5 retirement trip destinations

Une femme court avec son chien sur la plage

During retirement, you’ll have more time to travel. But where is it safe to go (This hyperlink will open in a new tab)? What kind of vacation is right for you?

Here is our list of 5 popular land and sea destinations to celebrate your retirement. Either way, get ready to celebrate the next chapter of your life with a change of scenery and lasting memories.

1. Hiking in Hawaii

When you think of Hawaii (This hyperlink will open in a new tab), does Magnum PI immediately come to mind? Why not investigate the archipelago for yourself? Not just for the jaw-dropping scenery, but for the exotic beaches and hiking trails.

The outdoor enthusiasts’ utopia

Hawaii is a hiker’s dream destination if only for the exceptional beauty of its trails.

Steep cliffs, volcanic fields, waterfalls, rainforests... whether you're hiking for a few hours or several days, you’re likely to see things you’ve never seen before.

Ever heard of the Kalalau Trail, Kauai's legendary hiking path? Just follow the guide!

At your own pace

It can take anywhere between 2 and 3 days to do the 36 km round trip. Caution! You have to be in good shape because the terrain can be pretty daunting.

Coastal wonders

As soon as you set foot on Ke'e Beach and get a glimpse of its coral reef, you’ll be amazed. From there, you’ll walk along a series of winding paths with spectacular ocean views on one side and the verdant cliffs of the magnificent Nā Pali coast on the other.

Your hike will end at the Kalalau Valley and its fabled wild beach—a kilometre-long stretch of bright sand where the sound of crashing waves can be deafening. You might even want to spend an extra night or two there just to relax? It's the perfect place to end a memorable trip!

2. Cruising the Mekong

Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia is the Mekong River, whose original name means mother of waters. It’s Asia's third longest river at an estimated 4,900 km, with cultural and religious treasures, natural beauty and local people to discover. It will take you on an authentic journey through countries like Vietnam and Cambodia.

A veritable time machine

Immerse yourself in Marguerite Duras’ The Lover by visiting some of the places she describes in it.

In no particular order, there’s Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, a mix of ancient temples and modern skyscrapers. Ha Long Bay, with its thousands of islands and islets, spectacular limestone pillars, eroded arches and floating markets. Are you a fan of ancient civilizations? Then, the Imperial City and the bustling colonial district of Ho Chi Minh City are for you.

Let the architecture of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, whisk you back in time. It’s in the picturesque villages located along the banks of the Mekong that you’ll see how Vietnamese and Cambodian people live.

Finally, don't miss the awe-inspiring scenery of Angkor Wat and its complex of 12th century temples, nestled in the heart of the jungle. Once home to the Khmer Empire, it’s the world's largest and most impressive archaeological site.

Consider a cruise package for this retirement trip and get ready for a rollercoaster ride of emotions and wonder.

3. Dining in Sicily

Is your personal mantra: Let’s celebrate, let’s eat? Then Italy might be your retirement-trip destination, specifically a little further down the map, on an island called Sicily, located off Italy’s famous boot. In addition to its rich history, quaint villages and magnificent beaches, it promises an exciting culinary experience!

The inspired evolution of its gastronomy

Sicily's culinary heritage is fusion cuisine at its finest, blending together the many cultures that have called the island home over the last three millennia. In fact, in each region of Sicily, you can taste the Greek, Latin and Arab-Norman influences in their dishes—the quintessential Mediterranean diet.

The eastern part of the island, which is Greek-influenced, makes exquisite use of eggplant. The western part, on the other hand, is characterized by richer, more elaborate dishes inspired by Arabian cuisine. On the menu: eggplant caponata, falsomagro (meat stuffed with ham, cheese and boiled eggs), Palermitan-style rolls stuffed with breadcrumbs, currants, pine nuts, cheese, flavoured with bay leaf and onion.

From appetizer to dessert

Sit down at a table in any restaurant or trattoria and prepare to be blown away.

Be sure to order the arancini, which are fried balls of rice stuffed with ragu and peas or ham and cheese. This emblematic recipe owes its origins to the Arabs, who introduced various seasonings, citrus fruit, cinnamon and more to the island. Enjoy your meals with distinctive wines made from grapes grown on the slopes of Mount Etna, Sicily's active volcano.

Pasta dishes, another must, tend to vary from city to city. Enjoy pasta with sardines in Palermo, pasta ncaciate in Messina or pasta alla Norma—with tomatoes, eggplant and ricotta salata cheese—in Catania.

When it comes to fish, tuna and swordfish feature prominently on the menu. They are cooked alla ghiotta, meaning with onions, olives, capers and tomatoes. Then there’s fish couscous à la trapanaise, a dish of North African origin.

Sicilian cooking classes

Why not learn how to make pizza, fresh pasta, arancini or tiramisu? Book a lesson at a family-run cooking school in Palermo or Taormina overlooking the sea. Be sure to pick up everything you’ll need to prepare classic dishes at the local market.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Then you're in luck! Sicily is also known for its pastries. Specialties include cannolis, cassatas and martoranas. The island even exports Modica chocolate, which you're sure to see on the shelves of every delicatessen. Finally, you can't leave the island without eating some gelato. For some unique flavours, go to Catania, Palermo and Acireale.

Remember, there’s more to Sicily than cuisine. Ancient ruins, unique architecture, artisans, superb beaches... a feast for the eyes and palate.

4. Travelling down under

When you’re done with the 9-5 grind, you have the time to travel anywhere—as long as you can handle the flight. Important! When deciding when to travel to the southern hemisphere, remember that the seasons there are reversed. If you want to enjoy summer, then go between November and March. You’ll also need a healthy budget. After all, you're celebrating your retirement!

Home of Crocodile Dundee

When you think of Australia, Crocodile Dundee probably comes to mind. You might not be going to Walkabout Creek, but you should nevertheless beware of snakes and tarantulas. That being said, you should plan at least two weeks to visit all the major sites.

When in Sydney, you'll immediately recognize the Opera House, an iconic marvel of architecture whose roof structure resembles sails. You’ll also see the famous Harbour Bridge. It’s like a postcard coming to life before your very eyes.

Sydney is also home to dozens of beaches, including Bondi and Manly, where you can watch surfers hang 10 and experience the Aussie mindset.

For a change of scenery, travel to the Blue Mountains (This hyperlink will open in a new tab) to the west of Sydney, where you will see a sandstone plateau cut by waterfalls, canyons, subtropical forests and cliffs.

In Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, observe kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, fur seals, penguins and kookaburras.

For a unique wine-tasting experience, travel roughly 200 km north of Sydney to the Hunter Valley vineyards.

Whale-watching in Sydney Harbour

From June to October, when it’s winter in Australia, thousands of whales migrate from Antarctica to warmer waters. Just an hour's boat ride from Sydney, they’re often seen in the company of dolphins, much to the delight of tourists.

Extraordinary landscapes and experiences

The wine here isn’t the only pleasure for the senses. Outback driving is just as enticing. On the arid plains of the Northern Territory, you'll come across Ayers Rock, a sacred sandstone monolith, referred to as Uluru by Australia's aboriginal people. And when you time it just right, you can watch the sun rise or set over it.

Finally, end your journey in Palm Cove and Cape Tribulation. Don't miss out on any of the attractions that Queensland and its capital Brisbane have to offer. You can see two UNESCO World Heritage sites (This hyperlink will open in a new tab) for the price of one. The Great Barrier Reef, which you can sail over in a glass-bottomed catamaran, is a paradise of countless species of colourful fish, mollusks, starfish, turtles, dolphins and sharks. Then, there’s the Daintree Rainforest, teeming with flora and fauna.

From Melbourne, you could experience the rugged beauty of Victoria’s southern coast while driving along one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives, Great Ocean Road. In short, for breathtaking scenery, Australia is an exceptional destination that's well worth the trip!

5. Getting culture shock in Japan

Welcome to the land of geishas, samourai, manga, origami and Karesansui, the art of the Japanese Zen Garden. It’s a kind of a parallel universe to North American culture. It’s a captivating world of contrasts where high technology coexists with age-old traditions, megacities with sleeper towns, high-rise buildings with sacred temples.

An island apart

Life in Japan is nothing like life in Canada. Culture, lifestyle, leisure activities... everything is different. Everywhere you look, the past and future seamlessly intertwine. With refinement as the common denominator and deeply rooted values of respect and loyalty... tourists take note!

A Tokyo must

Like the 2.8 million others who take it every day, go to the pedestrian crossing at Shibuya Station. Hang on tight to the person you’re with and follow the human tide!

In Tokyo, you’ll experience poetic urban chaos as portrayed in the movie Lost in Translation. Busy, futuristic neighbourhoods with neon lights à la Times Square. Trendy cafés, robotized restaurants, vending machines, vintage boutiques and karaoke bars, even during the day. Before you leave this electrifying, quirky atmosphere, be sure to check out Mount Fuji (This hyperlink will open in a new tab), Japan's iconic landmark.

A change of scenery

Just a few hours away: rice terraces, handicrafts, floral art, cuisine, traditional music and dance. Travel to Hiroshima, symbolic city of peace. Stroll through the lavender fields of Hokkaido. Cross the Japanese Alps, picnic under cherry blossom trees in Hirosaki or plant your parasol on one of Okinawa's heavenly beaches.

Travel by rail

To get from the mountains to the sea or from the city to the countryside, climb aboard the Shinkansen, Japan's high-speed train. Comfort, punctuality and tranquillity are guaranteed. Pro tip: avoid the subway at rush hour. Staff will cram people into the cars, packing them in like sardines. Interesting fact: sleeping while standing, and even dozing on someone's shoulder, is commonplace and accepted. Attention men! Some cars are women only.

Head to Kyoto, the ancient imperial capital, to check out majestic temples, peaceful Zen gardens and the allure of the tea ritual. You can also head to any of Japan’s natural hot springs for some rest and relaxation.

Take a walk in the enchanting bamboo forest of Arashiyama. Visit Iwatayama Monkey Park, home to countless snow monkeys (a.k.a. Japanese macaques).

Enjoy a spiritual journey at Koyasan, a 1,200-year old Buddhist retreat and meditation temple. Enjoy sushi and okonomiyaki in downtown Osaka.

Your choice of accommodations

Made of wood and bamboo, the ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) transports you to a world of refinement and simplicity with their tatami floors and rice paper walls. Delivered by hostesses in kimonos, you can enjoy kaiseki cuisine in your minshuku, which is your guest room. This is a genuine way to experience Japan.

When in Japan

Laughing loudly, talking loudly? Tone it down and respect the silence. Don’t ever blow your nose in public. Don't rub your chopsticks together. Don't smoke, except in designated areas. Don't eat on public transport—it's impolite. Don't litter! Keep your garbage on you until you can find a trashcan. In short, if you want to blend in, follow these few tips.

Cleanliness is next to godliness in Japan. The people there are civilized, respectful and discreet. And nobody starts eating until the guest starts eating. Admittedly, culture shock is inevitable, but it will be softened by impeccable service, legendary friendliness and omotenashi, Japanese hospitality. Enjoy your trip to the Empire of the Rising Sun!

Making retirement your new adventure

Will you be able to maintain your lifestyle at retirement? The best way to make sure that happens is to plan ahead financially. That way, you can look forward to your next chapter. Plus, you've already got 5 dream destinations to go to. So, when are you going on your retirement trip?