For many of us, breaks abroad are filled with good food and good wine, but that’s not always the best recipe for returning home feeling refreshed.
With Dry January upon us and the health benefits of going booze-free gaining traction, you might be wondering: Where can I have a great holiday if I’m not drinking?
A new survey of over 1,000 ‘teetotal’ travellers reveals the best countries and activities for an alcohol-free getaway.
Four out of the top 10 destinations for boozeless travel are in Europe, the survey by Swiss travel company Kuoni reveals.
What are the best destinations for an alcohol-free break?
With its cultural cities and wildlife packed national parks, the USA ranks as the best country for a drink-free holiday among those surveyed.
Turkey came in second, and it’s easy to see why.
Once you’ve ticked off Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace and Grand Bazaar, there’s plenty more to explore. Bathe in the blue lagoon of Ölüdeniz, spot sea turtles in Dalyan, get lost in Derinkuyu’s underground city or take a moonlit hike in Cappadocia.
Going booze-free not for your health and your wallet? You’ll also be pleased to hear that Turkey is one of the best value destinations in Europe right now. Head to the city of Marmaris on the Mediterranean coast for a picturesque and pocket friendly escape.
Which other European countries are good for booze-free travel?
Survey participants hailed Italy as the third best place for sober travel. A whistle stop train tour of the country is sure to take your mind off your next Aperol spritz – and will also help you stick to your sustainable travel resolutions.
Or why not walk between Italy’s 2023 culture capitals? Bergamo and Brescia are set to buzz with cultural events, festivals and exhibition openings this year, and are now linked by new cycle and walking routes.
Proof that it isn’t all about sangria, Spain placed fourth in the best places for booze-free travel. You won’t need wine goggles to appreciate the beauty of Calle San Pedro in Osuna, which was recently crowned by UNESCO as the most beautiful street in Europe.
Spain is also brimming with community tourism destinations, two of which – Rupit in Catalonia and Alquézar in Aragon – recently came out top in the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) annual ranking of the best villages for tourism across the globe.
New high-speed train links, like the upcoming one between Paris and Madrid, are also making Spain more accessible than ever before.
Lay off the ouzo in Greece – the eighth best country for alcohol-free travel – and you’ll find there are luxury hotels, tucked away villages, and iconic whitewashed islands to explore – all on a shoestring budget.
Outside of Europe, Australia (5th), Canada (6th), UAE (7th), Egypt (9th) and Japan (10th) are popular among non drinkers.
What to do on holiday if you don’t drink
If Dry January has you twiddling your thumbs poolside, these ideas from sober travellers will help you out.
Sightseeing ranks as the best holiday activity for people who don’t drink, followed by day trips and shopping.
Other popular alcohol-free activities include swimming, spa days, hiking, reading, playing games, water sports and cooking classes.
Just because you’re not drinking booze, it doesn’t mean you have to avoid your destination’s nightlife scene altogether. Alcohol-free beer, gin and other drinks are becoming more common across the world.
Is there pressure to drink on holiday?
Ever felt pressured to drink on holiday? You’re not the only one.
Kuoni’s study also revealed that over a fifth of travellers (21 per cent) face pressure to hit the pub at the airport. Those in Northern Ireland felt the most pressure, with 42 per cent admitting they feel some pressure to drink pre-flight.
More than one in four (27 per cent) feel pressure to drink on holiday, Kuoni’s survey reveals.
The figures are even higher for travellers aged between 16-24, with 36 per cent reporting feeling pressured to drink on holiday.
Thankfully, this decreases incrementally as we get older, with just 14 per cent of travellers aged over 55 feeling any pressure to drink at all.
To find out more, check out Kuoni’s full TeeTotal Travelling Report.