The Best Destinations for Senior Travellers
Avalon Harris-Trussell, 15.01.20
There’s a lot for senior travellers to plan before heading off on holiday, ranging from practical considerations—such as levels of mobility and the impact that travel might have on physical health—to the challenge of finding the perfect destination to meet the needs and interests of all.
As rewarding and special as the memories together will be, if you plan on heading on a vacation with your older parents the dynamics of the trip can be daunting — especially if you’re taking the whole family, and have your kids in tow as well. This can also be true if you’re a retired couple searching for the perfect vacation, or a group of friends in your golden years.
For inspiration, we’ve put together a list of some of the best destinations around the world for senior travellers. No matter your budget, interests, or mobility, each of these top destinations can guarantee an incredible travel experience.
Top Tip: Our guide to flight assistance for seniors will help you understand what services different airlines provide older travellers, and explain how you can easily request these services when you book your flights through Alternative Airlines.
1. Cannes, France
Not many destinations can match the glitz and glamour of Cannes, a resort town on the French Riviera. The bustling town is perhaps best known for its annual world-famous film festival, held in May each year.
Cannes is a truly luxurious destination. Absorb the art and architecture along the Boulevard de la Croisette, a dazzling promenade and one of the most luxurious streets in Europe, then relax on one of Cannes’ sandy beaches. Those after history and culture will love exploring the many medieval-era buildings which can be found in Le Suquet, the old quarter of the city which can be found winding up from Vieux Port, a yacht-filled marina.
If you're up for an excursion, the Iles de Lerins is a set of four small islands and is just a 15 minute ferry ride away. The protected islands are luscious and green and great for relaxing or walking - the perfect escape from the buzz of the city.
Enjoy the sun as you stroll along Cannes’ seafront
When to visit?
Of course, things in Cannes are buzzing during the late spring and early summer, as the film festival arrives. If you don't mind the crowds, this is a vibrant time to visit, ideal for maximum atmosphere. Also, in May, the city is only slightly less warm than in high summer, hovering around a comfortable 22°. Alternatively, September would be an ideal time to visit the city and enjoy the beautiful beaches with a bit more peace.
Navigating by foot is one of the easiest ways to explore Cannes, although the city’s bus transportation is reliable. Be aware that the older quarters are winding and cobbled, but the main streets are very good for accessibility. The Promenade des Anglais, for example, is a wide flat walkway that separates the beach from the town and is ideal for an easy stroll - and those who do will be rewarded with stunning views of the bay.
Bay of Cannes and view of the Old Town
Take me to Cannes
Most tourists to Cannes will fly to Nice International Airport (NCE). The French city of Nice is located about 15 miles/25 km (about 40-50 minute taxi drive) of the city of Cannes, with easy public transport between the cities available. Airlines that fly to NCE include easyJet, Air France, Norwegian Air Shuttle, British Airways, Air Canada, HOP! and United Airlines.
2. Cambridge, England
Cambridge is a small university city to the east of London, which is home to delectable restaurants, magnificent museums and many shopping opportunities - an ideal destination for a weekend break.
The first thing you may think of when you hear the word Cambridge is the university. This would be for good reason, as the iconic university is known the world-over. Dating back to 1209, the various colleges of this prestigious establishment are dotted around the city, boasting beautiful architecture, historical churches and gorgeous gardens and grounds.
The River Cam is the main river flowing through Cambridge. You’ll find the Cam dotted with pretty punts and small boats bobbing along the gently flowing water - stroll and picnic on its scenic riverbank, and be sure to cross the beautiful King’s College Bridge for a perfect photo opportunity. The stunning Cambridge University Botanic Garden, bursting with colour and exotic plants, is also a must visit during your stay in the city.
When to visit?
The weather in England is notoriously unpredictable, but the warmer summer months of April through September are likely to give you the best chances of wandering the enchanting streets of Cambridge in sunlight.
As a small city it’s easy to wander and discover all of Cambridge's sites. But if you would prefer to travel by bus or taxi, you'll also be pleased to hear that public transport is readily available and very reliable.
Take me to Cambridge
London Stansted Airport (STN) is the closest major airport, about 25 miles/40 km (45 minute taxi drive) from Cambridge. Airlines that fly to London Stansted include easyJet, Ryanair, TUI Airways, British Airways, Emirates, and Pegasus Airlines. Alternatively, fly to London Heathrow, which offers a greater number of direct international flights. LHR is about 2.5 hours away by coach, or there are train connections easily available. Airlines that fly to London Heathrow include British Airways, American Airlines, Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, Eurowings, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.
3. Malaga, Spain
Malaga is a port city located on southern Spain's sunny Costa del Sol. The city has undergone an extensive revamp in recent years, and is now home to an impressive port and a cultural hub. If you're after a balance between old and new, Malaga is for you.
Malaga Port Bay
Top restaurants, modern hotels and revitalized shopping districts are of the highest-class, but the city also is one of the oldest in Spain, and this rich history can be found in the cobbled streets and squares of the older quarters. Malaga offers both affordable inclusive resorts, many with multiple swimming pools and premium restaurants, as well as authentic spanish villas and roomy apartments available to rent.
When to visit?
The shoulder seasons of Autumn and Spring are some of the best times to visit Malaga, for comfortable but warm weather and less crowds.
Spring is a great time to enjoy Malaga
The majority of Malaga's monuments, museums, restaurants, and beaches have been adapted for those with disabilities or requiring additional mobility assistance. This includes the Málaga Alcazaba, Nerja Caves, Ronda Bullring, and Malaga's Cathedral, which are accessible to all. Furthermore, many of the beaches along the nearby Costa del Sol have been adapted with ramps and amphibious chairs. Many also have support staff on-hand to help with access to the beautiful beaches.
Take me to Malaga
Fly to Malaga Airport (AGP), which is just 5 miles from the city centre, on airlines including Air Europa, Ryanair, Iberia Express, Eurowings, Vueling, TUI Airways, and Norwegian Air Shuttle.
4. Key West, Florida
The Florida Keys are a string of tropical islands which stretch approximately 120 miles off the southern tip of Florida. The Florida Keys offer some of the best opportunities for sailing and other water sports in the US. It’s also one of the best places for those after a quieter pace, to relax and enjoy the warm weather. The sunsets are unforgettable — one of the best ways to enjoy them is by heading off for the evening on a sunset sailing cruise. This is the perfect destination for two people or a family after different experiences from one vacation.
Key West is an island city and part of the Florida Keys archipelago, and makes the perfect base to explore the incredible region. The city is known for its pastel-hued houses and beaches, and is an ideal spot to hire a villa for a week or two.
When to visit?
The best time to visit Key West is during the spring months of March through May. The winter crowds calm down, hotel rates are more affordable, and the weather is pleasant and still warm.
Key West has a good reputation for its accessibility, with most restaurants and shops having wheelchair access. There is also a good public transport system.
Take me to Key West
Fly to Key West International Airport (EYW) on airlines including American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, Silver Airways, Southern Airways Express and United Express. Only domestic US routes are operated from EWY, meaning a connection will need to be made at another major US airport if you’re travelling internationally to/from America.
5. Montreal, Canada
Montreal is in the Quebec Province of Canada and is a french-infused city, with character-filled neighborhoods practically bursting with atmosphere and character. Around every corner you'll discover boutiques, restaurants, cafés and art galleries. The Notre-Dame Basilica is an absolute must for lovers of architecture and history. Mont Royal offers a breathtaking view of the city — there are buses available for those unable to make the climb up the mountainous hill in the centre of the city. Also, Montreal's bagels, poutine and espressos are famous for a reason, don't miss out!
When to visit?
It is worth noting that some attractions are seasonal, and the winter and Autumn can be very cold. Peak travel to Montreal usually occurs between June and September, when a number of summer festivals take place within the city, including the Montreal Jazz Festival, which takes place each summer and is one of the city's most popular events.
Montreal has excellent public transportation. Accessibility in the city's downtown and Old Town areas can be limited, with high steps to access public buildings, for example. But the newer areas of the city have good accessibility, with many hotels close located in close proximity to popular attractions.
Take me to Montreal
Fly to Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL), about 20 km from Downtown Montreal. Major airlines provide private bus transfer between the airport and the city. Airlines flying to YUL include Sunwing Airlines, American Airlines, American Eagle, Air Transat, WestJet, Air Canada Rouge, Air Canada Express, Air Canada, United Express, British Airways and Lufthansa.
6. Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs is a relaxed resort town in Southern California. It’s the perfect destination to lounge by a hotel pool and enjoy lavish hotel brunches. Hot springs and spas are in abundance, along with a multitude of lush golf courses and premium tennis clubs. Leisure activities also include biking, hiking and horseback riding in the nearby Coachella Valley. In the evening, there are a number of Jazz bars and restaurants, and the warm weather makes it enjoyable to sit outside and soak in the atmosphere.
When to visit?
Avoid the heat of summer and visit during January to April, during mid to late Fall, or, for the most comfortable temperatures, during the winter months.
Many businesses, including restaurants, hotels and shops/malls are catered to seniors, with great accessibility. There is also great public transport in the town, with most hotels and shopping malls providing easy access and full air conditioning.
Take me to Palm Springs
Fly to Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), where domestic flights can be caught to cities across the US and Canada. Airlines include Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, WestJet, United Express, United Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Contour Airlines, and Allegiant Air.
The Seychelles is an island nation, located in the Indian Ocean and north of Madagascar. The Seychelle islands are often described as the most beautiful islands on Earth. If a little bit of adventure is on the cards, then the Seychelles is the destination for you!
To make the most of your trip, a bit of island hopping with Air Seychelles is the best way to see all that the islands have to offer. There are 115 islands in total, and airlines such as Air Seychelles means that travelling between them has never been easier. The island of Mahé boasts an incredible 65 beaches alone - there really is so much paradise to discover, perfect if you enjoy hunting out a secret beach.
When to visit?
The best times to visit the Seychelle islands are April, May, October and November. During these shoulder months there is a transition between humid summer temperatures and the colder winds which come in from November through March and April through October.
Take me to Seychelles
Fly direct to Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) from a number of European and international cities, including London, Paris, Dubai, Frankfurt, with connections also available for those flying from the US. Airlines flying to SEZ include Air France, Air Seychelles, British Airways, Emirates, Air Austral, Air Mauritius and Condor.
No matter how long you spend in Singapore, there is so much to see and do that you don't need to travel far or head off on long day-trips. Conveniently, many of Singapore’s top tourist spots are really close together, including Gardens by the Bay (a large nature park built and home to the tallest greenhouses in the world), which is right next to Marina Bay Sands (an iconic luxury hotel and resort and home to the world's largest rooftop infinity pool).
When to visit?
For the most part, Singapore is a great year-round destination, although it is worth noting that the months of February through to April fall within Singapore's dry season and are likely to experience less rainfall, so are arguably a better time to visit.
Singapore is one of the most convenient cities in the world to get around with ease. There have been many initiatives introduced in the past decade to make the city's infrastructures user-friendly for wheelchair users, and for those with mobility restrictions. Most sights on your ‘to do list’ will be easily reached on foot, but if you do need to take public transportation, Singapore’s taxi, train, and bus systems are incredibly efficient and comfortable.
Take me to Singapore
Fly to Singapore Changi Airport (SIN). A number of airlines fly to SIN, including Air China, Air France, Air New Zealand, AirAsia, China Eastern Airlines, Jetstar Asia Airways, Scoot, SilkAir, Singapore Airlines, and Thai AirAsia.
Useful guides for senior travellers
From choosing airline food that suits your dietary needs, to getting assistance at the airport to help with mobility restrictions, there are a wide range of conditions that senior travellers may need help and assistance with when travelling. We have a number of guides that can help, including:
- How to request special services when booking flights
- The best airlines for flying with disabilities
- A guide to flying with impared mobility
- How to request special airline meals
- Advice for flying after surgery