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Opposites attract: Virtuoso flirts with country coupling for the ultimate in divergent experiences


The 2020 Virtuoso Luxe Report named country coupling as a key trend in upscale travel.


SYDNEY - Globetrotters are traversing multiple countries in shorter journeys to maximise their experiences and enrich their travels. Confirming that opposites do indeed attract, luxury travel network Virtuoso encourages travellers to aim for destinations that offer dynamic differences in diverse settings. Close in proximity but faraway in style, these perfect pairings push the boundaries of a single trip and make for an intoxicating Valentine voyage.

The 2020 Virtuoso Luxe Report named country coupling as a key trend in upscale travel, and the following are surprising combinations that represent the best of both worlds.  

Zermatt, Switzerland to Cairo, Egypt
A country coupling for the adventurous at heart, begin by visiting picturesque Zermatt, where intrepid travellers can ski the highest peaks in the Swiss Alps. Marvel at the iconic Matterhorn and quaint wooden chalets, walk the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge and sample apres-ski activities. When it’s time to shake off the snow, trade the frosty slopes of Zermatt for the slopes of the Giza Pyramids. With its abundant history and majestic culture, Cairo is the ideal destination for epic experiences and wondrous views. 

A nonstop flight from Geneva to Cairo is four hours. Travellers should also factor in the travel time from Geneva to Zermatt, which is an estimated three to four hours by train. 

Bangkok, Thailand to Paro, Bhutan 
Frenzied Bangkok has an attraction for all, and its unique blend of chaos and culture guarantees a good time. Hop on the Skytrain for great city views en route to the vibrant Chatuchak Market or the must-see Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. After the buzz of Bangkok, immerse in the sprawling nature and spiritual enlightenment of Bhutan. Although not the easiest to gain access to, this small Buddhist kingdom’s unspoiled landscape and commitment to communal happiness make it the optimal destination for reflection and renewal. 

The flight time from Bangkok to Paro is three to four hours.

Dublin, Ireland to Reykjavik, Iceland
The journey from Ireland to Iceland includes captivating scenery and one-of-a-kind experiences in two vastly different locales. Settle into Dublin with some aged whiskey or feast on fish and chips at the century-old Leo Burdock Christchurch. Adrenaline junkies can enjoy paragliding, buggy racing and rafting, while others can opt for a day trip to the stately Blarney Castle or the remarkable Cliffs of Moher. The rugged beauty of Iceland is also sure to amaze, as capital city Reykjavik can be a party paradise or the springboard for incredible thrills like helicopter tours, whale watching and, with luck, the Northern Lights.

A nonstop flight from Dublin to Reykjavik is between two and three hours. 

Kruger National Park, South Africa to Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique  
From safari to sand, this excursion is for luxury travellers who want it all. Home to an abundance of wildlife, Kruger National Park’s private reserves and luxury lodges make for an unforgettable exploration of nature. Witness an African sunrise aboard a hot air balloon, take an afternoon bush walk or peruse the park’s rich history at the Albasini Ruins. After an extraordinary encounter with the Big Five, continue the adventure in the secluded Bazaruto Archipelago. These stunning islands off the coast of Mozambique offer turquoise water, pristine coral reefs and thriving marine life. Snorkel in protected sites and observe the fascinating birdlife in this exquisite Eden. 

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