beauty • travel • lifestyle

July 02, 2018

My Top 10 Summer Travel Destinations (& What to Pack for Each)

It seems as though with summer comes a case of wanderlust; it's just a right of passage. As I sit contemplating my next getaway, I thought I'd share my top 10 dreamiest summer destinations with you, along with what I would pack for each. Spanning the more classic city picks to some lesser known seaside towns, these are places that you'll enjoy visiting with just about anyone, whether it's family, your significant other or friends. You'll definitely want to read this post before booking your next summer holiday, and don't forget to share your recommendations with me as well!

1) Barcelona
With the perfect balance of the city and the sea; Barcelona offers the best of both worlds. Spend your mornings at the beach before the crowds arrive and head into the city to do some exploring after a sangria-heavy lunch. I love this city because it's ideal for both long and short stays, with great food, culture and nightlife to keep you occupied.
2) Mallorca 
If you're already headed to Barcelona, hop on an easyjet and head to the beautiful island of Mallorca. Stay in Palma, a historically-rich city situated on the ocean, with miles of beach and crystal clear turquoise waters. It's also worth heading inland to explore, as 30% of the island is covered by a rugged range of mountains called the Serra de Tramuntana which, in some areas, meet with the sea, making for some seriously gorgeous coastline.

3) Iceland
I know what you're thinking; one of these places is not like the other...but hear me out! Iceland is such a unique place to explore, and for those who aren't drawn to its cold, harsh climate, the summer is the best time to visit. Iceland is also famous for the midnight sun, which, because of its unique positioning, you're able to see even at 2 AM. This unique sight only happens from late May through July and is a wonder in its own right. In the summer, you can even spot some of the island's unique wildlife, including puffins, dolphins and killer whales.

4) Tuscany
While Tuscany's capital, Florence, may be jam-packed with tourists come summertime, the surrounding countryside is the perfect place to enjoy the same delicious food and wine without the crowds. There are so many amazing Airbnb's to rent near towns like Montepulciano, Siena and San Gimignano; this is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the lush landscapes while taking in the best of Italy. There are also a bevy of natural hot springs - including Saturnia and Terme di Petriolo - and even beaches, all within driving distance!

5) Polignano a Mare 
This beautiful town located in the Puglia region of Italy is perched high atop a cliff and practically dangles over the Adriatic Sea. There are so many beautiful waterfront towns to visit in Italy, and I love that this one is a little bit more under-the-radar than some others on the Amalfi Coast may be. This means you get a very authentic experience; some of the most inexpensive, freshest seafood, pasta and most delicious wine hail from this region! It's an ideal location from which to explore the Puglian coastline and surrounding towns like Alberobello, Monopoli and Bari.

6) Paris 
Paris is one of the few larger cities that maintains its beauty even in the hot summer months. With its many parks in full bloom with flowers, the sun shining along the Seine river, and cafés bustling with people along the sidewalks, it really is the perfect place to be. Oh...and did I mention that it's rosé season in Paris during the summer? I think that's reason enough to head to the city of lights, open a bottle and drink it on a picnic blanket under the Eiffel Tower.

7) Lake Como 
Summertime in Italy is hot, but swimming in a lake in the Alps will surely cool you down. Lake Como is known as a holiday spot for the rich and famous, but don't let that intimidate you. Located a little over an hour from the Milan airport, it's a beautiful place to stay for a change of scenery if you're interested in a holiday destination in Italy. With small towns spotting the perimeter of the lake and easy access via ferries and rentable boats, Como is an ideal spot for unwinding. My favorite town town to stay in is Bellagio, as it's located on a promontory and juts out onto the lake, providing you with sweeping views of the surrounding area, mountains included. 

8) Santorini
With 360° caldera views and whitewashed buildings that create the ultimate backdrop for its breathtaking sunsets, Santorini is a favorite summer holiday destination among many. For a European island, which are often rocky, there are numerous beaches, and the food and wine are fresh - so what's not to love? Rent a car or moped and explore the island to the fullest, but make sure you're always prepared with your swimsuit and sandals because you never know what you'll discover.
9) Côte d'Azur
With miles of beautiful Mediterranean coastline and a close proximity to Monaco and the Italian Riviera, the Côte d'Azur is an ideal base from which to explore a number of famous European resort towns. While St. Tropez and Cannes are known to be the summer playground of the über wealthy, they're worth a visit, but I'd recommend staying in Nice or outside of the cities in a villa, which you can easily rent on Airbnb. The culture in this area really is unlike anything else you'll see in Europe. I love that you can take a day trip to Marseille or Aix-en-Provence, Monaco, or even Portofino...and no matter where to choose to explore you won't be disappointed!

10) Italian Riviera
Can you tell that Italy is one of my favorite places for a summer holiday, yet? The Italian Riviera, or rather, the Ligurian Riviera, is situated about halfway between Tuscany and the French Riviera, and is a favorite for obvious reasons. Home to the Cinque Terre, Portofino, and a less-touristy Portovenere, it offers plenty of turquoise coastline and brightly colored houses perched on cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean sea. The food here is some of the best in Italy; if the words pesto, seafood, and deliciously crisp white wine don't strike a cord with you, than I'm not sure what will! 

What are your favorite summer travel destinations?

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