Planning your summer vacation?
Here are a few destinations well worth taking into consideration…
The French Riviera, France
If you want a glamorous beach vacation, the French Riviera will not disappoint.
Where exactly is the French Riviera?
It doesn’t have an official boundary, but it basically consists of the Mediterranean part of the coastline in southeast France.
It is known internationally for its beauty and luxurious appeal, and, since the mid-19th century, it has been a popular vacation spot among the world’s rich and famous. From celebrities, including Brigitte Bardot and Elton John, to master artists, from Pablo Picasso to Francis Bacon, anybody who is anyone has visited the French Riviera at some point.
There are several different cities, towns and villages that you can visit along this stretch of coastline.
Some of the most worthwhile include:
- Nice – the largest city in the French Riviera, Nice is lively and vibrant, with some impressive historic architecture. Make sure that you spend some time in Nice’s Old Town, otherwise known as Vieille Ville, for an authentic taste of true French life
- Èze – this medieval village can be found snuggled within tall cliffs overlooking the sea, with just about every corner of this village looking postcard-perfect
- Menton – this lesser-known destination is such a beautiful coastal village with a relaxed pace of life. Since it is located by the Italian border, the Italian cuisine here is just as delicious as the French
- Grasse – this village is known for being the perfume capital of the world, and there are many big-name perfume factories that you can tour here. Grasse is also known for its colorful fields of lavender, which stretch out as far as the eye can see
Many Canadian destinations attracts hoards of tourists in the winter months. After all, this is where you will find some of the best snow in the world!
However, even though there is plenty of skiing available in Banff, this resort town is more popular as a summer destination spot.
For a number of reasons, including endless meadows of wildflowers, long and leisurely hikes, warmer water temperatures in the lakes, and a spectacular array of wildlife. This is all thanks to Banff being located in the Banff National Park.
Downtown Banff is an authentic mountain town, and is easy to explore by foot. It is packed with quaint cafes and restaurants, along with both independent and brand-name stores.
Of course, people come to Banff to explore its natural beauty rather than its town center, and there is definitely so much of this on offer.
Sulphur Mountain is always a popular spot, thanks to the incredible views that can be found at its summit, highlighted by the 360 degree observation deck.
How do you get to the top?
The easiest way is by taking the Banff Gondola, which provides a very scenic ride. Alternatively, if you would rather climb, there is a path to take you to the summit, but be sure to set aside at least two hours for this hike.
Another great hiking spot is the Sunshine Meadows. This is known as Sunshine Village in the winter months, and is a popular ski resort. However, once the snow melts, the 3000 acres of greenery that opens up underneath offers up some of the most picturesque hiking trails in the entire country.
Looking for more of an adrenaline rush?
Head to the Kicking Horse River. It’s not too far from town and boasts class five rapids, narrow gorges and cascading waterfalls. If you aren’t a rafting pro, check out the Kananaskis River instead, or Horseshoe Canyon.
Isla Holbox, Mexico
You are probably thinking…
Why would I want to go to Mexico in the summer?
You may think that this would be a hot and busy time of year to visit, but the temperature is actually quite comfortable, usually somewhere under 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the island is much less crowded. Plus, accommodation also costs less in the summer months!
Where exactly is Isla Holbox?
It’s located in Quintana Roo State, just north of the Yucatan Peninsula.
The island is just 26 miles long and completely car-free, giving you a wonderfully peaceful atmosphere. The vibe here is so laid back, making this the perfect destination for some true rest and relaxation.
Of course, some people get itchy feet when sitting around for too long. Don’t worry, there is so much choice when it comes to things to do in Isla Holbox, including:
- Swimming with whale sharks – the peak season for this is between mid-May and mid-September, making the summer months ideal for catching these majestic giants in the wild
- Wildlife tours – wildlife lovers will appreciate the natural diversity on the island. From crocodiles and pelicans to flamingos and rare fish, animals are abundant on Isla Holbox
- Yalahau Cenote – it takes around half an hour to reach this cenote from the island, and the clear blue water offers up some spectacular diving opportunities
- Cabo Catoche – this reef is one of the best in the area for snorkeling and exploring the underwater world
With most international flights arriving in at Geneva airport, rather than Switzerland’s other airports, a trip to Geneva couldn’t be more convenient.
The fact that this is one of the most visually stunning cities in Switzerland is another reason to make Geneva your summer vacation destination this year.
Wondering what there is to actually do in Geneva?
Well, to begin with, a walk around the city is a must. Take in all of the historic architecture around you, along with the many unique stores. This city is an easy one to explore by foot, and this truly is the best way to soak up its atmosphere.
Once you have your bearings, make sure that you check out some of the many chocolatiers that you will find dotted around the city. It is well worth booking yourself in for a tour, as these will take you to a few different chocolate factories, as well as some of the city’s best patisseries.
Geneva is famous for its cheese fondue too! In fact, the Swiss have the highest cheese consumption in the world, devouring, on average, around 21kg per person per year.
This is likely partly due to the popularity of cheese fondue, which makes use of blend of different cheeses. This dish will vary at each place you eat it, meaning that cheese lovers will always have something new to try!
After all of that cheese and chocolate, you will probably want to work off the food a bit. Spend some time strolling around Geneva’s many museums. From the world-class art at the Musee d’Art Moderne et Contemporain to the rare and valuable watches at the Patek Phillippe Museum, the museums of Geneva are great for a dose of culture.
While city-based attractions are always fun, Geneva does have plenty of natural beauty too. Lake Geneva, which is shared between Switzerland and France, is definitely worth a visit. If you can, book yourself in for a steamboat ride to take you across the lake – the views are magnificent!
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Stretching out for around 200 miles, the Outer Banks consist of a line of barrier islands that cover pretty much the majority of North Carolina’s coastline, along with parts of Virginia too.
These are islands that are full of history, with this being the place from which the Wright Brothers took off on the world’s first flight in 1903. This important historic moment is marked by the Wright Brothers National Monument, as well as the First Flight Airport.
Wondering what there is to do in the Outer Banks?
You have such a wide range of options available, such as:
- Off-road driving near Corolla, to catch a glimpse of the wild horses that have lived on this part of the Outer Banks for over 400 years
- Visiting the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which was built in 1870. If you climb the 257 steps to the top, you will be rewarded with extraordinary panoramic views of the area around you, as well as the Atlantic Ocean
- Exploring the 8500 acre Currituck National Wildlife Refuge
- Go hand gliding or kite flying on the dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park
- Relax on the beaches. These can be found in just about every part of the Outer Banks, meaning that you will always find a beach that is uncrowded and unspoiled
- Try some watersports, which the islands are famous for. Everything from kayaking, fishing, parasailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and more can be tried here
- Have a go at ghost crab hunting after dark. If you see people strolling around the beach at night with a flashlight in their hand, this is what they are doing
When it comes to the Outer Banks, you definitely won’t have a problem finding a variety of things to do. Instead, your main issue is likely to be finding enough time to fit all of these in!
Let’s begin with the downside of visiting Marrakesh in the summer…
Although Morocco lies at the northernmost end of Africa, its summers are still very hot. However, if you are confident that you can handle the heat, summers in Marrakesh tend to be quite quiet, since peak season is now over. This will really enable you to soak up the city’s exotic atmosphere so much better, making the heat well worth it.
Marrakesh is a destination that everybody should visit at least once in their lives.
Because this diverse city is so completely unique. It will tantalize each one of your senses, with so many new sights, sounds, scents and more to take in.
For most first-time visitors, it’s the food and the souks that cause the most excitement. Both of these are well worth experiencing as much as possible (give Souk Semmarine a try if you want to explore the largest souk in the city), but there is so much more to Marrakesh too…
This is a city rich in history and culture, and there are a few key spots in Marrakesh where you can learn more about this:
- Bahia Palace – featuring 19th century Moroccan architecture, this palace features an interior so intricate and ornate that you could easily spend hours strolling through its endless maze of rooms
- Musee Yves Saint Laurent – even those who aren’t fashionistas will appreciate all that French designer Yves Saint Laurent has done for the industry, especially after visiting this museum
- Jardin Majorelle – located right next to the Musee Yves Saint Laurent, Jardin Majorelle is a botanical garden that specializes in cacti
- Jemaa el-Fnaa – there is no denying that this large square in Medina is very tourist-oriented, but the street entertainment, snake charmers, belly dancers and more make this spot worth visiting, even if just once. The food here is great too, with numerous street food vendors to choose from, and the square is surrounded by rooftop bars for you to relax at afterwards
- El Badi Palace – although several of these ancient structures are now in ruins, some of the palace’s towers are still standing. From here, you will be able to enjoy a panoramic view of all of Medina
- Maison de la Photographie – the photography exhibits in this museum document the history of the country in such a fascinating way
One more thing that you need to know when in Marrakesh…
Make sure that you visit a hammam.
Never heard of a hammam before?
It’s a Turkish-style public steam bath, and is definitely worth trying. The buildings themselves are usually pretty impressive, and the bath process usually ends with a relaxing massage.
Summer vacations are such a great opportunity to take some time out and do something for yourself, whether this may be spending time on sandy beaches or hiking through mountain landscapes. Whichever you prefer, these destinations provide all of that and more, offering up something for just about everybody.