The summer months can be excruciatingly hot, even for those born and bred in the UAE. Whether you’re planning a mini getaway or a month-long international retreat, here we uncover six escapes where you can have fun under the sun, without suffering a total meltdown.
Auckland, New Zealand
July and August may be our hottest months, but way down under in New Zealand it’s winter. Auckland, its largest city, experiences it in a mild form with gentle breeze common and light rainfall sporadic. Conditions make the glistening seas perfect for sailing, and the region has 48 volcanic cones providing panoramic views and extraordinary picnic spots. One of Auckland’s must-dos includes a ferry ride over to Waiheke Island where you can enjoy picturesque vineyards, farms and olive groves, plus zip lining and paddle boarding.
Few have discovered the beauty of Nikko. Located along Japan’s romantic road, it’s a haven for lovers with peaceful trails around Lake Chuzenji, World Heritage sites and the magnificent Kegon waterfall hailed as one of the three most beautiful in all Japan. You’ll also find one of the world’s most lavish shrines, Toshogu, perched up in the hills, and the Kanman-ga-Fuchi Abyss, a wooden path lined with ancient statues, beside a rocky river. The region is dotted with natural hot springs for relaxation pit stops and can be reached using the Japan Rail Pass by Japan Experience.
Although the Finns experience harsh winters, summers are quite the u-turn, as days become endless and warm twilight replaces the night sky. The capital, Helsinki, is a coastal dreamboat and perfect for enjoying a long summer. It’s big on coffee culture so book in mornings at stunning venues like BirgittaHernesaari, and why not try a traditional Finnish sauna at the luxury Löyly? Local delicacies include reindeer and there is an abundance of fresh Nordic fish for seafood fans. You’ll find these served everywhere including covered markets called historic kauppahalli, fine-dine, and family-run restaurants.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Glasgow has it all; buzzing city streets, a flourishing cultural scene and, of course, breathtaking nature minutes from its center. It’s home to world-class museums and galleries like the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and the Riverside Museum. When dusk draws in, the crowds come out to play as international and local bands regularly perform at legendary venues King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and Òran Mór, and Glaswegians, some of the friendliest folks in Europe, hit the pubs for dinner, drinks, and games.
Montréal is European glamour splashed on North American soil. The city comes alive with summer festivity from July’s hottest ticket, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal to local theater productions and fascinating exhibitions. Foodies are in for a treat as international restaurants and street food stir up a vibrant cocktail of tastes, but one dish not to miss is Quebec’s pride, poutine – consisting of French fries and cheese curds covered in gravy. The William Gray Hotel on the St Lawrence River is a designer sanctuary with views over old Montréal’s wonderful architecture.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town on the tip of Southern Africa is a world away from home, with accessible wildlife and a rich and wondrous history. First off, there is the epic Table Mountain that offers towering sights over the city, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is a lush oasis of calm, and Boulders Beach is where penguin lovers head to make feathered friends among white sands and stunning rock formations. The brightly painted houses of the Bo-Kaap neighborhood, formerly the Malay Quarter, burst with a history rooted within the multicultural descendants of slaves, and Robben Island is a moving journey in the country’s political history.