With summer approaching more quickly than we may realize, it’s time to start booking those flights and making plans to escape the overwhelming summer heat. Sure, some of the hotter destinations will have the best summer deals right now, but if you don’t mind traveling somewhere during peak season you’ll be able to catch a break from the brutal sun. Now, to clarify, there are beach destinations on this list, but they are located in cities that experience mild temperatures during the time between June and August.
The warmest time of year in Amsterdam is the summertime, but even still the temperature only reaches about 72 degrees Fahrenheit at its hottest. Nights are in the cool 50s making the summer an ideal time to visit this culture-rich city. Stroll through the Vondelpark, check out the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and be sure to visit the Anne Frank House. Bonus: If you struggle with finding destinations friendly to a gluten-free diet, Amsterdam has plenty of dining options that will accommodate your dietary needs.
Flickr/Moyan Brenn/CC BY 4.0
The arts and music festivals alone — like the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in June — are enough of a reason to visit this Scottish city during the summer. While summer is the most popular season for tourists, the inexpensiveness of food, drink, and other activities in Edinburgh make up for it. Get a taste of the local food movement at the Edinburgh Larder, feast on Scottish hog roast at Oink, and drink one of 200 whiskies at The Devil’s Advocate.
When you think of beaches, Finland probably doesn’t spring to mind, but there are many ferries that can pick you up in Helsinki and take you to a beach on one of the neighboring islands. The weather won’t be too hot, and you can witness the midnight sun — when the sun can be seen at midnight in areas near the Arctic or Antarctic Circle. Better yet, indulge in muikku, pan-fried Finnish vendace (a freshwater whitefish) that you eat whole; they are sold all over Market Square at Helsinki’s South Harbor. Enjoy classic Finnish cuisine at the nautical-themed restaurant Konstan Möljä and cardamom-laced blueberry pie at the old market hall Vanha Kauppahalli. Feeling fancy? Eat at Grotesk, which we ranked as having one of best bars outside of the United States.
Cool down this summer in Juneau, Alaska, where roughly 18 hours of your day will be sunny, and the temperature averages in the low 60s. It’s the only time of year you can explore the Tracy Arm Fjord or Mendenhall Glacier comfortably — since the rest of the year is dark and too cold. This is also the best time of year to catch amazing whale watching tours where you can spot orcas and humpbacks during their natural migration. Be sure to dine at some of Juneau’s best restaurants while visiting.
Not only is Peru’s dry season the best, least mosquito-filled time to trek the Inca Trail to see Machu Picchu, the cool-feeling 70 degree weather is perfect for eating your way through the country’s capital. Central Restaurant was named one of the best restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean, and delicious snacks like cancha (salty corn kernels) and doña pepa (sprinkle-covered chocolate cookies) can be found pretty much anywhere. If you decide to see the country and find yourself in Cusco, eat ceviche and alpaca skewers and drink some pisco at Limo.
The high altitude of Mexico City, which is about 7,000 feet above sea level, results in mild temperatures year-round. Explore the Palacio de Bellas Artes and eat at Mexico’s best restaurant, Pujol. MeroToro is a must-visit, as is Biko; all these restaurants made our list of the best restaurants in Mexico.
Summer temperatures in Nova Scotia range from the mid-50s to low 70s, and there is plenty of sunlight throughout the region. You could choose to visit just one city, like Halifax, but we recommend taking a road trip along the Atlantic coast of Canada. You can taste regional specialties like rappie pie — mashed potatoes with meat or seafood broth — at Évelina's in Little Brook, and you’ll want to try Nova Scotian sea urchins while you still can.
Winter in Rio means 75 degree weather at the highest, and though it’s not peak season, fewer rain showers and less fog means this is still a popular time to visit. On a sunny day you can hit the beach, but on cooler days check out Sugarloaf Mountain, Morro da Urca, and the Theatro Municipal. You’ll also be able to eat much of the city’s best street food outdoors, or enjoy fulfilling meals at Esplanada Grill and Bar do Mineiro.
Sunny California? Not so much in temperate San Francisco. While there is definitely sun, the summer is characterized by fog, which some call the city’s “natural air conditioner.” But that shouldn’t stop you from sampling all the amazing food available in one of America’s best culinary destinations. Turn your vacation into a food tour and stop by the neighborhood diner Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the taco mini-chain Tacolicious, and the fully automated Café X that has robots serving your coffee.
The Tanzanian winter, or dry season, is not only the best time to go on safaris in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater — where you can follow the wildebeest migration — but also one of the best times to visit the beaches in Zanzibar. Expect clear skies and sun, but don’t worry about sweltering heat, as the weather is mild, with highs of 75 degrees. Step off the beaten path and eat in the middle of the pristine ocean at the Rock Restaurant.