The 50 Top Summer Travel Destinations of 2018 from The 50 Top Summer Travel Destinations of 2018 Gallery

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The 50 Top Summer Travel Destinations of 2018
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The 50 Top Summer Travel Destinations of 2018

As summer draws nearer, vacation is on the minds of many. Whether you’re looking for a wallet-friendly trip, hoping to knock some European landmarks off your bucket list, or just looking to take a much-needed break, it can be tough to decide just where in the world you should go. If you’re having a hard time narrowing down your vacation wish list, however, we’ve got a list curated just for you.

A lot goes into planning a vacation, from navigating the tricky procedure of booking a cheap flight to working out how to save on your hotel room. When it comes to choosing the actual destination, we feel that the right spots have something to offer that will give you the summer of your life. That could mean world-class beaches, low season prices, delicious restaurants, or even big cultural festivals or events. We searched the globe and found destinations that are solid summer picks every year, as well as locations that have something special going on this summer or even just plenty of new hotels and attractions. As you start to plan your summer vacation, you should consider these 50 top summer travel destinations for 2018.

Abu Dhabi
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Abu Dhabi

For the first time ever, there’s a branch of the Louvre outside of Paris, and last November, it opened its doors in the safest city in the world, Abu Dhabi. With over 700 exhibits, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is gorgeous inside and out, but it’s not the only architectural marvel the city holds. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world, is meticulously kept, its bright white exterior and 82 domes positively sparkling. Take a ride on the world’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World on Yas Island, just off the coast, where you can also visit the water park and gigantic shopping mall.

Alaska
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Alaska

As gorgeous as snow can be, the days in Alaska can get very short in the colder months. To get the most out of this vast and magnificent state, a trip in the summer is best. Anchorage in particular is a fantastic spot to beat the summer heat, with temperatures averaging around 60 degrees at the height of summer and days that are 18 hours long. Alaska’s beauty really shines through in the summer in gorgeous towns like Sitka, as well as Instagram gold mines like Denali National Park and Reserve.

Amsterdam
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Amsterdam

Summer is peak season in Amsterdam, but there’s a reason for that. The Netherlands are quite chilly the rest of the year, and summer temperatures average in the high 60s and low 70s. Over 300 festivals occur in the city every year, and the vast majority of them are in the summer; you’ll find festivals celebrating food, music, culture, and art nearly every weekend. When you’re not partying outdoors, you’re likely to be eating or drinking there; Amsterdam’s food scene is impressive, and restaurants and bars tend to take things outside once the weather gets nicer.

Antigua and Barbuda
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Antigua and Barbuda

With 365 beaches, Antigua and Barbuda offers affordable photo opportunities for every day of the year. If you’re not feeling up for a swim, the island also has colorful architecture and ruins of forts left behind by the British. Antigua and Barbuda is also much more affordable than most other European-influenced islands in the Caribbean. Summer is the low season in the Caribbean, so it’s the best time to get a great hotel deal or have a beach all to yourself. Make sure to make a visit to Shirley Heights Lookout, a historic hilltop military complex with stunning views and a restaurant and bar known for its Sunday Barbecue party, at which live music and delicious food are featured every week.

Antwerp, Belgium
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Antwerp, Belgium

Brussels and Bruges aren’t the only Belgian destinations you should have on your list. Antwerp Baroque 2018 celebrates the city’s most famous son, Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens, and the Baroque tradition with street art, workshops, concerts, parades, and more. Fashionistas are sure to love Antwerp, known for its fashion industry and as the world’s leading city for diamonds, as 70 percent of the entire world’s are traded here.

Arizona
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Arizona

The Grand Canyon State has a lot more to offer than, well, the Grand Canyon. Arizona is the perfect destination for nature-lovers and adventure travelers, which makes it quite affordable by definition, but it’s also got quite a bit going on in its many arts and food scenes. The state is full of cities and towns that you can add together for a road trip tour or visit individually for a wonderful weekend getaway — for instance, sunny Tuscon with its Southwestern and Mexican cultural heritage. One of this year’s best value vacation spots, it’ll cost you little to nothing to see such sites as Tucson’s Sabino Canyon and Saguaro National Park and culture-heavy towns like picturesque Sedona, home to almost 100 art galleries and multiple cultural events as well as stores selling local native arts and crafts. Go closer to the Utah border to see the bit of Lake Powell that stretches into Arizona, a sight so out-of-this-world that it’s been used in 45 films and television shows depicting other planets or universes.

Atlanta
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Atlanta

Home to the busiest airport in the world, Atlanta isn’t hard to reach. Once you do get there, there’s plenty to do in terms of food and fun. The world’s favorite soda has its headquarters here, and a tour of the World of Coca-Cola provides sweet insight as well as samples. Visitors can also visit the world’s largest aquarium by volume of water, take a tour of CNN’s studio headquarters, or visit the largest dinosaur ever excavated at the Fernbank Natural History Museum. You can pay tribute to the civil rights movement here as well, as the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site gives visitors the opportunity to visit the civil rights leader’s birthplace, home, church, and gravesite, along with a museum and memorial dedicated in his honor. The city’s role in the civil rights movement is memorialized in the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Civil War gets a tribute in one of the world’s largest oil paintings, the Atlanta Cyclorama, a cylindrical panorama of the Battle of Atlanta, and the largest collection of Civil War memorabilia resides at the nearby Atlanta History Center, as well.

The Bahamas
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The Bahamas

With several flights added to its list of daily arrivals and multiple lavish hotels and resorts opened this past year or set to debut in 2018, the clear blue waters and pale pink shores of the Bahamas are more accessible than ever. It’s also worth checking out thank to its rising food scene, particularly in Baha Mar and Nassau, where visitors can enjoy the best of junkanoo, sky juice, rum cake, and more. Next year will also see the debut of a direct flight from Chicago as well as a four-hour ferry ride to Freeport from Miami-Fort Lauderdale.

Baja California
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Baja California

The Mexican peninsula of Baja California is anything but small, made up of two Mexican states and stretching about 760 miles from top to bottom. You’ll find beaches, deserts, volcanoes, and nice historic, colonial towns here, as well as fantastic Mexican cuisine. Relatively remote and not very populated, Baja California is pretty affordable, particularly since it’s the kind of place people usually go for inexpensive activities such as hiking, camping, surfing, and other outdoor adventures. Explore the booming brewery scene in Tijuana and the wine routes in Valle de Guadalupe, before heading further down to hit the resorts and restaurants of Cabo San Lucas and visit the missions of San Ignacio, Loreto, and Mulege.

Bangkok
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Bangkok

Bangkok was the second most visited destination of 2017, and for good reason. In addition to two of 2017’s best world airlines, Bangkok is also home to some of the best of Thailand’s awe-inspiring cuisine, palaces, massage spas, and cultural performances. Other popular tourist experiences include tours of the city by bicycle or tuk tuk (the Thai version of a rickshaw) and Muay Thai (martial arts) lessons. Come in June, when it’s the cheapest place to travel, with hotels at around just $56 a night.

Belize
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Belize

Experience a vacation that’s both Caribbean and Central American in vibe and location alike, in the small yet charming country of Belize. We strongly suggest that if you wish to visit Belize, you do it now, because the country is quickly becoming popular and its untouched beauty is an increasingly imperiled part of its charm. In addition to the gorgeous beaches, delicious Belizean cuisine, and fantastic resorts, this destination also offers a bit of culture and history in its renowned Ancient Mayan sites.

Berlin
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Berlin

Berlin is a great place year-round, but particularly in the summer when the weather’s nicer. Its 175 museums reflect the rich history of the city (and its country). The art scene is also phenomenal, and Berlin has plenty of galleries for you to peruse while you escape the chill. Of course, you’d be remiss to not visit the remnants of the Berlin Wall or the iconic Brandenburg Gate — but only after you’ve had a taste of the city’s currywurst (there are vegetarian versions too).

Buenos Aires
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Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires was recently dubbed the first ever Art Basel City, and in celebration, this Argentinian capital will be hosting a week of public arts events in September in celebration. Lovers of arts and culture will relish this city any time of the year, however, as Buenos Aires is known for its dance, design, and galleries. Come in August to witness the spectacle that is BA Fashion Week. Try some Argentinian cuisine while you’re there, too, as the locals sure know how to eat right.

Capri, Italy
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Capri, Italy

Located just a few miles off the coast of the Italian mainland, Capri is an island getaway known for its scenic beauty and Mediterranean climate. It’s especially popular in the summer, which is why many of its top luxury hotels are already selling out their rooms during the height of the season. Make sure you book a stay in one of the island’s amazing hotels or resorts for a truly relaxing break.

Charleston
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Charleston

Charleston offers up some of the best of Southern cuisine and hospitality, the latter apparent in the growth of luxury hotels. Just last year, The Dewberry opened its doors and this past spring, Hotel Bennett opened right across from it in Marion Square. Go off-the-beaten path for some of the city’s culinary gems and try local delicacies such as crab rice, crispy quail, po’boys, or shrimp and grits.

Chengdu, China
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Chengdu, China

The capital of Sichuan province, Chengdu is a city perfect for people who love spicy food and breathtaking scenery. The addition of nonstop flights from New York and Los Angeles over the past year has made it easier than ever to get to there. Most of the world’s wild giant pandas also reside in Chengdu, and a visit to the nature parks and reserves may give you a peep at them as well as at the area’s beautiful mountains and outdoor landscapes.

Copenhagen, Denmark
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Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen might be one of the best places to celebrate Christmas, but we still think the freezing temperatures can put a damper on the festivities. You’ll have far more fun at Tivoli Gardens in the summer when open-air concerts and gorgeous flowers take over the amusement park and high temperatures in the city average in the low 60s. Just outside Copenhagen you’ll find beautiful beaches along the Danish Riviera, as well as Funen, an island with castles, manors, and public gardens that was the birthplace of famed writer Hans Christian Andersen.

Costa Rica
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Costa Rica

The renowned biodiversity of Costa Rica is not only an ecology geek’s dream, but it also makes for a beautiful destination. The country’s national parks and protected areas cover over 23 percent of its land, which accounts for only 0.03 percent of Earth’s landmass but approximately 5 percent of its biodiversity. Tickets to get there are cheap, and once you are there, public transportation is super-affordable as well. Costa Rica provides an entire array of accommodations to fit any budget, from hotels to the less expensive condos, hostels, vacation rentals, and cabinas. Food is cheap too; you can easily get a good local meal for under $5.

Detroit
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Detroit

America’s Comeback City really is coming back with a vengeance as a world destination after decades declining population and economic instability. Detroit has seen a revival thanks to both new additions and attractions as well as renovations in its many historic buildings and sites, and summertime is definitely the best time to witness all of it so you don’t have to deal with the harsh Midwestern weather. Birthplace of Motown and home to a strong automobile culture, the city’s abandoned buildings have been turned into art galleries, distilleries, and more thanks to growing scene of artists and young upstarts. Recent additions to the city include a hockey and basketball arena, and multiple parks and hotels are set to open over the next couple of years.

Easter Island
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Easter Island

A tiny island where you can step back in time, Rapa Nui, or Easter Island as it’s popularly known around the world, is located in the Southern Hemisphere. As a result, June through August is the winter season there, but temperatures still average in the low to mid-60s — the perfect climate to enjoy its famous moai, the large-headed figures that populate the island, as well as Anakena Beach, one of the best beaches in the world.

Ecuador
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Ecuador

Quito is not only beautiful but absolutely fascinating. Ecuador is so named because of its location directly over the equator, and when you stand on Mitad del Mundo — a yellow line painted on the ground to designate the equator itself — on either the fall or spring equinox, you can watch your shadow disappear for three minutes. Quito also offers attractive colonial and Latin American architecture that echoes its fascinating history, and from here you can explore the rest of the country’s stunning natural environs, such as the Bellavista Cloud Forest, the snow-capped Cayambe volcano, and of course, the famous Galapagos Islands. Other cities of note include Cuenca, a beautiful and historic city with Incan ruins and cafés serving amazing Ecuadorian cuisine, and Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, famous for its great seafood, a beautiful riverfront, and great music.

Fiji
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Fiji

The beautiful islands of Fiji are constantly becoming more beautiful with the addition of multiple luxury resorts opening their doors this year. Seaplanes and helicopters will take you on scenic flights to appreciate the waterfalls, beaches, and mountains of Fiji from high above, and the island is full of opportunities for relaxation as well as adventure, via hiking, biking, and watersports of all kinds. Fijian cuisine offers a mix of South Asian and East Asian flavors, and kava, a mildly intoxicating root-based drink, is popular on the islands as well.

Greenland
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Greenland

Not only should you definitely visit Greenland this year, but you should also consider doing so in the summer. This northernmost North American country is generally freezing most of the year, and so average temperatures reach a cool average of 50 degrees in the middle of summer. You can still enjoy the glaciers and mountains of this large island nation in addition to its unique cuisine, but summer also means you’ll have fewer crowds to deal with as well as a chance to see the awe-inspiring midnight sun — a phenomenon in the northern two-thirds of the country in which the sun is up for days or even weeks. Go around the summer solstice and the sky won’t even go fully dark, with the sun only setting for a short while at night.

Hamburg
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Hamburg

Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt are all destinations that come straight to mind when planning a trip to Germany, but Hamburg should definitely be on the list starting this year. The newly constructed Elbphilharmonie concert hall took nearly 10 years and cost 790 million euros ($940 million) to build, but it was worth the wait and it’s worth a visit, as it’s one of the world’s largest and most acoustically advanced music halls. Located in the relatively new waterfront HafenCity, you’d be remiss not to check out one of the many hotspots for gastronomy nearby or the city’s many impressive churches and other architectural marvels.

Helsinki, Finland
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Helsinki, Finland

One of the safest cities in the world, Helsinki is best seen in the summer when temperatures are far more comfortable and the days are far longer as opposed to the colder days throughout the rest of the year. Enjoy the Scandinavian sunshine in the city’s many outdoor bars and cafes, and visit the sea fortress of Suomenlinna. Helsinki also has plenty of interesting museums and beautiful parks, and the average temperature at the height of summer is around the mid-60s.

Houston
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Houston

The most diverse place in America, Texas’s largest city is fantastic for food lovers. You can find amazing and authentic Mexican food anywhere in Houston, but there are certain areas that specialize in specific cuisines. Chinatown is, of course, best for Chinese food, while the Mahatma Gandhi District is full of Indian and Pakistani fare. Go to Koreatown for Korean cuisine, Midtown for Vietnamese, the predominantly Jewish Meyerland for anything kosher, and Bissonette Street for something Nigerian or Ethiopian. Make sure you don’t leave Houston without visiting the NASA Johnson Space Center, and make sure to check out the plethora of museums as well as the Houston Zoo. You’ll also do well to buy a Houstin CityPASS to get into up to six attractions within a nine-day period.

Ireland
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Ireland

Enjoy the best of the Emerald Isle when it’s at its greenest and sunniest. There are plenty of magical spots in Ireland, which is known for its rolling hills, green landscapes, and picturesque waters, and summertime is the best time for a drive, hike, or a bike ride through the Irish countryside. Ireland has an abundance of beaches to offer, as well as famed music, art, and food festivals throughout the summer.

Kennebunkport, Maine
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Kennebunkport, Maine

Known for being the summer home of the Bush family, Kennebunkport’s trademarked slogan is “The Place to be all Year,” but the town is best visited during warmer weather. There are multiple beaches for your swimming and sunning needs, and the Franciscan monastery is open year round, with beautifully maintained grounds and a beautiful view of the harbor. Whale watching and golf are also popular endeavors. There’s even a Seashore Trolley Museum, which offers the chance to operate a trolley for yourself!

Lake Tahoe, Nev./Calif.
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Lake Tahoe, Nev./Calif.

Nearly 3 million people annually make it out to the border of California and Nevada to visit Lake Tahoe, one of the biggest, clearest, and deepest freshwater lakes on the planet. Lake Tahoe is a year-round destination with offerings that vary with the seasons. While it’s known as one of the best winter destinations for skiing and snowboarding, it’s still a great place to be in the summer with plenty of opportunities for hiking, golfing, boating, and other watersports. Get some of the country’s best waffles at the Red Hut Café. Dining, shopping, and nature sightseeing are all worthwhile endeavors to pursue in this beautiful getaway spot.

Mackinac Island, Mich.
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Mackinac Island, Mich.

Pronounced “MAK-i-naw,” Macinac Island is the hidden gem of Michigan with its Victorian charm and fun activities for the entire family. The island is a three-in-one destination: You can visit Active Mackinac for a more outdoorsy time with biking, hiking, horse-riding, and paddling; Grand Mackinac for a more upper-class experience at the Grand Hotel resort; or Fudgie Mackinac to indulge your sweet tooth with the island’s famous fudge amid historic and shopping sites. As it is located between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan, Mackinac is chilly through most of the year, and outright freezing in the snowy winter, making this destination most enjoyable in the summer sun. Tours of the island are available on foot, bike, or even via kayak or stand-up paddle board, both of which are available for rentals. We also recommend bringing your own bicycle; Mackinac is known for its island-wide motor vehicle ban.

Madrid
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Madrid

Summers in Madrid can get very hot, but with a night’s stay getting as low as $85 in August, you’ll probably find a way to cool down. A trip here would be worth it too; Madrid is known for its architecture and of course its Spanish cuisine. Visit the Palacio Real, or Royal Palace, the official residence of the king, or catch a flamenco show for some amazing Spanish history and culture.

Matera, Italy
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Matera, Italy

This year is the best time to visit the picturesque southern Italian destination of Matera, in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, before tourism booms with the celebrations accompanying its naming as a 2019 European Capital of Culture. Visit the caves of Sassi di Matera to travel 9,000 years back in time or explore the churches carved into the volcanic rock. The gorgeous town is full of caves actually, such as Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario where you can see how an eighteenth-century family lived, or the city’s many cave B&Bs where you can stay yourself. (You can also dine in a cave, sampling traditional local fare at L'Abbondanza Lucana.)

Malta
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Malta

Now is the best time to visit Valletta, especially after the city was named a 2018 European Capital of Culture. This melting pot of a city has Roman, Arab, and British influences in its architecture, cuisine, music, and even language, and UNESCO dubbed it “one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world” due to the fact that it has a whopping 320 historical sites in just 136 acres. Sites like Saint John’s Co-Cathedral and the Palace of the Grand Masters, which serves as the Maltese parliament building and the office of Malta’s president, are must-sees, and when you’re not in the mood for a tour, you can always hit the beach and head out to the scenic villages throughout Malta.

Morocco
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Morocco

Morocco is a hot destination this summer— figuratively in addition to literally. Offering the best of Middle Eastern beauty in terms of architecture and natural scenery, Morocco has plenty of must-visit stops, all at an affordable price. The city of Marrakesh is full of palaces and street markets to explore, and it’s home to the newly opened Yves Saint Laurent Museum, where fashion lovers can visit the famous designer’s Marrakesh studio and home. Less than a mile from there lie the Atlas Mountains, perfect for hiking and taking on Kasbah Toubkal, the country’s highest peak. Visit Tétouan, known for its carpets and World Heritage Site medina (old town) and the site of a burgeoning modern Moroccan art movement. The resort town of Essaouira, with its great beaches for windsurfing and kitesurfing and its colorful and busy medina, is one of this year’s top 10 best value destinations.

Mykonos, Greece
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Mykonos, Greece

One of the most popular Greek islands, it should come as no surprise that Mykonos is starting to see some of its hotels sell out completely. Particularly famous for its nightlife and beaches, Mykonos is an absolutely picturesque destination that also happens to be notably LGBT-friendly.

Nantucket, Mass.
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Nantucket, Mass.

The island of Nantucket is a small destination off the coast of Massachusetts, but it has long been a vacation spot for the average Joe as well as upper-class Americans and celebrities. Perfect for a weekend getaway, the island is particularly popular in the summer, as the area sees its best weather all year. The marine life of Nantucket can be seen at the local aquarium, and eaten at fantastic seafood restaurants such as the Nantucket Lobster Trap. Nantucket is also an extremely safe destination, and families have been known to allow their children to wander on their own.

Oslo, Norway
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Oslo, Norway

Oslo is another top destination this year thanks to the king and queen’s golden wedding anniversary as well as recent expansions to Oslo’s airport. The city is full of museums and parks, all of which will be more enjoyable (and more likely to be open) in the warmer months, as well as restaurants and cafes full of great food and fantastic Norwegian coffee. Mid-summer temperatures average in the mid-60s, meaning you won’t be sweating as you would in much of the rest of Europe, which makes it the best time to go island-hopping in the Oslo Fjord for amazing views of blue waters against the backdrop of white mountains.

Paphos, Cyprus
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Paphos, Cyprus

Situated about 50 miles south of the Turkish coast, the island country of Cyprus is a beautiful Mediterranean getaway. The entire city of Paphos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in addition to having been named a European Capital of Culture for 2017. Book a room in one of the city’s luxury hotels to enjoy Paphos’s ancient remains, subtropical climate, and gorgeous scenery. We recommend a stay at Louis Ledra Beach, one of the best all-inclusive resorts in the world.

Peru
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Peru

While Machu Picchu has been growing in popularity as a bucket list landmark, tourists are also starting to discover the rest of Peru alongside it. A trip in the summer is a great idea, since it’s Peru’s winter and therefore the South American country isn’t as hot. Visit Trujillo, where you can learn about the Moche and Chimu, ancient civilizations from even before the Inca, by visiting the pyramids of the former and the adobe complex of the latter, before heading to the northern part of the country, where you’ll find a different kind of hiking experience on the jungle trails. Other must-sees include Leymebamba, home to around 200 Incan mummies, and Chan Chan, a city made entirely of adobe and the largest pre-Columbian settlement in South America. Make sure you don’t leave without visiting the food scene of its capital, Lima, or enjoying some marinera dancing alongside Peruvian music.

Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.
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Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.

Often confused with the neighboring town of Point Pleasant, Point Pleasant Beach is a popular spot on the Jersey Shore. Summer is the best time to hit the beach in New Jersey, and the summer months see fireworks as well as Big Joe’s Jersey Talent Show, a weekly event in which both residents and visitors can take part. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk offers food, games, mini-golf, arcades, and an amusement park, and the end of the summer sees the Festival of the Sea, which features seafood and shopping.

Portugal
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Portugal

Portugal is one of 2018’s top travel trends, and it’s not hard to see why. Cheap flights and hotel stays are easily attainable, as long as you book about a month or two in advance, and the local food and drink here won’t hurt your wallet either. Portugal’s beaches have the same Mediterranean sun as destinations like Spain or Italy, without the over-saturation of tourists. If you’re not a beach person, there are always the fantastic views of Lisbon and the romantic charm of iconic landmarks such as the Pena Palace in Sintra.

San Juan, Puerto Rico
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San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is officially open for business and tourists are needed more than ever to help the island get back on its feet.­ Witness the rebuilding and resilience of San Juan, where old and new coexist in the architecture as well as the city’s culture. Nightlife, beaches, and a growing arts scene have all helped San Juan earn its reputation as a strong tourist destination, but it’s the food here that’s really worth coming for.

Santa Catalina Island, Calif.
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Santa Catalina Island, Calif.

Commonly referred to as simply Catalina Island, this group of islands is 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, technically a part of Los Angeles County. The most underrated destination in all of California, Catalina Island feels like a breath of fresh air way from modern life and touristy site, with no chain restaurants and a famous, grand-looking casino that’s been around since 1928. Both snorkeling and scuba diving are popular endeavors on Catalina Island, and Sea Trek is a diving experience where even beginner swimmers can wear high-tech diving helmets for an underwater guided walking tour. If that’s too daunting, there are plenty of glass-bottom boat and semi-submarine rides as well. If you’re interested in a tour of the wildlife and history on land, there’s also a zip line eco tour available.

Seville, Spain
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Seville, Spain

Southern Spain blooms in Seville, where the blend of Moorish and European architecture is so beautiful that the city’s royal palace, the Alcazar of Seville, was used as a set on the hit HBO show Game of Thrones. Whereas Seville used to be laden with traffic congestion, the increasing use of bikes and trams has made this city a lot more tourist-friendly. With more bars per inhabitant than any other city in Europe, Seville is also a great place for nightlife, and a flamenco show here is a must, as is a tapas tour.

Shimla, India
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Shimla, India

The northern Indian city of Shimla is an absolutely magical mountaintop town. Lying in the southwestern Himalayas on top of a mountain ridge with a stunning view, its mild climate drew many British officers in the early nineteenth century, turning the area into a resort town of sorts. Eventually, it became the summer capital of the British Raj, as the warmer months truly turn this chilly destination into a wonderful oasis. Today you can still find plenty of neo-Gothic and Tudorbethan colonial architecture here, and the Kalka-Shimla Railway line that will take you up to the city amidst breathtaking scenery is also a legacy of colonial rule. Shimla has still maintained its local culture, however, as demonstrated by its many festivals and local arts and crafts.

South Africa
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South Africa

South Africa offers everything from safaris to cosmopolitan city life to beaches to historical sites. Being located in the Southern Hemisphere, the summer months of the Northern Hemisphere are actually wintertime here. Tourism is at its lowest and the weather is at its coldest — which actually isn’t too cold, with high temperatures averaging in the upper 60s and low temperatures rarely going below the upper 30s. Enjoy iconic street food like bunny chow, hit world-class beaches like Camps Bay Beach, and stay in affluent hotels in the Western Cape. Hotel rates drop by as much as 40 to 50 percent, and safaris and tours are much cheaper as well. And if you really are a safari buff, South Africa’s winter is the best time for one; as it’s dry season, animals are more likely to be found at water sources and are also easier to see with shorter grass and barer trees.

Stockholm
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Stockholm

A city made up of 14 islands and over 50 bridges, Stockholm really is best visited in warmer weather. Summertime sees a truly pleasant average of the low 70s, perfect for sailing among the Baltic Sea and enjoying freshwater swimming. Whereas Stockholm only receives about six hours of daylight in midwinter, summertime can get you up to 18 hours of sunlight and therefore more time to the city’s ports, amazing architecture, and hiking and biking opportunities. Boat tours are particularly popular for enjoying the city’s sights and history, and the warmer the weather and the more daylight you have, the more enjoyable they’ll be.

Tallinn, Estonia
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Tallinn, Estonia

Estonia is celebrating the hundreth anniversary of its independence from the Russian Empire this year, making its already culturally rich capital a top destination. One of the safest cities in the world, Tallinn is particularly popular in the summer, with a history that goes back to medieval times, as seen with the medieval houses and cobbled streets in its absolutely gorgeous Old City. Many luxurious or charming yet affordable hotels are available nearby, including the newly opened Centennial Hotel, named in honor of the aforementioned anniversary, for you to stay at while you enjoy the many different events in honor of the country’s centennial, such as Tallinn Music Week, Tallinn Medieval Days, and the My Free Country exhibit at the Estonian History Museum.

Taos, N.M.
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Taos, N.M.

Two hours from Santa Fe, you can discover the lesser-known destination of Taos, a fantastic destination in New Mexico that’s great for an affordable family summer vacation. You can go any time of year, however; Taos is great for skiing and art, and the Taos Ski Valley is a must for anyone wanting to try out the Southwestern slopes. You can also make a trip to visit the Taos Pueblo, a Native American community just north of town that’s open to visitors as long as you’re respectful. The Rio Grande also means plenty of available river adventures, and the Enchanted Circle is a self-guided driving tour taken by many visitors through the scenic surroundings of Taos.

United Kingdom
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United Kingdom

Known for being cold and, in many parts, rainy throughout much of the year, the United Kingdom — made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland — is a prime summer vacation spot. Take a tour of diverse and ever-popular London, the music and arts scene of Manchester, Welsh culture in Cardiff, the political and historical monuments of Belfast, and the hub and capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. Outside of summertime, the U.K. can be quite sleepy, so take advantage of the season’s many festivals, markets, and events. Average temperatures can vary between high 50s and mid-60s, so you’re not sweating it out, and the coastlines are full of picturesque beaches and stunning cliffs. Because the U.K. is a far better place to be in the summer than any other time of the year, however, prices can go up quite a bit; to avoid breaking the bank in order to plan the perfect summer vacation, make sure you use the right tips and tricks to land cheaper flights.

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