Five less typical destinations to escape to during the October long weekend

Tirana, Albania
The capital of Albania, situated between the adriatic coast and the albanian alps, is an interesting city which has gone through a big transformation in the past years. Albanians are very friendly. You can try their excellent coffee, beer and rakija (a plum brandy), stop and stare at the colorful concrete buildings which add brightness to what was once a rather monochrome cityscape. Walk through Tirana’s centre in Skanderbeg Square, or go shopping in the trendiest neighborhood of Blloku. You can take the contemporary glitz from Sky Club, a rotating bar high in the air offering 360-degree views across the city. You can also visit Mount Dajti National Park, or go on a one day trip to the historic city of Durrësi, by the sea.

Vipava Valley, Slovenia
The fertile, wine-rich Vipava Valley stretches southeast from Nova Gorica. It’s an excellent place to tour by car or bike, with outstanding gourmet treats and idyllic rural scenery. The valley’s mild climate encourages the cultivation of stone fruits, and in autumn the foliage is deeply colourful and photogenic.

You can take the Bohinj Railway Steam Train Ride of the Alpine Region and have a culinary journey on it. There are a lot of wine tasting tours, and it is also very close to the city of Ajdovščina.

Dundee, Scotland
Dundee’s new Victoria & Albert Museum of art and design, has just been inaugurated (15th September). It was been designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, and will host exhibitions showcasing best of art and design from around the world. There are other interesting museums to be visited such as the McManus Galleries and the Verdant Works. You can walk through the heart of Dundee, City Square, visit the 46-gun Unicorn which the oldest British-built ship still afloat, or watch the three masts of Captain Scott’s famous polar expedition vessel, the RRS Discovery.

Kosovo is nestled in the Balkans, between Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, and Macedonia. 20 years ago it was practically destroyed and became independent only 10 years ago. Kosovo tourism is still developing, so you can expect friendly locals, cheap hotels, and a lot of beautiful places and incredible nature. You can visit Kosovo’s gems: Prizren, Peja, Gjakova, and Pristina, Kosovo’s beautiful mosques, and UNESCO protected medieval monasteries. You can also explore its markets and go hiking in its mountains, and try their fantastic coffee because Kosovo is on of the best places on the continent to drink coffee!

Friesland, The Netherlands
One hour and a half from Amsterdam there is the area of Friesland, which has been designated European Capital of Culture 2018 and elected by Lonely Planet as the third (from ten) ‘Best in Europe’ spots of 2018. The coast of Friesland has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and you can expect endless vast landscapes, unique flora and fauna, clear waters and historic dune ‘terps’. Leeuwarden is the provincial capital of the States of Friesland and where the artist and graphic designer M.C. Escher was born.

A lot of things are happening this year, and you can check the programing in its website. Apart from all the cultural activities, there are great walks and hikes, boating routes, or experience the starry sky in Boschplaat on Terschelling and in the Lauwersmeer National Park.

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