Warmer weather, more flexible schedules, and an overall carefree attitude make summer and travel go hand in hand. While summer can bring bigger crowds and more expensive prices, you can pick adventures off the beaten path and come back with a memorable story. Instead of saying “Yeah, I went to France and saw the Louvre Museum” you can say “I cycled through the French alps and tried the local foods with no tourists in sight.” I’d rather go for the latter.
Traveling during the summer also allows you to take advantage of being outside in nature more. Did you know that Japanese research has found that being in nature actually improves your immune system, lowers cortisol levels, and boosts overall mood? You can justify the plane ticket by saving all of that money on medication and treatments for your health! I posted recently about the Best Healthy Destinations to Visit in the United States, but am taking it one step further for anyone looking to get another stamp on their passport. Similar to my USA list, I’ve provided options to suit many different types of travelers, but all of them incorporate being in nature and ample physical activity.
I love active trips because you come back feeling rejuvenated and full of life. The world is a beautiful place to explore…get out there!
The Best, Healthiest Summer Spots to Visit Around the World
For the avid hiker who wants all the views – Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Hiking here is high on my list. So high, it’s number one on here. This national park boasts out of this world views with pristine glacial lakes, snow capped mountains, and evergreen trees. You can visit this park year round, but if you are not a winter enthusiast, summer is the best time to take advantage of the warmer temperatures.
Best Way to Get to Banff National Park:
Calgary is the nearest, main city airport, about 1.5 hour drive away. You can also get there by bus or train, but flying in and renting a car is the most efficient if you’re limited on time. Plus, it will be easier to visit all of the places within the park. If you’re looking for something hassle free, I really like this 8 day adventure tour in the Canadian Rockies
planned by Tour Radar. They do a great job of taking caring of all the logistics, while still giving you the flexibility to customize your trip as you like.
Where to Stay in Banff National Park:
If you’re just going in for a day, stay in Calgary because it’s only a couple hours away. If you’re staying two days or more (which is recommended), suggested accommodation is in Banff town or Lake Louise town – depending on what sites you want to visit.
Fun Facts about Banff National Park:
Banff became a national park in 1885 and is Canada’s oldest national park!
Helpful Tips for Banff National Park:
Entry fee is about $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and youth under 18 are free. Doesn’t include other fees like camping, fishing, etc.
For the cyclist foodie – the French Alps or Italian Countryside
Imagine having your own Tour de France in the French alps
during the day and then spending evenings with the finest champagne and cheese. Sounds like the perfect combination, right? Europe in the summer is a popular destination for vacations, but instead of visiting the Eiffel Tower like everyone else, head to the mountains for postcard views and less tourists in your photos. Another similar option is to cycle through the Tuscan vineyards
by day and unwind in the evenings with a glass of wine, prosciutto, and fresh pasta. Logging that many miles on the bike practically obligates you to indulge in Italian carbs – you earned it.
How to Plan Your Cycling Trip Abroad:
Unless you have local friends who speak the language and know the area, I’d recommend going with a company that takes care of all of the logistics so that you can focus on enjoying yourself. While it’s certainly possible to map it out on your own and research your stops, it’s nice to have a local guide accessible to you in case any emergencies or last minute issues pop up because you are cycling through more rural areas. I think Tour Radar does a really good job of keeping group sizes small, keeping cultural experiences authentic and local, and providing incredible service. I’ve linked to my top recommendations above for France and Spain, but am also linking to all of their cycling tours here
Fun Fact about Cycling the French Alps:
The heaviest pro cyclist to race up the French Alps was 94kgs/210lbs. If he can do it, so can you!
Helpful Tips for Cycling the French Alps:
While you don’t have to be a pro to cycle the alps, it’s also not something you should attempt if you’re not comfortable with riding for extended periods of time. To get the most out of your trip, it’s best to cycle hills at home as much as you can to build your endurance and descending skills. And if hills aren’t accessible to you, logging in the miles is key for conditioning your body. Cross training with resistance training, swimming, and yoga are also helpful in building strength, endurance, and mobility. And if you can’t make it all the way, no worries – you’re on vacation! Taking a support vehicle is not cheating if you’re listening to your body.
For the surfer looking for something a little different – Sri Lanka
Most people think of Bali or Costa Rica for a surf trip, but has anyone thought of Sri Lanka? I didn’t either until I met someone at a surf camp in Nicaragua who was raving about the surf over there. Sri Lanka offers surfing year round depending on which side of the coast – for the summer, east coast is recommended. There’s tons of surf camps to choose from that can suit different budgets and preferences.
Where To Stay in Sri Lanka:
I would recommend staying with a surf camp to get the best value in terms of accommodations, food, community, and safety if you’re a solo traveler. If you’re looking for luxury beach accommodations, fresh organic food, yoga, and expert surf coaches, look no further than Talalla Retreat. It is Sri Lanka’s longest running Surf & Yoga Retreat and they have mastered the art of providing a high-quality, wellness-focused experience. My friend Sandrine said that they film you surfing and then go back and review the videos with your surfing instructor to see how you can improve your form for the next day. How cool is that?!
Another great option is this 10 day Surf Adventure Tour
that includes temple hikes, jeep safaris, and a tea plantation tour if you want to experience outside of the Sri Lankan beaches with the safety and convenience of a guided tour. This came highly recommended to me, so if you are considering going, I just might join you!
Fun Facts about Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka is the home of cinnamon and is the largest exporter of tea in the world.
Helpful Tips for Sri Lanka:
Once you decide on a surf camp to stay at, I would check out their website and book transportation from the airport through them. A reputable surf camp would offer ample information on their website on how to get there and what options they recommend. Keep in mind that the travel time from airport to surf camp will take several hours to plan ahead by buying bottled water at the airport before hopping into your taxi or train. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to experience local culture first hand, you can take a train through the local villages and coastal towns. Although the travel time is doubled (around 6.5 hours, Sri Lanka is well known for its beautiful train rides but is not for the faint-hearted! Expect to be rewarded with epic views and a wild experience if you opt for the chaos of tuk-tuk ride to train to bus option.
For the indecisive adventure junkie who wants a little bit of everything – Cusco, Peru
Two summers ago, I impulsively booked a last minute flight to visit Cusco in early June and can easily say this was one of my most memorable trips. Expect to find breathtaking landscapes, adrenaline pumping adventures, healing bodywork, and fascinating history in Cusco. If you like hiking, zip lining, white water rafting, riding ATV’s, and yoga, definitely add this destination to your list. I would plan for at least a week in Cusco, especially if you’re planning on doing a 4 day trek to Machu Picchu. Note that it’s become more restrictive to get permits for visit the sacred archaelogical site so if Machu Picchu is high on your list, make sure you can confirm that whatever tour company you’re going with can guarantee you a spot. I wrote a whole comprehensive blog post on Machu Picchu and Cusco
, including how to prepare your body to handle hiking in high altitudes, what trek to take, what to do in Cusco, and more.
Fun Facts about Cusco:
Cusco was actually the original capital of the Incan empire and you can find coca leaves all over the city to help with altitude sickness – they even offer leaves at the airport right when you land!
For the snow fanatic who won’t let summer stop them – Chile
Photo courtesy of Ski Portillo Chile
Venture to the other side of the equator to Chile and you will experience opposite seasons, making July, August, and early September the best time to hit the slopes for skiing and snowboarding. While most people are spending their summer vacations at the beach, why not head to the snowcapped Andes Mountains? Pro skiers and snowboarders from US and Europe head to Chile to train in August-mid September, so it’s not uncommon to be sitting next to some of the best of the best on a chairlift or even out at dinner.
How to Get to Chile for Snow Sports:
The closest ski resorts to the main airport, Santiago Aeropuerto International Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez (airport code SCL), are Valle Nevada, Portillo, Ski Arpa, El Colorado, and La Parva – all within 2 hours by vehicle.
Fun Facts about Chile:
Chile is the longest country from north to south and is home to the world’s biggest swimming pool at the San Alfonso Del Mar Resort in Algarrobo. Maybe stop by this pool after your snow trip on your way home?
Helpful Tips for Skiing in Chile:
High season at the snow resorts coincide with South American school holidays in mid-July so if you’re looking to avoid crowds and higher prices, opt for the end of the month. I also want to give a shoutout to this great, in-depth post by PowderQuest
that provides a lot more detail about the different ski resorts and logistics.
For the yogi who loves history and hummus – Greece
Home to the Blue Zone island of Ikaria with one of the highest longevity rates in the world, it’s no surprise that Greece makes this list of healthy summer destinations. Known for it’s Mediterranean diet consisting of olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables, and seafood, Greece is the perfect spot to getaway and come back feeling even better than when you left. There are plenty of summer yoga retreats to choose from, as well as local studios that you can hop into if you want to go for more of an a la carte yoga experience. Take your practice to the next level with the backdrop of refreshing ocean air, the mediterranean sun kissing your skin, and expansive views of calm, blue waters.
Where To Go in Greece for Yoga:
– The Egg
is a center that offers daily, drop-in yoga classes, along with meditation and dance lessons to everyone. You can also choose from their array of retreats and programs during the summer for something more integrated.
– Okreblue Yoga Retreat
is a yoga retreat center located at Filizi beach boasting clear waters, sand dunes, cedar forests, and sandy beaches. They offer a myriad of workshops, retreats, teacher trainings, as well as a weekly yoga schedule for all different levels.
Athens – There are several great yoga studios in the capital city that worth checking out:
is the studio to check out. Offering everything from Hatha, Vinyasa/flow, Anusara, Kundalini, Prenatal, Mommy & Baby, Partner yoga, Kids yoga, Restorative, and Meditation, this studio has something for everyone. You can browse their website for the most up to date schedule and their inviting space is located in a central spot of the city. Perfect way to kickstart your morning before sight seeing or wind down in the evening and stretch out your tired muscles from walking all day. They also offer yoga retreats and have one this summer on the island of Crete!
is another solid option in the city. Offering a spacious, earthy space, this studio also features a diversity of classes from gentle flow to dynamic vinyasa, ashtanga, prenatal, as well as more adventurous options such as aerial flow, acroyoga, and handstand workshops! Their philosophy is to provide yoga for all, offering discounted rates for students, unemployed, pensioners, and even offer the option for you to donate whatever amount to someone who can’t otherwise afford it. You can also drop in for one class or purchase class packs if you’re planning on staying in Athens for a bit.
Fun Facts about Greece:
Greece is one of the sunniest countries in the world, averaging over 250 days of sunshine a year. There are more than 2000 Greek Islands, but only 170 of them are inhabited.
Helpful Tips for Doing Yoga in Greece:
Invest in a quality yoga travel mat and bring cleaning sprays/wipes to keep your mat in its best condition. While places usually offer yoga mats for rent (or to use for free), their quality is usually not that great as they’ve been used pretty heavily. Also, since you will be practicing outdoors in the summer weather, bring as much bug repellent as you can to prevent mosquito bites (and save money buying them overpriced tourist shops). I like to bring multiple small bottles for convenience to toss in a day bag and bring easily through airport security in my carry-on. I did a whole blog post about making your own natural bug repellent
that is worth checking out before going anywhere with mosquitos.
Have any of these places inspired you to book a trip this summer? Let me know which was your favorite and if there are any spots you’re adding to your travel bucketlist!