Spring fever: This season is a perfect time to explore new horizons

Spring fever: This season is a perfect time to explore new horizons

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Tue, 26/03/2013 - 10:43

Spring is on the horizon and there’s no better season to travel to nearby destinations for a refreshing break. With Europe and the Middle East in such close proximity, this is the perfect time to do a little low-key exploring, or simply lie back, relax and recharge.

You can either choose to stay in Egypt or go through the visa process and leave the country for a short while but either way, hop on a plane and get out of Cairo this spring. Not only have we picked out some fabulous destinations for you this spring, but we’ve also looked up some of the best deals on offer.

Barcelona

Barcelona is Spain’s second-largest city, after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia.

This beautiful city is well-known for its remarkable architectural Modernisme or Art Nouveau landmarks. The unique style is embodied in the distinctive works of famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi — in particular, the Sagrada Familia church, the Park Guell, and the Casa Batllo and Casa Vicens buildings.

Along with the Catalan National Art Museum, these are just a few of Barcelona’s must-see attractions,.

If you’re a football fan, visiting Camp Nou — the largest stadium in Europe — would undoubtedly be an unforgettable experience.

But do make time also to relax on the city’s golden, sandy beaches and tuck in to some paella, Spain’s national dish, or sample a few tasty tapas in a local bar..

Thomas Cook travel agency offers a Barcelona package for LE4,525 per person, including a round-trip economy class plane ticket and comfortable accommodation at the four-star Hotel Novotel Barcelona City, located in the heart of the city on Avenido Diagonal street.

Venice and Rome

For a gateway to tranquility, there is no better city than Venice.

Known as one of Europe’s most romantic cities, Venice is renowned for its spectacular water views, and rich artistic and cultural heritage. Paddling along the narrow waterways of the city in a gondola is the best way to take in the magnificent architecture and stunning renaissance buildings lining the canal.

Kick off your Italian break by spending three nights in Venice, then head to Rome, where you can stay for four nights at the three-star Hotel Montecarlo Venice and take in the city’s many charms.

From classical and imperial Roman-style buildings to chic modern architecture, Rome is a hub for enthralling artistic work. The city is dotted with fountains, museums, churches and other ancient ruins. When you’re tired of sightseeing, take a break and grab a gelato or stop for some fresh pasta at one of the many local cafes.

The Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps are among Rome’s top sightseeing attractions.

Thomas Cook offers this package for LE8,285 per person, including a round-trip, economy-class airline ticket on EgyptAir.

Beirut

Flying into Beirut, Lebanon’s capital, in spring is a great way to catch some lovely spring sunshine, either atop its snow-capped mountains or on the sunny, golden beaches. Plunge into the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean in the capital or take an hour-long drive up to Faraya Mountain for a varied skiing experience.

Even if you’re not a skier, delve into the spectacular snowy landscape under the sun’s bright rays by taking a snowmobile ride, which is much easier to maneuver.

Don’t forget to take the enjoyable cable-car ride to visit the underground, crystallized caverns of Jeita. Wander along the bridges and mazes of narrow walkways in the upper cave to watch the miraculous shapes of sharp-tipped stalactites and stalagmites scattered throughout.

Then, enjoy a small boat voyage in the lower cave, navigating through the shallow waters and spectacular limestone formations.

It goes without saying that the nightlife in Lebanon is pretty much unbeatable, with a wide array of choices for bars and nightclubs. So get ready to put your high heels on and dance the night away with the city’s beautiful people.

During Sham al-Nessim vacation, ITTA travel agency is offering a five-day trip to Beirut for LE5,650 per person, including the visa, a roundtrip flight and five-star accommodation at Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Sharm el-Sheikh

There is always something new to experience in Sharm el-Sheikh, no matter how many times you’ve been there. At this time of year, the city offers a much more pleasant experience than during the stifling heat of the hot summer months.

Sharm el-Sheikh is also an unrivalled destination for water sports lovers, offering a breathtakingly diverse range of coral reefs for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.

If you’re after a bit of adventure, don’t miss the thrill of riding a camel or buggy safari in the heart of Sinai desert while watching the sun slowly rise over the mountains. During your trip, you can head to a Bedouin tent to sample a traditional dinner, sip on a delicious herbal cup of tea, and watch a folk-dance show under a star-filled sky.

Through Travco travel company, you can book a flight to Sharm el-Sheikh for 141 euros, or LE1,269. The package includes a sea-view twin room at Iberotel Lido

Ain Sokhna

Ain Sokhna, just an hour’s drive from Cairo, is the perfect destination for a short break from your daily routine, With its pure turquoise waters and pristine beaches, it’s become increasingly popular as a year-round, laid-back retreat for stressed out city dwellers.

Additionally, historical sightseeing sites nearby add to the charm. You can see the country in a new light by visiting St. Anthony’s Monastery and St. Paul Monastery.

Book one night at the five-star Jazz Little Venice Golf Resort for LE720 per twin room.

For more great spring vacation packages,visit:

www.thomascookegypt.com

www.ittatours.com

www.travcotravel.com

This piece was originally published in Egypt Independent's weekly print edition.