Safaga, Egypt, is a busy commercial port on the Red Sea. But, the town itself is not a reason to visit; the red cliffs, beautiful turquoise water, and excursions to Luxor are. Just north of town is a stretch of sandy beaches where you can rent windsurfing or diving equipment; the wind is steady, and the underwater reefs are spectacular. Luxor is an often-overlooked gem of the ancient world, with temples, sphinxes, and the Valley of Kings, an incredibly well-preserved burial site for the pharaohs of Egypt.
Many ships that call on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar specifically call on the resort island of Nosy Be (Big Island), part of an archipelago off Madagascar’s northwest coast. There are great snorkeling and diving here, but if you stay above the water you can experience the wonderful scents from plantations that produce ylang ylang, cacao, coffee, and vanilla. The Lokobe Reserve has a primary forest populated by unusual animals like black lemurs, mouse lemurs, and vibrant blue panther chameleons.
Burnie, Tasmania, is an industrial city, but it’s also a foodie destination. Take a gourmet food tour to learn about and sample locally produced (and excellent) wines and whiskies, chocolates, truffles, and saffron. There are outstanding cheeses, too, including Mersey Valley and Australian Gold varieties. The island’s abundance of fresh seafood is served in dishes you may not have seen before, like scallop pie.
Experience life in the Arctic Circle on a cruise that ventures to Svalbard, an archipelago of islands about 600 miles off the northernmost point of Norway. These starkly beautiful islands were established as a whaling base in the early 1600s. Svalbard has also been a mining center and is now a base for polar research. More than half the land of this archipelago is protected from development, providing a home for magnificent polar bears, Arctic foxes, reindeer, walruses, seals, and a variety of sea birds.
For information on future cruises to these and other off-the-usual-path destinations, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.