Photo: The New Paper/ Trafalgar
Singaporeans picked Europe as their most-wanted travel destination this year, with the Scandinavian region emerging as the No. 1 choice.
That was among the findings from an online long-haul holiday survey organised by Trafalgar Tours with SG Travellers.
Cultural immersion or historical appreciation ranked highest for the type of experience Singaporeans want, at 62 per cent.
Only 7 per cent of those surveyed chose shopping as a favoured activity, while 21 per cent picked savouring local cuisine.
"The results from our survey show that travellers are now savvier about their preferences," said Mr Nicholas Lim, president of Trafalgar (Asia).
"They want quality holidays with authentic activities that allow them to have an optional mix of 'insider' experiences and self-exploratory time.
"We have itineraries carefully designed to go deeper into each travel destination, and we take care of the little details.
"So, instead of spending time organising their holidays, they can turn themselves over to a professional and focus on the true enjoyment of being on holiday."
Here are the attractions in the top four European destinations favoured by Singaporeans this year.
Visit in March for the annual St Patrick's Day celebrated on the 17 in honour of Ireland's patron saint. Wear green, join the street parades and festivities and feel the pulse of Ireland.
Whether you're a romantic or an adventurer, there are lots to explore and discover with inspiring landscapes and hidden treasures.
Oyster season in west Ireland in September is a huge draw.
May to August, the warmer months, are popular periods, but visiting in the winter months means smaller crowds and an opportunity to enjoy Irish hospitality in the many warm and cosy pubs.
An enigmatic country full of contrasts, Finland is celebrating 100 years of independence this year.
Enjoy Finnish theme days, such as Restaurant Day on May 20 when anyone can set up a pop-up eatery, or enjoy outdoor activities on Finnish Nature Day on Aug 26.
There is the Santa Claus Village in the city of Rovaniemi right on the Arctic Circle, and the hundreds of lakes and parks across the country.
What's not to love about this Mediterranean country with its many year-round fiestas, great food and amazing architecture.
History buffs will enjoy places such as the magnificent Royal Palaces to the Moorish monuments in Andalusia, Gothic churches or Roman archaeological sites.
Wine lovers can visit the vineyards to discover regional flavours.
Or you can simply relax on a beach.
Spain enjoys warm weather for most of the year, with March to October being the period with the most sunshine.
Home to glaciers, waterfalls, lava fields and mountain ranges, Iceland is also the habitat for over half of the world's population of the Atlantic puffins, a kind of seabird.
Learn about the history of Viking explorers, indulge in lobsters, go whale-watching, or bathe in the geothermal Blue Lagoon, which is said to have healing powers especially effective for psoriasis.
Visit in June and you'll get to admire the extraordinary natural wonders of this country during the long summer days.
The original version of this story was published in The New Paper on Jan 24, 2017.
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