We love the sun, sand, and the water but the summer is long and we just have to come up with more ideas to have fun and make sure the season is well spent. Here are some travel ideas that you may want to consider this summer…
Be close to wilderness
If you area heading to Europe, you can come close to nature and the wild in different wild pockets in the region:
Go up to the mountains of Montenegro
Europe has a long stretch of the Prokletije mountain range that crosses Bosnia, Kosovo, Albani, Macedonia, and Montenegro. This is only for extreme adventurers since the maps cannot guide you well thru the mountains and the facilities are not yet so developed. Add to that traces of war. The most accessible part of the mountain range today is in Montenegro. If you want to skip Prokletije, you can try the canyon in Durmitor National Park which is considered deepest in Europe.
Spot packs of wolves in Poland
The Bieszczady National Park is most accessible during the summer. The mountains here have around 135 kilometers of trails where nature and animal lovers can trek and try to track packs of wolves. You can arrange for a week long adventure along the mountain trails. Aside from the wolf, you might also be able to see brown bears, links, Polish bison, and other animals. You can get to the heart of the action by a taking a few hours of bus ride from Krakow.
Roam the Hungarian plains
Anyone who has a cowboy spirit in them will enjoy he grasslands of Hungary. The locals call the area the puszta or the abandoned. It is pretty much a holiday of isolation but you can get to places by car or bus. It is ideal to spend around four days to cover the span of the Great Plain. The first three days will be basically getting to the puszta. You will find the village of Hortobagy at the heart of the plains and from there you can ask a guide for the most interesting tours.
Try bushcraft and canoeing in Northern Ireland
Learn the basics or advance your canoeing skills at the Upper Lough Erne in Northern Ireland. You will also learn to catch your own food and cook them, and how you can build your shelter to protect you from the elements or extreme weather. While honing your canoeing skills, stretch your neck a bit to look for yew trees and bats in the area.
Learn new things
Do not let the mind go lazy this summer and learn new stuff in these exciting summer destinations:
Try pottery in Morocco
Remember how Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore molded clay in the film Ghost? Nope, there would not be any singing but you can learn the basics of pottery in Morocco. Instead of a love song, there will be the local language to learn. Sounds good? Head to the city of Tetouan in the northern portion of Morocco and enroll at the Moroccan School of Traditional Arts and Crafts. You can arrange for your accommodation to be included with the fees and of course do not forget to mingle with the locals so you can practice some more Arabic.
Sail in Greece
Get your hands on to experience sailing in the beautiful waters around the Ionian Islands. Do not worry the waves are gentle and the visibility is good in this part of Greece so sailing even for the novice is very safe. You can join a group of novice sailors to learn the ins and outs of how you can travel safely but you can also go for advanced training for an extra fee. Share the boat and you can keep your costs down and save some money for the tavernas. The place is pretty crowded during summer but you will be on a boat, far from everyone else.
Dance some Tango in Spain
If you can not fly all the way to Argentina to learn how to tango, you have a good alternative in Andalucia, Spain. All the moves you will learn in Granada where tango is a big thing. They even have a festival for it. Aside from learning tango, you can also go for 15 hours of learning the Spanish language. After a few days, you will be able to go to a milong or a public ballroom dancing where you can strut your way into the hearts of the local with your moves and new Spanish phrases.
Learn how to dive in the waters of Malta
Malta has the most beautiful dive sites in the whole of Europe. Learn the basics of scuba diving in Malta and enjoy the rich marine life, caves, tunnels, and ship wrecks in its waters. The current of the water is just right for newbies. For a few hundred euros, you can take an open water diving course which gives you access to dolphins, swordfish, squids, seahorse, and other wonderful creatures of the sea. August or September will be a perfect time to go as the waters will be warm enough.
Summer is more than a great beach getaway
Hop onto the next flight to go beyond your usual summer getaway :
Exotic Tunisian nights
From the international airport, head to the inland town called Le Kef where you can enjoy great views of the countryside, enjoy non-touristy stops, and relax in a steamy hammam. From Le Kef, you can o on a day tri to Dougga or escape to the old Arab city of Kairouan which is home to the famous cakes of the region. The best time to go to Tunisia is either June or September to avoid the extreme heat of July thru August.
Go around Brittany on a bike
Heading to Northern France? Summer is not only about bucket and spade getaways but Brittany offers around 2,000 kilometers of bike trails. You can go to this bike trail by stowing your bike on a Brittany Ferry. The company has also organized bike tours where you can cover 320 kilometers of bike trail in a span of five days. Take the route thru St. Malo and see the medieval towns. You will also be passing thru coastal roads and head to the Mont St. Michel island.
Explore the countryside of Cyprus
If you want something different, try agrotourism in the Cyprus countryside, away from all the high rise buildings, hotels, and comfort that Pahphos and Agia Napa offer. Discover how people in the rural areas live. In Psematismenos which only has a population of around 200, you can enjoy the night with strolls into the lemon groves and enjoy old local games. From the small town, you can enjoy long walks to see old Byzantine churches, ancient settlements, and enjoy great food in the taverns of Zygi.
Relax in Dhermiu Albania
If you really can not remove the beach in your summer fun equation, head to Albania which is among the least touristy spots in Europe. Go to Dhermiu which is just near Saranda and Corfu. You can go to the beautiful coast via a hyrdrofoil ride. Let your feet take you thru the ancient city of Butrint or ogle at the beauty of mother nature at the Lura National Park.
Expose yourself to a new culture
No need to go to far off places to expose yourself to unfamiliar things:
Go on a retreat in an Italian monastery
It may not sound so appealing when you think of summer and monastic life. But it might be nice to step back a bit before we return to the rough dealings of life. There are hundreds of monasteries from the Alps thru Sicily. You really do not need to be a devout practitioner of the faith since the nuns welcome everyone. You can get a room in one of these monasteries with rates cheaper than Italian hotels. You can there any time or make it a stop for a few days if you are planning for a pilgrimage to Rome.
Enjoy the White Nights in Russia
Summer months in Russia means a great time to party as it is a good break from the extremely cold weather. The White Nights is a stretch of a few weeks when the sun shines almost round the clock . There will be festivals, long late night walks, parties, fireworks, and lots and lots of vodka. If you want to experience this, prepare to pay for some extra since the prices go sky high during this time.
Experience the Arctic North life in Lapland, Finland
You might have heard of Lapland holidays to see the northern lights and Santa Claus, but there is more to the Arctic life than these. You can mingle with the Sami people and experience wilderness hikes. Arrange for a trip to the Hetta Village where you can meet indigenous Sami families. Immerse in their lifestyle – enjoy their traditional dances, follow herds of reindeers, and try berry foraging. The best time to go will be between August and September.
Pause the time in Transylvania
Forget about Dracula, vampires, wooden stakes, and garlic. Transylvania has a lot more to offer during the summer. The customs and practices of Transylvania have practically been unchanged thru the centuries. Visit the rugged rural areas where you can interact with shepherds doing their day to day chores of herding the flocks of sheep, protecting their animals from predators like bears and wolves, and stacking hay. You will also be able to find old wooden churches as if they were lifted off the pages of fairy tale books.
Travel thru countries
Given a week or two, you can do much of it to cover a whole country and make your summer really meaningful:
Cover Switzerland by rail
The transportation system of Switzerland is magnificently efficient. You can enjoy all the scenery across the country just by taking trains, buses, and ferries. The trip will be affordable especially when you make use of the Swiss Pass which can give you access to modes of public transport across Switzerland. Take the Romantic Route Express that will go thru the Grimsel and Furka passes. You can also take the Voralpen Express that takes you the eastern portion of the country where you will see St. Gallen, a UNESCO heritage site.
Around Norway by airplane
Norway is big and really pricey. But you can get packages to bring you via airplane from the northern tip to the southern tip of the country and sideways and back to see more than thirty destinations. Use this fixed cost airpass to see the midnight sun of the Arctic Circle and not miss the chance to see Lofoten Islands. You can also trek along the coastal fjords and near Bronnoysund.
Bike your way across the Netherlands
Netherlands has around 6,000 kilometers of bike trails and you can pretty much cover everything while on this two wheel wonder. If you are in for an adventure, take the challenge of the 350 kilometer route from Alkmaar thru Maastricht that will take you from the northern coastline to the border in the southeast. Along the trail, do not miss the cheese market, scenes at the dikes and canalas, and the bookshop called Selexyz Dominicanen.
Hop on and off the islands of the Philippines
The Philipines is a small archipelago in Southeast Asia that consists of more than 7,100 islands. If you are in for some Asian experience, you can arrange for trips that can take you north to south and around the capital of the Philippines. Experience a wonderful guided tour of the capital and see the Walled City dating back to the times of the Spanish conquerors, enjoy good food in its China town, and learn about the history of its people. Up north, there is much to see from the wonderful beaches of Ilocos and mytic Rice Terraces of Ifugao considered as among the man made wonders of the world. Down south, you can go to Boracay or see the underwater caves of Palawan. You can also visit Bohol and see old churches, the smallest ape on earth, and the magnificent Bohol Chocolate Hills. If you love surfing, these islands have lots of waves to offer.
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