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Country Coupling? Opposites Attract

Virtuoso flirts with country coupling for the ultimate in divergent experiences

Confirming that opposites do indeed attract, luxury travel network Virtuoso® encourages travelers 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 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 travelers 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 après-ski activities. When it’s time to shake off the snow, trade the frosty slopes of Zermatt for the slopes of the pyramids of Giza. With its abundant history and majestic culture, Cairo is the ideal destination for epic experiences and wondrous views.

Nonstop flights from Geneva to Cairo are four hours. Travelers should also factor in the travel time from Geneva to Zermatt, which is 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, become immersed 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 Reykjavík, 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 Reykjavík 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 Reykjavík is between two and three hours.

Kruger National Park, South Africa to Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique  

From safari to sand, this excursion is for luxury travelers 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 Mozambiqueoffer turquoise water, pristine coral reefs and thriving marine life. Snorkel in protected sites and observe the fascinating birdlife in this exquisite Eden.

Flights from Johannesburg to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport are less than an hour, and flights from Johannesburg to Vilanculos, Mozambique are two to three hours. Travelers can transfer from Vilanculos to one of the six islands by helicopter or boat but should keep in mind that flights to Bazaruto do not run daily.