Birthdays are a time to celebrate, and luckily for us, we get one every year. Traveling can be a fantastic way to spend a birthday, especially if it’s the start of a new decade—turning 40 or 50 is certainly a reason to celebrate! Getting away on your birthday can be about more than just having a good time. It’s a chance to reflect on the last year, look forward to the next one, and take a few days to focus on yourself. Even if your birthday is months away, it’s never too early to start thinking about birthday trip ideas. Here are some romantic, exciting, and beautiful places to go for your birthday all around the world.
1: Barcelona, Spain
Ask world travelers what cities they love the most, and Barcelona will often be top of mind. This Catalonian city has it all: beaches, history, amazing food, romance, fantastic architecture, art, and more. This is not a city where you have to work very hard to fill your days. Barcelona is one of the best places to go for your birthday to fit many activities in one trip. You could start your day with a sightseeing tour past the most famous buildings from architectural genius Antoni Gaudí, including Casa Battló, Park Güell, and La Sagrada Familia.
Or, you may choose to spend the morning relaxing on the beach, or leisurely strolling through the historical Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter.) When it’s time for lunch, take a tapas-and-wine-pairing tour, or swing by one of the small cafes on Las Ramblas. The options are endless, so if Barcelona tops your list of birthday trip ideas, here’s the perfect way to spend three days in Barcelona.
2: Venice, Italy
Romance is always in the air in Venice; after all, is there anything more romantic than a sunset gondola ride on the city’s famous canals? If your ideal birthday revolves around a romantic getaway with your spouse or partner, consider planning a getaway for two to the Italian city. Of course, you’ll also be drawn to this beautiful city if you’re a history or art lover. Be sure to visit Doge’s Palace, a 14th-century palace once owned by the leader of the Venitian Republic. Then, walk through the hidden and twisting streets of Venice, exploring centuries-old glass-blowing studios, before heading to St. Mark’s Square. The city feels as though it was custom-designed for people in love. Of course, it’s hard to find a more romantic place for dinner than a candlelit cobblestone street in the heart of Italy.
Perfect for east coasters looking for a quick tropical getaway, Bermuda is truly a one-of-a-kind destination. Thanks to the blend of British influence and tropical surroundings, it feels more luxurious than other destinations. While amazing shopping and dining experiences are a given, Bermuda is one of the best birthday trips for another reason: it’s signature pink sand. Some of the best Bermuda beaches are famous not just for their beauty—bright blue water and rocky coves assure that nearly all the island’s beaches are stunning—but for the pink sand you won’t find in too many other places in the world.
One of Bermuda’s most famous beaches is Horseshoe Bay, which beckons travelers with its gentle waves and picture-perfect vistas. In Bermuda, you can spend your birthday relaxing on the beach with a rum swizzle in hand, then spend the next day exploring an underground crystal cave or touring the coastline on a catamaran. Read: Best Time to Visit Bermuda
4: Vancouver, Canada
If you live in California or the PNW and are looking for great birthday trip ideas, put away the tropical clothing and consider heading north to jaw-droppingly beautiful Vancouver. The seaside city is bordered by the beach on one side and mountains on the other, with an actual tropical rainforest not too far away. That makes it an excellent blend of urban elegance and outdoor adventure—perfect for anyone who likes to hike during the day and enjoy a gourmet tasting menu at night.
Crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of British Columbia’s most memorable experiences and a must if you’re visiting the city. The long suspension bridge hangs more than 100 feet above the rainforest floor and offers a chance to get a bird’s-eye view of the lush surroundings. It’s suitable for nearly all ages and ability levels, so it’s a fantastic way to connect with Vancouver’s nature without a strenuous hike. Another excellent way to experience Vancouver’s wild side is to take the Sea-to-Sky Gondola, which rises more than 2,000 feet into the air in the mountains of nearby Squamish. If you have time, visit nearby Shannon Falls, where a short walking path will take you to one of the most impressive (and roaring) waterfalls in western Canada.
5: Key West, Florida
Florida’s Key West is one of the best places to go for your birthday if you’re traveling with a group of friends. In the Keys, you can have a great time and enjoy the finer things in life, with low-key bars located just steps away from upscale spas and cafes. Though the colorful seaport area near Duval Street is lively and happening, it’s actually a National Historic Landmark once frequented by famous Key West locals like Ernest Hemmingway.
Since Key West is one of the most tropical places in the U.S., be sure to get out on the water for your birthday. If you’re spending time with family, some of the best things to do in Key West with kids include snorkeling and swimming with dolphins. Dozens of tours and boat rentals are available, ranging from catamarans sails to see dolphins in the wild to snorkeling tours that will guide you across Key West’s best coral reefs. Read: What Is Key West Known for?
If you love snorkeling or scuba diving, you should strongly consider a trip to Bonaire, an island recognized as one of the best diving locations in the world. There are more than 50 spots on the island where you can scuba dive or snorkel right from the beach. Grab your gear and swim out to get face-to-face with some of the most colorful creatures in the Caribbean. What’s a more exciting place to go for your birthday than a coral reef? There’s plenty to do out of the water, too. Some of the best things to do in Bonaire include kayaking through a mangrove river, learning to windsurf, and spotting flamingos in the wild. Bonaire is a small island, so whether you want to spend your birthday riding an ATV, relaxing on the beach, or cruising on a catamaran, you’ll find a place to do it within a few minutes of Kralendijk, the capital.
7: Cozumel, Mexico
If you only have a few days to celebrate your birthday, consider heading to Cozumel. The always-popular beachside city in Mexico is affordable, welcoming, and filled with opportunities to explore Mexico’s rich heritage and culture. History buffs may want to spend their birthdays exploring the pyramids, temples, and tombs of Chichen Itza, the Mayan Empire’s former capital. Or to experience Mexico’s modern culture, sign up for a couple’s or small-group cooking class.
If you want to spend your birthday in Cozumel’s warm water, snorkeling and catamaran tours are always on offer. If you want to challenge yourself to try something new for your birthday, you could sign up for an intro to scuba class or try an underwater trek, wearing an astronaut-style helmet that supplies air from the surface as you stroll along the ocean floor.
8: Quebec City, Canada
For the charm of a European city, consider visiting Old Quebec on the shores of Canada’s St. Lawrence River. Distinctly more French than the rest of Canada—and one of the things Quebec is known for—don’t be surprised when you’re greeted with bonjour instead of hello, and menus come in both Francais and Anglais. Old Quebec is stunning and perpetually covered in white lights, flower boxes hanging from windows, and outdoor seating in front of every cafe. You can take a funicular down to wander the old city’s cobblestone streets, or take a romantic horse-drawn trolley ride through the heart of the city.
A food tour is a great way to experience something new on your birthday, especially as Quebec City is known for its unique and modern blend of French and Canadian cuisines. Make sure to try poutine if you never have.
Curaçao is a slightly more metropolitan version of Bonaire—in fact, the islands are right next to each other. While Curaçao still has the fabulous beaches and amazing watersports of Bonaire, it also has a bit more of a downtown area in Willemstad, the capital city. Some of the best things to do in Curaçao include taking Caribbean food cooking classes (perhaps to host a belated birthday party when you get home?), visiting an ostrich farm, or touring the 300,000-year old Hato Caves. Curaçao isn’t nearly as popular as other islands, so it’s one of the best places to go for your birthday if you want to be a bit off-the-beaten path and enjoy an excellent mix of beachside relaxation and unusual discoveries.
10: Costa Maya, Mexico
If your upcoming birthday is all about letting off steam and trying to de-stress from a challenging year, Mexico’s Costa Maya is the perfect place to celebrate. The small town is south of Cancun and doesn’t attract nearly the same crowds—which is good for people who love smaller villages and more laid-back travel experiences. The port at Costa Maya isn’t a big city, but it does have a swim-up bar and pool, local boutiques, and a few excellent bars and restaurants. Some of the best things to do in Costa Maya are within walking distance to town, like dolphin encounters and educational sessions with practitioners of Mayan traditions. Just a few minutes from town are the beaches of Mahahual, where you can do everything from fly fishing to diving and snorkeling on the world’s second-largest reef. If you take just a short drive inland, you’ll have access to newly discovered Mayan ruins, river tubing, or ATVing through the jungle. The town may be small, but there are plenty of activities to make your next birthday an incredible experience. Read: Best Costa Maya Beaches
11: Cayman Islands
For the perfect birthday celebration not far from home, consider a trip to the Cayman Islands to celebrate your most recent trip around the sun. Grand Cayman is where you’ll find the world-famous Seven Mile Beach, a fabulous stretch of soft, sandy beach that offers some of the Caribbean’s best recreation. Seven Mile Beach is a wonderful place to give scuba diving a try if doing something adventurous tops your list of birthday trip ideas. If that’s a little too daring, you can go on your own Grand Cayman snorkeling adventure, whether it’s above a shipwreck or the island’s reefs. When it’s time for a celebratory cocktail, head to one of Grand Cayman’s modern Caribbean restaurants, or watch the sunset from a low-key beachfront grill.
No matter how you choose to celebrate your birthday—or where you ultimately decide to go—just remember what’s important: spending your day surrounded by the person or people that make your life special. Celebrate your next birthday with an incredible luxury cruise vacation to one of these unforgettable destinations. Browse cruise itineraries online and book your birthday trip today.