With scorching summers making city life difficult, we take you on a virtual tour of some exotic destinations that could be next on your holiday list!
The summers are already upon us and you must be underway on your plan to get away from all the terrible heat and hustle of busy daily life. Well, let us introduce to you some offbeat holiday destinations that will offer you a slow pace to relax, away from the usual holiday season crowds, and will also not burn a hole through your pocket.
Although the many islands of the Indian Ocean have been considered a honeymooner's paradise – Maldives has broken that myth, adding a plethora of local experiences that are not just romantic, while also making way for some affordable luxury. The Garaidoo Island, located about 50 nautical miles from the capital of the island, Male, is a prime example. Bereft of super luxurious water-villas, it offers you a chance to kickback and relax amidst the lush blue waters of the Indian Ocean. There are quiet a few experiences run by the locals that let you explore the magnificent blue waters even better. Snorkelling and diving are the two most popular activities that can be done and that allow you to explore the beautiful multicoloured flora and fauna that lies beneath the surface. Another unique experience that you must try is local Maldivian food that too at the house of a Maldivian. Being an island country, there is a whole lot of tuna dishes including Mashuni and Garudhiya (Tuna broth) accompanied with heaps of rice and roshi (quite similar to our rotis).
They say that Antalya is one of the few places on Earth where you can swim and ski at the same time. The balmy beaches of the Mediterranean Sea are offset against the snow-kissed peaks of the Taros range as it attracts tourists from all over the world. Located on the south-west corner of Turkey, about an hour's flight from Istanbul, Antalya's beaches offer the best way to rejuvenate, coupled with Turkish Hamams and a dose of history along the way. After the beaches, head to the ancient Roman ruins of Perge and Aspendos, where ruins of theatre, gladiator arenas, Roman baths and markets still stand today. It is an astounding measure to experience history and stellar magnificence.
If your kids are anything like mine and do not like coming out of the water anytime soon, a beach destination wouldn't really quench your thirst. What you need is a water park with a multitude of rides that will satiate even the craziest of the lot. The Dubai Parks and Resorts offers just that. Spread over 25 million square feet, there are three theme parks, one water park, quite a few restaurants offering a range of cuisines and innumerable shopping experiences offering something for everyone in the family. Kids will be fascinated with all their comic heroes coming to life at the Motion Gate where you will be able to take a 4D tour of Panem or ride along on the Smurf Village Express before deciding to fly with the dragons from How to train your dragon?.
The Alto Douro wine region is possibly one of the most beautiful regions to explore during the summer season. Located on the banks of the river Douro, the region has been producing Portugal's iconic port wines since Roman times. As the vineyards remain green during the summer, framed against the blue ribbon of the river, it is a sight that you shouldn't plan on missing out. The wine region is divided into three main regions, to the west in the city of Peso da Regina, capital of port wine where you must visit the Musen do Douro. Pinhao, present in upper Corgo, is home to the best Tawny Ports – but it is the landscape of Sao Salvador do Mundo that I actually fell in love with. The best part of exploring Portugal's wine region is that it can be accessed by car, train or even boat. Head onto some of the vineyards to taste a piece of history along with a bite of delectable local food including the raw milk Amanteigado, nuts and even chocolate based desserts.
The night markets of Taiwan offer a unique insight into an exotic culture. With the markets setting up at around 10 in the night and continuing till the wee-hours of the morning, the markets offer the best of local food along with shopping experiences that you wouldn't find elsewhere. Must tries include the Stinky Tofu, Grilled Seafood, Spicy Rice Cakes, Sushi and even some fried chicken. You can also find some amazing deals on fashionable clothing here, just that you need to be armed with a good set of bargaining skills.
You could also head to Azerbaijan to experience rich culture and exotic landscape. The country, found at the confluence of the Caucasus, Caspian Sea and the Great Silk Road, is a unique blend of modern architecture seen in capital Baku's international stadium juxtaposed against abundant natural beauty. The old city is the perfect place to explore. Located at the heart of Baku amidst snaking streets, the Shirvanshahs Palace and Maiden Tower are two icons of Azerbaijani architecture that will leave you enthralled.
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