"Away from sightseeing and full bellies, one of the most awe-inspiring ways to soak in culture is through the journey of finding your spiritual side!"
The livelihoods of millions of cultural professionals have been put at serious risk over the last five months, with COVID-19 disrupting the tourism industry and holiday goers. The economical impacts can be seen in the amount of staff put on furlough or made redundant by airlines, with travel agents and tourism boards in countries worldwide hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel.
But with the easing of lockdown restrictions allowing us to travel to countries far and wide, providing they have the green light for non-essential visits, there’re ways to experience culture and help support not only the UK economy but ones all over the globe. Here we look at how you can experience culture the next time you go abroad.
Visit architectural treasures
A country’s culture can often be found in its artistic flair, vibrant food scene, and architectural wonders steeped in history and stories. When it comes to the latter, you have the likes of Parthenon in Athens, the Colosseum in Rome, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. But one of the greatest examples of cultural architecture is the Taj Mahal in India.
Nearly seven million people visited the famous memorial between 2018 and 2019, and it is now considered as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Completely symmetrical in design, it’s no surprise that so many tourists visit it to soak in the culture of one of the most vibrant countries in the world. If the architecture alone doesn’t amaze you, then the sunset cruise you can take will.
The attraction has been closed to the public due to COVID-19, but India’s Tourism Board has questioned why it still remains shut despite the open space which tourists use to walk around the wonder. In this instance, before applying for an Indian visa, make sure to check out the latest information on travel restrictions at both ends, including whether the attraction is open to visitors.
Experience vibrant food and drink scenes
Food and drink play a huge role in holidays for millions of people. Whether it’s tucking into a steak in Argentina, eating pasta and drinking beer in Italy, or sampling street food in Vietnam, there’s a scene for every palette and every preference.
Plus, a country’s food and drink options can be the perfect way to indulge in its culture. After all, a country is often remembered by its nation’s dish or tipple that you search for frantically on Google when you get home.
With the global pandemic still playing on people’s minds when it comes to going abroad, you may see a trip to Europe, if exempt from quarantine rules, as a great way to get away. A European city break opens a whole new realm of options when it comes to chowing down.
Further afield, you can still enjoy tasty meals in some of the world’s most popular destinations. Just be sure the long-haul flight isn’t heading towards a country exempt from the UK’s travel corridors list.
Discover your spiritual side
Away from sightseeing and full bellies, one of the most awe-inspiring ways to soak in culture is through the journey of finding your spiritual side. Some of the most beautiful countries in the world allow you to escape from the stress of everyday life and enjoy new experiences designed to enrich and empower the human body and mind. After nearly a year of dealing with an unwanted virus, the chance to enjoy new scenery and improve your spiritual state may well be an appealing prospect!
The beauty of going on a spiritual holiday is the fact social distancing can be more controlled in places like monasteries and World Heritage Sites like Easter Island in Chile, where visiting the Moai statues is seen as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The world is full of spiritual places to add to your bucket list, but like the other ways to experience culture above, make sure it’s safe to travel before planning your zen vacation.
Overall, you may be in the position where vacation means ‘staycation’ at the moment, but once it’s time to venture further afield than the UK, you may want to put culture ahead of days around the pool and on the beach.