Where to go in summer 2024
Why wait for the new year to start planning your next summer holiday? We’ve done the research so you can pair your next big trip with the planet’s hottest happenings in 2024. Here’s the intel on where to go, what to do and why
Illustrations: Maïté Franchi
If you’ve just touched ground from this year’s summer holiday, we have great news. The best way to prolong that holiday high, while also channelling blissful ignorance about the five loads of washing that await you, is to start planning next year’s escape. Summer 2024 promises no shortage of destination inspiration, with unique opportunities to enjoy the very best of nature, sport and art. Here are the cities and regions in our browser bookmarks.
Set off for
One hundred years since Paris held its last summer Olympics, it’s limbering up again – hosting from 26 July to 11 August, followed by the Paralympics from 28 August to 8 September. Don’t despair if you were slow off the mark to nab tickets in the first release phase, as a resale platform opens in early 2024, while Paralympic tickets launch on 9 October (sign up here).There’s always a special energy when the Olympics come to town, though what’s commendable about Paris 2024 is the decision to turn existing city landmarks into sporting venues, rather than create new-build structures that, post-Games, often sit gathering weeds. As such, Stade de France will host the athletics, Place de la Concorde will metamorphose into an urban sports arena for skateboarding and BMX, while Grand Palais will deliver fencing and taekwondo. And two frontrunners are jostling to be crowned ‘best sporting backdrop’: equestrianism at Château de Versailles, and volleyball and blind football at the Eiffel Tower Stadium – a temporary arena next to You Know What.
Joining Tartu in Estonia and Bodø in Norway, Austria’s Bad Ischl – a quaint spa town one hour’s drive east of Salzburg – is part of the trio that forms 2024’s European Capital of Culture. In Bad Ischl’s case, it’s the first time that a rural, inner-alpine region has scooped the status, and what it may lack in noteworthiness, it makes up for in mountainside beauty. It’s part of the Salzkammergut region, which made both its name and its wealth from salt mining (Salzkammergut means salt domain) during mediaeval times. Today, its USP is its lakes (more than 60 of them) and Unesco World Heritage status. Being a Capital of Culture will bring a summer of concerts and exhibitions to the town’s attractions, such as the Sissi Park flower garden and Salz Welten, an adventure park inside the world’s oldest salt mine, complete with a whizzy underground train and a 360m-high skywalk. Summer also unveils an irresistibly photogenic lushness, making hikes and bike rides obligatory and soul-enriching.
Take off to
The US’s most dramatic must-see happens just ahead of summer, on 8 April, when the Great American Eclipse – a country-wide total eclipse of the sun – will plunge states into ‘totality’ (when the moon sits completely over the sun) for up to 4.5 minutes. In Texas, the entire metropolitan areas of Dallas and Fort Worth fall inside this path of totality, making it a prime viewing state. Other summer draws for families include the opening of a new Peppa Pig Theme Park, the US’s second, in Fort Worth. While the world’s first 3D-printed hotel, El Cosmico, opens up across a 60-acre desert site in Marfa, to the state’s west. Accommodation will include dome- and spiral-shaped villas using curved structures that can only be fabricated using 3D-printing, and a circular infinity pool.
Get under London’s
The capital’s cultural offering gains a new name in summer 2024, with the Museum of Shakespeare opening in Shoreditch above ruins of the 450-year-old Curtain Theatre – an original venue for some of Shakespeare’s first plays, including, it’s speculated, Romeo & Juliet. If you’re not bookish, don’t yawn: this will not be a stuffy, library-quiet kind of space. Bompas & Parr, a hipster-cool studio specialising in multi-sensory experiences, is a co-collaborator – with the goal being to whisk you three metres underground and back in time to 1598, complete with AI-powered sights, sounds and, er, smells. Art buffs, meanwhile, will be entertained by events celebrating the National Gallery’s 200th anniversary from 10 May onwards – including the first major Van Gogh show in the UK since 2010. Speaking of legendary greats, in July, Rafael Nadal will appear in his last ever Wimbledon before retiring from tennis at the end of 2024 (*weeps*). Do whatever you can to get tickets.
Take off to
Summer in Amboseli National Park, a 40-minute flight from Nairobi, is one of the world’s best times to spot herds of wild elephants. June is the sweet spot: rains have paused, but peak seasonal heat is yet to invade. Though any month during June to October’s dry season offers ample elephant-watching, as the pachyderms trek in long lines to find a water source and then congregate around it, making them easy to spot. Sometimes the elephants even look red, but it’s a trick of the land – they’re dyed by the ochre-rich soil. Other neighbours to glimpse include lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras and blue wildebeest. Plus, there’s Mount Kilimanjaro, which looms across the border in Tanzania. Clear views of Africa’s tallest peak aren’t a given (it’s often shrouded in cloud), but it’s exciting to know that it’s out there, somewhere, just like the wildlife.
With South Korea lifting its e-visa requirements for travellers from 22 countries (including the UK) until the end of 2024, Seoul is having a moment. You likely already know it for its K-pop and kimchi (the latter, a decade-long recipient of Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage recognition). But newness is happening, marked by Gucci hosting its Cruise 2024 catwalk show in Seoul’s Gyeongbokgung Palace in May. An urban redesign of the Tancheon Valley and waterfront is expected to be finished in 2024, bringing walking paths, cycle lanes and more green space. It’s a successor to the previous renewal of Seoullo 7017 – a flyover turned pedestrian walkway that resembles New York’s High Line. The cultural highlight of summer 2024 will be a new museum dedicated to Korean contemporary artist Park Seo-Bo – the founder of the Dansaekhwa (monochrome painting) movement, where art is made in a single sitting as a meditative exercise. The space will open on beautiful Jeju Island, a short internal flight from Seoul, beside the five-star JW Marriott Jeju Resort and Spa hotel and among the scenery of dormant volcanoes and rugged beaches.
Take off to Tel
While early incarnations of Tel Aviv’s Pride festival began in 1993, albeit as protests rather than celebrations, summer 2024 marks the 26th edition of Pride as we love it today – a kaleidoscopic glitter explosion of fun, inclusivity, parties and more than 250,000 people. Held during the first week of June (2024 dates are TBC, but it’s likely to start from 6 June), events span big-name concerts (such as Adam Lambert in 2023), sceney rooftop parties, beach volleyball contests and fashion shows. Other noteworthy summer events in Tel Aviv include White Night, at the end of June, when the city’s restaurants, bars, shops, markets and museums stay open all night. It celebrates the 2003 Unesco recognition of Tel Aviv’s White City – its collection of 4,000+ Bauhaus-style buildings – as a World Heritage Site. Many of those buildings on Rothschild and Bialik Streets are illuminated to show off their architectural elements, while circus acts, bands and dancers (dressed, naturally, in white) perform. Meanwhile in July, Opera in the Park – an annual free outdoor opera that’s previously shown Carmen, Nabucco and Tosca – takes place in pretty Yarkon Park.
Summer in the Middle East might sound, well, sweaty – but there is an exception. Oman’s Jabal Akhdar mountain region, two hours from Muscat, sits 2,000 feet above sea level, creating a summer climate that feels uncannily Mediterranean. Jabal Akdhar translates as Green Mountain, and from August to early October you’ll see why: the arid mountainscape turns bright green from the leafy boughs of more than 23,000 ripe pomegranate trees. These fruits flourish in the crisp, high-altitude microclimate (as do apricots, walnuts and damask roses) and during harvest you can visit pomegranate farms in the villages of Al Aqar, Al Ayn and Ash Shirayjah, get pummelled with pomegranate spa treatments inside luxury hotels such as Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, and indulge in all manner of pomegranate products, from zingy cocktails to addictively moreish jams.