Home Blog 5 of the Best Places to Visit in Summer 2024

5 of the Best Places to Visit in Summer 2024

Tuesday, 16th April 2024


south iceland vik church and reynisdrangar sea stacks sunny day istk

Summer lends itself to getting out and about, discovering new places and having adventures. Long days are ripe for exploration or relaxation and are the perfect excuse to escape everyday life on an overseas adventure.

Road trips in the Nordics under almost 24 hours of daylight, action-packed adventures in Canada or cruises into the High Arctic on a wildlife-filled extravaganza are all possible. Perhaps you’re more inclined to watch the world glide past your window on a rail journey through the Italian countryside.

We’ve rounded up recommendations for five of the best places to visit this summer to fire your imagination and wanderlust.

Summer in Iceland

Compact in size, epic in experience, Iceland punches well above its weight in terms of adventure. The extraordinary natural beauty, plentiful activities and seemingly endless hours of daylight make it among the most exciting summer holiday destinations you’ll find.

Picture yourself driving round a bend in Road 1 to be greeted with the sight of a 60m waterfall cascading over a cliff. Or boarding a beautiful wooden schooner to head out into Skjalfandi Bay in search of humpback whales. Imagine gazing out to the open ocean whilst bathing in the geothermal waters of the Sky Lagoon or hitting the trail, exploring volcanic landscapes on foot.

Drive through natural wonders

Choose a week-long road trip along the south coast taking in the classic Golden Circle route, waterfalls galore, black sand beaches and the glacial lagoon.

You might follow the waymarked Arctic Coast Way in North Iceland on a well-paced self-drive covering 900km. Mighty Dettifoss, the whale watching capital of Husavik, Lake Myvatn and the Arctic Henge project at Melrakkasletta.

With two weeks to play with, go all out for an immersive drive around Iceland, following the country’s ring road full circle. An overdose of sensational scenery awaits including hidden fjords, glaciers, waterfalls and picture-perfect fishing villages.

Discover more about what you can expect from a summer road trip in Iceland >

Volcanic features

You needn’t be a geologist to get excited by volcanoes and geothermal wonders. Witnessing the power of our planet in the raw is mesmerising and humbling. Iceland has an abundance of volcanic features from geysers to bubbling mud pools, basalt towers to cavernous magma chambers. Take a dip in a natural hot spring whilst hiking the highlands or soak your cares away at a carefully cultivated geothermal lagoons.

But it’s the ongoing volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula that offers opportunities for a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle. You may be able to witness the eruption on the flight into Keflavik airport or book a helicopter flight for something truly special.

Canada Summer Holidays

Epic scenery, incredible wildlife, cultural treasures, and the promise of a big adventure – that’s what awaits in north America’s scenic powerhouse, Canada. Getting in nature is at the very heart of a Canadian adventure making it a perfect summer destination. This is the time for some serious wildlife watching, be that whale watching off the Atlantic or Pacific coasts or heading to one of the British Columbia’s iconic wilderness lodges for a grizzly (bear) encounter. The annual salmon run, which takes place from late August to early October offers the gold standard of viewing opportunities but is also supremely popular. Consider staying earlier in the season for an immersive wilderness experience.

Canadian road trips

Summer holidays in Canada cry out for a road trip. Journey through the forest-clad mountain ranges of the Rockies, where head-spinning views seem to greet every bend in the road. The scenic splendour provides the backdrop to activities from bear watching to horse riding; hiking to canoeing. Combine with BC and discover endless beaches and ancient rainforests in Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island as well as learn about First Nations culture with traditions dating back 12,000 years. Perhaps venture into the Yukon for an off the beaten track experience.

“The Yukon offers awe-inspiring landscapes, hiking, wildlife, history and more. It’s less visited than the Canadian Rockies, and you feel like you are the only people there a lot of the time”.
Lauren, Worldwide Team Leader

Meander through the eastern provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island on a Maritimes exploration dining on seafood, delving into cultural sites and, you guessed it, taking in the stunning scenery! From marvelling at the world’s highest tides in the Bay of Fundy to strolling around old town Lunenburg, a UNESCO world heritage site; hitting hiking trails in the Cape Breton Highlands to samples Digby scallops in PEI.

You might fall under the spell of Newfoundland, one of the best places in the world for spotting humpback whales. Take in charming fishing villages, witness ancient geology in Gros Morne National Park and uncover Viking legends at L’Anse aux Meadows.

Summer Holidays in Norway

Sheer-sided fjords, jagged peaks, picturesque villages and the longest coastline in Europe. Norway, with its striking landscapes, never fail to impress – particularly in the summer, where the long days are ideal for curious travellers.

Fjords and charming towns

Norway is top of the heap when it comes to fjords. Well over 1000 of them contribute to the country’s long coastline. Even the capital, Oslo, sits at the head of a fjord. But it is the area known as Fjord Norway that proves so irresistible. Take a leisurely self-drive taking in big name draws such as the UNESCO world heritage site of Geirangerfjord and Naeroyfjord, ride the famed Flåmsbana railway into the picturesque village of flam or cruise the immense coastline from Bergen all the way to the North Cape. Here the midnight sun reigns from mid-May to late-July.

Majestic landscapes under the midnight sun

If the energising effect of long hours of daylight sound appealing, then head north to the majestic Lofoten Islands where distinctive glacier-carved peaks and tranquil fishing villages share your attention with unexpectedly, white sand beaches. Drive around this stunning part of Norway or visit as part of an epic rail odyssey, letting the train take the strain.

Scenic cruises

Coastal cruising is as synonymous with Norway as its magnificent fjords. The famed sailing route from Bergen to Kirkenes in Norway’s far north has been operating for over 130 years, transporting goods and travellers from port to port. Hugging the fjord-indented coastline, the journey offers a blend of laidback leisure time on board soaking up the scenic vistas and visits ashore to explore historic towns and enjoy local experiences. Choose to sail with long-established Hurtigruten or opt for Havila’s new hybrid ships.

Arctic summer destinations

There is something serene and captivating about the vast expanse of ocean and islands that make up the Arctic. From Svalbard to Greenland to the highest latitudes of Canada, this seemingly inhospitable environment is alive with wildlife and plant life during the summer months. The scenery, with its gentle palette of blue, white, brown and green, is simply majestic and provides the backdrop for tales of extraordinary human endeavour.

Small ships, big adventure

Though not the only way to visit Svalbard and Greenland, small-ship expedition voyages are the most immersive way to experience these extraordinary places. Ranging from around 7-29 days in duration, voyages offer an informal, informative and inspiring way to explore.

Journey around Spitsbergen in search of polar bears and where you’ll be sure to unleash your inner ornithologist among the abundant birdlife. You can also become a citizen scientist, getting involved in hands on scientific research, which contribute to global projects.

Gain an insight into Inuit culture as you cruise through the great fjord system of Greenland’s Scoresby Sund or journey along the dramatic west coast to Disko Bay with spectacular Ilulissat Icefjord.

Brimming with adventure and history, follow in the footsteps of intrepid explorers on a passage through the Northwest Passage – a legendary route through Canada’s Arctic islands connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans – that once seemed impossible.

Whichever cruise you choose, marvel at icebergs and glaciers sculpted by nature and be on the lookout for polar bear, walrus, seals, whales, Arctic fox, musk ox and countless birds.

Discover why summer 2024 is the time to go to experience all that this magnificent archipelago has to offer >

Land-based breaks

If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, but still like the idea of getting off the beaten track this summer, a land-based stay in Svalbard or Greenland may be for you. With the midnight sun allowing plenty of time to explore the rugged landscapes, these holidays offer much for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Explore Svalbard’s impressive landscapes and remarkable wildlife under the midnight sun from your base in Longyearbyen, Svalbard’s administrative centre and the northernmost city in the world. Perhaps stay in cool coal miners’ cabins or the modern and stylish Funken Lodge. As well as heading out on mountain hikes and discovering the archipelago’s own wildlife and plant species, hop aboard electric fat bikes to explore the town’s 25km biking trail, kayak on the scenic Adventfjord and enjoy unusual husky sledding on wheels along the Arctic Coast.

In Greenland, take your pick of South, West of East coast breaks depending on whether Viking heritage, immense icebergs or Inuit culture are your main motivation for visiting. Of course, it’s much more nuanced than that, but it’s a starting point.

Italy in Summer

If your inclination is more towards warmer climes, consider a summer adventure in southern Europe taking to the tracks on a rail journey through Italy. Leisurely and flight-free, set off from London and journey via France into Italy. Rich in history and stunning architecture, each day unveils a treasure trove of cultural wonders and taste sensations. Take in Milan, Florence, Venice and Rome.

Forget mini-breaks! Take the ultimate Italian city break offering two whole weeks of slow travel joining the dots between Italy’s most iconic cities. Take in Florence, Rome and Venice as well as the Tuscan countryside uncovering a wealth of history and heritage. In Florence, gaze across the rooftops from the top of the Duomo. Stroll through the breathtaking galleries of the Vatican Museums and discover magnificent ancient wonders in Rome. Venture into a magical movie-set in Venice and enjoy fine dining everywhere.

Perhaps take a captivating rail journey to the tip of Italy, via Tuscany and the Bay of Naples. Sit back and enjoy a kaleidoscope of towns, cities, mountains and lakes. Cross to Sicily to visit the world heritage site of Agrigento and brooding Mt Etna.

Discover more about Europe’s best summer rail journeys >

Feeling inspired?

Browse our itineraries using our Holiday Finder and then get in touch with our experts to create your perfect holiday. You can talk to our team on 01737 214 250 or if you prefer a virtual face-to-face, request a video chat when you enquire.