Key Highlights

Discover these hidden gems for your next getaway:

  • Action & Adventure in Jamaica: Dive into thrilling adventures in Montego Bay and Negril. Empower yourself with unique experiences at the Half Moon Equestrian Centre.

  • Winter Sports in Solden, Austria: Ski, toboggan, and enjoy après-ski festivals in this Alpine paradise. Dine at the iconic Ice Q Bistro featured in James Bond's Spectre.

  • Detox at SHA Clinic, Alicante: Rejuvenate with unique diet plans and cutting-edge treatments. Participate in daily activities like yoga and aqua-gym sessions.

  • Golf in Quinta do Lago, Algarve: Experience world-class golf courses and professional-level training. Enjoy luxury accommodations at the Magnolia Hotel.

  • City Break in Chicago: Explore architectural marvels, vibrant cultural institutions, and a thriving jazz scene. Ascend the Willis Tower for breathtaking views of the city.

  • Off the Beaten Track in Venice's 118 Islands: Discover hidden gems beyond the tourist hotspots. Visit preserved monasteries for unique experiences.

  • Vocal Training at Roy Hart Voice Centre, France: Unleash your creativity through vocal workshops in picturesque Malérargues. Book early due to limited spots.

May 25, 2022

7 Underrated Vacation Destinations You Need to Discover

Book a getaway and embark on something new! From eco-excursions in the sun-soaked Caribbean to detoxing on the Mediterranean, here are seven holidays you might not have considered—but definitely should.

Action & Adventure with Jamaica

What: While Jamaica is known as the epitome of relaxation, it offers much more than palm trees and sandy beaches. It's a hub for heart-pumping adventures! Cities like Montego Bay and Negril, located in the northwest, serve as perfect bases for high-adrenaline activities. Whether it's scuba diving, paddleboarding, windsurfing, water-skiing, or hobie cat sailing, come prepared to get wet and have a blast! Additionally, venture to the River Bumpkin Farm for thrilling eco-excursions like river tubing and kayaking down the Martha Brae. Let adventure company Chukka guide you through the lively, crystal-clear Mayfield Falls for an unforgettable experience.

Why: Jamaica offers diverse and thrilling activities beyond its stunning beaches. Experience empowerment at the Half Moon Equestrian Centre through an unmounted encounter, where you'll use body language to foster mutual respect and cooperation with your horse. It's perfect for those seeking to boost self-confidence and self-esteem.

Travel Details: Charter flights are available directly from Dublin to Montego Bay, or opt for British Airways from London.

Where to Stay: Experience the legendary Jamaica Inn, frequented by luminaries like Winston Churchill, Noel Coward, and Marilyn Monroe, as well as James Bond creator Ian Fleming. Rooms start at €289 B&B for a truly unforgettable stay.

Staycation Alternative: Nestled in the heart of Connemara, Delphi is an exceptional adventure center suitable for the whole family.


Winter Sports in Solden, Austria

What: Situated in the heart of the Tyrol Valley, Solden has gained a 007 seal of approval for its role in James Bond’s Spectre. Celebrated on the silver screen, Solden's Alpine setting makes it a must-visit destination for all your winter sporting desires.

Why: Solden boasts some of Europe's most stunning slopes, offering a plethora of winter sports activities—from tobogganing to sledding, ice-skating to paragliding. With snow-covered slopes open until May, the skiing season extends well beyond the winter months. Solden also hosts lively après-ski festivals throughout the year, adding to its allure.

Top Tip: Don't miss booking a table at Ice Q Bistro, located 3,000 meters above sea level. Featured in Spectre, this chic eatery offers top-notch local cuisine paired with jaw-dropping views.

Travel Details: Aer Lingus offers direct flights to Munich, Germany. From there, it's a three-hour drive through the magnificent Tyrol Valley to reach Solden.

Where to Stay: Experience luxury at the town's premier hotel, the five-star DAS Central, seamlessly blending modernity with age-old traditions. Rooms start at €200 per night for an unforgettable stay.

Staycation Alternative: Opt for the Ski Club of Ireland in Kilternan, Co. Dublin, home to the National Snowsports Centre for Ireland—an excellent alternative for winter sports enthusiasts.


Detox with SHA Clinic, Alicante

What: Sometimes life can feel overwhelming, and the best solution is to press the reboot button and start afresh. If this sounds appealing, consider booking a detox program at Spain's exclusive SHA Clinic.

Why: For over a decade, this luxurious facility has welcomed celebrities from A to Z, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Campbell, and Kylie Minogue. These luminaries flock to SHA to avail themselves of its unique diet and cutting-edge treatments, which blend Eastern philosophy with Western medicine. Whether you opt for the rejuvenating BDR facial, the weight-shifting Indiba Body treatment, or the 50-minute Watsu massage—an underwater experience rooted in Japanese Shiatsu—you're sure to find treatments that leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Top Tip: Make the most of your stay by participating in the free group activities scheduled each day, including yoga, Nordic walks, aqua-gym sessions, film screenings, and Qi Gong—a holistic practice integrating movement, breathing, and meditation.

Travel Details: Situated near L'Albir on Spain's Costa Blanca, SHA offers transfers to and from Alicante and Valencia airports, located 62 and 150 kilometers away, respectively. You can fly with Ryanair or Aer Lingus for convenient access.

Where to Stay: The full-board SHA Discovery Programme provides an excellent overview of the clinic's approach, costing €1,250 per person excluding accommodation. Accommodation starts from €310 per night.

Staying at Home: If you prefer a detox experience closer to home, Forbes listed Enniscorthy's award-winning Monart as one of the top 10 destinations in the world. A visit to Monart is sure to showcase why it's so highly regarded.

Website: Explore more at and

Golf in Quinta do Lago, Algarve

What: The Algarve's exclusive Quinta do Lago stands out as one of Europe's premier destinations for golf enthusiasts.

Why: This luxurious resort has become a haven not only for golfers but also for cyclists, athletes, and sports enthusiasts of all kinds. With three world-class golf courses catering to players of every skill level, Quinta do Lago has hosted renowned figures like Rory McIlroy, Paul McGinley, and fitness expert Duncan Bannatyne from Dragons' Den.

Top Tip: Don't miss out on visiting The Campus, a state-of-the-art sporting facility offering professional-level training and coaching across various sports disciplines. Experience the latest craze, padel, a fusion of tennis and squash, gaining popularity across Europe.

Travel Details: Direct flights from Aer Lingus and Ryanair take you to Faro Airport. From there, Quinta do Lago is just a 15-minute drive away.

Where to Stay: Opt for the Irish-owned Magnolia Hotel, offering the lifestyle of Quinta do Lago without the hefty price tags. This quirky, Instagram-friendly property provides guests with free transfers and preferential rates to the area's facilities. Room rates start from €78 per night with bed and breakfast. Additionally, golf packages— including three nights' accommodation, bed and breakfast, and two rounds of golf— are priced at €415 per person.

Staycation Alternative: Consider the five-star Lough Erne Hotel in Enniskillen, boasting two championship golf courses for a luxurious staycation experience.

Websites: Explore further at,, and

City Break in Chicago

What: Chicago, with a population of fewer than three million, is arguably America's trendiest destination, surpassing even New York City. Its diverse offerings cater to all interests, with architectural marvels, vibrant cultural institutions, and a thriving jazz scene.

Why: Architecture enthusiasts will marvel at Chicago's skyline, home to iconic structures like the neo-gothic Tribune Tower and the historic Wrigley Building. The city's artistic flair is showcased at attractions like Cloud Gate, affectionately known as "The Bean," and the Art Institute of Chicago, housing a rich collection of masterpieces.

For jazz aficionados, Chicago is a paradise, boasting some of the world's finest clubs and live music venues.

Top Tip: Daredevils shouldn't miss the opportunity to ascend the Willis Tower, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Visit the Skydeck on the 103rd floor for breathtaking views and experience the adrenaline rush of stepping onto its glass ledge.

Travel Details: Aer Lingus and American Airlines offer direct flights from Ireland to Chicago O'Hare International Airport, providing convenient access to the city.

Where to Stay: Consider the luxurious Dana Hotel & Spa, a modern retreat offering unique accommodations. Don't miss the award-winning Vertigo Sky Lounge, perched 26 stories above the city. Room rates start at $289 per night.

Staycation Alternative: Experience the renowned Cork Jazz Festival, held annually in October, offering a taste of world-class jazz performances closer to home.

Websites: Explore further at,,, and

Off the Beaten Track in Venice's 118 Islands

What: Venice, one of Europe’s most visited cities, offers more than the iconic canals, gondolas, and St Mark’s Square. Exploring the 118 islands scattered around the lagoon reveals hidden gems often missed by tourists.

Why: Beyond the well-known sights, islands like Torcello, boasting a legendary throne linked to Attila the Hun, and the eerie San Servolo, once a mental asylum, offer intriguing history. Lido, the largest island, hosts the Venice Film Festival, while Murano and Burano are renowned for glassmaking and lace, respectively.

Top Tip: Explore the budget-friendly option of visiting preserved monasteries like San Francesco del Deserto (donations only) and San Lazzaro degli Armeni (€6).

Travel Details: Aer Lingus offers flights to Marco Polo Airport. From there, Alilaguna airport ferries transport travelers to St Mark’s Square. Local ferries (ACTV vaporettos) provide access to most islands, with travel passes starting at €20 per day.

Where to Stay: Experience luxury at JW Marriott on Isola delle Rose, a former pulmonary diseases hospital transformed into a five-star hotel. Room rates start at €395 per night.

Staycation Alternative: Explore the stunning Aran Islands off the coast of Ireland, including the lesser-known Inis Meain and Inis Oirr, offering a quieter but equally enchanting experience.

Websites: Plan your Venetian adventure with,,,, and

Vocal Training in the Roy Hart Voice Centre, France

What: The Roy Hart Centre, a renowned vocal laboratory nestled in the South of France since 1974, offers a retreat for those seeking to explore the power of the human voice.

Why: Located in the remote yet picturesque Malérargues, the centre hosts a variety of vocal workshops, from singing to improvisation, attracting participants of all levels. These workshops, held between March and November for a few days or weeks, provide a chance to disconnect from everyday life and unleash creativity.

Top Tip: With limited spots (usually 10 students per course), early booking is advised. Prices vary by length; for example, the six-day Voice & Song course costs €360.

Travel Details: Fly into Nimes via Ryanair, then take a bus to St Jean du Gard. Disembark at Gare de Thoiras, where a representative from the centre will meet you.

Where to Stay: On-site accommodation offers simple but comfortable shared rooms, fostering a communal atmosphere. Rates start at €20 per night.

Staycation Alternative: The Roy Hart Centre hosts workshops worldwide, including in Ireland. Details are available on their website.

Website: Explore further at