Best time to go to an unusual destination

Spring

This is the season for walking and cycling vacations in Eastern Europe, when carpets of greenery roll out across the mountains and beautiful blooms put a spring in your step. Hiking is less enjoyable in the summer heat, so the cool months of April and May, when temperatures peak in the low twenties, are ideal for rambling in Romania, walks in the Caucasus or exploring the Albanian Alps.

Further east, the wet season has done wonders for exotic florals and foliage in Borneo and Bhutan where, although a little bit moist, the misty mountains are fantastically atmospheric. Wildflowers dress the usually drab Uzbekistan landscapes in green and gold, a polar opposite to the parched hot summers and harsh winter months.

Summer

Temperatures don't budge much in Borneo from season to season (around 30°C), but summer is still drier than the wet winter months – making it a good time to go for families. Colombia also enjoys its first, shorter dry season between July and September, a better time to go than the much busier dry season later in the year.

If beaches float your boat, but you're looking for somewhere a little more unusual than the Costa del Sol, try the sandy shores of Romania or Albania. If you're tied to traveling in summer vacations you'll find these sunny spots don't see half the number of tourists as their Mediterranean neighbours, despite being just as beautiful and reliably hot (high 20°Cs). Armenia can't boast the beaches of Georgia, but lounging by Lake Sevan offers plenty of opportunities for a swim.

Autumn

Autumn is a great time to be outdoors. If you like your Septembers to be scenic and your Octobers pumpkin-orange, you'll find Eastern European forests filled with fiery foliage and warm as southern Spain (high 20°Cs). Hiking, but also cultural tours, are popular in this colourful period, when trips may involve foraging for mushrooms and berries or vineyard tastings while this year's grapes are fermenting into wine.

On the other side of the world, October is ideal for a vacation in Bhutan, which is dry from September to November. Clear skies make for impressive mountain hikes and stunning views. Meanwhile, in Madagascar, birds are breeding and baby lemurs are leaping from tree to tree.

Winter

A blanket of snow in Bhutan is a photographer's dream, but be wary that temperatures can drop as low as -4°C. January and February are great for winter activities in Romania, whether snow sports or slower explorations of its pristine white wilderness.

Temperatures in Colombia tend to be steady throughout the year; cooler around the Andes (average highs of 17°C) and hotter along the Caribbean coast (30°C). But the months between December and March are the driest, although often the busiest, time to go. Oman is coolest from October to March, the only sensible time to visit considering days in the desert still reach 30°C, and December to February promises a pleasant summer (around 21°C) in Tasmania – perfect for exploring the outback.

Our top Unusual destinations Vacation

Albania walking holiday

Albania walking vacation

A wild and rugged landscape with historic folkore

From US $1399 to US $1479 8 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2020: 5 Jun, 19 Jun, 17 Jul, 7 Aug, 21 Aug, 4 Sep, 11 Sep
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Unusual destinations or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Advice for vacations in unusual destinations

Dan Clarke, from our supplier RealWorld Vacations, on why you should visit Colombia:
“Colombia doesn’t have a single stand out site like some other countries in South America, but what it does give you is the full package in one place: mysterious, ancient ruins and huge, prehistoric statues; fabulous Caribbean beaches and tropical islands; gorgeous Andean colonial towns; the Amazon jungle plus more amazing wildlife like whale watching on the Pacific coast… It really is amazing how much it fits in.”
Andrew Appleyard, from our supplier Exodus, on the highlights of a vacation in Uzbekistan:
“Try and get to the opera in Tashkent. It is well worth it, and if you can’t get a ticket they often leave the doors open onto the main square. I listened to Madame Butterfly there, eating Pringles, as they were the only thing I could find to eat that was edible that night. But the opera and ballet there really are outstanding.”
Jim O’Brien from our supplier Native Eye, on why you should visit Georgia:
“Many of the ethnic villages that we visit aren’t particularly ‘opened up’ for tourism yet, so it’s really a case of wandering around, occasionally stopping to meet and have a chat with the locals. The Tusheti region in the northeast of Georgia is one of my favourite places to visit as it has remained somewhat hidden from the outside world. It presents a much more low key and simplistic approach to life as opposed to what you'll find in the cities.”
Laurenne Mansbridge, director of our supplier Pioneer Expeditions, on visiting Madagascar:
"Don’t try and see it all. The logistics aren’t great – and it’s better to base yourself in one region. That way you get to see things properly, rather than just spending your time traveling."

Unusual destination travel tips from our travelers

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do – and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful travel tips for unusual destinations that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation – and the space inside your suitcase.
Take your camera and binoculars! This was a wonderful vacation and an opportunity to see the different sides of Borneo – city, island, rainforest – all of which were fantastic.
– Lindsay Melling on a tailor made tour of Borneo
“Just about everything was memorable. But traveling through and swimming in the wadis and canyons would be the top highlight. If you would like to try something different from a normal vacation then this is perfect. Remember to always do what the guide asks you to do and you will have no problems.” – Oliver Grumitt on a small group tour of Oman

“Be open-minded about Albania and embrace the local culture and lifestyle. Treat the people with respect and dignity.” – Neeta Bhadauria on a small group tour of Albania

“Walking in the Carpathian Mountains was stunning. Watching bear and wild boar at close quarters and visiting the bear sanctuary was definitely one of the highlights. Gaining an insight into the history of Romania by visiting castles, fortified churches and local towns was also fascinating. If you want to have a vacation with lots of shops to visit and a wide range of entertainment then this vacation is not for you.” – Alison Mitchell on a Carpathian Mountains vacation in Romania

“Use a travel specialist who has good personal knowledge about Tasmania. The travel plan and the accommodations arranged by travel specialist, Susie, were exceptional to meet our wish list of nature conservation, eco-systems and the penal history of Tasmania.” – Tony French on a self drive tour of Tasmania
Don't hesitate, an amazing experience especially if you are drawn towards spiritual ways and a completely different way of looking at the world.
– Linda Marlow on a cultural tour of Bhutan
Written by Bryony Cottam
Photo credits: [Page banner: Bernd Thaller] [Spring: iStock] [Summer: Pudelek] [Autumn: Arian Zwegers] [Winter: Oscar Weeks] [Dan Clarke advice: Randal Sheppard] [Lindsay Melling quote: Dukeabruzzi] [Linda Marlow quote: aaron boris]
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