Let the world be your oyster because itʼs always summer somewhere! Catch the sunshine and heed the call of beckoning blue waters through the year by picking the ideal summer destination to match your dates of travel. Here are our favourite picks as we follow the sun from January to December.
By SHIBANI BAWA
January, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
The perfect mix of nature at its pristine best, stunning architectural marvels, and adrenaline-pumping activities- that’s Auckland for you! From lazing on gorgeous beaches, enjoying a barbecue, to cruising around the Tiritiri Matangi Bird Sanctuary, and sky-jumping from the city’s highest, free-standing tower, there’s literally something to suit every whim. Don’t miss the SkyCity New Year’s Day races for a day of wholesome family entertainment!
IDEAL FOR: Adventure lovers, families
STAY: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Doubles from ₹22,973/night; sofitel-auckland.com
February, CHIANG MAI, THAILAND
February is a particularly good time of the year to visit this tropical paradise. For a change, skip the beaches and head north to Chiang Mai. While the ancient temples set amidst lush surroundings are an attraction on their own, you can also enjoy the Flower Festival, a three-day extravaganza with floral floats, live music, and cultural displays. The weather is ideal for strolling along Chao Phraya River and exploring the Old City on foot. Visit the nearby town of Mae Hong Son, along Myanmar’s border, for a lovely mix of heritage of both countries.
IDEAL FOR: Culture buffs
STAY: Rachamankha Boutique Hotel
Doubles from ₹8,900/night; rachamankha.com
March, DUBAI, UAE
March in Dubai is so pleasant that it literally brings the entire city out, with everyone enjoying the beautiful beaches and outdoor eating venues. Currently, one of the biggest attractions, not only in the UAE but in the entire world, is the Museum of Future. Easily the most futuristic cultural land mark it offers an immersive fantasy world for adults and children, alike. Also with some of the world’s hottest restaurants and coolest bars, this cosmopolitan city’s nightlife is
IDEAL FOR: Families, honeymooners
STAY: Raffles The Palm Dubai
Doubles from ₹30,043/night; raffles.com
April, CAIRO, EGYPT
April is possibly the perfect time to visit Cairo, just before it gets too hot. A trip during this ‘shoulder season’ means thinner crowds, better hotel rates, and a peaceful exploration of the archaeological sites. While a visit to the Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx should definitely be on your itinerary, this is also the ideal weather to hit the beaches and go sailing on the Nile River. To complete a royal Egyptian experience, book a sunset camel tour and be transported to
a mystical, bygone era.
IDEAL FOR: History buffs
STAY: Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
Doubles from ₹22,900/night; fourseasons.com
May, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
If we were to pick our favourite European cities, Prague is certain to feature amongst the top five. The Czech capital is a melting pot of cultural diversity- you can explore Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance architectural styles, all within the Old Town Square. Even the list of things-to-do include a gamut of venues and activities, from underground bars and ghost tours to beer spas and rocking nightclubs. Make sure to catch the three Frozen Saint days, when morning temperatures dip to freezing levels in the middle of
the warm month!
IDEAL FOR: Groups of friends
STAY: The Emblem Hotel
Doubles from ₹20,800/night; emblemprague.com
June, LADAKH, INDIA
Post the long, harsh winter, Ladakh becomes easily accessible in June, as the snow finally melts. While it is still ‘jacket weather ‘, the long drives to Khardung La Pass and onwards to Nubra Valley, or to the famous Pangong Lake delight the senses. This remote area has winding roads, harsh mountains, scenic saltwater lakes, and sparse greenery that looks almost fluorescent against the greyish-brown backdrop. A truly surreal experience.
IDEAL FOR: Adventure enthusiasts
STAY: Stok Palace Heritage Hotel
Doubles from ₹32,000/night; stokpalaceheritage.com
July, MARSEILLE, FRANCE
The beauty of Marseille in July is breathtaking. While the vast fields of lavender in bloom offer a glorious vista, we urge you to go beyond to the gorgeous vineyards, explore the chateaux, and experience the beautiful life of French villages in Provence. While exquisite vine and food leads you into a luxe stupor, the classical architecture awakens you into a bygone era. This is also the month when Tour de France is scheduled and the excitement is palpable. All in all, a great time
for a holiday.
IDEAL FOR: Gourmets, couples
STAY: InterContinental Marseille-Hotel Dieu
Doubles from ₹24,400/night; marseille.intercontinental.com
August, NEW YORK CITY, USA
New York! New York! There’s never a wrong time to be in New York. But in August, the city is buzzing with excitement. In the first half of the month, try to catch a production by Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park. The Harlem Week festival carries on for the entire month and brings with it a host of cultural performances, sports activities, and even a special children’s event. Finally, enjoy Summer Street on three Saturdays in August, when all vehicular traffic from Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park stops from 7am to 1pm. This is the best time to explore the city on foot or rent a bike.
IDEAL FOR: Families, friends
STAY: The Pierre
Doubles from ₹56,700/night; tajhotels.com
September, SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL
Brazil’s cultural heart, Sao Paulo is home to an impressive array of food, art, architectural, and fashion influences owing to a diverse populace of Spanish, German, African, Portuguese, and Japanese ethnicities. On Sundays, Paulista Avenue becomes a vibrant space for runners, cyclists, and tourists making the most of vehicle-free roads. Street-art buffs will love the Vila Madalena district where a winding street called Beco do Batman (Batman Alley) features
IDEAL FOR: Art enthusiasts
STAY: The Emiliano
Doubles from ₹32,000/night; emiliano.com.br
October, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
The innumerable Bollywood movies shot in Cape Town have already popularised its turquoise-hued coastline. But what makes this city even more special is its vibrant pulse, reflected in its avante-garde culinary offerings, indigenous fashions, and adventure activities that include hiking up the famous Table Mountain. Visit Robin Island, from where Nelson Mandela orchestrated the freedom movement, or head out to the exciting Kruger National Park to get a glimpse of Africa’s
IDEAL FOR: Nature lovers, trekkers
STAY: Belmond Mount Nelson
Doubles from ₹56,000/night; belmond.com
November, HAVANA, CUBA
‘Havana Ooh La La’ sang Camila Cabello, perfectly encapsulating the fun vibe of this city. Cuba’s fascinating blend of old with the new, its vintage cars, and brightly coloured Spanish colonial architecture lend
it a unique dramatic flavour. And then there’s the dance and music! Catch a show, join a parade, and simply let your hair down in this inimitable city. November is a great time to plan your holiday, before the tourist rush starts from December to February.
IDEAL FOR: Groups of friends
STAY: Saratoga Hotel
Doubles from ₹20,400; hotel-saratoga.com
December, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Ending the year Down Under is a super idea, since this is where the sun first rises in the New Year! New Year’s Eve in Sydney is legendary. One of the most gastronomically advanced cities, it is a delight for gourmands. And the spectacular New Year Fireworks that take place
in and around the Sydney Harbour have children as well as adults excited. The view is best enjoyed with a picnic somewhere along the harbour’s foreshore.
IDEAL FOR: Families, couples
STAY: Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour
Doubles from ₹33,570; pullmanquaygrandsydneyharbour.com