With its picturesque, bush-lined coast and bright wide sands, Samoa is a bona-fide Pacific oasis. The Samoan capital, Apia – still only populated by around 40,000 people – is the perfect destination if you're wanting a relaxing beach weekend away with just a taste of city life, and offers a variety of cultural and scenic attractions to keep you occupied during your 48-hour stay.
Visit the Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral
Built in 2011, the architecture of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral is renowned across the Pacific, and just a cursory glimpse at the structure reveals why. With its distinctive light blue and white colour scheme, standing outside the cathedral is almost experience enough; fortunately for the art-loving tourist, however, the church's interior is just as grand. Framed with exquisite stained windows and boasting an impressive wooden ceiling, the Cathedral emanates beauty from every angle. If aesthetic pleasure is your thing, the Cathedral will definitely be at the top of your list of things to do in Apia – it certainly is on ours.
Meditate in the Baha'i' House of Worship For those interested in all things spiritual and meditative, Apia's Baha'i' House of Worship is the tranquil haven of choice when it comes to Samoa activities. Another of the city's architectural gems, the Baha'i' is one of only eight such religious spaces in the world, and the swaying palm trees it's nestled amongst only add to the peace and serenity that the house espouses. You don't need to subscribe to a specific religion in order to gain entry to the Baha'i''s meditation room, which is open to the public daily – and if you're in Apia on a Sunday, a similarly democratic entry rule applies to the 10am church service.
Wander through Old Apia Market Visitors to Apia rarely regret a visit to the established Old Apia Market. Held just along the shore from the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, the market has every possible ware displayed for the buying, from lush mangoes and hot meals to Samoan fans and flowered shirts. Whether your eye alights on a pair of sandals or a lovingly-made shell necklace, a wander through the market's maze of stores will definitely kit you out with the required souvenirs for friends and family back home.
Dine at Tamarind Restaurant Located within the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in Apia is the Tamarind Restaurant, a great spot for a tasty lunch, a refined dinner, or perhaps just a simple drink outside. Offering sashimi as a house special and boasting a long and varied cocktail list, the restaurant provides a fresh and satisfying dining and drinking experience, and is convenient to get to from the city centre. Better yet, Tamarind regularly puts on a culture night, so if you've always wanted to see authentic Samoan song and dance, then make sure to book a table in advance.
Peruse the EFKS Museum Though a little way out of Apia – twelve miles, to be exact - the EFKS Museum is well worth the drive. Still Samoa's largest museum, the building consists of a glass-walled fale filled to the brim with national artefacts. EFKS is not your average history museum, so don't expect lots of written plaques and photos: what you'll find instead are innumerable works of art, all charged with spiritual and cultural meanings that still have a purchase in modern Samoan society. For a satisfying end to your tour of Samoa attractions, the EFKS Museum is ideal. Even better, the Museum is closer to the Faleolo International Airport than Apia city is, so it's a fitting last destination as you make your way out of Samoa.