At STA Travel HQ, Summer 2017 has been all about the endless excuses for drinks in the sun, attending festivals (and recovering from them) and lusting over some of our favourite travel blogger’s summer escapades whilst conducting our destination research. We know. Hard life.
Here’s ten things that have been especially huge this summer… From must-visit destinations, to must-try food, to must-have festival items – they’ll guarantee your summer snaps will be instantly enviable. How many can you tick off before the summer is up?
With endless island hopping opportunities, some of Europe’s best summer festivals and astounding scenery, all for an affordable price, we mean it when we say Croatia is the new Ibiza. We recommend starting in Italy’s canal-clad city of Venice before crossing the border into the Balkans for what has the potential to be the holiday of your life.
Get there: Search our Croatia tours here, we have some for under £500!
For a while, this dreamy whitewashed Greek island was pigeonholed as a honeymoon destination*. That’s until we realised Greece can still be crazy cheap.
How? We have tours of the Greek isles for under £500 here.
Cold sweats, lump in the throat, angry phone-throwing… It can only mean one thing. We’re as sick with FOMO over everyone else’s snaps of Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Tomorrowland and Hideout as a lot of you probably are. But there’s still time! You can still nab tickets to Outlook in Croatia at face-value with our partners Festicket, here.
Glitter bums, glitter boobs, glitter beards, and glittered-up Love Island contestants. At festivals, gay pride parades, boat parties, beach parties and rooftop parties… If you haven’t woken up hungover in a bed full of the stuff at least once this summer, you haven’t been doing it right. Right?
Of course, the stuff’s a nightmare to get out of your carpet. But your mind can be at ease if you’re glittered up while you’re travelling, because you don’t even have to worry about cleaning it up. Bring on Full Moon.
5. Bottomless brunch
Well… we can’t all enjoy our brunch from a giant tray floating in a steamy spa pool.
Or suspended above endless Balinese rice terraces.
Or with longnecked new friends at Kenya’s Giraffe Manor. But there’s every excuse to grab your pals and head for a few hours of all-you-can eat bacon and avocado and all-you-can-drink prosecco one Saturday.
Some of the best in London include DJ Seth Troxler’s Smokey Tails, Battersea’s Bunga Bunga, and East London’s ridiculously cool Bistrotheque. If you’re not in the capital, don’t sweat – the steakhouse chain Gaucho throw weekly Electro Brunches in Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds… the name says it all!
6. Aperol Spritz
Where did this drink of dreams suddenly come from this summer? Well, Italy obviously. But suddenly, London’s installed taps for the stuff next to their beer offering and we’re all drinking this refreshing aperitif by the pint. One more?
Does anything scream ‘travelling in paradise!’ more than a giant juicy watermelon? If you can’t get your tropical dose somewhere genuinely tropical this summer, you can always buy something watermelon themed… or pineapple themed.
8. See it to believe it food fads
I’ve tried the one and only #avocadolatte not bad! Thanks @mere.jarvis for coming! And thanks @trumancafealbertpark for humoring me and making it!! A post shared by Rosalie Simson (@rosimo84) on
We love a food fad. Unicorn ice-cream. Ramen noodle burgers. Toasties filled with rainbow cheese. Foodstuffs like these are reason enough to book a flight to their home cities. But our favourite of the summer? A flat-white served inside an avocado. Hipsters. Be. Trippin’.
Read more of the out-there food trends we love here.
9. The Cinque Terre
Just a short – and super cheap – train journey from Pisa, this string of five colourful fishing villages built into Italy’s dramatic Mediterranean coastline is every wanderluster’s, Instagrammer’s, travel blogger’s, foodie’s and wine lovers’ dream. That’s why you probably haven’t been able to scroll down your Instagram feed without seeing this pastel patchwork of houses appear at least once this year. And the Cinque Terre isn’t just a pretty face. It’s the birthplace of pesto, a producer of fresh-from-the-vineyard (and budget-friendly) wine, home to awesome swimming spots, seriously scenic hikes and cosy trattorias… all hail the holy grail of Italian holiday destinations!
Mexico-mania ain’t nothing new – we’ve always loved the food and dreamed of visiting its bright white beaches. But recently it seems you can’t call your pad ‘home’ unless you clad every conceivable surface in the country’s most famous plant. Above is Marrakech’s Jardin du Majorelle, where you’ll be able to get your fix of sky-high succulents, cobalt blue hues and other quirky garden décor… camera at the ready. Too far to fly? You can buy pretty much anything cactus or succulent themed from our friend at I Want One of Those, here! Our favourite? The blow up cactus!
11. Pool toys
That unicorn, again! Plus pizza slices, doughnuts, swans and the coveted avocado… these flotation devices have blown up all over social media this summer – pun intentional. Guaranteed to make even the most boring of all-inclusive hotel swimming pools look like a party fit for the Hollywood Hills, and perfect for sleeping on or using as a meeting point for friends at festivals, you can shop most breeds of the inflatables here. Our favourites? We’re loving the pineapple…
You are solid gold baby @elsas_wholesomelife A post shared by LAUREN BULLEN (@gypsea_lust) on
And the icecream…
And the flamingo! (Whether they be to float in, rest your drink in, or the real thing, in the Bahamas or Bolivia.
Check out the full range of festival and pool party must haves from I Want one of Those here…