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Summer Travel

Countdown to Summer: 8 Incredible Trips to Take This Season

The summer is heating up with exciting hotel openings, buzzy restaurants, and can't-miss cultural festivals around the world. From a breezy, beachfront getaway in Greenport to a summer-long art celebration in Singapore, these are the destinations of the season.

Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.

See recent posts by Chelsea Bengier

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Photos: Courtesy of Rasmus Hjortshøj



In the past few years, Copenhagen has seen a massive tourism boom, bringing record numbers of travelers to the Nordic city. Thanks to this resurgence, the Danish capital has invested in a host of hotels and attractions, most of which are being unveiled this summer. For design-forward digs, our eyes are set on Gert Wingårdh’s Nobis Hotel, a Scandi-chic stay housed inside the former Royal Danish Conservatory of Music by Tivoli Gardens. Not far away, you’ll find two of Copenhagen’s top institutions: René Redzepi’s world-renown Noma has reopened in a sprawling seven-building complex with its own urban farm while the Copenhagen Street Food market is spearheading a development on Refshaleøen Island with the debut of its 107,000-square-foot food stall and artisan workshop space—three times the size of its previous Paper Island location. Design lover? Last May, the Danish Architecture Centre and Danish Design Centre cut the ribbon on their new home in the Rem Koolhaas-designed BLOX building.

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Michigan has long been at the forefront of America’s craft beer scene—but we bet you didn't know the state is also home to an under-the-radar wine region. Start in Grand Rapids (otherwise known as Beer City, USA) and sip your way through the city’s Summer Beer Festival, where more than 100 Michigan brewers will show off their best suds. The Grand Rapids outpost of 7 Monks Taproom is a favorite for its gastro-pub fare and 57 ales inspired by Trappist monk-brewed beer. Next, drive two hours north to Traverse City for a wine-infused weekend along Old Mission Peninsula. Adventurous types should try the Water to Wine kayak tour around Grand Traverse Bay, with private wine-tastings at Brys Estate and Left Foot Charley as well as a beachside gourmet picnic lunch (think: pan-seared Whitefish or asiago polenta topped with asparagus and sautéed Pinot Grigio shrimp). Prefer land over lake? There are more than 50 vineyards to cruise by—one of which is even owned by Madonna’s family. Check out the Italian villa-esque tasting room at Mari Vineyards and Rove Estate’s knockout Rieslings, live music, and sweeping sunset views of the Leelanau Peninsula.

RELATED: The 8 Most Underrated Cities in America

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Like it or not, the Bahamas has always had a reputation as a Disneyfied, kitsch Caribbean island. Over the last year or so, it’s done a rebranding of sorts, thanks to a host of ritzy new mega-resorts and celeb-chef restaurants. More than 10 years—and a mere $4.2 billion—in the making, Baha Mar is changing the game. This massive 1,000-acre development is comprised of three hotels—the family-friendly Grand Hyatt, the party-pad SLS, and the ultra-luxe Rosewood—as well as 42 dining concepts (including one helmed by Michael Schwartz), 11 exclusive swimming pools, a flagship ESPA, 30 high-end retail shops (think: Bulgari and Rolex), an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, Nassau’s first rooftop bar, an artists-in-residence studio, and the largest casino in the Caribbean. Meanwhile, across the bay, the Atlantis Paradise Island rolled out a glam top-to-toe redesign plus a seafood restaurant by chef José Andrés. JS Tip: Additional non-stop routes via Delta and Bahamasair make travel even easier this season.​

RELATED: The 8 Best Hotels in the Bahamas

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Lima, Peru

Although it’s winter throughout the rest of South America, Lima experiences mild, dry weather between May and September, ideal for wandering the colonial-era streets around Plaza Mayor. Once you land, make a beeline for Hotel B, a glam Belle Époque mansion with a coveted address on Saenz Peña Boulevard and a rooftop terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean. From here, pop in the nearby Lucia de la Puente Gallery to take in modern Peruvian works, followed by a visit to the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo. As the culinary capital of Peru, Lima has a wealth of options when hunger strikes. Star chef Virgilio Martínez Véliz, whom you may have seen on an episode of Chef’s Table, has swept South America with his mind-bending tasting menus and hyper-local ingredients picked fresh from the Andes to the Amazon. Last summer, the husband-and-wife team moved their flagship restaurant, Central, to the bohemian Barranco district, complete with an on-site vegetable garden, a gastronomic research center, and an affordable walk-ins-only eatery called Kjolle.

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Lush, emerald jungles, rugged volcanoes, black-sand beaches… it’s no wonder why the Azores is known as the Hawaii of Europe. Luckily for East Coasters, this Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic is much easier to get to—especially now, thanks to Delta’s new direct flights from New York City (JFK) to São Miguel. The Azores are a nature-lover’s dream; here, you can hike waterfalls, go whale-watching, and mountain bike by craters. After exploring, treat yourself to some pampering at the Furnas Boutique Hotel. The spa is its centerpiece—featuring indoor and outdoor thermal spring pools, Shirodhara massages, Vichy showers, and a hammam.

RELATED: 7 Reasons You Should Visit the Azores

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Kenya is a bucket-list safari destination, and come summer, you can easily check off more than just the Big Five. The months between June and October mark the best time for wildlife-spotting, as it’s during the Great Migration of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle. Sanctuary Olonana is a prime spot to see it first-hand. On the banks of the Mara River, 14 slate- and sand-colored suites feature retractable glass walls that frame the Maasai Mara National Reserve’s wild woodland scenery. Centered around a giant Greenheart tree, the main lodge and restaurant evoke African elements with bleached wood floors, hand-crafted Maasai spears, and bright patterned prints native to the region. Spend your days roving the plains on game drives, tucking into bush suppers under the stars, and cooling off with a dip in the garden pool.

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Greenport, New York

No New York summer is complete without a trip out to Long Island. But while the city’s stylish set flock to the Hamptons, those looking for a quieter escape should set their sights on Greenport. Surrounded by vineyards, lighthouses, and lavender farms, this picturesque North Fork hamlet has charm in spades. Sound View is the ideal home base—once a seaside motel, it has been transformed into a retro boutique, done up in a nautical navy blue and maroon palette, with cedar wood walls. As far as amenities, there’s plenty to keep you busy, from the quarter-mile private beach and live music lounge to the fish-focused Halyard restaurant courtesy of James Beard Award-winning chef Galen Zamarra. Just save one night to eat out on the town at American Beech. Nestled in Stirling Square (formerly a 19th-century horse stable), this coastal-chic eatery serves creative dishes such as lemon crème fraîche lobster rolls and seared Peconic Bay scallops with white chocolate and grape risotto.

RELATED: Trip Matchmaker: Find Your Perfect Hamptons Escape

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Most travelers visit earlier in the year, meaning you’ll have Singapore all to yourself in the summer. This means no lines to get in the splashy shops, buzzy bars, and outdoor attractions like Gardens by the Bay. Don’t miss the DISINI visual arts festival at Gillman Barracks. The nine-month series will host rotating contemporary exhibits, outdoor sculptures, performances, and public workshops. When you’re ready to retire for the evening, you’re in luck—high-end hotels are opening left and right. The buzziest newcomer is hands-down the Six Senses Duxton, the brand’s first city hotel in Singapore. Opened in the central business district of Tanjong Pagar, this bolthole is the brainchild of British designer Anouska Hempel. Interiors reflect a fusion of Chinese, Malay, and European influences, set off by handsome shades of black, gold, and charcoal. The signature fine-dining restaurant, Yellow Pot, focuses on Chinese flavors while next door a masculine library bar mixes smooth whiskey and brandy cocktails.

How to travel in style this summer

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