7 Destinations Every Tea Lover Needs to Visit

Ah, tea. The comforting brew that most people can’t get enough of. International Tea Day on the 21st of May celebrates the cultural and economic significance of tea across the globe, highlighting just how much joy and comfort this beverage can bring.

Booking.com is marking the occasion with a round-up of seven of the best destinations for tea lovers around the world. With 32% of Canadian travellers motivated to travel by trying new food and 46% saying tasty local cuisine impacts their destination decision, International Tea Day is the perfect excuse to travel to locations naturally steeped in history and beauty.

Tea is a worldwide phenomenon and just about every country, from Argentina to Malaysia, has its own way of consuming it. From the rich past of Chinese green tea to the vibrant mint leaves of Morocco, discover the exciting destinations behind the drinks.

Darjeeling, India

The Darjeeling district of West Bengal is known for its plethora of tea gardens, with over 80 stretching across acres of land. Located in the foothills of the mountains, the emerald-green Darjeeling tea gardens produce tea with such an intense aroma and spicy flavour, that it’s often referred to as the ‘champagne of teas.’ Visitors can take an Excursion into the World of the famous Darjeeling Tea, take part in a tea-tasting ceremony and tour the gardens to soak up the distinctive flavours. When visitors aren’t admiring the majestic Khangchendzonga, the world’s third-highest mountain, they can visit Buddhist monasteries and take a ride on the 140-year-old stream Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.

Where to stay: Deeply ensconced in the quaint little town of Darjeeling, India, Arcadia Heritage Resort is a warm, restful, and inviting retreat. This non-smoking property is just a short drive from such globally acclaimed attractions as Tiger Hill Mountain, Mahakal Temple, and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute established in 1954 to promote mountaineering as an organized sport. Accommodations within the resort are comfortable and feature a desk, a private balcony with city views, and luggage storage space—a welcome boon for long-haul travellers! Early birds will appreciate the free breakfast spread, which includes a buffet, à la carte, and continental options; while late risers can head over to the sun terrace to take in some rays and glorious mountain views.

Harrogate, United Kingdom

English breakfast tea is a British staple, which has expanded over the years to include a variety of brews including decaf and gold standard. The quaint spa town of Harrogate is home to one of the UK’s most popular Yorkshire tea brands, where it blends tea leaves from Assam and East Africa to create unique combinations bursting with flavor. Take a trip to the nearby city of York and enjoy a delightful city sightseeing cruise along the picturesque River Ouse, where visitors will discover the city’s medieval history. Iconic sites include York Minster, one of the largest and most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in the world.

Where to stay: Dragon Villas by Maison Parfaite – Luxury Studios & Apartments, situated in the heart of the town, these apartments are housed in a building dating back to 1900. Located a short walk from local sites including the Harrogate Turkish Baths, Royal Hall Theatre and Royal Pump Room Museum as well as the famous Bettys Café Tea Rooms, serving delicious afternoon teas in Harrogate since 1919.

Kandy, Sri Lanka

This mountainous city with misty skies and a centrepiece lake is home to colourful rainforests and an array of tea estates. It’s where the first tea was planted in Sri Lanka and now has a flourishing economy with over 600 tea estates stretched across the region. Explore the area with a Tea Plantation Cycling Tour and discover the wonders of the city; starting at the Ceylon Tea Museum in Kandy, then cycling 55 kilometres through lush tea plantations where travellers can stop and speak to tea pickers and learn about local varieties. Try the refreshing Ceylon tea, each leaf carefully handpicked to ensure its quality – enjoyed warm or over ice.

Where to stay: Located amidst the Madulkelle Tea Estate is the stunning and peaceful Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge. With secluded lodges and a pool with panoramic views across the rolling green hills, it’s perfectly located to nearby attractions including the Hatale Waterfalls and Knuckles Mountain Range, a UNESCO World Heritage site. When travellers aren’t out exploring the tea estates, they can enjoy a sumptuous meal with freshly grown ingredients from the hotel gardens or a campfire under the stars at night.

Meknès, Morocco

Refreshing mint tea is the national drink of choice in Morocco. Various blends are made across the country, but the vibrant mint leaves from the scenic hilltop city of Meknès are said to be the best. Meander around the old town of this UNESCO-stamped ancient medina to discover everything from specialist souks selling beautiful crafts and textiles to teahouses in secret courtyards.

Where to stay: Stay in the heart of Meknès at the impressive Riad Mama H&K. Traditionally decorated with the authentic architecture of Morocco including hand-carved wood and geometric tiles, the hotel also features a pretty outdoor terrace. Discover local dishes from tajine to seafood in all their richness and variety at the on-site restaurant or relax by the fireplace with a soothing mint tea.

Longjing Village, Hangzhou, China

With a long history stretching through multiple centuries and cultures, tea is one of China’s greatest treasures. Longjing Village, dubbed ‘the holy land of green tea’ – and also known as Dragon Well – is situated in Hangzhou’s beautiful West Lake district. Rising to prominence during the Huang Dynasty, the tea has a vibrant emerald colour and aromatic sweet flavour. Discover the natural beauty of the surrounding villages with a guided half-day tour, visiting the secluded hiking trails, ancient temples, hidden grottos and family-run tea shops.

Where to stay: West Lake State Guest House is conveniently located close to West Lake, a short walk from Longjing Village and the Hangzhou National Tea Museum. Here, visitors can discover the history and evolution of Chinese brews and enjoy a tea tasting. The modern hotel boasts a heated pool, spa fitness center and hot tub in each room – as well as impressive views of classical Chinese scenery.

Misiones, Argentina

Said to have the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea and the joy of chocolate, the herbal tea Yerba Mate is Argentina’s national drink, and is enjoyed for its energy-boosting qualities. The leaves are grown in the rich rainforests of the northeastern province of Misiones, famed for its red earth and papaya fields. Booking.com’s travel predictions 2024 report found that three-quarters (76%) of Canadian travellers agree that being close to water instantly makes them feel more relaxed, with over a third (43%) interested in water-centric vacations in 2024. Within Misiones lies the Iguazú National Park, home to the magical Iguazú Falls – the world’s largest waterfall – where visitors can spot bright-billed toucans, and colourful butterflies, and relish in relaxation that cannot be beaten.

Where to stay: Self-catering bungalows Cabañas Doralia in the city of Oberá feature a well-equipped kitchen, BBQ terrace, outdoor pool and exquisite garden views. The comfortable accommodation is located near La Ruta Del Te, an Argentinian tea house where travellers can learn from fourth-generation tea producers and try Yerba Mate sweetened with agave and served with pastries for an afternoon treat.

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Steeped in rich tea-making traditions, the Cameron Highlands is renowned for its impressive emerald tea estates and exquisite mountain views. The Bharat Tea Estate produces some of the world’s favourite tea labels including Cameroon Valley, which takes its flavour inspiration from Sri Lanka and South India. Visitors can quench their thirst at the estate’s Tea House with a special high tea, and wander through Mossy Forest on a tour of its lush hilly terrain with moss-covered trees, rich wildlife and exotic plants.

Where to stay: Located a short drive away from the Bharat Tea Estate is Heahtitude, a kitsch vintage guest house with modern amenities. Visitors can enjoy activities around the Cameron Highlands, including hiking and cycling in the Mossy Forest, where Rafflesia – the biggest flowers in the world – can be found. Between trekking and tea culture, it’s easy to unwind in the evenings on the beautiful riverside terrace.

Booking.com is making it easier for travellers to level up their trip with Genius. Designed to make every trip a better experience, Booking.com’s loyalty program is completely free and easily accessible and membership lasts a lifetime. As travellers continue to book on the platform – whether it’s a car rental for a family road trip or a coastal cottage for a beach getaway – Genius helps you earn more rewards. Simply create a free Booking.com account or log into an existing one to earn rewards that help level up your travel experience with free breakfasts, room upgrades, and discounts starting from 10% on selected car rentals and places to stay.

James Chung

Vancouver Lifestyle, Cool Tech & Travel Adventure. Email: james@hellovancity.com

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