Staycation inspiration: Top spots across the world

Travel and vacations are starting to feel like distant memories. But, fear not, you might find what you’re looking for not too far away.

This was originally written for DMC Collective before the coronavirus pandemic. Check the legalities for travel in your area before planning your next adventure.

Contents

  1. Scotland: Edinburgh, Highlands, and beaches
  2. Bangkok
  3. Berlin
  4. Geneva
  5. Kuala Lumpur
  6. Melbourne
  7. Singapore
  8. South of France: The French Riviera

1. Scotland: Edinburgh, Highlands, and beaches

Scotland plays host to some of the world’s most stunning landscapes. With mythical attributes, legend, and history, you’re sure to find something magical. Whether you choose to explore the wild, yet beautiful Highlands or discover a capital city steeped in history, Scotland offers a unique home for remarkable events.

A capital city: Things to do in Edinburgh

Long shot of Balmoral Clock and Princes Street during sunset, Edinburgh
Long shot of Balmoral Clock and Princes Street during sunset, Edinburgh
Photo by Lauren MacNeish — laurenmacneish.com

Craft the adventure you want to have. From historic buildings to modern spaces, Edinburgh presents a wide range of noteworthy venues. Maximise your event and impress your guests in a city filled with excitement.

“This is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas. A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again.” — Alexander McCall Smith

Access to Edinburgh is easy. With Edinburgh airport nearby, frequent trains, taxis, and trams, you and your team can get here from anywhere in the world. Here is a handful of the fantastic experiences you can have:

  • From grand hotels to self-catering boats, find your perfect place to stay
  • Discover whisky tasting experiences
  • Uncover the underground city at Mary King’s Close
  • Explore the streets that inspired the story of Harry Potter
  • Push it to the limits with rock climbing, sailing, and hillwalking
  • Can you escape before time runs out? Find out in one of the many escape rooms
  • Find your need for speed at go-karting
  • Feel regal at historic venues, such as castles and palaces

Venue highlights

Home to the world’s largest arts festival and world-renowned corporate events, Edinburgh is a home for the smallest meetings to the largest exhibitions. Here are a handful of standout venues:

More than mountains: Things to do in the Scottish Highlands

Mountain reflections at Loch Onich, Scotland
Mountain reflections at Loch Onich, Scotland
Photo by Lauren MacNeish — laurenmacneish.com

From battlefields to crofts, and caves to castles, the Scottish Highlands offer excitement-filled adventures. Make your tracks in the mountains. Discover the towering rocks and wild lochs. Find out how cloudy days can become sunny days at the turn of a corner. Dramatic skies. Ancient land. Breathtaking wildlife.

“Beautiful, Glorious Scotland, has spoilt me for every other country.” ― Mary Todd Lincoln

Inspire your team on a scenic journey and host them against a stunning backdrop in the Scottish Highlands. Here is a handful of the fantastic experiences you can have:

  • Step out of your comfort zone with white-water rafting
  • Host your own Highland Games
  • Test your survival skills in a wilderness challenge
  • Put your driving skills to the test with off-road driving or trek the mud on a quad bike
  • Try pigeon clay shooting on a private estate
  • Discover what the “angel’s share” is on a whisky distillery tour
  • Get lost in nature on a Highland safari
  • Become a Highland warrior and re-enact a clan charge

Host your event against a jaw-dropping backdrop. From exclusive events to team building, and product launches to seminars, the Scottish Highlands provides space for it all.

Sand and sea: Best beaches in Scotland

Two dogs running on a beach
Two dogs running on a beach
Photo by Sinitta Leunen on Unsplash

Discover turquoise waters, crashing waves, and white sands. The beaches of Scotland are invigorating and help to bring the senses alive for team-building activities. Coming in various sizes, there are few beaches in the world as special as those in Scotland.

“Taste the salt in the wind, hear the seabirds call to each other over the crashing sounds of the waves, and see the pure sands stretching for miles before your bare feet.” — Visit Scotland

From beach volleyball to sand-castle building, a day at the beach is the perfect place for salt-air fun. Here are five of the top beaches in Scotland to inspire your guests on any visit to Scotland:

  1. Amidst the scattered islands of Shetland, you’ll find St. Ninian’s Isle. Walk across the natural white-sand causeway towards a blissful isle, and feel inspired by the crashing waves on either side.
  2. Find clear-blue waters next to a little crofting village. Luskentyre Sands on the Isle of Harris is part of the Hebridean Way Cycling Route.
  3. A city beach is the perfect place for work and play. Aberdeen Beach offers three kilometres of golden sands and opportunities to see bottlenose dolphins.
  4. Situated in the coastal town of St. Andrews, West Sands Beach features atmospheric seas. This beach is near world-famous golf courses and the historic town.
  5. Tread the waves on a surfboard, befriend hermit crabs in the rock pools, and discover beautiful wildlife. Coldingham Bay in Eyemouth is situated a one-hour drive from the City of Edinburgh.

2. Bangkok

Discover a collision of colours, flavours, and fun folks in Bangkok. Among the scores of skyscrapers and vast flatness, you’ll find energetic markets, golden temples, and the intense mix of aromas from Thai street food.

A city of contrasts: Things to do in Bangkok

Photo by Braden Jarvis on Unsplash

Bangkok loves a festival. Having fun and socialising are central parts of Thai culture, and events are often found in the streets and on temple grounds. With so much to do on these bustling streets, it’s no surprise that Bangkok is known as one of the world’s best urban exploration cities.

“One of the reasons I like living in Bangkok is that, although it’s a megacity, it’s very saturated with nature — the vast and brooding skies, the sudden storms and rains, the vegetation and even the animals that abound.” — Lawrence Osborne

You can veer off the beaten track to find conversations with monks, get lost in the jumble of colours in Chinatown, and discover a dynamic nightlife scene. Here are some of the top things to do in Bangkok:

  • Take a walk around Banglamphu to uncover leafy lanes, golden temples, and bustling markets
  • Find Buddhist temples, royal palaces, and districts connected by canals in Ko Ratanakosin and Thonburi
  • You’ll find streets crammed with restaurants, gold and jade shops, and flashing neon signs in Bangkok’s Chinatown

With excellent and modern public transport systems in place, Bangkok is surprisingly easy to navigate your way around. The Skytrain (BTS) is the quickest way to dodge the traffic jams and helps you breeze around the city in no time.

Venue highlights

A city that has as much vibrancy as Bangkok, creates the perfect canvas for hosting corporate meetings and events. Whether it be team-building days in the energetic streets or large-scale events in the exhibition centre, Bangkok offers you a home for it all. Here are some noteworthy venues:

It’s no wonder Bangkok is a sought-after city for cultured getaways. It’s a city of juxtapositions; megamalls sit side by side with 200-year-old village homes; gold-spired temples share space with neon-lit strips, and Buddhist monks shop for the latest technology. Bangkok is racing toward the future. It’s ever-changing. In this city, the seemingly impossible is made possible.

3. Berlin

Berlin is a city steeped in multiculturalism. You’re welcomed to explore its vibrant culture, cutting-edge architecture, fabulous food, and tangible history. When it comes to creativity, the sky’s the limit in Berlin. There’s a sense of spirit that nurtures and encourages new ideas — perfect for inspiring meetings and innovative events.

Cultural trendsetter: Things to do in Berlin

Photo by Stefan Widua on Unsplash

Highbrow, lowbrow, and everything in between — there’s plenty of room for full creative expression in Germany’s capital. Underneath the multicultural metropolis is the unpretentious beauty of an international village. The people of Berlin put greater emphasis on personal freedom and a creative lifestyle than on material wealth and status symbols. This is a city designed for you to explore all the possibilities and tap into your creative mind. Here’s a handful of things to do in Berlin:

Berlin is home to world-renowned universities, orchestras, museums, and entertainment venues. The city has all you really need for noteworthy events and impressive team getaways.

“I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Berliner.” — John F. Kennedy

No matter what time it is, there’s always a way to get around Berlin thanks to the city’s impressive public transport system. The airport is only a 30-minute drive from the city centre, where you can catch a tram, bus, or taxi. Berlin is a great walking city too — don’t forget to stroll around the streets, where history presents itself at every corner.

Venue highlights

With everything at your fingertips, it’s no surprise that Berlin is a firm favourite for corporate events and company meetings. Here is a few sneak peeks at venues available in this historical city:

  • 030 Eventloft features exclusive event rooms and space for filming
  • 12 Apostoli Mitte offers a stylish backdrop for festive occasions
  • Take your guests breath away 217FT, there are here are two halls, a fireplace room, and two meeting rooms

Top international performers still grace Berlin’s theatre, concert, and opera stages. International art-world stars, such as Olafur Eliasson and Jonathan Meese make their home here, and George Clooney and Tom Hanks have shot blockbusters in the German capital.

Berlin, as a city, is fairly big, but its key areas are perfectly compact and easily navigated on foot, by bike, or by public transport.

4. Geneva

This is Switzerland’s slick and cosmopolitan city.

Geneva is home to the headquarters of the World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Pair that with the abundance of luxury hotels, boutiques, jewellers, and restaurants, and we probably don’t need to tell you that this is a hotspot destination for business and pleasure.

Lakeside sophistication: Things to do in Geneva

Photo by Archie Fantom on Unsplash

You’ve probably heard all the stereotypes about Geneva: wealth, fondue, chocolate, and watchmaking. Of course, they all exist, but if you delve a little deeper you’ll find a lakeside city flourishing with diversity and creativity. In a city so diverse, you’ll find yourself with plenty to do, such as:

  • Lake Geneva: This is the largest lake in central Europe and offers awe-inspiring splendour
  • Jet d’Eau: This jet propels five hundred litres of water per second to a height of 140 metres
  • Vielle Ville: Spend a couple of hours satisfying your curiosity in the largest historic centre in Switzerland
  • CERN: This is where historic scientific experiments are being conducted at the world’s largest particle physics laboratory

“I love the region around Lake Geneva. The landscape is beautiful, very peaceful, and such a nice place to relax and spend time outdoors.” — Stan Wawrinka

Public transport in Switzerland is extensive, reliable, safe, and easy to use. Like all cities in Switzerland, Geneva is easy to navigate on foot, by bicycle, or by public transport.

Venue highlights

Geneva is home to a mix of hangouts throughout the year: festivals, celebrations, concerts, exhibitions, and sports are all on the annual agenda. You’ll find major events like the International Geneva Motor Show, International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products, and the Geneva Mapping Festival. Geneva is a great choice for lakeside conferences and events; host yours against this stunning backdrop. Here’s a handful of venue options:

Look beyond the stereotypes–contemporary Switzerland, land of four languages, is all about once-in-a-lifetime journeys and urban culture.

5. Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur, is a feast for all the senses. The streets are lined with delicious street food, historic monuments, and bustling markets. Banyan trees contrast against the colourful city. It’s a vibrant place with iconic views. Events and conferences held here are sure to be unforgettable.

Multicultural modernity: Things to do in Kuala Lumpur

Photo by Azlan Baharudin on Unsplash

Kuala Lumpur is a city best explored on foot. Discover the city’s best dining spots that beckon you with the aroma of freshly cooked food and refreshing cool drinks. Find creative contemporary-art and design, an ambitious riverbank-regeneration project, and stunning architecture. In a city so full of culture, you’re never far from something to do, such as:

  • Petronas Towers: These identical twin towers rise up from the Kuala Lumpur skyline; the views from the top are astounding
  • Islamic Arts Museum: This beautiful museum showcases Islamic decorative arts from around the globe
  • The Lake Gardens: This is Kuala Lumpur’s largest green space, and you can spend the better part of a day exploring the landscaped parks
  • Jalan Alor: Kuala Lumpur’s biggest collection of roadside restaurants and street food vendors can be found along Jln Alor
  • Pavilion KL: Sets the gold standard in Kuala Lumpur’s shopping scene

“Malaysia is a country unlike any other: Full of promise and fragility. Its history, cultural and religious diversity make it a rich, compelling and surprising land.” — Tariq Ramadan

Kuala Lumpur is a busy city and traffic is common, but with an extensive network of buses, light rail commuter trains, and taxis, getting around the city is easy.

Venue highlights

Kuala Lumpur is a major business and international events destination. The city is steeped in multicultural diversity and features a multitude of venues. Exciting travel experiences are found for both business and pleasure. Major Kuala Lumpur meeting and convention venues include the world-class Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in the city’s Central Business District and the Sime Darby Convention Centre, located near the KL Golf and Country Club. Genting International Convention Centre is known for its high-tech features, while the Putra World Trade Centre serves as a city landmark. Looking for another venue? Here are three more:

Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia, boasting soaring skyscrapers, colonial architecture, charming locals, and an array of natural attractions. For events with an Asian flair, look no further.

6. Melbourne

Discover a perfect blend of dynamic culture in Australia’s second-largest city — Melbourne. Explore the vibrant streets and find art-deco high-rises, delicious food, and subtle charms. It doesn’t matter if you spend a week or a year here; there’s always another gem to uncover. The charming suburbs are diverse and each has its own story to tell. Pave your own route in a city that sets the trends instead of following them.

A city of hidden gems: Things to do in Melbourne

Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash

Much of Melbourne’s charm is found in its diverse suburbs. There’s a laid-back vibe created by the bars, cafes, and festivals. Melbourne is a sport-loving city; the Melburnians are crazy about AFL football, cricket, and grand-slam tennis. Whether you’re heading for a corporate day at the ‘footy’ or a wander around the lively neighbourhoods, there’s a little something for everyone. Here’s a handful of top things to do in Melbourne:

Melbourne is bohemian. It’s progressive. Strands of the subculture are seen throughout the streets and suburbs. Melbourne doesn’t have to try. Hotspots mingle with laneways, rooftop warehouses, and streets filled with art.

“Melbourne City is an awesome city. You can get everything: You can get open air. You can get city life. You can get cafes and bars. I started comedy here; I lived here for 10 years. I went to university here. This is my home ground.” — Ronny Chieng

Melbourne has been ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world and the ease of finding your way around is part of what makes this city so appealing. Melbourne’s public transport system is easy to use and offers tram, train, and bus transport all on the one ticket.

Venue highlights

Major events take centre stage in Melbourne throughout the year, from the Australian Open in January to the Melbourne Cup Carnival in November. Start planning your corporate event in this beautiful city. Here are a few of the top venues for meetings and events:

  • Bangpop caters to full sit-down dinners and chic cocktail parties
  • Alto Event Space is the perfect space for product launches, corporate events, and private parties
  • Arrow on Swanston features convenient function venues including a Grand Ballroom

It’s easy to label Melbourne a ‘hipster’ destination, but this diverse city has a lot more to it and can provide a stunning backdrop for your corporate meetings and events. What will your adventure be?

7. Singapore

Singapore is a melting pot of cultures that’s fast becoming one of Asia’s top destinations. Getting around Singapore couldn’t be easier — the island city-state features one of the world’s most efficient public transport systems. Explore the possibilities in this financial epicentre, complete with a tropical climate and multicultural population.

The skyline of the future: Things to do in Singapore

Photo by Zhu Hongzhi on Unsplash

Discover wonderful green spaces, a city steeped in culture, and grand colonial buildings. Once dominated by a concrete jungle, Singapore’s skylines are now giving way to green skyscrapers, which look more like living ecosystems than business hubs. Find walking trails, treetop jungle bridges, and wildlife galore.

“The handiest and most marvellous city I ever saw.” — William Hornaday of Singapore

Access around Singapore is easy with its widespread MRT system. Here’s a handful of the fantastic experiences you can have:

  • Asian Civilisations Museum: This fascinating museum is home to the region’s most comprehensive collection of pan-Asian treasures
  • Gardens by the Bay: Discover Singapore’s 21st-century, 101-hectare botanic garden
  • National Gallery Singapore: Singapore’s historic City Hall and Old Supreme Court buildings now form the city’s remarkable National Gallery
  • Singapore Zoo: Get up close to orangutans, watch Malaysian flying foxes, and discover a replica African village
  • Singapore Botanic Gardens: Singapore’s 74-hectare botanic fantasy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the city’s most stunning attractions

Venue highlights

Host events that will leave your guests speechless. From intimate meetings to large-scale conferences, Singapore offers a space for it all. Thanks to its highly efficient and far-reaching public transport system, Singapore is a convenient destination for business and tourism alike. That combined with its world-famous Michelin-starred dining, impressive sustainability initiatives, and stunning green spaces, it comes as no surprise that the small island city-state is a top choice for global events. Here’s a handful of top venues in Singapore:

If you’re still not convinced, wait until you try the food. Eating is said to be a classically Singaporean past-time, and it’s not difficult to see why. The Lion City is home to a constellation of Michelin-starred restaurants, ranging from Japanese fusion dishes at Beni to French cuisine at Odette. Delectable cuisine can be found around every corner.

Singapore is so much more than a pretty skyline. It’s constantly evolving, reinventing, and reimagining itself. The people are passionate about creating new possibilities, making it the perfect base for unleashing your imagination. It’s where foodies, explorers, collectors, action seekers, culture shapers, and socialisers meet. New experiences are created every day — what will yours be?

8. South of France: The French Riviera

The South of France is sunset beach walks, iconic landscapes, and harbourside glamour. When we think of the South of France we tend to imagine private yachts in Cannes and beachfront hotels filled with celebrities, but that’s only part of the picture. Discover the charms beyond the cliches. With beautiful natural surroundings, pleasant weather, and delicious cuisine, the South of France is perfect for business and pleasure alike.

Harbourside glamour: Things to do in Cannes

Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash

We’re most familiar with Cannes for its film festival — where the streets are filled with tuxedos and flashing lights. But the glitz and glam in Cannes happen all year round. Take a stroll around Cannes and you’ll find trendy bars, boutique shops, and a stunning harbour filled with liner-sized yachts.

“As far as festivals, nothing tops Cannes.” Sasha Lane

Cannes is the perfect place for chic events and modish meetings. Here’s a handful of the many things you can do in Cannes:

  • Admire the Ferraris and Porsches often found around the harbour
  • Relax on the sun-lounger filled beaches
  • Visit the promenade of La Croisette, where the Cannes Film Festival is famously held
  • Discover old-style charm in Cannes’ oldest district, Le Suquet
  • Check out celebrity yachts and glamour at Vieux Port

Getting around Cannes is easy. The city is equipped with an efficient local bus system, Bus Azur. The bus system provides a service not only in the city but also to neighbouring Cannes la Bocca, Le Cannet, and Mandelieu-la Napoule.

Venue highlights

When it comes to glamorous events and spectacular get-togethers, it’s hard to imagine a better backdrop to host than in Cannes. This celebrity-playground features a harbour, bay, offshore islands, and the old quarter, Le Suquet — all of them spring to life on sunny days. So, where do you host such events? Here’s a list of venues around the city:

  • Palais des Festivals: One of the city’s well-known convention centres and home to Cannes Film Festival
  • Les Studio Cannes: With meeting rooms and conference facilities, this is a great venue for all types of events
  • Plage Royale: Located in the heart of Boulevard de la Croisette with space for business meetings, and concerts
  • Hotel Martinez: Features 15 versatile meeting and event venues with a variety of layouts
  • JW Marriott Cannes: Boasts 13,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and an 820-seat auditorium

Host a memorable event in Cannes. The wealth and glamour of this city cannot fail to impress.

Seafood by the Sea: Things to do in St-Tropez

Photo by Jeffrey Blum on Unsplash

Meander around St-Tropez and find mesmerising cobbled streets, quaint beauty, and a beach-to-beach coastal path.

“You were never told that St-Tropez is paradise?” — Karl Lagerfeld

St-Tropez is easily one of the most recognisable names on the French Riviera and conjures images of champagne-fuelled yacht parties and star-studded beaches. Underneath all that is a once-humble fishing port with narrow cobbled streets that have bewitched visitors for centuries. Here are some of the top things to do in St-Tropez:

Venue highlights

The laid-back coastal setting of St-Tropez is sure to inspire your guests during corporate events and team-building days. Here are a few of the top event venues in St-Tropez:

St-Tropez remains undeniably glamorous and charming. This is an ideal spot for events with mystique and pizzazz.

Old-world opulence: Things to do in Nice

Photo by Lottie Griffiths on Unsplash

It’s said that no place in France can compare to Nice. Old-world opulence, year-round sunshine, and vibrant streets mix together to create a stunning seaside location. Discover the simple joy of a day at the beach with a spot of people-watching. Skate, kayak, swim, or sprawl on a beach lounger. It’s all happening in Nice.

“Refined, raffish, and remarkably good-looking.” — Anthony Peregrine

Featuring culture, good food, and festivity, Nice is a sought-after city for team getaways and exotic get-togethers. Here’s a handful of must-dos in Nice:

Getting around Nice is easy. Buses serve all major tourist attractions as well as the Nice-Ville train station and the Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport (NCE).

Venue highlights

Old-world charm meets modern style around the streets of Nice. It’s the perfect balance for meetings and events with real-city grit. Check out these venues for your next event:

  • Le Meridien: Ideal for business events and productive meetings
  • Le Negresco: Features 11 luxuriously decorated reception rooms with a capacity of up to 600 in conference formation
  • Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee: Great location in Nice for organising your business seminars, international conferences, and prestigious events

Whether you’re cruising the clifftop roads, team-building on the beaches, or hosting chic events, the French Riviera is sun-drenched, charming, and seductive.

Photographer and writer. Based in Scotland. Using Medium for opinion pieces, marketing advice, and motivational articles. https://www.laurenmacneish.com/

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