Swipe Right on New Faces: Seven Inspiring Destinations to Meet New People while Traveling
While traveling is a great opportunity to experience new destinations, cultures and food, it’s also a great way to connect with and meet new people. With our recent research revealing that nearly two-thirds (60%) of global travelers want to meet new people while away,* and with 64% looking forward to socializing while on a post-pandemic vacation,* we have selected seven destinations that are highly endorsed by our travelers for activities that are best experienced with others.** Whether wanting to partner up to experience the tango in South America or explore adventure paradise in Vietnam with a pack of motorcyclists, there’s plenty of exciting ways for people to expand their usual social circle through travel.
Tango in Montevideo, Uruguay
According to our travelers, Montevideo is one of the top endorsed destinations for tango, which is unsurprising given the dance originated in this vibrant capital city in the 18th century. Best enjoyed with a partner, the exuberant ballroom dance requires connection between pairs, expression of romance and vibrancy in movement. It takes two to tango and the friendly dance scene in this city is beaming with opportunities for visitors to meet new people, from cozy tango bars to beachfront discos and dance classes in one of the many elegant neoclassical theaters. A visit to the city won’t be complete without a Wine Tasting Tour to delve into the rich wine culture of Uruguay which is ripe for discovery.
Where to stay: Bed down in the heritage quarter of the city at eclectic boutique hotel FAUNA Montevideo. Beautifully decorated throughout with vintage furnishings and unique art that reflect the architectural history of the building, this Booking.com Travel Sustainable property is crammed full of art deco treasures, mosaic tiled floors and beautiful marble stairways. What’s more, it’s perfectly located near a cluster of tango bars and clubs, as well as popular landmarks including Montevideo's harbor, Port Market and Solis Theatre.
The landscape around Phong Nha, in central Vietnam’s Quang Binh province, features meandering blue rivers, rice paddies and chiseled jungle-clad mountains. And the neighboring Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, contains the oldest karst mountain in Asia, formed 400 million years ago, with a network of hundreds of colossal caves. One of the best ways to experience this sublime countryside is on a motorcycle, with Booking.com travelers voting Phong Nha a top destination for motorcycling. Dirt roads have more recently been paved and back-roads widened, while off-road adventure is ripe for exploration to get off the beaten track and experience untouched Vietnam. Local people here are exceptionally friendly, and all too pleased to help travelers discover the culture and history of this stunning district, while the many varied motorcycle tours will enable visitors to meet fellow adventure-seeking travelers.
Where to stay: Phong Nha Coco Riverside is the ideal spot for those looking to explore, with free bicycle and kayak hire available. Right on the river, it’s just a short walk into town and the buzz of the backpacker strip crammed full of bars and restaurants. Guests can expect stunning riverside views, and a shared lounge and garden with hammocks where they can chill out together. The traditional onsite restaurant serves up delicious local cuisine; the banana pancakes for breakfast are not to be missed. Welcoming staff will arrange local tours for guests, and even help them navigate riding a motorcycle if it’s their first time.
This old fishing town on the northeast coast of Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands of Spain boasting broad golden beaches and towering sand dunes, is a surfer’s paradise. A top recommended destination for windsurfing according to Booking.com travelers, it’s widely regarded as one of the best places to surf in the world due to reliable and strong winds all year round and an infrastructure to cater for all abilities. On top of the surf schools, a variety of watersports are available including kitesurfing, jet skiing, kayaking and scuba diving, making it the ideal place for water lovers to meet like-minded locals and travelers. Escape for the day on a Catamaran Tour to Lobos Island, an uninhabited islet with crystal clear waters, where visitors can swim, snorkel and kayak together. Back in town, there’s plenty of opportunity to meet new people by night at the many bars and live music venues.
Where to stay: The modern and bright Buendía Corralejo nohotel apartments feature air conditioned and spacious rooms complete with modern amenities, and are just a brisk walk away from the Atlantic Ocean. Offering a restaurant, fitness center and large sunny terrace where guests can congregate, there’s also an onsite surf school for enthusiasts of any level – a great way to meet fellow surf buddies. When the breezy beach gets cooler in the evening, guests can head back to float in the swimming pool and hang out at the poolside bar.
An alpine town in Canada’s Alberta province, Jasper is known for its abundant wildlife, surrounding emerald lakes and glacier-clad peaks, and is therefore not surprisingly a top destination for wildlife according to our travelers. The surrounding Jasper National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a haven for animals, as its vast forests stretch across 4,200 sq miles (11,000 sq km). With the highest concentrated black and brown bear population in Canada, visitors might spot the odd bear, as well as other species that roam the woods, including elk, goats and moose. Travelers can head out together on a Canadian Rockies and Jasper National Park group tour to explore, with a chance to observe the varied wildlife in their natural environment, as well as the numerous glacier-fed lakes, including Peyto Lake with its famous turquoise hue. The magic of the town is due to its small, welcoming community; visitors couldn’t ask for a friendlier base for exploring the surrounding awe-inspiring wilderness.
Where to stay: The cozy cabin resort Patricia Lake Bungalows, located in the snow-capped Canadian Rocky Mountains and overlooking a crystal clear lake, has a charming home away from home feel. Just a short drive away from the bars and restaurants in Jasper, the Travel Sustainable property, committed to preserving the local environment, features a kitchenette, barbecue, hot tub and picnic facilities for onsite gatherings. It’s close to the Jasper SkyTram, the longest and highest aerial tramway in Canada, that allows visitors to gain a unique perspective on the majesty of the National Park.
The village and small port of Starigrad on the coast of the Velebit channel is the starting point for the stunning Paklenica National Park and where the mountains and the sea become one. Known as one of the best spots for climbers in Europe due to its picturesque views and natural raw beauty, it’s been hailed as a top destination for climbing according to our travelers. The park is regularly visited by lovers of free climbing, with single pitch sport routes to big-wall rock climbing and caters for absolute beginners to the most experienced. Visitors can purchase the Paklenica National Park Admission for entry to the dense forests and deep canyons – the ideal spot to join forces with fellow climbers and locals to conquer the rugged rock formations.
Where to stay: Just a short drive away from Paklenica National Park, Apartments Paklenica is the optimum stay for climbers who want to rest their feet following a day of activity. Simple and well-priced, the two-bed apartment features a kitchenette, modern amenities, garden and terrace with spectacular views overlooking the mountains. It’s also just a stone’s throw away from the bright blue Adriatic Sea, where travelers will find a coastline dotted with lively beach bars to strike up conversation.
Bird watching in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil
Home to lush rainforests and an abundance of exotic birds, Foz do Iguacu is a top recommended destination for bird watching according to Booking.com travelers, making it the perfect destination for those wanting to discover the beauty of the species with others. Visitors can head to the bird conservation, Parque das Aves, to partake in a group tour meandering through the grounds and admiring the beautiful and unique birds that roam the Atlantic Rainforest. Home to 800 species including red ibis and flamingos, and close to one of the largest waterfalls in the world, Iguazú Falls, visitors will also learn about the conservation efforts to reverse habitat loss and protect the feathered creatures. Another opportune way to meet new people is on a group 277 Craft Beer Brewery Visit and Tasting, where travelers can try different beers and cachaça, a spicy, sweet liquor distilled from fermented sugarcane juice.
Where to stay: Perfectly located facing the awe-inspiring waterfall, Iguazú Falls, is the charming Hotel das Cataratas. This gem features two restaurants where guests can dine on tender barbecue or delicate fusion dishes, and a luxurious spa which incorporates responsibly harvested rainforest ingredients – this mindful approach is has led to the hotel being recognized with a Booking.com Travel Sustainable badge. Surrounded by lush rainforest, this pastel-pink hideaway grants visitors exclusive access to the park, and is only a short trip away from the bird park. Guests can get sociable on the large terrace soaking up the jungle chorus, or sip on caipirinhas while listening to live music as the sun goes down.
Located in southern Italy’s sunny Campania region, Pompeii is any budding historian’s dream. Once a thriving Roman city, Pompeii was buried under ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, and the now preserved site is full of ancient Roman life from temples to amphitheaters and paintings. With plenty to be uncovered in this city, it’s clear why it’s a top recommended destination for archeology according to Booking.com travelers. Visitors can ignite their passion for scientific studies with a group Guided Pompeii Tour with an Archeologist Guide and meet other enthusiasts to freely explore the vast legendary site with. What’s more, the tour allows them to skip the line to important sites like the Suburban Baths and Domus Cornelia.
Where to stay: Situated in the heart of the city is Travel Sustainable property Dream House Pompei. This spacious and bright boutique B&B features six elegantly designed rooms with unique fabrics and furnishings by local artisans, along with a garden and modern amenities. Ahead of a day of discovery at the ruins, guests can feast on a hearty breakfast including freshly baked croissants, and later unwind together on the panoramic rooftop terrace complete with a jacuzzi to soak up the sunset – and a prized view of Mount Vesuvius.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who plan to travel for business or leisure in the next 12-24 months. In total 24,055 respondents across 31 countries and territories were polled (including 501 from Argentina, 1003 from Australia, 500 from Belgium, 1001 from Brazil, 500 from Canada, 1000 from China, 1007 from Colombia, 1001 from Croatia, 508 from Denmark, 1002 from France, 1000 from Germany, 1005 from Hong Kong, 1000 from India, 502 from Israel, 1003 from Italy, 1002 from Japan, 500 from Mexico, 501 from The Netherlands, 501 from New Zealand, 500 from Peru, 1000 from Russia, 1005 from Singapore, 1002 from South Korea, 1002 from Spain, 501 from Sweden, 501 from Switzerland, 504 from Taiwan, 500 from Thailand, 1000 from the UK, 1002 from the US and 501 from Vietnam). Respondents completed an online survey in August 2021
**Endorsement data from Booking.com based on the most recommended and relevant destinations by global travelers for tango, motorcycling, windsurfing, wildlife, archeology, climbing and birdwatching