Inspire Me

12 Summer Vacations Everyone Needs To Take Once

No one can be sure of what the reality of the world will look like come July and August, but one thing is for sure: I’ll be thinking about summer vacations.

There’s something almost romantic about a summer holiday. Every year it comes around and every year we look forward to it. The fresh sea breeze, the feel of salt in your hair, afternoon lunches that naturally turn in to sundowners, whilst the warm breeze passes the day in to night. It invokes a sense of carefreeness, and takes on the personification of a teenage dream – light, airy and rebellious. Like you’re in on a secret no one else has discovered yet. It allows you to escape, to create a world outside of one normally bogged down by often dreary commutes and deadlines.

So while we hunker down for the greater good and get our sun kiss from a bottle and our freckles from a filter, here at CF we decided to reflect on the classic summer holidays everyone needs to take at least once. It’s a meaty list that was difficult to trim down, but I think we may have delivered just the right mix of summer holiday armchair escapism for your scrolling pleasure. SPF not required (although always encouraged).

Amalfi Coast

With its steep mountain slopes adorned with colourful villas along glittering water every glorious shade of blue and turquoise, the Amalfi Coast has firmly cemented it’s place as the Italian hotspot for holidayers during the summer months. Its terracotta cliffs welcome fearless drivers and scooters weaving around mountain edges indifferent to its jagged edges and sheer drops to land upon fashionable boutiques, green terraced lemon groves and some of the finest beachside restaurants serving freshly caught seafood.

From lounging on Positano’s infamous Spiaggia Grande, to sunset cocktails at Capri Rootfop surrounded by glamorous crowds to refreshing, homemade gelato from the Amalfi Piazza, there’s nothing that spells summer quite like the breathtaking charm of the Amalfi Coast.

San Sebastian, Spain

This earthy, seductive, legendary beach town in the Basque country of northern Spain, where Spanish royalty summered in the 19th century and Hemingway characters chilled out in the 1920s, is by all accounts delightfully old-world, but not stodgy, stylish but not flashy, and sophisticated but not pretentious.

A resort town, San Sebastian is famed for it’s golden beaches, lush hillsides, quaint Old Town and world-renowned restaurants with blinding Michelin stars. The grand architecture and enchanting buildings in New Town sprout towers and turrets, domes and steeples, and make for the perfect backdrop as evening crowds descend to sample pintxos (tapas) and sip txakoli (the local wine). Its undeniable allure extends to a packed cultural calendar celebrating the region’s unique, insular customs and its magnificent views anchored by mountains at each end of the city round out an impressive scene worthy of being a classic.

Napa Valley, California

The Napa Valley is one of the most well regarded wine regions in the world and although you don’t have to be a wine-lover to fully enjoy its worth, it certainly helps! Famed for its beautiful scenery and prize-wining Cabernet, along with a luxurious, gourmet restaurant scene that, like its grape counterparts, gets better each year. A summer holiday in Napa, California is a smooth, robust, tasteful adventure. With its serene redwood groves and scenic hilltop views, volcanic hot springs set against rolling hills covered in vines, a chic, small-town vibe with cozy terraces emitting camp-style fires, Napa Valley is the classic summer holiday of indulgence for foodies, tasters and sun-seekers alike.

Greek Islands

Picture-perfect postcard views is the easiest way to sum up the Greek Islands. With over 6000 islands of various sizes in total, and 200 of which are inhabited, there’s a classic summer holiday for every traveller waiting to be explored and discovered. Enjoy some of the world’s hottest nightlife and see-and-be-seen beaches of Mykonos to the quaint, cobbled alleyways that exude the islands bohemian allure. The romantic, quiet and breathtaking views of Santorini with its white churches with blue domes and pink bougainvillea vines twining along them, to the increasingly trendy Milos.

On this volcanic island where Aphrodite’s graceful likeness was discovered amongst its diverse and dramatic coastline, lavish beaches will stun, local wine will quench any palate, and delectable dining every which way you look, make the Greek Islands the epitome of a classic summer holiday.

Pacific Coast Highway Roadtrip, California

Regarded as one of the best road trips in the United States, and potentially the world, this exhilarating drive down Highway 1 on California’s Pacific Coast is a once in a lifetime, must-do for the hearty traveller. This twisting, cliff-hugging route reveals plush mountains plunging in to the ocean, impressive houses perched on granite cliffs, broad beaches fringed with Monterey pines, redwood groves that seemingly reach high in to the sky and thunderous waves beaten to froth on ragged rocks. Pit stops reveal quaint villages dotted with colourful cottages, upscale inns with just the right amount of luxury and charm, Michelin restaurants and renowned vineyards and designated vista points for Insta-worthy, sparkling ocean views. Conjure up your best Thelma & Louise, drive with the top down and marvel along with this classic summer getaway.

Machu Picchu, Peru

The 15th century Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru is renowned for its remarkable landscapes, lush agriculture and panoramic views. Shrouded by mist and surrounded by lush vegetation and steep escarpments, this awe-inspiring ancient city is made for summer adventurers. Hiking is a must in order to explore and appreciate the sophistication and engineering behind the seemingly endless ruins constructed by the Incas to evade the Spanish settlers of the time. The famous Inca Trail reveals archaeological discoveries leading to natural hot springs in nearby Chivay, and with the Pacific coast and lush Amazon Rainforest not far away, this wonder of the world provides maximum potential for that once in a lifetime summer holiday.

French Riviera Rail Hopping

Also known as the Côte d’Azur, this dreamy region in the South of France plays host to over 100 kilometres of one of the world’s most famous coastlines extending from Menton to Monaco. Trains offering day-long, unlimited rail passes snake throughout the Côte d’Azur, connecting coastal towns with scenic views of turquoise inlets that alternate with isolated sandy coves. Mirror-like seascapes from the train’s giant picture windows pass by as sun-seekers make their way along the coast hopping on and off. Chase the sun from town to town, enjoying a carafe of local Côtes du Provence rosé at each stop along the way whilst marvelling at the endless leafy protrusion of villas, glamorous beaches and picturesque towns filled with fresh outdoor markets and elderly men playing pétanque. With 300 days of sunshine every year, it is no wonder the French Riviera has remained such a classic summer holiday destination for so long.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, has long seduced visitors as one of the world’s most magnificent walled cities. Overlooking the calm blue, crystal clear sea banked against glorious rock-and-pebble coast, with pristine beaches dotted with 5-star hotels favoured by the rich and famous, Dubrovnik has proven itself as an idyllic oasis. This sense of awe never fails to descend when you set eyes on the beauty of the Old Town.

It’s hard to imagine anyone becoming jaded by the city’s narrow limestone streets, cobblestoned lanes that lead to spectacular restaurants serving up menus with fresh, local ingredients, medieval architecture and baroque buildings and perfect outdoor patios for pit stops on a leisurely stroll through the city. With impressive terracotta roofed buildings in every direction, endless terraces to laze around whilst watching pink and orange hues paint the sky at sunset, fresh oysters and quality wines, and islands with hidden coves to discover, Dubrovnik is Croatia’s most upmarket destination for that sophisticated, laid back, classic summer holiday.

Bali

The Indonesian island of Bali needs little introduction. Famed for being a surfer and yoga-lovers paradise, this 5780 km² vacation hotspot in the Indian Ocean offers so much more than just matcha lattes and açaí smoothie bowls. From forested volcanic mountains, to endless iconic terraced rice fields every shade of bright green, pristine white sandy beaches in the South, striking black sand in the North and West, and colourful, exotic coral reefs, just the mere mention of Bali evokes thoughts of paradise. Some would argue that Bali is more than a place; it’s a mood, an aspiration, a tropical state of mind. Either way, this one’s a classic.

New York City

As temperatures heat up, New York City gains a boundless energy with balmy days and steamy summer nights playing host to revellers descending upon the asphalt. Endless street fairs take over each of the 5 boroughs offering sensational eats from the best restaurants. Rooftops transform in to trendy bars and pools to provide tourists and Gotham residents with reprieve as the mercury rises. Parks offer the perfect refuge to dine al fresco beneath the stars whilst catching an outdoor theatre performance. While cafes and shady tree-lined streets give way to trendy boutiques and a place to linger over an iced latte in an old-fashioned pavement café for the perfect people watching. From Coney Island, to the US Open, and everything in between, the city that never sleeps has all the coolest ingredients for a classic summer holiday.

Porto, Portugal

One of the oldest cities in Europe, Porto, with its maze of steep and narrow cobbled streets, delivers as much charm as it does architecture with beautiful plazas, churches and houses with colourfully tiled facades. Nestled in one of the world’s leading wine regions in the heart of the Douro Valley, Porto entices the summer crowds with its historic centre, sumptuous food and wine, and charismatic locals. Long regarded as Lisbon’s quieter sibling, Portugal’s second city is currently undergoing a magical moment of rejuvenation with the river banks transforming into hip new bars and cool pavement restaurants that draw people in as the sun sets on the sea breeze. This combination of the best of old and new, along with a resurgent cultural scene, including world class concerts at Casa de Musica and exciting art exhibitions along Rua de Miguel Bombarda, firmly place Porto as a classic for summer holidays.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Colourful clam shacks, shingle style cottages and beautiful beaches along a seemingly endless shore bring the perfect mix of laidback charm to the quintessential summer holiday town of Cape Cod. Known as simply “The Cape” to locals, this American coastal destination is always packed during the summer months with tourists seeking a quaint escape. Scenic bike trails wrap around rugged dunes, bright kayaks and fishing boats fill the harbour while picturesque sunsets make for the perfect end to a breezy summer day spent at the beach. Bohemian galleries in artsy Princetown add an additional layer of elevated delight juxtaposing the fried clams, fresh lobster rolls and beach parties you’ll find in Wellfleet. Delivering the perfect mix of the outdoors and refined Americana, The Cape is as classic a summer holiday spot as a Ralph Lauren Oxford shirt.

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