Extended weekend entices travelers

Taj Mahal is always a top draw for travelers in any weekend in the North India
Taj Mahal is always a top draw for travelers in any weekend in the North India

Mountain biking in the hills of Uttarakhand, para-sailing in Goa, a therapeutic spa in a Mughal-era palace in Rajasthan and even a kite flying competition to soak in the Independence Day festivities- the tourism sector in India is going all out by offering attractive packages and discounts to lure maximum travelers for the four-day extended Aug 15 weekend. Thursday (Aug 15) is Independence Day followed by a Friday and then Saturday and Sunday. The hot favorite destinations for Delhiites continue to be Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Agra, Goa and Rajasthan as they offer a great mix of adventure and laid back holiday options without raiding the bank. The majority of travelers are opting for a domestic holiday.

Jaipur is also among all-time favorites
Jaipur is also among all-time favorites

Luxury holidays are emerging as a strong trend this year and these destinations offer some great deals in luxury and five-star properties along with scenic locales and a relaxing holiday. Not only do five-star properties offer great deals during the lean monsoon season, but other value-adds such as discounted spa therapy, complimentary transfers and the like make for a really top-notch holiday experience. There are ample destinations within 300 kms of Delhi. If you are into nature walks, safaris, cycling and spa, the Tree of Life resort or Samode Palace in Jaipur would be apt but if you want to get an adrenaline rush, head to Amber-Vermont estate in Mussorie for rafting in the Yamuna or mountain biking, hiking and treks in Atali, Rishikesh or solitude in the Himalayas in Ramgarh, Uttarakhand.

This view can be yours a few kms from Badshah Thaul.
This view can be yours a few kms from Badshah Thaul.

Interestingly, travelers are choosing to holiday in Uttarakhand, which was ravaged by torrential rains and flash floods in June that claimed hundreds of lives. Uttarakhand floods had a ripple effect on the summer business of many destinations there but the extended weekend is somewhat making up for the loss. Leading travel portals are offering discounts on air tickets, hotel bookings and packages, both domestic and international. For the travelers, they are a mixed bag of families and groups of friends and newly-married couples on their honeymoon. The average holiday budget begins at Rs. 5,000-10,000 (100$-200$) per person and goes up to Rs.40,000-60,000 (800$-1000$) depending on the destination.

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The Beauty of Rhine

Autumn in Palatinate, Germany. Photo: Sudliche Weinstrabe
Autumn in Palatinate, Germany. Photo: Sudliche Weinstrabe

The Rhine with its 1,321 kilometers is the longest and most important waterway of Europe. There is a good reason why the residents of the Upper Rhine Valley also lovingly call it “Father Rhine.”  The broad river – which starts in the Swiss Alps and digs its way through Europe to the North Sea coast in Rotterdam – makes the region in the tri-border area of Germany, France, and Switzerland an important connecting link for international shipping routes. The many harbors are transshipment point for millions of tons of goods. But not just the economic aspect makes the largest European waterway so important: The river and its shores are a highly diversified recreational paradise. 

On one of the cruise vessels that are designed for every requirement, you can experience the Rhine in all of its beauty. Past the pristine nature sanctuaries, idyllic Rheinaue wetlands, and an imposing watershed, you sail through the various landscapes that represent the region’s charm. You can also relax at one of the shore restaurants and savor the region’s typical delicacies with a view of the river. In addition, one can enjoy the ambience of an elegant ship on one of the many Rhine cruises that sail from Basel, Breisach, and Strasbourg over the cathedral cities of Mainz and Speyer to the Lorelei.  Avid outdoor athletes can go on guided canoe tours, jump into the waves, or explore the protected stretches of the landscape with their rich flora and fauna during various hikes. 

Castle Haut-Koenigsbourg Alsace, France. Photo: CRTA
Castle Haut-Koenigsbourg Alsace, France. Photo: CRTA

The Upper Rhine Valley

The beautiful Upper Rhine Valley is located in the heart of Europe, where the Rhine connects France, Germany and Switzerland. With an area of more than 21.000 km² the region is almost as large as Tuscany, and has the same centuries-old tradition of attracting tourists who love art, culture and fine cuisine. The Upper Rhine Valley is a compact region of versatile scenery and culturally of extraordinary diversity with many charming towns and villages on both sides of the Rhine. The economically prosperous region with its six million inhabitants is within easy reach and offers its visitors a lot of everything.

 

View of the Alps Basel-Land, Switzerland. Photo: Baselland Tourism
View of the Alps Basel-Land, Switzerland. Photo: Baselland Tourism

It never takes more than ten minutes to get from one highlight to another. Famous for its short and mild winters and pleasing summer temperatures from April to October, the region is one of the most beautiful and fertile landscapes in Europe: The markets, vineyards and sophisticated restaurants as good as gold for gourmets; the Gothic cathedrals in Freiburg, Basel and Strasbourg, medieval castles and the countless museums with art collections ranging through history make it a MUST for art connoisseurs; the unique landscape is a paradise for golfers, hikers and ramblers, swimmers, bikers and outdoor fans. Some twenty million overnight stays each year – of which many guests are returning visitors – confirm the region’s outstanding appeal to tourism.

Wales offers exhilarating events

It’s the perfect time to experience & discover Wales & its rich and varied heritage. Whether you’re a fun seeking family, a chilled out couple, or anything in-between, there are plenty of things to do in Wales during these events. Choose from a slow paced day seeing castles, museums and tasting their wonderful local produce, or get lively with some outdoor activities or even a music festival or a sporting event. Rest assured,  you won’t be bored in Wales!!!

Cardiff castle in Wales is a huge draw for tourists
Cardiff castle in Wales is a huge draw for tourists

Ironman Wales – 8th September 2013, Pembrokeshire

The bike course for Ironman Wales is a two loop course totaling 180 kilometres of spectacular coastal views through idyllic towns giving rides over 2,000 metres of altitude difference throughout the course! The first loop is longer, extending west from Lamphey to Angle peninsula and Pembroke, returning through Lamphey before turning north through Carew and Templeton to reach Narberth.  From Narberth the course travels south through Saundersfoot to return to Tenby via St Brides Hill. On the second lap, cyclists turn east in Lamphey to repeat the same route through Narberth and Saundersfoot to reach the transition in Tenby.

Roald Dahl Day Portmeirion Festival  No. 6 – 13th – 15th    September 2013, Portmeirion  Village, Gwynedd

The official Roald Dahl Day takes place every year on 13 September, on the birthday of the World’s No. 1 Storyteller. This year’s Roald Dahl Day will see fans from all over the world come together to celebrate this most splendiferous of occasions. The swizzfiggling Big Friendly Giant (BFG ) is famous for catching, creating and making dreams come true. So this year we’re inviting you to Dream BIG with the BFG.

Portmeirion  Festival  No. 6 – 13th – 15th    September 2013, Portmeirion  Village, Gwynedd

Portmeirion is a unique and magical site, offering nature and eccentricity in equal measures. It perfectly reflects our vision of an intimate boutique music and arts festival, sculpted for those who enjoy life’s finer things. A festival which is a scene but not a herd, which explores and embraces individual expression and offers you the chance to put reality on hold for a few days. Lose yourself in your own fairytale in the iconic setting where ‘The Prisoner’ was filmed.

Glyndwr Day – 16th September 2013, Corwen , Denbighshire

It was on September 16, in 1400 that the Welsh rebel leader started his revolt by torching the town of Ruthin.  Schools, businesses, and community groups in Corwen and Harlech and other places will celebrate Owain Glyndwr Day tomorrow. There will be red and yellow bunting, balloons, services, dancing and lectures in Corwen as well as the launch of a new community bus service. This special patriotic day will also be celebrated in Harlech with children joining workshops and a torchlight procession and everybody encouraged to dress up for the occasion.

Tenby Arts Festival –  21st September 2013, Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Tenby is lovingly protected from the outside world by an embrace of 13th-century stone walls, which, ironically, attract—not repel—visitors from all over the world. The town is simply adorable, teeming with the archetypes of pubs and shops one would expect to find in a U.K. city. Theatrical and literary events and Sand Sculpture building on the beach colourful Town Parade exuberantly making its way through the streets of Tenby.

Great British Cheese Festival – 21st – 22nd September 2013, Cardiff Castle, Cardiff

The Great British Cheese Festival has made its home, slap bang in the middle of the beautiful setting of Cardiff Castle. Gather your foodie friends together, and make your way here, to try, taste and buy from the finest selection of Great British cheeses. And with samplings and tastings, masterclasses and demonstrations, you will get a real insight into the subtle art of cheese making. 

Porthcawl Elvis Festival – 27th – 29th September 2013, Porthcawl

Every September thousands of Elvis fans descend on the Welsh seaside town of Porthcawl for a unique celebration of The King. The feature events are the Official Shows taking place in the magnificent Grand Pavilion. These include The Elvies, the World’s leading award Show for Elvis Tribute Artists.In addition, The Hi Tide host over 100 shows over the weekend, many with free admission. Over 20 venues in & around the Town form the Fringe Festival, make Porthcawl the largest Elvis event in Europe.