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A hiker exploring the highlands in Iceland

Eight destinations to keep cool in this summer

Swap scorchio for warm and pleasant in these temperate spots for all ages


If sizzling temperatures and crowded beaches suggest Hades not heaven, consider spending a cooler summer somewhere chilled and calming, where the weather is balmy and the living is easy. Less heat equals more adventures, from epic hiking and mountain biking to truffle treasures and bubble-shaped hotels. Some like it hot. If you’re not one of them, take a scroll…

The city beach of Les Bains des Pâquis, Geneva


Warm enough that you can sit outside, but not so warm your chocolate melts: summer in Geneva has plenty to recommend it. Vintage-lovers will enjoy rummaging through retro treasure at the Saturday flea market, which sprawls across the Plaine de Plainpalais. Take your shopping bags to the leafy Bastions Park, enjoying coffee (iced or otherwise) at the inviting café. If it’s warm enough for a dip, head to Les Bains des Pâquis, the Plage des Eaux-Vives or the Plage du Reposoir, or go paddleboarding or sailing on Lake Geneva. 
Stay cool: La Réserve Genève occupies its own ten-acre patch of private parkland, with enviable lakeside views. You’re a praline’s throw from the airport, just a seven-minute drive away.

Take off to Geneva

Sauna with a view at Italy’s Lefay Resort and Spa Dolomiti

The Dolomites

A skiers’ paradise in winter, the Dolomites reveals its sunnier alter-ego come summer. As the snow melts on the jagged mountain ranges, the landscape shimmers with green, hinting at scenic hikes, bucolic wine tours and perfect picnics. Keen cyclists can conquer the famous Sellaronda route or enjoy mountain biking with natural highs galore. Earthy rewards come in the form of the region’s edible underground treasure: summer is black truffle season.
Stay cool: Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti sits pretty on the Unesco-listed Brenta Dolomites, a two-hour drive from Verona airport.

Take off to Verona

Baker Beach by the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

San Francisco

Experience a brisker side to summer in San Francisco, where locals are so used to the fog, they’ve even named it. (Karl, in case you’re wondering.) With gusty winds and famously unpredictable weather, San Francisco will suit many a cool-climate lover. There’s plenty to do outdoors, from bracing beach walks to hiking through the Headlands and conquering the Golden Gate Bridge by bike. If you need a little extra warmth, enjoy a piping hot bowl of the city’s famous clam chowder, served in a fluffy bread bun.
Stay cool: Recharge in style at The Battery San Francisco, which has a buzzing bar and restaurant, just a 20-minute drive from the airport.

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The Benedictine Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg


Should you fancy romping through Alpine scenery, recreating your own version of The Sound of Music, Salzburg is the one. If you get up early enough (and scale a steep flight of steps), you can actually hear real-life nuns singing Gregorian chorales from within Stift Nonnberg, a Benedictine abbey founded in 715 CE. Potter through the characterful Old Town, visit Mirabell Palace and Gardens or lace up your hiking boots for the walking trails accessed just minutes from the city. A trip first to the farmers’ market guarantees perfect picnics. Dirndls, lederhosen and yodelling are optional.
Stay cool: For an Austrian stay with the requisite refinement, bed down at Sacher Salzburg. Tune into a requiem during the short airport transfer in honour of Mozart: one of the city’s famous exports.

Take off to Salzburg

A humpback whale loving life in Sydney


Photogenic Sydney is a year-round charmer but, for outdoor adventures with a refreshing sea breeze, come during Australia’s winter months: June, July and August. This is also a great time to catch whales making their majestic procession along Sydney’s coastline, en route to the warmer waters of the Pacific. July is the city’s coolest month, with temperatures reaching around (a very manageable) 17°C. Bring light layers and waterproofs for occasional rain showers.
Stay cool: Arty types will love design-centric QT Sydney, which flaunts a fun side with sassy door gals, a hip urban spa and a prime city-central location, just 16 minutes from the airport.

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The Icelandic Highlands have breathtaking natural attractions (also opening image)


Waterfalls, black-sand beaches, whale-watching and geysers, oh my! Summer is one of the best times to visit magical Iceland. Rent a 4x4 to explore the Highlands, the country’s rugged interior, where epic hiking trails await. If you like the sound of glaciers, volcanoes and glacial lakes, visit the trio of national parks: Thingvellir, Vatnajökull and Snæfellsjökull. Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, ice cream is a big deal here, so make sure you sample local versions, including bragðarefur (picture a high-end McFlurry). Keep your eyes to the coast, where you might spot breaching sperm whales and the leviathan blue whale.
Stay cool: If you’re going to sleep in a bubble, do it in Iceland. The bonkers Buubble hotel is an hour’s drive from Reykjavík airport.

Take off to Reykjavík

The terrace at nomadic art project Salt overlooks Oslo’s Opera House


Locals diving into formerly frozen fjords, rooftop restaurants overlooking the calm waters of the Norwegian Sea, trendsetting saunas and a bounty of bathing spots, both fresh and salty: summer in Oslo is sublime. For timeless family fun, go boating on the Oslo Fjord and explore the city’s outdoor artworks, which have added sparkle under the sun. Don’t miss Salt: a multifaceted arts hub with six saunas, six stages and indoor and outdoor restaurants. A refreshing Nordic breeze keeps exploring on the cool side.
Stay cool: Have your heart stolen by The Thief, a darkly debonair design hotel 22 minutes away from the airport by express train or a 50-minute drive.

Take off to Oslo

Street life in Palermo, Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

The Northern Hemisphere’s summer marks a pleasantly warm winter in Buenos Aires, aka the Paris of South America. In August, average temperatures hover around 20°C, making it ideal for languid pottering. Start by exploring the leafy Palermo district with its cobbled streets and wealth of cafés, boutiques and bars. Admire the colour-pop street art, stroll through the peaceful parks and refuel with local delicacies, including empanadas, choripan and pastelitos (jam pastries).
Stay cool: Discover the prestigious Recoleta district while based at Four Seasons Buenos Aires, which glitters from an extensive revamp. The airport is a half-hour drive away. 

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