I am so glad to see more and more people from the UAE stepping out of their comfort zones this year and planning their vacations and summer holidays away from the typical hotspots. Since many people haven’t made up their mind on where they want to go for Eid, I put together a quick list of places that are worth checking out over the 5-day holiday most of us have in the UAE and the Gulf, especially since they are not that far from us.
1. Uvac, Serbia:
Why go? The Uvac area is home to a breathtaking gorge (pictured below), many beautiful lakes and ice caves, hundred year old forests and rare plant and animal life which can be found in very few places in the world. Check my Serbia guide on other places and things to do in Serbia, including contact information for a great tour guide.
2. Lviv, Ukraine:
Why go? Lviv is one of the most important cultural centers of Ukraine and the former Soviet Union. The city is known as a center of art, literature, music and theatre. Nowadays, the indisputable evidence of the city cultural richness is a big number of theaters, concert halls, creative unions, and also the high number of many artistic activities (more than 100 festivals annually, 60 museums, 10 theaters). Take the time to explore other parts of this country like the Tunnel of Love.
3. Bled, Slovenia:
Why go? Lake Bled is one of the truly magical places that I have been to. The most beautiful view of the lake, its island, and the surrounding peaks is from the castle towering over the lake on a cliff. The Slovenian tourism board obviously made use of the recognizable beauty of the lake and there are plenty of activities to do around it.
4. Kazbegi, Georgia:
Why go? Kazbegi, or Stepantsiminda, is known for its scenic location in the Greater Caucasus mountains, and is a center for trekkers and mountain climbing. Local attractions include the Kazbegi Museum and Ethnographic Museum in town, and the Gergeti Trinity Church outside of town, as well as Mount Kazbegi itself and the alpine meadows and forests of the surrounding Kazbegi Nature Reserve. Check out my Georgia guide including contact information of a wonderful guide.
5. Brasov, Romania:
The oldest traces of human activity and settlements in Brașov date back to the Neolithic age (about 9500 BCE), so you know there is a lot of history and character in this charming Romanian city. And who doesn’t know Dracula? A few kilometers away from Brasov, you can find Bran Castle, commonly known as “Dracula’s Castle”, although it is one among several locations (erroneously) linked to the Dracula legend, but still a cool place to visit.
6. Wroclaw, Poland:
Why go? With a distinct colorful architecture, this city is a thriving multicultural centre, and home to a growing student community and acts as the financial, cultural and commercial hub of western Poland, in addition to hosting a wide variety of music and theatrical events. There are literally dozens of things to see and do, so you better get your good walking shoes.
7. Piran, Slovenia:
Why go? Why not combine your trip to Lake Bled (#3 on this list) with a stop in Piran? The city is probably one of the most scenic in Slovenia, if not THE most scenic with a lot of Ventian/Italian influence considering that it was part of the Venetian empire from the late 13th century to the end of the 18th century and then part of Italy from 1918 until 1947.
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8. Istra, Croatia:
Why go? If you have been binge watch “Croatia’s Finest” on National Geographic People like I have been doing, you would know how much and how fast Croatia as a whole has transformed into an ultimate foodie destination which only complements its beautiful nature and landscape. Istra is one of these culinary hubs where you can enjoy some of the best food in the world all while soaking in one of the clearest water in the world. Oh and did I mention that Istra is Croatia’s truffle capital? Convinced yet?!
Where are you spending your summer/Eid holidays?