Plan your summer getaway

Plan your summer getaway
There is a whole world's worth of places for you to discover, so pack your bags now!

Here are some suggestions that are sure to make your summer break more memorable



By Deepa Narwani

Published: Thu 28 Jun 2018, 11:38 AM

Last updated: Thu 28 Jun 2018, 1:48 PM

Figuring out where to go on your summer escape can be a bit daunting, especially if you're Instagram feed has started to look like a travel brochure. If you still haven't decided where you should travel this season, worry not. Here, we've compiled some exciting summer vacation ideas - right from witnessing cultural happenings to exploring lesser-known landscapes and sampling exotic dishes. There is a whole world's worth of places for you to discover, so pack your bags now!
Festive fervour in Kandy

Every country in the world has a story to tell through its famous festivals. Be it the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Spain's La Tomatina, or Thailand's Songkran festival, these events are the perfect opportunity for tourists to get a glimpse of the country's rich traditions. This summer, head to Kandy, Sri Lanka, between July 18 to 28, to experience the annual Esala Perahera festival.
People travel from all over the world to the beautiful town to see the renowned Buddhist festival and the elegant costumes, dances and decorated elephants that have become symbols of the exuberant celebration. While there you can hop onto a Tuk Tuk and check out Kandy's Spice Gardens, which are said to be must-see attractions in town. These are home to different spices such as cocoa, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and sandalwood, among others. The cool breeze and the peace and quiet of the spice gardens are perfect to spend some time close to nature and get the much-needed digital detox.
You can also stop by the National Gem Museum and see one of the world's biggest uncut sapphires. Known as the Gem Island, Sri Lanka has an abundance of blue sapphires, rubies, and star stones, and at the museum, you can see how these stones are transformed into intricate jewellery. From Dubai, Colombo can be reached by a four-hour flight, and Kandy is a three-hour road journey from there.
Beach break in Brighton

Part traditional seaside town and part cosmopolitan city, Brighton, located on England's south coast, is a mix of diversity that works wonders. Although it is a small city, there is a lot going on here, especially on the pier. It is often referred to as "London by the sea" and is an exciting city with lots of restaurants and attractions to suit every taste.
Among its top attractions is the Royal Pavilion, which is the UK's most unusual royal residence. It features Indian-style domes, Chinese art and outlandish minarets. Renowned British architect, John Nash, built it nearly 200 years ago. The interiors feature a one-tonne chandelier suspended in the jaws of a giant, jewel-encrusted dragon that is situated in the middle of an enormous dome. It attracts around 300,000 visitors every year and the audio guide available is a smart investment as it will tell you all about the quirky interiors and stories about King George IV, for whom it was built. Visitors can also stop by the Tea Room here and indulge in some creamy scones and stunning views.
At the Brighton Pier, you will find old-time delights such as fairground rides, candyfloss and striped deckchairs. It was opened in 1899 and has been in action since. Here you will also see arcades, restaurants offering the staple dish, fish and chips and stalls selling souvenirs. London is a seven-hour flight from Dubai and Brighton is an hour's journey from London City by train.
European escape in Helsinki

Finland's capital is a tourist's delight as it boasts of stunning monuments right from the imposing architecture of the Helsinki Cathedral that harks back to the city's time under Russian rule to its bustling Market Square, home to a traditional market selling foods and treats, as well as handicrafts. Some of the popular attractions include visits to the Rock Church and a trip around the Helsinki archipelago made up of 330 islands and the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress.
But for an authentic experience, head to the Nuuksio National Park, located in the town of Espoo, a short 45-minute drive from Helsinki. A great spot for a picnic, the park is dotted with lakes, trees and valleys and offers numerous trekking tracks as well as some lodging options in the woods. And one leisure activity that forms an integral part of Finnish lives is berry picking and mushroom hunting. Yes, you read that right; the Finns like to pick berries for fun and you too can take part in this adventure!
Or head to Kuusamo, in East Finland, to immerse yourself in the wilderness. The town can be reached via a flight from Helsinki in less than two hours. Close to the Russian border, Kuusamo is renowned for its natural beauty, and is dotted with untouched forests and is adorned with lovely lakes and rivers. Here you can partake in the adrenaline filled activities such as jumping, cross-country skiing, and freestyle skiing, among others. Helsinki is a six-hour flight away from Dubai.
Summer staycation
 
If you are in town for the summer, Fujairah is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Dubai. Its beautiful coastline is ideal for scuba diving and sunbathing. Ras Al Khaimah also has a number of leisure facilities and its Hajar Mountains are a magnet for rock climbers, cyclists and hikers, while neighbouring Umm Al Quwain's wetlands are home to lots of bird species and its mangroves are a natural wonder. Plus, Ajman's palm-lined sandy beach, low-key vibe and value-for-money hotels make it an attractive getaway.
- deepa@khaleejtimes.com


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