From taking a cold plunge in London’s outdoor lidos to wandering through the mesmerising museums of Berlin or simply tasting authentic cuisine tucked away down a little alley in Venice, here are some of our favourite destinations for this summer.
Paris is one of our favourite picks for a summer visit. Not only do the warm temperatures and longer daylight hours create the ideal atmosphere for a romantic walk down its historic streets as the city comes alive with locals and tourists sitting outside, there are also plenty of cultural experiences as Paris is home to a wealth of museums, art galleries, and historical sites. Summer is an excellent opportunity to explore these cultural gems at a more relaxed pace, as the tourist crowds are typically more minor compared to other seasons.
Our top museums in Paris for summer include the Centre Pompidou, a complex building in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement of Paris, near Les Halles, rue Montorgueil, and the Marais. Some incredible exhibitions showing over summer include ‘Norman Foster’ (May 10 - August 7) and ‘Over The Rainbow’ (June 28 - November 13), which sets out to show how since the beginning of the 20th-century, artists have contributed to transforming the representation of so-called “minority” sexualities.
Normandy region, in northern France, is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, charming coastal towns, and rolling countryside but also has an array of museums worth visiting.
The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, in Normandy’s capital Rouen, houses one of the most outstanding public collections in France, featuring paintings, sculptures, drawings and objects of art from every school ranging from the 15th-century to the present day. Perugino, Gerard David, and Veronese are the first major artists in a circuit that continues with Poussin, Caravaggio, Rubens, and Velázquez.
Musée Eugène Boudin in Honfleur, meanwhile, is great if you are interested in the impressionist era. It’s a much smaller museum that is very intimate showcasing Boudin’s work but also hosts other local painters: Adolphe-Félix Cals, Jules Héreau, Louis-Alexandre Dubourg. The museum isn’t that well known as a tourist destination so if you want to avoid the crowds, we recommend you visit this hidden gem.
Berlin is one of the best places to visit in the Summer. The city has numerous parks, gardens, and urban beaches where you can relax, have a picnic, or enjoy some outdoor activities. The famous Tiergarten, Tempelhofer Feld, and Mauerpark are just a few examples of places you can mingle with locals and enjoy the summertime rays. Berlin is also a wonderful place to visit if you want buzzing nightlife with its wide range of festivals and events during the summer season. The Carnival of Cultures, Karneval der Kulturen, is a vibrant multicultural festival that celebrates diversity through music, dance and food from all around the world. Berlin is also renowned for its thriving art scene, whether you're interested in contemporary art, classic music or experimental performances, Berlin offers a bustling array of cultural experiences.
The bike-friendly city is also very active and a wonderful spot to rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the city’s waterways.
Berlin also has a vibrant art scene and collections you’ll be mesmerised by. Neue Nationalgalerie is dedicated to 20th-century art from the Nationalgalerie’s diverse collection, which is on show at five further locations.The gallery has recently undergone an extensive renovation. Its history is tied inextricably to the political division of Germany and Berlin after the Second World War and it’s worth a visit to marvel at the building's architectural structure that has remained virtually unchanged.
Another museum we recommend is Gemaldegalerie, housing one of the world’s most renowned collections of European painting from the 13th to 18th century. You’ll find paintings here from all epochs in the history of art by painters like Jan Van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel, Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, and Titian. It also has an impressive collection of German and Italian paintings from the 13th to 16th century and paintings from the Low Countries dating from the 15th to 17th century.
The Hamburger Bahnhof - Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart offers a comprehensive collection of contemporary art, which it presents in a variety of exhibitions. Here, Zineb Sedira’s ‘Dreams have no titles’ for the French Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale, is shown for the first time in Germany (until July 30). ‘Devouring Lovers’ by the artist Eva Fàbregas will be on display until January 7, 2024 and is her biggest solo exhibition to date.