It’s time to fly: outgoing destinations must be on your bucket list – SUPPLEMENTS News
When COVID-19 hit and borders around the world closed for most of 2020, like most travel enthusiasts, I went through a range of emotions. Travel, for me, has always been therapeutic. Immerse yourself in different cultures, discover the history and heritage of different countries, meet new people and create unforgettable memories, whether physical, visual or social, traveling is as stimulating as it is healing. So this year, as many countries cautiously open their doors to tourists, I have established a new bucket list adjusted for Covid. If you are all rested and recharged to start your journey into this normal new era of Covid, here are some recommendations to help you make informed choices along with the appropriate Covid behavior and travel precautions put in place by countries around the world. .
Taking the familiar by surprise, comfort is a big factor in times of anxiety, but here’s how to enjoy your favorite havens, albeit in a different way.
SPAIN AND ITALY
No Italian getaway is complete without a food tour in Palermo or the Godfather’s Tour in Catania. Relax in the famous Lake Como and visit the Cinque Terre, five beautiful villages that will make you feel like a star. What not to fall in love with in Spain? From food to architecture, places and adventure, this is where Pedro Almodóvar gets creative; do we need more to sell? Travel further east from Madrid to the Mediterranean city of Barcelona, home to Catalonia’s most famous architect, and set off on a private artistic bike trip through the city of Gaudi. Ride a horse-drawn carriage in Seville and taste authentic tapas, visit private palaces and watch flamenco dancers and singers perform. Indulge yourself in Ibiza, the Balearic island off the southern coast of Spain, famous for its appeal to celebrities, millennials and more. Your itinerary should include the beautiful seaside resort of Marbella, popular for its Sierra Blanca mountains as a backdrop to sandy Mediterranean beaches, villas, hotels and golf courses. To the west of the city is the Golden Mile of prestigious nightclubs. Stay at Puente Romano Marbella, a lifestyle resort with direct access to the beach, a paradise for sports and leisure enthusiasts (www.puenteromano.com).
Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
Visit Croatian coasts and islands to explore Plitvice Lakes National Park, known for a chain of 16 terraced lakes, connected by waterfalls that extend into a limestone canyon. Footbridges and hiking trails wind around and through the water. Taste oysters in Ston, plan a visit to Zagreb and have an epic experience Game Of Thrones fan moments.
Aerial view of the Bad Ragaz hotel —— natural spring and thermal spa (above); Gstaad, popular seaside resort for celebrities
There is nothing like the magnificent Swiss Alps in winter. The Golden Panoramic Pass from Montreux vis Saanen to Gstaad is one of the most scenic rail routes in the world. Gstaad is the fashion mecca, a picturesque car-free village with restored Swiss chalets. It is also a special summer destination for world celebrities. Channel your inner Bollywood vibe when you are there and take a luxury shopping spree. Stay at the Gstaad Palace (www.palace.ch) located at the top of a hill, it offers the best views of this magnificent city. If Switzerland and cheese go hand in hand, or if Yash Raj’s films make you pale, wellness is another well-used synonym here. A scenic hour-long train ride from Zurich takes you to the beautiful Bad Ragaz, known for its thermal water in the Tamina Gorge. Stay at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz and treat yourself to a luxurious wellness area and thermal spa at 365 ° (www.resortragaz.ch).
FRANCE & MONACO
Monaco’s sumptuous marina
Courchevel, the French ski resort is part of the Three Valleys, the largest linked ski area in the world and a renowned playground for professional skiers. Include the 2km Moriond toboggan run with family and friends. While the best luxury hotels are on offer, enjoy a gourmet meal at the world’s first Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Sarkara (www.lek2palace.com). The exceptional chalet-style Hotel Barrière Les Neiges offers ski enthusiasts direct access to the ski slopes, the ski room, the spa, the swimming pool and the private cinema (www.hotelsbarriere.com).
If the snow leaves you chilly, soak up the sun on the French Riviera, which makes for an extraordinary beach vacation with its exotic cuisine, casinos, festivals, sporting events and more. Take a helicopter ride and visit neighboring Monaco, home to royals and billionaire-owned patrons, evoking opulence from the moment you arrive, to stay and shop. Luxuriate in the iconic Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo, located in the heart of the action on Place du Casino (www.montecarlosbm.com). From Michelin-starred restaurants to the Cour des Joailliers, the Opéra Garnier, the Casino de Monte-Carlo, the Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo, you are spoiled for choice. Make a splash and sign up for a supercar experience in Monaco or from exclusive starting points on the French Riviera (www.colcorsa.com/tour/1-day-supercar-experience-monaco).
The Middle East usually hints at an assortment of shopping and dining clichés, but heritage is the new find. A new destination to explore is AlUla, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. One of the oldest cities on the Arabian Peninsula and home to Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, AlUla invites you with a course of adventure activities. A year-round destination, curious travelers can opt for a helicopter tour to experience jaw-dropping views of breathtaking vistas and a rich geological heritage, including iconic landmarks such as Elephant Rock, Maraya, and the Old Town from Alula. You can also fly over the Hegra and take photos of the famous sandstone tombs. Take part in the Night RockArt Trail at the Hegra Heritage Site. This unique experience includes torches to highlight details hidden in rocks not visible during the day. Enjoy a traditional Saudi dinner under the stars on stargazing tours and moonlit nights or go for the Hidden Valley trek. The world is reopening to travel again, but with health and safety measures in place. Most travel intermediaries now offer 360 degree health and safety solutions. There’s no better time to explore the unexplored, relive your travels, or write a new story with your loved ones. Have a good trip!
AUSTRIA AND GERMANY
Skiing paradise in Austria
Pencil in a visit to Christmas markets in Germany and Austria as Christmas fervor reaches a cresecendo around mid-December. Along with the seasonal specials that accompany the full party experience, also visit the medieval-era cathedrals and the famous fairytale castle, Neuschwanstein, in the Bavarian Alps. Austria also offers some of the best alpine routes in the world, in addition to the famous wellness centers in the Austrian Alps. The recently opened Thurnher residences, with its five serviced apartments, are a wonderful alternative during covid times with perfect ski-in and ski-out conditions, in Zurs Am Arleberg (www.thurnhers-residences.com). While in Tyrol, plan to visit the Swarovski Crystal World and Stams Monastery.
Located on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe, it is famous for its unparalleled natural beauty. For an unforgettable experience, explore this diverse state as you fly over Boka Bay by helicopter. Challenge the adrenaline rush by rafting the Tara River, the deepest canyon in Europe and the second deepest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon. Explore Budva, often referred to as ‘Montenegrin Miami’. Beyond the medieval Venetian old town of Stari Grad, the promenade of Budva is lined with restaurants and has the most vibrant nightlife. This historic district is home to a seaside citadel and the Church of Santa Maria in Punta. Kotor, a fortified town on the Adriatic coast, in a bay near the limestone cliffs of Mount Lovcen is characterized by winding streets and squares; its medieval town has several Romanesque churches, including the cathedral of Kotor. Perast, a few minutes further, the Bay of Kotor is full of charm with its sixteen ancient churches. Stay in the opulent Chedi Lutica Bay (www.chedilusticabay.com) to access the private beach and explore Montenegro’s hidden secrets.
Chase the Northern Lights in Russia
If you are looking for adventure, a visit to the Arctic from Murmansk – Russian Lapland – is a must. Watch the phenomenal Northern Lights, chase the Northern Lights, admire the spectacular scenery and wildlife of the Kola Peninsula, go snowmobiling, experience the thrill of speed in a husky sled or explore the Sami Village, an ancient village in the Kola Peninsula, interacting with the natives and visiting their reindeer herds. Plan a trip to Teriberka to witness the midnight sun (white nights) – an astronomical phenomenon that occurs in the subarctic region, especially in northern Russia. Your itinerary must include the Russian Riviera. Visit Sochi, the largest resort city along the Black Sea for its many historic sites, including Stalin’s summer residence, Loo Temple, Godlik Fortress, and the grand Stalinist-era Empire-style building of the city.
– Vishal Suri is the Managing Director of SOTC Travel Ltd