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Explore (with guides) North Korea
Expensive, difficult to access, highly restricted, with economic woes and electricity shortages, and filled with faceless apartment blocks and mammoth monuments to deceased president Kim Il-sung, North Korea is an unusual holiday choice. But this isolated bastion of a kind of communism is the world’s most mysterious country, which alone is an enticing reason to visit. At all times, you will be accompanied by two government-approved local guides who will fill you in on an official version of history. It is a trip into another world, where mobile phones and the internet are unknown, and the Cold War never ended.

Camping on a raft in the Netherlands or Belgium
Camping in a field is for lightweights. You have not really camped until you camped on a raft. The tent-shaped huts are made out of logs hammered together and rest on floating barrels. The huts are only accessible by water: you paddle there via canoe, taking all necessary supplies with you. There is no electricity and no plumbing – the toilet is a bucket with a lid that you empty in a separate toilet block, a canoe trip away. The rafts are secured in remote idylls on lakes in De Heen, De Wissen and Marnemoende. Do not watch Deliverance before you go.

Klagenfurt, Austria
What? You’ve never heard of Klagenfurt? But it is Austria’s sixth biggest town. The capital of Carinthia. The town is picturesque, with a frothy, Italianate feel and sits on the eastern shore of Lake Wörthersee, the warmest and largest alpine lake in Europe. From April to October visit Minimundus Villacher park and marvel at the detailed mini-models of famous buildings from all over the planet. In the winter, visitors can skate 120km away on Weissensee. The ”white lake” freezes in the colder months.

Stay in a TV Tower in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
A 1960s TV tower is even more proof that the Netherlands has the world’s zaniest places to stay. The Euromast now houses a brasserie and two panoramic suites: ”Heaven” and “Stars”. Heaven overlooks the port, while Stars has city views and a jacuzzi. Both are minimalist but luxurious, with lots of gleaming white and monochrome. If staying in a TV tower is not crazy enough, you can also abseil down from the tower’s ledge, 100m in the air.  If you are not afraid of heights, take a lift to the top to look out from the 185m-high balcony.

 

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© 2011 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘Ten obscure holiday spots’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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