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Ten Holidays to Take Before You Turn 30

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'Brits abroad' have a rather unfortunate reputation. Once a year, our usually-polite and reserved nation heads to sunnier climes where there is nobody to check our bad manners (clear their throats at us). We proceed to drink the equivalent of our baggage allowance in cheap cocktails and char-grill our skin. We then sober up, return home and straighten our ties; and as our sunburn fades, so too do our holiday memories.

The sights and sounds of our trip - all lost in a blur of alcohol, sweat and after-sun.

Not that there isn't a place for the 'don't-remember-it' holiday - but while you're young, free and full of energy, now is the time to see the world, not just the floor of your hotel bathroom.

Make sure you experience these 10 holidays before your 30th birthday.

The messy holiday

Join the thousands of anarchic food-flingers who flock to Buñol, Valencia, for the Tomatina festival - Spain's annual fruity food fight.

Tomatina

Tomatina dates back to a brawl that broke out during the 1945 gigantes y cabezudos parade (which, for those of you who might be wondering, is a procession of giant papier maché heads). Searching for a weapon, a group of angry young men armed themselves with tomatoes from the nearby vegetable stand and let rip.

The tomato massacre quickly caught on, becoming more popular every year. It was even banned briefly during the 50s, and residents staged a tongue-in-cheek 'tomato funeral', carrying a giant tomato in a coffin through Buñol to a jaunty funeral soundtrack.

Today, Tomatina is one of Buñol's biggest celebrations. Be warned though: it's strictly tomatoes squashed, shirts on.

This year's festival will be held on 28th August.

The daredevil holiday

Satisfy your inner adrenaline junkie in Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand. Thrill-seeking rafters can hurtle through the white water of the Kawarau and Shotover rivers, or hurl themselves from Kawarau Bridge to dip or dunk themselves in the water 43 m below.

Kawarau River bungee.JPG

Particularly brave tourists make the bungee jump completely naked.

The cultural holiday

To experience culture without sacrificing your beach holiday, Rome is the ultimate destination. You will be spoilt for choice by historical sites, while golden sands and clear seas are just 30 minutes by Metro.

Walk around the Colosseum where gladiators once battled to the death before an audience of 55,000. Hear the Pope's address ricochet around St Peter's Square, presided over by sculpted saints on the rooftops. Marvel at Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Rome is also dotted with shady orange groves and ancient fountains. It is well worth seeking out the secret 'spyhole' on Piazza Cavalieri di Malta on Aventino for a stunning panorama of the city, impossible to capture on camera.

Secret Spyhole Rome

The eco-holiday

Graduates, gap-year students and career-breakers can flex their green muscles by volunteering in the Indonesian Rainforest. Seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a real difference to one of the world's most threatened ecosystems whilst experiencing the unique sights and sounds of the tropical wilderness.

Indonesian rainforest

Swap your alarm clock for animal calls, your morning shower for cascading waterfalls, and spend your days helping with valuable research, conservation and community projects.

When you're not working, all good packages provide plenty of time for exploration and leisure. Outside the forest, the pure white beaches of Indonesia are home to endangered sea turtles, and the warm turquoise sea conceals colourful underwater cities of coral populated by tropical fish.

The foodie holiday

The restaurants of Paris are considered among the best in the world. Meals come with a seasoning of Michelin stars and a side order of bourgeoisie.

Paris restaurant

Just once in your life, you should order the 'taste menu' and delight as dozens of microscopic meals are brought to your table, each more deliciously inventive than the last.

The cold holiday

The British get a pretty rough deal when it comes to the weather, so many of us would never consider spending our holidays somewhere even colder.

Val D'Anniviers

But the dazzling white peaks and glassy lakes of Switzerland are a world apart from the wet British winter. Hit the slopes on ski or snowboard and melt away your cares in a thermal bath before retiring to your comfortable lodge for wine and gruyere. Swiss cuisine is enriched by neighbouring France, Germany, Austria and Italy.

By far the best way to see this beautiful country is on foot; book a luxury walking tour and follow the winding river Rhone through pristine valleys.

The cheapskate holiday

It's been a tight few months and you've strategically avoided checking your bank balance -there's no way you can afford to go on holiday this year, right?

Not necessarily! The Czech Republic's efficient public transport and cheap drinks (if you know where to go) make it one of Europe's best destinations for budget backpackers.

U Sudu bar, Prague

There's a certain thrill to travelling on a shoestring. Ditch the hairdryer - you only need hand luggage. Flit from train platform to platform. Save a fistful of euros by slumming it in youth hostels. Forget dining out every night; follow the locals to the supermarket (you won't be able to read the packaging, but for those prices, it really doesn't matter!)

What you lose in luxury you more than make up for in adventure and a truly unique, authentic taste of life in your destination country. You can look forward to interesting old buildings, a massive art and theatre scene and some of Europe's finest beer. Avoid the pricey tourist hotspots and follow the cobbled streets off Wenceslas Square to Czech bars with a cool atmosphere.

The once-in-a-lifetime holiday

The Northern Lights (aurora borealis) and Southern lights (aurora australis) draw visitors thousands of miles for a glimpse of the world's most spectacular natural lightshow. The colours that streak the sky are the result of solar waves interacting with the earth's atmosphere. Gazing up at the shimmering reds, blues, greens and purples, you will be glad you made the journey.

Aurora Borealis Finland.jpg

The lights gather at the earth's magnetic poles, and are only visible at night. For the best views, head to Norway, Iceland or Finland.

Keen light-chasers should stay in the Aurora Chalet in Luosto, northern Finland, where your hosts will equip you with an 'aurora alarm' so you never miss a display.

The romantic holiday

Argentine Tango.JPG

Ban romantic clichés and sweep your other half off to the sizzling South American city of Buenos Aires. The streets are vibrant with Colonial architecture and sophisticated bistros, a stunning backdrop to your lovers' holiday without the strained touristic undertones that have claimed romantic destinations closer to home.

Wine and dine your cariño in the old-world cafés before heading to La Boca, the birthplace of the tango, where the porteños dance in the streets. As Latin passion overwhelms your senses, you will probably want to join them.

The paradise holiday

Once a desolate volcanic rock in the Yasawa Islands, today Nanuya Levu - Turtle Island - is a private beach paradise.

Yasawa Islands.png

A maximum of 28 guests are allowed at any one time (though there are rarely more than 10), ensuring complete peace and tranquility on the island and preserving its natural beauty.

You will stay in one of 14 wooden 'bures' (cabins) crafted from island wood, and will be allocated a 'Bure Mama', a member of the native Fijian staff who will know you by name and look after your every need. Spend your days horse riding, scuba diving - or doing simply, luxuriously nothing - then join your hosts for dinner, barefoot on the sand.

Wherever your itchy feet take you, travel with an open mind and open eyes, and grab every opportunity to turn a routine holiday into an unforgettable one.

Thanks to petepictures, Visit Finland, ScenicViews, deirdren, 2careless and TheJosephBoys for the images.