Our top picks for first time travel destinations

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It can be daunting to know where to start when travelling abroad for the first time. It’s a big world out there after all! That’s why we’ve hand-picked 10 of the best destinations for a first trip.

 

1) Orlando

The home of Disney World and the Universal theme park, Orlando is fun, fun, fun. Whether you’re nine or 90, you can’t fail to have a good time!

For a different kind of day out, take a trip to the famous Kennedy Space Center or take in the atmosphere at a basketball game with Orlando’s NBA team Orlando Magic.

March to May is a great time to travel to Orlando. The weather is hot but manageable and there’ll be fewer crowds than peak school summer holiday season.

 

 

2) London

A trip to the capital offers so many rich heritage and cultural experiences, and of course isn’t complete without visiting iconic buildings like Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. The famous museums are well worth exploring – and most are free, too! – but utilise the fantastic travel networks to explore different pockets of the city. You’ll find beautiful green spaces like Richmond Park in West London, whilst East London has fabulous markets to get lost in such as the famous Columbia Road Flower Market. If you are considering a trip up the Shard to take in the views of London, try the Aqua Shard bar a few floors below; there is no entry fee and you can enjoy a drink whilst taking in the stunning views of the city.

 

3) Berlin

Packed with history and bags of personality, Berlin is a must-visit city for first-time travellers.

One of the best ways to see the city is to take a guided bike tour. There are plenty to choose from depending on how long a tour you fancy, and many will take you to key sites such as the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie, whilst educating you about the incredible history of the city.

 

 

If you are visiting Berlin over a weekend be sure to check out the Flohmarkt am Mauerpark, an eclectic market in the large park in Prenzlauer Berg which is hugely popular with locals and tourists. You’ll be able to enjoy a huge range of delicious world street foods, whilst browsing for antique treasures in a family-friendly, vibrant atmosphere.

 

4) Edinburgh

This Scottish city is wonderful all year round, but if travelling in August be prepared for crowds visiting for the famous Fringe Festival, and if visiting in winter wrap up warm! It’s an easy city to explore on foot (but wear comfy shoes!) and its thriving restaurant scene makes it easy to stumble on many fantastic places to eat.

Our top foodie tips: for the ultimate comfort food take a trip to Mum’s Café for a hearty meal and then make a visit to Mary’s Milk Bar in the Grassmarket area. There might be queues for Mary’s, but we promise their homemade ice cream with different flavours every day is 100% worth it.

 

5) Amsterdam

There’s a reason Amsterdam has remained one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Packed with stunning canals, historic buildings and wonderful museums, this compact city has a huge amount to offer. Cycling is a real way of life in Amsterdam, making it an ideal way to explore the city for a first time visitor.

Must-sees include The Van Gogh Museum which is home to the largest collection of the celebrated artist’s work, and the Anne Frank Museum, a moving and sobering reminder of the horrors of the Second World War. Both are extremely popular, so arrive early and be prepared for queues.

 

 

6) Barcelona

Barcelona is the ideal city for a long four-day weekend visit, with its mix of art, architecture and beaches offering the very best of both worlds. The famous locations here really are worth a visit: Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia and Casa Battloo are truly stunning pieces of architecture.

For something a little different, The Magic Fountain of Montjuic makes a fun evening out. The fountain is lit up and dances to a range of music, we promise you will leave with a smile on your face.

If you are staying in Barcelona for longer, take the train to Figueres to the Dali Theater Museum. It is the second most visited museum in Spain and houses paintings, drawings and sculptures by the famous surrealist artist.

 

7) Florence

At the heart of Tuscany, Florence is known as the home of Renaissance art and stunning architecture. Your visit isn’t complete without a visit to the Duomo di Firenze (The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower). Another great place to take in the views of this stunning city for free is the Piazzale Michelangelo, especially at sunset.

Every trip to Italy isn’t should feature gelato, and you won’t be disappointed when you visit Vivoli Gelato, one of the oldest gelato shops in Florence.

Peak summer in Florence can be humid, so a lot of travellers favour visiting in May and June or slightly later into September for comfortable temperatures that are still warm.

 

 

8) Washington

As well as being the home of American history and government, Washington also offers great food, art and culture. A huge amount of this art and culture is also completely free! The famous Smithsonian Museums, the National Gallery of Art and the moving Lincoln, Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorials are all free to visit.

When planning a trip to Washington, bear in mind August can be very hot and humid. Spring is an ideal season to visit: the temperatures are comfortable for walking and the city becomes filled with beautiful cherry blossoms.

 

9) Cairo

The overwhelming majority of people visit Cairo for the pyramids and the Sphinx of Giza. When planning your visit, don’t forget the pyramids are a good 20 minutes outside of the city centre, so get there early to avoid traffic on the way and large crowds when you arrive.

The Metro is a quick and cheap way to get around, and you’ll definitely want to make a trip to the Khan-el-Khalili bazaar to browse authentic spices, clothes, jewellery and much more.

 

 

10) Paris

Paris is a fantastic city to visit at any time of the year. If it’s your first trip, you will want to check out the iconic Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. If you want to visit The Louvre to see the famous Mona Lisa, avoid the crowds by going in the evening on a Wednesday or Friday when the museum stays open late.

For fantastic food at reasonable prices in a relaxed environment, wander over to the Latin Quarter where you can enjoy a leisurely three-course lunch and a glass of local wine for around 15 Euros. Then relax with a drink in Montmartre as the sun closes in on the day.