View along the Grand Canal to Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Veneto Region, Italy (photo) / Photo © Ken Welsh

Best Places to Visit this Summer

It’s almost the end of the academic year, and we’re all excited to put our feet up and enjoy some well deserved rest. Whether your idea of time off is sunbathing on a white sand beach, hiking, or visiting as many museums and cultural hubs as possible, our blog on the best places to travel this summer will hopefully give you a few ideas as to where is best to go.

Sicily 

Sicily is a place that caters to all tastes. Sun, sea and sand provide a perfect destination to any hoping for a relaxed get-away this summer. The scorching Mediterranean climate provides the promise of a tan, and delicious seafood dishes that are impossible to resist. This picturesque island boasts beautiful and diverse landscapes to explore, as well as being home to a hugely diverse cultural history. Find time to explore quaint villages, impressive amphitheatres and beautiful buildings.

 

Taormina, Sicily, 1876 (w/c on paper), Ferguson, William J. (fl.1849-86) / Private Collection / Abbott and Holder, London, UK
Taormina, Sicily, 1876 (w/c on paper), Ferguson, William J. (fl.1849-86) / Private Collection / Abbott and Holder, London, UK

Venice

Often thought of as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Venice is home to a variety of rich cultural hot-spots making it a destination that does not disappoint. The Peggy Guggenheim collection displays a wide variety of exciting modern art, the second most visited museum in Venice, the gallery displays artwork from Peggy Guggenheim’s private collection as well as temporary exhibitions, with work ranging from Cubist works, to photography, to Surrealism.

Venice at Dawn (oil on canvas), Easton, Timothy / Private Collection
Venice at Dawn (oil on canvas), Easton, Timothy / Private Collection

However, sights such as Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Basilica provide an alternative cultural insight into the culture of Venice. The historical heritage of these buildings harks back to the splendour of the Venetian Republic. Furthermore, the picturesque canals and beautiful Gothic architecture, make Venice the perfect place for a stroll in the sun and take some time away.

View of the facade of the Basilica di San Marco (photo), Italian School / Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy / Cameraphoto Arte Venezia
View of the facade of the Basilica di San Marco (photo), Italian School / Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy / Cameraphoto Arte Venezia

San Francisco

Consider this a one-way ticket to be outlandish: find yourself in San Francisco. Good times and social revolutions tend to start here, from manic gold rushes to blissful hippies. If there’s a technology still to be imagined, a poem left unspoken or a green scheme untested, chances are it’s about to happen here.

USA, California, San Francisco, Baker Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge / Dorling Kindersley/UIG
USA, California, San Francisco, Baker Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge / Dorling Kindersley/UIG

This city, affectionately known as “San Fran”, is a never ending paradise of places to visit and things to see. From the world famous Golden Gate Bridge to one of the United States’ most infamous prisons Alcatraz, there is sure to be something for everyone. So grab your coat (and maybe a handful of glitter), and enter the land of mysterious fog. So long, inhibitions; hello, San Francisco.

Morocco

Visit the vibrant cities of Marrakesh and Fes for a world of bustling bazaars, snake charming and music. Moroccan buildings are often decorated with bold patterns and intricate carvings, making an exploration of the city’s architecture a really worthwhile and interesting activity.

Door, Marrakech, 1998 (acrylic on linen), Smart, Larry (1945-2005) / Private Collection
Door, Marrakech, 1998 (acrylic on linen), Smart, Larry (1945-2005) / Private Collection

Morocco is also home to delicious food, having been influenced by a wide range of cultures: Berber, Middle Eastern, Turkish and French, to name but a few, creating a fusion of flavours that is not to be missed. A trek through the Sahara Desert by camel promises dramatic landscapes and exotic wildlife, in addition, a hike through the Atlas Mountains is sure to provide some awe inspiring views, making both areas a unique and exciting place to spend a few days.

sand dunes in Sahara Desert near Merzouga in Morocco. 10-06-2006. (photo) / Majority World/UIG
sand dunes in Sahara Desert near Merzouga in Morocco. 10-06-2006. (photo) / Majority World/UIG

Puerto Rico

Naguabo, 2004 (oil on canvas), Enoc Perez (b.1967) / Private Collection / Photo © Christie's Images
Naguabo, 2004 (oil on canvas), Enoc Perez (b.1967) / Private Collection / Photo © Christie’s Images

Looking for something a bit beachier? Look no further than Puerto Rico. This American territory not only has 20-foot waves for those enticed by the surfing life, but also calm, clear waters for families with little kids. You are able a stroll back through time walking the streets of Old San Juan and an explore the more contemporary side of Puerto Rico on the Calle del Cristo. It’s an exhilarating mix of landscapes, from the winding jungle of El Yunque to the daunting caves of Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy. And if you want to get away from civilization entirely, you can ferry over to the secluded — not to mention jaw-droppingly gorgeous — islands of Vieques and Culebra. Convinced? We think so. You’re sure to find something in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico, Carolina, silhouettes of people walking along beach at Isla Verde, sunset / Dorling Kindersley/UIG
Puerto Rico, Carolina, silhouettes of people walking along beach at Isla Verde, sunset / Dorling Kindersley/UIG

South of France

The South of France boasts warm climate, sunny beaches and picturesque coastal towns, making it the ideal place to visit this summer. The glamorous towns of St-Tropes and Marseilles offer interesting museums, expensive boutiques and fashionable hotels, however, if you are looking for a more secluded get-away, visit the historical city of Hyères, or remote islands off the coast that  are home to dramatic coastal landscapes. These more remote locations provide stunning views, diverse marine life and flora and flora, making it an ideal place to completely get away from the hustle of normal life.

Harbour at Cassis (oil on canvas), Graham, Peter (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection
Harbour at Cassis (oil on canvas), Graham, Peter (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection

Quebec City

Sure, Montréal may be the media star of Québec, but Québec City has something else: the soul of the province, and the fiercer grip on French Canadian identity. It also happens to be one of North America’s oldest and most magnificent settlements.

Quebec, Old City, Canada, 2010 (w/c on paper), Anthony Butera / Private Collection
Quebec, Old City, Canada, 2010 (w/c on paper), Anthony Butera / Private Collection

When thinking of summer destinations, one rarely thinks “Canada,” but here us out. Québec City goes to great lengths to entertain visitors all summer long. Musicians, acrobats and actors in period costume take to the streets, all while fantastic festivals fill the air with fireworks and song. Its picturesque Old Town is a living museum of narrow cobblestone streets, 17th- and 18th-century houses and towering church spires, with the splendid Château Frontenac towering above it all. Even with a T-shirt shop on half the corners like most major cities, there’s more than a glimmer of Old Europe in its classic bistros, sidewalk cafes, and manicured squares.

Berlin

Berlin can be thought of as the epicenter for a large proportion of 20th Century European history. This social history is displayed all over the city today, making it a really interesting place to visit this summer. Remnants of its past can be seen throughout the city, through the still present contrast between East and West, and the Holocaust Museum. Furthermore, Museum Island also boasts the Pergamonmuseum, one of the leading archaeological museums, making Berlin a really interesting cultural hub to visit. Berlin is also home to Grunewald forest, a peaceful place to get away from the crowds who come to the city, bring a picnic and have some time to relax.

Berliners from East and West celebrating the opening of the border at the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, 9th November 1989 (photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing
Berliners from East and West celebrating the opening of the border at the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, 9th November 1989 (photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing

Cornwall

Cornwall is a place full of character, with dramatic seas and sculpted coastlines, Cornwall is the the perfect place for a family holiday. Quaint coastal villages and cliff-top walks provide the ideal setting to get away from the busyness of everyday life. The large sandy beaches offer the perfect location for sandcastle building or to simply relax, and large waves make it the prime spot for surfing, adding fun and excitement to an visit. Don’t miss out on an indulgent cream tea or a traditional Cornish Pasty.

A Cornish Beach (w/c on paper), Joel, Judy / Private Collection
A Cornish Beach (w/c on paper), Joel, Judy / Private Collection

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One Comment

  1. Excellent narrative! I really want to go to Morocco!

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