The Alternative Travel Calendar
It may be easy to catch a flight to the Costas and share a sliver of Benidorm Beach with a bevy of Brits abroad but there are other options on offer besides. To help open your eyes to the alternatives, Hotel Price Scanner has put together a collection of more unusual travel destinations to see you through the year.
January – Skiing in Kashmir
Ok, so you’re so over St Moritz, you’ve had a gutful of Gstaad and those snow legs of yours are in serious need of a new adventure. Turn your back on Europe and head to Kashmir for the hottest curry powder skiing in the world. Gulmarg is home to the world’s highest ski lift and has some of the heaviest snow falls in the Hamalayas. With peak season lasting just six weeks or so from the start of January, now is the time to enjoy the ridges, bowls and tree-lined slops of Aperwhat Mountain against the majestic backdrop of Nanga Parbat, at 8125 metres the ninth highest peak in the world.
February – Galaxidi Flour Festival
Grab your gas mask and head to Galaxidi. This sleepy harbour town north of the Peloponnese comes alive in Febuary with more than 1.5 tonnes of coloured flour which are thrown through the streets to mark the end of the Carnival period. Messy.
March – Igloo village
Back to the snow for a quick flurry of Greenlandish fun. Make Ittoqqortoormiit your destination and live like a local in the company of the Inuit. Sleep in caves, ride dog sleds and do your best to avoid being eaen by a very hungry bear population. Don’t forget your thermals.
April – St George’s Day
Head to Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina or Macedonia, or the cities of Moscow Genova, Ljubljana, Beirut, Qormi or Victoria for major celebrations to mark the day of England’s Patron Saint, St George. Anywhere, in fact, but here.
May – Gloucester Cheese Rolling Festival
Kick things off with a big cheese. May bank holiday sees hundreds of people gathering on a very steep hill and chasing an 8lb Double Gloucester cheese all the way down. Straight into the arms of the St John’s Ambulance crew.
June – El Colacho
Otherwise known as the Baby Jumping Festival, El Colacho has been celebrated annually since 1620 in the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia, near Burgos. Picture the scene… a priest dresses up as the devil and runs through the town smacking the locals on the backside before jumping over an unsuspecting pile of newborns laid out on a mattress in the street. Those priests have a lot to answer for.
July – World UFO Day
Head to Roswell, New Mexico, to celebrate World UFO Day on the site of the infamous Roswell UFO Incident, with scientists and conspiracy theorists for company.
August – La Tomatina
Back to Spain and a date at the village of Bunol, near Valencia, to join the masses in slinging around 100,000 pounds of tomatoes. Wet suits and goggles essential.
September – The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Feeling worthy? Escape the autumn chills and head for the ocean. To a patch of Pacific waters the size of Texas to be precise, where billions of pieces of chemical waste, sludge and slurry are brought together by the swirling currents of the North Pacific Gyre. For around £7,000 a pop you can hang out on a trash-clearing trawler and do your bit for the environment.
October – Rajasthan
Back to Asia to mark the end of the Monson season with a trip to Rajasthan. The Karni Mata Temple in the town of Deshnoke is your target, to pay homage to the goddess Durga and the 20,000 sacred (live) rats that watch over her in her resting place.
November – Punkin Chunkin
Delaware is your destination for the Punkin Chunkin festival. Join thousands of fellow pumpkin lovers to see who can toss, hurl and catapult a barrage of big round orange things over the greatest distance. Squashy.
December – The Clau Wau
Hop into your fat suit, bung on your beard and get ready for two days of chimney climbing, wood chopping and Jagermeister slurping. A trip to the Santa Claus World Championships in Samnaun, Austria, is the perfect place to put yourself in the mood for Christmas. Cheers.