Want ideas for the best places to visit in summer? Your wish is our command.
It’s easy to let summer pass you by in a blur of barbecues, pub lunches and Sharon from the account dept’s wedding. But this year, the moment has come to reclaim your sunshine season.
This is a time to make new friends, learn fresh skills and venture out to horizons new. It’s all about TRAVEL, baby.
When you share an adventure with a small group of single travellers, all in their 30s and 40s, you make every minute count. You tap that infinite summer magic where the future lies wide open, and anything seems possible. As DJ Jazzy Jeff so wisely says, it’s just a bit of a break from the norm.
Here’s our pick of the 10 best places to visit this summer – the journey begins right here:
For a micro adventure: hike Mount Toubkal in Morocco
These days, vacation time is all about the micro escape: finding a short, sharp dose of adventure in four days or less. And nothing fits the bill better than a hike to the summit of Mount Toubkal in Morocco. The ascent to the fabled “roof of North Africa” only takes 48 hours (with a stopover in Marrakech either side) but you’ll definitely feel the burn. Never mind, though, because the incredible views from the top are more than worth breaking a sweat for. On a clear day, they stretch from the Sahara to the Atlantic coast.
This is also your chance for a one-stop digital detox. Throw your smartphone to the wind, and immerse yourself in the ancient trails and switchbacks of the Ait Mizane valley. Early summer is a particularly nice time to visit the region, with warm days of up to 10 hours of sunshine, and a bloom of wildflowers en-route.
The 4,167-metre trek is broken up with village stays, where you’ll get to sample famed Berber hospitality, along with drinking your body weight in sweet mint tea.
Reward your trekking efforts in true Moroccan style, with a hammam at the 2ciels Boutique Hotel in Marrakech. What’s not to love?
For escaping the crowds: get to know Slovakia
While Rome and Barcelona fill to bursting point this summer, those in the know will be cutting a dash to Slovakia. This handsome Central Europe country sits between the popular capitals of Budapest and Vienna, but minus the crowds of either.
Start your journey in Old Town Bratislava, with its red-roofed charm and atmospheric cafés. There’s so much to explore here, from Bratislava Castle to local microbreweries. A glass of local honey wine by the tree-lined Danube river is practically mandatory.
Your next stop is Bešeňová, a Slovak village filled with natural hot springs that are the very definition of happiness. But before you get too relaxed, there’s also Low Tatras National Park to explore. Between hiking in the woods and bathing in the geothermal pools, you can’t help but feel fully refreshed.
The Low Tatras region. Home to dense green forests, caves and waterfalls, this off-radar nook boasts glorious views over the High Tatras Mountains.
If your pronunciation is up to it, you can try the national dish of bryndzové halušky (dumplings topped with sheep cheese and a sprinkling of bacon).
For a foodie escape: soak in the flavours of Malaysia
If you love your food more than life itself, put Malaysia in your cross-hairs. The country’s mish-mash of cultural influences take centre stage in its diverse and deliciously moreish cuisine.
Begin your flavour safar in Kuala Lumpur, with a foodie pilgrimage to the capital’s best-loved hot spots. Get to know your curry puffs from your kaya toast and, of course, cenol (a popular kidney bean and coconut milk treat).
A quick hop-step will take you to the colourful city of Malacca, where you can whip up chicken rendang and learn family recipes in a cooking class led by local chefs. Strawberry picking and high tea in the Highlands is another standout food experience.
A ramble through Penang’s famous food markets. Load up on hawker, from deep-fried pork to teeny Malay pastries, and let your taste buds sing.
Head to Belum rainforest to book a waterfall picnic experience, for a unique feast amid a canopy of tropical flowers and wildlife.
For wildlife wonders: safari the plains of Tanzania
David Attenborough got you all fired up about the natural world? Catch the real deal on the golden plains of Tanzania.
The start of the dry season in late June is a great time to visit this neck of the woods, with dried-out terrain creating prime conditions for wildlife spotting. This is your destination for bucket list game drives across the Serengeti, with a chance to see grazing elephants, giraffes, lions and more.
Luxury tents, star-gazing, and sundowners around the campfire are all part of the experience, too.
Feeling brave? Sign up for a dawn walking safari, allowing you to admire Africa’s greatest creatures in the early morning haze.
If you’re really lucky, you may catch the Serengeti wildebeest migration in July, where thousands of zebras and gazelles cross the Mara River.
For head space: cycle the Inca hills of Peru
Head space comes at a premium in today’s hyper-alert world. But Peru’s Sacred Valley is one place where you can throw your worries to the skies; quite literally.
May time brings blue horizons and crisp sunshine to the Inca hills around Cusco, and the landscape is flush with greener from recent rainfall. A perfect setting, in other words, to take on one of the world’s most epic bike rides.
Being attuned to the ancient landscape. Drink in the rich sense of Inca history as you pedal along a jaw-dropping backdrop of salt terraces and snow-capped peaks.
To really get under the skin of the region, time your visit for the Inca Festival of the Sun marking Winter Solstice on June 24, with live music and parades aplenty. This is also the time of year when Rainbow Mountain becomes fully accessible again, after months of snowfall.
For good-time vibes: explore golden Croatia
The best places to visit in summer offer a blend of culture and thriving nightlife. Croatia has both, in spades. This beautiful Mediterranean country was the muse for HBO hit Game of Thrones, and you may well feel a bit like a smouldering warrior as you wander its narrow, sun-dabbled streets.
Croatia can get crowded during summer, but you can navigate that by striking a good balance. There’s party buzz in Croatia, but also enough history and intrigue to hold you rapt. Solo travellers in your 30s and 40s: fill yer boots.
A catamaran trip over to the chic island of Hvar, dubbed “the new Saint Tropez”. Cue: golden beaches, bustling pavement bars and chilled sunshine aplenty.
To veer away from the masses, try heading inland for a kayaking down the wild and remote Mrežnica river.
For a fitness challenge: explore the Rockies in Canada
With miles upon miles of forest, glacial lakes and rugged peaks, the Canadian Rockies are a playground for escapism.
As far as holidays for busy professionals are concerned, this one hits the sweet spot. If you’re grappling with a big, demanding job, it’s all you need to shake loose. Plus, there’s enough space that selfie-wielding tourists are few and far between.
With long, sunny days, high summer is the best time to go rambling through Banff and the surrounding area of natural beauty.
Leave your everyday life far behind, as you push your limits in the wild outdoors. Canyon through steep mountain gorges, canoe down rivers and let loose your inner explorer. This is solo adventure travel at its finest.
Hiking the Athabasca Glacier. The trail is stunning, and best accessed from May to September.
Mirror-still lakes are at their most brilliant blue during summer, and often warm enough to swim in.
For unlimited sunshine: stretch out in southern Thailand
Summer holidays don’t get much better than Southern Thailand, especially with a small group of like-minded travellers in the mix.
The beach life here is sublime, with remote powdery beaches, swaying palm trees and emerald lagoons. The mercury regularly soars above the 30°C mark in summer, but quick blasts of afternoon rain are a welcome cool-off.
The region’s allure extends beyond hammocks and papaya smoothies, though (delightful as they are). This is an area of jaw-dropping natural splendour and mystique, from towering limestone karsts to grottoes filled with stalagmites. The street food in this region is spectacular, too.
Tap your inner Indiana with a romp through the tropical mangrove of Khao Sok and Bor Thor nature reserves.
Take a sunrise boat trip around the peninsula coastline, wreathed by misty rainforest and looming peaks.
For culture galore: journey around Colombia
Colombia. Just the word alone conjures up visions of colourful Cartagena streets and boutique Bogotá nightclubs. This is a country that positively brims with charisma, and summer is prime time to get a feel for it.
July and August hit a brief dry season here: your cue to explore the beaches and jungle of Tayrona National Park on the Caribbean coast. Over in the Andean highlands around Bogotá and Medellín, you’ll get clear sunny days to explore and go hiking by.
The Rosario Islands, with a labyrinth of hidden coves and beautiful swimming conditions.
From salsa dancing to rum drinking, Colombia knows exactly how to make its guests feel at home. And this spirit ratchets up a notch during summer, with events such as the Bogotá’s annual Festivales al Parque, with free open-air concerts, the Medellín poetry festival and the Medellín flower fair. Culture, partying, sunshine: it’s all happening.
For a bucket list hit: book your trip to Australia
If you’ve been saving up for an Australian adventure, summer is the moment to make it happen. While a trip Down Under works at any time of year, timing it during the Northern Hemisphere summer (their winter) is a particularly savvy move.
Rainfall around Northern Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef is at its lowest but it’s still warm and sunny. Ideal conditions, then, for snorkelling, swimming and sailing around the reef and the Whitsunday Islands. You’ll find the sea particularly warm at this time of year, too. And to top it all off, Australian winter means fewer crowds and cheaper domestic airline prices. We’re sold.
You’ll be in with a chance of spotting humpback whales as they migrate along the East Coast in August and September.
Images: Flash Pack, Shutterstock, Unsplash