For many, the desire to travel peaks when summer rolls around. And with so many destinations experiencing warm weather and longer days, it’s hard to decide which vacation is right for you and your family. Maybe you’ll use this list to help you plan your vacation.
Immaculate, efficient Singapore is a miraculous sight, particularly for travelers familiar with modern Asian metropolises. The city maintains a remarkable balance of green space and skyscrapers, in addition to sustaining substantial ethnic enclaves like Little India and Chinatown. This motley group of cultures has brought to this former British colony something special – a common mindset. Singaporeans are determined and patriotic; they are proud of what they have achieved (just look at Marina Bay and you might get jealous).
But while their skyline accumulates monumental peaks and troughs, Singaporeans have not forgotten about their past or the importance of their natural surroundings. Museums stand tall and welcome amateur historians to explore their vast interiors. Plus, on an island (also named “Singapore”), large wetland preserves quietly rest in stark contrast to Singapore’s modern achievements. This tiny nation with its massive city embodies a cosmopolitan aggregation in a manner that few others can. So leave your chewing gum at home (as it’s illegal to import or sell), and hop on a flight to the pristine Singapore.
You can enjoy both urban and natural attractions in this mega-metropolis. Perusing the designer stores on the commercial Orchard Road or the bustling stalls in Little India will showcase the city’s fast pace. And at the other end of the spectrum, Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Botanic Gardens will provide a breath of fresh air. If you want a playground for both adults and kids, head to Sentosa – an island that hosts Universal Studios Singapore, golf courses, beaches and luxury resorts. To complete your trip, say farewell to the city from the top of the Singapore Flyer (think London Eye) or in iconic Merlion Park on Marina Bay.
Shangri-La, Elysium, Arcadia, Utopia and Bali are all synonymous with “heaven.” The only difference between them is that you can actually visit Bali. Many travelers have never been to this Indonesian island. Yet, the word “Bali” conjures daydreams of the most fantastical landscape: towering volcanoes wrapped in a deep green canopy, sandy shores that fade into turquoise waters and curving coastlines crowned with staggered pagodas. And believe it or not, Bali rarely disappoints.
You’ll be amazed at how many different types of visitors revel in this paradise. The ordinary traveler simply stays at the palatial oceanfront resort and indulges in luxurious spa treatments, decadent cuisine and lazy sunbathing. But the historian will find his or her delights at the island’s many temples while the adventurer will discover new paths up an active volcano in Kintamani. Plus, the town of Kuta boasts more riotous pleasures for those inclined to late nights. Bali is a dream come true, so wake up and book your ticket.
You want it? Bali’s got it. For relaxation, simply stay put at your resort of choice, which will most likely boast a beautiful beach, an exotic spa and an array of dining options. For adventure, traverse this magical island in search of hidden shrines and ancient temples – Tirta Empul Temple is a traveler favorite. For the animal lover, the Elephant Safari Park hosts rescued Sumatran elephants that paint and give rides to visitors. And for families, Waterbom offers exhilarating rides.
Hamburg’s bubbly energy is displayed in everything from the emerging HafenCity to the cutting-edge fashion design and its humming nightlife to its reinvigorated dining. This northern Germany city is also a watery one, criss-crossed by canals, sidling the River Elbe and wrapping around a lake. You’ll undoubtedly enjoy its beauty, but this cosmopolitan city also prizes its musicals, nightclubs, shopping and unparalleled Fish Market. For travelers interested in a German vacation, Hamburg might not be an obvious choice — after all, the country also contains capital city Berlin and Oktoberfest-central Munich. But as many visitors have discovered, this thriving harbor city is almost sure to surprise and please you.
Most of Hamburg’s attractions, such as the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Miniatur Wunderland and the trendy HafenCity neighborhood, are clustered in the city center and Harbour districts. But you should explore Hamburg’s other neighborhoods to experience authentic German life. Travelers cite the nightlife along the Reeperbahn in St. Pauli, as well as the after-nightlife at the Fish Auction Hall and Market as some of the highlights.
Skirting the border of Argentina and Uruguay, Buenos Aires lures visitors with its blend of European charm and South American flair. Featuring wide boulevards, neoclassical architecture and a cache of avant-garde museums, this sophisticated city has earned its title as “the Paris of South America.” But don’t think of its resemblance as anything other than a marker of its ancestry. Fashionable and friendly residents – known as porteños – have customized the city, from their colorful art-laden barrios (districts) to their world-class soccer (fútbol) stadium to their street-side tango sessions.
But you can do more than just join artists, dancers, and enthused soccer fans in this cosmopolitan capital. Shop San Telmo’s boutiques, explore the National Museum of Fine Arts, meander through the ornate Recoleta Cemetery, or catch a horse race at the Palermo Hippodrome. Just save time to enjoy the simple pleasure of sipping a cafecito (espresso) and snacking on churros (fried dough strips) at a cozy café, taking a romantic stroll along Palermo Woods’ Rose Garden Walk (Paseo del Rosedal), and staying up late to revel in the sultry tango sessions that give the city its evening zest.
In a single trip, it’s near impossible to experience everything Buenos Aires has to offer: cemetery-strolling, boutique-shopping, opera-watching, and tango-dancing. But watching a soccer match or leisurely sipping an espresso at a local café is an excellent way to start your visit. You’ll want to stroll through La Boca and San Telmo to shop, catch a street-side dance performance, and walk through the colorful Caminito. But don’t miss out on the cache of contemporary art showcased at the MALBA or the spectacular performances at the Colón Theater. You’ll also want to carve out time for hidden gems like the El Zanjón de Granados and the Zen-like Rose Garden Walk (Paseo del Rosedal).
Honey-dipped sunsets, chocolate-sand beaches, aquamarine skies — Kauai has mastered seduction. But the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain doesn’t have to resort to over-the-top luxury or tourist traps to entice; instead, it appeals to a no-muss, no-fuss type of traveler. You prefer rural to resplendent? Kauai’s your island — there are only two major highways, and some regions can only be explored on foot. Resorts are no taller than a coconut tree (literally).
Some would say that you need little more than a good pair of hiking boots, an umbrella, and an adventurous spirit to visit. But we should warn you: You might also need a little cash. Kauai has put a premium on its natural beauty and prized hiking trails, and room rates during the winter can reach $500 a night. To get the most and save the most, consider visiting in fall.
Kauai is an excellent destination for outdoor enthusiasts, whether you’re looking to hike and kayak, or swim and relax on the beach. The island’s traveler-recommended activities include exploring the Na Pali Coast and Kalalau Trail, or hiking through Waimea Canyon. Getting to know the fabulous beaches is also a must; Po’ipu Beach or Kalapaki on the south coast can’t be missed. The north coast’s Hanalei Bay and Hanakapi’ai Beach are also nice.
See also: Best Summer Vacations #1