5 Places That Are Better In Summer
Spring has well and truly sprung here in Europe. The bees are making love to the birds and they’re doing it on top of flowers, the sun is lingering around for longer meaning that waking life is no longer lived in darkness and some brave Europeans have even taken to not wearing jackets when the mercury breaches the 20-degree threshold. It’s got us to thinking about summer and the adventures we’ll go on and the things we’ll see, and so we’ve whipped up a little list of five places that kind of suck in winter, but rule in summer.
Basque Country, France
In winter the French Basque country is so cold and rainy and windy, but in summer that all changes! The sun comes out, sometimes, and the wind backs off. And while it might rain a little, at least it’s warm! We like to think that you haven’t lived until you’ve joined the naturalistes along Anglet’s surfing beaches, or eaten moules frites at a Biarritz bistro while knocking back a bottle of six of the local rosé wine. This is the land of long beaches and whitewashed villages, secluded bays and a twinkling Bay of Biscay, usually full of perfect waves and perky French boobs and balls.
La Rioja, Spain
A vineyard in winter is a sad, confusing sight. The vines are pruned back and leafless, leaving nothing but a series of gnarled sticks winding across the countryside. There seems to be a perpetual gloom hanging over the land, foggy and damp and devoid of all joy. Then spring and summer happen and what a pleasant change! Apparently, over winter those depressing sticks were working hard inside, doing whatever they do so that, come the warmer months, the leaves and then the grapes can break through and present themselves for picking and stomping and fermenting and converting into what is maybe the most glorious thing in this universe — red wine. La Rioja is one of the world’s great red-wine-producing regions and as such there is a drop to tickle everyone’s tastebuds, from uncultured swine (us) to the snobbiest connoisseurs (you, maybe). And it’s cheap! Cheap to drink the best wine you’ve ever sipped and cheap to eat the hearty farmers’ meals that seem to be served up around here.
We’re going to go there at the end of June for San Vino, the wine fight, a traditional Spanish party where they throw red wine all over each other, a celebration for wine lovers and haters alike.
The Catalan Coastline
The glorious stretch of rock and sand and Mediterranean that starts in France and sweeps by Barcelona before finishing somewhere about Valencia ain’t all that bad in winter. It’s hard to put a dampener on a part of the world that offers so much culinarily, aesthetically, culturally, etc. But with winter comes storms, and while a wind-and-rain lashed Catalan coastline does have a certain charm, there’s nothing finer than a glistening, warm Med fringed by a hot and dry coastline. Most people who come to this part of the world start and finish in Barcelona, and unfortunately don’t go much further abroad, but for every crowded, dirty Barcelona beach this coastline has 100 that are pristine — and the Catalan authorities once upon a time saw it fit to run a train line almost directly up and down the coast, so you can literally ride the rails until you see a spot that tickles your fancy, jump off, swim/sun/cerveza/tapas, and catch the train back to Barcelona to lose your mind on a dancefloor.
We’re based in Barcelona, and put together 12/10 A+++ 150% Boat Parties and City Break Weekenders here. When you come along hit us up and we’ll tell you our hottest secret beach spots well within striking distance of downtown.
You might think that London is mired in a perpetual winter, and it pretty much is. London’s thing seems to be gloom and grey and resilience in the face of the grey gloom, and that unique combination of mist and drizzle, let’s call it mizzle that looks like fog yet somehow makes you moist. But did you even know that for about four hours a year London actually does experience summer! And it is actually really totally gorgeous! We’re not even joking. London sometimes experiences warmer weather and it is a really glorious place to frolic about, even in the outdoors. Sometimes it gets so summery in Ol’ Blighty that we’ve even seen Londoners sunbaking, in the park wearing their underwear nonetheless.
And that’s just the beginning of it…
Summer in Europe is when everything is fantastic! We try and do as many fantastic things as is possible, so you can make worse choices than joining the crazy Stoke train in 2017. And if you want to do more than one fun thing this year (of course you fucken do!) then give the Stoke Travel Passport a thought. See you soon!