Ring in the New

With just a few days to bid 2012 farewell, EXEC sets out to explore some destinations that are perfect for ringing the new year in.

With the Christmas chimes fading into the distance, it is now time to welcome the New Year with a bang. And what better way to do it, than explore? The world, with all the sights, sounds and experiences it has to offer is your playground. So why wait when you can delve in and discover some of the most beautiful places… places that have been considered to be nothing short of heaven, places that will make you fall in love and quench your wanderlust. So why head for the little pockets of crowds when you can make this one trip truly special?

Cancale, France

Located in the Northern region of France, this picturesque fishing village is one of the most underrated holiday destinations of all time. With each nook and corner having a story to tell, the oyster capital of Brittany is definitely far from sleepy. Considered to be a powerful aphrodisiac, history tells us that King Louis XIV transported Cancale’s famous oysters to his court. Centuries later, this quaint little village is marked on the map for some brilliant eateries, a lovely walk and some memories that you will cherish forever. For the braver ones, the infamous city of Brest is not too far from this village, so if you are in the mood for some adventure, we suggest that you grope your way around.

Stromboli, Italy Image ID: 104531276

Home to one of the three active volcanoes of Italy, this place is nothing short of amazing. The dramatic show of the volcano juts out to the sea, perpetually smouldering and at times ferociously beautiful. One part of this island has been charred by the active volcano, however, the Eastern side is plush green, dotted with little houses straight out of picture books. Take some heat to the face by hiking this bulging geological wonder then release the tension in the Sciara del Fuoco, a depression on the northwestern side of the cone. One of the very few places where you can come close to witnessing a volcanic eruption live, it is time to turn the heat up.

Fiji Islands

One of the most gorgeous places on earth, the Fiji Islands promises to not disappoint any of its visitors. The cloudless skies, the white sandy beaches and entertainment in all forms possible, it is truly heaven on earth. One of the first countries on this planet to see the rising sun, what better way to kick-start a whole new year? The underwater scenery is spectacular and some of the finest, and most accessible, dives in the Pacific can be found here. Its reputation as the ‘soft coral capital of the world’ is well justified.

Dunkeld, Scotland

For those who love puzzles, Ossian’s Hall of Mirrors, on the Hermitage Castle Property is the place to head to. Situated on a hill overlooking the River Braan, this little structure is filled with mirrors that were originally mounted to create an optical illusion that reflected the waterfall view in impossible ways. Nothing short of a visual climax we say. Though tiny and desolate, this is one of the most breathtaking sights you will ever encounter in life. Just for the sake of a visual orgasm, we recommend this place for you. For all those who want a quiet getaway for two, nothing else can be better.

Athens, Greece

Home of the glorious Acropolis, the Parthenon and possibly Europe’s most spectacular pedestrian promenade, Athens is a city that transports you to the glory days of the Romans. The pulsating street-life of this city coupled with the breath-taking architecture transports you into a realm of fairy tales. A city of contradictions, a visitor is never allowed to feel confused in a setting so ancient. If anything, they are seduced by the sheer charm that this city exudes. Perfect for those who wish to have the best of both worlds- a vibrant night life as well as peace and quiet, this is the place for you.

Dominican Republic

No matter what the situation is, the Caribbean has a charm of its own that no one can deny. The vast coastline coloured perfectly with lazy palm-trees and lagoons, this is the one place where the fun never sets. Take your pick from adventure sports, sight-seeing, lazing around under the palm trees and sport that healthy tan that is sure to get everyone jealous. This indulgent tourist playground with aquamarine waters, small towns where the social glue is all-night merengue blasting from modest corner stores is the perfect place to be if you want some serious fun.

Tenerife, Canary Islands

The largest amongst the Canary Islands, Tenerife is renowned for its scenic beauty and the sheer number of carnivals that dot the island. Probably one of the last European Isles, this island has something in store for each of its visitors. From the dramatic sun-kissed beaches in the north to the lunar landscape of Mount Teide National Park, this island is also perfect for those who like to travel alone. Whether you are interested in water sports, clubbing, chilling out on the beach, the endemic plant life of the island, discovering hidden gems, exploring typical Canarian villages or taking a cable car to Spain’s highest peak, Teide, you are sure to have a great time.

Honolulu, Hawaii

A delightful blend of ethnicities, a cacophonous mixture of language, custom and cuisine served with generous helpings of Hawaiian hospitality, Honolulu is a heaven for foodies, music lovers and everyone else who know how to have a good time. In order to escape the city, you can saunter over to gorgeous Waikiki to lounge on the sand, play in the water and listen to splendid Hawaiian music in the evening.

Mindanao Island, Philippines

In the mood to see how nature can be scary? In Malaybalay City, the world’s largest carnivorous plant farm grows pitcher plants, which are capable of digesting small animals. It costs 50 Philippine pesos per person to enter and their minimum fee for entrance is 250 Philippine pesos. Off the beaten track, the absence of other travellers means a better chance of experiencing Filipino culture and indigenous peoples unmediated by the tourism industry.

Reykjavik, Iceland
Colourful and quirky, this city boasts of an incredible nightlife. Defined by cosy cafés, world-class restaurants, fine museums and galleries, and state-of-the-art geothermal pools, Reykjavik is also the destination for all the metalheads. Home to some incredible metal bands, you never know when you might discover a new favourite. In a city where the daylight lasts for only four hours, the snow-clad mountains, the nip in the air, the ocean licking your toes it is indeed perfect.

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