May 2, 2023
From hidden gems to cultural capitals, gorgeous coastlines to spectacular landscapes, Zicasso travelers are setting out to explore it all this summer.
After a record-setting summer last year, our travelers continue demonstrating extremely high interest in Europe, with interest in Japan and African safaris climbing in popularity. While the most popular summer destinations for Zicasso travelers might be crowded, we’ve compiled suggestions for alternative places in each country where you can still book for 2023.
Avoid the crowds in June, July, and August and discover hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path cities, all while enjoying the beauty and warmth of summer travel. With expert booking advice, you can still easily plan a dream trip to many popular regions of the world.
From outdoor concerts in ancient theaters to dreamy beaches shaded with umbrellas, priceless artworks in historic palaces to majestic landscapes accentuated by rows of cypress trees, Italy is endlessly compelling year-round.
Zicasso travelers agree as Italy again takes the top spot on our most popular list. Always the favorite pre-pandemic, Greece took the top spot in 2021, but once borders opened and restrictions eased, Italy roared back into first place and is likely to stay there.
You can travel as a couple to embrace the romance of remote seaside views on the Aeolian Islands, visit with your children and engage in gladiator school in Rome, or learn the art of making gelato before taking the new skill home to show friends and family. With something for every traveler, Italy is an ideal destination for multi-generation trips and family vacations.
Zicasso's Summer Recommendations for Italy in 2023:
The Amalfi Coast, Lake Como, and Sorrento are almost fully booked this summer, and travelers will require higher budgets to meet the rising demand for Italy’s top destinations. Instead of these busy spots, we recommend visiting off-the-beaten-path favorites that offer the spirit of Italy with more options and fewer crowds, such as these summer alternatives with availability:
Greece is a classic summer destination with quintessential sunshine, island beauty that borders the mythical, and ancient heritage featured in iconic preserved ruins.
The summer weather is perfect for exploring mountain trails or dipping your toes into crystal-clear Mediterranean water. The sunshine reflects against ancient marble architecture, and the traditional cuisine feels fresh, lively, and inviting. Always at the top of the list, Greece takes our second spot for summer 2023, with increased interest in the Greek islands and the many hidden gems to be found across the mainland.
Whether visiting the Parthenon in Athens, cruising between famous Greek islands, or exploring the beauty of the Peloponnese around Nafplio, Greece has an inviting ambiance, and many travelers are eager to delight in the culture while stepping away from the most popular islands to uncover more authentic and luxurious experiences.
Zicasso's Summer Recommendations for Greece in 2023:
July and August are the best times to visit this summer as June is mostly full. There is very little availability on the Aegean islands of Paros, Milos, and Naxos, but surprisingly, those looking to book their summer trip now can still find space on Santorini, Mykonos, and several of Greece’s hidden gems. If you move quickly with your plans, you can organize a spectacular trip to any of these:
France hosts thrilling diversity in summer, stretching from the celebrated shores along the south to the alpine ridges of the east, the outstanding cuisine of the Massif Central, to the dramatic cliffs and charming cafes of the northern coastline.
Long days of sunshine offer more time to explore the fashionable streets, lavish museums, and best places in Paris, or wander through the glowing lavender fields of Aix-en-Provence. With the iconic highlights of Paris a perennial favorite, Zicasso travelers are extending their trips from the capital to explore the countryside in depth.
Enjoy mouthwatering wines and elegant historic palaces, the opulence of royalty, or local, seasonal flavors shaped by formal culinary techniques. Like the art on display or the cuisine around the country, France in summer is a masterpiece meant to be experienced.
Top Destinations for Zicasso Travelers: Paris • Normandy • Loire Valley • Burgundy • Bordeaux • Aix-en-Provence
Zicasso's Summer Recommendations for France in 2023:
We recommend passing through Paris for a day or two en route to other great summer spots in France, as the city will be extremely crowded in summer. Start planning today if you wish to book several tours in the capital and consider moving onward to the countryside after your brief visit. The following jewels of the French countryside are great options to extend your summer vacation:
Wilderness, hidden rural towns, Moorish palaces, and more create timeless allure across Spain, making it a delightful destination for summer.
Spain’s southern coastline is hot and washed with bright sunlight matching the golden beaches. The north can feel like a lovely escape into lush mountains, winding trails, or the traditions of Basque cuisine. Find olive groves and vineyards or fishing fleets and colorful homes, relax in the late-night warmth of Barcelona, and savor the Michelin-starred grandeur of San Sebastian.
Whether wandering through the opulence of the Alhambra, viewing the splendors of Picasso’s painting “Guernica” in the Reina Sofia Museum, one of Spain’s best museums, or basking in the view over an expansive gorge, Zicasso travelers continue to discover new regions of Spain.
Zicasso's Summer Recommendations for Spain in 2023:
If you book now, you will find availability in Barcelona, though we recommend using the Catalan capital as a gateway to other summer destinations. You can combine a short stay in Barcelona with Valencia and Madrid to maximize your time in Spain. In addition to less crowded regions like Asturias, the Pyrenees, and Galicia, here are our favorites for escaping the summer crowds while embracing Spanish flair and flavor:
England in the summertime can feel like a storybook. The seaside shines with colorful fishing villages turned seasonal coastal escapes, charming towns overlook vast greenery speckled by grazing sheep and shimmering lakes, and London pulses with energy carried among the cobblestone streets and historic buildings.
As though emerging from history books and fairytales, you can explore preserved strongholds and palatial estates or visit the legendary White Cliffs of Dover. Walk along Hadrian’s Wall tracing the millennia, sample the traditions of High Tea, or travel through the life of Jane Austen among Bath’s Georgian architecture.
Every path you find will lead you to an intriguing discovery in and around the top spots to visit in England, a few favorites Zicasso travelers visit for their first time in England or return to explore more deeply.
Top Destinations for Zicasso Travelers: London • Bath • Windsor
Zicasso's Summer Recommendations for England in 2023:
While every trip to England begins in London, the city will enjoy its usual crowds. Now more than ever, stepping out of the city and into the countryside will bring relaxation and charm to the forefront of your vacation experience. Consider the following as part of your summer trip to England:
Like its history of exploration, Portugal is a country to discover, allowing it to become as adventurous or relaxing as you prefer, making it a perfect summer destination.
Idyllic scenery stretches from the golden coastline to the mountainous terrain, intertwined with indelible cuisine and villages paved in cobblestone. Medieval castles inspire fairytales, and famous cities become harbingers of culture experienced in thriving cafes, lively wine bars, and endless energy. With many locals on vacation in the summer months, Portugal is an exciting place to explore, enticing nature lovers, culture enthusiasts, and oenophiles alike.
Summer festivals reach a peak with music and theater while couples searching for romance can find river beaches and gold-sand coastline. Families can discover exciting parades, and those looking to explore traditions can find exceptional artisans in the UNESCO-declared Creative Cities of Central Portugal. Zicasso travelers of all travel styles continue to find new places of interest for summer trips to Portugal.
Top Destinations for Zicasso Travelers: Lisbon • Porto • Algarve • Alentejo • Vinho Verde
Zicasso's Summer Recommendations for Portugal in 2023:
Most of Portugal’s top destinations still have space for travelers in the upcoming summer, including Lisbon and Porto. As we expect the popular cities to book up fast approaching the summer months, consider extending your stay with a coastal getaway in the Algarve or another Portuguese gem from our list of recommendations:
Ireland surpasses its legendary reputation in hospitality, history, and beauty as summer shimmers with emerald colors across the hills and valleys.
The epic Cliffs of Moher demonstrate the power and inherent beauty of nature. At the same time, stunning estates and famous castles recall a rich imperial history, and quiet towns sing with shared folklore. Zicasso travelers find plenty to adore when choosing Ireland as their summer destination over neighboring places like England.
With ancient gilded tomes, gorgeous coastal scenery enhanced by lively villages, and opportunities to hike or cycle, horseback ride, or learn falconry, Ireland can feel like an immersion into an incredible tale and, upon your return home, leave you with endless stories to share.
Top Destinations for Zicasso Travelers: Dublin • Cork • Kerry • Dingle • Limerick • Galway
Zicasso's Summer Recommendations for Ireland in 2023:
As there is limited availability in Dublin this summer, we recommend passing through the city to reach places in Ireland with more space for travelers. You can, for example, book a trip from Dublin to Kilkenny, followed by Killarney and Cork, for a unique Irish experience in the summer, taking advantage of the great weather for exploring the breathtaking outdoors. For more ideas, consider these top alternatives for your trip:
Boasting walled towns overlooking lush hills or glistening sea, green valleys filled with vineyards, forests brimming with truffles, Venetian architecture, and thundering waterfalls, Croatia is eclectic and inspiring in summer.
Sail between rugged islands and dive into the refreshing water of Croatia’s best beaches. Windsurf or water ski, sip unique wine aged at the bottom of the sea, or listen to a concert inside an ancient Roman amphitheater that still holds up to 5,000 spectators. Reaching new heights of travel interest in recent years, Zicasso travelers continue to plan trips to Croatia to take advantage of the stunning summer weather.
Modern museums in Zagreb, contemporary art exhibitions in Zadar, and a Roman palace in Split only add to the wonder surrounding the famous walls of Dubrovnik for an exciting destination turning unblemished history and heritage into a dreamy reality.
Top Destinations for Zicasso Travelers: Dubrovnik • Rovinj • Split • Vis • Plitvice Lakes National Park • Zagreb
Zicasso's Summer Recommendations for Croatia in 2023:
Many top destinations still have availability for summer travelers, though Croatia has become a popular European destination. We expect crowds to gather in Dubrovnik and other famous tourist spots. We recommend planning for your favorite destinations in Croatia as soon as possible, with the following excellent options for your trip:
Nature on a grand scale and adventures around every corner demonstrate the immersive possibilities in Iceland, the “land of fire and ice.” What once seemed like a sleepy Nordic island has become one of the world’s, and one of our Zicasso travelers, most popular summer destinations for those looking for a different way to experience nature, adventure, and community.
Peaceful towns on idyllic fjords reflect in the water, and Reykjavik's sleek design enhances the relaxing ambiance of the famous thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon. Find painted hills striped with vibrant colors, horses grazing in the endless seasonal daylight, and waterfalls crashing amidst the surrounding undulating hills.
Whale watch, discover geysers, wander over volcanic rocks, and witness the ethereal glow of vast glaciers as you uncover the origins of the nickname “land of fire and ice” at Iceland's top places to visit.
Top Destinations for Zicasso Travelers: Reykjavik • Golden Circle • Vatnajokull National Park • Akureyri • Eastern Fjords
Zicasso's Summer Recommendations for Iceland in 2023:
The vast majority of Iceland is fully booked for the summer of 2023, with only the capital city, Reykjavik offering limited space for last-minute plans to visit Iceland. Iceland has much to explore beyond Reykjavik, so we do not recommend booking for summer in 2023. Instead, focus now on planning your trip in 2024 to ensure you can secure your favorite accommodations and tours of Iceland’s top spots next year.
Switzerland is about embracing the once-in-a-lifetime experiences of which you have always dreamed. Summer shines across the country with lush grass, glistening glaciers, rushing rivers, and reflective lakes for an awe-inspiring vision of nature and contemporary life, finding inspiration within treasured local history.
Whether looking for iconic views of the Matterhorn, eager to hike around the slopes of Interlaken, or delighted to taste wines in the UNESCO-protected Vaud region and more famous Switzerland wine regions, you can expect much more than chocolate during your Switzerland trip in summer.
Top Destinations for Zicasso Travelers: Lucerne • Interlaken • Lake Geneva • Zermatt • Lausanne
Zicasso's Summer Recommendations for Switzerland in 2023:
Switzerland is a popular European destination for summer travel, and there are great options across the country to book for your trip. With preferred properties and tours still available in top spots, you can experience the best of Switzerland when planning your experiences for June, July, or August now. Here are some of our favorites to plan for as others also look to Switzerland as a popular alternative to the Mediterranean in summer:
Japan has reemerged as one of the most popular and sought-after travel destinations for 2023, and summer brims with street festivals, seasonal cuisine, firework displays, and bright flower displays.
Hiking is a thrilling pastime around Mt. Fuji, and the canals in Kyoto offer a perfect space to enjoy the sounds of trickling water or the traditions of the neighboring tea houses. As one of the world’s trendiest destinations since borders reopened, Zicasso travelers rushed to put plans in motion for a summer trip.
Japan as a whole juxtaposes a modern or futuristic view of technology with the traditional comforts dating back thousands of years. Visit Buddhist temples, follow pilgrim’s paths, shop in exciting contemporary districts, and discover heritage and culture through top experiences in Japan, from unique cafes to customary theaters representing the country’s timelessness.
Top Destinations for Zicasso Travelers: Tokyo • Kyoto • Hiroshima • Kanazawa • Takayama
Zicasso's Summer Recommendations for Japan in 2023:
With this year being the first summer season after reopening this October, Japan has seen a huge influx of visitors. Availability in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and many of Japan’s top destinations is extremely limited, making it difficult even to consider more remote regions. Instead of exploring limited options for 2023, look ahead to the summer of 2024 and get your plans started now to avoid disappointment. We recommend working with a specialist as soon as possible to ensure that you secure your preferred properties in Japan’s best places to visit.
An African safari is an immersion into the wilderness, an experience untethered and unaltered, seen through the actions of some of the world’s most enigmatic wildlife. In 2023, multi-destination safaris are popular with summer travelers eager to enjoy the enriching experience that can take place in a luxury tent hidden among remote trees in Zambia or a lavish lodge overlooking an integral waterhole in Botswana, allowing travelers to embrace the diverse ways to view wildlife during a safari.
The Northern Hemisphere’s summer months are also the dry winter months of many of Africa’s best safari countries, making it an exciting time to witness the wildlife, from the Great Migration between the Serengeti and Masai Mara national parks to trekking the dense jungle terrain of Bwindi Forest in search of gorillas.
Whether eager for a walking safari, a traditional game drive, an aerial safari, or a water safari, combining multiple African safari countries in one trip can give you an experience unlike any other.
Zicasso's Summer Recommendations for African Safaris in 2023:
Be as flexible with your destination preferences as possible for trips in the summer of 2023, and, instead, focus more on your safari styles as you plan your experience. For example, you can see the Big Five in several national parks, enjoy safari cruises in many top destinations, or explore cinematic and diverse landscapes in all African safari countries. With more availability in Southern African countries than in Eastern African countries, we recommend the following safari destinations for 2023:
Whether gliding down the canals of Venice, witnessing lion cubs playing on the savanna, or walking over the historic bridges of Kyoto, you can turn your dreams into reality with our summer vacation ideas. Our travel specialists offer expert local knowledge, experience, and network for a summer trip customized to your preferences, goals, and needs.
Find more inspiration on fantastic places to visit in summer with our advice on the best places to travel in June, the top destinations to visit in July, and the best places for a trip in August. Summer of 2023 is booking fast, so start planning with a specialist today.