor was beside me telling me I broke my board in half!
Wait, what? How? It’s still attached to my ankle.
While that was true, I glanced at the shore and saw the other half on the beach. OMG.
I wasn’t about to let that be the end of my trip and the start of my 29th year. So I tried again with a new board. This time, I felt sure and confident. As I began to paddle, I locked eyes with the surfer in front of me and he nodded. I paddled my heart out, popped up, and rode that wave all the way to the beach.
Celebrating a special birthday in the wineries of Napa Valley
By Tatiana from Family Road Trip Guru
When my best friend had a special birthday anniversary last year we decided to celebrate it in Napa Valley, California. We started the celebration with a glass of bubbly.
For a special celebration there is nothing better than a tasting at a fabulous Domaine Carneros. For a moderately priced option you can choose either Mumm Napa or Domaine Chandon, either of the experiences will be great, there is no bad champagne is Napa. After that we visited some of the iconic wineries in the valley: Robert Mondavi, Beringer and Inglenook.
But Napa Valley is not just about wine. It is home of the Culinary Institute of America; many celebrity chefs are former graduates of CIA. We had a fantastic educational tour of the beautiful grounds and exceptional facilities at CIA accompanied by lunch. Somehow even a simple sandwich at CIA tastes phenomenal and their desserts are to die for. We ended the day with a dinner at one of the stellar restaurants in Napa, Bistro Jeanty – it did not disappoint.
A birthday trip to Scottish whisky distilleries
By Kavita from Kavey Eats
My husband is a huge fan of Islay whisky, known for its heavily peated style and made on the island of Islay, off the West Coast of Scotland.
For his birthday in 2006, I conspired with the friends who’d first introduced him to Islay’s whisky, by organising a long weekend there for his birthday. It was only after flights were booked that I discovered it was coincidentally when the island holds its annual festival of whisky and music, Feis Ile. This serendipity meant that we visited the distilleries during their hugely entertaining celebratory open days, each one taking it in turns to put on a real party of music, whisky tasting events and fun. Food and drink were available and much merriment was had by all.
So much fun did we have on that first birthday trip that I’ve since organised 3 more visits to Islay during its festival week, which still coincides with my husband’s birthday, taking more friends along with us to discover the island’s charms.
Islay is a wonderful place to visit even if you don’t love whisky, with some truly stunning natural scenery and beautiful historic sites such as Kilnave Chapel, the Kildarton Cross and the ancient seat of the Lordship of the Isles, on the shores of Loch Finlaggan. There are some lovely pubs and restaurants, and we also love cooking in the kitchens of our self-catering holiday homes.
Celebrating a birthday floating in the Dead Sea, Jordan
By Ashlea from Dashing Around The World
When travelling long-term like we are, finding a special place to spend your birthday can be difficult, simply because you are visiting so many amazing places fairly regularly! Just last month I spend my 28th birthday floating in the Dead Sea in Jordan, and it was incredible! Visiting the Dead Sea was always something I’d wanted to do, but it was actually so much better than I imagined.
We spent two wonderful and relaxing days at a resort on the Dead Sea, amazed at the simplicity of floating (and being totally unable to sink) in the uber-salty water, slathering ourselves in the magical Dead Sea mud (that retails for over $30 a tube), tanning beside the 4 different resort pools, and pampering myself to a massage and facial at the spa.
Being Ramadan at the time, it was the perfect choice to stay at a resort with multiple restaurants and bars, as food and alcohol can be difficult to come by during the day (and in many countries its ‘technically’ illegal to sell alcohol during Ramadan)… and I definitely wanted a glass of wine on my birthday! (side note – Jordan makes surprisingly decent wine).
If you’re looking for a fun, relaxing and unique place to spend a birthday, you can’t look past pampering yourself at a resort on the Dead Sea (plus you’ll get your own ‘look – no hands’ photo!).
A family birthday celebration on the beach in Sardinia
By Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
I was born and raised in Cagliari, Sardinia. This island at the heart of the Mediterranean is one of the best places to spend the summer holidays, and people often pay a fortune to visit. My birthday is in July, right in the middle of the summer, and to me there’s nothing better than spending it right where I feel I belong.
A typical birthday for me involves spending a full day at the beach with family and friends, relaxing in the sun, swimming in the clear waters, chatting and just chilling. We usually go to Costa Rei, where I have been spending my summers since I can remember. It’s a beautiful, long sandy beach with very clear waters and a lot of services, that make it easy to enjoy for anybody.
Italians have a strong bond with food and to us there is nothing better than celebrating with a good meal. So, at the end of the day we all get ready and go out to have a fabulous dinner. I get to pick where I want to go and what I want to eat. Sometimes it’ll be a barbecue at home; but I usually opt for pizza as it is one of the foods I like the most.
Celebrating a birthday on the beach in Tulum, Mexico
By Hannah & Adam Lukaszewicz from GettingStamped
When we lived in Playa del Carmen, Mexico for a year, we celebrated our birthdays by heading down to one of our favourite weekend getaway spots – Tulum! We usually love a little bit of relaxation and adventure, but for our birthdays, we decided to focus on all the relaxation, food and yummy drinks.
Our first stop was the beach of course. We picked the idyllic Playa Paraiso beach and relaxed on the sand for a bit, gazing at the glimmering turquoise waters. After a few hours of beach bumming, we headed back into town for some food and drinks.
We decided on El Asadero for food. Located in the centre of Tulum, El Asadero is one of the best restaurants in Tulum, hands down! We ate delicious Mexican BBQ – Arrachera steak was our favourite dish.
After a delicious meal, it was time for drinks. Tulum has the coolest treehouse bar, Mateo’s. Located right on the beachfront, this restaurant and bar has a great, friendly atmosphere and boasts some of the best sunsets you’ll ever see! We headed to the treehouse terrace with a drink in hand, watching the sunset over the jungle. It was the perfect end to the birthday!
Off the beaten track birthday on a Thai island
By Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan
My husband and I celebrated my 32nd birthday on the small Thai island of Ko Chang as part of a longer trip through Southeast Asia. We were actually a little burnt out on travel at this point, having had some disappointing travel experiences in the days leading up to my birthday. The worst of these was the now-infamous “tiger temple”, which we had thought was an animal sanctuary but which turned out to be a very exploitative animal attraction.
Eager to get away from the tourist traps and the crowds in general, we searched for off-the-beaten-track destinations in Thailand and settled on Ko Chang, a small island on the Andaman Coast near the Burmese border. Don’t confuse it with the much larger Ko Chang on the Gulf Coast!
This is not the place to go for a wild birthday party, but if you’re looking to get away from it all and recharge your batteries, Ko Chang just might be perfect. I use the word “recharge” metaphorically, of course. The electricity supply here is a bit erratic, so don’t count on being able to charge actual electronic devices.
With no roads on the island and just a few low-key bungalow complexes, infrastructure here is pretty minimal. The main activities are swimming in the ocean, eating local Thai food washed down with fruity cocktails, and watching the sunset.
A birthday helicopter ride in New York
By Nick from The Danish Nomads
On my 26th birthday, I woke up to an epic view on the 38th floor of a skyscraper in New York City. It was a lovely spring morning in mid-May, and I must have behaved myself that year because the weather was outstanding. The sky was blue and crystal-clear, and today that fact was a bit extra important. It wasn’t just because I wanted good weather on my birthday, but because today, we were going up in an open-door helicopter to see the city from the air.
Before the clock hit noon, we were airborne. The flight was every bit as awesome as I had hoped for, and this ultimate bucket-list experience stayed with us for the rest of the day. It was as if a smile had been drawn on our faces.
For lunch, we had a few of those outstanding pizza slices NYC is famous for, before starting the proper celebrations with our first drink of the day. Because we couldn’t get enough of heights, we opted for a roof-top bar in the Lower East Side, and some more of those impressive skyline views you won’t find anywhere else in the world. We stayed there all afternoon before heading out for an exquisite Italian dinner in the Village.
It’s safe to say that New York had some of the best food we’ve ever had on our travels. As you probably know, eating good food can make you really tired… But luckily we laughed that right off in one of SoHo’s many comedy clubs, before heading out for an unforgettable night in the city that never sleeps!
Celebrating my 35th birthday in Turkey
By Jessica from One Girl, Whole World
For my 35th birthday I wanted to do a truly epic adventure, so decided to spend a week exploring different areas of Turkey – with a little bit of luxury added in. I had previously visited Istanbul a couple times and loved it, but was dying to explore more of the country.
I started my birthday trip in Cappadocia, staying at the beautiful Mithra Cave Hotel. While the weather didn’t cooperate for taking a hot air balloon flight, I experienced a magical sunrise and got to spend a day visiting many of the amazing unique landscape areas, including the so-called “fairy chimneys” and caves.
The next step was a couple of days in a boutique hotel in Fethiye, on the stunning Turquoise Coast. In addition to some rest and relaxation, nearby Oludeniz is one of the best paragliding experiences in the world—the experience of floating serenely over the famous Blue Lagoon was amazing!
I then got to spend two days sailing around the nearby Gocek Islands, seeing all kinds of beautiful hidden beaches, stunning ocean sunrises, and eating delicious home-cooked Turkish meals. I spent the morning of my 35th birthday sipping hot black tea and watching a rich pink and purple sunrise from the boat.
I capped off my trip with less than 24 hours in Istanbul, exploring the coffee scene in the Beyoglu area and having dinner at Mikla, one of the top 100 restaurants in the world!
Celebrating a 25th birthday in Manali, India
By Shalini from Eager2Travel
My birthday falls in the month of June and it’s a pretty hot time in India. So while planning a trip in the hottest month of the year, you choose a cool place and that’s how I ended up celebrating my 25th birthday in Manali.
Manali is the queen of the hill stations in North India. It is located in Himachal Pradesh. Bhuntar is the nearest airport. For me, though it was a long-awaited road trip from Delhi. We were four gals and it took us around 17 hours to reach. The roads were narrow and bit difficult to drive through but it was an adventure for us.
We had booked a nice villa away from the crowd of tourists, overlooking the valley filled with beautiful flowers and far away were the snow-peaked mountains.
We had a nice warm bath in the tubs and then we set to explore Manali on foot. We had warm momos and hot thupka. We took a lot of pictures almost everywhere. Then we set out to Solang Valley which is the adventure-lovers paradise. We did skiing, paragliding, zip-lining and snow biking.
In the evening it was my time to be the queen of the day, so I decided to go to The Lazy Dog Cafe. There was a band playing and the ambience and the food was mouth-watering. We had food, wine and we danced our feet off. The next day we went to Manikaran to see the famous hot water shrines and to camp out in the wilds of Kasol.
A birthday month in Madrid learning Spanish
By Or from My Path in the World
As someone who has learned Spanish all on her own yet has a big Spain obsession, I wanted to travel to Spain to improve my Spanish level. I took advantage of my 24th birthday coming up, booked a one-month trip to Madrid, and signed up to four weeks of studying at a local language school called Enforex. I specifically wanted to study in Madrid since it such a diverse city with plenty of things to do and see, and a city that makes me feel at home.
As for Enforex, they have so many different programs for all levels, they offer tours and accommodation (only if you want), and they have the best teachers. The lessons were interactive and super interesting, and I was honestly excited to go to school every single day. Along the way, I also met people from around the world, which was another highlight for me. Getting to know other cultures and have these people become your friends is priceless.
On my actual birthday, right after four great lessons in the afternoon, I went out with my classmates to have dinner and watch a movie at a local cinema. It might sound like an ordinary birthday, but when you’re in another country and going out with people from countries like Japan, Turkey, and France who are now your friends, it’s an entirely different experience.
Total relaxation in Budapest to celebrate a 35th birthday
By Carine & Derek from We Did It Our Way
Birthdays are a big deal for us no matter how old we’re turning. And we always celebrate birthdays in a big way! We’re not just talking about a one-day celebration, we mean a whole week of festivities! Because we like to celebrate the smallest things. Because life is about the little details, the little moments really add up in the end, so it’s important to appreciate them all.
To celebrate Carine’s big 35, we actually toured Europe; 15 cities in 12 countries, and all in 30 days. That in itself is an awesome gift, but to make the week even more special, Carine got to choose the fun and special activities we did. She also got to pick all the restaurants and meals. It was her birthday week, so she was the boss!
And beyond that, she got to do whatever she wanted on her actual birthday. We were in Budapest, and she wanted to get a day of total relaxation. After all, travelling is hard sometimes, especially with our whirlwind European tour!
What better place to relax than the famous thermal baths in Budapest, the Szechenyi Baths. We went right at the opening and got to enjoy the baths all to ourselves. It was total bliss! We got to hop around all morning pretending we were Goldilocks looking for that perfect bath – not too hot and not too cold.
What better way to celebrate than to spend your time floating around, in total peace and tranquillity. And not just anywhere, but in Budapest, at the Szechenyi Baths, the largest medicinal baths in Europe!
A 7th birthday in Guatemala
By Katja from Globetotting
When my daughter, my middle child, turned seven we were travelling in Guatemala. We had started our trip in Antigua, a beautiful colonial town and the former capital under Spanish rule. After several days here wandering the cobbled streets and learning how to make chocolate, we headed for Lake Atitlán in the Guatemala Highlands.
It was while we were here, staying on the banks of the deepest lake in Central America, that my daughter had her birthday. Admittedly, this might not have been the ideal location for her to celebrate her birthday given that she doesn’t particularly like volcanoes and is not terribly fond of boats. In the end, however, it turned out to be a wonderful place to celebrate being one year older.
For starters, Lake Atitlán is breathtakingly beautiful. Aldous Huxley once called it “the most beautiful lake in the world”, and it’s hard not to agree. It was formed some 85,000 years ago after a massive volcanic explosion and is today surrounded by steep hills, dramatic volcanoes and characterful Mayan villages. The best way to explore the lake is by boat. Daily, a steady stream of lanchas and wooden fishing boats criss-cross the blue waters of the lake connecting the dozens of villages that line its shores.
On my daughter’s birthday we chose a private tour and spent the day hopping from one village to the next with our excellent guide, Alex. We learned about traditional weaving techniques at the village of San Juan La Laguna, enjoyed a cooking class at San Pedro La Laguna and bartered for souvenirs at Santiago Atitlán. There may not have been any balloons but Tess did receive a traditional birthday crown and still talks today about her birthday on the lake.
If you enjoyed these birthday trip ideas, you might find these other posts about dream trips and travel challenges interesting:
- 40 countries before my 40th birthday: how I managed it and my favourite destinations
- EU tour: visiting all the European Union capital cities before Brexit
- Why you need to book your trip to Vilnius, a CNN top destination for 2023 immediately
- 18 beautiful gardens to visit in Italy
- Visiting San Marino: tips for your trip to one of the world’s smallest (and most magical) countries