60th birthday holiday ideas

By Annabelle Thorpe, Travel Writer, The Times

Are you wondering where to celebrate your 60th birthday? Perhaps you’ve had to postpone a holiday because of the pandemic. Here are some great ways to celebrate your 60th birthday in style, whether you want a short weekend break, a multi-generational gathering, a weekend of carousing or something big to tick off your bucket list.

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House rentalsUK holidaysActivity breaksCity breaksIdeas for couples

House rentals with friends and family

If your birthday falls in the warmer months, a villa holiday can be a great way to get people together without the formality of a hotel stay. Out of the school summer holidays, villas can be very reasonably priced, and if you keep it short haul, airfares are cheap, if you book well ahead. Menorca is a great choice, particularly if you’ve younger children in tow – lovely beaches, atmospheric villages and an authentic Spanish feel.

If you fancy adding a little history into the mix try Crete; it’s littered with stunning ancient sites and a great place for walking. It works really well in spring and autumn. In the winter months, Lanzarote is a good bet, with reliable temperatures and a quirky volcanic landscape to explore.

Head to France and grab one of these luxury villas with pools. Best destinations for good food and wine include Bordeaux, The Dordogne and Languedoc-Roussillon.

For a taste of Italy, book one of these villas in Sardinia or enjoy an authentic taste of the Italian countryside on one of these agritourism holidays.. If you want to discover the cultural treasures of Florence, Lucca and Pisa, rent a villa in Tuscany with private pool.

Turkey’s Aegean Coast has a long season from spring well into autumn. Simpson Travel has a quality selection of boutique hotels and villas in quiet resorts such as Kas, Akyaka and Islamlar. If you want self-catering, the four-bedroom Korsan Suites are a great option.

Or take your house party onto the water and have a week sailing on a gulet in Turkey, a blissfully relaxing way to spend a holiday.

60th birthday holidays in the UK

If you want to keep it simple, there are dozens of options in the UK. Create your own Downton Abbey experience with a stay in a historic house, or go for somewhere sleek and modern with all mod cons such as one of these classy party houses in the UK. You’ll also find some stunning luxury rentals in the Cotswolds, the Lake District and the Peak District. Book early for 2022 because the best properties are getting booked out.

If you like staying in quirky stylish hotels, try this selection of hip hotels including a lovely Georgian hotel in Bristol, a Cotswolds pub with rooms and the Crown Inn in Woodstock.

If you’re keen to do some walking in between the celebrations, then Scotland can’t be beat. You could rent a holiday cottage and hike into the hills, or join a small boat cruise in the Hebrides to explore remote islands such as Mull, Jura and Skye.

Alternatively, drive the spectacular North Coast 500 or take a whisky holiday in the Highlands and Islands. Also see these small group guided rail tours in Scotland.

Jersey works well for a short break with its French influences, fascinating Second World War history, great beaches and restaurants. Best places to stay include the Pomme d’Or Hotel in the capital St Helier and the Greenhills Country House Hotel.

The Jurassic Coast of Dorset – where TV’s Broadchurch was filmed – offers dramatic scenery and a fast emerging foodie scene. We’ve discovered some lovely holiday cottages or you could stay in a shepherd’s hut.

If you love to eat, you should also check out this guide to the best UK hotels for foodies from The Felin Fach Griffin in Trossachs National Park to The Gurnard’s Head in Zennor, Cornwall.

How about a birthday on one of Britain’s waterways? You could rent a canal boat or sailing boat sleeping between two and 12 people. Popular destinations include the Norfolk Broads. Check out the latest special offers.

See our tips for the best UK holidays for over-60s.

Activity breaks

If you’re planning a group holiday, an activity break is an ideal way to keep all ages happy. A sailing holiday – even if you’re a complete novice – can be a memorable way to see beautiful coastlines, perhaps skippering your own boat.

An activity break can also be a lovely thing to do just as a couple. A wine tour is a fun, companionable way to indulge a favourite hobby. Here’s a great selection of wine and gastronomy breaks in Spain including self-drive tours, group trips and walking tours.

golfing weekend works well for couples and groups. Many of the featured hotels have great spas and other facilities for non-players. See the latest offers from Elegant Golf Resorts.

If your birthday falls in the winter months you could make it truly memorable with a few nights up in the Arctic Circle, watching the Northern Lights. Or how about the once-if-a-lifetime thrill of joining an Antarctic expedition cruise?

If you’d rather get a blast of sunshine, Madeira is a year-round bet, only a four-hour flight from the UK. It’s not a beach destination, though. Enjoy the food, the fabulous traditional quintas and the scenic walks along ancient levadas.

Have you always yearned to take a road trip across America? These self-drive adventures include itineraries in New England, California and Route 66 .You could visit five National Parks on this American Grandeurs itinerary or opt for a motorhome holiday.

In summer, you could discover the wild beauty of Alaska – perhaps on a self-drive adventure or a small-ship cruise. Between April and September you can join an expedition cruise through the famed Inside Passage.

City breaks

A city break offers a fun, vibrant few days with the ideal mix of culture, sightseeing and great restaurants. Palma, the capital of Mallorca, is one of the easiest to get to and offers fabulous food and a wealth of art galleries – as well as the beach within strolling distance. Few cities are more romantic than Rome, where you can gorge on gelato and sip Campari by the Spanish steps. In winter it’s hard to beat snowy Prague.

If you love eating out and pottering around charming back streets, Lisbon is just the ticket. There’s an increasingly arty vibe to the city and a growing number of attractive boutique hotels.

And of course there is Paris where the experts at Kirker Travel can recommend a hotel that is perfect for you. Perhaps the boutique Pavillon de la Reine hidden away in the Marais, or the splendour of Le Bristol.

If you’re looking for somewhere different, St Petersburg – filled with beautiful churches and home to the spectacular Hermitage Museum – is an ideal choice. Go in midsummer for the famed White Nights.

An interesting left-field idea is tiny Luxembourg, just two hours flying time from the UK. It has 12 Michelin-starred restaurants including one at the five-star Hotel le Place d’Armes in the heart of the Old City.

If sport is your thing, check out this range of sporting breaks – how about a trip to see some Grand Slam tennis (Wimbledon? Paris?) or Formula One (Monaco? Barcelona?).

You don’t need to fly. You could take a mini-cruise of between two and four nights to visit a European city such as Bruges or Amsterdam, cruise the Scottish Isles or get a taste of luxury on a liner such as Cunard’s Queen Mary II. See the latest offers.

60th birthday holidays for couples

But perhaps what you’re looking for is something extraordinary, that you’ll always remember; maybe a super-indulgent night or two in a luxury country house hotel like Gilpin Hotel & Lake House in the Lake District.

You might want to sip cocktails in Taormina in Sicily while Mount Etna puffs in the distance, or experience the unique candlelit atmosphere of the Verona Opera Festival. (You’ll find a choice of opera holidays around the world.)

Could you picture yourselves drinking Martinis amid the period glamour of the Orient-Express as it travels from London to Venice? For something more exotic, how about its sister train, the Eastern & Oriental Express, as it travels sedately between Singapore and Bangkok?

If you’ve never been to Slovenia, why not discover this attractive, fascinating and compact little country. Try this fly-drive holiday or a city break in Ljubljana. You can also do it in an electric car including a Tesla 3.

If you’re looking to push the boat out, there are some wonderful, one-off experiences to try; from spotting elephants and lions on safari in Botswana to experiencing the rich natural beauty of the fall colours in New England. And the ultimate adventure? A trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos, one of the most unique and unspoilt places on earth.

Another way to push the boat out: take a river cruise on the Volga Dream between Moscow and the dreamy romantic city of St Petersburg. How about a shot of culture in New York?

If you’d just rather laze on a (world-class) beach, how about Bermuda which has a quirky colonial style and is both safe and civilised. As long as you avoid the depths of winter, the weather should be marvellous and there are fast direct flights from the UK.

If you want a more cultural treat, try Kirker Travel which runs music and history weekends in the UK and abroad. Or join an escorted tour to Italy with an expert local guide showing you the best of the culture, history, food and wine and amazing food. Options include Lakes Maggiore & Como, the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii.

Or head to the exquisite, quirky mountain kingdom of Bhutan. You can join a small group tour or get your own tailor-made private holiday staying in luxury hotels high in the Himalayas.

See more holidays for older couples. If you’re travelling alone, how about these singles holidays for over 60s.

When is your birthday?

For holiday ideas dedicated to the month of your birthday, click here. We also have ideas for holidays in winter and over the Christmas period.

Also see our tips for the best 40th, 70th and 50th birthday holiday ideas.

Last updated: 8 November 2021

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Before you book

Travel guidelines and advice are changing constantly amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Check the latest travel restrictions for UK residents.