Cool Stuff | Pop Culture | 80s

The Most Popular Vacation Spots of the 80s

Despite what Hollywood would have you believe, real-life holidays did not always include a trip to Wally World or a 50s style back to the future experience.

In reality, a vacation in the 1980s looked like a modern vacation but without the SPF. On the home front, employed Americans took more vacation time than their modern-day counterparts and undoubtedly found it much easier to unwind. So it's more important to your health than ever to take a vacation and make it as memorable as possible.

Just because the 1980s are a few decades in the past doesn't mean we can't recapture their splendor. So please sit back, apply a few layers of Nivea Sun, primp your big hairdo, and prepare to travel back in time as we revisit the most famous holidays in the 1980s!

The Caribbean

With over 30 million visitors each year and another 27 million stopping by while their cruise ship docks, the Caribbean is still a popular destination.

The decade began in a recession, but as the years passed, things improved, and many with excess cash began to dip their toes in the Caribbean - literally. Caribbean holidays are especially true for the United Kingdom residents since many travel firms have now started to offer options for residents of the United Kingdom who wish to visit the islands.

New York

The Big Apple has always been a popular vacation destination. Visiting the city in the 1980s, on the other hand, was a very different experience, especially for partygoers. Artists such as Andy Warhol would frequently hold exhibits, or bands such as Madonna would perform live.

However, Time Square in the 1980s looks nothing like it does now. There were sex shops, peep shows, and a significant presence of the drug trade where there is now a tourist attraction.


In the 1980s, cruise vacations transformed. There was a fad for "cruise to nowhere" holidays, where the cruise ship was the actual vacation, and everything you needed was already on board. Mega Yachts began to go up all over the place to meet this increased demand, and cruise vacations thrived throughout the 1980s and beyond!

Today's cruise lines are modeled after their predecessors from the 1980s and are just as popular.


In the 1980s, tourism in Australia began to thrive, thanks to the film Crocodile Dundee. Only a portion of the boom in Australian tourism can be attributed to hunky-for-the-time Paul Hogan, as airfare prices coincidentally began to fall at the same time.

Sydney was one of the most popular holiday places in the 1980s and is now a famous tourist destination in Australia.

Costa Brava

The Ancient Greeks discovered Costa Brava nearly 3000 years ago. Fast forward to the 1980s, and the British tourists invaded it. The Costa Brava, located in northeastern Spain, has hot summers that endure longer than in the UK, making it a popular holiday destination for mullets and spandex wearers.

Nowadays, the area's residents are primarily from France and Northern Europe, and there is less of a "Brits abroad" culture than in other parts of the country. Because the area experiences four seasons, it isn't as popular with winter sun-seekers or stag parties.


Madeira, in Portugal, was another popular destination in package holiday brochures. The island's scorching heat, wine, and deep blue water enamored tourists in the 1980s.

Madeira has become more popular with the silver-haired portion of the population in recent years, although current developments have seen it re-attract families and couples. Football fans, in particular, are flocking to the Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport to experience the local lifestyle of the Real Madrid footballer.


Still divided by a wall, Berlin hadn't stopped the hedonism and partying that had defined the city for decades from emerging in portions of East and West Berlin.

Berlin, a European city that never sleeps, would not have disappointed any 80s kids searching for a party vacation. Since German reunification, Berlin has been more popular than ever, attracting millions of tourists each year with its history, arts, and culture (as well as its nightlife).

Goa, India

In the 1980s, Goa, another long-haul destination, was popular with younger party culture. Hardcore trance fans would have felt perfectly at home in the Indian coastal town, as the psychedelic trance genre was only getting started.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Goa was famous for its Full Moon parties. The former Portuguese colony is still recognized for its laid-back "free spirit" ambiance.

If you're looking for a throwback vacation, leave the shoulder pads and acid-washed clothing at home and trade it in for a holiday to one of the vacation spots mentioned above. You'll be transported right back to the 80s, albeit more advanced and technology-influenced.