It’s time to dig out the sunglasses because summer is officially here. And whether you see it as the longest day of the year, the start of the sunshine season, or simply an excuse for a party, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the summer solstice. But where should you go? Read on for tips on the best places to soak up the rays on 20th June, the official start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
Ever considering marking the arrival of summer in a destination where the sun doesn’t set for three days? The sight of Iceland’s spectacular natural backdrop drenched in hours of sunlight is truly magical. Head to the Secret Solstice Festival and dance in the midnight sun to electronic, indie, urban and folk beats. With more than 72 hours of non-stop sunshine and over 100 acts, you are guaranteed an unforgettable party.
If 72 hours sounds a little too full-on, Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, could be the place for you. Comparatively, Alaskans get just 22 hours of solid sun, but they really know how to make the most of it. From hiking and biking concerts to family-friendly parties, marathon trails, cook-outs and parades, there really is something to suit everyone’s tastes at the city’s Downtown Summer Solstice Festival. If you’re lucky enough to be celebrating here, don’t miss The Taste of Anchorage Food Zone, which features delectable treats from local Alaskan chefs.
One of the most popular places to mark the solstice is our very own ancient stone monument, which attracts thousands of visitors to its celebrations every year. The Pagan ritual of gathering around the pre-historic monoliths to worship the sun has been upheld for centuries. Revellers can arrive from 7pm on Monday, 20th June, before the sunrises just before 5am. Expect a tee-total affair though, as alcohol is not permitted on this sacred site.
Find yourself pining for the sun during those short winter days? Spare a thought for the residents of Longyearbyen, the capital of the far-flung Norwegian outpost that is Svalbard. Here, the sunsets in October and doesn’t rise again until March. The good news, though, is that daylight lasts from April to August – which means the northernmost city in the world is one of the best spots to celebrate the longest day of the year.
Times Square, New York City, USA
Have you ever seen Times Square come to a complete standstill? Well, one of the busiest cities in the world almost does just that during the summer solstice, when thousands of yoga fanatics stretch and bend from sunrise to sunset. Last year, more than 15,000 yogis laid out mats and made shapes for hours beneath the twinkling lights of Manhattan’s Midtown skyline. It really is a sight to behold.
To celebrate summer solstice in Sweden, you’ll fit right in if you wear flowers in your hair; have the ability to sing songs while drinking unsweetened schnapps, and enjoy dancing around a maypole. Tuck into pickled herring, new potatoes, chives and sour cream during one of the never-ending lunches, dance to the sounds of authentic folk music, and raise a toast to midsummer fun.
Need help deciding where to celebrate the summer solstice this year? Speak to one of our Travel Experts about organising your trip to one of the destinations above.