As soon as school’s out, work slows lower, and the weather warms up in numerous parts of the world, it’s officially time for it to take a summer vacation. In case you are the busy type, a host of exciting happenings around the world will keep “lazy days” to your minimum, whether you’re cheering on the favorite soccer team, reveling on various festivals, or taking good thing about outdoor adventures. But if you are considering creature comforts, there are a good amount of new hotel openings to enable the utmost in relaxation, too. Either way, here are our picks with the hottest spots to hit for summer 2014.
Football fans will be flocking south as the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off on June 12, with matches running through July 13. Brazil’s national football team has taken the Cup home five times (the most in the sport), and its home country will be hosting matches in 12 different cities. Between matches in São Paulo, check out the art of coffee cultivation at historic Nossa Senhora da Conceição Farm. Dining at Alex Atala’s world-famous restaurant D.O.M is also a must. If in Bahia, explore the colonial African/European city center of Salvador, and make time to relax on one the lovely coastal beaches, such as Trancoso. If you prefer to be a bit more off-the-beaten path, Manaus, deep in the jungle, reveals the history of the “rubber barons” in places such as the elaborate 1896 Teatro Amazonas. Bookend the trip with a river cruise aboard the Amazon Clipper.
The Aspen Ideas Festival (June 24–July 3), an open exchange among the best and brightest journalists, politicians, artists, entrepreneurs, musicians, and many more leaders, celebrates its 10th anniversary this summer with various programs, seminars, and tutorials. The end of June also sees the kick-off of the Aspen Music Festival (June 26–August 17). Now in its 35th year, this season celebrates “The New Romantics” with performances such as Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Philip Glass’s The American Four Seasons. Later in the summer, the city’s new Cooking School of Aspen will open, while Chefs Club by Food & Wine will feature the cuisine of Matthew Gaudet of Boston’s West Bridge and Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston. The brand-new, environmentally-sustainable Aspen Art Museum, designed by Shigeru Ban, unveils 12,500 square feet of gallery space on August 1.
3. Cavtat, Croatia
Let the crowds battle for hotel rooms in Dubrovnik during the 65th Annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which includes music, Shakespearean performances, dance, and much more (July 10–August 25). The quiet coastal town of Cavtat, just 10 miles away, offers easy access to the Dalmatian hub along with an under-the-radar art scene, waterfront restaurants, beaches, and boating activities.
The opening of the Zorlu Center brings a fresh new face to the banks of the Bosphorus. The complex includes a performance arts venue, an upscale shopping center, and a brand-new Raffles Hotel, opening at the tail end of summer. The opening concert (and a host of others) at the annual Istanbul Music Festival (May 31–June 27) will take place at the Zorlu, while the harmony continues into the summer, with the Istanbul Jazz Festival following quickly on its heels, starting July 1.
5. Quito And Guayaquil, Ecuador
Summer 2014 marks the maiden journey of the revamped Tren Crucero, which crosses the Andes from Quito to Guayaquil along the scenic Avenue of Volcanoes. And there’s plenty to do in each city before boarding the restored, 100-year-old locomotive, as the season includes many holidays. In Guayaquil, June 29 marks the San Pedro and San Pablo fishermen’s festival all along the coast, kicking off with a bonfire and continuing with food, music, and celebrations. The birthday of national hero Simón Bolívar is celebrated all over the country on July 24 with military parades, music, and dancing in the streets.
And the other 5 are:
6. Melaka, Malaysia
10. Alberta, Canada