Summer in most parts of Europe occurs between May and October (June-August are the peak summer months) and these are the glorious months in which countries like France, Spain, Greece and Turkey are most tourist-friendly. While there are some evergreen favourites that would definitely feature in your travel bucket list, we present 10 stunning destinations that are particularly attractive this year.
This modern city with an artistic soul is a part of most Switzerland tour packages and it is our top pick for summer destinations in 2016 because Zurich will host Manifesta 11 in the peak of its supremely pleasant summer reason – from 11th June to 18th September, 2016. Manifesta 11 is the European biennial of contemporary art, featuring stunning exhibitions of visual arts at different cities each year.
Summer is the best time to visit the romantic city of Paris, strewn with elegant museums, churches, art galleries, iconic monuments like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe and interesting neighbourhoods like Montmartre and Latin Quartier. If you’re a fan of football, you should definitely look at a Paris tour package this year because it’s hosting the final stage of the 15th UEFA European football championship from 10th June to 10th July 2016, along with 10 other cities in France.
Experience the Victorian charm of London’s pristine streets, landscaped gardens, quaint British pubs and the River Thames, flowing along leisurely with gems like Tate Modern gallery and Shakespeare Globe Theatre on its banks. London’s summer months in 2016 are choc-a-bloc with exciting art and music events. An all new version of the Tate Modern gallery opens in June and Beyonce will be performing live in July 2016. In August, you can catch the Summer Screen films at Somerset House.
Denmark’s epicurean capital is synonymous with beautiful blue and brown buildings and charming canals designed for unhurried boat cruises. Gourmands are in luck this year as the city which is home to Noma, the world’s best restaurant, hosts the Copenhagen Cooking & Food festival from 19th to 28th August 2016. Many premier restaurants in the Danish capital are introducing pop-ups with menus that are significantly easier on the pocket.
A bullet train linking Tokyo to Hokkaido, one of Japan’s main islands was introduced earlier this year, which gives you easier access to this attractive summer destination. The Japanese come to hike, ski and go climbing in Hokkaido’s forests, mountains, lakes and hot springs, and you should do the same in 2016. Hakodate, the gateway to Hokkaido is a must-visit for its historical buildings, the picturesque Mount Hakodate and exotic culinary delights like salmon roe and squid ink ice-cream.
If urbanised London isn’t your cup of British tea, try Cornwall, a seaside county on the tip of southwestern England. Studded with sandy beaches, wild moors, romantic harbour villages like Falmouth and Fowey and lofty cliffs, Cornwall is a dream summer destination. As an icing on the cake, this year, you can take a plunge in Penzance Jubilee Pool, Britain’s largest seawater open-air public swimming pool which was shut until April 2016 due to a devastating storm three years ago. In July 2016, Cornwall will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its mining landscapes being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a walking, 12 metres-tall cast-iron puppet of a miner powered by steam.
It’s easy to feel helpless in the wake of news reports that constantly announce the destruction of the planet but if you’re looking for a ray of sunshine, you’ll find it in Ljubljana, the European Green Capital for 2016. Slovenia’s capital and largest city will work on increasing its already considerable share of green spaces all of this year. Popular attractions in the city include Tivoli Park, Ljubljanica River, the National Museum of Slovenia, the Museum of Modern Art and various quaint outdoor cafes perfect for watching the locals go about their business.
The ancient romance of Morocco is best experienced in its largest city Casablanca, which reflects the dual influences of Europe and Africa on the country. Travellers of all faiths can set foot in the magnificent Hassan II Mosque, located on a promontory overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and home to the world’s tallest minaret. Once a French colony, Casablanca’s edifices are built in the Mauresque style, a combination of Moorish architecture and European art deco. Stay in the newly opened Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca.
9. Rio de Janeiro
It’s not the carnival that will draw tourists to this giant seaside paradise in 2016 but the Summer Olympic Games, to be held in August. The mammoth sporting spectacle has encouraged the opening of new luxury hotels such as Windsor Marapendi and the Grand Hyatt. This year, The Museum of Image and Sound will reopen in a beautiful glass-front building facing Copacabana Beach with several new additions. You can also take time off ro the Games to visit Ipanema Beach and absorb the sight of the 38 metre Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corvocado and Sugarloaf.
This port city in Belgium has witnessed the opening of several new restaurants in 2016 and sometime soon, the Holy Food Market will begin operating in a refurnished 16th century chapel. Ghent’s medieval landmarks like the Gravensteen Castle dating back to the 12th century and the Graslei, a row of guildhalls beside the Leie river harbour will take you right back to the Middle Ages. The university town abounds with museums and culture, foremost among which is The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb painting.
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