5 Of The Most Scenic Holiday Destinations

View of the lake and mountains at Milford Sound, New Zealand.

When it comes to holiday trends for 2017, green is the colour. Eco-tourism is the latest travel craze that’s a world away from typical package holidays. Want to find out about the most picturesque destinations around the world? Read on for our top tips.

New Zealand

There’s a reason Peter Jackson chose New Zealand as the location for the unspoilt paradise of The Lord of the Rings movies – this beautiful country is one of the most stunning natural wonderlands in the world. And if you’re a fan of nature walks, The Milford Track should be your number one destination. Sometimes called “The Best Walk in the World”, this 54km trail winds its way through the spectacular Fiordland National Park taking in a vast range of New Zealand’s natural landscape. Along the way, you’ll encounter crystal clear lakes, deep green forest and the stunning fjords that give the park its name. The park is particularly spectacular after a recent rain shower when the multiple waterfalls along the route come roaring to life. At the end of the track, your ultimate destination is the deep blue waters of Milford Sound, where you can take a sea cruise and try to spot local residents like bottlenose dolphins and Antarctic fur seals.

Costa Rica

A beach-sunset in Costa Rica

When it comes to stunning natural parks, you’re spoilt for choice in Costa Rica. But pound for pound, Manuel Antonio Park may be the most spectacular of them all. It’s one of the country’s smaller parks, but it manages to pack an amazing variety of terrain and wildlife into its relatively compact size. Here you’ll find curious creatures like capuchin and howler monkeys that have very little fear of humans – so keep an eye on your picnic lunch! If you tire of strolling along the golden beaches and lush rainforest ringing the park, take a trip to Damas Island Estuary, where a professional guide will point out the elusive crocodiles, iguanas and more that make their home in this green-tinged twilight world.


Tea plantations and river in Kerala

We may call ourselves the Emerald Isle, but for greenery, few places can beat this corner of Southern India. Ringed by tea plantations and verdant forest, the area of Wayannad in the state of Kerala has a serene beauty that is making it an increasingly popular destination for eco-tourists. If you want to get an elevated perspective on things, the 2100km high Chembra peak is a challenging but oh so worth it climbing destination. Or if you’ve left your hiking boots at home, the tranquil Kuruvadweep Island with its native birds and rare orchids is a less tiring but equally rewarding place to visit.

Galapagos Islands

Beach view in the Galapagos Islands

Probably the ultimate bucket list destination for any nature lover, the Galapagos Islands are one of the most unique places on earth. An archipelago of 19 islands situated 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the islands have a similar stark beauty to our own Burren but with some slightly more spectacular wild inhabitants. From unique bird species like the Galapagos penguin and blue-footed booby to the fearsome-looking (but harmless) marine iguana, here you’ll find incredible wildlife you can find nowhere else on earth. The waters surrounding the islands teem with sea turtles, rays, and even hammerhead sharks, making them an ideal location for snorkellers. Or if you’d like a walk with a difference, try hiking around Sierra Negra – one of the largest volcanic craters in the world. But whatever you do, don’t leave without saying hello to one of the Islands’ most famous residents – the majestic giant tortoise.


Mountains and waterfalls in Iceland

They call Iceland “The Land of Fire and Ice” and it’s a name that speaks to the startling contrasts you can find in this unique country. If you want to discover the real Iceland, skip the tourist-thronged spots around Reykjavik and head for the Snaelfeness peninsula. Jutting out from the coast towards Greenland, the 90km peninsula has a wild and lonely beauty all of its own. The area is dominated by the impressive bulk of Snæfellsjökull glacier, a dormant volcano with a permanent snow-covered top. For the average walker, it’s not too challenging to reach the glacier itself, but you’ll require proper climbing equipment to reach the true peak. Elsewhere, sights include the spectacular Black Lava Pearl beach at Djúpalón and a number of stunning coastal rock formations. And if you’re a bird watcher, you’ll be thrilled by the hundreds of rare seabirds that call the cliffs of the peninsula home – although getting up close to them may require a head for heights.

Getting Ready for the Holiday of a Lifetime?

If our list of natural wonders has inspired you to get out in the great outdoors, why not plan your trip with the help of an AIB Travel Loan? AIB offer loans from €1,000 with a loan decision in just three hours*. You can apply online through AIB Internet Banking, or the AIB Mobile App. You can also book a branch appointment or phone 0818 724 725 if you’d like to speak to someone in person.

Use our handy loan calculator to find out how much you can borrow today.

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