Beat The Heat!

As the temperature steadily rises, there’s only so much an air-conditioner can do for you. Sometimes it’s just best to do yourself a favour and leave the heat behind, even if just for a bit!

Whether seeking adventure, cultural exploration or just relaxation, a refreshing vacation to preferably a cooler place might just be your best bet for a much-needed escape from the excessive heat.

Here are a few places that we’d recommend:

Oslo, Norway

Whether cloaked in snow or bathed in midnight sun (the sun doesn’t actually set here from end of May until late July), there are few places across the globe that are as innately beautiful as Norway. From the soaring mountains to the bright blue glacier lakes, breathtaking fjords, large dense forests and more, the Norwegian landscape is uniquely unparalleled. And sitting on the southern coast at the head of the Oslo Fjord is the country’s capital and largest city, Oslo, which exceptionally combines forest landscapes with high-end architecture and landmarks. Although June, July and August are summer here, the temperatures average between 13°C and 25°C and it’s the perfect time for travellers to pay a visit. The Oslo Opera House, one of Scandinavia’s most iconic modern buildings, has a structure resembling an iceberg rising from the water and its terrace boasts fantastic views of the city and the fjord at sundown. Check out Vigeland Park – the world’s largest sculpture park showcasing works by a single artist. Then take a trip to the Bygdøy, a peninsula with some of Oslo’s most popular hiking trails, beaches and museums, including the Fram Museum and the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. Make sure to visit a floating outdoor sauna along the harbour where you first heat up and then finish with a refreshing plunge right there in the fjord. And finally, you have to hit the water in a kayak or take a truly awe-inspiring cruise experience exploring the fjords.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Boasting a vibrant culture, rich history, an ingeniously elaborate canal system that’s stood the test of time and more, Amsterdam is truly one of the most beautiful and famous cities in the world. Rife with artistic heritage, gabled facades, canals criss-crossed by stone and steel arched bridges, Mediaeval churches and antiquated market squares, the Netherlands’ charming capital is among the best-preserved 17th-century cities in Europe and genuinely worth the visit. With the weather at its pleasant best between May and August, now would be an ideal time to book your tickets. Cycling is a way of life here and the best way to get around since the city is equipped with an elaborate network of cycle paths. So rent a bike and ride out exploring! Spend time at the world-class Rijksmuseum or get lost for hours appreciating the stunning works at the Van Gogh Museum. The city is home to 165 waterways, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Canal Ring Area that dates back to the 17th century; it would be amiss not to take a canal cruise and admire the city from a different laid-back perspective. Catch some of the best touring musical acts from around the world at massive Ziggo Dome or the iconic Paradiso. Then get tickets and catch the local football club AFC Ajax in action at the Johan Cruyff Arena. But most importantly, don’t forget to take timely breaks enjoying the vast variety of delicious food and just wandering through the city’s various parks, amongst which, the sprawling and lush Vondelpark is an absolute must-visit.

Salalah, Oman

Nestled in the southern region of Oman and offering a compelling retreat from the scorching desert heat and urban bustle typically associated with the Middle East, is Salalah, the third largest city in the Sultanate. Unlike the arid landscapes prevalent in much of Oman, Salalah presents a lush, green contrast, especially during Khareef (autumn in Arabic) – the monsoon season in Oman taking place from June to early September. This period, marked by cooler temperatures and gentle rains, transforms Salalah into a verdant paradise that attracts both regional travellers seeking respite from the heat and international tourists exploring the region. But Salalah’s appeal lies not only in its climatic anomaly but also in its diverse natural landscapes. Travellers can visit the long stretches of pristine beaches flanked by rugged cliffs and tropical forests, where you’d be surprised to find plenty of tropical and subtropical fruits like coconuts, bananas, papayas and more. Nature lovers must visit the natural wonder that’s located in the Dhofar mountains – Wadi Darbat. Beautiful and scenic, it boasts lush greenery, tranquil pools and a stunning waterfall, yes you heard right, a waterfall in the Middle East! It flows heavily, especially during the monsoon season, so be sure to visit here. A diverse range of wildlife, including birds, mammals and reptiles can also be found. Without a doubt, the boat ride along the natural canal at Wadi Darbat is an absolute must-do activity. For history buffs, Salalah presents a treasure trove of archaeological wonders and cultural heritage sites. The ancient port city of Sumhuram and Al Baleed, with its well-preserved ruins, provide insights into Oman’s maritime history. Frankincense was shipped to Africa, Europe, India, China and other parts of world from here. The Museum of the Frankincense Land chronicles the significance of this aromatic resin in the region’s historical trade routes. The grand Sultan Qaboos Mosque stands as a testament to contemporary Omani architecture and religious devotion. Also, take time to experience the local cuisine at vibrant souqs, rummage for traditional handicrafts or simply relax on the tranquil shores of the various beautiful beaches.

The unique blend of temperate climate, stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage makes visiting any of the above mentioned places an ideal break.✤