Look to countries such as Romania and Montenegro for a budget summer break
Four new trips in Eastern Europe
This month, the online travel company Responsible Travel announced a huge rise in the popularity of Eastern European destinations selling on its site. Data showed that enquiries for Armenia were up 143 per cent on last year, Albania 110 per cent, followed by Montenegro at a 71 per cent increase and Croatia and Georgia, up 54 per cent each. Rosemary Behan picks four new trips to choose from.
Become an Esplora of Armenia and Georgia with five-stop tour
Following the success of its Armenia tour, Esplora has created its first cultural tour of both Armenia and Georgia. The two-week tour includes most of the important sites in both countries. The trip begins with four nights in Tbilisi, followed by four nights in Yerevan, two nights in Goris and a night each in Vardiza and Kazbegi. The trip costs from Dh10,500 per person, based on two people sharing, including accommodation, internal transport and most meals. FlyDubai (www.flydubai.com) flies direct from Dubai to Tbilisi from Dh1,234 return, including taxes. For more information, visit
Take the bike by the handlebars on self-guided cycling journey
Tick off Montenegro and Albania with a six-day self-guided cycling holiday to the countries. The itinerary includes the former royal capital of Montenegro, Cetinje, small villages such as Rijeka Crnojevića and Ostros, and, across the border in Albania, Shkodra and Lake Skadar, before returning to Montenegrin capital Podgorica, and the Zabljak Crnojevića fortress. The trip, which can also be extended, costs from €490 (Dh2,047) per person, including five nights bed-and-breakfast accommodation, instructions and local emergency support. The price excludes bike hire, which costs from €100 (Dh418) per bike for six days, and luggage transfer, which costs from €200 (Dh836) per tour. Flights are not included – Etihad (www.etihad.com) flies from Abu Dhabi to Podgorica via Belgrade from Dh2,560 return, including taxes. For more information, visit www.responsibletravel.com or www.3etravel.me.
Fitness and festivities combine at week-long Croatian retreat
Combine a festival and a retreat with the first ever Wildfitness retreat on Obonjan Island in Croatia, from July 22 until August 19. Guests can book between one and four weeks at a fitness retreat in the secluded southern part of the island, and take part in daily fitness sessions, clean eating and a variety of workshops, as well as enjoying the acts and performances of the festival. One-week retreats cost from Dh5,500, sharing, including food and activities, but excluding flights and other transport. Obonjan Island is a 40-minute boat trip, or 20 minutes by speedboat, from the coastal town of Sibenik, and 80 kilometres from Split. Emirates (www.emirates.com) flies from Dubai to Split via Zagreb from Dh3,000 return, including taxes. For more information, visit www.wildfitness.com and www.obonjan-island.com.
Visit two Unesco World Heritage Sites in less-explored Romania
Go Barefoot Travel has launched a new nine-day group walking tour through the meadow valleys and remote mountain hamlets of northern Romania's less-explored Maramures and Bucovina regions. The tour includes visits to the painted churches of Bucovina and the wooden churches of Maramures, both Unesco World Heritage Sites. Travellers will also discover the Carpathian Mountains and visit Voronet Monastery. The nine-day trip costs Dh4,265 per person, including accommodation, guiding, most food and internal transport. Wizz Air (www.wizzair.com) flies direct from Dubai to Cluj from Dh322, including taxes. For more information, visit www.gobarefoot.travel.