5 amazing places to vacation

5 amazing places to vacation

Tourists are increasingly going on vacation to the Mediterranean countries. According to many, it is the best beaches of the Old Continent. However, almost everyone has already been there, maybe we should look for interesting alternatives that will suit the whole family?

Europeans often plan their vacation abroad on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece or France – there is something for everyone, the nature, architecture, delicious food and unforgettable souvenirs.

But there are those for whom the rest on a hot and crowded European resorts just got fed up, and the thought of a few days of heat on the beach inspires fear. Sometimes we want peace, coziness and lack of turmoil. Compiled a list of 5 lesser-known and more appealing destinations that you probably haven’t visited yet. Or maybe it’s a way to find a harmony between beauty, holidays, and the perfect temperature in which to gain strength for the rest of the year.

Here’s a list of 5 regions that are sure to please those who have had their fill of the Mediterranean. Trust that you won’t regret choosing one of the options.

1. Skåne, Sweden

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1. Skåne, Sweden

This is the southernmost land of Sweden . Many features distinguish it from the rest of the country. The climate is slightly milder and the soils are more fertile, so Skåne is considered the breadbasket of Sweden. Eastad is recognized as the most popular resort . The city is well known to everyone who arrives by ferry from Swinoujscie. One of the symbols of the city is Aquarellen – twin water tower, which looks especially impressive when illuminated at night.

2. Jurmala, Latvia

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2. Jurmala, Latvia

It is located only 10 km west of the capital Riga. Jurmala is a famous resort city on the Baltic Sea with a long tradition dating back to the 18th century. It consists of several resort villages, characterized by clean beaches, well-developed infrastructure of accommodation, catering and sanatorium services, and its historical character.

3. Salzburg, Austria

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3. Salzburg, Austria

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s city attracts artists and tourists alike. In addition to several thousand cultural events, you can visit the unique old town, as well as numerous palaces and churches. Salzburg is best visited as a couple, night walks along the river contribute greatly to the uniqueness of the city. It is a world heritage site.

4. Faroe Islands

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4. Faroe Islands

This is a natural ealdorado . On this archipelago there is almost everything: from beautiful mountains to magnificent beaches, such as in Sandur on Sandøy Island. But take hats with you, because the winds are strong on the island. The caves on Nolsoy and Hestur, the old town of Thurshavn, Lake Sorvagsvatn with its 45-meter waterfall Bosdalafossur and the Pollurin lagoon in Saxun are also worth a visit.

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5. Outer Hebrides, Scotland

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5. Outer Hebrides, Scotland

The said archipelago consists of about 200 islands in the northwest of Scotland. The terrain is mostly mountainous, and the Outer Hebrides got a stretch of islands associated with deserted beaches, delicious food, and charming locals.

Top 10 Unusual Places to Vacation in Russia

Photo: Duginpv/shutterstock

After the lifting of quarantine measures more than half of Russians are preparing to spend their vacations outside of their homes, and a third of tourists are planning to travel exclusively within the country.

Russians have already started actively buying air and rail tickets for emerging destinations. Muscovites are among those most eager to get out of the city, with their spending on future travel up 56% in May.

We tell you how to get an unforgettable experience this summer, going to places outside the mass flow of tourists and without crossing Russian borders.

Kalmykia: the Black Earth Reserve

Photo: Olga Zakharova, ASI

How to visit Israel, the Abu Dhabi desert and the Netherlands in one day? Come to the reserve “Black Lands” in Kalmykia. The name came from the fact that in winter the steppe is not covered with snow and remains a dark spot.

If you plan to travel there, it is better to go the unconventional way: write an application directly to the reserve. This will simplify the transfer from the airport, in addition, immediately on the way there will be the first sightseeing tour. But for deep impressions will have to go separately: to Elista spring (bring a frying pan – there is enough heat to make eggs), in the desert (to hear the singing of the barkhan sands and local spirits), to the pink lake with salt water. Unfortunately, it makes no sense to go to one of the most beautiful places of Kalmykia, the island of tulips, in summer, it’s better to wait until April, when the tulips will bloom again. But in winter it is also worth a trip here to see herds of snow-white saigas, whose numbers have been gradually restored since 2015 due to anti-poaching measures. The males of these beautiful animals, capable of speeds up to 75 km per hour, were killed for their beautiful and expensive horns.

In contrast to other wonders of Kalmykia, the culinary hits of the region are available in any season: you should definitely try the veal ribs in their own juice. It is better to order the dish in advance – it languishes in the ground for a whole day. So, you should go to Kalmykia for at least three days.

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Krasnodar region: not only sea

Cypress trees on Sukko Lake near Anapa. Krasnodar Territory

Recreational potential of the region is used lopsidedly, as a resort holiday on the coast, and works mainly for an audience of families with small children. But there are so many opportunities for gastronomic/wine tourism – Lefkadia, Sauk-Dere, Abrau-Durso, Golubitskoye estate; a separate story – well preserved dolmens (located in the mountains from Shapsugskaya village to Krasnaya Polyana); mud volcanoes (Varenikovsky district); a lot of trekking routes.

There are many interesting places: Guam Gorge, Witcher’s Cave, Eagle’s Shelf, Lotus Lake. Those who choose to travel to the Caucasus Nature Reserve, it is better to book accommodation in advance and order two obligatory things: a sauna on herbs and an excursion to the Park of Southern cultures – a veritable library of classic exotics in the open air.

Anapa district wineries are revived and host small tour groups, to whom they conduct a tasting not only of local wines, but also from the menu of their exquisite restaurants.

Central Chernozem Region: the Kudykina and Romantsev Mountains

Romantsev mountains. Near the village of Konduki in the Tula region

The Romantsev Mountains. Near the village of Konduki in Tula region (Photo: Center for Tourism Development of Tula region)

It is commonly believed that for the sake of alien scenery, you have to go to the Grand Canyon or to Kamchatka. But Mars is closer than you thought – the Romantsev Mountains, near the village of Konduki in the Tula region, are just like Mars, only better. The place is incredibly picturesque, the mountains are colored red at sunset and become even more like another planet. Lignite used to be mined here. In the 1990s, all the mines were closed, and in their place there were quarries with azure water, in which there are now pike and crayfish, and in the summer you can swim here. Now this area has the status of a specially protected natural area (SPNA) of local importance.

You can safely go to the area for a few days. The choice of attractions in the area is huge: the famous estate museum “Yasnaya Polyana” by Leo Tolstoy, the Bogoroditsky Palace Museum and Park, the Museum of Merchant’s Life, and the Tula Kremlin.

You can travel back in time to the ancient, even more likely, epic Russia in the park “Kudykina Mountain” on the banks of the Don River. It is a huge territory, where you can see a huge Zmey Gorynych, and the old Russian fortress and healing springs, and a zoo with kangaroos, and a boat station – “Disneyland in Russian”. You can safely go for a couple of days only in the park.

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There are mansions, monasteries, which are obligatory in this part of Russia, and in hour drive from Kudykinaya mountain – beautiful neogothic castle of princess Oldenburgskaya.

Charskie sands: the northernmost desert of Russia

Charsky sands. Foothills of the Kodar range

Charskie Sands is simultaneously the most northern desert in the world and the smallest desert of Russia. Its area is only about 50 square kilometers. This place is called a land of three colors: yellow, green and blue. Yellow desert, green taiga, blue sky and the Kodar range. In the Kodar Reserve, apart from the desert, there are eight more natural monuments: volcanoes, thermal springs, cascade of mineral waters, a lake. And here you can also meet the red-listed Kodar snow ram.

The famous Baikal-Amur Mainline leads to Novaya Chara. The village itself was formed from the settlers who built the main line. So if you are lucky enough to meet a machinist, you can see how a real diesel locomotive works. The population of the village is mostly Cossacks, who carefully preserve the traditional way of life and culture. They sing songs, dance, and do not want to go to the city.

Karelia: mysterious petroglyphs

Salmon farm

Karelia is famous for its marvelous nature. But not everyone knows about the Karelian petroglyphs. This is one of the oldest petroglyphs on Earth. And the most mysterious. Here you can easily see them literally everywhere, you do not need to be an archaeologist. The largest of them – the Imp – is located on a sloping rock near Lake Onega. Locals say that near it the navigation is disrupted and you have to navigate by the lighthouse.

In the vicinity of Lake Onega there is a lot of interesting and mysterious: hanging lakes, abandoned lighthouses, Mount Vottovaara, and, of course, the world famous Kizhi.

In addition to natural and historical treasures in Karelia, there are interesting places to stay and excellent northern cuisine, a masterpiece of which is considered a fresh Karelian trout. For example, at the trout farm “Priladozhye” you can not only buy fish and caviar, but also order a variety of dishes in a cozy home cafe.

Altai: Siberia for all budgets

Geyser lake. Altai

Travelling to Altai is becoming more and more popular every year. No wonder, because Altai is a real place of strength. The air is cleaner than in the Alps, the infrastructure is developing rapidly, and the climate is comfortable. Everybody likes it here: both experienced hikers and fans of glamorous rest. Horseback riding tours to the sacred Belukha Mountain can be easily found by a simple search on the Internet, they are chosen by lovers of silence and true unity with nature. You can swim in mountain lakes naked at sunrise and be sure that no one is watching. For fans of comfortable rest and entertainment there is a unique bee treatment “Sleep in the hives”, spa hotels with baths by the river and baths with extracted from maral horns, helicopter flights and even a local racetrack – one of the best in Russia.

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Astrakhan Region: the Pink Lake

Sunset in the steppe. The outskirts of the reserve Baskunchak

Lake Baskunchak is one of the most salt-saturated lakes in the world, about 80% of Russian salt is mined here, and its reserves, according to scientists, are enough for another 4,000 years. Salt is mined not only for food, you can be treated with it no worse than at the Dead Sea. Near the lake there are sanatoriums, where you can relax and improve your health.

The territory of the lake and its surroundings are protected. In the water itself because of the concentration of salt nothing survives, but around a lot of wildlife: foxes, gophers, hares, saigas, scorpions and spiders. Among the rare and endangered species, the strepet and the steppe kestrel live in the steppe. Steppe eagle and white-tailed (sea) eagle, nesting on the territory of the reserve, are included in the Red Book of Russia.

Sometimes the lake is colored pink because of large accumulations of salt and refraction of sunlight – favorite moments for those who like to post unusual photos on Instagram.

Primorye: the road of leopards

Russian bridge. Vladivostok

Primorye is not just Vladivostok. And contrary to popular stereotypes, it is not always a harsh climate. In summer, you can go to the Primorsky Territory for the most real hot sun, sea bathing and luxurious, almost subtropical nature.

Few people know that Furugelma Island, the southernmost island of the Russian Federation, is located just in Primorsky Krai. Here and on other neighboring islands – white sand, gorgeous tropical flowers, the sea of warm azure hue.

You can sunbathe on the shore or on a yacht, swim between rocky islands very close to seals and eat freshly caught seafood (scallops, crabs, shrimps and more).

And moving away from the sea, to find yourself in amazing Ussuri taiga – to walk the paths of leopards, to see tigers in their natural environment.

It seems that nature invented everything for health in this area – iodine-saturated air, sun, amazingly useful sea trepangs, medicinal plants lemongrass, ginseng and more. The Chinese have already realized what treasures the Primorsky Territory possesses, and actively use Usurian plants for almost all diseases, for tonus, for youth and beauty.

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Buryatia: journey through time

Kurkutsky Bay in August. Lake Baikal

Here in one day you can meet the sunrise on the shores of Lake Baikal, relax in the thermal springs, move to the medieval city of Huns, visit the Buddhist Datsan, walk through one of the most beautiful villages in Russia and spend the evening with the old believers, listening to stories and Russian songs. All this is seasoned with juicy Buryat buns, fragrant fish, stewed in a Russian oven with mushrooms, berry pies, bird cherry jam, and sea buckthorn mousse.

It seems that the inhabitants here have opened some portal and are constantly traveling not through the territory of the republic, but through times and eras, lifestyles and historical events, somewhere between Genghis Khan’s camp spread out on the mountain and the Buddhist pilgrims from Nepal who go to the Ivolginsky datsan.

Kamchatka: dead forest and gifts of the sea

Dead wood near Tolbachik volcano. Kamchatka peninsula, Russia

Kamchatka is a treasure trove of emotions for tourists: admiration and fear, delight and amazement, no one remains indifferent among those who have visited this land. One of the strongest impressions of tourists produces a dead forest at the foot of the volcano Tolbachik. The place, which has some gloomy, mystical, but at the same time fascinating beauty. Because of the eruption in 1975, the forest was completely covered with ash, the tree trunks themselves survived, but the foliage and grass died. The forest is gradually losing its frightening appearance, nature takes its course, in some places began to sprout grass and in some places appear leaves. So if you want to catch a glimpse of the pristine scene, you’d better hurry.

Since the last eruption of Tolbachik was relatively recently, in 2012, in some places there is still steam coming out of the ground, so hot that you can fry sausages on it.

On the beaches of Kamchatka you can see more and more surfers, thanks to whom really trendy places to stay and rest started to appear here. But besides the usual sea finds on the beach you can find glass floats – glass balls of all different shapes and colors, which is nailed to the shore.

And, of course, the crab – the king of the local cuisine.

The editorial team would like to thank Olga Zakharova, Deputy General Director of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, for her help in preparing this article.

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