Take a Voyage to the Scandinavian and Baltic States

seashell-2821388__340.jpg A cruise to Scandinavia is not complete without stops in the Baltic states, a region with deep cultural traditions and lovely Old Towns dating back to the medieval vendors of the Hanseatic League Some of the cities considered “most livable” in the world can be found in Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

Let's go Cruisin'!
Norway will appeal to both nature aficionados, with its breathtaking fjords, and history buffs, with its long Viking history.

Don’t skip Stockholm’s “Venice of Scandinavia”, Helsinki’s collection of Art Nouveau and Neoclassical works, or Tallinn’s delicate steeples and gorgeous red rooftops. The northern lights, or aurora borealis, are observable in the region, ought to also be high on your list of must-have experiences.

Between Europe and Asia sits Russia, the most immense sovereign nation in the world. No trip to Russia is complete without a visit to the gorgeous Peterhof Palace in St Petersburg. Stop by the historic Red Square in Moscow to see its iconic domes and towers, then be sure to stop by a traditional café to taste Russian caviar and blini pancakes.

The 10 Best Offbeat Hikes

Wouldn’t it be great to leave all your stress behind and travel to where no one knows you? Remove yourself from the daily grind and get close to the outdoors on some of the world’s most unknown hiking trails.

Visit Africa’s 3rd ultimate peak, the Australian deserts, or walk the world’s most southerly peak in Patagonia, all are stunning.

And don’t be unnerved by the remoteness of these places - there’s a path for every level of trekker.

Gokyo Lakes & Renjo La in Nepal

Duration is approximately 17 days (13 days trekking)
Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging (6)

Ideal for: Active travelers who want to try out a trail different to the ever-popular Everest Base Camp trek
Departure dates: February to mid-May & end of September to December
Wouldn’t it be sweet to be on a trail that is less visited in the Everest region? This trail goes through Sherpa villages to the stunning turquoise Gokya Lakes and runs through the Renjo La (5400m) on a rarely traveled trail.

The course to the Everest region is believed to be one the grandest walking trails and gives one a view of the Himalaya’s 8000-meter crests.

As you ascend to Gokyo Ri, you will witness one of the top views of Everest and neighboring mountains, such as Cho Oyu in Tibet.

Larapinta Trail End to End in Australia
Duration is approximately 14 days

Grading: Moderate to Challenging (6)
Wilderness lovers and seasoned walkers desiring a challenge will love this
Best to go from Mid-April to August

One of Australia’s most renowned treks, the entire walk of the Larapinta follows the West MacDonnell range and is over 223 kilometers. Backpack through the semi-arid region on isolated ridges and canyons, slumber under the stars in the Outback; backpack Mount Sonder, the highest summit in the Northern Territory and take in the stunning sunrise.

Dientes Circuit on Navarino Island, Chile
Duration: Approximately 6 days (4 days trekking)

Grading: Challenging (7)
Ideal for the trekkers who desire getting off the beaten track in Patagonia
Best time to go is December to March
Experience traveling to the southernmost part of the planet to Dientes de Navarino Massif and feel like you are removed form everything and everyone.

You for the most part do not observe many other backpackers on this this 42-kilometer tour at this far end of South America. maldives-3220702__340.jpg This hike has been categorized by Lonely Planet as some of Patagonia’s best hiking areas and is deemed the most out of the way place to visit on earth.

K2 Base camp, Concordia & Gondogora La in Pakistan

Duration is approx. 24 days (16 days trekking)
Grading is entry level mountaineering/ exploratory trekking (8)
Ideal for those who are looking to get into mountaineering, or who are looking for a challenging trek
Best time to go is from June to August

Ranked as a top-notch picturesque route, it goes from the well known Baltoro Glacier, to the “Throne Room of the Mountain Gods” and to the tip the earth’s 2nd very best mountain. This well-known route in Pakistan has captured the minds of adventure seekers and mountains climbers for years, with a vista that covers 360-degrees of a 7000 meter and 8000-meter mountains, together with the great K2.

The Southern Alps in New Zealand
Duration: Approximately 6 days

Grading: Moderate (5)

Best for: Those looking to head for heights
Ideal time to go is November to April
sailing-boat-569336__340.jpg Often called one of the globe’s best trekking, or “tramping” as it is known among the locales, New Zealand’s Southern Alps are a perfect backdrop for a hiking adventure. Hiking in the out of the way alpine tarns with sharp views from above, this journey has even been used as a precursor for a trek in the Himalayas.

Mountains of the Moon in Uganda
Duration: About 13 days (10 days trekking)
Grading: Entry level mountaineering/ exploratory trekking (8)
Best for those who have ticked off Mt Kilimanjaro from their bucket list and are looking for their next summit challenge

Best time to go: December to February, June to September

Tucked away and quiet, the Rwenzori Mountains (or Mountains of the Moon) are Africa's best hidden hidden. Climbing Margherita Peak (5,109m), Africa’s third tallest crest, is not for the faint of heart.

West Coast Trail in Canada
Duration is approximately 8 days - 7-day full-pack trek

Grading is considered moderate to challenging (6)
This is for those active walkers who enjoy coastal walks and seek to combine it with an amazing forest trek and wildlife spotting
Best time to go is August

By ferry, cross the Orca-filled Strait of Georgia and travel to Vancouver Island where your trip begins, and you may possibly catch a glance of more whales and sea lions, eagles, and bears all along the shore. This is regarded as one of the world’s top 10 treks, and if organized well, you will be able to take shoreline strolls on the shelf.

Snowman Trek in Bhutan

Duration: Approx. 27 days (23 days actual trekking)

Grading: Exploratory trekking (8)
Best for anyone desiring a very challenging trek that goes way off the beaten track
Best time to go: September to November
Journey the ultimate traverse of Bhutan crossing 11 grand passes over 4,500 meters through the remote part of Lunana.

This extreme hike also journeys to the charming Paro Valley where you will experience a district of small Buddhist monasteries and remote villages that are concealed away from civilization most of the year.

Pamir Fann Mountains, Tajikstan
Duration is approx.14 days (5 days trekking)
Grading: Moderate (5)

Best for: Those wanting to take their bush walking adventures up a level while incorporating historical and architectural sightseeing
Ideal time to go: Months of June to September
Known for its exceptional mountain views and eye-catching alpine lakes, this off-track hike in virgin Pamir flows into deep valleys with pure clear lakes and flowering fields. One even might observe the summer camps of the Tijiki shepherds.

Tavan Bogd, Mongolia
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Duration: About 11 days (4 days trekking)
Grading: Moderate (5)
Best for those looking to explore untracked wilderness and authentic nomadic culture

When to go: June to August

In this most remote area of Mongolia, you will be presented pure natural landscapes, wildlife and a compelling historical past. You will encounter local herders, bactrian camels, Kazakh eagle hunters and throat-singing Tuvan citizens, and understand more about the native peoples.

Weekend Getaways: You Don't Have To Go Too Far

After a trying week, sometimes a short getaway can replenish your batteries and renew your energy. Of course, selecting a destination can be a struggle if you only have a brief time to travel. Here are just a few of the numerous choices for your special weekend away.

New York City

New York City is a transportation hub, and depending on where you are arriving from, you might drive, fly, or travel by train. It has so many worthwhile inside and outside things to do that weather should not factor into your decision: Central Park and the High Line for lovers of the outdoors, and fascinating museums or entertaining Broadway shows if and when you prefer to remain indoors.

Both the inspiring iconic landmark known as the Statue of Liberty and famous Ellis Island can be visited by ferry.

San Francisco
There is much to enjoy about San Francisco: the iconic cable cars you can ride through city streets, the colorful hilly neighborhoods, the dazzling Golden Gate Bridge, and of course the lovely weather. What's more, sports lovers can enjoy superb views of the San Francisco Bay from AT&T Park in baseball season.
Washington, D.C.

The beautiful U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. has many important attractions that are convenient to visit, as many are free of charge and found within walking distance of each other: the imposing Lincoln Memorial, the awe-inspiring Washington Monument, and many more. The weekend brunch scene is especially fun here, but be sure to secure reservations ahead of time.

New Orleans

eiffel-tower-825978__340.jpg The fascinating city of New Orleans offers an amazing array of activities to select from. The picturesque City Park has a lot of enjoyable things to do if you want to be outside in the open air, or if you prefer museums, check out the famous and fascinating National WWII Museum.

Of course, if you have a weekend in New Orleans, you must walk around the legendary French Quarter and sample the traditional beignets.

Nashville, NC

This small town is loved by easy-going hipsters, beer enthusiasts, as well as anyone who loves gorgeous mountain scenery. Serious hikers will want to take a hike on the iconic Appalachian Trail which passes nearby, while anyone who just wants to enjoy a magnificent view and some fresh air can head over to Pisgah National Forest or the Blue Ridge Parkway. When you have worked up an appetite, stop in at one of the local breweries to enjoy one of the 100-plus local beers and some delicious food.

Chicago
Chicago's legendary eats, unique neighborhoods, and abundance of can't-miss sights make it a great weekend vacation spot. When the temperatures are mild, check out the famous sculpture nicknamed “The Bean” or take a cruise down the Chicago River to see the beautiful architecture.

Meanwhile, museums like the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum are ideal places to escape winter's biting temps.

Seattle
This jewel of the Pacific Northwest features iconic sights like Pike Place Market, the original Starbucks and the Space Needle, all of which you can see in a matter of days.

You could additionally schedule in a hike in Discovery Park or on nearby Mount St. Helens. Don’t fail to dress appropriately – Seattle is known for its cloudy and wet climate.

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