Chasing the summer sun
Expedia.co.nz lists the best Northern Hemisphere summer destinations for 2011
With the New Zealand summer soon to make way for autumn, now is the time for travellers not wanting to let the sun set on summer to start planning a mid-year holiday.
From Europe to North America, the Northern Hemisphere offers travellers a playground of destinations to explore. Online travel company, Expedia.co.nz, has scoured the Northern Hemisphere to find the best up and coming destinations to visit during New Zealand’s winter months.
Louise Crompton, Senior Manager Marketing, Expedia Australia and New Zealand, said: “There are many new and interesting destinations that are emerging as hot places to travel in the Northern Hemisphere including Madeira, Sardinia and Alaska.
“Although popular destinations such as Paris and London are incredible places to visit, there are plenty of other new places to choose from that also offer travellers fantastic value for money. At Expedia.co.nz, travellers can search for and book their flights, hotels and even activities, making it a fast and simple one-stop shop for holiday planning”, Ms Crompton said.
Expedia.co.nz’s Top 10 Northern Hemisphere summer destinations:
A playground for skiers and snowboarders during winter, Alaska blossoms in summer much like the native fireweed, which, when bloomed, is an indication that summer has arrived. Alaska is renowned for its national parks such as Denali National Park, home to the USA’s highest mountain, Mount McKinley. A trip away from the main cities provides a number of unique experiences including numerous hiking trails, sea-kayaking at Girdwood and bear-watching tours. Energetic and adventure-seeking travellers can also tackle the 53 kilometre canoe trip from Angoon to Seymour Canal located on Admiralty Island, which is also known as ‘Fortress of the Bears’ after the 1,600 bears that inhabit the area.
Expedia recommends staying at the 4 star Hotel Alyeska, Girdwood. Rooms start from $266. Visit Expedia.co.nz to book a stay at the Hotel Alyeska.
The country where Alexander the Great made his name, Turkey has a landscape littered with ancient battlegrounds, ruined castles and palaces, making it a history buff’s dream destination. After visits to the Grand and Spice Bazaars of Istanbul, or a visit to a traditional Turkish bath, many travellers choose to enjoy some of the beaches on Turkey’s pristine coastline. With a mountainous terrain, Turkey has some spectacular sunrises and sunsets and the Nemrut DağiNational Park is well known for its dawn and dusk tours. Finally, a trip to Turkey wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the ANZAC battlefields at Gallipoli, which is both an awe-inspiring and humbling experience.
The highland dancing, kilt-wearing Scots have many natural and man-made wonders inside the country’s compact borders. The castles and historical sites in Edinburgh and Glasgow are some of the best places to visit for history lovers while keen golfers shouldn’t leave Scotland without visiting St. Andrews, arguably the home of golf. Despite the long-held belief that Scotland is notoriously cold year-round, during the summer months the temperatures can reach a comfortable 20 degrees, perfect weather for the ‘Four Abbey’ cycle route or hiking through the forests, filled with the native Scots Pines.
Used as a backdrop for many Hollywood road-trip movies, California offers much more than the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, Disneyland and the Golden Gate Bridge. Places such as Monterey Bay with its deserted beaches and Napa Valley, which produces first-class wines and delicious cuisine, are just some of the destinations to be explored. Adults can reminisce at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the oldest beachfront amusement park on the West Coast. The Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California is also a must-see for nature lovers.
Often overlooked for other popular destinations in Italy such as the Amalfi Coast or Sicily, the island of Sardinia is seeing a resurgence in popularity because of its turquoise seas and white sandy beaches. Travellers will marvel at the unspoilt rugged beauty of the Southwestern Sardinia islands, Sant’Antioco and San Pietro. Equally as impressive is the cosmopolitan historical city of Cagliari, which is surrounded by an evocative medieval centre with cobbled piazzas, bars and restaurants.
One of the most captivating countries of the Middle East, Lebanon is a land of golden beaches and spectacular mountain ranges. The capital, Beirut, combines some of the best shopping and restaurants that has earned the city the reputation as the ‘Paris of the East’. Once the snow has melted, the rivers and mountains become high-octane summer playgrounds for thrillseekers. Challenging rapids as well as hiking trails through mountain gorges are enough to impress even the most adventurous traveller. Summer is also the time when a number of festivals are held at historical sites, which serve as breathtaking backdrops for summer fun. The most famous of them is the annual Baalbech Festival held between June and August.
The summer playground of Madeira is also known as the ‘Garden Island’ due to its blooming flowers all year round. Crystal clear blue waters and postcard-like views has made the Portuguese island a popular international tourist destination. Travellers seeking a bit of adventure can embark on a hike along the Levada dos Tornos path, which is on the mountainside above the capital Funchal or at Ponta de São Lourenço, which provides panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and volcanic rock formations.
After the snow has melted and skiers are a distant memory, travellers can enjoy the spectacular outdoor action on offer in this beautiful country. From paddling into the setting sun in British Columbia to playing a round of midnight golf at Yellowknife Golf Club in the far north, Canadian summers are full of wonder and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. While a visit to Vancouver and wandering through the sparkling waterfronts is a must, a trip out of the city is essential. Places such as the Banff & Jasper National Parks or paddling down the river in the Nahanni National Park, which was the world’s first-ever UNESCO World Heritage Site, makes Canada an unforgettable summer destination.
The tiny country of Slovenia is fast becoming popular with tourists looking to branch out from the typical European destinations. From the unspoiled historical towns to the Julian Alps, vineyard covered hills and pristine mountain valleys, Slovenia is the place for a memorable European summer. The country conjures up images of a ‘mini-Europe’ as Slovenia offers more diversity than many of its bigger European counterparts. Travellers can white-water raft in the upper part of Sava, hike along mountain trails, marvel at the beauty of Lake Bled or just sit back and relax in one of the famous thermal spas.
A Scandinavian wonderland, Norway is traditionally known for its fantastic ski resorts but it offers a vastly different landscape and array of activities during summer. Longyearbyen, which is located on Spitsbergen Island, is one of the best locations to experience the lengthy days or the ‘midnight sun’. For nature lovers, Norheimsund is the place to visit. The area is surrounded by majestic fjords and is also home to the Steinsdalsfossen waterfall where tourists experience the strength and beauty firsthand by walking behind the waterfall.
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