European Getaways: Sunny Spots
Though spring in Germany is beautiful with its colorful flowers in bloom, the cold and harsh winter has left some of us depleted of much-needed Vitamin D. Thankfully, Germany is the perfect hub for transporting our pale, sun-deprived selves to places filled with warmth, salty air from the sea and plenty of sunshine to give our skin that healthy glow. To do that, jet off to these warm spots where the sun’s rays are welcome all year long.
Known as Greece’s largest island, Crete is filled with various types of terrain — from unspoiled nature to crystal-blue beaches — it caters to all travelers. If you’re the outdoorsy type, traverse the many gorges to include Amba, Kourtaliotiko, Ethias, Eligas, Tripti and Samaria. Samaria gorge is Crete’s largest and provides jaw-dropping views of the White Mountains National Park.
If you live for sinking your toes in the sand, take a dip in Crete’s inviting waters and head to the pristine beaches of Váï, Falásarna, Elafonísi, Soúgia, Paleóhora and Myrtos. Elafonísi is the most popular beach. Of course, you can’t visit this stunning island without heading to the Balos Lagoon in Chania, one of the most picturesque cities in Crete. The lagoon is known for its turquoise waters and natural surroundings.
Stating the obvious, Crete is also home to finger-licking Mediterranean staples such as Dakos, a salad with tomatoes, cheese and olive oil on top of crunchy bread. Moussaka is also something to look out for on the menu as well as Loukoumades for dessert — fried dough served with ice cream.
An ideal fusion of Mediterranean vibes and European elegance makes this underrated town in southern Spain one worth putting on you radar. Its beaches are peppered with kite surfers crisscrossing each other on the water and an abundance of sunshine hitting your face is the optimal getaway for anyone who needs sun, surf and sand.
Though Tarifa is known for its watersports, the average beach bum can still find pleasure laying in the beach lounges or even taking a towel and laying out till you achieved the right tinge of brown. The beaches to note down are Playa de Los Lances, Playa Chica, Playa La Caleta, Playa de Valdevaqueros and Playa Punta Paloma.
Apart from the beaches, the quaint shops paired with scarfing down delicious Spanish food after is also an experience not to be missed. Be sure to pay attention to the detail of the buildings as elements of Moroccan beauty are influenced throughout the whole town. Those famous Moroccan doors you love? They can be found here. However, experiencing the real deal in Morocco is an easy ferry trip away which lands in Tangier, a striking Moroccan port.
Though the capital of Malta may be small, the amount of sunshine this city gets is anything but — with 3,000 hours of sunshine to be exact. Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Valletta is a city filled with historic sights, beautiful culture and of course, sun.
To get a picture of the history of Valletta, stroll through the promenade of the beautifully secluded waterfront that houses the original stores when the port was originally in use. These stores, which have been converted into restaurants and shops perfectly meshes old and new. Must-see sights also include Saint John’s Co-Cathedral, the Grand Harbor, the Upper Barracca gardens and Military Ceremonies, Grand Master’s Palace and the National Museum of Fine Arts.
For the food-lovers, get your hands on Gbejniet – Maltese cheese, Pastizzi – a flaky pastry filled with ricotta cheese or mushed curried peas, Aljotta – fish soup and Timpana – baked macaroni. With rich culture, historic buildings and amazing museums, it’s no surprise Valletta was named Europe’s capital of culture.
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