Cool Places for Summer Travel

May 28, 2019

Some people seek a laid back vacation at the beach, others seek fun vacations such as Disney World or a Dude Ranch and then there are those that seek the cold. These summer adventure travel trips are for them.

The Dolomites: Head for the hills when the valley cities like Verona turn to open-air saunas. Mountain temperatures are lower and the nights cool. Choose a resort town such as Cortina or a small city like Bolzano, in the Upper Adige. Or pick a small village in the Cadore valley and hike along the mountain trails.

The Val d’Aosta: North of Turin, along the Swiss border, are two of Europe’s most famous and beautiful mountains, the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. Italian towns on their southern slopes get the cool mountain breezes. To the south are the peaks of the Gran Paradiso National Park, where walking trails along the high ridges and green wooded valleys seem designed for hot summer days.

The Canary Islands: Land of Perpetual Spring is how these Spanish islands describe themselves, and it’s close to true. Trade Winds keep them moderate while Europe swelters. Both Tenerife and Gran Canaria have central mountains where the breezes are even cooler.

The Pyrenees: Summer is a good time to explore the mountains between Spain and France, visiting Basque country and Andorra. Stick to the highlands, though, since the valleys can be blistering. Somewhat cooler are cities on the Atlantic coast, such as Bilbao, whose summer average high is in the 70sF. But that doesn’t stop the occasional heat wave when temperatures push into the 90s.

The Northern Portugal Coast: Atlantic beaches are cooler than Adriatic or Mediterranean, so you can always cool off in the waves in northern Portugal and Galicia. North of Lisbon the entire coast is a string of beaches. Choose those that are protected by headlands and be careful to observe the flags that warn of dangerous surf and riptides before going into the water. This is the downside of beaches washed by the open ocean.

Serra da Estrela: Portugal’s mountains offer breathtaking scenic drives and friendly villages with low-key resort facilities. Castles crown some of the towns (one of the finest is in Linhares) and the pace of life is charmingly old-world. Stay in the park itself or in the nearby town of Belmonte, which has a castle of its own. The Pousada there sits on a breezy height overlooking the valley. The summer wine of choice in Portugal is chilled Vinho Verde, a light white wine that goes well with hot-weather meals.

The Pindus Mountains: In northern Greece, attractive and interesting lakeside cities such as Ioannina and Kastoria benefit from a slightly higher elevation and the cooling proximity of water. It can be May or even June before the snow melts from the tops of the Pindus peaks, and as well as being cooler this region is also a less-visited yet stunningly beautiful part of Greece.

Summer is a great time to travel aboard and take in the beauty of other countries and cultures. Don’t wait; plan your cool adventure travel destination now.

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