Turning 40 is something to celebrate! From relaxing beaches, vibrant cities, bold adventures and underrated destinations, you deserve to have the best vacation. Here are 40 of the very best 40th birthday trips around the world!
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Whether you want to go on epic adventures, hang out on the beach for a week and relax or fill your belly and soul with amazing food and rich cultural experiences, this list has a bit of everything for your milestone birthday!
These 40th birthday destinations provide you with options for year-round fun. So depending on whether you’re celebrating on your actual birthday or sometime near it, you’ll be able to find a spot that’s perfect just for you.
Map of 40th birthday destinations
There are so many places to go for a 40th birthday. Whether you’re looking to celebrate with adventure or relaxation, the options are truly endless.
Use this map as a visual to help plan where to go for your 40th birthday trip!
Oh, and since I haven’t been everywhere (yet), I’ve asked some of my fellow travel writers to help me compile this amazing list of 40th birthday trip ideas. Enjoy!
40 of the best 40th birthday trips
Who knew turning 40 could be so exciting? Here’s an epic list of 40th birthday destinations around the world. Happy planning!
1. Canadian Rockies
- Region: North America – Canada
- Fly into: Calgary International Airport, Alberta
- This destination is best for: solo travelers, couples, families or friends trips
- Best time of year to visit: anytime
One of the absolute best 40th birthday trips for the outdoor lover is an adventure through the Canadian Rockies! These stunning mountains are a dream destination, and a bucket list check for sure. The perfect way to spend a milestone birthday celebration!
There are 4 amazing national parks in the Canadian Rockies to enjoy: Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay. You’ll want to spend at least a week here, but more time would be better to explore the highlights of each park.
The Canadian Rockies are truly a year-round destination. These rugged mountains are some of the most stunning in the world!
In the winter, enjoy skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating in the mountains. The spring and fall get the least amount of visitors, so if you can enjoy less crowds and reduced pricing on accommodations.
Summer is the high season, and for good reason! The alpine lakes really shine in the summertime, and with tolerable temperatures from June through August, there’s so much to see and do. Banff in summer is particularly busy, but oh-so-spectacular.
Must-see’s in the Canadian Rockies are Moraine Lake in Banff, the Banff to Jasper drive via Icefields Parkway, Emerald Lake in Yoho, Maligne Lake in Jasper, and Numa Falls and the Painted Pots in Kootenay.
To get to these magical mountains, fly into Calgary and make the 1.5 hour drive to Banff to start your adventure. Plan to spend at least one day in each park, but a few days in each would be even better!
The Canadian Rockies are an amazing experience, and amongst the best 40th birthday trip ideas on this list!
Recommended by me – Nikki of She Saves She Travels
2. Egypt (for a truly unforgettable 40th birthday)
- Region: Africa
- Fly into: Cario International Airport
- This destination is best for: Solo, couples & families
- Best time of year to visit: October-April
Could there be a better way to spend your 40th birthday than jetting off to Egypt? With beautiful weather, incredible pyramids and so much to see, visiting Egypt will make for the birthday trip of a lifetime.
Your days there will be spent visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza, exploring the Valley of the Kings and Queens, meandering through Temples in Luxor, and cruising down the Nile River.
You can also make time for relaxation by visiting the stunning beaches in Egypt. The Red Sea is incredible and places like Hurghada and Sharm El Sheik are very popular destinations to enjoy the crystal clear blue waters.
This is the perfect trip for couples, families, and even solo travelers. You should consider booking a guide as this is the most optimal way to see the popular sites and you can avoid scams. To get the most out of your trip, you should plan at least 7 days in Egypt.
The fall and winter are the best times to visit Egypt because this is when the weather will be most comfortable for exploring the Ancient Egyptian sites.
You only turn 40 once, so treat yourself by visiting Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and a Red Sea destination. It’ll surely be a memorable 40th birthday trip.
Recommended by Sam of Find Love Travel
- Region: Central Europe
- Fly into: Zurich Airport
- This destination is best for: Couples travel, family travel, trip with friends
- Best Time to Visit: Spring, fall and Christmas / winter wonderland
If you’re looking for one of the best 40th birthday vacation ideas, then a road trip in Switzerland is the best idea to pursue. Switzerland is definitely one of the most beautiful countries in the world and that is one of the reasons why it is the perfect destination for your 40th.
If you’re someone who loves hiking, then Switzerland is a bucket list destination. You’ll have no dearth of hiking trails and there are also so many adventure activities to do around Switzerland.
We would definitely recommend at least 2 weeks for your dream trip in Switzerland.
Start your getaway by flying into Zurich international airport. Spend the next day or two exploring the city of Zurich. Take a day trip to Rhine falls and surrounding areas.
The next stop on your itinerary should be Interlaken. Explore the villages and magical landscapes of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, among others in this region of Bern.
From there, visit Bern, the capital of Switzerland for a day. Next, head to Lake Geneva and choose one of the cities like Lausanne or Geneva or Montreux. Explore the surrounding Vaud region for the next 3 days.
Make sure to save time to visit Zermatt and see the famous Matterhorn Peak. Finally, end your trip in the Lake Lugano region before dropping your car off at Milan airport.
If you do have more time, you could take a ride along the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Chur and back.
Switzerland can be an expensive destination and this should be kept in mind when you are planning the trip.
Recommended by Soumya of Travel, Books, & Food
4. La Fortuna, Costa Rica
- Region: Central America
- Fly into: Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose or Iberia Guanacaste Airport in Liberia
- This destination is best for: couples, solo travelers, families and group trips with friends
- Best time of year to visit: Between December and April
La Fortuna, tucked away in the lush jungles of Costa Rica, is the perfect mix of luxury, adventure and relaxation and a wonderful 40th birthday getaway.
If you’re looking to kick off your birthday by indulging in some self-care, there’s plenty of that available for you in La Fortuna. You can include La Fortuna as a part of an incredible 7 days Costa Rica itinerary, or stay in just this area. There’s so much to see and do, it’s absolutely one of the best 40th birthday trip!
Famed for the Arenal Volcano that towers above the city, the area is absolutely bursting at the seams with geothermal hot springs. Most of the springs are on the grounds of private resorts, many of which are quite luxurious, such as The Springs or Tabacon Thermal Springs Hotel – perfect for celebrating a special occasion!
If you’re, instead, looking for adventure, consider going on a hike through the jungle. You may be able to spot a howler monkey, coati or even a sloth.
The Mistico Hanging Bridges offers an easy stroll along a trail and through a series of suspension bridges, hanging amongst the treetops. For something a bit more intense, head to Arenal Volcano National Park. You’ll find several hiking trails with jaw-dropping views of the massive volcano above.
Additionally, there are so many waterfalls to explore in the area. La Fortuna Waterfall is right in town. Here, you can swim at the base of a 246-foot tall waterfall.
Alternatively, join one of the many Rio Celeste tours that depart from La Fortuna. You’ll get to hike through an impossibly green rainforest to the most electric blue waterfall you’ll ever lay eyes on.
Recommended by Jess of Uprooted Traveler
5. Kyoto, Japan
- Region: East Asia
- Fly into: Narita International Airport
- This destination is best for: couples, solo travel, friends trips
- Best time of year to visit: Spring for cherry blossom season, Autumn for fall foliage
Kyoto is absolutely one of the best places to go for your 40th birthday! You’ve reached this milestone of sophistication, so why not celebrate in one of the most elegant cities in the entire world?
Kyoto itself does not have an airport, and the closest airport is in Osaka. However, most international travelers to Japan will fly into the capital city of Tokyo first and then take a fast and convenient train to Kyoto.
Kyoto is one of the only major Japanese cities whose buildings survived World War II, so the main thing to do in Kyoto is admire the stunning architecture.
There are so many things to see that you might want to hire a tour guide to get to the main attractions. Or, you can explore on your own.
Some of the most famous buildings in Kyoto include the Shinto shrine called Fushimi Inari Taisha, the Buddhist temples Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu-dera.
Get away from the crowds in central Kyoto by going to the Arashiyama District and wandering through the famous bamboo grove. While you’re there, take a tour of the Okochi Sanso Villa, which once belonged to a Japanese movie star.
Spend at least three days in Kyoto, and if you have more time, you can take day trips to other wonderful cities like Osaka and Nara. No matter what you choose to do, your time in Kyoto will be a 40th birthday celebration that you will never forget!
Recommended by Stella of Around The World in 24 Hours
6. Fiji (best vacation for 40th birthday at the beach)
- Region: Oceania
- Fly into: Nadi International Airport
- This destination is best for: Everyone! The best thing about Fiji is there are plenty of accommodation options and activities for every type of traveler.
- Best time of year to visit: May to October
Flying to Fiji is the perfect 40th birthday trip for all types of groups and a wide variety of travel styles.
Fiji is made up of more than 300 islands, and more than 100 of those islands have people living on them. While many visitors opt to stay on Viti Levu, the island that Nadi is on, there are even more options to stay on nearby islands if you are looking for something more remote.
Ferries are the most popular way to travel between the islands in Fiji, though there are helicopter and private plane transfers as well.
Fiji is known for its resorts. The Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa is a fun place to celebrate a 40th birthday without the need to travel too far from Nadi. Intercontinental is one of the few resorts on Viti Levu to have its own beach.
While one of the best things to do in Fiji is lounge by the pool, there are plenty of options for those who would rather explore the islands.
If you are interested in learning more about the Fijian culture while also having the opportunity to snorkel and swim, head out on one of Robinson Crusoe’s half-day or full-day tours.
The people of Fiji are friendly and welcoming and really help make each visit special.
Recommended by Lanie of Make More Adventure
7. Alaskan Cruise, USA
- Region: North America – USA
- Fly into: Varies by departure point
- This destination is best for: Couples, friends trips, families, extended family and LGBTQIA+
- Best time of year to visit: May through mid-September
Looking for one of the best 40th birthday destinations in the USA? If so then you need to book an Alaskan cruise.
After all, booking a cruise is a quick, easy, and affordable way to see all that this giant state has to offer. Plus, a cruise allows you to see cool spots along the Inside Passage that are just not accessible otherwise.
And if you want to head inland then you can always add a tour to the end of your cruise, to places like Denali National Park. This way you can get the most out of your trip.
Just be aware that cruises are only available between May and mid-September. In fact, Alaska is one of the best places to visit in August!
In terms of the best cruise lines for a 40th birthday, try Celebrity since the boats are more refined and come with excellent service and great food. Just use this Alaska packing list and you’ll blend right in with the crowd during dinner.
Now, while there are many different Alaska itineraries, the Inside Passage is one of the best. Sure, you won’t be able to head inland afterward. But this route is usually a week long and allows you to depart from easy-to-reach places like Seattle, Vancouver, and Juneau.
Plus, the waters on this route are usually calm. So, you won’t have to worry about seasickness.
Along the way, you’ll also typically stop at places like Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Haines and Skagway. You’ll even spend a day at sea admiring the scenery in Glacier Bay National Park or Hubbard Glacier.
So, get ready to marvel at stunning mountains, incredible glaciers, and massive fjords! An Alaksan cruise is by far one of the best 40th birthday trip ideas in the US!
Recommended by Linda of Linda on the Run
8. Santorini, Greece (bucket list check and unforgettable 40th birthday ideas)
- Region: Europe; Southern Aegean Sea
- Fly into: Thira Airport
- This destination is best for: Solos, couples
- Best time of year to visit: Late spring or early fall
Santorini is undoubtedly one of the most famous islands in Greece and a great 40th birthday trip idea. It’s also one of the best Greek islands for couples!
Here you will find a mix of romance, luxury and breathtaking beauty that will guarantee an unforgettable birthday. Iconic whitewashed cliff-top buildings overlooking the azure Aegean Sea and gorgeous beaches create a picture-perfect setting.
There are so many unique things to do in Santorini. The island’s charming villages, such as Oia and Fira, which sit on the edge of the crater, are well worth a visit.
There are also famous archaeological sites to discover such as Akrotiri and Ancient Thera. Another highlight are the beautiful beaches of Santorini, which make for an unforgettable vacation.
To get to Santorini, you can either fly or take the ferry. Once on the island, you can rent a car or use the local buses to explore the stunning coastline, hidden coves and unique black or red beaches.
For the perfect birthday, book the perfect accommodation. A real tip is the Aspaki by Art Maison which offers its guests the best views of Oia, and is also a famous spot for taking photos.
The recommended travel time is around 5-7 days, so you have plenty of time to enjoy the magic of Santorini, do some sightseeing, and also visit the beaches.
To enhance the birthday celebration, book a private catamaran ride to explore hidden bays like White Beach.
Travelers should know that Santorini can get crowded during high season, so it is advisable to book accommodations and tours in advance. Another insider tip is to travel in late spring or early fall when the weather is warm and pleasant.
Recommended by Martina of Places of Juma
- Region: Caribbean
- Fly into: Curacao International Airport
- This destination is best for: couples, families, solo travelers, friends, LGBTQIA+
- Best time of year to visit: Year round – with December – April being less windy than other months. Off-peak travel is between May – September.
The Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao is one of the best 40th birthday travel ideas. Situated in the southern Caribbean between Aruba and Bonaire, Curacao offers something for every type of traveler.
Whether you are planning a trip as a solo traveler, couple, family, or with friends, this beautiful island caters to foodies, history enthusiasts, snorkelers, beach-goers and is an outdoor lover’s paradise!
With over 40 beaches to explore, caves, gorgeous architecture, hiking trails, great snorkeling, and unique natural phenomenon, visiting Curacao for a 40th birthday will surely be a trip to remember.
Hunt for street art in Willemstad, Curacao’s capital. Be mesmerized by waves crashing against the rugged shoreline at Shete Boka National Park, and mark your 40th birthday by hiking Mount Christoffel in time for sunrise, which is one of the best things to do in Curacao!
Since Curacao sits below the hurricane belt, the weather remains consistent during the year. The average temperature year-round is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, However, it can be windy at times, but that breeze is a welcome reprieve from the heat!
One of the most fabulous 40th birthday trip ideas for couples, celebrate your milestone birthday at one of Curacao’s great restaurants. Fort Nassau is a great choice as it overlooks Willemstad. It is the best spot to catch the sunset.
Rozendaels, Ginger, and Mundo Bizarro are all fantastic dining options as well, with accommodations for gluten-free and vegan.
The Renaissance Wind Creek Curacao Resort in Willemstad is the perfect base for exploring Curacao. Located in the heart of town, it’s easily accessible to shopping and restaurants, and has its own man made beach – the only one of its kind in Willemstad!
A week is a perfect amount of time to experience the best of what Curacao has to offer. The best option to get around the island is by car, and is easily navigable.
Recommended by Sarah of In Search of Sarah
10. Machu Picchu, Peru
- Region: South America
- Fly into: Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima then to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco
- This destination is best for: couples, solo travel, friends’ trips, families, LGBTQIA+
- Best time of year to visit: April to November
If you love hiking and trekking and want to do something special for your 40th birthday, then consider completing the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu in Peru.
The Salkantay Trek starts from Cusco, the tourist capital of Peru in South America. To get there, you can fly to Peru’s capital city, Lima. There are regular domestic flights between Lima and Cusco you can take from there.
Since Cusco is located at 3,400 m (11,155 ft) above sea level, make sure to spend a few days in the city first to acclimatise before starting your hike.
The 75 km (46 mi) long Salkantay Trek takes you through the majestic Peruvian Andes to Machu Picchu over the course of 4 or 5 days. You’ll visit the stunning Lake Humantay, hike across the Salkantay Pass at 4,630 m (15,190 ft) and walk through the Amazon jungle before reaching the famous Inca Citadel.
Whilst there are many popular ways to reach Machu Picchu, this trek is considered one of the best in the world.
You can opt for a trek where you camp every night. However, if you’re after something unique, then why not pay a bit extra for a company that offers some really cool accommodations like Sky Domes, Andean Huts and Jungle Domes.
The best thing about the Salkantay Trek is that you can sign up on your own, with your friends or family or with your significant other.
Hiking through the Andes and arriving at one of the new Seven Wonders of the World is going to be an unforgettable 40th birthday getaway.
Recommended by Kitti of Kitti and John
More 40th birthday getaway ideas
Can you picture yourself walking among the pyramids of Egypt? Or maybe hiking through the Rockies? How will you ever decide? Keep reading for more of the best 40th birthday trip ideas!
- Region: Southern Europe
- Fly into: Luqa International Airport
- This destination is best for: couples, solo travel, friends trips, families
- Best time of year to visit: year round but avoid July and August
Malta is a fantastic 40th birthday destination. This small island in the Mediterranean has so much to offer, from some of the oldest structures on Earth to incredible beaches and coves where you can swim in the most stunning water you’ve ever seen.
You can easily spend a week in Malta and not see everything here, even though the island is very small.
Getting to Malta is easy from all over Europe. The island has its own airport very close to Valletta, the capital.
Because of its mild climate in winter, Malta makes a wonderful winter sun escape during the cold months.
One of the best areas to stay in Malta is Sliema and St Julian’s, where most hotels are. For a unique stay, choose the Hilton, which overlooks the sea and has its own marina.
Nearby, you will find some of the best restaurants in St Julian’s, such as Gululu, where you can try some delicious traditional Maltese food.
Don’t miss spending one day in Comino, swimming in the Blue Lagoon, snorkeling, learning how to dive, or just enjoying some relaxing time on the boat.
Another great thing to do in Malta is go to the Sunday market in Marsaxlokk when the fishermen bring to the shore the best catch of the day. Whilst during the week they cater to restaurants, on Sunday they open to the public.
Recommended by Joanna of The World In My Pocket
12. Jordan (one of the most unforgettable 40th birthday ideas)
- Region: Middle East
- Fly into: Amman, Jordan
- This destination is best for: couples, friends, solo, families
- Best time of year to visit: Sep – Nov and March – May
If you’re looking for an epic 40th birthday trip idea, look no further than a trip to Jordan. Here, you can swim in the Dead Sea, sandboard in the Wadi Rum Desert, and discover the ancient city of Petra.
A trip to Jordan is a trip through history in one of the most beautiful desert landscapes in the world. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that deserves a special occasion.
Start by flying in Amman, the bustling capital of Jordan and renting a car.
After exploring the city’s ancient Roman ruins and night markets, head to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, where you can literally float on the salty water, looking over to Israel on the other side.
The ancient Nabataean city of Petra is a few hours drive from the Dead Sea. Carved into the red sandstone mountains, Petra is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Spend 2-3 days in Petra and Wadi Musa, hiking through the ancient city and seeing the beautiful landmarks, such as the Treasury and the Monastery.
Finally, spend a few nights in the Wadi Rum Desert, one of the most unreal landscapes in the world, often compared to Mars, before returning to Amman.
Driving yourself is an easy and safe way to get around Jordan. You’ll want to spend between 7-10 days exploring the country, as that gives you time to adequately see most of Jordan’s main attractions.
Lastly, before you arrive in Jordan, be sure to get the Jordan Pass, which covers your tourist visa and access to most historical sites, such as Petra and Jerash to name a few. What a fabulous adventure, not to mention one of the best 40th birthday trips!
Recommended by Chris of Around The World With Me
13. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Region: Caribbean
- Fly into: Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ)
- This destination is best for: singles, couples, groups of friends, families, beach lovers
- Best time of year to visit: December – May, but possible year-round.
Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is a perfect place to celebrate a milestone birthday, and one of the best 40th birthday trips! Particularly the all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana with all its amenities are a great option, as you can get pampered 24/7 and enjoy unlimited drinks and delicious à-la-carte dinner not only for your birthday but the entire vacation.
The resorts in Punta Cana are perfect when traveling as a couple, with your family, or also when celebrating with friends. It makes for one of the best 40th birthday trips.
Be sure to let the staff know it is your birthday and you will have an amazing and fun-filled birthday with a Caribbean vibe and a constant ocean breeze.
Although the resorts are great (and you make not want to leave), there are a plethora of adventuress in Punta Cana.
Ziplining excursions, catamaran tours, visiting Isla Saona or an ATV adventure are some of the most famous excursions in Punta Cana.
The nightlife is also exciting and never ending. You can hop on a party boat, book an exclusive rum tasting, or visit Coco Bongo Punta Cana, the most spectacular entertainment show and party in town.
With direct flights from more than 35 North American cities, getting to Punta Cana is super easy. Most of the all-inclusive resorts are just a 20- to 35-minute drive away from the airport. You can enjoy your first drinks soon after landing.
Most people spend around 4-6 nights in Punta Cana, but you can stay much longer, especially as there is so much to explore in the entire country.
Recommended by Chris of Punta Cana Travel Blog
14. Cartagena, Colombia (one of the most underrated destinations for a 40th birthday vacation)
- Region: South America
- Fly into: Rafael Nuñez International Airport in Cartagena
- This Destination is Best for: Couples, solo travel, or friends trips
- Best Time of Year to Visit: Anytime
Cartagena, Colombia has to be counted among the most amazing 40th birthday trip ideas around the globe!
This colonial era port on Colombia’s Caribbean coast not only offers gorgeous, charming architecture, a fascinating history, and a vibrant culture, but also year round beach weather! It’s truly one of the top places in Colombia to visit.
Whether you are planning your 40th celebration solo, with your special someone, or doing a group trip, Cartagena has a little something for every type of trip and every type of traveler.
Touring the historic city center, also called the Walled City for its colonial era walls that are still standing, and neighboring Getsemaní, another colonial neighborhood that is home to lots of great cafes, bars, and street art today, are absolutely musts.
These are also the best areas to stay in Cartagena as they offer easy walking access to many of the best restaurants and nightlife.
Another must is getting out to enjoy the nearby Rosario Islands. These gorgeous Caribbean islands have crystal clear waters.
An especially fun way to celebrate the big 4-0 would be with a private boat rental to tour the islands in style, however there are plenty of other Rosario Islands day trips as well as plenty of great resorts and ecolodges if you want to do an overnight stay.
Sunset cruises on the bay and sunset drinks with the gorgeous views from Café del Mar are not to be missed. The café is located on top of the wall looking out to the Caribbean. There’s also a nearby rooftop bar at Hotel Movich that will be the perfect way to end a night.
Depending on if you wanted to spend a night (or three!) in the islands or take any day trips to nearby places like the historic Afro-Colombian free town of Palenque, a Mud Volcano, or a pink sea, you should plan to spend 4-8 days in Cartagena.
It’ll surely be a 40th birthday trip to remember!
Recommended by Adam from Cartagena Explorer
15. Andalucía, Spain
- Region: Europe
- Fly into: Malaga Airport (AGP)
- This destination is best for: couples, friends and families
- Best time of year to visit: Spring and summer
Andalucía in southern Spain is one of the most picturesque regions in Europe and is perfect for a 40th birthday trip.
Whether you want to sip cocktails on the rooftops in Malaga, get cultural in the Alhambra in Granada, or go on a road trip to explore all the whitewashed villages, there are unforgettable things to fill your trip with.
Seville is a wonderful city to spend a couple of days. Explore the Real Alcazar of Seville – a stunning Moorish palace, climb the cathedral’s clock tower, see a Flamenco show, and eat tapas on a boat cruise on the Guadalquivir River.
Further, Cordoba is an underrated city well worth seeing. Among the highlights is the magnificent Mosque-Cathedral and of course the beautiful patios, especially in the San Basilio neighborhood where some private patios are open all year round.
This is also the best area to stay in Cordoba Spain (if you are lucky, you might even snatch a room in one of the homes with patios.)
If you travel in summer, make sure you spend some days in Costa del Sol, relaxing at the beaches and visiting coastal towns like Nerja, Benalmadena, and Estepona. There are also whitewashed villages in the hillside overlooking the coast like Mijas Pueblo and Frigiliana that should not go unseen.
Recommended by Linn of Amused by Andalucia
16. Seoul, South Korea
- Region: Northeast Asia
- Fly into: Incheon International Airport
- This destination is best for: Anyone! South Korea has adventures for couples and families and it’s a safe country for solo travelers.
- Best time of year to visit: March – June and September – October
Seoul is an incredible destination for a 40th birthday getaway. There are countless things to do in the city with a mix of culture, modern technology and amazing food.
The city is surrounded by beautiful mountains which make for great hikes from easy to hard. The smell of Korean BBQ fills up the streets every evening, especially in the warmer months when locals eat street food.
The best things to do in Seoul are to visit the palaces, parks, and markets and wander around the trendy neighborhoods and hanok villages. Top places to visit include Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gwangjang Market, Seoul Tower, Namsan Park, Insa-dong, Myeongdong, Hongdae and a DMZ Tour.
Seoul is so easy to get around thanks to its amazing transport system. There is a metro train that runs from the airport to the city in less than an hour.
It’s best to spend 5 days in Seoul to see the main highlights and get to know the city. Seoul is also the gateway to explore the rest of the country such as Busan, Gyeongju and Jeju Island.
Seoul is a unique experience for anyone, especially if you haven’t visited that area of the world before.
The country is incredibly safe, there’s so much to learn, it’s easy to get around without knowing Korean. It’s the perfect destination for an unforgettable 40th birthday trip!
Recommended by Amy and Dan of The Sunrise Dreamers
17. New England fall foliage road trip, USA
- Region: North America – USA
- Fly into: Boston Logan International Airport
- This destination is best for: Couples, solo travel, LGBTQIA+
- Best time of year to visit: Late September to mid-October for fall foliage
Celebrating a 40th birthday by taking an epic fall foliage road trip through picturesque New England is always a good idea!
As a bucket list trip for so many, it’s a wonderful way to celebrate such an important milestone, while immersing yourself into some of the most amazing displays of autumn foliage in the entire world.
Throw in cozy inns, covered bridges, and quaint towns, and it’s sure to be one of your most memorable trips ever.
The perfect amount of time for this trip is 10 days to see as much of the region as possible, but it can also be done with 1 week.
The best place to start this road trip is in Boston, where you should definitely plan to spend 1-2 days, as this historic city is especially beautiful in the fall season.
From Boston, you’ll want to head up to the White Mountains region of New Hampshire for incredible hiking, mountains dripping with reds and oranges and impressive scenic drives.
One not to miss is the famous Kancamagus Highway, which is regarded as one of the best things to do in New England in the fall. In this area, you’ll also want to have Flume Gorge, a ride on The Cog, and the Artist Bluff Trail on your agenda.
Next, take one of the best fall drives and make your way over to Vermont to enjoy idyllic countryside landscapes and cozy towns. Two of the best for fall foliage are Stowe and Woodstock, and you’ll feel like you’re on the set of a Hallmark movie once you arrive.
Last, make your way through the gorgeous Berkshires region of Massachusetts.
Enjoy farm stands, mountain ranges, and charming towns to visit. Before heading back to Boston, consider making a stop in Salem, Massachusetts, which is one of the most exciting Halloween towns in the entire country.
Recommended by Sam of New England Wanderlust
18. Goa, India
- Region: South Asia
- Fly into: Dabolim Airport (Goa International Airport)
- This destination is best for: Solo travelers, couples, friends, vegetarians, vegans and yogis
- Best time of year to visit: November to April (avoid monsoon season)
Goa is the perfect place to visit for a wellness-focused getaway on your 40th birthday.
Located on India’s west coast, along the Arabian Sea, Goa isn’t just a hippie hotspot anymore! Today, Goa is home to many of India’s best all-inclusive yoga retreats and Ayurvedic resorts.
Here, you can ease the transition into your forties with a personalized treatment package including healthy foods, yoga classes, traditional Ayurvedic treatments. Expect massages, skincare treatments, herbal medicines, mindfulness exercises and more.
Most programs also include excursions around Goa. You’ll have a chance to explore the region’s famous beaches, markets, spice plantations and temples with a local guide.
At the end of your visit you’ll feel relaxed, invigorated and inspired. Exactly what you need to tackle the next decade of your life!
As an added bonus, retreats and resorts in Goa are usually a tiny fraction of the cost of similar programs in Europe and North America.
You could easily use the money you saved to add on a few days in the iconic, once-in-a-lifetime Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal) and Jaipur. Or go a bit further south to explore the picturesque backwaters of Alappuzha (Alleppey) and the highland tea plantations in Munnar.
If you’re considering great places to go for 40th birthday, Goa should be on your list!
Recommended by Carly of Fearless Female Travels
19. The Great Ocean Road, Australia (amazing adventure and one of the best 40th birthday trips)
- Region: Australia
- Fly into: Melbourne Airport
- This destination is best for: Couples, families, friends
- Best time of year to visit: December to February
Driving the Great Ocean Road is the quintessential Australian travel experience. It’s a road trip that’s regularly voted one of the most scenic in the world.
Tackling this famous route offers up a blend of relaxation and reflection making it perfect for celebrating a 40th birthday vacation!
Getting to the Great Ocean Road is simple. From Melbourne, it’s just over an hour’s drive to the start point of Torquay.
And from there, you’ll road trip for 150 miles to Allansford, spotting koalas and platypuses, watching surfers at world-famous beaches, sampling crisp wines from local vineyards and witnessing the majesty of the iconic Twelve Apostles.
Due to the relatively short distances, it’s possible to tackle the Great Ocean Road in a single day. But doing so would mean skipping over many of the attractions that make this route so wonderful.
Two or three days, therefore, will give you ample opportunity to see the main stars of the trip, while also allow you to stay overnight in Port Campbell, close to the Twelve Apostles. Seeing those towering limestone stacks at sunset is a magical experience that’s far superior to battling through the large crowds in the afternoons.
When it comes to accommodation, Daysy Hill Country Cottages in Port Campbell is the best place for a celebration. The staff are warm and welcoming, the location is just a few minutes from the best restaurant in town (12 Rocks), the gardens are beautiful, and the large decks perfect for enjoying a glass of champagne.
Recommended by Lauren of Everything Victoria
- Region: Northern Europe
- Fly into: Keflavik Airport
- This destination is best for: friends trips, couples, families
- Best time of year to visit: autumn or spring
Iceland, or the land of ice and fire, is one of the countries that you have to visit at least once in your life. Nestled between the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, Iceland is home to some of the most stunning natural landscapes and incredible once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
There is no better place to celebrate your 40th birthday than Iceland if you are a nature lover. From relaxing in natural hot springs with both volcano and sea views, to exploring waterfalls or seeing geysers explode, Iceland has it all.
You can easily find direct flights to Keflavik Airport, right next to the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik.
We recommend spending at least 6 days here to explore the south of the island, or 12 days to tour it all. There is a circular road, called the Ring Road, that goes all around Iceland and allows travelers to access many landmarks.
Last but not least, Iceland has the most wonderful 40th birthday experiences one could hope for: private northern lights tours in Iceland with local guides!
Recommended by Soline of On The Road Diary
40th birthday trip ideas continued…
Well, just half of this list is complete – more amazing destinations to go! Is your bucket list is growing?? Here’s more of the best 40th birthday destinations.
21. Hawaii, USA (one of the absolute best 40th birthday trips in USA)
- Region: North America – USA
- Fly into: varies based on island
- This destination is best for: solo travelers, couples, families or friends trips
- Best time of year to visit: anytime
One of the absolute best 40th birthday destinations in the USA is Hawaii. The lush scenery and incredible beaches make any milestone birthday extra special.
Each of the Hawaiian islands provides a completely different experience. To see an active volcano at Volcanoes National Park, visit the Big Island, Hawaii. If you’re interested in incredible scenic drives like the Road to Hana and the Kahekili Highway, choose Maui.
For WWII history of Pearl Harbor and nightlife, a trip to Oahu might be for you. And if you love hiking, mountains and beaches, then you’d welcome a trip to Kauai.
Take this Hawaiian Island Quiz to help you determine which island to go to!
Planning a trip to Hawaii is doable any time of year, making it one of the very best 40th birthday trips! The low season is typically September – October and April – May, so you may find discounted pricing during that time.
Beautiful beaches await in Hawaii! And you can pretty much carve out the level of adventure or relaxation you’d like, as a trip to the Hawaiian islands can truly be customized based on your interests and who you’re traveling with!
Recommended by me – Nikki of She Saves She Travels
22. New Zealand
- Region: Oceania
- Fly Into: Auckland, then a domestic flight to Queenstown
- This destination is best for: solo travel, friends, couples
- Best time of year to visit: Summer (December – February)
Queenstown sits on Lake Wakatipu surrounded by mountains in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, New Zealand. If you want to celebrate your 40th with some adventure, then Queenstown is the perfect place to go, and one of the best 40th birthday destinations!
Whatever thrill-seeking activity you can think of you can probably find in Queenstown.
From the relatively tame jet boat rides and luge track, through to the mind-blowing experience of skydiving, this is the place to be. There’s nothing quite as exhilarating and life affirming as falling (safely!) through the sky with a lake and mountains below you.
Once your adrenaline spike has calmed down, head to one of the local wineries to enjoy a tasting. For another day, join a tour to the stunning Milford Sound and try to spot seals and dolphins as your sightseeing cruise guides you around the waterfalls and peaks of the Sound.
You’ll need at least 2 full days in Queenstown, but you could easily fill up a week or more without running out of things to do. It’s also a perfect place to include as part of a trip around all of New Zealand.
Celebrate this monumental birthday by living life to the max with great food, wonderful wine, and as much adrenaline as you are brave enough to enjoy!
New Zealand is certainly one of the best 40th birthday trips on this list! And it’s especially great over the winter, as it’s one of the absolute best countries to visit in February!
Recommended by Fiona of Following Fiona
23. Patagonia, Argentina (stunning scenery during this 40th birthday trip)
- Region: South America
- Fly into: Bariloche Airport
- This destination is best for: couples, solo travel, friends trips
- Best time of year to visit: Year-round destination
If you’re wanting to plan an epic trip for your 40th birthday, consider going on a road trip across northern Patagonia starting in Bariloche!
This corner of Argentine Patagonia is easily accessible via a short 2-hour flight from Buenos Aires and once you arrive, there are a slew of picturesque mountain towns to explore.
If you want to splurge on a hotel stay during your visit – this is your 40th birthday after all – opt for the Llao Llao Hotel. This iconic 5-star hotel is set on a hill surrounded by mountains and overlooks two different lakes. It’s a great place to pamper yourself.
Next, pick up a rental car and start exploring the surrounding towns. You can ride the Old Patagonian Express train in Esquel, visit some of Argentina’s southernmost wineries in Trevelin, and hike Cerro Piltriquitrón in the hippie mountain town of El Bolsón.
While you have your rental car, don’t miss out on driving the Road of the Seven Lakes.
This is a 107-kilometre road that stretches between the towns of San Martín de los Andes and Villa La Angostura. The route goes through two national parks, Lanín National Park and Nahuel Huapi National Park, and offers spectacular views and scenic stops at every turn.
Be sure to also enjoy the local cuisine which features plenty of Patagonian lamb, wild boar, and trout dishes. Craft breweries are bountiful in this part of the country, as are artisanal chocolate shops, so you certainly won’t go hungry!
Ideally, you’d want to spend at least two weeks road-tripping northern Patagonia and enjoying the rugged beauty this destination has to offer. What a perfect destination for adventure and scenery on this list of 40th birthday getaway ideas!
Recommended by Audrey of the Che Argentina Travel
24. Dublin, Ireland
- Region: Northern Europe
- Fly into: Dublin
- This destination is best for couples, solo travel, friends trips, LGBTQIA+
- Best time of year to visit: From mid March to mid September for a chance of good weather. However, pack an umbrella as Dublin is a rainy city!
Raise a glass to turning 40 in Ireland’s capital Dublin. Lively pubs, friendly locals, interesting museums and lots of music, the city is so compact that you can explore its delights in just a few days.
For one of the best 40th birthday travel ideas, start the festivities in the Guinness Storehouse, where you’ll delve into the art of brewing while sipping on the ‘black gold’ at the Gravity Bar with views over the city. For a dose of fun and frivolity, take the Viking Splash tour of the city.
Should the weather cooperate, get outside of the city to Howth, where you can hike the coastal paths and eat fish and chips. Or, take the Dart along the south coast and hop off at Killiney to see where Bono lives and go for a dip in the Irish Sea.
While traditionally not seen as a foodie destination, these days Dublin’s culinary scene is thriving, with not only innovative Irish food but cuisines from across the globe. Soak up the Mexican vibes of 777, eat Chinese and dance the night away in Hang Dai or try the stunning Woollen Mills for Irish grub.
The famous Temple Bar district is undoubtedly lively, but follow the locals’ lead and explore the bars around South William Street & George’s St. For an authentic taste of traditional Irish music, head to the Cobblestone in Smithfield.
From boutique boltholes like The Hendrick to luxury havens like the Merrion, when it comes to resting your head in Dublin, there’s a ton of options to suit.
Lá breithe shona duit! (Happy Birthday in Irish).
Recommended by Kaz of The Honeymoon Guide
25. African Safari at Kruger National Park, South Africa
- Region: Africa
- Fly into: O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg
- This destination is best for: Couples, solo travel, and families
- Best Time of year to visit: May to October
If you want to celebrate your birthday in style and have always loved wildlife, a safari in Kruger National Park in South Africa should be at the top of your bucket list!
And if you want to surprise someone, it’s certainly an unforgettable 40th birthday idea for wife, husband or significant other. It does take a bit of effort to get there, but it’s the most visited park in Africa for a reason!
Start by flying into Johannesburg. Then, you can either drive several hours to the park or catch a short flight to one of the three local airports on the outskirts of Kruger (which one depends on which part of the park you visit).
Once you are there, let the game viewing begin!
Kruger National Park is undeniably one of Africa’s best places to see wildlife. They have the Big 5, plenty of accessible roads throughout the park to search for animals, and comfortable, but basic, accommodations within the park.
While you can drive around the park yourself, it is highly recommended that you take a tour with a safari company, at least for one of your days. They will be able to find wildlife you will likely never spot on your own.
Imagine riding in an open-air safari vehicle, turning the corner, and spotting a cheetah on a kill. Or watching a herd of elephants pass by so quietly that all you hear is the sand shuffling beneath their feet. It’s true; they are that quiet when they walk!
But plan on setting those alarms early, as safari tours run at dawn and dusk when animals are most active. Mid-afternoons are yours for a leisurely lunch and siesta.
Wildlife is never predictable and doesn’t show up on your schedule, so staying for at least three days gives you the best chance to see highly elusive animals like leopards.
Once you visit, “the bush” will keep calling, and you will want to go again and again.
Recommended by Jenny of Traveling In Focus
26. Catalina Island, California, USA (where to go for a 40th birthday weekend)
- Region: North America – USA
- Fly into: Los Angeles Airport (take a ferry from Long Beach or San Pedro to reach the island)
- This destination is best for: Couples, friends trips, families, LGBTQIA+, adventurers
- Best time of year to visit: April through October
Catalina Island, nestled off the coast of southern California, is an ideal destination for a memorable 40th birthday celebration. Its unique blend of natural beauty and charming attractions creates an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.
With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant marine life, and relaxed beach atmosphere, you will feel transported to an island paradise that seems worlds away from the busy California coast.
The island is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities like snorkeling, hiking, and zip-lining. For a more laid-back experience, explore the quaint streets of Avalon, the island’s main town, filled with boutiques, restaurants and spas.
One of the most popular things to do in Catalina is to take a golf cart tour of the island to take in the incredible sights and wildlife.
Another highlight is the Descanso Beach Club, perfect for a beachside birthday bash.
Or, consider taking a glass-bottom boat tour to witness the mesmerizing underwater world. Catalina is a protected environment and has some of the best kelp forests in the world.
A long weekend is ideal for the best 40th birthday vacations on Catalina Island. It provides enough time to explore the island’s attractions and unwind in the serene ambiance.
For an intimate stay, consider the Hotel Atwater, offering beautiful ocean-view rooms. Be sure to book your accommodations well in advance, especially during peak seasons.
Visiting Catalina Island for a 40th birthday promises a delightful blend of adventure and relaxation. It’s a destination where you will create cherished memories to last a lifetime!
Recommended by Janelle of Make The Trip Matter
27. Paris, France
- Region: Western Europe
- Fly into: Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
- This destination is best for: couples, friends trips
- Best time of year to visit: shoulder season (spring and fall)
Paris, France is one of the best places to go for 40th birthday. The City of Light is at the top of countless travel bucket lists, so why not spend your special day in this special destination?
It’s a romantic 40th birthday idea for couples, or make memories and share laughs with a group of close friends.
Most visitors to Paris fly into the Charles de Gaulle airport. If you’re traveling on the lighter side, you can take the RER into the city and use the metro to reach your hotel.
Stay in the charming Rue Cler neighborhood at the Hotel de Champ du Mars. This cozy hotel is perfectly located halfway between the Eiffel Tower and Les Invalides.
You’ll want to spend at least three days in Paris, and even this will let you just scratch the surface of iconic attractions in Paris.
See famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, visit world-class museums such as the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, and take a relaxing stroll through lovely lush parks such as the Luxembourg Gardens.
Paris at night is stunning with its illuminated monuments, so be sure to head out for a second round of sightseeing after dark.
There are many amazing night tours in Paris to choose from to ensure you don’t miss any highlights. A dinner cruise on the Seine is the perfect way to celebrate your birthday, and comes with phenomenal views!
Recommended by Lisa of Waves and Cobblestones
28. Exmouth, Western Australia
- Region: Western Australia
- Fly into: Perth, Western Australia and then connect to Exmouth or take a road trip
- This destination is best for: couples, solo travel
- Best time of year to visit: March to July
With turquoise waters and pure white sand beaches contrasted against a backdrop of the rich red earth, visitors to Exmouth Western Australia will be stunned when they have these spots all to themselves. Truly one of the very best 40th birthday trips!
Throw in an opportunity to swim with whale sharks, humpback whales or manta rays (or all of them -known as the ‘Big 3’), you’ll have one of the most memorable 40th birthday destinations in the world!
This area is for the adventurous traveler who has seen a lot, yet still thirsts for new places.
That’s right, this remote spot on the Western Australian coast is hard to get to and if you are going for a week (our minimum recommended time) it’s going to be expensive.
A far better idea would be planning a month-long road trip from Perth to Broome and hitting some of the wildest, most remote landscapes on earth!
Exmouth itself is a small remote town surrounded by stunning beaches and the Ningaloo Reef. You should expect to spend a lot of time snorkeling and the rest of the time exploring the red rocks of the Cape Range National Park. Here, you’ll find dramatic red landscapes, canyons, and a range of challenging hikes.
If you’d like to splurge, then the luxury safari style tents at Sal Salis Ningaloo Resort open right onto the beach… bliss!
Recommended by Ariana of Western Australian Travel
29. Ha Giang Loop, Vietnam
- Region: Southeast Asia
- Fly into: Nội Bài International Airport, Hanoi
- This destination is best for: Solo travelers, couples, or a group of friends
- Best time of year to visit: October, November, March or April
What better 40th birthday present than a motorcycle trip on some of the world’s most scenic and isolated roads?
In the far north of Vietnam, there’s a region so isolated that it feels almost like a separate country, alien and authentic. The Ha Giang Province is beautiful and diverse. Awesome views, winding roads, horizon-touching rice fields, and a ton of history reward those that travel the 7 or so hours from Hanoi.
There are more than 40 ethnic groups in Ha Giang all with different ways of life, traditional clothing, local traditions and customs and bizarre markets.
The passionate road-trippers can rent a motorcycle in Hanoi and reach Ha Giang in a day or two of driving, although most travelers rent a motorcycle in Ha Giang city.
The standard Ha Giang Loop circles the region passing through Yen Minh, Sa Phin, Dong Van, Meo Vac and back via Du Gia.
It is most awesome to drive the Ha Giang Loop by yourself. But, if you can’t ride a motorcycle or don’t have the necessary documents, it’s easy to hire an “easy rider”. This is an experienced driver who’ll tour you around the Loop on the back of his motorcycle.
The Ha Giang Loop takes between 3 and 5 days to complete.
Definitely visit the Palace of the Hmong Kings, the traditional weekly markets in Dong Van and Meo Vac, the Lung Cu flagpole – Vietnam’s northernmost point, as well as the stunning Ma Pi Leng Pass with one of the best vistas in the world!
It’ll make for one of the very best (and adventurous) 40th birthday trips!
Recommended by Simon of Backpack Moments
30. Krabi, Thailand (a favorite on this list of best 40th birthday trips)
- Region: Southeast Asia
- Fly into: Bangkok or Krabi
- This destination is best for: Couples, friends, solo
- Best time of year to visit: December-March
If you’re looking for an epic 40th birthday travel idea, Krabi Thailand is an excellent place to explore!
Thailand itself is an amazing destination, and there are plenty of places to visit. But, Krabi is always one of the best. One of the reasons why visiting Krabi is so special is because of the mix of amazing beaches, cultural experiences and delicious Thai food.
Krabi has relaxing retreats during the day, like the blue lagoon, where the waters are always a perfect temperature due to the hot springs that run through, to the many historical Wats in town.
For those looking for a workout, history lesson, and magical views, the Tiger Cave and hike is the perfect place to check out.
Or for beach lovers, a short 20-minute, 100 Baht ($3) long-tail boat ride will take you to the magical island of Railay. This island looks like Avatar used it as inspiration. There are beautiful green sea stacks shooting up from the ground surrounded by the clearest waters.
And the nightlife in Krabi is perfect for celebrating your 40th birthday.
You’ll find everything from oceanside luxurious restaurants with the freshest seafood, to night markets in the center of town serving up the best street foods. And there’s nothing like the Ao Nang Strip, lined with bars and clubs so you can celebrate the night away.
If you have time, a one-hour boat ride from Krabi will take you to the beautiful Koh Phi Phi and the stunning Maya Bay. You could spend just a day touring this world-famous beach, or extend your trip a night or two and explore all the best things to do in the Phi Phi Islands.
The best way to get to Krabi would be to first fly into Bangkok. Enjoy a brief Bangkok itinerary for a day or two, and then catch a very inexpensive flight down to the Krabi airport.
Most days these flights should only cost about 30 dollars. There are also buses you can take, but the journey can take up to 10 hours, so a flight is recommended if you are only traveling to Thailand for a short trip!
You can do everything and more by spending 3 days in Krabi!
Recommended by Abbey of Trips on Abbey Road
Still more fun 40th birthday vacation ideas
We STILL aren’t finished. What an epic list! Have you chosen a favorite 40th birthday trip yet?
- Region: Western Europe
- Fly into: Glasgow, Edinburgh or Inverness
- This destination is best for: Couples, families, extended family, outdoor lovers and LGBTQIA+
- Best time of year to visit: May to September
When thinking of Scotland what comes to mind is castles, whisky and amazing scenery. And that is exactly what you get by exploring beyond the main cities.
For anyone looking for a birthday with a difference, this is it. What better places to spend the day than one of the castle hotels such as Glenapp or Inverlochy Castle!
Glasgow and Edinburgh are great for a few nights but what is special about Scotland is the highlands and the islands. It requires a bit more effort to get there and the best way to travel there is by car. To get to the islands you also need to take a ferry.
Skye and the islands of the Outer Hebrides are some of the most interesting places to visit.
With a range of activities from hiking and exploring white sandy beaches to visiting famous castles and distilleries, there is something for everyone.
Driving to Skye is easy since a bridge connects it to the mainland. On the way you pass Eilean Donan Castle, one of the prettiest in Scotland. And at Skye see the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing and stop for a tasting at Tallisker or Isle of Raasay distilleries.
The highlands can be visited within a week.
To include the more remote parts of Scotland in your itinerary consider adding a few days in the Outer Hebrides and stay at one of the best hotels on North Uist. A ferry runs between North Uist and Skye making it easy to combine these two destinations for an unforgettable 40th birthday.
Recommended by Kristin of Scotland Less Explored
32. Boracay, Philippines (one of the most beautiful places to go for 40th birthday)
- Region: Southeast Asia
- Fly into: Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL), Clark International Airport (CRK), Mactan-Cebu Airport (CEB)
- This destination is best for: couples, solo travelers, friends trips, families, extended family, LGBTQIA+
- Best time of year to visit: March to May for sunny weather, August to December for slightly cooler temperatures
Experience a tropical paradise on your 40th birthday in Boracay, Philippines.
Boracay consistently ranks among the world’s top beaches with its powdery sands, crystal-clear waters, and refreshing breeze. It offers an idyllic escape for every type of traveler, whether on a solo journey of self-discovery, bonding with your partner or family, or reuniting with friends.
During the day, the beach is serene and laid-back, and at night, it transforms into the Philippines’ party capital!
Looking for some adrenaline rush? Boracay has you covered. Embark on thrilling rides like the banana boat or UFO, or take to the skies with exhilarating parasailing.
And to top all your adventure – experience Boracay’s unique paraw sailing – a private sunset cruise on a paraw sailboat, where you’ll witness panoramic views of the island on a spectacular sunset. Then, end your day with a local seafood feast at D’Talipapa Market.
Boracay is also one of the best leisure vacation destinations. It’s a fabulous getaway for healthy food selections, massages, spas, and even yoga sessions.
You’ll get to Boracay by flying into any international airport in the Philippines then to Caticlan Airport, and taking a short boat ride to the island. A 4-5 day trip strikes the perfect balance to explore and unwind.
Embrace the island’s laid-back vibe and let Boracay gift your birthday with shades of paradise! What an unforgettable 40th birthday trip!
Recommended by Gladis of Happiness On The Way
33. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
- Region: North America – Mexico
- Fly into: Querétaro International Airport or Guanajuato International Airport
- This destination is best for: Couples, Friends, Solo Travel
- Best time of year to visit: November through April
When wondering where to go for 40th birthday weekend, the gorgeous colorful streets, world-class restaurants and swoon-worthy rooftop cocktail bars, San Miguel de Allende is the perfect place to celebrate. Tucked away in Central Mexico, a few hours north of Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende is a truly magical destination that feels authentic yet effortlessly chic.
The heart of this small city is marked by the stunning and Disney-esque Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel which is a must-see during the day and when lit up at night surrounded by the sounds of Mariachi bands and happy visitors.
In addition to beautiful architecture, discover incredible restaurants with mouthwatering dishes like the truffled esquites tostada at Tostévere and the house made spiced tomato soup with toasted parmesan at Mi Bistro 300.
Spend the day shopping the boutiques and artisan market while café hopping or explore further afield with one of San Miguel de Allende’s best day trips.
The quirky Chapel of Jimmy Ray Gallery is perfect for art lovers while the nearby hot springs are the best place to relax. History buffs will also love this area as neighboring Dolores Hidalgo is the birthplace of Mexican Independence.
San Miguel de Allende is the perfect place for a long weekend to scratch the surface but for those who want a deeper dive, five or six days will fly by in this charming gem.
It’s an underrated destination, and one of the best places to go for 40th birthday with friends, too!
Recommended by Ashlea of She Roams About
34. Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Region: Southern Europe
- Fly into: Dubrovnik Airport (DBV)
- This destination is best for: couples, solo travel, friends trips, LGBTQIA+
- Best time of year to visit: May-June, September-October
Dubrovnik, Croatia is an incredible place to go for a 40th birthday. It’s a charming historic city on the coast of the Adriatic Sea.
Dubrovnik is worth visiting, as it is an incredibly beautiful place with many things to do. You could easily spend a few days to a week just in Dubrovnik.
The old town of Dubrovnik is surrounded by impressive medieval walls, and one of the most popular things to do is to walk the walls just before sunset.
After walking on top of the city walls, explore the charming old town and check out a wine bar. Other great ways to spend your time in Dubrovnik include taking a Game of Thrones Walking Tour, relaxing at Banje Beach, or visiting the nearby Lokrum Island.
A must-do when spending a 40th birthday in Dubrovnik is making dinner reservations at Panorama, Dubrovnik’s most popular restaurant.
To get to Panorama, you’ll take the cable car up to the top of Mount Srd. At the top, you will find absolutely breathtaking views of Dubrovnik’s old town and the beautiful coastline.
It’s a perfect way to celebrate a birthday, and Dubrovnik is one of the very best 40th birthday travel ideas!
Recommended by Amber of Get Lost in Wanderlust
35. Iguazu Falls, Brazil & Argentina
- Region: South America
- Fly into: Foz do Iguaçu (IGU) in Brazil or Cataratas del Iguazu (IGR) in Argentina
- This destination is best for: couples, families and solo travelers
- Best time of year to visit: all year, in particular April to October
Located between Brazil and Argentina, Iguazu Falls is the world’s largest series of waterfalls. As one of the seven wonders of nature, this bucket list-worthy destination is one of the most spectacular places you’ll ever see.
Plus, it’s full of exhilarating activities, luxury resorts, and picturesque natural surroundings, making it one of the best 40th birthday getaway ideas.
Of course, the falls themselves are the main highlight, made even more special by the many vantage points from which you can see them. You should aim to spend at least 3 days here and visit both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides, as they both offer different views and experiences.
On the Argentinian side, there are multiple trails through lush forest which take you to a series of breathtaking viewpoints. This includes a viewing platform right at the top of the largest waterfall – Devil’s throat – where you can feel the spray and hear the force of the water.
Whereas, on the Brazil side, you will see a complete view of 80% of the falls. Here there’s the opportunity to do activities, such as a panoramic helicopter flight over the falls, a boat ride down the Iguazu River and visiting the fascinating bird park. These all make for a particularly memorable birthday!
There are airports on both sides of the falls, which have regular flights from nearby major cities, including Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which are all great places to start or end an unforgettable trip.
Recommended by Chanelle Chasing Chanelle
36. Bora Bora (one of the best 40th birthday getaway ideas for the beach)
- Region: South Pacific
- Fly into: Papeete, Tahiti and take a small plane on to Bora Bora
- This destination is best for: couples, solo travel, friends trips, families
- Best time of year to visit: Dry season (May to October)
If you’re looking to celebrate your milestone 40th birthday in style, there’s no better place than Bora Bora, regularly named one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
This spectacularly scenic island in the South Pacific country of French Polynesia is known for its motus, islets surrounding the main island, with a beautiful turquoise lagoon in between.
Many of the hotels on these motus offer the opportunity to stay in an overwater bungalow and walk down the stairs from your balcony right into the lagoon.
Bora Bora has something for everyone. Active travelers can take a jeep tour of the island or go snorkeling with sharks and sting rays.
Or, if you prefer to relax at the hotel, there will be plenty to keep you busy there, from water sports like jet skis and paddle-boarding to romantic candlelit dinners on the beach
If you’re traveling all the way from the United States, you’ll likely want to visit for at least a week. With 10 days or more, you could spend the whole time in beautiful Bora Bora or you could add a second French Polynesian island like Mo’orea or Raiatea to your itinerary. There are also cruises that sail between the islands.
French Polynesia is by far one of the more unforgettable 40th birthday ideas for husband, wife, or partner, if you’re looking to surprise your loved one!
Recommended by Adrienne of Destinations and Desserts
37. Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
- Region: Middle East
- Fly into: RAK, Sharjah or Dubai
- This destination is best for: couples, friends trips, families, but also solo
- Best time of year to visit: winter, (ideally November to February)
Ras Al Khaimah is a lesser-known but fantastic destination in the UAE. It offers a range of activities, from relaxing on a boat trip in the mangroves to zip-lining 10,000 feet down a mountain at 80mph.
In a nutshell, there’s something for everyone, and it’s one of best 40th birthday destinations, not to mention underrated!
For the less adventurous, a trip to the only Pearl Farm in the UAE is perfect to add to your itinerary. After taking a boat trip amid breathtaking scenery, your guide will explain all about the culturing of pearls. This is a popular trip, so book ahead.
Ras Al Khaimah has some stunning hotels to book for your special occasion. Enjoy the luxury of the Waldorf Astoria or the more discreet and charming Cove Rotana. Both have gorgeous white beaches and pools overlooking the crystal clear sea.
No trip to Ras Al Khaimah is complete without a trip to Jebel Jais, the tallest mountain in the UAE. Take a gentle hike or a more challenging one with beautiful views, have breakfast at the top, soar down on the world’s longest zip-line, the Sky Flight, or try the slightly less challenging Sky Tour.
For even more adrenaline flow, do the Via Ferrata or book a survival course at Bear Grylls Camp.
You can enjoy an action-packed weekend, but a week will allow you to see much more of this beautiful emirate and fit in a hot air balloon ride or a desert safari. Whether you’re going solo, with friends or as a couple, Ras Al Khaimah is a fabulous 40th birthday vacation!
Recommended by Alison of Glimpses of the UAE
38. Marrakech, Morocco
- Region: Northern Africa
- Fly into: Marrakech Menara International Airport
- This destination is best for: couples, solo travel, friends trips, adult families
- Best time of year to visit: March-April, October-November
Marrakech is an awesome city for a 40th birthday trip as it’s vibrant, fun, and offers so much to see and explore. As the tourism hub of Morocco, travelers will experience the inspiring culture of Morocco. Stay there for at least two full days to experience the highlights.
Most visitors will stay in or around the medina, which is a word for an older walled city in Northern Africa. The medina is filled with narrow streets and public squares.
In Marrakech, visitors should see the grand Bahia Palace, a 19th century palace decorated in impressive stuccos, paintings, and tile mosaics. The building has gorgeous courtyards and beautiful gardens.
The Majorelle Gardens are also a must-see when visiting Marrakech. These stunning gardens are built over two acres and are landscaped around a pond, museum, and café.
For dinner and a show, visitors can dine at Dar Essalam, which is centrally located in the medina. Patrons are treated to traditional Moroccan music and belly dancers in a lively atmosphere. It’s the perfect 40th birthday night out on the town!
Alcohol isn’t consumed much in Morocco but this restaurant, as well as other sites that cater to tourists, offer a selection of alcoholic beverages.
To get to Marrakech, fly into Marrakech International Airport (RAK). From RAK, take a transfer to your riad in the heart of the medina (15 minute drive).
Recommended by Eleanor of Elevate Your Escapes
39. Chicago, Illinois, USA (amongst the best 40th birthday destinations USA)
- Region: North America – USA
- Fly into: O’Hare or Midway International Airports
- This destination is best for: Couples, solo travel, friends trips, families, LGBTQIA+
- Best time of year to visit: June – Mid-October
When planning a memorable 40th birthday trip, Chicago is the perfect destination. With its stunning skyline, incredible food scene, world-class museums, and intriguing ghost tours, the Windy City has something for everyone.
Dive into the vibrant atmosphere by visiting the iconic Art Institute of Chicago, home to an impressive collection of artworks including some Vincent Van Gogh originals!
No trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to Navy Pier. This bustling waterfront destination offers a plethora of entertainment options, from thrilling rides and attractions to scenic boat tours along Lake Michigan.
Take a leisurely stroll along the pier, indulge in delicious street food, and soak up the lively atmosphere that encapsulates the spirit of Chicago.
Embrace the eerie side of Chicago with a ghost tour of one of the most haunted cities in the USA. Then indulge in the city’s fabulous food and local beer scene, like deep dish pizza and the famous 312 Brewery. Make sure to also explore historic attractions like Millennium Park, Willis Tower and Tribune Tower.
You can even attend a comedy show at Second City, which has been the starting point for many famous comedians including John Belushi and Stephen Colbert.
A long weekend, like a Chicago 3 day itinerary is perfect for your 40th birthday trip to the Windy City.
Recommended by Brodi of Our Offbeat Life
40. Sri Lanka
- Region: South Asia
- Fly into: Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport
- This destination is best for: Solo travel, couples, trips with friends
- Best time of year to visit: December to March
No matter what your interests, Sri Lanka makes for one of the best 40th birthday trips.
If you just want to relax on a gorgeous, palm-lined beach, that is certainly an option! For a more active vacation, learn to surf in Weligama, go scuba diving on the south coast, or hike in the mountains of Ella or Kandy.
Wildlife safaris are another popular activity, as several of Sri Lanka’s national parks are home to elephants, crocodiles and leopards.
In the “Cultural Triangle,” you can explore ancient cities, admire intricate cave art, and climb the famous Sigiriya rock fortress.
Three weeks is the perfect amount of time to take in the ancient cities, hill country, wildlife, and beaches. However, a month is ideal to see Sri Lanka’s major sights at a more leisurely pace.
If you have less time, though, don’t worry! The island’s relatively small size makes it easy to pack a lot into a short amount of time. Travel between the main places of interest typically only takes a few hours. Even if you only have a week or two, you can still get a great taste of Sri Lanka.
Hiring private transportation is a popular way to travel around the country. Buses and trains are a great way to get around the island for those on a tighter budget, and each trip is often an experience in itself!
For the best chance of sunny and dry weather along Sri Lanka’s south coast and in the central provinces, aim to visit from December to March.
Sri Lanka is one of the best 40th birthday trip ideas, and perhaps one that wasn’t previously on your radar!
Recommended by Ellie of This Remote Corner
Best 40th birthday trips recap
Wow! What an amazing list! From marveling at the sparkling Eiffel Tower to skydiving in New Zealand, staying in an overwater bungalow or seeing ancient pyramids in Egypt, the possibilities are truly endless!
Here’s quick recap of the 40th birthday destinations, in a much quicker fashion…
40th birthday destinations
- Canadian Rockies
- La Fortuna, Costa Rica
- Kyoto, Japan
- Alaskan Cruise, USA
- Santorini, Greece
- Machu Picchu, Peru
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Cartagena, Columbia
- Andalucia, Spain
- Seoul, South Korea
- New England fall foliage road trip, USA
- Goa, India
- The Great Ocean Road, Australia
- Hawaii, USA
- New Zealand
- Patagonia, Argentina
- Dublin, Ireland
- African Safari at Kruger National Park, South Africa
- Catalina Island, California, USA
- Paris, France
- Exmouth, Australia
- Ha Giang Loop, Vietnam
- Krabi, Thailand
- Boracay, Philippines
- San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Iguazu Falls, Brazil & Argentina
- Bora Bora
- Ras Al Khaimah
- Marrakech, Morocco
- Chicago, Illinois, USA
- Sri Lanka
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