Unusual summer holiday destinations

Updated June 06, 2018

If spending a couple of weeks in a faux-UK tourist trap like Benidorm sounds like your idea of hell, you should consider some more unique possibilities for your summer holiday. Skipping across the channel to France or booking a newspaper-coupon package holiday to Majorca isn’t the only way to see the world. With a bit of imagination and a leap of faith, you can enjoy a summer holiday that will take you out of your comfort zone and show you what the world really has to offer.


Head to the north of Norway in June and you will experience something very few places have to offer. Because the earth is tilted on its axis, the sun never sets in parts of Norway during the summer solstice. Instead, it hovers above the horizon; a truly majestic experience when you’re sat by a fjord or looking out to sea. There are also alpine resorts, hiking opportunities, ancient glaciers and wildlife safaris. You can even see killer whales up-close.


With the Mediterranean climate of Crimea, beautiful onion-domed churches and underground caves filled with mummified monks, a visit to Ukraine isn’t something you’ll forget in a hurry. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can head to the site of the Chernobyl disaster, and see the crumbling, overgrown ghost town of Pripyat.


The landscape of Iceland is stunningly diverse. With rugged mountains, volcanoes, and icebergs, there are a wide range of outdoor activities you can partake in if you’re feeling adventurous. It can be as simple as riding a horse across the plains or as insane as quad biking across a lava field. If you want something more relaxed, aside from taking in the stunning scenery, you can also go whale-watching or soak up the atmosphere in one of Reykjavic’s many cafes and bars.


Jordan boasts one of the Seven Wonders of the World; an architectural masterpiece known as Petra. It’s a city carved into a vast red rock face, unlike anything you’ll experience anywhere else on the planet. You can visit the Jordan River, the site of Jesus’ baptism, and float in the salt-rich Dead Sea. There are also nature reserves and plenty of other ruins to be explored, so you’ll have plenty to keep you busy!


Whether you want a cultural city-break or a relaxing escape to an idyllic beach to drink cocktails and bask in the sun, Morocco has something to offer. Marrakech is a bustling city suitable for people who want lavish hotels or those on a budget. Agadir, on the other hand, boasts sun-drenched beaches and free-flowing cocktails. You can eat and drink well for cheap, and still enjoy a holiday in an exotic paradise.

Papua New Guinea

One thing tourists are always looking for is somewhere unspoiled and undiscovered. Papua New Guinea is an island in Oceania split down the middle between New Guinea (which occupies the east) and Papua (on the west). You can pick up some traditional arts and crafts at one of the many markets, go hiking, enjoy a festival or go diving in the South Pacific.


If you want to really experience something unique, try Mongolia. As around a third of the population is uprooted and nomadic, you can follow in the tribes’ footsteps and explore the vast wilderness. You’ll encounter no sign of human activity apart from occasionally bumping in to a native wanderer as you explore the fringes of the Gobi Desert on horseback.

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About the Author

Lee Johnson has written for various publications and websites since 2005, covering science, music and a wide range of topics. He studies physics at the Open University, with a particular interest in quantum physics and cosmology. He's based in the UK and drinks too much tea.