The summer months are around the corner, and you know how much we WowTrippers, and surprise trip aficionados alike, like to visit new destinations. That’s why we would like to introduce you to our top 5 summer destinations! Whether you are planning a getaway with friends or want to spend your summer holidays with your family, here are 5 summer destinations that you will surely enjoy.
- Dubrovnik – A time-travel trip to the Middle Ages
Our first holiday recommendation for this summer is Dubrovnik, a Medieval-style city located in the southernmost part of Croatia, on the Adriatic coast. Here, neither the beach lover nor the culture enthusiast will be left with the desire to do some tourism.
If you prefer to spend your free time on the beach, Dubrovnik offers beautiful sand and pebble beaches of crystalline blue waters surrounded by pine forests. Here you will be able to relax and enjoy the warm Mediterranean breeze. You will also have wonderful views of the old town fortress.
This leads us to Dubrovnik’s best sites of interest that should not be missed, such as the old town itself, which UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site forty years ago. You will find out why UNESCO made such decision when you walk through the Pile Gate and feel the indescribable Medieval atmosphere produced by the small labyrinthic lanes. The scene feels like true time travel, launching you back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance with its old fortresses, the Franciscan monastery, and the nearly 2,000-metre-long wall that shields the old quarter.
Dubrovnik is the attraction spot for the fans of the famous series Game of Thrones. If you are a big fan of George R.R. Martin’s story, we suggest you join one of the organised tours that take you to all the places and hidden corners of the city and reveal some of the lesser-known secrets of the series.
Speaking of secrets: have you heard about the curse of Lokrum Island? If supernatural stuff is not your thing, jump directly to the next destination for this summer on our list. If, on the other hand, you are a fan of the obscure, keep reading… Lokrum Island isn’t far from the old quarter and can be reached by boat. It features some ancient ruins that can be visited, including an old Benedictine monastery. Legend has it that furious monks cursed the island some 700 years ago. The inhabitants of Dubrovnik are convinced of the magic power, so the mystic island is completely uninhabited. If you dare to visit it, remember that you must have left by 9 at night. This is the mandatory rule that you must follow if you don’t want to fall prey to the terrible curse and meet the wrath of the monks. Do you feel like visiting the damned Lokrum Island or are you content with seeing it from Dubrovnik?
- Palma de Majorca – Paradise beach vs terrifying dragon
A popular and obligatory destination for us this summer is Palma de Majorca, the largest of the five Balearic Islands of the Mediterranean Sea.
Enjoy yourself at the many unique beaches of Palma de Majorca, which can be every bit as gorgeous as some Caribbean beaches. What’s more, you can relax and have a cooling beer or a fruit cocktail at one of the beach bars that you will find in the vicinity or inside the beach enclosures themselves.
Palma de Majorca has an excellent offering for culture lovers. After exploring the old quarter fully and visiting the cathedral, we recommend heading to Castell de Bellver for a special visit. This Medieval castle was the residence and shelter of king Jaume I and could be described as holding its own small world within. It sits in the middle of a pine forest at about 110 metres of height, boasting stunning views of the harbour and Palma de Majorca city. The atypical location and splendid panoramic views aren’t the only unique features of Castell de Bellver—the castle itself is remarkable. It’s the only circular-shaped castle in Europe and there is no other like it. If the history of Palma de Majorca interests you, you are in luck because this building houses the Museum of the City’s History, where you can learn a lot of interesting things about the city.
Palma de Majorca even has its very own dragon, “El Drac de na Coca”. It dwelled in the city’s sewers in the 17th century. Legend has it that the dragon killed many people until the dashing knight Bartomeu Coc challenged him and stabbed him to death without hesitation. Various sources have proved that this story really did occur. What do you think? Is there any trace of truth in this? Dispel your misgivings by visiting the Diocesan Museum, for there lay the remains of the mysterious dragon.
- Catania – The perfect escapade to Sicily
Catania is another of our top 5 summer destinations that are worth visiting during the upcoming holidays. Catania lies on the East coast of Sicily. It is yet to be invaded by massive tourism, so it’s still thought of as a special recommendation for those travellers who are keen to discover an outstanding historic city. A delicious pistachio ice cream will freshen you up in the Piazza del Duomo, the authentic Sicilian atmosphere will envelop you all around, and you will find inspiration in the stunning views of the “Riviera dei Ciclopi” beach and its bulging Mediterranean rocks.
Catania has the world’s shortest metro line with only 7 stations. Since we WowTrippers are so keen on trying atypical modes of transportation on our surprise trips, we urge you to use this calm way to get around the city and nearby regions.
Something that we really recommend for your summer holidays that you should never miss in Catania is the Etna. It’s the biggest active volcano in Europe—erupting almost every year—and makes for an incredible sight which is hard to forget. You can either catch the cable car to the top or walk. The best option is to do a guided tour, not only for your own safety but also because of all the exciting things and tips you can learn from an expert. If you are a trekking enthusiast, you can book a specific excursion to the summit at 3,323 metres. You will be met with a jaw-dropping panoramic view of all Sicily, be able to clearly notice the activity of the volcano and peer into the crater and see the lava formations. As the volcano is permanently active, you can see fresh lava if you are lucky. A sight like this, and the smell of sulphur, which we seldom come by on our daily lives, will leave a lingering memory in your mind.
An old legend from the Ancient God’s era speaks of Hephaestus, who was married to beautiful Aphrodite. Every time he believed his wife was unfaithful to him, his fury and jealousy blinded him to the point where he fuelled the fire of his forge and made the Etna furious too.
What do you think, WowTripper? Would you be brave enough to hike up the Etna to see this natural spectacle for yourself?
- Mykonos – The summer destination for party and beach holidays
Mykonos is part of the Cyclades archipelago, which lies on the Aegean Sea, and is one of the most famous Greek islands. According to the legend, Heracles hurled 12 giants to the sea, they solidified into stone and became islands. Mykonos is one of them.
Despite it being very popular and frequented by tourists, we keep recommending Mykonos as one of the top 5 summer destinations. Here you can relax on the beach and forget about your day-to-day life. Paradise Beach and Super Paradise Beach are the island’s most famous beaches and live up to their names. You will feel you are in paradise with a cocktail in your hand. And if you are into partying too, you are in the right place. Mykonos is one of the most popular party destinations and brims with so many disco clubs that it would probably take you a whole week to try them all.
When you get tired of the beach, you can stroll through the archetypical Greek streets lined with blue-doored white houses. Also, don’t miss the quaint Panagia Paraportiani church, which comprises five standalone chapels and is in danger of collapsing because of its asymmetry. The most tranquil side of Mykonos can be found in the famous windmills of Kato Mili, from where lovely views of the city can also be admired. You cannot leave without taking a selfie!
A curious story of the city that we would like you to learn is the one dedicated to Mykonos’ mascot—Petros, the pelican. A fisherman found the bird wounded in 1958 and nursed and looked after it until it recovered. Petros remained loyal to the fisherman and the city and was soon appointed as the absolute favourite mascot of Mykonos. Since then, Petros has been roaming freely around the old town. OK… let’s admit it… it’s not the same Petros from 1958! Even so, the new Petros look-alike still roams the streets nowadays. If you come across it during your holidays, taking a snap is a must!
- Ajaccio – The land of Napoleon
The last one of our top 5 summer destinations is the capital of Corsica, Ajaccio. The beaches of Ajaccio are wonderful and entice you to a relaxing and refreshing beach day. We recommend the bay of Porticcio. From here, you can admire in the distance a watchtower that’s superbly positioned to bring out your photography skills and immortalise the moment. If you want to explore the island of Corsica in a calm and laid-back way, we suggest you go on an adventurous excursion aboard Corsica’s Railway. It departs from Ajaccio and takes you through the gorges, bays, and mountains of the Beauty Island. A different experience that you will be recounting to your friends and acquaintances!
If you didn’t already know, Ajaccio is the place where Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 1769. The inhabitants of Ajaccio—and Corsica at large—adore their famous emperor and celebrate him enthusiastically. Let yourself be taken over by this fervour and go on a discovery excursion around Ajaccio’s old town. Visit Maison Bonaparte, the house where Napoleon grew up. We recommend the audio guide, which narrates many interesting anecdotes about Napoleon’s life. The monument in the Place d’Austerlitz is a huge granite statue that pays tribute to the city’s hero. The story goes that when he was little, he liked to read books about historical heroes of the likes of Alexander the Great beneath a granite rock. And this is not the only monument discovered in Ajaccio. This summer destination has concealed many monuments and statues. Will you be able to find them all on your tour around the old town?
Dear WowTripper and surprise trip lover, these are our top 5 destinations for this summer. Whether you are after a relaxing beach or a cultural visit to a historic city, these 5 summer destinations offer a variety of experiences that can be enjoyed both on an escapade and during a longer holiday break. Have you ever been to one of these summer destinations? Tell us about your experience!