Reigniting Your Wanderlust: The Growing Appreciation Towards Travel During COVID
From the sun-kissed beaches of the Aegean Sea to the Alps for skiing, to the sandy air of the desert, to the Buddhist temples, and to a mix of cultures, I present to you five destinations to add to your post-pandemic travel bucket list.
When was the last time you hopped on an airplane and took off to a new destination? Mine for sure seems like a very distant one. We have all missed travelling, seeing new places, meeting new people, trying new cuisines, sightseeing, and above all, gaining experiences and broadening our horizons. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, which has been taking place the last few months, travelling has been greatly restricted and even more now as we are entering the second wave of COVID-19. Many countries, such as the UK and Greece, are re-entering lockdown to reduce the transmission of the virus. However, let’s not get pessimistic. You have entered a stress-free zone in which I present to you five destinations that you may be eager to visit once restrictions are eased.
Greece, the birthplace of democracy, a country with over 2,000 islands famous for its crystal-clear waters, warm sun, friendly people, as well as being a crossword of culture and history. Not only is it budget-friendly, but also marks one of the top European destinations to visit.
Athens, the capital of Greece, is a vibrant must-visit city of the country. The city overflows with Greek culture; music, food, museums and historical landmarks. It is recommended that you visit the Acropolis, with the temples of Parthenon, Erechteion and Temple of Nike, carrying great historical importance as they were dedicated to the goddess Athena. From there, you can view the whole city. You will be spoiled with delicious Greek food around the city with local products and restaurants. And of course, do not forget to take a stroll in the Plaka District!
It would be impossible to list all the Greek islands, however, here are the most visited ones. Crete is the biggest Greek island located in the southern part of the country with historical sites like Knossos, beautiful beaches like Falassarna and amazing local food. Crete also serves as a good place for road trips with friends. Mykonos is a very famous island too known for its night life and cosmopolitan vibes. On the other hand, Santorini is an island for the romantics with its beautiful sunsets. Rhodes on the south-eastern coast of Turkey, is an island that caters to all kinds of tastes; from partying to swimming and visiting historical sites. Lastly, Zakynthos, the island with the turquoise waters and white sand beaches has a unique beauty to explore.
Austria, known for its historical architecture, myriad towns, natural beauty and Alpine slopes, is a must-visit country for winter sport enthusiasts and travellers in search of adventure.
Vienna, the home of Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven, is considered a central haven of classical music in Europe. The architecture of buildings inspired by Baroque, Classicist and Art nouveau eras which surround the city will definitely surprise you. A walk in the Hofburg Palace, the now home of the Austrian President, is recommended to get acquainted with Austrian history through the Sisi museum, the Austrian National Library, and get a taste of the cuisine in Palmenhaus.
And of course, for the ski lovers, visiting Salzburg surrounded by the Alps, is a must. Innsbruck, which has hosted the Olympics twice in 1964 and 1975, is also considered a mountain ski hub for those interested in winter sports. Moreover, for those fascinated by nature, Zell am See with its blue lakes has the most awe scenery of the country. Salzkammergut, also characterized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is an Austrian resort area with azure lakes, hills and mountain ranges, that serve as one of the country’s most-visited places.
Jordan (Middle East)
Jordan is a country with a lot of history, monuments and places to visit, as well as delicious food to taste. Jordan can be found at the heart of Bedouin culture imbedded in the desert.
Amman, the capital of the country, has lots of markets to visit where one can experience the Jordanian culture. Worth to visit are the Citadel and the King Abdullah Mosque. Petra is classified as one of the seven world wonders offering an insight into the Nabatean culture. What you find while visiting Petra is enormous canyons, ancient historical temples and incredible sites like the Great Temple, Treasury, and El Deir. Mount Nebo, considered as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land, offers a panoramic view and visitors can even see across to Israel.
The Dead Sea, where due to its high salt content one floats on the surface of the sea, it is highly recommended to all to experience this phenomenon even if you are not much of a swimmer. Aqaba is the only coastal city of the country on the side of the Red Sea. The city is ideal for diving into the underwater world of the Red Sea. Finally, do not miss out on visiting Jerash, which is one of the still-existing ancient Roman ruins. It comes to show that Jordan is not only filled with Middle Eastern characteristics but also features characteristics of the Roman world!
Myanmar, a country in between India and Indochina is suitable for adventure lovers. There are a lot of things one can choose; from hiking the hills in Shan Kings, to visiting old ancient temples from the British rule and going to sun-kissed beaches.
Naypyidaw, the proclaimed capital during the junta has imposing palaces and governmental buildings like the Parliament along with the Uppatasanti Pagoda, the golden temple from which you will enjoy the view of the capital which are worth visiting to understand the structure of the country. Visiting the Bagan Temple to watch the sunrise will leave you breathless. The colors that emerge through the horizon are one of a kind! You can also see Bagan from a hot air balloon, in which you will be taken away from the view; countless temples, the tips of the Arakan Mountains and ancient stupas emerging in the background.
Love an exotic view? Going to Npagali is all about that; with turquoise waters, white sand, and visitors also have the opportunity to scuba dive and engage in water sports. As for the sunset lovers, you can take a ride on a wooden boat in Inle Lake in which you will come across Buddhist temples and stilt houses. You will also be amazed by the ancient stupas located in the lake, along with the village lining the end of the lake.
Malta, is a country with different influences from the Arab, Greek and Italian cultures. Although a small archipelago, you will be taken away by the red-gold beaches, the cliffs, the sailing vessels, and bays.
Valetta, the capital of Malta and the largest harbour of the country, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sitting on the top of Mount Sceberas. The buildings are influenced by Baroque architecture, like St. John’s Cathedral and other bastions built by the knights of St. John. In Sliema, the aristocrats’ hub is the starting point of the sightseeing buses where one can visit the Independence Garden as well as the De Redin tower. Another resort town is St Julians, which is famous for its night life and is also worth visiting the Portomaso tower and the Spinola Palace.
Gozo, is a small island off the coast of Malta, and a fun fact about it: It’s considered to be the island of Calypso described in Homer’s Odyssey. If you are an adventure lover, you can arrive there by a seaplane or if you want to stay on the safe side, by a ferry. The island is filled with old stone farms, amazing panoramas and temples like Ggantija. Dwejra, located on the west coast of the country, is recommended to be visited for its underground caves, and for the fans of Game of Thrones, you will recognise it from the show’s first-season scenes. Additionally, mouth-watering seafood can be found in the fishing village of Marsaxlokk.
And for those who are planning to travel, the following are some tips to ensure you remain safe while travelling:
- A face mask is a necessity, either a fabric or a disposable one. Since you need a fresh, clean mask, it would be a good idea to carry a pack with you keeping in mind you will be running through the airport, and you will be passing through multiple security checks.
- Always carry a hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes in your bag since you will be coming in contact with different surfaces and exchanging many documents with the airport staff, like your passport and your COVID-19 test.
- Go to the airport 4 hours before boarding your flight because there might be long queues due to the extra checks taking place at the airports.
- It is important to check the measures and the restrictions of the country you are visiting since changes occur on a daily basis.
- Consider other forms of transport; rather than public transportation and taxis. Renting a car is a safer choice during the pandemic.
 Ancient epic (the style of the poem) Greek poem written by Homer. The Odyssey (1997) starring Armand Assante and Vanessa Williams is an adaptation of the poem.