For kids, there's nothing more exciting than knowing they have a long summer stretched out ahead of them.
Searching for places to take your family during the holidays can take time though, so some adults find summer planning stressful.
These hand-picked destinations are some of our top picks of where to travel for the long summer holidays. They are guaranteed to keep the young (and not-so-young!) entertained for a while.
While the monsoon season passes through much of Southeast Asia during the northern hemisphere’s summer months, it’s actually the driest time of year in Indonesia, with milder days than at any other time. This comfortable climate is ideal for chartering a yacht to sail around Komodo and its surrounding islands. Dive and snorkel with the protected waters’ abundant marine life and see Indonesia’s famous Komodo dragons.
Combine your cruise around Komodo with a trip to the pristine island of Sumba, where dense rainforest and rice paddies are fringed with untouched beaches, and the islanders have preserved their traditional way of life.
Across Botswana, June to August is the dry season with warm days and clear blue skies – a time when most of the land dries up, with the exception of the Okavango Delta where water from the Okavango River floods the entire basin, ultimately attracting Botswana’s great wildlife population to the area. With animals congregating by the waterways, this is an especially rewarding time to visit the region.
Navigate the delta’s channels in a dugout canoe for the chance to see wading elephants and swimming lions. See even more of this extraordinary country in which the diverse landscape of salt pans and plains has both wild game and the culture of the Kalahari bushmen.
Amidst rolling hills of rainforest and bamboo, Volcanoes National Park comprises five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga mountains massif, where the forested slopes are home to groups of the endangered mountain gorillas. Coinciding with the region’s dry season, the summer break is the ideal time for setting out on guided treks through the forest to come face to face with these majestic animals.
Rwanda is well known for its population of mountain gorillas, but while you’re here, take the chance to seek out the forest’s golden monkeys and go on bird watching tours.
Now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city of Bergen has become known as Norway’s cultural hub, with its surrounding seven mountains – Berg being the old Norse word for mountain – and its status as a gateway to Norway’s fjords making the area great for outdoor exploration too. The summer months are thought to be the best for visiting this port city, when the warm climate affords the opportunity to hike in the mountains, fish in nearby lakes and soak up on the sun on Bergen’s sandy beaches.
Aside from the city’s heritage, Bergen is considered Norway’s cultural capital for its busy festival schedule, with outdoor concerts to catch throughout the summer, too. Explore more of northern Norway during the summer months, from the mountains and lakes of Bergen and the Lyngen Alps, to the glaciers of the Svalbard archipelago.
Argentina’s winter – and our summertime in the northern hemisphere – offers just the right climate for visiting the country’s northwestern province of Salta. Situated at the foot of the Andes, this remote region encompasses arid red canyons, sprawling forest, charismatic colonial towns and traditional estancias.
Stay on an estancia or in the city of Salta itself to visit vineyards and explore the land on horseback, before indulging in some of the nation’s hearty gaucho cuisine. And, with its Andean setting, hiking, rafting and paragliding are just some of the outdoor pursuits on offer.Travel from vineyards and colonial towns to canyons and surreal salt flats, while taking in the more remote regions of Argentina.
In South Africa, spring arrives in August, which means the landscape around the Cape is in full bloom, making hopping between the Cape’s nature reserves and wilderness areas along the coast even more enticing than usual. And, with milder days, it’s an ideal time for hiking too. The spring here also coincides with Hermanus whale watching season, when southern right, humpback and Bryde’s whales pass through as they migrate from Antarctica to reach warmer waters.
What’s special about whale watching here is the fact these marine mammals can be seen breaching as close as 50 metres from the shore. Save some time for The Winelands too, where you can cycle and horse ride between the lush green vineyards. From Cape Town and The Winelands, continue on to Kruger National Park, where in winter the dry environment makes it easier to seek out game, then end your journey at the spectacular Victoria Falls.
With its proximity to the equator, temperatures in the Galapagos remain similar year-round, and the resident wildlife does not migrate, like in more seasonal parts of the world. The seasons do make a difference to animal behaviour though, with the islands’ species nesting and breeding at different times. Over the summer, the distinctive blue-footed boobies can be seen nesting, sea lions breed, tortoises lay their eggs on Santa Cruz island, and whales and dolphins are more easily spotted around the island of Fernandina.
Snorkelling is also especially good at this time with the current bringing more nutrients into these waters, making the marine life even more active than usual. Book ahead of time, as this is the islands’ high season. Combine a cruise of the Galapagos with exploration of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, and the rural Otavalo region.
The Brazilian winter is warm and dry, making our summer holidays the best time to travel to the especially humid Amazon rainforest. Base yourself at one of the luxury rainforest lodges and set out on guided river tours and nature walks through the untamed wilderness, or alternatively opt for a river cruise from which excursions can be taken into your surroundings, with wildlife to seek out and indigenous communities to visit.
Ride a dune buggy across the sand dunes of Jericoacoara on Brazil’s north coast, before venturing into the Amazon rainforest and finishing your journey in vibrant Rio de Janeiro.
Vietnam has something to offer every type of traveller, with a mix of beach and countryside at your disposal as well as bustling cities. The coastal towns of Hoi An and Nha Trang, with access to pristine white beaches, in central Vietnam get beautiful weather July and August, ideal for stays in luxury properties such as Aman, Six Senses or Four Seasons.
For a more inland experience, head to the remote region of the Northern Highlands to learn about the local tribes and culture against a backdrop of verdant valleys, flowing waterfalls and steeped rice fields. Absorb the culture and French influenced history in the busy Ho Chi Minh City, visiting the famous floating markets and Cu Chi tunnels.
Where better to take the children than a country that prides itself on its exceptional cuisine and impressive history. Italy’s little sister, Sicily, is the perfect sized destination for exploring the towns, countryside and coast at leisure. Take time to enjoy the many cafes on this pretty island in search of your favourite cannoli and other delights.
Influenced greatly by the Ancient Greeks, parts of Sicily are strewn with majestic temples and an impressive amphitheatre. Against the backdrop of the towering Mount Etna you will find the crumbling ruins of Taormina that are well worth the hike to get there.
Take the family on a big adventure to Australia’s vast and rugged Top End, away from the popular locations, and be rewarded with some unique experiences. For a truly memorable experience, head out on an exclusive safari in Kakadu National Park, where you can learn about spiritual Aboriginal history with a private guide and Aboriginal elder. Explore the stunning landscapes the park has to offer, from rushing gorges and waterfalls to the open plains, and all the flora and fauna in between.
Stay in Bamurru where you can take an airboat out to spot impressive wildlife such as saltwater crocodiles across the plains, or take a guided walk in search of buffalo and wallabies. End your trip with a stop in the small tropical city of Darwin to get a taste of cosmopolitan Australian life.
Our favourite trips to take over the summer holidays
If you're ready to start planning your summer trips, speak to one of our travel designers who can create your perfect vacation.