Blue Monday (18th January) is coined the most depressing day of the year and with further restrictions across the UK pending, this year will be no exception.
However, the colour blue also symbolises serenity, stability and calmness, and is thought to enhance your mood. Here’s our pick of the most stunning blue locations from Morocco to Tahiti, for 2021 and beyond.
Blue Monday – AFRICA
Chefchaouen is a city located in northwest Morocco, it was founded in 1471 in the Rif mountains by Jews and Moors fleeing Spain. The city is noted for its buildings in shades of blue. There are a number of suggested reasons for it being blue with no one knowing the real truth. Some say the blue is said to symbolise the sky and heaven, and serve as a reminder to lead a spiritual life while others say it’s to keep the mosquitos away. Other than its visuals, this city offers a relaxed medina, rugged mountains, delicious food and a fascinating history. Additionally, thanks to its location in the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen appeals strongly to hikers and nature lovers.
Blue Monday – EUROPE
The Black Lake (or Crno jezero) is a stunning glacial lake surrounded by a vast pine forest, which casts a perfect reflection in the mirror-like surface of the lake. Located in one of the five national parks found in Montenegro, mother nature spared no expense when gifting Durmitor with limestone peaks reaching over 2,000m high, canyons and scenic glacial lakes. The park spans 334 sq km and is a certified UNESCO World Heritage Site. With multiple hiking trails or varying levels, a visit to the lake is a must for those seeking a sense of serenity amongst nature.
Blue Monday – THE ISLANDS OF TAHITI
In one of the most exclusive corners of the world, Le Meridien’s famed overwater bungalows in Bora Bora, the A-List’s holiday destination of choice, are surrounded by crystal clear waters and pristine white sands. Boasting two infinity pools, guests at the Le Meridien can enjoy some of the best views of the iconic Mt Otemanu.
Blue Monday – JAPAN
Miyagi is home to Matsushima, one of the most scenic spots in Japan. Consisting of 260 islands, Miyato is the largest island, with four beaches and Otakamori mountain standing in the centre. Hike the short 15 minutes to the peak and enjoy a stunning panoramic ‘Grand View’ (one of the four major views of Matsushima) of the bay.
For those looking to get out into the Great Outdoors visiting the Tanesashi Coastline is a great way to experience northern Japan. Passing along coastal roads, through pine forests and little fishing villages, visitors will have the opportunity to stop off at secluded beauty spots along the way. Call into a local fish restaurant to refuel or enjoy one of the many shrines and temples along the way whilst cycling down the coastline of Hachinohe.
Kyushu is the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands and enjoys long days year round. The peninsula, as well as the smaller surrounding islands is known for its lively and welcoming atmosphere, garnering the nickname ‘Festival Island’. A unique and unforgettable escape from the cold winter months, Kyushu is an ideal destination to soak up some winter sun. Aoshima Island is known for its long sunny days and white, sandy beaches. Surfing here in the quiet, off-season allows visitors to catch the local waves and appreciate the serenity of the island’s coastline.
Lake Aoki is a lake located approximately 45 km north of Matsumoto city in Hakuba, Nagano. The lake is best known for its azure waters and ever-changing seasonal beauty throughout the year. On the shore of the lake there is a campground that allows visitors to stay and make use of a range of facilities and activities including canoeing and kayaking, while the small ski resort of Kashimayari remains largely undiscovered by international visitors. This is a fantastic lake for those looking for some adventure, as well as kayaking visitors can embark on a canyoning excursion or mountain biking in the mountains around the lake.
Enjoy sights of the Nagara River, famous for being a clear-flowing river, that flows 166km from Mount Dainishi in Gujo City, Gifu Prefecture, and merges with the Ibi River before ending in Ise Bay.Visitors can enjoy a light walk along the many walkways while looking at Mt. Kinkazan as well as setting sight on Gifu Castle illuminated up close during the cormorant-fishing season. There is a particular fishing method that is done along the Nagara River called Ukai, it has a 1300 year history. Additionally, there are about 400 Yoshino cherry trees that are planted on the shore bloom during the spring time and decorate the river with full-bloom cherry blossoms.
Blue Monday – USA
This 300-acre lake sits quietly in the High Sierra foothills of Yosemite’s Tuolumne County. A former meadow, the crystal waters are surrounded by granite outcrops, alpine forests and fresh mountain air at an altitude of 6,000-feet (1,828m) above sea level. Here visitors can take a refreshing dip in the freshwater, hire a kayak, boat or paddle board, or simply hike the many trails around the lake and enjoy the wildlife and views.
Situated on 30 miles of pristine, soft white, sandy beaches – not to mention award-winning, the gentle waters of the Gulf Of Mexico make Florida’s Paradise Coast the ultimate relaxing beach holiday with blue skies, blue waters and bottle nosed dolphins. The Ten Thousand Islands are a chain of islands and mangrove islets off the coast and spanning over 230 sq miles. Visitors are encouraged to explore these scenic beaches via the many guided tours of offer or simply hire a boat and moor up on your very own private island and watch the world go by.
Pittsburgh sits at a unique confluence of rivers unlike any other in the world. The three rivers that meet in the centre of downtown at Point State Park are actually a vast watershed of more than a dozen unique creeks and river systems that include more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams extending into New York and West Virginia. These clean and accessible waters have become an icon of Pittsburgh’s environmental transformation and visitors can enjoy the 24 miles of riverfront trails navigating the city at a leisurely pace on two-wheels day and night.
Nestled at the base of the San Juan Mountains, in southwest Colorado, the Ouray Hot Springs Pool is a popular, year-round spot for visitors from around the world. In addition to lap swimming lanes, there are three different soaking pools, with temperatures ranging from 31 °C – 40 °C. The crystal clear waters are free from the strong smell of sulphur typically found at hot springs, making it the ideal place to relax, revitalise and rejuvenate after a day of activities in the mountains.
Located high atop the cliffs of Big Sur, Post Ranch Inn offers a sanctuary for the soul, ideal for romance, relaxation and rejuvenation. With natural architecture embracing the coast’s dramatic beauty, the 39 rooms blend rustic elegance with panoramic views. Enjoy the array of wellness activities and treatments on offer, or just soak in the infinity jade pool with nothing but the Pacific Ocean stretched out in front of you.
Yosemite waterfalls are some of the largest in North America and a hike to the top results in stunning views many have only dreamt about. Yosemite waterfalls reach peak flow during late spring, specifically May and June when most of the snowmelt occurs. Each waterfall in Yosemite has an approximate peak flow season and some of them flow year-round. While hiking to waterfalls in Yosemite is quite popular, many waterfalls can be accessed without undertaking a steep, all-day hike. From Glacier Point Road, visitors can see the Merced River as it makes its decent down Nevada Fall to Vernal Fall before hitting the valley floor, whilst views of both Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall can be grabbed from the Yosemite Valley floor.
Sacramento native Greta Gerwig paid tribute to her hometown in the critically acclaimed film Lady Bird, which won a string of awards and accolades upon its release. Gerwig said in an interview with The Sacramento Bee. “I wanted to make a love letter to Sacramento as seen through the eyes of someone who can’t appreciate how beautiful it is until she’s going away to someplace else.” Fans of the film can visit Lady Bird’s favourite Sacramento house, which is a real residence in the Fabulous Forties neighborhood, an upscale, tree-lined neighbourhood in the numbered 40s streets of East Sacramento.
Majestic in scale and awesome in its natural beauty, the year-round adventureland of Mammoth Lakes is one of those rare places that you have to see to still not totally believe. The name speaks to the size of the mountains, the expanse of the valleys, the incredible number of crystal clear mountain lakes in the area – perfect for summer adventures. Mono Lake, located just outside of Mammoth Lakes, is one of California’s most spectacular natural wonders. With its otherworldly rising tufa towers it seems more like Mars or the moon to awestruck visitors. The natural beauty of Mono Lake is unmatched, with the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains sitting as the perfect backdrop.
Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake and second deepest in North America, is deep enough (1,644 ft) to completely submerge the Empire State Building in New York, and holds 39 trillion gallons of water – that’s enough water to cover a flat area the size of California with 14 inches of water! The water in Lake Tahoe is 99.994% pure, according to the Tahoe Fund, and is one of the best action playgrounds in world – kayaking, SUP yoga or, depending on the season, hiking or skiing at Squaw Valley on the north of the lake.
Aspen is one of the most renowned resorts in the world, known for the spectacular views, great weather and perfect runs. Aspen Snowmass and Buttermilk mountains offer great places to learn how to ski. The slopes aren’t as crowded as some of the other Colorado resorts, so beginners have some space to learn. Buttermilk is THE place to learn how to ski as the mountain is easy-going for beginners and families, boasting uncrowded beginner terrain and The Hideout, an innovative learning centre for young skiers, and is perfect for progressing onto those blue runs.