The Best Summer Getaways for Backpackers and Beach Lovers

backpacking in yunnan stone forest shilin china

Best Summer Getaways

Are you planning your summer vacation, but feeling unsure as to where you should go? If so, know that you’re not alone. With so much choice worldwide, and such variation between locations, cultures, histories, foods, experiences, climates and more, it can be difficult to choose a destination. With this in mind, I’ve compiled five ultimate summer getaway ideas to whet your vacation appetite.

china budget backpacker

Backpacking in China’s Yunnan Province

From backpackers to beach lovers and culture-vultures to history-buffs and adventurers, the following five top notch options contain something for everyone.

1. For the beach: Hawaii, USA
Whichever of the seven hugely varied islands you pick, and regardless of what type of beach you prefer, you will not be disappointed in Hawaii. It’s a beach lovers paradise. From the crashing waves of Big Beach, Maui, to the enticing black sands of Punaluu Beach and the diving mecca of Honaunau Beach, there is a paradise for everyone in this tropical heaven. The only problem beach lovers will have when visiting Hawaii is deciding which island to pick!

Not to be missed: Observing and swimming with wild turtles at Laniakea Beach, Oahu.

Gorgeous beaches of Fiji.

Gorgeous beaches of Hawaii

2. For culture: Vienna, Austria 
Located in central Europe, steeped in history, and bursting at the seams with art and music; Vienna is the ultimate cultural city break. Visitors can enjoy endless intriguing attractions as they wander her beautiful streets, sampling more than 100 art museums (such as the Albertina and the Belvedere), imperial palaces (like the Hofburg and Schönbrunn), numerous theatres (such as the Burgtheater and the Volkstheater Wien), and a substantial collection of cathedrals, monuments and gardens. Musicians such as Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms once lived in Vienna, a potent legacy enjoyed by thousands of visitors at numerous opera houses.

Not to be missed: Witnessing the amazing spectacle of opera performances with Vienna Opera Tickets.

Theatre in Tiraspol.

Head to the Theatre.

3. For backpackers: Yunnan Province, China
Nothing for a lonely backpacker will ever be as real as backpacking through the Yunnan Province of China. Here you can cross the border from Vietnam and tour the absolutely amazing rice fields at Yuanyang before spending a few nights in the town of Jianshui. After this veer north to Luoping, Kunming and the Yellow Canola Fields. You can then take a day trip out to the Stone Forest at Shilin. After your time in Kunming, head towards the Tibetan border to the towns of Lijiang and Shuhe. You can then do the Upper Trail hike to Tiger Leaping Gorge and end your backpacking adventures in the idyllic Shangri La – a town famous for its Tibetan influence.

Jonny Blair at the The Ganden Sumtseling Gompa 300 year old Tibetan Monastery in Yunnan, China

The Ganden Sumtseling Gompa is a 300 year old Tibetan Monastery in Yunnan, China

Not to be missed: The charm of magical Shuhe Old Town.

4. For history: Dubrovnik, Croatia 
A UNESCO-listed walled city, perched delicately above the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is one of the most popular tourist getaways in the Mediterranean. And it is easy to see why; tiny cobbled streets dating from the 7th century, endless enchanting alleyways leading to backstreet eateries, endearing labyrinths of passageways revealing monuments and ornate churches and history on every turn. From above, the city is a patchwork of terracotta tiles baking in the Croatian sun, flanked by infinite ocean and tiny islands.

Not to be missed: Enjoying this beautiful and ancient view at sunset by taking the Dubrovnik Cable Car high above the city to watch the sun sink into the Adriatic.

Drinking with some Croatian fans in between flights.

Drinking with some Croatians.

5. For adventure: Cape Town, South Africa 
Loomed over by Table Mountain, licked by two different seas, and bursting with adventurous exploits, South Africa’s appeal is obvious. Benefiting from excellent year round weather, the city is best known for its incredible beaches, pumping urban scene, breath-taking geography and impressive range of adrenaline activities.

Not to be missed: Table Mountain, which can be enjoyed by driving, hiking or, for simply spectacular views, a majestic cable car ride to the summit.

About to head across into Botswana - this is me at Kopfontein border checkpoint in South Africa

Adventure travel in South Africa

So whether or not your summer getaway includes Hawaii’s numerous, beautiful beaches, the charm of China or art and operatic culture in Vienna, there is certainly a destination out there for everyone so consider your passions in life and find the perfect destination that will allow you to enjoy them.

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