This year take the road less travelled: 5 alternate summer holiday destinations

The summer holidays are approaching and what are your plans? Will you go to the same old Bali or Switzerland? The world has a lot more to offer….

There are places that have become ‘more than equal’ than the rest as they are almost on everyone’s bucket list. Well, here are five destinations which are no less than the ones that have been treaded every now and then.

Want to see all Europe, take a trip to Andorra

Which country are you planning to visit this summer? How about a maiden voyage to a principality? Yes, that is a thing and it is called Andorra. Located in the Eastern Pyrenees, between France (Ariege) and Spain (Catalonia), it is the sixth smallest nation of Europe. Despite being tiny, the diversity it offers makes it a miniature continent by itself.

Most of the Andorrans are Catholics of the Catalan descent. However they speak Spanish, French, and Portuguese too. Its capital Andorra La Vella is touted as the highest capital city of Europe at an elevation of 1,023 metres (3,356 feet) above sea level. This quaint town boasts the highest in the world at 81 years. Truly home to a bunch of diverse, happy people.

If this diverse demographic doesn’t impress you, consider this: 92 percent of the nation is forests, lakes, rivers, and mountains. While you are there, don’t miss a trek to Mount Coma Pedrosa which goes up to 2,942 metres and a boat ride down the idyllic Gran Valira.

Moreover, Andorra hosts one the largest Ski School of Europe. After a lesson or two, you should take a slide down the Soldeu/El Tarter and Pal/Arinsal.

For those who are seeking blessings, a visit to the shrine of Our Lady of Meritxell is a must. There are 40 churches which are standing since the Medieval times and they can be explored on a simple road trip around the country.

And when you are leaving, the duty free of Andorra will surprise you. There is a wide range of all those things that you want in abundance.

That enough to make you pack your bags?

From murder capital of the world to city of everlasting spring: Medellín

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When we talk about Latin America, Rio’s Copa Cabana beach and the annual carnival in Brazil comes to mind. But there is more to see in the continent than that. This can be achieved by paying a visit to a place formerly known as the murder capital of the world: the city of Medellín in Colombia. It gained its notoriety for being the hunting ground for the legendary figure, Pablo Escobar. Though Medellín was hither and thither for many years after Escobar’s death, it was bestowed the title of “the most innovative city in the world” in 2013 by the Urban Land Institute. Once known for cocaine, the hill city is now the place of ‘everlasting spring’ — the weather will keep pulling you out of your hotel room all year round.

What happened? How did the ‘bad ass town’ turn into a delightful place of law-abiding entrepreneurs? Well, the best way to know is to visit rather than read about this fascinating Latin American city. And when you are there don’t miss checking out the larger-than-life sculptures at Plaza Botero. Moreover, Medellin’s metro-cable will take you to the serene ‘hill side city’ which stretches up to a large natural reserve called Parque Arvi. A perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

There is also a ‘Pablo Escobar tour’! And it is not just about the man or his cartel only but a balanced guide to how life was during the late 80s and 90s in the hill city.
Still want more? How about The Botanical Gardens in the middle of the city which hosts around 1000 species of wildlife alongside 4500 different types of flowers. And the entry is free!

Sumba Island can be your ‘new’ Bali

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“Let’s go to Bali” is a phrase we have all heard during peer conversations. And many actually go and come back with sumptuous memories. But what if you’re looking for something even more enchanting? Just east of Bali lies the Sumba Island. It has one of the best surfing scenes in the world; with curly waves and white sands, the beaches attract surfers of all shapes and sizes. And the best bit is that here — unlike Bali — you will have the vast expanse of pristine beaches all to yourself.

‘I am not a surfer then why should I go’, you may ask. Well for people who don’t want to get wet, there are the megalithic tombs that house the remains of members of the royal family of Indonesia. Further, the local landscape is very different to the rest of the country; full points to the locals for having somehow kept the pangs of urbanization at bay.

Need more? The town is also fondly referred to as ‘Tattoo village’ for being home to some 100 Sumbanese people, who have kept the local body-art tradition alive.

An English view in Canada

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Where are the best fish and chips served? Easy, you’d say — London. There are others, though, who beg to differ. Presenting Victoria.

Picture this — experiencing the ‘Royal’ lore of Great Britain but enveloped in the verdure and atmosphere of the great Canadian outdoors. If that sounds ideal, Victoria in British Colombia, Canada is the place for you. Double-deckers, flower gardens, and tea rooms against picturesque scenery. Need we say more?

Victoria also has the beautiful Butchart Gardens, a cosy Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, The Royal British Columbia Museum, Hatley Castle, and a plethora of famous pubs!

The other Norway: Lofoten Islands

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Norway is almost synonymous with the fascinating northern lights. And of-course, who doesn’t want to see them. There is a place in the same country that offers something as scintillating as the green lights with the added bonus of weather so unpredictable it even keeps the locals guessing.

If you ever wished for rain and sunshine within a span of 10 minutes…that wish comes true in the Lofoten Islands of Norway.

The place breaks the cliché that Norway is for people who are retired as the island is coming up as the center for hiking, climbing, fishing, kayaking, skiing, Arctic surfing, and cycling. In fact the adventure scene in Lofoten is becoming so big that even professional enthusiasts flock to this conurbation to practice their sports.

Isaac is currently in the middle of an existential crisis, contemplating the profound and profane in equal earnest.

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