Summer’s here, and like the song goes, it’s time for a summer holiday. Whether you are heading to the hills, the jungles, a popular beach resort, or planning to head farther afield, there’s so much to choose from.
What’s new? Croatia and Poland are among the most searched-for destinations on the internet, with the relatively undiscovered coastal town of Rovinj and Warsaw, where contemporary rubs shoulders with the medieval. But the big excitement this summer is around the FIFA World Cup, with exotic Brazil as the destination – diehard football lovers are sharpening their samba skills.
Among the tried and tested, Europe remains much-favoured, says travel professional Niranjan Gupta. “Spain, Portugal and Morocco are trending this year, and there’s a fair amount of traffic to eastern Europe.” Newbie travellers first test the waters in the Far East before heading to Europe, finally opting for especially curated trips, he adds. ‘‘The market is maturing.’’ There are also travellers who are discarding ‘vanilla’ resorts for the out-of-the-box or custom-made. Wine trails and vineyard visits in Europe are fashionable, with websites like thewinerist.com creating bespoke wine experiences. Champagne in France and Tuscany in Italy remain the most popular. Ditto cycling tours in Europe.
Women-only travel is also catching on, and Bangalore-based group WOW (Women on Wanderlust) is on a roll, with fast-filling tours to
South of France, Peru and Bolivia, Hong Kong, Israel and China. Indian travel includes trips to Kashmir, Kabini and Ladakh. Founder, Sumitra Senapaty sees women today as adventurous travellers and says, “Earlier women’s holidays involved decision making by the whole family. Not anymore.” Her groups consist of women of all ages, including those doing school reunions, mother/daughter trips and celebratory travel. The sold-out France trip this May lists visits to vineyards and truffle farms in Provence.
Me? I’m dreaming of family drives through the Basque countryside to San Sebastian and into the wine regions of Portugal. But I would also settle happily for beach-bumming in Goa, watching the sun set over Vagator, sipping rosé and enjoying some sirtaki, the splendid Greek dancing at Thalassa.
-Ruma Singh (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ruma Singh, a Bangalore-based lifestyle writer and wine blogger, presents a column on observations, insights and what’s buzzing in the city.