Riserva’s Top Eight Travel Destinations

Are you looking for an amazing place to take your next vacation? Look no further, to help you decide on a future vacation destination we compiled a list of our eight favorite places throughout our travels. It has been truly rewarding to share so many adventures as a family in some of the most beautiful places in the world.  Every destination holds a special place in our hearts and we are excited to share them with you! Each of Riserva’s Top Eight Travel Destinations definitely gets five stars and if you plan properly you can do them on a budget or go in first class style.

RISERVA’S TOP EIGHT TRAVEL DESTINATIONS

 

Tofino, BC

Tofino BC Beach Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Chesterman Beach – There are numerous beaches to explore in the Tofino area. You can find everything from great surf to calm waters to play in with the kids.

Tofino BC whale watching family travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Humpback whales surfacing and making rainbows! The abundant wildlife on the land and sea surrounding Tofino add to the reasons this should be on everybody’s list. You can even see whales right off of the beaches!!

On the western coast of Vancouver Island is the stunning pacific jewel Tofino with pristine beaches and beautiful temperate rainforests waiting to be explored. The quaint town is compact with very walkable streets or jump on a beach cruiser for a casual bike ride. The hip surfer vibe welcomes you with white sandy beaches, lush mountains, and a laid back atmosphere. You can shop the local outdoor gear stores, surf shops, or grab a bite to eat with a tasty drink at one of the many delicious restaurants and bars. Tofino has been called “Hawaii of the North” and is an ideal place for kids to splash in the water, build a beach fire, cook some smores, surf, hike, or go whale watching. If you are up for a fun family adventure then jump into a seaplane and explore one of the top natural hot springs in the world.  The Pacific Rim National Park is right down the road with stunning rainforest trails, pristine beaches, and abundant wildlife.

Tofino BC starfish family travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
One fish, two fish…how many starfish do you see?! Exploring the tide pools in Tofino was a definite highlight, the kids had an absolute blast counting so many starfish that they eventually lost count.

Tofino BC beach camp fire family travel smores Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
There is nothing like a good fire to wrap up a fun day of playing hard at the beach. We had a blast roasting some marshmallows for smores, although we go sans graham cracker. I never think the graham cracker was meant to be eaten, it is just a delivery mechanism for the marshmallow and chocolate…graham cracker = disposable smore plate.

 

Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Ireland Star Wars Beehive Huts Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Dingle Peninsula with Stars Wars Last Jedi filming locations in the back ground. The beehive huts that are in the movie were conceived based on old monastery huts on Skellig Michael Island. Temporary huts were built on the cliffs in the background so the historic sites on the island were not disturbed.

Dingle Peninsula Beaches Waves Ireland Coast Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Slea Head Beach along the southwest tip of the Dingle Peninsula provides amazing views of the rugged coastline. The peninsula loop provides a great mix of views, hiking opportunities, and of course a great pub to stop for lunch.
Dingle Peninsula Ireland Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
The town of Dingle is made up of colorful buildings with an even more vibrant atmosphere. Amazing restaurants, great live music, world class Irish dancing, and pubs that will make you feel like you are a local. Oh and don’t forget music, film, and food festivals.

The Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry is perfect for a family vacation where you can enjoy amazing coastal views and even see the natural landscapes used in Star Wars the Last Jedi.  The town of Dingle over looks Dingle Bay to the Blasket Islands, it has friendly pubs, great food, traditional Irish music, and fun festivals during the summer months. Dingle and the peninsula offer plenty of fun and adventure for the whole family whether you are exploring the beaches, hiking the rugged hills and mountains, surfing, or visiting the beehive huts on Skellig Michael Island. A trip around the famous Slea Head Drive is a must. Dingle is a vibrant town in Ireland where you will make memories while enjoying breathtaking coastlines, exquisite countryside, amazing food, and of course the friendly Irish people.    

Dingle Peninsula Beehive Hut Lambs Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Baby lambs, who doesn’t like baby lambs? We made a great local stop to feed and hold baby lambs, along with a beehive hut exploration during our trip around the famous Slea Head Drive. The owner was so friendly, telling us how he can’t even touch the beehive huts on his property because they have been marked as historic sites.

Dingle Peninsula Beehive Hut Lambs Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
The kids were literally talking about getting to feed a baby lamb, they even were talking about raising one when we got back. Then we saw a sign for feeding baby lambs. They loved it but after talking to the farmer, it was decided baby lambs are way too much work.
Dingle Beehive Huts Slea Head Drive Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
The Beehive Huts or Clochán were in amazing condition, you could even see where they would store goods in a hidden area under the entrance area into the next room. It is somewhat of a mystery but they believe the Clochán date to the 12 century. There were so many at this one location they believe it was a small city of sorts.

 

Uvita, Costa Rica

Uvita Playa Colonia Surfing Whales Tail Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Playa Colonia in Uvita is an awesome stretch of beach perfect for lounging, playing in the waves, or learning to surf. We had a great time enjoying this beach that is located within the Marino Ballena National Park. The famous whale’s tail is a short walk away.

Uvita Playa Colonia Surfing Whales Tail Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
What a fun day building on our surfing skills with a local surf shop, Nana’s Surf, who is also one of our neighbors for a few weeks. Esteban is a super laid back guy that helped us have a blast shredding some waves at our local beach.

Pura Vida, is the well known Costa Rican saying which directly translates to “Pure Life,” but it is much more than a saying, it is the Costa Rican way of life way that embodies the locals outlook and attitude. At it’s heart, it means relax, enjoy what you have because the world around you and life is beautiful! If you want to soak up this mantra and enjoy some of the most beautiful coastal scenery Costa Rica has to offer then head to the area of Uvita and Dominical on the southern pacific coast. Uvita sits right in the heart of the Marino Ballena National Park with outdoor activities and wildlife to keep your family enjoying nature during your stay. The area is most famous for it’s whale tale shaped sandbar and lush biodiverse reserve that nature lovers can spend days exploring. The picturesque jungle setting is complimented by great food and wonderful people. Dominical has a bit more of surf town vibe due to it’s well known surf break with a great board walk area where local vendors sell their wares and fresh fruit. Do not expect large resorts or shopping malls while while visiting this area, but you will experience boutique hotels, stunning beaches, surfing, waterfalls, yoga, and laid back slower pace of life. 

Uvita Playa Ventana Surfing Whales Tail Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Love the cloud reflection here at Playa Ventana. It is a great secluded spot where you can check out some rock ventanas or windows that run through a rocky point at the northern end of the beach. It is a treat to watch the tide come in as the waves start pounding through the rock tunnels.
Uvita Playa Dominical Surfing Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
The Costa Rica Surf Camp helped us have a blast catching a few waves at Playa Dominical. What a fun day learning from local surf instructors on a beautiful stretch of beach. Not far away you can find fun restaurants and some good local shopping.

Uvita Dominical Surf Costa Rica Pura Vida Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Along Playa Dominical the locals sell their goods with a little bit of everything from souvenirs to fresh fruit. It is really nice because they are very laid back and not pushy, if you want something they are happy to answer questions…just don’t forget to bargain with them. A very relaxed atmosphere like the rest of the town, Pura Vida!

Annecy France

Annecy Alps Snowboard Ski Wakeboard Lake Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Where can you enjoy great weather year round, snowboard in the winter, play on the lake in the summer, see canals flowing by historic buildings, and enjoy amazing views of the Alps? Annecy is the answer and don’t forget the amazing markets and restaurants.

Annecy Alps Snowboard Ski Wakeboard Lake Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Another amazing canal view in Annecy. The colors and water mesh to help make it a one of a kind place. Unless you hate awesome, you should go.

Annecy France has canals weaving through the town center that flow from a crystal clear Alpine lake which is surrounded by the astonishing mountain peaks of the Alps. This idyllic setting offers up unparalleled beauty and an abundance of outdoor activities for every season.  It is located on the southeastern corner of France near the borders of Switzerland and Italy making it an enchanting place to vacation.  Strolling through the cobble stone streets of “Old Town” Annecy is like walking through a story book.  With Swiss influenced architecture at the medieval town’s heart, the beauty, and wonderful outdoor markets make you feel as though you have been transported back in time. How could it get any better you ask? Well, you have exciting outdoor adventure activities like wake boarding and wake surfing in the summer or snowboarding and skiing in the winter. If you just want to soak in the outdoor beauty, take a leisurely bike ride on the lakeside path or a relaxing paddle in a canoe.

Annecy Alps Snowboard Ski Wakeboard Lake Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
A trip around Lake Annecy is a must. Just when you think you have seen the best view possible, you stop and see another vista that makes the decision very difficult.

Annecy Alps Snowboard Ski Wakeboard Lake Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
The SS Julie, we should have jumped in and gone for a paddle. The water is so crystal clear in this beautiful alpine lake, the mountain views aren’t bad either.

 

Umbria

Orvieto Italy Umbria Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
This is a view from the Torre del Moro a long standing clock tower in the town of Orvieto. The most prominent building you see is the Duomo di Orvieto which is spectacular inside and out. Orvieto is an awesome town with a secret underground network of tunnels.

St. Patricks Well Italy Umbria Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
This is the view from top of Pozzo di San Patrizio or St. Patrick’s Well. This 16th century well is over 170 ft. deep with a bottom diameter of over 40 ft. The coolest thing is the double helix spiral ramps that were used to bring water up by mule when the well was in use.

Umbria known as the “la terra Dei Santi”, the land of saints, has all of Tuscany’s desirable attributes but with less crowds making for a more intimate vacation. The quaint hillside towns will make you feel like you stepped back into the 15th century.  Perugia, Assisi, Orvieto, Gubbio, Todi, Spoleto, and Norcia are a few miles away from each other making it easy to explore the pastoral scenery of wine vineyards and olive groves. While all of the towns offer great food, art, and wine, there is also culture and architecture to be admired.  Orvieto’s duomo is one of the finest cathedrals in the country, Norcia is known for its gastronomic excellence, and Spoleto summer festival should not be missed.  Beyond the great food, hundred of saints were born here including St. Valentine and St. Francis who were apart of the Western monasticism. Once you have experienced Umbria you will be ready to start planning your return trip.

Civita di Bagnoregio Italy Umbria Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Civita di Bagnoregio is an interesting little village perched high on a hillside in Umbria where you have to cross a foot bridge to get there. It has also been called the dying city because until recent tourist revival the town had been declining partially because of damage by a major earthquake in the 17th century.

 

Isle of Mull

Scotland Mingary Castle Isle of Mull Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
The Mingary Castle sits on a huge estate and provides a wonderful castle experience complete with unique culinary experiences. The building dates back to 13th century and you can easily access the Isle of Mull from here.

Scotland Tobermory Isle of Mull Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Tobermory is an awesome seaside village where you can enjoy a great meal and some fun shopping. We had an amazing lunch at Cafe Fish that left us craving more.

The Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland is a wonderful place where you can relax, look for abundant wildlife like eagles, otters, whales, explore castles, and enjoy beautiful beaches.  It is full of intriguing history, Scottish tales about invading Vikings or discover the birth place Christianity in Western Europe on the tiny Isle of Iona just off the northwest coast of Mull. See one of the most geological unique rock formations on Staffa Island where lore says a giant once lived in an astounding sea cave. The land truly has spirituality oozing from it’s core, you will be in awe as you discover all it has to offer. It is a place to wander, hike, mountain bike, and enjoy the breathtaking views with less crowds. Enjoy a “not bad” (Scottish for awesome) lunch and shop the local stores in the vibrant fishing village of Tobermory with off the boat fresh seafood, truly the best ice cream you have put in your mouth, and of course a distillery. To add to the uniqueness, Mull can only be accessed by ferry boats that depart from Oban or the remote town of Kilchoan.

Scotland Staffa Isle Mull Family Travel Giant's Causeway Fingal's Cave Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Ahh Staffa Island is just off the coast of Mull. You can take a boat tour out to the island to see one of the most unique geologic features in the world. On the right you can see Fingal’s cave which is part of the lore tied to the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.
Scotland Staffa Isle Mull Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Enjoying the boat ride out to Staffa Island. The swells were a little too big to get off and hike into Fingal’s Cave. Nonetheless, it was an adventure we will never forget.

Scotland Iona Isle Mull Abbey Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
The ruins of the original Iona Abbey where it is believed Christianity arrived to Western Europe. The Isle of Iona has a rich history and lovely beaches, it is a definite must see while visiting Mull.

Rovinj, Croatia

Rovinj Croatia Venetians Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
Rovinj is such a neat spot, it was built by the Venetians and the narrow alleys definitely are reminiscent of Venice minus the canals.

Rovinj Croatia Venetians Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
The narrow colorful alleys of Rovinj are super fun to explore. We spent time just wandering around and enjoyed a nice glass of local wine.

Rovinj on the northern coast of Croatia has been called “little Venice” and was once part of the vast Venetian Empire. It is only a three hour drive from Venice in the region of Istria near the border with Slovenia. It is a picturesque postcard town with narrow streets, beautiful architecture, interesting restaurants, and harbor views. What makes Rovinj special?  It does not have huge crowds, it can be visited affordably while enjoying some of the freshest produce, handcrafted Croatian wine, and stunning coastlines. Charter a boat to sail through the enchanting land of a thousand islands along the Croatian coast or take a day trip inland to visit the wine making regions of Istria.  If you are looking for a family friendly resort, the number one stop for kids is just down the road from the magical old town of Rovinj with a kids club, ropes course in lobby, kid spa, outdoor and indoor pools, beach, and included child care for parents.

Rovinj Croatia Harbor Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
There is a great square right on the harbor where you can grab a bite to eat or a glass of wine. As you can see, the view across the harbor is beautiful.

Rovinj Croatia Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
A view of old town Rovinj as the sun is setting. You can get an idea of how it used to be an island before the narrow canal was filled in connecting the island to the mainland.

 

Lapland, Finland

Lapland Luosto Finland Santa North Pole Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
This is the real North Pole Post Office where all of the notes to Santa are processed. We witnessed it first hand, the elves even read one of the kids notes!

Lapland Luosto Finland Santa North Pole Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
One of the cabin villages in Luosto, Lapland, Finland. The snow was so light and fluffy here, the kids a had an absolute blast playing outside with all of the other kids staying in our little village.

Lousto, Lapland is the place to go if you want to see the Northern Lights or meet Santa Clause. You will have magical experiences while dog mushing on a husky farm, meeting reindeer while enjoying a peaceful sleigh ride, snow skiing, snowmobiling, or tobogganing. It is a picturesque setting on the edge of a National Park where you can experience a special holiday in log cabins complete with their own sauna. If you want to up your chances of spotting the aurora borealis you can rent a glass casita for your hotel room and gaze at the night sky from your bed. You can read more about our Lapland adventure right here…Christmas in the North Pole.

Lapland Luosto Finland Santa North Pole Family Travel Riserva's Top Eight Travel Destinations
There’s the big guy! The kids had anticipated meeting Santa in the North Pole for months, they even had all of their questions planned out. Unfortunately, it was such a big moment they went into star shock and pretty much forgot everything they wanted to ask. Regardless, it was once in a lifetime opportunity we all will remember forever!

 

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