As the saying goes, exotic is as exotic as can be. In other words, Planet Earth has its most beautiful spots, many of which remain unknown or unexplored till date. So if you are on couple vacation and in search of some exoticism, here’s where you may try your luck. And be successful, too!
Mont Blanc, Switzerland
Ideal for: Climbing, trekking and skiing. Great scenic beauty.
Getting there: Land at Geneva Airport from anywhere in Europe and take the airport service to either Les Houches, Argentiere or Chamonix. Your journey to Mont Blanc can be on foot, provided you are a trained hiker or climber from Saint-Gervais-les-Bains with an overnight halt at Goûter refuge. Or you can ascend on skis if you are a highly trained skier from Chamonix. Mont Blanc is approachable from both the French and Italian sides by trams with the trip back by bus.
Visit in: Mid-June to mid-September.
Location: Located in Lisse in South Holland, Keukenhof is basically an amusement park, known for its beautiful flower fields. It is also one of the Netherlands’ most popular tourists spots.
Ideal for: Huge collection of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and a wide assortment of spring flowers.
Getting there: Drive from Apeldoorn and reach Lisse. Keukenhof is also accessible by car from
Utrecht and the Hague.You can also bus it from the Amsterdam centre to Lisse via Schiphol Airport, where you need to catch bus No 58. You can also catch a bus from Leiden Central Station or The Hague Central Station. As a cycling enthusiast, you may even bike it from Leiden.
Visit in: Spring (March to May), when the tulip gardens are kept open.
Ideal for: Sculptural details and stunning architecture, spectacular churches, museums, monasteries and fountains. Visit Elaphiti Islands, Cavtat town, Konavle valley, Island, Korčula & Mljet Islands and the Peljesac and Ston Peninsulas. Also make great day trips to Dubronovik’s neighbouring towns, Perast, Kotor and Mostar.
Getting there: Land at Dubrovnik airport from Dublin, Moscow, Munich, Stuttgart, Vienna, Sarajevo, Helsinki, the East Midlands, London and all major European cities by flights operated seasonally by most major airlines. Take a bus or a taxi from the airport to Kantafig town. You can travel by train to Split and then take a bus from Dubrovnik where a tilting-train will take you to Zagreb. The third alternative is to drive from Split on the Jadranska magistrala coastal road or by taking the highway to Vrgorac. From Vrgorac, you keep driving through Staševica, Neum and Opuzen to reach Dubrovnik. You also get direct buses from Zagreb, Korcula, Mostar, Orebic, Rijeka, Sarajevo, Split and Zadar.
Cruise ships are also available for reaching Dubrovnik’s Port Gruz from where you can take a bus or ferry shuttle service to the Pile Gate. You can also be on the ferry from Rijeka or from Bari in Italy.
Visit in: September & October. Summer is also suitable but tends to be usually hot.
Ideal for: Museums, Whale watching, guided tours, sailing, hiking, skiing and marathon running.
Greenland’s capital and hub of trade and commerce. Visit the Banana Coast in South Greenland
Getting there: You can get to Nuuk only by air or boat. Take a daily flight from Kangerlussuaq & Reykjavik during the summer. You can also fly in from Iceland. Boats also ply to Nuuk for the period stretching from April to December.
Visit in: Early June to August.
Mont St. Michel, France
Location: Near Avranches in the Normandy region of Northwestern France on the Brittany border.
Ideal for: Its historic importance as a mediaeval city, with its majestic Gothic abbey. Visit its religious shrines, charming narrow streets, old houses, shops and restaurants.
Getting there: Drive from Paris by rented car or taxi or take the train from Paris to Pontorson, the nearest rail station. Subsequently, take a bus to Mont St. Michel. You can also take the TGV train from Paris to Rennes and take the bus service from there.
Visit in: March to June.
Location: Close to the Urals which divides Europe & Asia
Ideal for: Historical monuments. Visit Church on the Blood, the Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts, the QWERTY Monument, ballet and opera theatres, Ledovyj Gorodok, the Vysotsky Skyscraper and the Yeltsin Center.
Getting there: You can fly to Koltsovo Airport from Minsk, Sofia, Rome, Munich, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Prague, Dubai, Vienna, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Bishkek, Tashkent, Helsinki and Osh. Bus services operate from the airport as also the Yekaterinburg-Sverdlovsk Rail Station to the city’s centre. Taxis are also available from the airport. You also have the option of traveling by the Trans-Siberian Railway and get off at the Yekaterinburg-Sverdlovsk Rail Station.
Visit in: March to June, the summer season.
Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Location: The picturesque town of Positano is located on the Amalfi Coast of Italy.
Ideal for: Its terrific coastal views and natural beauty. Visit Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta, Positano’s oldest church with its majestic dome and which houses the Madonna di Positano, an icon of the 13th century. Walk to the picturesque harbor or shop at the seaside face.
Getting there: You can take a bus ride from Salerno or Sorrento to reach Positano. Get off and either walk or take a taxi to the hotel. Alternatively, you can drive from Sorrento. The third option is to fly to Naples and drive to Positano. The town is also accessible by ferry from the city of Naples.
Visit in: April to September. May is the most preferred month with its perfect temperature, fewer tourists and lush blooms.
Moher Cliffs, Ireland
Location: At County Clare, western Ireland.
Ideal for: A spectacular view of Galway Bay, Aran Islands, Twelve Pins and Maum Turk hills of Connemara. Visit the O’Brien’s Tower at the peak point for a grand view. An area known for its great hiking and climbing facilities.
Getting there: Drive down by rented car or take a bus from Dublin.
Visit in: October to December or January to April. The high season starts from late May and lasts till late September.
Location: Norway’s 2nd largest city, Bergen is the ideal gateway for visiting the major West Norwegian fjords.
Ideal for: Natural beauty, great hiking facilities, cultural life and local music scene.
Getting there: Take a flight to Bergen Airport at Flesland from London, Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Flights are also available from Newcastle, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Paris, Prague, New York and Berlin. The airport provides an efficient bus service to take you to the city center and there are taxis also. Bergen is also accessible by train from Oslo. Or drive down from Oslo on the E16 European road. You may also drive on the RV7 or Hardangervidda route. State run buses also ply from every corner of Norway to Bergen which is also reachable by boat from Stavanger.
Visit in: May to August.
Location: Eastern Scotland.
Ideal for: Its castles, whisky distilleries, golf, scenic beauty, snowboarding and skiing facilties. A great spot for a short break.
Getting there: Fly from London or from any major European city to Aberdeen’s International Airport, from where a bus or taxi will take you to the city’s centre. You even have the choice of traveling by rail from any part of England. Coach or bus services are also available for visiting any town or village in Aberdeenshire and you can also avail then from Glasgow or Edinburgh to reach Aberdeenshire. Overnight bus services are also available from London and Manchester. Ferries are also available from Lerwick in Shetland as also Kirkwall in Orkney to the ferry terminal of Aberdeen Harbour. These are overnight journeys. One can also choose to drive to Aberdeenshire from London or any part of England using the A90 highway.
Visit in: June to September.