Where to go this summer


By Melissa Lawford

Photography by Getty

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May-17

Looking for a little travel inspiration for your summer holiday? We’ve rounded up the best places to go over the next few months, from some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, to off-the-wall attractions and events.

Close to home

Montpellier

Festikite (2-5 June) aims to bring together kitesurfers of all ages and abilities in Plage du Prévost in Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone. Forty exhibitors will display the latest innovations at the International Kitesurf exhibition, and Festikite is hosting the second stage of the Hydrofoil Pro Tour – a regatta of up to 100 riders that begins in Mexico and ends in Australia.

Stay: Domaine de Verchant

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Croatia

Obonjan, 136-acre island in the Adriatic, is about to begin its second summer festival season. From 23 June-3 September, the previously uninhabited island offers a 70-day programme of musicians, speakers, artists and wellness classes. Sleep under the pines, dance in the open-air stone amphitheatre and, in the evening, pick up a telescope and stargaze from the beach.

Stay: President Solin

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Innsbruck

The mountainside scenery of the Ötztal Valley is idyllic but play at the AREA 47 amusement park is fast and furious. Zoom down one of five slides in the 20,000sq m waterpark. Go cliff diving, canyoning and kayaking. Or, if you’ve ever fancied being a human cannonball, hop in the water catapult. Just don’t collide with someone flying along the 400m zip wire overhead.

Stay: Gran Europa

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Sleep under the pines, dance in the open-air stone amphitheatre and, in the evening, pick up a telescope and stargaze from the beach

  • Experience the beautiful beaches of Skiathos, Greece © Getty.

    Island hop.

    Why not jump on the ferry over to nearby Skopelos –¬ it takes less than an hour – to see it’s postcard-pretty whitewashed towns?

    Visit Skiathos
  • Get the true taste of Southern Italy in tempting Puglia © Getty.

    Food for thought

    “Stop by a masseria – Italian stately home with a farm attached – and try the food on offer, you won’t regret it”, says our global travel insider, Mina Holland.

    Discover Puglia
  • Discover Tallinn’s well-preserved Old Town © Alamy.

    Digital city

    Whist bursting with heritage, Tallinn is at the forefront of the digital world with many tech start-ups – the most famous being Skype.

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Norway

Ekstremsportveko (25 June-2 July) in Voss does what it says on the tin. The foolhardy try base-jumping or skydiving while water-bound adrenaline junkies speed downstream on a bodyboard. The signature event? The Horgi Ned, a reworking of a triathlon that replaces the flat with the steep: downhill skiing, downhill biking and whitewater kayaking.

Stay: Thon Hotel Orion

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Skiathos

It’s only seven miles long, but Skiathos has 27 miles of coastline, more than 60 beaches and an average August sea temperature of 26°. Hire a boat and moor it in a remote cove to picnic. And, if you’re wondering why it all looks a little familiar, Mamma Mia! was partly filmed on the island – it’s regularly screened at an open-air cinema on Papadiamantis Street.

Stay: Skiathos Palace

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  • Find your adventurous side in the beautiful French Alps © Getty.

    Climb every mountain

    More than 250 sport, culture and food activities are on offer at the French Mountain Festival throughout June.

    Fly to Lyon

Ireland

Founded by Viking raiders in AD 914, Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland. It’s thought the name comes from
the Norse for ‘windy fjord’. Its narrow, mediaeval streets provide an atmospheric background for the Spraoi festival and parade, as artists, musicians and theatre companies perform all over the city streets from 4-6 August.

Stay: Ashling Hotel

Explore the Emerald Isle

Tallinn

For Estonians, Jaanipäev is second only to Christmas. This public holiday is celebrated just after the summer solstice (23-24 June), when the sun barely sets and night never seems to come. Join the hunt for mythical fern blossoms, said to ensure romantic bliss.

Stay: Hotel St Petersbourg

Discover Tallinn

Puglia

Nestled in the tip of the Salento peninsula – the heel of Italy’s boot – is the small town of Maglie. It hosts the Mercatino del Gusto (1-5 August), a festival of food stalls, workshops and guided tastings. Wander down the Via dei Dolci (‘Street of Sweets’), learn how to make Apulian specialities such as pasta filata cheese, or sample orecchiette – a local ear-shaped pasta.

Stay: Borgo Egnazia

Fly to Brindisi

 

France

Celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, France’s Fête de la Montagne (24-25 June) hosts a high-altitude programme in the Alps. From Grenoble, take a two-day trip with an expert in edible plants with Mountain Wilderness France and learn to cook cuisine sauvage. Or, from Geneva, join a guided climb of Fort l’Écluse at dusk, followed by a picnic and stargazing with an astronomer.

Stay: Le Lodge Park

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  • Watch the sun go down over Vancouver’s splendid waterfront © Getty.

    Did you know…?

    Vancouver’s Stanley Park is over 200 acres larger than New York’s Central Park, and is almost entirely surrounded by water.

    Book Vancouver now
  • Cowboys and girls in the horse barns at the Calgary Stampede © Rick Rudnicki / Alamy Stock Photo.

    Clean and bright

    Calgary is one of the cleanest cities in the world as well as regularly being voted as one of the best cities to live in.

    Discover Calgary
  • Take a break from the non-stop hustle and bustle of the city with a stroll through Central Park © Alamy.

    Through a lens

    Central Park is the most filmed public park in the world, having appeared in more than 350 films and TV shows.

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Spain

Alicante goes big during the festival of Hogueras de San Juan (Bonfires of St John). From 19-24 June, there are ear-splitting displays of firecrackers every afternoon, and at midnight on 24 June the burning of bonfires begins, cued by a palm-shaped firework exploding over the castle. Tradition holds that jumping over a bonfire will bring good luck. Maybe go easy on the sangria beforehand.

Stay: La Manga Club Hotel Principe Felipe

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Further afield

Kuala Lumpur

After sunset during Ramadan (26 May-24 June), food markets (Ramadan bazaars) appear all over the city streets offering up the best local delicacies in one huge culinary celebration – rows of stalls can reach more than a mile long. Muslims head to the street-food stands to buy tasty iftar meals for breaking fast, while non-Muslims stop by to try the fresh traditional dishes – one of the only times in the year they’re served up.

Stay: The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Experience Kuala Lumpur for yourself

Calgary

Novice bareback, tie-down roping, steer-wrestling… If you don’t know your rodeo, now’s the time to learn at the Calgary Stampede (7-16 July). At 19.45 each evening, a klaxon kicks off the GMC Rangeland Derby – nine heats of four-horse wagon racing. Think thunder, dust and pounding hooves, plus the best street food.

Stay: Hyatt Regency Calgary

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New Orleans

Louis Armstrong grew up singing on the streets and went on to revolutionise American music. “Every time I close my eyes, blowing that trumpet of mine,” he was to say in later life, “I look right in the heart of good old New Orleans… it has given me something to live for.” Satchmo Summerfest celebrates his birthday from 3-6 August, with free live music and a ‘jazz mass’ at St Augustine Church.

Stay: Monteleone

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Vancouver

Let your inner thespian run wild and free at Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Festival (1 June-23 September), which this summer brings live performances of four Shakespeare plays to Vanier Park’s English Bay waterfront.

Stay: Pan Pacific Vancouver

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Orlando

Visit Jack Kerouac’s Orlando house and pay homage to the father of the road trip to mark the 60th anniversary of On the Road this September. Kerouac travelled the USA in the 1940s, hitchhiking, jumping freight trains and
drinking moonshine liquor. “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars,” he
wrote in his seminal novel.

Stay: Rosen Shingle Creek

Discover alternative Orlando

Washington DC

Celebrate the big 5-0 of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival (29 June-4 July and 6-9 July) and join the million-plus visitors to the largest cultural event in the US capital. A series of stalls and exhibitions will take over the Mall. This year’s theme is Circus Arts, so expect tales from generations of travelling circus folk, with aerialists, acrobats, clowns and a big top.

Stay: Palomar Washington

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New York

Husband-and-wife team Tim and Kit Kemp, who run Firmdale boutique hotels, make bed look like an appealing place – even in the city that never sleeps. Sandwiched between MoMA and Central Park, The Whitby is the couple’s second US hotel.

Stay: The Whitby Hotel

Check out our guide to New York

California

In the summer of 1967, California became a focal point of counter-culture, protest and sexual freedom as hippies tuned in, turned on and dropped out. Visit On the Road to the Summer of Love, a photographic exhibition at the California Historical Society, or catch the 50th anniversary of the Monterey International Pop Festival (16-18 June).

Stay: Loews Regency San Francisco Hotel

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