1. A quiet lodge in the far north of New Zealand
Sometimes when you travel, you find places that overwhelm you with peace the minute you step into their space. New Zealand is a sparsely populated country, especially in the far north, where you can drive for miles without seeing another soul.
Tucked into a beautiful green hillside, the Endless Summer Lodge is not only surrounded by the thick, gorgeous green New Zealand’s known for, it also sits directly across from the beach. The windows on the front of the lodge look out across a vast expanse of ocean with nothing but a couple palm trees interrupting the view.
This retreat provides the opportunity to walk along endless stretches of beach, or to lie in the hammocks set up in the front yard while listening to the waves roll in.
The quiet town of Ahipara sits at the end of ninety-mile beach. You can reach it by car from Auckland taking Highway 1 North. There are a lot of great small towns to stop in on the way, so take your time getting there; and once you do, soak up this little oasis as long as you can.
2. Summer by the lake in Switzerland
At the foot of the Jura mountains, with a view of the Alps across its vineyard-ringed lake, is the university town of Neuchâtel. Its distinctive sandstone architecture led the writer Alexandre Dumas to describe this French-speaking city as resembling “an immense toy-city carved out of butter.”
It feels like a great place to call home: 10 p.m. twilights, breezes off the lake, nursing an espresso (or a glass of the local white wine) in the shade of Renaissance façades.
The university attracts students from all over during its summer language programs. Hourly trains run to Neuchâtel (‘Neuenburg’ in German) from both Geneva and Zürich — the trip lasts about an hour and a half. Lausanne and Bern are only 40 minutes away by train. And yes, you can set your watch by those trains.
3. Gozalandia waterfall getaway in Puerto Rico
As with many other natural wonders in Puerto Rico, there isn’t a clearly defined marker. Normally, to find Gozalandia, you would first have to visit it with a local, because getting directions there can be complicated. Lately, the locals have turned it into a bit more of an accessible area (and there are plans to turn the waterfalls into an eco-resort). Parking is cheap, but get there early to avoid crowds.
There are several muddy paths leading to two beautiful waterfalls. Go on weekdays in the morning. Forget going on weekends, as it will be way too crowded to enjoy it peacefully. If you go during the wet season (August to October), be prepared to just go barefoot. Shoes lose grip, you slide everywhere, and you eventually take them off anyways.
The top waterfall usually has fewer people around it. There’s a rope swing for the adventurous and a nice cool water pool for the rest of us. This is definitely a beautiful place to relax in nature.
4. Skip Cancun and head to Isla Mujeres
If you’re not a fan of huge resorts and big hotels, Isla Mujeres is the perfect getaway from Cancun.
Just catch the ferry to the island located eight miles to the northeast of Cancun. The ferry ride in itself is enjoyable, as you float over shallow reefs and turquoise water.
Once on Isla Mujeres, stay near North Beach with its white sand and abundance of bungalow accommodations. Rent bikes and pedal around the entire island and be sure to make your way to the lighthouse crawling with iguanas.
5. Enjoy the sunset in Sanur
Sanur is a beautiful and quaint part of Bali with lush hotels along the boardwalk that lines the beach.
The boardwalk really makes Sanur special as walking in Bali can be treacherous in most of the towns with narrow streets and tiny sidewalks, but this pathed path in Sanur is great for biking and long walks along the beach.
Walk to the south end of the boardwalk for a great view of the sunset and find a nice little cafe to have a Bintang (beer) or a Bali kopi (coffee).
6. A romantic beach in Malaysia
A visit to the Perhentian Islands is a must if you find yourself in Malaysia and want some beach time!
If you want a nice quaint island stay on Perhentian Besar. If you are looking for more action then stay on Perhentian Kecil, but even Kecil is very nice and has its remote and quiet areas. There are no cars or roads on the island.
There are tiny private beaches if you want some alone time.
7. A camp hotel in Montauk
Ruschmeyer’s, a Neverland for summer-loving grown-ups who want to relive their childhood camp memories, has cedar cabins that were built in 1952 when the property was an actual summer camp. Cabins have a yellow-and-black Moroccan rug, beautiful wicker beds, and a hammock for lounging. Bubble wands sit on the nightstands, and ingredients for s’mores cool in the fridge.
Activities include yoga, paddleboarding and bicycling.
The culinary team comes from New York City’s Fat Radish restaurant. After dinner, retreat to the Magic Garden which is illuminated by paper lanterns strung from the trees.
8. The red, white and blue of an Icelandic lighthouse
The charming red and white Garðskagaviti lighthouse near Keflavik is the tallest in Iceland, and was built in 1944 as a gift from American servicemen grateful for being rescued from a sinking U.S. Coast Guard vessel.
9. A picturesque English inn
Located in the picturesque village of Worth Matravers in Dorset, the Square and Compass Inn is a beautiful old pub which has been an alehouse since 1776 and has historic connections with smuggling.
This is the perfect place to stop after a bracing walk along the South West Coastal Footpath and it sells locally brewed beer and home pressed cider. The bar is tiny and there are drinking corridors, a parlour, and a sunny terrace outside. It is wonderfully unchanged and really popular with locals and walkers.
The only food are pasties and pies which are sold at the bar and until they run out. Live music is another attraction.
This article originally published at AFAR