Exam season is upon us and each day we’re usually found holed up in either the Learning Zone or the Library. It’s only natural that the mind drifts elsewhere and begins to contemplate the fast-approaching summer. Here are five ideas of places you could go either this summer, or if you’re taking a gap year, before you start the next stage of your life.
Okay, it might sound like a boring option but Scotland has a lot to offer, particularly if you don’t have a lot of money to spend. Of course there are the bigger cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh but there’s also the absolutely stunning Scottish Highlands and Moray Firth Coast. There’s a lot to see and do for the outdoorsy types, from hiking to scuba diving with the dolphins that frequent the Moray Firth coast. The country is diverse and beautiful, but you will probably need a car in order to see all the different areas because public transport can be infrequent.
France could be the beginning of an epic European InterRailing trip, or you could do it as a standalone trip. I’ve been lucky enough to go to some fairly diverse areas of France such as La Rochelle, Normandy, Paris and Nice, but there is still so much to see and do. The French-Swiss border is supposed to be absolutely breath-taking and the south coast is not to be missed. You could go celebrity spotting in St Tropez, go to the summer soul and jazz festival in Nice, or go sailing in Marseille if you’re feeling particularly adventurous. And just to top it all off, they have great food.
Most of us have seen Mamma Mia and at that moment, most of us vowed we were going to visit the gorgeous Greek Islands, with their azure seas and white beaches. I’ve always dreamed of island hopping by ferry, and staying in white-painted B&B’s for a few days on different islands. I’m fairly sure people don’t actually dance about on jetties before leaping fully clothed into the sea, but it does seem to have a fairly relaxed culture.
A few weeks ago I saw some pictures of Nepal and ever since then I’ve been obsessed. It looks jaw-droppingly stunning. Seven of the world’s highest peaks are in Nepal, all of these reach over 20,000ft – whilst you might not actually climb them, just saying you’ve seen them and their enormity is a feat in itself. Nepal is also surprisingly cheap, if you live frugally it’s been calculated that you can live for about £20 a day. It’s a land of diverse culture and food; there are 35 ethnic groups that call Nepal home so there are lots of different foods and experiences to get involved with. It’s probably wise to figure out Nepal’s seasons first though, so you don’t end up trying to hike in monsoon season!
Wicked Camping in Australia
I was lucky enough to go to Australia in my gap year, and whilst travelling the country I kept seeing heavily graffitied Wicked Campervans. You get a large bed, ample storage, cooking equipment and an iPod dock – what more could you want from a camper van? There are options to hire vans for up to five people, and when you’ve got your own wheels the country is pretty much your oyster. I would probably do the East coast if I were driving, heading to places such as Cairns, Airlie Beach (where you can do an amazing day trip around the Whitsunday islands on the Big Fury boat – basically a speed boat – first hand recommendation from me!), the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, The Great Ocean Road and Adelaide. There is so much to do in this amazing country – it is an experience you’ll never ever forget!