We know, we know… travel is a sensitive issue at the present. And rightly so, with the coronavirus having an immediate effect on planning your next vacation. In fact, The Washington Post reported a surge of cancellations not seen since 9/11! However, we are not giving up on our summer vacation plans just yet, and summer is still far away right? Or far away enough for allowing ourselves to at least dreaming about a summer getaway.
Nevertheless, we recommend our readers to stay on top of news and before you make any travel decision, do your due diligence. Check the relevant and trustworthy websites such as the World Health Organization. Health should always come first, so stay safe! Review the WHO daily situation reports and outbreak map. Then find a government site for authoritative information from your destination country.
Here at YCB HQ we keep our fingers firmly crossed, hoping that the coronavirus outbreak calms down ASAP and disappears entirely in time for summer. And so without further ado…. from fairytale lakeside towns to seaside locales, here are the destinations we hope to at least be able to consider in time for summer.
1. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Slovenia’s beautiful and architecturally important capital combines the best elements of Europe into one city. Voted 2016’s European Green Capital, it’s best to get around Ljubljana by bicycle or on a traditional riverboat. Famous for its many ice-cream parlours, this is the perfect base from which to explore the rest of Slovenia’s natural wonders, including the Skocjan Caves, the Soča River Valley and Lake Bled.
After enjoying a coffee break in the sun, visit one of as many as 12 museums in Ljubljana. If you’re a fan of illusions, there’s the Illusion Museum. Among all other museums that deal with and promote history and culture, the list will highlight one, especially a favourite among beer lovers. The Union Experience for Ljubljana is what the Guinness Storehouse for Dublin is. They are very proud of Union beer here, and of course, you can drink it on every corner. If you want to buy a few bottles for your home, be sure to head to the Brewery, where you will find hundreds of varieties.
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is one of the most photogenic cities to visit in Europe, hands down. Hire a bike and experience the city like a true local, or walk and explore at a slower pace. Whilst doing so just allow yourself to get lost amongst the streets and canals admiring iconic architecture mixed with blossoms and flowers. Other attractions include the Vondelpark, and for a fantastic experience head to Keukenhof or another of the tulip fields outside of the city.
If you are heading to Amsterdam in the springtime the city hosts a vast range of activities — but not so many that it’s overwhelming for visitors. Of course, the main event not to be missed if you are in the city during this time is King’s Day (April 27), the royal birthday (and successor to the much-touted Queen’s Day), but the raucous street celebration isn’t for everyone. Not to worry; there are plenty of other events to enjoy. Beer lovers can’t miss the PINT Meibockfestival, a beer festival celebrating the season’s best bock beer, which takes places in a historic church on one of the city’s liveliest streets.
3. Barcelona, Spain
Summer is a superb time to travel to Barcelona. You’ve got beautiful weather, palm trees, buzzing squares, and a handful of fascinating cultural events. Summertime brings prime beach weather too of course, delicious seafood, mouthwatering desserts and colourful cocktails, best enjoyed by the beach…(we will always recommend W Hotel for breathtaking views and good vibes!)
Whatever period you are going to visit Barcelona, it is always a good idea to spend some time reading up on all the interesting things to do in Barcelona, cause you simply cannot travel to Barcelona without visiting the hottest tapas haunts or main attractions such as the Gaudi buildings or the Gothic Quarter with its stunning church of Santa Maria del Pi. You may even want to consider scheduling in one or two day trips. We recommend Gava, Sant Pol de Mar or Girona which is only 30 minutes away from Barcelona.
Barcelona is an art town through and through and so you cannot miss Casa Batllo’ and Sagrada Familia; considered the masterpiece of Gaudi’. The building is fascinating, magical and very futuristic. Inside, it’s so bright—touched by colorful flashes of lights. Also, check out the Joan MirÁ Foundation. The building is on the hill of Montjuic and it’s full of natural light, so the colors of the works of Miro are even more powerful and fascinating.
4. Athens and the Peloponnese, Greece
Ancient world city and the cradle of Western civilization, the Greek capital Athens overflows with majestic sights. Visits to the city’s superb museums reveal the numerous transformations throughout multiple chapters of its history detailed through their exhibits.
The ruined temple complex of the Acropolis atop a sheer-sided rock 90 meters above Athens is a highlight of the city that still embodies the essence of classical Greek architecture. At its foot, the gleaming contemporary Acropolis Museum makes clever use of natural lighting to showcase exquisitely displayed exhibits including reconstructions, friezes, and authentic archaeological fragments. Other collections not to be missed include those of the Benaki and National Archaeological museums.
Discover highlights of the capital complemented by the nation’s heady mix of Aegean light, sea and ancient sites on Insight Guides’ Cultural and Natural Sites of Athens and the Peloponnese trip.
5. Western Iceland
Iceland is famed for its untamed landscapes and breathtaking natural wonders. Although beautiful in the summer, April is the last month of winter in Iceland when the dancing, flickering Northern Lights are still potentially visible. The month of May welcomes spring in Iceland, and a great time to visit the country before the summer season begins in June.
The remote West Fjords region has deserted areas that create natural reserves of beauty and fertility unknown elsewhere in the country. The area is home to some of Iceland’s most stunning fjords and offers exceptional hiking through uninhabited expenses, while its soaring cliffs are home to millions of breeding seabirds.
Explore otherworldly landscapes in Isafjardardjup Bay, hike through magnificent mountain scenery past waterfalls at Isafjordur, and see wildlife including seals and whales at Latrabjarg and Snaefellsnes, all as part of Insight Guides’ Iceland’s Wild West trip.