Summer is kicking off, the days are long, lakes and oceans become more inviting, academic year is over, the atmosphere in the workplaces becomes a little more relaxed. High time to go on a vacation! We have already lit the light on how to travel smart, saving time and money; now we suggest 5 non-trivial, maybe a bit underestimated, but still incredibly attractive holiday destinations for the summer 2015. Explore the wildlife of the Northern Florida, feast in Spain, admire the new, rehabbed Colombia’s Medelin; revel in the views, dive into the culture, find the inner peace in the nature, party hard, relax even harder, enjoy every minute of your vacations!
The best destination for those of you who want to run away from the summer city heat, noises, fluorescent lighting, annoying phone calls and hustle. Unesco World Heritage site, Yosemite National Park is famous for its giant cliffs, waterfalls and ancient sequoia trees. John Muir, a Scottish-American naturalist, environmental philosopher and one of the first people who started struggling for the preservation of wilderness in the United States, said that Yosemite is “by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” Back in 1890, he persuaded Congress to declare Yosemite as the US’s third national park. It is a wonderland for backpackers, mountain-climbers, hikers, bikers and nature enthusiasts. Tracking paths, cliffs, waterfalls, wild-flower meadows, ancient giant sequoias, rich fauna – find yourself inside a postcard and feel the therapeutic power of nature. Spot the largest granite monolith in the world, El Captitan, admire giant 3,000 years old sequoia trees, head to the Nature Center at Happy Isles to see the park’s animals, enjoy a bike ride through the valleys – the breathtaking views and crystal clear air will add up to this unforgettable experience.
The Mediterranean’s fastest growing destination, Croatia, lures more and more tourists each year. This tendency is very understandable, Croatia has everything one might ask for: stunning natural sights, warm sea, diversity of landscapes, rich historical and cultural heritage, delicious seafood, exquisite wine and the friendliest, most hospitable locals. Diversity adds up to Croatia’s charm: fancy yachts are neighbouring with fisherman boats, ancient historical buildings are in the walking distance from the world’s craziest night clubs, stunning mountainous landscape gradually transforms into deep-blue Adriatic see. Croatia will satisfy the most inquisitive tourists with its ancient cities like Pula or Zagreb; nature enthusiasts – with forested Plitvice Lakes National Park, beach lovers and windsurfers – with the incredible Zlatni Rat’s coastline; partygoers – with its festivals, even Game of Throne fans – with Dubrovnik – a medieval city that starred in the TV show as King’s Landing. Unlike the most popular European summer destinations like Greece or Italy, Croatia is relatively cheap and offers the best quality-price combination.
Colombia’s second biggest city, once known as the most dangerous and murderous place on the planet has been rehabbed and transformed. Located in a valley surrounded by mountains, Medellín makes a perfect place for hiking, cliff-climbing, zip lining and horseback riding. The city was also named the most innovative city in the world in City of the Year Contest by Wall Street Journal in 2013 for its progress, potential and continuous urban development. Innovative transportation system, Metro Cable that allows you to float above the city in gondolas admiring the rocky mountain landscape and delivers you to the otherwise difficult-to-reach small neighbourhoods located in the surrounding hills. Public parks and scenic libraries, packed with artistic young people, skyscrapers and avant-garde architecture, breathtaking scenery of the Andean mountains – Colombia has never been so attractive! And that’s not all: each August the Medellín hosts Feria de las Flores – the flower festival that fills the streets of the city with bright colors and head-spinning smells.
The charm of the North Florida is in its unspoiled nature, pristine white sands, crystal-clear blue water, historic small towns, urban arts and culture. Very often North Florida gets overshadowed my its Central and South Florida counterparts. However, the region has an incredibly rich culture, vibrant history, diverse beaches, dazzling wildlife, fascinating ways and traditions. Go to the “Horse Capital of the World”, Ocala, and take a farm tour to interact with horses and meet people who take care of them. Enjoy the marvellous wildlife of Space Coast: try kayaking in the lakes and rivers, snorkel through lagoons, even rent a private island! Don’t forget about the cultural part, St Augustine has plenty of museums, world-class exhibits, historical sights and offers a lot of fun kid-friendly activities. And of course, get a kick out of all the fun-in-the-sun activities of North Florida beaches: Palm Coast, for instance, is known for the miles of clean white sand, it is never crowded, pet-friendly and absolutely safe for children. This area is perfect for a family vacation: generations of tourists come here to relax, breath the fresh ocean air, have long walks in parks, feast the eyes with breathtaking sunsets and find something special for each member of the family.
Cáceres, a city in Extremadura, western Spain, is a small medieval town that survived almost intact from the 16th century. Narrow cobbled streets twist and interweave, taking you deeper and deeper into the city’s hidden corners, making you feel like you stepped back in the Middle Ages. But Cáceres is not just about its pretty face: the city has been named the country’s 2015 Capital of Gastronomy. It is a place of rich flavours and simple preparation: the courtesy of the rural Spain. Don’t look for world-class chefs or haute-cuisine here, but do spend the day strolling around the old town, stopping in different restaurants and gastrabars, tasting ridiculously cheap tapas, enjoying fresh drinks, usually included in the price of the food. Expect to try local specialities such as jamón ibérico, torta del casar, the subtly bitter local cheese made from raw sheep’s milk and lamb caldereta, a shepherd’s dish flavoured with rich and smoky pimentón de La Vera – paprika, the star spice of Extremadura. The city hosts plenty of food-focused events and festivals, like the Trujillo National Cheese Festival, the Dehesa de Extremadura Iberian Ham Route or the Ribera del Guadiana Wine Route. Rich history, rich culture, rich smells and flavours – Cáceres is really a concentration of everything you might want from a vacation. You can also go to nearby cities and villages, western Spain in astonishingly beautiful in summer.
The Dalai Lama said that each year we should go to a place where we have never been before. So, instead of going to your favourite beach resort, spine the globe and head for something new. Each country has its own charm, each city has hidden gems, the best holiday destinations are still waiting to be explored. Don’t forget to record your journeys and make as much photos as possible: vacations come and go, the tan will fade but the memories can be saved forever. With PastBook you can create a beautiful photo book filled with your summer adventures. Invite your friends to participate in creating a PastBook – all of your photos can be easily collected together and turned into a vibrant Holiday Photo Book!