Mother’s Day special: best trips to gift your mom

Madrid boasts astonishing art galleries, relentless nightlife, an exceptional live music scene, and a feast of fine restaurants
Image courtesy: ©ventdusud/Shutterstock

Remember all those days you worried about your exams; that job you really wanted to get; your nights as a hypochondriac (Oh God! Is it a pimple or something else?); that day you were really hungry and staring at your fridge wouldn’t help; and so many other things you thought didn’t come with a solution? Whatever ‘challenges’ life threw at you, nothing could stand in the way of a mother’s hug. It’s almost as if they melted away.

Today, when there are so many days for us to celebrate (International nose-picking day, First Foot Day…, the list is long believe it or not), we’re glad there’s a day that celebrates mothers who are responsible for getting us this far, unscathed, in one piece, and totally awesome. Don’t sit down to count the ways in which to owe her – it’s futile, kid. But how about you let her know how special she is to you by gifting her a round trip ticket to a destination she’s always wanted to land in but couldn’t for some reason that made sense at the time? Read our list and get inspired.

MADRID, SPAIN

Spain’s premier style centre, Madrid boasts astonishing art galleries, relentless nightlife, an exceptional live music scene, and a feast of fine restaurants and tapas bars. Away from the capital, the endless horizons of Central Spain’s thinly populated high meseta (plateau) are where you’ll find some of Spain’s most engaging towns. Renaissance Salamanca, lovely little Segovia and Toledo are places where history seems written on every stone.

Getting there

Flights from India and elsewhere all land at Barajas Airport (Aeropuerto de Barajas; tel: 902 40 47 04; www.aena.es) 15km northeast of the city.

Top five highlights

Museo del Prado: Works by Goya, Velázquez and other masters.

La Latina tapas crawl: Medieval lanes peppered with tapas bars.

Toledo old town: Christian, Jewish and Muslim heritage.

Plaza Mayor, Salamanca: One of Spain’s most beautiful squares.

Alcázar, Segovia: The inspiration for Disney’s famous castle.

For more inspiration, click here.

 

Florence is the best place to view masterpieces created by the Renaissance superstars
Image courtesy: Lonely Planet/Justin Foulkes

FLORENCE, TUSCANY & UMBRIA, ITALY

The sun-soaked region of Tuscany is home to green hills, olive groves and rolling vineyards. It was also the cradle of Italy’s intellectual and artistic revolution, the Renaissance. Florence is the best place to view masterpieces created by the period’s superstars, while Pisa nearby is home to the Leaning Tower. Siena, on the other hand, has a decidedly Gothic flair. Right next door to Tuscany, the region of Umbria is lovingly called ‘the green heart’ of Italy. Here, vibrant Perugia hosts popular jazz and chocolate festivals, and Assisi is a major pilgrimage site. So if your mom loves a little bit history, art, culture and picturesque views, take her here.

Getting there

Florence Airport (FLR; www.aeroporto.firenze. it) handles mainly domestic flights. Pisa Airport (PSA; www.pisa-airport.com), Tuscany’s main international airport, is well linked with Florence. Perugia’s Aeroporto Sant’Egidio (PEG; tel: 075 59 21 41; www.airport.umbria.it) has daily flights to Milan.

Top five highlights

Florence Duomo: A Renaissance icon.

Galleria dell’Accademia: See David, the world’s hunkiest statue.

Leaning Tower: A giddy masterpiece.

Palazzo Pubblico: Politics made artistic in Siena.

Assisi: Profoundly moving frescoes at Basilica di San Francesco.

For more inspiration, click here.

Paris has iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Cathédrale de Notre Dame and the beautiful Seine
Image courtesy: Lonely Planet

PARIS, FRANCE

Paris has iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Cathédrale de Notre Dame and the beautiful Seine, but one can experience the true magic of the city by strolling down its broad boulevards, past grand buildings, through its many gardens and esplanades, and exploring its backstreets and their bistros. What mom is going to say ‘no’ to that?

Getting there

Paris has two main airports Aéroport Roissy Charles de Gaulle (www.aeroportsdeparis.fr) and Aéroport d’Orly (www.aeroportsdeparis.fr).

Top five highlights

Eiffel Tower: The iconic landmark that is more Parisian than Paris.

Champs-Élysées: Paris’s most famous boulevard.

Cathédrale de Notre Dame: Amazing architecture and ambience.

Musée du Louvre: One of the world’s most famous art museums.

Montmartre: Relive ooh-la-la Paris in this lively former village.

For more inspiration, click here.

Thailand’s Andaman coast is like a 'Travel to Paradise' poster that any mom will surely love
Image courtesy: Lonely Planet/Catherine Sutherland

PHUKET & THE ANDAMAN COAST, THAILAND

Thailand’s Andaman coast is like a ‘Travel to Paradise’ poster that any mom will surely love. And for once, the beauty exceeds the hype. And there’s plenty for her to do here, too. Boats idle between the Similan & Surin Islands, dropping scuba divers deep down into the greatest dive sites. Phuket, the biggest island, is the region’s pleasure capital, and Ko Phi-Phi showcases spectacular beauty.

Getting There

Phuket International Airport is located 30km northwest of Phuket town. Several international airlines fly to Phuket and have offices in town.

Top five highlights

Culinary Phuket: Fresh seafood cooked in various styles.

Surin & Similan Islands: The best diving sites in Thailand. Period.

Ko Phi Phi Don: One of the most beautiful beaches on planet Earth.

Ko Lanta: For a quieter vacation with a laid-back island vibe.

Kayaking at Krabi: Paddle in emerald waters amidst stunning limestone cliffs.

For more inspiration, click here.

The article was first published in May 2015, and has been updated since.

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