Words Varouj Tenbelian
For many people, spring marks the coming of the holiday season. Around the world people start thinking about ways of coming out of their work routine and start looking for a convenient destination to relax, have fun, explore, and renew their strength by escaping from the pressures and challenges of daily life. Many would already have bought their airline tickets and reserved the best hotel that they can afford. The world is full of places that offer the traveler a big return on every penny that he plans to spend.
It’s springtime and the season for extraordinary travel – trips that will create lasting memories – is about to begin. Today’s spring season travel market caters to all comers, offering anything from five-star to three-star hotel rooms, private lodges to guided tours or camping under the stars. And however luxurious in the city or wild in the wilderness, a refreshing pool or beach is seldom far away. The following are just a few ideas as to how travelers can build memories together this spring season.
Travelers who like an Asian adventure in an exotic nature can choose Sri Lanka. It is a blend of nature and culture, with elephant orphanages next door to World Heritage temples. It can satisfy any adventurous group or family, no matter how diverse the members’ interests are.
Sri Lanka is famed for the amazing diversity of culture, the natural beauty of the landscape and a proud history dating back over 2500 years! The ancient wonders of the cultural triangle include historical monuments, fortresses as well as religious sites. You can choose between a variety of activities from lazing on the beach to diving in coral reefs and observing dolpins and whales. Explore the ancient kingdom, feed orphaned elephant babies in Pinnawalla, sip the world´s finest tea and visit the historical fortress in Galle.
Up to the very north of the hemisphere, towards the west, Iceland, known as the “land of fire and ice and the Northern Lights” is found at its most impressive after winter. Iceland is one of the most striking creations of nature on the planet. It is a land of dazzling white glaciers and black sands, blue hot springs, rugged lava fields, and green, green valleys. “There’s no one on the island telling them they’re not good enough, so they just go ahead and sing and paint and write.” Eric Weiner The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World
Still in Europe, from mid-April until the first week in May, millions of hand-planted tulips, hyacinths, and other spring annuals burst into bloom in the Netherland’s world-famous Keukenhof Garden in Lisse. A spring trip to this 79-acre breathtaking park and its surroundings is second to none.
Midway down the Italian peninsula, Tuscany is distinguished by rolling hills, snowcapped mountains, dramatic cypress trees, and miles of coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea—which all adds up to gorgeous views at practically every turn. The beauty of the landscape provides a perfect foil for the region’s abundance of superlative art and architecture. It also produces some of Italy’s finest wines and olive oils. “Te voglio bene assai ma tanto tanto bene sai e’ una catena ormai che scioglie il sangue dint’ e’ vene sai” Caruso
Still in Italy, Florence, the city of the lily, which gave birth to the Renaissance and changed the way we see the world, is one of the most sought-after destinations. For centuries it has captured the imaginations of travelers, who have come seeking rooms with views and phenomenal art.
To the east of Italy, Greece is a major tourist destination. Crete, the southern Greek island, could also be special. Crete is a unique world where civilization is counted by the millennium. From every point of view travelers discover landscapes of amazing variety. Miles of beaches, some with a wealth of amenities and others isolated and unspoiled, line the coast. “Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean sea.” Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
If you don’t mind crossing the Atlantic, then many other destinations promise to make your trip even more memorable. Discover the fascinating island of Cuba and its capital, Havana. Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, rich in culture and history. Havana is a vibrant city that teems with beautiful, if sometimes shabby, colonial buildings. The weathered buildings have a faded charm and vintage cars continue to cruise the streets. From white sand beaches, rolling hills, forests and fields of tobacco to colonial architectural treasures and the rhythmic beat of its music, Cuba captivates travelers. After your Cuba tour why not extend your Caribbean travel and discover some of the many other Caribbean Islands – Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and the Bahamas, to mention but a few. In Cuba and specifically in Havana there’s a sort of energy that turns every situation into something unexpected. Fernando Perez
Returning to Europe, if you’re an art lover, Salzburg, the Golden City of High Baroque in Austria, the Florence of the North, will be an excellent choice. Yet, for music lovers, Salzburg is the birthplace of one of the world’s most beloved composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the epic movie, The Sound of Music. Doe, a deer, a female deer Ray, a drop of golden sun Me, a name, I call myself Far, a long, long way to run
South of Salzburg, Venice is a city unlike any other. No matter how often you’ve seen it in photos and films, the real thing is more dreamlike than you could imagine. With canals where streets should be, water shimmers everywhere. The fabulous palaces and churches reflect centuries of history in what was once a wealthy trading center between Europe and the Orient.
In Western Europe, Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, combines the unrivaled beauty of the 17th-century Golden Age city center with plenty of museums and art of the highest order, not to mention a remarkably laid-back atmosphere. It all comes together to make this one of the world’s most appealing and offbeat metropolises in the world. “Amsterdam has more than 150 canals and 1,250 bridges, but it never seems crowded, nor bent and bitter from fleecing the tourist.” Julie Burchill
Bruges in Belgium is a city that could have sprung from the pages of a Gothic fairy tale. Its cobbled streets, spidery canals, and medieval churches are remarkably well-preserved. They were spared the devastation that saw much of Belgium leveled during the 20th-century wars. And when in Bruges, buy chocolate… In Bruges, the home of fine chocolate, visit The Chocolate Museum! It has the answers to all your questions about cocoa and its 4,000 year history.
Travel enthusiasts will never get bored with their planned visits to the old continent, but the world is full of amazing but overlooked destinations that are hidden gems that you need to visit. Such a destination exists to the very, very far east, in Indonesia. Bali, the famed Island of the Gods, with its varied landscape of hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and sandy beaches, lush rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides all providing a picturesque backdrop to its colorful, deeply spiritual, and unique culture, stakes a serious claim to be paradise on earth. Enjoy your trip and tell us about it.
As Ibn Battuta said,
it leaves you speechless, and then it turns you
into a storyteller.”