Winter classics

Winter classics

Favourite holiday spots this coming season — gear up for some groovy travel



By Anjaly Thomas

Published: Fri 25 Nov 2011, 9:07 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:08 AM

The heat is down and winter is at your heels. In other words, it’s time to take a break! Here are a few places you might want to consider spending your holiday at. We have picked the following places based on budgets, affordable accommodation, sights, easy accessibility, safety and touristic appeal.

Our first section brings to focus places within striking distance from the UAE — so even if you are short on time, don’t worry, you can always plan a quick (but much-needed) break.

The second section gives you our fave picks for long-haul, unfettered travel. Enjoy the feeling!

Lebanon

A country of contrasts, Lebanon is a place so diverse that it makes you feel as though you have travelled the entire world in a very short time. From fabulous ski-slopes to vibrant night life in Beirut and everything in between, Lebanon, whether you are travelling alone, with family or friends, has a surprise for every visitor. Known as the Switzerland of the Middle East, it is renowned for its 7,000-year-old history, Mediterranean climate, reasonable rates and friendly people. Arabic and French are the official languages in Lebanon, which is the only country in the Middle East to follow the Sunday weekend.

For more info, log on to www.lebanon-tourism.gov.lb

Sri Lanka
The pearl drop in the Indian Ocean is an all-year vacation spot. Easy to reach from the UAE and light on the pocket, this tropical, environmentally-friendly country is famous for its beaches, marine life, spa, wild life parks, exotic people and bustles with festivities all the year round. It is a complete mix of cultural heritage and modern-day adventure and is gradually emerging as one of the top destinations in the world. Sri Lanka has all that it takes to make your holiday memorable. Sri Lanka has a visa on arrival policy that applies to most nationalities.

For more info, log on to www.srilanka.travel

Explore spirituality, enjoy delicious food, escape into the rich past — in india

India
Escape to India for a short break. With a cultural kaleidoscope that few can match, India is undoubtedly the most sought-after destination for visitors seeking fun, sun, hospitality, affordable prices, medical attention or ultra-modern shopping spots. It is not without reason that the land of the Taj, with its sweeping snow mountains in the north to the tantalisingly pristine beaches in the south, is on every traveller’s mind. Explore spirituality, enjoy delicious food, escape into the rich past or simply relax in a village on the hills for that ultimate experience that leaves you rejuvenated for a lifetime.

For more information, log on to www.incredibleindia.org

Egypt
No one needs an introduction to the land of the Pharaohs and Pyramids. We could give you all kinds of reasons to visit Egypt, but really, this land of an ancient civilisation dating back several centuries is a must-visit. Among the other things that lure the visitors to this fascinating land are the romantic Nile cruises, the temples, the museums of King Tut, the fabulous shopping, exotic food and camel rides and more simply, a casual walk through the souks that sell everything from perfumes to oils and carpets. It is in Egypt that you find the maximum number of guides when compared to anywhere else in the world! Now that says a lot for Egyptian hospitality, doesn’t it!

For more info, log on to www.egypt.travel

Maldives
These postcard perfect atolls in the India Ocean are unmatched in beauty and luxury besides being the perfect getaway for the stressed-out visitor. Imagine waking up to the sea at your doorstep, literally, or dining at the world’s only underwater restaurant — possible only in this tiny island nation. Snorkel or dive to your heart’s content, relax on the white, sandy beaches, lie in a hammock sipping coconut water, go island-hopping or on a romantic cruise or simply let the expert coax the stress out of your body in one of those famed spas! A holiday doesn’t get any better than this.

For more info, log on to www.visitmaldives.com

Turkey
Avacation in Turkey may be just what you need to re-establish connections with yourself, this being one of the top 10 destinations in the world and a tourist hot-spot. From vacationing in the coastal sun to floating above the lunar landscape of Cappadocia, this country of contrasts with its rich cultural heritage (Turkey has the most number of archaeological sites in the world), palaces, markets, hammams, kebabs and Turkish coffee offers the visitors experiences of the myriad kind. Hiking, trekking, mountain biking and rafting ensures excitement for the adventurous while shopping enthusiasts can busy themselves with numerous souvenirs such as the famed carpets.

For more info, log on to www.best-of-istanbul.com

Australia
If you are looking for appealing climate, wildlife, adventure, multi-culturalism, shopping or simply an excuse to party, then Australia is the place for you. Its diverse landscape consists of the dry Outback, rain forests, the exotic Gold Coast, the Great Barrier reef, and national parks. You can trek, hike, shop, dive to your heart’s content and yet feel like there was something more you could do. Australia’s temperature (being the vast country that it is) makes it a pleasant all-year vacation spot.

For more info log on to www.visitaustralia.com

trek, hike, shop, dive to your heart’s content and yetfeel like there was more you could do

Greece
Knowing why you want to go to Greece can make the difference between a break and a fantastic holiday, with possibilities of experiencing everything from culture and tradition to the most modern jaw-dropping infrastructure. This is the country that offers you the best of it all, from Greek architecture to art (remember the Parthenon and the Acropolis?), and beaches to mouth-watering cuisine. Walk through Athens by night or visit the Temple of Poseidon for the classic Greek moment that is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Have we mentioned the shopping or dining at the sea-side taverns?

For more info, log on to www.gogreece.about.com

Austria
Often passed up for more popular destinations nearby, this tiny European nation is renowned as the Capital of Classical Music (think Mozart), architecture, stunning scenery and rich history. Tour the streets, visit museums and palaces, explore the Austrian Salt Mine outside Salzburg or head into the Bavarian mountains, or shoot and sail across the salt lakes. Have we mentioned the Alstadt and the cathedrals and the Crisp Apple Strudel — one of Austria’s famed delicacies? If you love the outdoors, then head to the ski slopes in the Austrian Alps which is guaranteed to get your adrenaline high! Great for beginners and professionals alike.

For more info, log on to www.austriatourism.com

Mexico
It is a country with the perfect blend of old and new, traditional festivals with modern nightlife. So whether you have Acapulco (Pearl of the Pacific) or Cancún on mind, beaches are the main attractions this side of the globe. With beaches come diving, snorkelling, exploring reefs and lagoons — which is what every holidaymaker looks forward to. If you have time to spare, don’t miss the incredible divers of La Quebrada. And do explore the famous Mayan ruins. Make sure you have enough space on your memory card. Mexico is a photographer’s delight. Little needs to be said about the Mexican cuisine. Accommodation is available for visitors of all budgets!

For more info, log on to www.mexicologue.com

Make sure you have enough space on your memory card. Mexico is a photographer’s delight

Hong Kong
The image that flashes through your mind at the mention of Hong Kong is that of glittering lights across an expansive skyline, shopping malls, Disneyland and yet, it is much more than that. Quaint districts with clusters of islands and peninsulas retain their old world charm against the modern island states. A trip to HK is not complete without a visit to the Lantau Island to see the giant Buddha, a quick tour of the famed Stanley Market or a tram ride up to the Victoria Peak, which is a great way to see the beauty of the city. For the adventurous, try the Bungee Jumping from the Macau Tower — you even get a certificate to prove your grit. And don’t miss the dim sums; they’re HK’s traditional fare.

For more info, log on to www.discoverhongkong.com

South Africa

Widely known as the Rainbow Nation, South Africa is climbing up the popularity charts for its affordability, exotic wildlife, natural beauty, world-class facilities and great all-year weather. So whether you are looking down at the expansive city from the Table Mountain, pounding your way through the Kruger National Park, diving with the sharks or partying hard, South Africa doesn’t stop surprising you, like Sterkfontein, one of the world’s most important paleoanthropological sites..

For more info, log on to www.southafrica.net


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