Summer’s just around the corner, temperatures are sizzling and so are summer holiday deals. Forget touristy Cancun or predictable Caribbean cruises. With classic summer destinations getting flooded with holidaymakers each year, it’s time to look further afield and beyond your standard palm tree setting and hunt down alternative, exotic destinations that’ll make your summer a kick-ass one!
1. Exotic Beach Escape in Muscat, Oman
Tired of crowded Spanish beaches or Egyptian touts at the Red Sea? Those looking for an exotic, untouched setting will be happy to find yourself having a quiet slice of the beach all to yourself here in Oman. Unlike its neighbors in the Middle East, Oman is quiet, less flashy and a secret jewel yet to be discovered by tourism. With over 1700km of coastline, there is no shortage of stunning beaches and world-class resorts in Oman. Near the shoreline of Muscat, you can catch a jeep safari into the desert and mountains for a taste of Oman.
Flickr photo by Living by the Moment.
2. Renting A Vineyard Villa in Southwest France
For those with a refine taste for wine and rural living, escape the pretentious French Riviera and head down south to the region near the Dordogne and Bordeaux. Instead of flashy convertibles and celebrity holidaymakers, you’ll find peace and tranquility. There are a plethora of luxury villas available for rent in gorgeous mountain towns and vineyards.
Flickr photo by iiclutchi
3. A Houseboat stay in Kerala, India
In Kerala, there are no chaotic traffic or pushy crowd. What you’ll find here is a natural and calm setting. On the backwaters of Kerala, you can easily spot Kettuvallam houseboats, traditionally used for transporting rice and other trade. Today, it’s a way for tourists to experience the ecology and beauty of Kerala. Choose from a 1-day standard cruise tour to a 3-night stay on a luxurious houseboat perfect for honeymooners.
Flickr photo by Christian Haugen
4. A Yurt Holiday in Mountainous Alpujarras, Spain
A new trend for yurt retreats has recently swept across Europe – sleep in a Mongolian tent tucked away in the rural countryside under starry skies . In Las Alpujarras, a mountainous region in Southern Spain, numerous Yurt Retreat centers offer holistic programmes for spiritual travelers. Besides waking up to a view of olive groves and rolling hills, you get to engage in empowering exercises like yoga, meditation and massages.
Flickr photo by Mario Carvajal
5. A Castle Stay in Ireland
For those who don’t enjoy lounging around on beaches, a castle stay in Ireland might be an interesting alternative. There’s no better time to visit Ireland than in summer – when the rain stops and the whole country is blanketed in greenery and bathed in sunshine. A castle stay gives you the royal treatment you can’t get elsewhere, and besides, there are not many people who can proudly say they’ve stayed in a castle. Expect the plushest decor, the most exquisite antique and the most luxurious facilities – only fit for royalty.
Flickr photo by Jeffsmallwood
6. Chasing Icebergs in Iceland
Despite the ash cloud and near bankruptcy, Iceland is undoubtedly the hottest destination currently – I can’t seem to stop repeating that – and now’s the best time to visit! Even in the heart of summer, you’ll be treated to cooling temperatures. The quintessential sights of Iceland, are located in the Golden Circle: Thingvellir, the old Icelandic parliament, Gullfoss, the famous waterfall, Geysir, an immense hot spring and of course the icebergs at Jökulsarlon. If you’ve got time to spare, head to Westmann Islands and catch the rare puffins nesting.
Flickr photo by hubertk
7. A Riad Retreat in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
Always dreamt of holidaying in the gorgeous white-and-blue towns of Greece but can’t afford the extravagant prices? Then head to Sidi Bou Said, just an hour away from the country’s capital Tunis. Equally attractive in architecture, with an added hint of Arabic culture, Sidi Bou Said provides a plush, natural setting without the hefty price tag. Riads are converted guesthouses decorated in traditional Arabic style. At Sidi Bou Said, you can find several Riads with a million-dollar view.
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