We’re a good 158 days into the year (already!?), and for some of us – most of us — it feels like we could use a break. If you’ve yet to solidify your summer vacation plans, fear not! We’ve got our favorites for 2017 right here. Here are seven ideas to celebrate the season.
The land of the Little Mermaid is also the home of some of the jolliest Scandinavian folks you’ll meet. It’s also a major biking capital (only about a third of households own a car) and one of our favorite cities for glorious food, great design, and easy city exploring. Plus, English is spoken everywhere, so there’s no need to struggle through language barriers.
Saint-Denis, Reunion Island
We say Saint Denis, but at 970 square miles (half the size of Rhode Island), the entire island is a place you can explore over the course of a few days. Colonized by the French in the 1600s, this tropical land mass off the coast of Africa is a booming tourist destination that seems, at least for now, to be largely unspoiled by tourists. The Reunion National Park, named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2010, is home to breathtaking, otherworldly, Jurassic park-level scenery, active volcanoes (!) and is the perfect backdrop to some lazy, lush living.
Luang Prabang, Laos
As Thailand and Vietnam become increasingly popular, the little town of Luang Prabang in Laos has gone largely undiscovered, and remains a best-kept secret for those who know where to look. The french-inspired former colony is quieter than its sister countries, and still wonderfully authentic. The food and drink are unrivalled, both in quality and price, and there’s nothing we quite like more than to sip a gin and tonic on the stilted decks of the Mekong River watching the monks pass by. Get there before everyone else does.
Taormina, Sicily, Italy
Rome and Florence seem to get all the attention when one thinks of Italy, but it’s Taormina’s old-world allure and orange blossom-lined streets that make us want to rethink our itinerary. The bedrock of pistachio pesto, almond trees, white beaches and the Godfather, we’ve found the Sicilians to be a little friendlier, the climate a little balmier, and the vibe just a little more exotic than the north. But don’t take our word for it – it’s best to see for yourself.
The Finger Lakes, New York
If a quick, local escape is what you’re looking for, you’ll find Finger Lakes about 3 or 4 hours from Manhattan (by car). It’s made up of 11 individual lakes surrounded by small towns and a plethora of family-friendly outdoor activities (include boating, swimming, hiking, and watersports) and a wonderful calendar of summer events (Finger Lakes musical theater festival, anyone?). We also keep coming back for the small town day-to-day loveliness and the local produce and artisan food scene. Grab a car and gather the family – this year is going to be a great one!
We’re seeing a resurgence of Marrakesh scenes on Instagram and Facebook of late as twenty-somethings flock to the Moroccan city for its Aladdin-inspired design, architecture food and way of life. It’s a festival of opulence and beauty, and if you have an appreciation for visual delights (and bold textiles), then it’s an excellent place to spend the summer.
Stellenbosch (via Cape Town), South Africa
For years Cape Town has topped all (and we mean ALL) the lists of top travel destinations, and we’re entirely partial to agree – our founder Wendy even lives there for part of the year. But 45 minutes outside of the city you’ll find the old wine towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, which are both worth writing home about. Soak up the sun by the old Cape Dutch architecture, and give your palette a crash course in fine wine and food while you take it easy against the luxe wineland scenery. It’s also surprisingly kind to your wallet if you know where to stay and eat. Check out Villiera, Babylonstoren and Rust-en-Vrede farms for some world-class gluttony.
Traveling anytime soon?
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