5-Star Beach Week In Halkidiki
Spend a week in Halkidiki at a luxury beach-front hotel in the shadow of Mount Athos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For £319 per person, you can sink your toes into the sand at the resort's private beach, lounge by the pool, or go exploring to uncover emerald-green pine forests and rugged mountains.
Find this deal and more in the Travelzoo Top 20 →
Partying your way to the ends of the earth
The tiny Isle of Coll off Scotland’s west coast isn’t exactly where you’d expect to find a hotly anticipated one-off club event. And yet, that’s exactly what’s happening this September, when the (very well-named) Detour Discotheque lands on its sandy shores.
Its mission is to “bring love, peace and mirror balls to remote and beautiful locations”, the first of which was Þingeyri in Iceland’s Westfjords. Using community halls as venues, and inviting DJs from all over the world, the focus of the event is as much about the journey, the community you’re visiting and the surroundings as it is about the music.
That got us thinking—-where else can we combine unique musical experiences with a visit to somewhere remote or unexpected?
Dalhalla, Rättvik, Sweden
Four hours’ drive northwest of Stockholm, Dalhalla is a former limestone quarry now used as a summer open-air music venue. The exceptional acoustics made it an ideal space for operatic performances from the outset, but its programme has grown to include everything from Judas Priest to Jesus Christ Superstar.
The area surrounding Dalhalla does not disappoint, either. Nearby Lake Siljan was the site of Europe’s largest ever meteor impact 377 million years ago. These days, it is home to glistening waters, beautiful forests and plenty of rural village culture.
Gorge Amphitheatre, Washington State, USA
With a reputation as one of America’s best outdoor concert venues, Gorge Amphitheatre draws in some of the biggest names in pop and rock music. It also happens to have a seriously scenic backdrop, perched near the water, looking out onto the Columbia River Gorge.
At around two hours away from Seattle, you’ll need to spend the night nearby. Lots of hotels have popped up near the venue, but honestly, this feels like the kind of place where camping is worth every mosquito bite and creaky joint. And as an added bonus, there are several wineries nearby where you can wet your whistle.
The Big Red Bash, Simpson Desert, Queensland, Australia
Burning Man, eat your heart out. If you’ve always fancied visiting the Outback but worried there won’t be enough entertainment, here’s your chance. The Big Red Bash is a music festival held annually in Queensland’s Simpson Desert, beside the eponymous Big Red Dune.
At a casual 14-hour drive from Adelaide or 17-hour drive from Brisbane, you may be wondering how on earth to get there. The website describes the location as “a leisurely 3-5 day drive from all major cities”, but thankfully there are also organised coach tours from Brissy, one of which takes in all the pubs along the 1,000-mile journey.
But if you’re after an Outback adventure, rent a 4×4 and continue on into the desert once the festival is done. As well as having unbelievable views and incredible rock formations, the desert, also known as Munga-Thirri, is sacred ground for many Aboriginal communities. To experience visual representations of what the area means to them, make the many galleries of Alice Springs your aim.
Just remember to send us a postcard if you do manage to visit any of these places. Presuming you can find a post box, that is!
What else would you like us to cover in The Detour? Let us know!
This Week, We're In Florida!
Floridians (which, for the sake of the next few paragraphs, you now are) have a saying “the more north you go in the state, the more south you actually get.” From culture, to language and even to the landscape, everything changes drastically just a couple hundred miles up I-75. So let’s make that drive.
We’ll kick things off in Key West. Home to more iguanas than people, — don’t fact-check that — this Conch Republic is daringly different. Your big hitters are Ernest Hemingway’s former home with its cutely deformed cats and that big colourful buoy that marks the southernmost point in the continental US. But go in October if you’re really willing to put yourself out there, with one of the nation’s largest body paint festivals taking over the streets.
Drive 4 hours north to Miami, and you’ve got a dramatic crossroad meme-like situation, but both options are actually good this time. Take a left and you’ll hit the Everglades, the most diverse, unique & alligator-filled National Park in the country. These swamplands are also one of the few places in the world where you can take an airboat ride, which probably wasn’t at the top of your bucket list but it should be now.
Or take a right and actually drive to Miami. You know all the usual stuff but the second-largest statue in the US also happens to be nearby, and it is of a Pegasus crushing a dragon. Talk about culture.
Next stop, Orlando and Tampa! You will have to pick between the two — sorry, we make the rules — but this is also where you’ll notice the state start to blend. There are still significant Hispanic populations in Ybor City and “normal” urban life in Celebration, but neither are quite as prominent as what you’ll see in Miami. You’ve also got more true Southerners but not quite as many as you might meet in Tallahassee and Pensacola.
And that brings us to the final stop: the Deep South (otherwise known as North Florida)! Swamp lands straddle the state line with Georgia, as does a certain major country-pop duo, but there aren’t many other similarities with the southern part of the state.
Completists, you’ll find the highest point in Florida here and it should be a pretty easy one to reach. There’s also a few Southern culture stalwarts, like a go-to Southern breakfast spot and a quaint town modelled after Thomas Jefferson’s home estate.
Finally, after 10 whole hours of driving, you’ll hit the state line at Georgia or Alabama and have to bid this great state goodbye. Just make sure you had at least one Pub Sub before Florida is fully in the rearview…
Pick Of The Clicks
All the important (or silly, or strange) travel news from across the web this week.
- Watch out, Singapore Airlines, there’s a new longest flight in town. Qantas are planning to launch their brand-new non-stop route from London to Sydney in 2025, which will take an eye-watering 20 hours.
Look on the bright side—in that time, you can watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy back to back.
- A Vegan travellers, you'd better pack your own plane picnic! After requesting a hot meal and informing KLM of her dietary requirements, one passenger found herself being offered nothing but fruit and nuts for the majority of her 6-hour flight.
- If you’re travelling to Spain this summer, make sure you’re familiar with the new rules they’ve introduced to combat antisocial behaviour. As well as bans on drinking and smoking in certain areas, travellers may need to prove that they have access to sufficient funds to cover their trip.
- And finally, And finally, keep your wits about you if you’re taking a stroll by the Chicago River any time soon— Chonkosaurus is out and about, and he’s looking healthy!