Before long, summer in Berlins turns into a grey mix of windy temperatures between 15 and 21 degrees and perpetual drizzles of rain. Aye, that’s summer! Although we’ve been blessed with some great days and nights, the dreaded slump has turned into reality. People are either vacationing the whole of Europe or sitting inside the magical study halls and libraries of the city (or, if you’re like me, doing a combination of both, in which my vacation turns into a backdrop of ignorance towards my responsibilities). Even the regular workers among us seem to be in the typical August hibernation phase, phlegmatically drooling and not particularly inclined to do anything but lie around in lazy stupor.
Enough with the rambling, though. We’re always looking for new ideas on where to travel to escape quickly from the burdening routine of Berlin (and to return from our vacations with fresh perspectives), so here are a five ideas that will take you away within the borders of Europe (not that I wouldn’t like to travel far away, it’s just that summer in Europe is really nice and I’d like to save the Southern Hemisphere for when it’s 20 negative over here).
1. IBIZAAAA!!! (for reasons unknown, I need to say it like I’m wasted on Sangria while wearing a neon colored thong)
Considering how many of my local friends and acquaintances have booked a flight to Ibiza this year alone, it seems as if the Balearic island with the formerly bad rep has been seeing some fresh Berlin appreciation. I mean, super expensive playback-clubbing á la David Guetta and Paris Hilton, with douchebags from all over the world uniting to flex their muscles? Sounds like a Berliners nightmare. And yet, apparently, Ibiza has “everything that Berlin’s got – obnoxious English tourists, great drugs and fantastic after-hours”, but all set right at the beach and half-naked. Sounds like Berlin del Mar to my ears. I have decided to verify these claims by the end of August, so stay tuned (and if you’ve got any ideas for me on where to go and what to do while there, let me know).
2. South Tyrol
Oh, South Tyrol. There hasn’t been anything that wasn’t said about amazing, blissful, gorgeous South Tyrol. That view from the Alps in the summertime is something you need to strike off your bucket list, my friend. The fresh air up there (and the much needed coolness when diving into a mountain lake), the cows, the down-to-earth folks, the delicious Italian-Austrian culinary mix, the proud and unique disposition of the autonomous region Südtirol in general… all that, def worth a visit. If you’re going anywhere south of Germany by car, I can full heartedly recommend a stop-over with a hike to Schatzerhütte. Read more about our South Tyrol adventures.
Obviously, not everybody wants to escape into the next city. But please, show me another European capital that manages to pull off such a charming and relaxing vibe. The Portuguese are very warm and friendly people with an exquisite cuisine and a dreamy coastline. If you’re a surfer, a swimmer, a hiker, a drinker, you will find what you’re seeking in Lisbon. If you’re even remotely like me (namely lazy and very thankful for cheap but good espresso and the sweet baked goods that come with it), you’ll be the happiest in Lisbon. The city is clustered with beautiful architecture and historical relicts, and combines European exoticism (winding, old roads that lead into sweet taverns and an overall look of being thrown back in time) with modern conveniences (cheap transport, affordable hostels, great food, greater people). The city can be crowded, sure, but it’s never as busy as Barcelona or Paris.
If you need to escape, there’s the beach right in front of the door and the national park only a stone’s throw by car or tram. It might get too hot for some of you, but the climate is considerably milder than in other Mediterranean cities.
I spent the best of my last summer traveling in a matte-black VW bus riding through Europe, on my way to reach Dimensions festival. Apparently, Croatia is lined with open air (techno) festivals that sport line-ups straight from a three week Berghain binge, and the Dimensions in question certainly had the best line up. It was hard to get used to the overwhelming British crowds (and their very own definition of loud and excessive partying), but the trip itself was worth it. Croatia has clear waters down the coast, fresh figs you can eat from the trees, cheap camping spots and grilled octopus to die for. I would stick to the car as travel option, as staying in one place can get boring very quickly).
My true Spanish underdog Valencia! An abundance of activities beyond the typical city-life awaits. Couple this with a staggering culinary scene (oh, the Horchata, how I miss it whenever the sun shines), very fair living expenses and the Mediterranean sea right in front of you, and you’ll experience the best combination of vacation options. Be cautious, though: it gets really hot in Valencia, and you won’t see the same capsizing traditional European architecture here as everything is on the modern side of life. But it’s exactly those elements that make Valencia an exciting city to discover. The dried out riverbed, which serves as a 17km long park today, and the City of Arts & Sciences are only two dazzling examples of what Valencia has in store for visitors.
So, where’s the rest of you guys escaping to? Any more ideas to add to the list? Next up on the list of personal vacation spots (a wish list, more like), are Tarifa (Spain), Sardinia (Italy), Verona (Italy), Tessaloniki (Greece), Iceland, Tel Aviv, Beirut, Lagos (Portugal), Almafi Coast (Italy), Gardasee (Italy). Anything I’ve missed, let me know!