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Sometimes to get the best travel advice, you need to speak to the experts. This month we chat to our very own Product Executive, Simona Zaliskeviciute, to find out her favourite and most up-and-coming travel destinations, and what's next on her travel wish-list.

Hey Simona! Tell us what your role is at Solos...

I'm one of the Product Executives at Solos, and I joined the company in September last year. It's my job to plan and put together exciting itineraries for our City Breaks, UK Breaks and Discovery tours

 

Out of everyone in the office, you've travelled the most this year! Can you tell us about where you've been?

Well I've just come back from a short holiday in Sri Lanka, where I spent a week in Mirissa. I've actually been to Sri Lanka seven times now, so I've seen all the main sights and plenty of beautiful beaches too. It's probably one of my favourite countries in the world, which is why I'm going back again this Christmas for two weeks!

I spent my last Christmas in the Spanish city of Malaga, which was lovely. It's a very compact city, so you can walk everywhere, and when I went the streets were decorated with some of the best Christmas lights I've ever seen. The food was absolutely fantastic; we had a seafood feast for Christmas lunch! It's a nice temperature throughout the winter too, warm enough to soak up some sun but cool enough to explore without getting tired and sweaty. In short, it's the perfect place for a city break!

 

Speaking of city breaks, you've also added San Sebastián to our selection of Spanish city breaks. What drew you to this destination?

San Sebastián was actually my biggest discovery last year.

My partner and I have a camper van, and we discovered San Sebastián when we were driving across France and northern Spain. It's so beautiful and historical - staying there turned out to be the best part of the holiday! I felt like I'd stepped back into the 60s: it's a beach town, so it's where the rich used to go on holiday.

The best bit about it is definitely the food: the city is dotted with pinxtos bars, where you can sample tasty local tapas from the Basque region, and there's also a handful of Michelin star restaurants if you're into fine dining. Now is definitely the right time to visit; the city is super popular with Spanish tourists, but it's still relatively undiscovered amongst foreigners.

 

As the office's native Lithuanian, you’ve also added our first Lithuanian holiday to the Solos portfolio! Can you tell us a bit about Lithuania and our new Vilnius city break?

I'm originally from a very small town in Lithuania, but I lived in Vilnius - the capital city - for 15 years.

Lithuanians love their beer, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Vilnius! You'll find so many pubs and local breweries, all reasonably priced, and the nightlife is also great. You can walk absolutely everywhere, and there's a beautiful Baroque-style Old Town to explore.

This year our Solos group will be heading to Vilnius at a very special time - during the annual Culture Night Festival! Usually in summertime the capital is quiet because people migrate to the coast, but on the Culture Night Festival people from all over Europe come to Vilnius to stroll through the city's art and light installations, admire the galleries and craft stalls, and sample the cafes and pubs which stay open all night. It's a real treat that shouldn't be missed!

 

You obviously go on lots of different types of holidays: what's your favourite?

That's such a difficult question! My ideal holiday would probably combine lots of sightseeing with a relaxing beach stay. I think it's a shame to travel and not learn about the country you're in, but you should always be able to relax on your holiday too.

I also love city breaks. Sometimes you need to recharge your batteries quickly, so it's great to be able to just jump on a plane and spend a few days in Rome, Barcelona or another beautiful European city. City breaks are action-packed but you'll return home feeling like a new person!

Saying that, I do think the UK is absolutely beautiful too, and I try to explore it as much as I can.

 

Us too. What's your favourite place you've been to in the UK?

There's so many, but my most memorable experience was when I stayed at a campsite in Wales and climbed Mount Snowdon. The scenery is something I'll never forget.

I'm also going to Scotland this summer, which I'm really excited about. I've been to the Scottish highlands before, but this time I'll be seeing Glasgow, Edinburgh and everything in between. 

 

So what has been your best holiday to date?

It wasn't really a holiday, but my favourite travel experience was when I lived and worked in Alaska for 8 months in my twenties for a student exchange programme. I lived right next to Denali National Park, saw grizzly bears on the streets, went rafting and caught a fish that was the same size as me!

Alaska was my first proper travel experience - a real eye-opener - and it was then that I decided I wanted to work in travel.

 

And what's next on your list?

I've been to Thailand three times now, but I really want to explore the rest of south-east Asia - Cambodia, VietnamLaos and Burma in particular. I'd also love to island hop around the Philippines - the beaches are supposed to be some of the most beautiful in the world.

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