As the weather heats up, it’s time to make a decision about your summer travel plans. We’ve outlined 15 top destinations—from Seattle, Wash. to The Dalmatian Coast, Croatia—that are sure to spice up your summer.
Just a short plane ride from the tourism epicenter of Paris, the charming city of Nice (pronounced “Nis”) is lined with palm trees and set on the Mediterranean Sea. Though it might seem like a traveler’s dream, it wasn’t always a top destination. Flashy nearby destinations like Saint-Tropez drew tourists, while Nice was left with an underwhelming reputation. That is, until recently—among the most notable improvements are the thriving food scene and public works upgrades. Nice has managed to keep its historic edge, though, maintaining its old quarter, classic architecture and some of the best museums in the area.
The year-round population has been slowly climbing on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, which has always been rather quiet after Labor Day, but even with more full-time residents, the change that comes just before June remains as explosive as ever. The rich and famous head to summer homes via plane and yacht and most others come by ferry to enjoy the temperate weather, undeveloped beaches and various towns, each with its own personality. Visit Edgartown for a look at historic estates and shopping in high-end boutiques or enjoy the laid back beach vibe in Oak Bluffs, where you’ll find a carousel, ice cream shops and an incredible campground, complete with cottages left by settlers.
Munich is a city of wonderful contradictions—firm roots in the 12th century and traditions that linger today meet a growing tech industry, for one. It’s been called the land of laptops and lederhosen and the fusion seems to serve the city well. Tourists have taken notice of Munich and visit not only for Oktoberfest, but enjoy the summer as well. Come for the beer gardens and paradox culture, stay for the museums, art galleries and bike the city.
Made up of more than 300 islands, the majority of which were formed by ancient volcanic activity, the Republic of Fiji is the epitome of tropical paradise. From the soft coral packed with fish (a diver’s heaven) to the incredible waves that draw surfers, Fiji continues to win over travelers with world-class waters. Head inland to discover lesser-known treasures like hot springs, lively cities and volcanoes to climb.
Sun, sand and surf, this Greek island has it all and a whole lot more, but in the high season of summer, the one thing you won’t likely find is an empty beach. The world-renowned party island celebrates around the clock all summer, but the drinking and dancing are far from the only draw. Set sail off the coast, dive the reefs and tour the historic streets and buildings of this infamous island.
Few cities are as tough to describe or as worthy of exploration as ever-changing Seattle. With each neighborhood carving out its own slice of culture, there is no shortage of things to do or see, no matter where your interests lie. Revel in the rich art and music scene, dine in incredible new restaurants or check out nearby outdoor adventure and hike the North Cascades or paddle Puget Sound. Be sure to visit in the summer to take advantage of the best weather (July-September tends to be the sweet spot).
Lisbon has monuments, museums, cathedrals, all the typical marks of a major city, but the capital city of Portugal is unlike any other capital in the world. The city features intricate works of street art, but is also home to incredible galleries; ancient alleyways lead you past old pastel-colored homes, while new office buildings sit not far away and beautiful beaches aren’t far off, either. Visit Lisbon to get a sense of this one-of-a-kind capital, that’s starting to gain major popularity with travelers.
Head north this summer to cool off in Montreal, the city brimming with fine food, contemporary design and festival after festival. A major hub for creatives like musicians, dancers and writers, the city itself feels inspired and there’s always something going on. From bike festivals to electronic music festivals, Montreal has a little something for everyone.
This ancient city with a tumultuous past is fast becoming one of the most interesting places in all of Europe. Adventurous travelers can make their way through the historic caves beneath the city, hop on a bike and explore the streets or see it from the riverfront in a kayak. Don’t miss the Nikola Tesla Museum, the Savamala quarter (the creative hotspot) or the unforgettable nightlife, some of which actually floats on the river.
Ireland—a place of intense beauty and unmistakable culture—is best enjoyed in the summer. Lush greenery and bright flowers, the afternoon sun and outdoor cafés are a few of the summer highlights, but Ireland is also well known for its wide array of summer festivals. Outdoor adventurers should take advantage of the weather to hike or kayak off the coast; there are many outdoor treasures, from castles to national parks that are most spectacular in the height of summer.
Pristine beaches, tropical forest, rice fields and bustling cities—you’ll find all of that and more on the 7,000+ islands that make up the Philippines. The islands’ varied landscape is matched by its many offerings; adventurous travelers will find themselves with endless options. From camping out on the beach to spelunking, rock climbing, diving and zip lining.
The isolated island country of Madagascar is home to spectacular biodiversity—many of the plant and animal species that live there can’t be found anywhere else on the planet. Clearly a dream destination for nature lovers and adventurers, a trip to Madagascar doesn’t come cheap or easy. The roads on the island are in poor shape, so you’d better embrace off-road driving or be prepared to hire a boat.
Once a quiet fishing village, Bodrum is now a seaside getaway worthy of the international masses. Though much has changed for the village in the past 40-or-so years, it’s still managed to hold on to its roots and relaxed vibe. Don’t miss the views from the Castle of St. Peter and be sure to take a look at the ancient remains of the Mausoleum.
Drawing in travelers with breathtaking coastal views, lively ports and thriving nightlife, the Dalmatian Coast was a well-kept secret not long ago. Once a low key getaway for those in-the-know, it is now a top summer travel hotspot and it’s not hard to see why. Sailing and yachting is top-notch on the Dalmatian Coast, nightlife is buzzing and the coastline is among the best in Europe.
Formed by the remnants of glaciers, the picturesque fjords of Norway are some of the most beautiful and easily accessible on earth. Head to Bergen for easy access to some of the best views and spend some time hiking. Though the majority of tourists come in the summer, it’s easy to find your way off the beaten path and catch some unbelievable views.