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BW Businessworld

Summer Solace

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Morocco: A Good Sport
If you are looking for a truly exotic destination this summer, check out southern Morocco with its beautiful beaches, rocky coastline and small towns. The charming town of Mirleft with its ruined fort offers plenty of opportunities for riding, trekking, para-gliding and fishing, while Sidi Ifni, the art-deco Spanish village with its crumbling fortifications, is perfect for surfers, swimmers and kite boarders. Like most places on the southern coast, Sidi Ifni has a mild climate through the year and the best time to indulge in surfing and swimming is summer when the wind picks up and the water is warmer. The rocky coastline makes it the perfect destination for advanced kite surfers and boarders. The biggest attraction, however, is the Legzira beach, with its two huge natural sandstone arches. Mesmerizing and exciting, this place has a lot to offer for both the young and the young at heart. A 7-night/8-day package in a 3-star hotel (excluding airfare) will cost around Rs 1 lakh.

Antarctica: White Sea
A cruise around the Antarctic Peninsula, a relic from the Ice Age, offers scenic knife-cut valleys, calm and dazzling white glaciers. The last continent's most northern region offers a delightful opportunity to encounter penguins, seals and seabirds — a sight one would normally see only on National Geographic. Cruises are generally 11 to 15 days long and the explorer ships offer facilities such as lounge bars, gyms and massage rooms. If you wish to go on the cruise you need to fly to Ushuaia, Argentina, and board the ship from there. The cruise takes place only from November to February, but bookings open in May and the number of seats is limited. But a journey to the far south does not come cheap. A 11-day adventure trip starts at around Rs 2.4 lakh per person, with airfare adding up another Rs 3 lakh.

Italy: On A Boat
We all think we know Italy, right from the art galleries in Florence to the Colosseum in Rome. But the country has much more in store and if you are looking to skip the hustle and bustle of tourist spots, we know the perfect way to do it — rent a yacht. Sail to exotic islands such as the Phlegraean, which are a result of underground volcanoes that burst thousands of years ago, or cruise off the Amalfi coast, just south of Naples. Swim, soak in the sun, cruise to deserted islands or anchor at ports and go exploring castles and archaeological sites – all at your own pace. The luxurious yachts boast of a spacious stateroom, an open bar, an experienced crew and a personal chef to tickle your taste buds with delectable Italian dishes. Yachting holidays can cost anywhere
from Rs 75,000 per night, per yacht.

Estonia: Biking Trail
If your idea of a holiday is a blend of heritage, culture and dramatic scenery (and of course, refreshing climate) book a ticket to Estonia; this Baltic country has it all. Its capital, Tallinn, with its castles and cathedrals, is one of the most well-preserved medieval cities in Europe. Little wonder it is on the Unesco World Heritage list. Tallinn is a great place to explore on foot and offers the ideal blend of historic trivia and cultural encounters.

But if you are looking for a secluded island which is a nature lover's paradise, take a ferry to Aegna island, with a total population of 10! The best way to explore the island is on a bike. Rides to the secluded and silent old forests and virgin swimming spots are organised by local tour agents, but can also be booked online. And if you are lucky, you might run into some four-legged local inhabitants – deer and the Aegna fox. The best time to visit Estonia is from May to October.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 23-04-2012)