Young woman at the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Bali- summer vacation destinations

Our Best Summer Vacation Destinations for 2024

Summer whispers adventure! From vibrant cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and the promise of relaxation under warm sunshine, the world is full of endless choices. Whether you’re dreaming of sipping a cocktail under the lush palm trees of a tropical beach or wandering through ancient ruins, the perfect summer getaway awaits.

This guide will whisk you away to some of the most breathtaking summer vacation destinations around the globe—from the vibrant streets of Bali to the historic landscapes of Italy, each offering its unique blend of excitement and relaxation.

Our Top Picks for Summer Vacation Destinations in 2024

This curated list offers 15 incredible summer vacation destinations that we, too, cannot stop dreaming about!  

Bali

A female tourist is sitting on a large bird nest on a tree at Bali island, Indonesia

Bali, the “Island of the Gods,” beckons with its captivating blend of vibrant Hindu culture, stunning natural beauty, and world-class relaxation options. Immerse yourself in the spiritual heart of Bali at Ubud, where ancient temples like Tirta Empul and intricately carved shrines like Goa Gajah offer a glimpse into the island’s rich heritage. Witness daily religious ceremonies, an integral part of Balinese life, and be captivated by the melodic sounds of gamelan music filling the air.

Beyond the cultural immersion, Bali boasts breathtaking landscapes. Hike through the verdant rice terraces of Tegallalang, marveling at the intricate irrigation systems sculpted into the hillsides. Need more adventure? Hike Mount Batur, an active volcano, to witness a mesmerizing sunrise over the island’s dramatic peaks.

For those seeking relaxation, Bali’s pristine beaches provide the perfect setting. Unwind on the golden sands of Seminyak, a haven for luxurious resorts and world-class spas. Explore the laid-back beaches of Nusa Islands, perfect for snorkeling amidst vibrant coral reefs, or discover hidden coves along the dramatic coastline.

Foodies will delight in Balinese cuisine, a taste of fresh flavors and unique spices. Savor succulent babi guling (roasted suckling pig), indulge in flavorful nasi goreng (fried rice), or sample local delicacies like bebek betutu (duck slow-cooked in spices). In the evenings, enjoy traditional dance performances like the Kecak, where rhythmic chanting and captivating storytelling come alive.

Italy 

Young woman in front of colosseum in rome, italy
Young woman in front of Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Italy, the birthplace of the Renaissance, is the perfect summer vacation destination for culture, art, and delectable cuisine. Immerse yourself in the grandeur of ancient Rome, marvel at Michelangelo’s masterpieces in Florence, or get swept away by the romantic canals of Venice. History buffs will delight in exploring the Colosseum and Pompeii, while art enthusiasts can spend hours in iconic museums like the Uffizi Gallery.

Beyond the famed cities, Italy boasts breathtaking landscapes. Hike or bike through the rolling hills of Tuscany, explore the picturesque villages of Cinque Terre clinging to cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea or discover the vibrant culture of southern Italy.

Want a taste of Italian cuisine? Indulge in fresh, regional specialties – savor a steaming plate of pasta in Rome, delight in fresh seafood in coastal towns, or sip on world-renowned wines in the rolling vineyards of Piedmont. Italy caters to every interest, offering an unforgettable summer experience that nourishes the mind, body, and soul.

Japan

Mt. Fuji awith Chureito Pagoda
Mt. Fuji awith Chureito Pagoda

Also known as the Land of Rising Sun, Japan offers ancient traditions seamlessly blended with futuristic innovation. Japan captivates with its vibrant culture, stunning natural beauty, and delectable cuisine. Immerse yourself in the serenity of Zen gardens, wander through the majestic gates of temples, or don a traditional kimono and explore bustling city streets.

Are you a history geek? Then the rich heritage of Kyoto, the former imperial capital will not disappoint. Or visit Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park. if you are a foodie, consider Japan your paradise for indulging in fresh sushi, savory ramen, or the delicate art of tea ceremonies.

Beyond the cultural experiences, Japan offers a plethora of experiences. Hike the majestic Mount Fuji, soak in natural hot springs, or witness the dazzling spectacle of summer festivals. For a taste of modern marvels, explore the neon-lit streets of Tokyo, ride the bullet train through the countryside, or marvel at the architectural wonders of Osaka. Japan caters to curious minds and adventurous spirits, promising a summer odyssey unlike any other.

Iceland

Woman enjoying blue lagoon

Iceland captivates with its dramatic landscapes, where glaciers meet volcanoes and geothermal wonders erupt from the earth. The sun barely sets, painting the sky in hues of orange and pink for hours, offering a magical backdrop for adventurers.

Explore the volcanic landscapes of the Golden Circle, marvel at the power of the Gullfoss waterfall, or relax in the natural hot springs like the famous Blue Lagoon

Beyond the dramatic scenery, Iceland offers a glimpse into Viking history and a vibrant cultural scene. Explore the charming capital city, Reykjavik, with its colorful houses, quirky museums, and lively nightlife. Foodies can indulge in fresh seafood dishes and unique Icelandic specialties like lamb soup or fermented shark (for the truly adventurous!).

For the intrepid, there’s nothing quite like hiking across glaciers or watching the playful antics of puffins along the cliffs. Iceland’s dramatic scenery provides a stark yet beautiful contrast to the summer heat found elsewhere, making it an unforgettable destination for those seeking both solace and adventure in nature.

Cuba

Happy woman in popular area in old Havana, Cuba.

Cuba captivates with its vibrant blend of history and music, its streets a canvas of colonial architecture and classic cars painted in hues of pastels. Summer is the perfect time to dive into the island’s lively culture, with salsa music setting the rhythm of the night and local festivals like Carnaval de Santiago lighting up the atmosphere. 

Explore the historic streets of Havana, where every corner tells a story, or unwind on the pristine beaches of Varadero under a canopy of azure skies. Beyond the city, Cuba boasts stunning natural beauty. Hike through the lush Viñales Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and marvel at the dramatic mogotes (limestone hills) rising from the verdant landscape. Explore tobacco plantations, a cornerstone of Cuban agriculture, and learn about the traditional curing process.

Foodies will be tantalized by Cuban cuisine, a flavorful fusion of Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences. Savor slow-roasted pork (lechon asado), indulge in fresh seafood dishes, or try a ropa vieja (shredded beef) sandwich, a local favorite.

Spain 

Twilight view on New Bridge in Ronda, Spain
New Bridge in Ronda, Spain

Spain in the summer is an endless fiesta of sun, sand, and sangria. From the sun-drenched beaches of Costa del Sol to the lively streets of Barcelona, Spain offers a diverse culture filled with joy and relaxation.

Marvel at the architectural wonders of Barcelona, a city where Gaudi’s whimsical creations meet vibrant street life. Explore the historic heart of Seville, wander the enchanting maze-like streets of Granada, and be awestruck by the Alhambra palace, or soak up the laid-back charm of coastal towns.

For the history buffs can venture into the Roman ruins of Mérida or the medieval city of Toledo. If you are looking to explore Spanish cuisine, indulge in tapas crawls, sampling regional delicacies like paella and jamón ibérico, or savoring world-renowned wines from Rioja or Ribera del Duero.

Away from the rich cultural and historical experiences, Spain offers an overload of experiences. Hike the scenic trails of Picos de Europa National Park, relax on pristine beaches in the Balearic Islands, or learn to flamenco dance in Andalusia. Embrace the country’s zest for life by joining a lively fiesta, where music spills into the streets and celebrations continue late into the night.

Peru

Machu Picchu Inca Ruins - Sacred Valley, Peru
Machu Picchu Inca Ruins – Sacred Valley, Peru

Peru is a treasure trove of archaeological wonders and natural beauty. In the summer, the Andean landscapes flourish under a bright, clear sky, perfect for exploring the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu or venturing through the enigmatic Nazca Lines. The Nazca Lines are not the only historical site on your bucket list. Consider exploring the ancient city of Chan Chan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The vibrant festivities, like the Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun) in Cusco, add a layer of cultural richness to the visitor experience. The Peruvian Amazonia, locally referred to as the Peruvian Jungle, with its lush rainforests and diverse wildlife, beckons the adventurous spirit, offering river cruises and eco-lodges that immerse you in the heart of nature’s splendor.

Beyond historical exploration, Peru boasts breathtaking natural wonders. Hike the scenic trails of Huascarán National Park, trek to the colorful Rainbow Mountain, or boat across the crystal-clear waters of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world.  For a taste of adrenaline, sandboard down the dunes of Huacachina, an oasis nestled amidst a desert landscape.

You certainly cannot skimp on Peruvian cuisine, from fresh ceviche to hearty stews, all bursting with unique flavors. All in all, Peru offers a summer adventure unlike any other, promising a journey through time, breathtaking scenery, and unforgettable cultural encounters.

Fiji

Tourist woman walks along a remote beach of an Island in Fiji.

If your summer dream includes palm-fringed beaches, crystal clear waters, and an under-the-radar vibe, Fiji is the destination for you. This archipelago of more than 300 islands is a haven for scuba divers, snorkelers, and those who wish to escape to a secluded paradise. 

Spend your days exploring the soft coral reefs, basking on the white sands of Natadola Beach, or sailing between the unspoiled islands of the Yasawas.

Beyond the beach bliss, Fiji offers a myriad of activities. Hike through lush rainforests, discover cascading waterfalls, or explore hidden coves and secluded islands. For a touch of adventure, try white-water rafting or ziplining through the Fijian landscape.

Foodies will delight in fresh seafood dishes infused with Fijian spices, alongside tropical fruits and local delicacies. In the evenings, enjoy Fijian entertainment, where fire dancers light up the night and traditional music fills the air. 

Croatia

Waterfall In Krka National Park - Croatia
Waterfall In Krka National Park – Croatia

Croatia is a gem on the Adriatic coast, famed for its crystal-clear seas and historic towns. Summer is the ideal season to visit, with the sunlit days providing perfect conditions for sailing along the Dalmatian coast. Explore the ancient walls of Dubrovnik, a city that seems straight out of a historical saga, or unwind on the pebbled beaches of Split. Better still, Explore the maze-like streets of Split, built within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace, a Roman emperor’s retirement residence. For the lovers of history, venture into Roman ruins in Pula or wander through the medieval streets of Hvar Town.

For a taste of local life, join the revelry at the Split Summer Festival. For a touch of adventure, explore the waterfalls and turquoise lakes of Krka National Park, or kayak through the dramatic cliffs and hidden coves of Mljet National Park. The islands of Hvar and KorÄŤula offer vineyards, lavender fields, and medieval towns, promising a picturesque backdrop for both relaxation and exploration. 

The Azores

Sete Cidades lake, Sao Miguel island, Azores, Portugal
Sete Cidades lake, Sao Miguel island, Azores, Portugal

Midway between Europe and America, the Azores are a cluster of nine volcanic islands that boast an incredible array of landscapes. Here, nature takes center stage with stunning crater lakes, fumaroles, and lush greenery. 

Hike up volcanic peaks like Mount Pico, the highest point in Portugal, for breathtaking panoramas. Explore Sete Cidades National Park, where emerald and blue lakes fill volcanic craters, creating a dramatic landscape. For a unique experience, explore the volcanic caves formed by ancient lava flows, marveling at stalactites and stalagmites sculpted by time.

Beyond the volcanic landscapes, the Azores boast a stunning coastline. Relax on black sand beaches, perfect for picnicking and soaking up the sunshine. Explore hidden coves and secluded lagoons ideal for swimming and snorkeling, where colorful marine life awaits. Summer in the Azores is perfect for whale watching, as the islands lie along migratory routes for numerous species. 

Foodies will be delighted by Azorean cuisine, featuring fresh seafood dishes, stews simmered in volcanic geothermal vents (cozido), and delectable cheeses specific to each island. 

Cyprus

Sea caves near Ayia Napa in Cyprus
Sea caves near Ayia Napa in Cyprus

Nestled in the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus is a blend of sandy beaches, ancient ruins, and scenic mountains. Summers here are sunlit and warm, ideal for exploring the island’s diverse attractions. 

Explore the archaeological sites of Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where Roman mosaics and the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, await. Wander the charming streets of Nicosia, the last divided capital in the world, or delve into the history of crusader castles scattered across the island.

Away from the historical treasures, Cyprus boasts stunning coastlines and a relaxed island vibe. Unwind on pristine beaches with crystal-clear waters, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or simply soaking up the sunshine. Explore the Akamas Peninsula, a nature reserve with hiking trails, secluded coves, and the legendary Blue Lagoon, a dazzling natural wonder.

For a quieter experience, the Troodos Mountains provide cool retreats with monasteries and vineyards perched amidst verdant forests

Want to satisfy your culinary curiosity? Savor Cypriot cuisine, a delicious fusion of Greek and Turkish influences. Enjoy fresh seafood dishes, sample local cheeses like halloumi, and indulge in mezze, a selection of small plates perfect for sharing. 

Puerto Rico

Aerial closeup view of Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan
Castillo San Felipe del Morro, San Juan

Puerto Rico, a vibrant island territory of the United States, offers a summer escape brimming with cultural immersion, outdoor adventures, and sun-drenched relaxation. Get lost in the colorful streets of Old San Juan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where Spanish colonial architecture and charming plazas exude a romantic atmosphere. Explore historic forts guarding the harbor, wander through art galleries showcasing local talent, and lose yourself in the infectious rhythms of salsa music filling the air.

For the adventurers, Puerto Rico doesn’t disappoint, either. It boasts a diverse landscape waiting to be explored. Hike through the lush El Yunque National Forest, a tropical wonderland with cascading waterfalls and hidden trails. Kayak through bioluminescent bays, where microscopic organisms illuminate the water at night, creating a magical spectacle. Don’t forget the Camuy Caves, a vast network of caverns adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, or go ziplining through the rainforest canopy for a thrilling perspective of the island’s verdant beauty.

Those seeking relaxation can unwind on pristine beaches lining the coast.  Sunbathe on the golden sands of Condado Beach, a popular spot for watersports enthusiasts, or explore the secluded coves and hidden inlets of Vieques Island, a haven for tranquility.

Foodies will be tantalized by Puerto Rican cuisine, a delicious fusion of Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences. Savor savory mofongo (mashed plantains), indulge in fresh seafood dishes like whole roasted snapper, or sample local specialties like pastelĂłn (a savory plantain lasagna).

South Africa  

Aerial view of table mountain and lions head in cape town south africa
Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa promises a summer adventure brimming with diversity. Embark on a thrilling safari in world-renowned wildlife reserves like Kruger National Park, where Big Five encounters and diverse animal sightings leave lasting memories. Explore Addo Elephant National Park, a sanctuary for these gentle giants, or venture off the beaten path to discover specialized reserves showcasing unique ecosystems.

Beyond the wildlife encounters, South Africa boasts dramatic coastlines. Hike or bike along scenic trails overlooking the rugged beauty of Cape Town’s coastline, or relax on pristine beaches washed by the warm Indian Ocean. Explore the charming seaside towns lining the coast, each offering a unique character and cultural flair. For a touch of adventure, learn to surf the world-class waves along Durban’s Golden Mile.

South Africa’s vibrant cities add another layer to the summer experience.  Immerse yourself in the multicultural richness of Cape Town, with its iconic Table Mountain backdrop, bustling waterfront, and historical sites like Robben Island. Explore Johannesburg’s rich history, tour the Apartheid Museum, or discover the trendy neighborhoods pulsating with energy.

Morocco

Woman enjoyiang popular landmark ksar Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco
Ksar Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco

Morocco is a gateway to Africa, a country of dizzying diversity. From the bustling souks and majestic palaces of Marrakech to the serene sands of the Sahara, summer in Morocco is an enchantment of sights, sounds, and smells. 

If you love historical sites, tour the grandeur of imperial cities like Fez, with its ancient madrasas (Islamic schools) and historic mosques, or wander the ochre-colored ramparts of Essaouira, a charming port town with a laid-back vibe.

Away from the cities, Morocco boasts breathtaking natural beauty. Get a chance to experience a camel trek through the golden dunes of the Sahara Desert, a timeless experience under a star-studded sky. Hike the dramatic peaks of the Atlas Mountains, encountering Berber villages clinging to hillsides and enjoying breathtaking panoramic vistas.

For a touch of relaxation, unwind on pristine beaches lining the Atlantic Coast.  Soak up the sunshine in laid-back towns like Agadir, or explore Essaouira’s windswept shores, a haven for surfers and kitesurfers alike.

Are you a lover of fine cuisine? Moroccan cuisine is a flavorful blend of Berber, Arabic, and European influences. Savor fragrant tagines, sample savory pastilla (a flaky pastry filled with meat or seafood), and indulge in the delicate sweetness of Moroccan pastries.

Kenya 

View of the Marafa Canyon in Kenya. Hells kitchens a gigantic canyon-shaped space caused by soil erosion in Africa
View of the Marafa Canyon

Last but not least, is, of course, our lovely home, Kenya. Kenya ignites the spirit of adventure with its diverse landscapes, iconic wildlife encounters, and rich culture. 

One of the top things for your bucket list is a thrilling safari in world-renowned conservancies like the Maasai Mara, witness the awe-inspiring wildebeest migration, and come face-to-face with Africa’s incredible animal diversity. Explore other equally intriguing parks like Amboseli National Park, where majestic elephants roam against the backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. For a different vibe, explore Hells Gate National Park, which boasts towering rock formations and meandering water-gouged gorges. 

Want to experience beautiful landscapes and thrilling adventures? Hike or bike through the lush Aberdare National Park, a haven for diverse wildlife and birdlife. For a truly unique adventure, take a hot air balloon ride over the Maasai Mara, witnessing the vast savannah unfold beneath you in a magical sunrise experience.

A trip to Kenya over the summer is not complete without a taste of the coastal region. Relax on pristine beaches in Diani, Malindi, and Kilifi, fringed by swaying palm trees and white sandy beaches. Explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful marine life through snorkeling or diving excursions. Historical sites like the ancient city of Mombasa and Lamu steeped in Swahili culture, offer a glimpse into Kenya’s rich past.

Conclusion

From the tranquil beaches of Fiji to the historic streets of Italy, and the wildlife-rich plains of Kenya, the world is full of spectacular destinations waiting to be explored this summer of 2024. 

Each destination offers its unique charm and adventures, catering to every type of traveler. Whether you seek solitude in nature’s embrace or the excitement of cultural festivities, these destinations promise a summer filled with memorable experiences. Pack your bags, set your out-of-office email, and prepare to immerse yourself in the wonders of the world. 

Where will your next adventure take you?

FAQ

Are these destinations suitable for family trips?

Absolutely! Each of the destinations listed offers a range of activities suitable for families. For example, Iceland has educational and fun natural excursions, while places like Fiji and Spain boast beautiful beaches and resorts that cater to both adults and children.


Can I find budget-friendly options in these locations?

Absolutely! While some locations may be pricier, there are ways to save. Consider shoulder seasons (just before or after peak season) for better deals on flights and accommodation. Look for travel packages or utilize loyalty programs to optimize costs. Hostels and guesthouses often offer budget-friendly alternatives to hotels, while opting for self-catering apartments allow you to manage your food costs.


What are the visa requirements for these destinations?

Visa requirements vary by destination and the traveler’s nationality. It’s crucial to check with the respective embassies or official government websites well in advance of your trip to understand the specific requirements and apply for visas if necessary.


What are the safety concerns when traveling to these destinations?

General travel safety applies—always keep your belongings secure, stay aware of your surroundings, and follow local advice, especially in crowded or unfamiliar areas. It’s also recommended to check travel advisories from your government before planning your travel.


Are any of these destinations suitable for solo travelers?

Absolutely! Many destinations on this list are havens for solo adventurers.  Hostels and guesthouses often provide a social atmosphere where you can meet fellow travelers. Additionally, group tours or day trips are a great way to explore a destination and connect with others while having a safety net in place. 

Traveling solo as a woman? Check out our article on the best destinations for solo female travelers.

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