It’s never too late to plan a summer vacation. You can score last minute deals on flights, hotels, and everything else you need to complete your trip. But the question is, where in the world should you travel to? I’ve had the privilege of studying abroad in London this spring, which allowed me the opportunity to explore Europe. Based on my experiences during and before study abroad, here are some destinations I suggest checking out:
Edinburgh has been underrated for far too long, and now, it’s finally getting its chance to shine. I feel like I’ve seen so many people traveling to Edinburgh, especially during summer vacation. If you’re looking to escape the grueling heat on your summer vacation, Edinburgh might be the place for you. When I went in late May, temperatures ranged from 40-65 degrees. Even in mid-June, the high for each day doesn’t exceed 65 degrees.
Aside from the comfortable climate, Edinburgh is a gorgeous city. Half of the architecture there is stately and gothic; if you go to the Old Town, you’ll see what I mean. Be sure to explore the Edinburgh Castle there, which looms over the entire city. You’ll also want to spend time at Victoria Street, a colorful shopping district in the Old Town. Allegedly, Victoria Street was the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. Speaking of which, there’s an uber magical Harry Potter store on Victoria Street called Museum of Context. I recommend popping in for a spell (see what I did there?). If you still want your fix of gothic architecture, roam around the University of Edinburgh’s campus, or soak in the view of the city from Calton Hill.
Though I went to Ibiza in the spring, I recommend booking your ticket for summer vacation. I should’ve prepared for it to be 50 degrees in April, but I didn’t. Now that it’s June, you’ll be able to enjoy the balmy weather and all the gorgeous beaches that Ibiza has to offer. While it was too cold for me to relax on the beaches, it was still nice to take sunset walks along the shoreline. The views across the ocean were stunning, and the sunsets were nothing short of breathtaking. (Don’t believe me? Look at the picture above!).
If you decide to spend your summer vacation in Ibiza, you have to try one dish: seafood paella. My friend and I split an entire skillet of paella, of which we left no crumbs. This might sound weird, but the juice in Ibiza is soooo good, too. Talk about fresh! Of course, a piña colada doesn’t hurt, either.
Out of all the cities I’ve been to, Rome might have been the most beautiful one. I went in expecting it to be just like New York City, as that was the image some people instilled in me. Rome wasn’t like Manhattan in the slightest bit. The city was nothing like I’ve ever seen, with every building—even the McDonalds—picturesque and ancient-looking. The green spaces were beautiful, too. I loved the Giardino degli Aranci (an orange tree garden on a hill), as well as the Gardens of the Villa Borghese.
This goes without saying, but the best part of Rome was the food. I rotated between pasta and pizza for meals, and tiramisu and gelato for dessert. I never got sick of any of these dishes; there are endless ways one can take their pasta. My favorite meal was a four cheese truffle linguini from Ba Ghetto Milky, and my favorite tiramisu was a Nutella and Oreo concoction from Tiramisù Roma Trastevere. Both are must-haves for when you visit!
I’m breaking up the list of European countries with a US destination. My sister works in Orlando, so I may be a bit biased. Even though I’ve visited her countless times, I never get tired of going there. Orlando has it all for a fun-filled summer vacation, especially if you’re with your family (or if you’re just young at heart). Of course, I have to recommend Disney World. My favorite park of the four has to be Epcot. The rides are tame enough to go on after drinking around the world, and the food there is undoubtedly the best of all the Disney parks. If you’re more into thrills, go to Hollywood Studios. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but the new ride “Rise of the Resistance” was so much fun. “Rock N’ Rollercoaster” was another favorite!
Looking for a good place to hang out on the beach, cocktail in hand? Check out Playa del Carmen in Mexico. The beaches there are absolutely heavenly. If you’re tired of just napping and tanning on the beach, I urge you to go snorkeling instead. I went in the open ocean (where I encountered a giant stingray) and in a dark cave…both experiences were incredible.
Everyone has Paris on their summer vacation bucket list, and there’s a reason why. I was fortunate enough to visit for the first time in February. I immediately fell in love with the city—every inch of it was beautiful. If you’re a big museum person, I 100% recommend a trip to Paris. Petit Palais was the most worthwhile museum there, in my opinion. For a zero euro admission, you get to see an expansive collection of Impressionist art, ornate frescos, and incredibly detailed statues. Petit Palais has a fair amount of Monet paintings, but if you’re a big fan of his work, check out Musée de l’Orangerie. The walls are completely covered in Monet’s waterlily scenes. (To be honest, my friends and I found the Louvre to be a bit overrated).
Other than the museums and iconic landmarks, one of the best parts of Paris is the food. Specifically, the pastries. Get ready to have croissants and baguettes every morning you’re there! If you need a recommendation for pastries, pop into BO + MIE near the Louvre. Their stuffed cruffins (croissants + muffins) are to die for. Mamiche near Montmarte is a must for fresh bread.
Honestly, you don’t need to leave your hometown to have a good summer vacation. But it doesn’t hurt to leave your room and explore the world. Start saving up, plan your itinerary, and get to the airport. Make this the best summer of your life!
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