Hello summer, let's try something new

Boogaart, Lucia

Summer is coming! Although the Dutch weather is (not surprisingly) still letting us down. While waiting for the sun to come out, why not make some plans for the upcoming vacation? Some people find it easy and pleasant to go to the same place every single year, while others might want to mix it up a little bit more. If you’re out of inspiration, this article might help you out. These holiday ideas won’t be the typical destinations or activities, so you must be prepared to try something new.

Go on a cycling holiday

This might be a great option if you want to spend your holiday more actively. Or maybe you just don’t want to fly because of environmental concerns. It’s a very flexible way of getting around, but the downside is that it won’t get you very far. Though Belgium and Germany have nice routes to offer and sometimes it’s not bad to stay close to home. If you want to take it a step further, France is also an easy place to be a bike tourist if you’re going by yourself. Most hotels and Bed and Breakfasts are very bike-friendly. France is ideal for people who like a bit of variety; from biking through the Alps to trips to different cities. If you don’t care about taking a flight, Lanzarote is also a very popular biking destination. Especially cyclists who want to continue training during the winter like to come to Lanzarote since the weather is generally above 20 degrees for the whole year. There are many national parks you can visit and you will find beautiful nature everywhere you look along the way. If going by bike all by yourself sound a little too adventurous for you, it is also possible to go on a cycling tour. There are many different options all across Europe, and also in more exotic places, such as Japan or Cuba.

Discover the lesser-known islands of Europe

Sometimes it seems like half of my friends is chilling on Bali, Ibiza or some exotic Greek island. Of course, all of these islands are beautiful, but wouldn’t it be nice to change it up a little? The Azores are a great alternative to the Greek islands if you want to go island hopping and also want to stay a little bit closer to home than for example, Indonesia or the Philippines. You can find many different beautiful landscapes such as waterfalls, volcanoes and craters, but you also have a big chance of spotting whales or dolphins. There are nine different islands and they all have their own charm. You can easily visit two islands in one week or try visiting five in two weeks. If you care less about warm weather, you might also consider visiting the Faroe Islands. These islands are considered a decent alternative to Iceland and it’s still relatively undiscovered. If you don’t want to take a plane, that’s also no problem. You can take a ferry from Northern Denmark to get to the islands. The islands have incredible landscapes where you can hike as long as you want and little chance that you’ll get bored. You can spot puffins from up close and if you’re lucky you can even experience the northern lights. It’s also ideal for a small holiday or combining your visit with Iceland or Denmark since the Faroe islands all together are the size of the province of Utrecht.


Take a visit to Chernobyl

If you’re ready to do something more adventurous and still get to know a bit of history, a trip to Chernobyl might be interesting for you. The Chernobyl accident is considered the most disastrous nuclear power plant accident in history. On the night of April 26 in 1986, the reactor exploded and 31 people were killed. In the days after, 135,000 people living in the area had to be evacuated. The nearest town to Chernobyl is Pripyat, now considered a ghost town. Because of high radioactivity, the area around Pripyat and Chernobyl has been locked, but nowadays you can take a tour to see what’s left of the nuclear power plant. You cannot go there by yourself, but you can easily book a tour by a tour operator in Kiev. Going on such a day trip to this desolate place is not dangerous since the amount of radioactive radiation is negligible. Are you interested in visiting more ghost towns? Doel, a town close to Antwerp, might be an option a bit closer to home.

When food is life

Travelling might hold other reasons than getting a tan or spotting as many highlights in as little time as possible. Why not go on a culinary tour and taste all of the great dishes a country has to offer. If you also want to improve your own cooking, going on a so-called cooking vacation is also an option. If you’re willing to invest time in preparing a trip yourself, this is possible, but it might be easier to just book through a tour company. They take you to Italy and let you taste every single pasta that exists, changing it up with pizza’s, lasagna, wine, cappuccinos and of course, ice cream. Or go to Spain and enjoy different kinds of tapas every night. Every region in Spain has its own food culture, but apparently, the food in the Basque Country is supposed to be the best. Other great countries to visit for the food or cooking lessons are India, Thailand and Japan. Though, it might be a bit expensive to fly all the way to Asia just for the food. Although it's probably worth it, doing some sightseeing might be nice too.

Staying (very) close to home

Most of the options named above are in Europe. Though, if crossing the Dutch border (or even the Rotterdam border) is a bit too much for you, this might be a good option if you still want to get that holiday feeling. Go camping in Rotterdam’s only campsite! It’s right in front of the Blijdorp zoo and very close to the city centre. You are allowed to bring your own tent, camper or caravan or you can decide to rent a cabin. So, if you’re getting tired of being stuck in your same old student room, but don’t want to leave Rotterdam, this might be a fun idea to do with your friends (also perfect if you enjoy camping in the rain).

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