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Need a last minute getaway? Last Minute Trips

Explore's 2023 Big Blue Bucket List

From the glittering blue waters of the other-worldly Blue Grotto, to the awe-inspiring architecture of Uzbekistan, find out what's on our Big Blue Bucket List for 2023.
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1. Chefchaouen, Morocco

An abundance of blue-painted houses and bazaars await in Chefchaouen, one of Morocco’s most charming towns. On an orientation walk during a Spain, Portugal and Morocco tour, you’ll soak up these vibrant hues, wandering to Outa Lahmam square where you’ll find plenty of local restaurants. Further on, passing locals and their livestock along the way, you’ll reach the disrepaired 1920s Spanish Mosque, set on a hill with stunning views of the many shades of Chefchaouen.

2. Santorini, Greece

Discovering the iconic blue-domed roofs of Santorini’s churches should be at the top of every travel bucket list. As you arrive at Santorini by ferry on the Greek Island hopping tour, these beautiful buildings will stretch up the hill before you. Whether you’re wine tasting in the charming village of Messaria or indulging in fresh seafood at a local Greek taverna, be sure to take plenty of photos of this beloved island.

3. Maldives

Climb aboard an eight-day traditional Maldivian dhoni cruise and you’ll be surrounded by turquoise blue waters. As you voyage from South Male to Felidhoo and Meemu, there will be plenty of opportunities to anchor for snorkelling and swimming in the crystal clear sea. You'll also enjoy a barbecue banquet on a white-sand beach on the uninhabited island of Fenboa Finolhu. 

4. Uzbekistan

Awash in bold blue Islamic architecture, Uzbekistan is a photographer's dream. On a tour of the Silk Road you’ll marvel at historic landmarks from day one, and take a short trip on the flamboyant metro. However, one of the most iconic blue-bathed sights is the Abdul Khan madrasa, adorned with intricate muqarnas (Islamic vaulting). Meanwhile the ancient city of Samarkand boasts an overwhelming scale of impressive architecture, including that of Registan Square.

5. Istanbul, Turkey

From the unique landscapes of Cappadocia to the underground cave city of Kaymakli, Turkey in Depth brings you to some of the most scenic sites in Turkey. Perhaps one of the most famous - and certainly the most blue - is the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, built between 1609 and 1616. After a guided tour of Sultanahmet Square, you’ll arrive at this spectacular feat of architecture, boasting eight domes in total. Inside, you’ll find more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles in colourful tulip designs.

6. Jodhpur, India

Popularly known as The Blue City, Jodhpur is home to a labyrinth of blue buildings, initially painted this colour to signify the homes of Brahmins (priests). On an adventure in North India, you’ll travel to the impressive fortress looming over Jodhpur, rewarding you with stunning views across the surrounding countryside. Within the city itself you’ll find no shortage of temples and markets, providing a glimpse into the history of India’s Blue City.

7. Blue Mountains, Jamaica

While they aren’t actually blue in colour, Jamaica’s Blue Mountains are certainly no less beautiful! As you Explore Jamaica, a winding road leads you up into the rugged, lush landscape where you’ll find one of the area’s best known coffee plantations. After a guided tour of the Georgian home and its surrounding coffee fields, indulge in a freshly brewed cup of Blue Mountain coffee. 

8. Blue Grotto, Italy

While the sparkling blue waters of Capri’s Blue Grotto may seem unreal, this other-worldly sea cave is exactly as you see it. At just a meter high, the only way to visit is via small rowboats guided by a skipper. On a Venice to Rome rail adventure you’ll have the option to visit the island of Capri and the illuminated Blue Grotto. While plenty of visitors flock to the site in Italy’s high season, once inside the grotto you’ll experience a meditative calm thanks to the peaceful blue light.

9. The Blue Eye, Albania

As you discover Albania’s historic sites along the Adriatic Coast you’ll stumble across the famous Syri i kaltër, also known as the Blue Eye. Nestled in Vlore County, this natural karstic spring boasts crystal clear water, allowing you to see straight to the bottom of the 50-metre deep pool. The foreboding ‘pupil’ of the pool is the dark underwater cave, and although divers have attempted to reach the bottom, none have succeeded. The surrounds of this bright blue spring are also just as beautiful, with ancient oak and sycamore trees in abundance.

10. Torres del Paine, Patagonia

Aptly taking its name from the Tehuelche Indian word payne meaning blue, Torres del Paine National Park is home to a plethora of emerald blue lakes, all fed by icy glaciers. Embark on an adventure in Patagonia and you’ll explore this mountainous landscape on foot, with an easy wildlife hike from Lake Sarmiento to Laguna Amarga. A scenic drive then brings you to the Blue Lagoon with one of the best views of the granite towers in the distance. Those looking for a more challenging trek can undertake the 22km hike to the base of Torres del Paine. 

11. Moraine Lake, Canada

In the very heart of the Canadian Rockies sits Banff National Park, encompassing 6,641 square kilometres of unparalleled wilderness. Within this world famous park is the vivid Lake Moraine, recognisable by its distinctive shade of blue. Surrounded by a backdrop of the rugged Ten Peaks mountains, the contrast of vibrant colours will have you in awe as you explore the Canadian Rockies and Pacific Coast. On your free day in Banff you’ll also have the opportunity to soak in bright blue hot springs.

12. Turquoise Coast, Turkey

For classic sparkling-turquoise-sea-meets-gold-sandy-beaches, look no further than Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. Stretching from Fethiye to Antalya, this coastline offers something for all travellers, including kayaking and snorkelling. On a Family Turkey Adventure you’ll even spend seven nights on-board a traditional wooden gulet (a classic wooden yacht) with no shortage of opportunities to swim in the warm, bright blue sea. Alternatively, spend eight days trekking this scenic coastline on a Turquoise Coast walking tour.

12 ½ (sort of). Blue footed boobies, Galapagos

It may not be a blue place but we couldn't mention blue things in travel without mentioning the blue footed boobies! The Galapagos Islands are beloved for their array of vibrant fauna and wildlife, including prehistoric creatures that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Up to three million seabirds also flock to the archipelago, including blue-footed boobies. Their uniquely bright blue feet play an important role in finding a mate, and you’ll find the best breeding grounds on North Seymour island. However, during a Volcanoes and Galapagos tour, you’ll visit a number of islands where blue-footed boobies can be found including Santa Cruz.

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