Need some inspiration for your next summer holiday? From cosmopolitan capitals to dramatic mountain scapes, this summer’s top destinations deliver on every level. Here, Lightfoot Travel reveal the ones you need to start booking now.
Colombia has emerged from years of civil strife to become one of South America’s stars, and summer is a great time to visit. Capital Bogota is fast-paced, exciting and cosmopolitan. Tayrona National Park is fantastic for ecotourism and nature tours; and the Caribbean coastline is hard to beat. Top of our list is the UNESCO-listed city of Cartagena. Boasting Spanish buildings, cobbled streets and plazas, and old churches and fortifications, it’s packed with history and charm. Combine it with a stay at Las Islas, a beachy eco-retreat with treetop bungalows just a 45-minute boat ride away.
With its golden beaches, picturesque countryside and influx of boutique accommodation, Portugal is slipping itself back on the luxury map. Offering a perfect summer climate, it’s a favourite destination for couples and families as there’s plenty to see and do. Go low-key with national parks, quiet swathes of sand, and elegant wine estates. Glam it up with some yachting around the rock formations of Ponta de Piedade, a round of championship golf on a world-class course, or fine dining in glitzy Vilamoura Marina. And top it off with a stay at the stunning Six Senses Douro Valley.
The northern part of Mozambique is the place to make summer special. We recommend the private island villas scattered along the edge of idyllic Vamizi Island just off the coast. Families will love lounging in the African sun, deep-sea fishing and snorkelling, and making friends with the island’s impressive menagerie of wildlife – samango monkeys, nesting turtles and over 112 species of tropical birds. Away from the island, capital city Maputo is well worth a visit for its quaint street-side cafes and museums.
New Zealand’s ski season, which runs from mid-June to early October, can be as good as anywhere. Around Queenstown on the South Island is where smart travellers will be when summer comes, experiencing Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona and Treble Cone. All offer fabulous alpine terrain for families and there’s plenty of off-piste activities to experience too (boating, cocktail tasting or a Lord of the Rings tour, anyone?). The beauty is that all runs are pretty close together, so you can ski in a different spot every day.
Like to wear more clothes than less come summer? The Arctic could be your thing. With unique wildlife, natural phenomena and endless activities available, a huge adventure awaits. Amongst the dramatic peaks, glaciers, icefields and icebergs, you can look out for polar bears, Arctic foxes and reindeer. Go on glacier hikes or dog sledding with huskies, or marvel at the world as you catch sight of the Aurora Borealis. A great summer destination option for families, but also suitable for couples and single travellers too.
Fiji boasts many exclusive resorts, and it gets bonus double points for all the activities that are readily available on your sandy doorstep. Adrenaline junkies will adore the diving, snorkelling, surfing and kayaking. Nature lovers can explore rainforests, mangroves, waterfalls and swimming holes. And culturists can visit nearby villages, enjoy signature massages, or just sip cocktails and watch the world go by. Six Senses Fiji is the place to stay with its sumptuous rooms, infinity pools and prime beachside location.
Munduk in North Bali has been bubbling under the surface for a while, but this summer will really see it shine thanks to its natural landscapes, religious sites and authentic vibe. Escape the commercialism of elsewhere and come here for pure relaxation and a dose of reality. Sanak Retreat Bali, set amongst rice paddy fields, offers 11 elegant wooden bungalows with a private terrace or balcony and a communal swimming pool. There’s also cooking, yoga and meditation classes, and children are welcome.
Nestled between China and Russia, Mongolia offers the chance for roaming lush grasslands, sliding down desert dunes, climbing mountain ranges, and galloping across vast open plains on horseback. Tie your trip in with the annual Naadam Festival, which takes place every July and celebrates the nomadic culture of Mongolia. For extra authenticity, stay in a traditional ger tent and live as the locals do.
New to the boutique accommodation scene in the UK is Beaverbrook, a spa retreat just an hour away from London in Surrey. Spend your days indulging in treatments, strolling around the estate and playing tennis while your children join the kids’ club for board games, arts and crafts, and outdoor adventures. Also top of our list is Thyme, an adults-only hotel in the Cotswolds. A new restaurant with a cooking school, a new spa with an outdoor heated pool, and a large eco-friendly focus make this one of this summer 2019’s winners.
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This article first appeared in the April/May 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.