If you’re stuck in a rut, perhaps it’s time to book your next flight and get out of town! These charming retreats will give you a reason to smile with their picturesque panoramas.
The largest island in the Seychelles archipelago, Mahé is heaven on earth for lovers of the tropical life. Expect to see green and blue everywhere you turn as this enclave is awash with beaches and nature reserves. You’ll find a hiking experience like no other at the Morne Seychellois National Park, and in the right seasons, you’d be able to dive with whale sharks! In the town areas, ocean and greenery make way for bright, multicoloured infrastructure, like the main market square and the Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar temple, both situated in Seychelles’s capital, Victoria. You’ll feel as distanced from real life as possible, in the best way.
This south-eastern Irish town has a quintessential aura from its cobbled walkways to its castles and cathedrals, a picturesque river framed by bright flowers and rainbow-hued shops lining the streets. You can’t help but feel like you’ve stepped into the storybooks of your childhood! Even the boutiques are adorable: check out Kilkenny Crafts or Butterslip boutique for one-of-a-kind, quirky gifts. Take a ride on the Kilkenny Road Train, which will take you from Kilkenny Castle to medieval sites around the town.. Kilkenny is also known as a festive location throughout the year, and with good reason. The town never runs out of reasons to celebrate with festivities involving food, arts, music, books and even economics (now that’s something we’d definitely look forward to!).
If rugged spirituality is your thing, then Dunhuang in China’s Gansu province might be the perfect place to get some peace of mind. This north-western city is far removed from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai or Beijing. Once, it was part of China’s Silk Road and used as a frontier garrison outpost during the ancient Han Dynasty; the desert town is now visited primarily for the Mogao Grottoes, a series of temples built into caves that’s considered one of the most important collections of Buddhist art in the world (and a UNESCO World Heritage site too!). Visitors are also often drawn to the Singing Sand Dunes, a spectacular desert landscape with the famous Crescent Moon Lake.
While we’re more familiar with New York, California and Florida, in recent years the Pacific Northwest state of Oregon has made quite a name for itself. Its largest city, Portland, is deemed one of the ‘coolest places to visit’ in 2017 by The New York Times, especially with its high-tech bike-sharing programme, which you can sign up for online. Pig out at Portland’s very first, newly-opened food hall, Pine Street Market, which comprises nine of the city’s best chefs and purveyors. This June, there are plenty of fun events to check out, like the Portland Vegan Beer & Food Festival, Bridgetown Comedy Festival (which promises lots of laughs), relaxing summer concerts held in the evenings at the Oregon Zoo and even the World Naked Bike Ride – the latter might not be for everyone but it’s an interesting way to let loose for some!