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7 Best Winter Destinations for Summer

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Woman standing in front of Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina

Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

While some travelers embrace the summer sunshine and the warmth of tropical islands, others prefer the fresh air of winter, and these top places for winter lovers to visit in summer offer an escape from the heat in June, July, and August.

The growing allure of traveling on a "coolcation" lets you sidestep the crowded streets of Europe or the sweltering heat of the Northern Hemisphere’s sun-baked sands this summer and head for the Amazon Rainforest in Peru, the stunning South African coastline, Patagonia’s glaciers, and more.

The following best destinations for winter lovers to explore share welcoming cultures and unique adventures during their refreshing cooler months.

Overview
  1. 1. Peru
  2. 2. New Zealand
  3. 3. South Africa
  4. 4. Fiji
  5. 5. Australia
  6. 6. Patagonia
  7. 7. Brazil
  8. Discover the Best Summer Destinations for Winter Lovers

1. Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Peru is a treasure trove of wonders, ranging from beaches in the north to the remarkable Lake Titicaca in the south.

Winter in Peru, coinciding with the Northern Hemisphere’s summer, provides cool temperatures in which to indulge on the sands along the western seaboard, or venture deep into the fascinating, dense biosphere of the Amazon Rainforest. Winter is also the best time of year to visit the famous Incan cities high in the Andes.

The dry months between May and October provide the perfect weather for traversing the cobblestone streets to take in Andean culture and preserved Incan and Spanish colonial architecture located more than 10,000 feet above sea level.

Peru Vacation Idea

Embark on a captivating journey through Peru's vibrant Amazon Rainforest and ancient city of Cusco, with our Pure Peru: Amazon to Ancient Cusco Tour unveiling the country's rich heritage and breathtaking landscapes. Discover the allure of Peru's natural wonders and immerse yourself in its fascinating history.

Highlights: Explore Machu Picchu's captivating history and mysterious ruins • Cruise the Amazon River Basin in search of vibrant wildlife • Immerse yourself in Andean culture and Inca traditions at Moray and Ollantaytambo • Marvel at the blend of Columbian architecture and Inca engineering in Cusco • Discover the ancient pre-Columbian ruins of Piquillacta

Learn more: Peru ToursPeru Travel Guide

2. New Zealand

Group of travelers standing near a helicopter on Clarke Glacier in New Zealand

Clarke Glacier near Queenstown, New Zealand. Photo courtesy Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters

New Zealand provides the perfect getaway from summer crowds, while also being an incredible destination for snow-chasers who cannot wait until winter in the Northern Hemisphere to hit the slopes.

The Southern Alps divide New Zealand’s South Island, with over 310 miles of rippling, towering summits capped with snow for some of the finest snowboarding and skiing excursions in the Southern Hemisphere and the world.

If skiing the slopes of the South Island does not fulfill your expectations of a winter getaway in summer, New Zealand also hosts numerous hot springs, perfect for relaxing in while enjoying the great outdoors.

New Zealand Vacation Idea

Embrace the ultimate exploration of New Zealand's breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage with our Best of New Zealand: Private Two-Week Tour. Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of this diverse country as you journey through stunning fjords, majestic mountains, and pristine beaches, while enjoying personalized attention and luxurious accommodations throughout your adventure.

Highlights: Take a helicopter ride onto a glacier above a rainforest • Stroll around Taupo, Wakatipu, and Wanaka lakes • Escape into the ethereal landscape of Milford Sound on an overnight cruise • Explore New Zealand's volcanic history, including Rotorua geysers and Punakaiki blowholes • Wander through Hobbiton’s preserved movie set

Learn more: New Zealand ToursNew Zealand Travel Guide

3. South Africa

Shark cage diving in South Africa

Gansbaai, South Africa

South Africa in winter lets you beat the heat on its famous savannas, such as those in the Kruger National Park. The mild weather and decreased rainfall make wildlife viewing exceptional by thinning the bush for improved visibility during an unforgettable safari.

Shorter grasses and fewer waterholes or rivers also encourage the animals to congregate in concentrated areas. Those who prefer the sea to the land will relish whale watching and shark-cage diving during South Africa’s high season for migrating whales and great white sharks.

The wine regions are also brimming with life in winter and snow powders the Ceres Mountains.

South Africa Vacation Idea

Experience an exhilarating South African Adventure Tour: City, Safari, and Ocean that seamlessly combines the energy of cosmopolitan cities, the awe-inspiring wildlife encounters of thrilling safaris, and the breathtaking beauty of the vast ocean landscapes. Immerse yourself in an unforgettable journey on which you'll witness the vibrant culture of cities, witness the untamed wonders of the wild, and soak in the coastal charm that South Africa has to offer.

Highlights: Embark on game safaris in Thornybush Game Reserve, uncovering Africa's famous Big Five • Tour Stellenbosch, cycling through the picturesque landscapes of the Cape Winelands • Experience the thrill of encountering great white sharks in their natural habitat • Visit Boulders Beach to witness over 3,000 penguins lounging on pebbled shores

Learn more: South Africa SafarisSouth Africa Travel Guide

4. Fiji

Sandy beach on Drawaqa Island, Yasawa Islands, Fiji

Yasawa Islands, Fiji

Winter in Fiji is the best time to experience the islands’ beaches, jungles, and cultural history.

The water is continuously warm and the weather in winter averages between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The winter keeps the storms at bay and fewer crowds provide a more authentic adventure or the chance for a relaxing getaway.

With more than 300 islands associated with the tropical archipelago, your time in Fiji’s winter paradise lets you soak in therapeutic mud pools, raft down bodies of white water in rainforests, or dive into the clear South Pacific waters to swim with sharks.

Fiji Vacation Idea

Relish an unforgettable journey with our Discover Fiji Vacation Tour: Matamanoa & Taveuni. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Matamanoa Island and explore the lush wonders of Taveuni, where pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and enchanting waterfalls await.

Highlights: Enjoy a private beachside dinner under the South Pacific starlight • Relish romance in a secluded island resort in the Mamanuca Islands • Dive with the vibrant marine life of the famous Rainbow Reef • Hike mountainous trails with breathtaking views to discover rare Fijian flowers around the Mamanuca Islands

Learn more: Fiji Vacation PackagesFiji Travel Guide

5. Australia

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia

The Australian winter is cool, but the Northern Territory welcomes the dry season and other areas enjoy sunny days, perfect for exploring outdoors.

For a snowy winter trip, head south of Sydney or into the Victorian Alps, making your way to the Australian Alps and Tasmania. Walking across the frozen landscape, building snow sculptures as a family, and soaking in hot tubs are excellent experiences with which to make the most of the frosty time of year.

Other popular spots like the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru are stunning in the winter. The dry season makes for fantastic snorkeling and coral exploration while the night skies of the Outback are at their clearest for exceptional stargazing around Uluru.

Australia Vacation Idea

Savor a mesmerizing journey through Australia's iconic landscapes with our Experience the Essentials of Australia for 14 Days tour. It will take you from vibrant Sydney to the breathtaking natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. This curated experience offers a perfect blend of adventure, cultural encounters, and relaxation, ensuring you create unforgettable memories while exploring Australia’s diverse and captivating beauty.

Highlights: Explore the flourishing rainforest surrounding Port Douglas • Snorkel Opal, Tongue, and St. Crispin’s Reef in the Great Barrier Reef • Discover the wilderness diversity of the Daintree Rainforest • Experience rugged adventures in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park • Uncover Melbourne's best-kept secrets on an insider's tour

Learn more: Australia ToursAustralia Travel Guide

6. Patagonia

Snow covered Los Glaciares National Park in Argentine Patagonia with Mt Fitz Roy in the distance

Mt Fiz Roy in Argentine Patagonia

When the Northern Hemisphere experiences summer, Patagonia experiences winter, becoming a frozen wonderland that’s worth exploring if you are up for an exciting and challenging adventure.

Winter in Patagonia falls in the off-season, thus, you can expect far fewer crowds, making it an unexpected yet thrilling addition to your winter travel wishlist. The cold conditions also bring plenty of snow, which creates some impressive and cinematic scenes, while skiing is excellent during this time of the year.

When navigating Patagonia in the winter, you will be rewarded with the marvels of an untouched frozen landscape, whether with few other souls in sight along the plains or when visiting popular skiing destinations in Chile and Argentina.

Patagonia Vacation Idea

Witness the awe-inspiring beauty of towering glaciers, pristine fjords, and rugged mountain landscapes, all while indulging in exquisite accommodations and curated experiences on our Luxury Patagonia Tour in Argentina & Chile. Immerse yourself in the untamed wilderness of Patagonia as you explore remote national parks, encounter diverse wildlife, and savor delectable cuisine, creating unforgettable memories of an extraordinary journey.

Highlights: Enjoy a guided hike to Laguna de los Tres in the dramatic Patagonian Steppe • Trek to the top of Argentina's largest glacier • Cruise alongside the ice wall of Perito Moreno Glacier • Horseback ride along the foothills and shores of glacial lakes • Discover the incredible beauty of Patagonia's flora and fauna

Learn more: Patagonia Tours & VacationsPatagonia Travel Guide

7. Brazil

Two jaguars crossing a river in the Pantanal, Brazil

The Pantanal, Brazil

Brazil is not typically associated with cold weather. In the Southern Hemisphere’s winter between June and August, the temperatures can still be considered moderate in cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo which see average temperatures between 55° and 65° Fahrenheit.

For locals, that is much too cold to swim but the cool air also means less humidity and popular trips to the remote volcanic island of Ilsa Fernando de Noronha. Instead of a snowy wonderland, you can find a tropical paradise in comfortable conditions. Enjoy surprising winter sports in the southern mountain resort towns where you can ice skate, ski, or snowboard. You can the gorgeous scenery and welcoming culture while exploring among fewer crowds across the country.

Winter is also the best time for wildlife viewing in Brazil, whether discovering the dense jungle of the Amazon region for signs of the pink river dolphin or visiting the famous wetlands of the Pantanal in search of jaguars and maned wolves. Each experience shows how Brazil in winter is a delightful surprise.

Brazil Vacation Idea

Embark on a captivating journey through Peru's vibrant Amazon Rainforest and ancient city of Cusco, with our Pure Peru: Amazon to Ancient Cusco Tour unveiling the country's rich heritage and breathtaking landscapes. Discover the allure of Peru's natural wonders and immerse yourself in its fascinating history.

Enjoy an active adventure through Brazil’s incredible wilderness along the largest wetlands in the world with our 10-Day Brazil: Wildlife and Nature Explorer. Discover the rich beauty of the secluded and elaborate ecosystem coupled with the famous wonders of the Amazon rainforest for a winter expedition you will never forget.

Highlights: Embrace remote waterways of the Pantanal on a river cruise safari • Indulge in the luxuries of secluded lodges • WItness the layers of the Amazon Rainforest from observation towers that wildlife • Canoe the Cristalino River with a guide to find spider monkeys, toucans, and crowned herons

Learn more: Brazil Tours & VacationsBrazil Travel Guide

Discover the Best Summer Destinations for Winter Lovers

Vineyards in Stellenbosch, South Africa

Vineyards in Stellenbosch, South Africa

From skiing down the snowy slopes of New Zealand’s Southern Alps to sipping on world-class wines overlooking the cascading emerald vineyards of Stellenbosch in South Africa, chase the cool weather this summer at these top destinations.

If you are searching for more summer inspiration, explore our best summer vacation ideas or discover our most popular summer destinations. You can also find ideas of where to go for every month of the year in our guide on the best places to travel by month.

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