While going on a trip to a different country is a great time to rest and relax, it is also a great time to learn about other cultures! Learning about the history and cultures of other countries allows you to get a better understanding of how the modern-day world came to be.

While any trip to a different country presents the opportunity to learn about different lifestyles, some locations that combine sun, sea, and culture!

If you’re hoping to spend some time on the beach during your holiday, while also learning about history, and culture, here are three destinations you’ll want to consider.

Valletta, Malta

Valletta, Malta was established in the 1500s, during the rule of the Order of Saint John. This tiny capital city is rich in culture, history, art, and architecture. There are over 200 historical buildings to visit, including St. John’s Co-Cathedral. There are also several different museums, including Malta’s National Museum of Archeology.

Valletta, however, also has public transportation options that allow tourists to visit the nearby Mellieha Bay, which is Malta’s largest sandy beach. This beach has calm, shallow waters near the shore and deeper waters further out. Local restaurants and cafes are right near the beach, allowing tourists to sample traditional Maltese food.

In addition to Mellieha Bay, Valletta also allows tourists to easily visit the Megalithic Temples. While these temples are spread out throughout Malta and the surrounding island, there are public transportation options available. The Megalithic Temples are some of the oldest structures in the world and have provided significant insight into early Maltese cultures. Artifacts from the temples can be found at the National Museum of Archeology.

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Ambergris Caye, Belize is right near the Belize Barrier Reef, which is the second-largest coral reef in the world. Many people travel here to go snorkeling or scuba diving. While there are snorkeling and diving locations throughout Belize’s coastline, Ambergris Caye gives easy access to several popular locations.

Snorkelers will enjoy going to Shark Ray Alley, where they can swim with nurse sharks and rays. Another popular snorkeling location is the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which is full of coral and other marine life. Divers, on the other hand, will enjoy going to the nearby Great Blue Hole, where larger marine life, including various species of sharks, swim.

As far as culture, Belize has a rich history that combines several different ethnic groups, including Kriol, Maya, East Indian, Garinagu, Mestizo, and Mennonites.  A favorite for many tourists is the chance to visit the Mayan ruins that can be found throughout Belize. Getting to the ruins from Ambergris Caye does require a bit of travel, but it is an amazing cultural experience.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia has a rich history of culture that is influenced by Hinduism. Religion is a huge part of Bali’s culture and visitors are welcomed to take part in traditions. Temples can be found throughout Bali, with the holiest of temple complexes being Pura Besakih. Over 80 individual temples composed the Pura Besakih complex.

In addition to visiting the temples, many tourists enjoy taking a guided tour of the Western Bali National Park. Over 300 species of animals and birds call this area home. Trails take hikers through grasslands, rainforests, and swamps. However, because it is a protected area, visitors have to remain with a guide at all times.

And, of course, there are sandy beaches and beautiful waters to enjoy. Jimbaran Bay is one of the largest sandy beaches in Bali. Visitors that are hoping to go scuba diving will want to head to Crystal Bay, where coral and various species of fish live. Strong divers may even be able to dive deep enough to catch a glimpse of the Mola Mola fish, which call the waters of Bali home between August and September.

Final thoughts

If you’re taking a trip abroad, there is nothing wrong with wanting to spend a few days relaxing on the beach! However, if you want to make the most out of a trip to a different country, make sure to take the time to expose yourself to some cultural experiences.

If you’re planning on going abroad, start planning your trip several months in advance. The sooner you can book your flights and hotels, the more affordable your trip will be. Also, take the time to plan a detailed itinerary. Going to a different country can be overwhelming, so as much prep and planning you can do in advance, the smoother your trip will be.