News partnership 4 Mediterranean hotspots to explore in 2020

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4 Mediterranean hotspots to explore in 2020

Europe is a hugely popular destination for Australians to visit, but narrowing down a country, never mind a city, can be a challenging task.

The Mediterranean coast is incredibly attractive, especially in the European summer, which makes it a good starting point for travel plans. And now, thanks to new routes from leading airline Qatar Airways it’s easier than ever to get there.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is a small town on the Croatian coast with a population similar to that of Port Macquarie. Unlike Port Macquarie, Dubrovnik is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site – and a quick visit to the Old City will show you why.

Although small, it’s a town that many like to go back to time and time again. From the first photo of the white-walled homes with bright orange tiled roofs to the very last dip in the Adriatic Sea, it’s a town that is enchanting and beautiful .

Popular tourist attractions include walking on the walls that encircle the town, taking a sailing trip to the nearby islands and taking the cable car up Mount Srd for some incredible views. A 15-minute boat ride from the old town will whisk you away to Lokrum Island. Wind your way through the pine trees to find sunbathing and swimming spots. The island is only small, but it is also home to a botanic garden and an old Benedictine monastery.

For dining, fresh fish and seafood are in abundance in Dubrovnik, and it’s among the finest anywhere in the Adriatic region. The waters around Mljet and the Elaphite Islands provide a wealth of squid, lobster and shellfish, and the riches of the sea grace the menus of many eateries in the city.

Enjoy flights to Dubrovnik with Qatar Airways via one quick stop in Doha, starting 18 May 2020. Dubrovnik is Qatar Airways’ second destination in Croatia, after Zagreb.

Lyon, France

Lyon, located in the east of the country, is France’s third-largest city (behind Paris and Marseille).

Like much of France, Lyon has a sophisticated air. From its burgeoning wine bars and high-class dining to its opulent shopping scene, it’s a place that you can easily spoil yourself.

Lyon is known all over the world for its gastronomy, and that’s quite a feat in a country that loves food as much as France. You can expect to discover an array of dishes gracing menus throughout the city; look out for classics like coq au vin, duck pâté and tender cuts of meat at one of the traditional bouchons – it’s the quintessential Lyon experience.

Taking a walk along the Rhône is a superb way to get to grips with the city. You’ll find over 5km of walkways running along the river, passing by gardens, al-fresco cafés, concerts and lots more. It’s a popular running route, so don’t be surprised to see locals out and about, getting in a morning jog.

Head to Lyon’s Parc de la Tête d’Or. This is the biggest park in the city and is made up of a lakeshore, zoological park and botanical gardens. There are lots of paths winding through the park, lined with trees that are over a century old. Don’t leave without seeing the Rose Garden, complete with 350 different varieties of rose.

You’ll find that many of the tours of Lyon include a culinary portion, but there’s also the beautiful parks, the majestic architecture (like Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere) and day trips to Avignon and Provence to add to your itinerary.

Enjoy flights to Lyon with Qatar Airways via one quick stop in Doha, starting 23 June 2020. Lyon is Qatar Airways’ third destination in France, after Paris and Nice.

Santorini, Greece

The island of Santorini (also known as Thira) is the perfect spot for a romantic trip. With beautiful waters, towering cliffs and picturesque beaches, it’s easy to have a great time.

Away from the water, the island offers hiking trails, ancient architecture and some incredible restaurants.

When it comes to beaches, don’t be surprised to see that Santorini’s shores are a dark shade of grey, owing to the island’s volcanic history. Among the best of the lot is the Blue Flag beach in Kamari, which is backed by dramatic cliffs. There’s also a 7km shoreline in Perissa, complete with an array of water sports on offer.

This volcanic activity means that Santorini’s soil is rich in minerals, giving the food produced here a unique flavour. Some of the most famous island produce includes cherry tomatoes, white aubergine and spicy arugula.

As for traditional dishes, fava is probably the most famous of the lot. It’s a comforting dish made of yellow split pea puree, served with warm olive oil and lemon. It can either be a main meal or a side dish. You should also look out for ntomatokeftedes (tomato fritters) and chlorotyri (a sour cheese that you’ll only find in Santorini).

A truly cosmopolitan island, Santorini is a paradise for shoppers. Most of your shopping options are located in Fira and Oia, where upmarket boutiques are plentiful – take your pick from clothing, jewellery, books and more. In Oia, the Silk Shop is a must-visit for beautiful fabrics. It’s brimming with scarves and clothing made of silk and cashmere.

Enjoy flights to Santorini with Qatar Airways via one quick stop in Doha, starting 20 May 2020. Santorini is Qatar Airways’ fourth destination in Greece, after Athens, Thessaloniki and Mykonos.

Trabzon, Turkey

Trabzon – also known as Trebizond in some areas – is a coastal city in north-eastern Turkey, situated on the Black Sea.

Dating back around 10,000 years, Trabzon is a city with a huge history, having seen various civilisations leave their marks.

Nestled in a valley and right on the water, it’s an enchanting place. As well as walking around the ancient streets, day trips to Sumela Monastery, Altindere Vadisi National Park and wandering the local markets all have huge appeal.

If you want to explore the dramatic natural beauty that surrounds Trabzon, then head out to Uzungöl, approximately 100km from the centre of the city and located in the heart of the mountains. This beautiful and tranquil lake is surrounded by forests that are crisscrossed with hiking and cycling trails, fishing huts and camp sites.

If you are looking to experience the world-renowned flavours of Turkish cuisine, then Trabzon will not disappoint. A traditional meze platter will offer you a selection of different appetisers and delicacies in one dish, before you delve into the main meal of spiced meat grills. Turkish cuisine is also vegetarian friendly, with a variety of vegetarian dishes highlighting the authentic flavours of the region.

Given Trabzon’s location on the shores of the Black Sea, seafood and fish feature prominently in the city’s cuisine. Try the Black Sea anchovy (hamsi), a local favourite. Another Trabzon staple is “vakfikebir”, a round bread loaf baked in the traditional Trabzon way.

Enjoy flights to Trabzon with Qatar Airways via one quick stop in Doha, starting 20 May 2020. Trabzon is Qatar Airways’ sixth destination in Turkey, after Istanbul, Ankara, Bodrum, Antalya, and Izmir.

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