Take a trip away this July. Check out our recommendations for what to do, where to go and what to eat in some of Cayman’s favorite overseas destinations.
CULTURE: Any “Game of Thrones” fans out there will recognize the narrow marble streets of Dubrovnik’s Old Town – this is where the King’s Landing scenes are filmed. Take a guided walking tour of the storied city walls and forts to soak up all that history.
SHOPPING: Ditch the tacky tourist shops for Dubrovačka kuća, stocked with beautiful ceramics and glassware at affordable prices thanks to a partnership with Zagreb’s Museum of Arts and Crafts. Maria Boutique is the place for new threads by the likes of Givenchy and Stella McCartney.
FOOD: The northerly region of Istria has long produced unbeatable black truffles, seafood, olive oil and wine – and now one of its prettiest towns, Ronvinj, has earned Croatia’s first Michelin star. Monte restaurant offers informal fine dining with five- or seven-course tasting menus
COCKTAILS: Make the most of the region’s exceptional wines in bustling Piassa Granda, a bar with warm service and some 130 Istrian vintages to sample. Buy a bottle of your favorite to take home.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH: Croatia is fast establishing itself as one of the ultimate summer festival destinations. There’s Soundwave (July 27-31), which sees leading house DJs playing on stages around the pretty seaside village of Tisno, plus boat parties and daily after-parties. No wonder it’s been dubbed the “new Ibiza.” Down is the country’s south, Dubrovnik Summer Festival (July 10 – August 25) is the place for open-air theater, classical and folk performances.
CULTURE: Finland’s capital Helsinki boasts an electrifying design scene and glorious art-nouveau buildings. Take a dip in the magnificent Art Deco pool built by Väinö Vähäkallio, after poring over four floors of contemporary art in Kiasma; the museum’s curving white architecture is reminiscent of New York’s Guggenheim.
SHOPPING: Helsinki’s Design District is full of quirky shops championing local talent, such as Edel City (look out for Mifuko’s jewellery made from recycled safety pins) and sleek fashion store Guadete for a Heikki Salone original.
FOOD: A modern foodie scene is flourishing here, with farm-to-table tasting menus and coffee roasteries popping up all over. Juuri is one notable example, specializing in innovative “sapas” (Scandinavian tapas). If it’s the classics you’re craving, try a traditional salmon soup at Story, tucked inside the Old Market Hall.
COCKTAILS: There’s a lot of buzz around Steam Hellsinki, a Victorian-themed bar filled with quirky antiques. Gin cocktails are especially good here, featuring award-winning Finnish gin Napue and unusual garnishes like rosemary and cranberries.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH: It’s “Happy 100th Birthday” to Finland this year, and to mark the milestone, a new national park just opened in June. With its clear lakes and 55 miles of walking trails, Hossa in the country’s north-east is veritable paradise for anglers, paddlers and hikers.
Finger Lakes, New York State
CULTURE: The Corning Museum of Glass is crammed with colorful creations, charting 3,500 years of glass history, while in its contemporary wing you can try your own hand at making a glass ornament. Hiking to the Gorge at Watkins Glen State Park, home to 19 waterfalls, is also a must-do in the area.
SHOPPING: The Arbor Hill Grapery, about six miles north of Naples, sells locally-made fine foods to take home. If it’s more than culinary souvenirs you’re after, try Ithaca Commons, a sculpture-dotted pedestrian mall with independent book and clothing stores.
FOOD: Verasions at Glenora Wine Cellars has one of the state’s finest farm-to-table offerings. Summertime dining on the patio, with views of the vineyard and lake, offers up seasonal treats like braised rabbit parpadelle, tempura asparagus or lemon semifreddo.
COCKTAILS: It’s more Cab Franc than Cosmopolitans in this neck of the woods. You should savor some of Finger Lakes’ finest plonks at Standing Stone, which pairs tasting flights with cheeses.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH: The Finger Lakes have long been a “secret” summer escape for New Yorkers, but word is getting out about their terrific wines (the state is the third biggest producer in the U.S.), scenery and hiking trails. July is a wonderful time to make the most of the Lakes’ outdoor pursuits, from kayaking to cycling.
CULTURE: With its palm-frilled plazas and colorful 16th-century mansions, Cartagena is a truly romantic, intoxicating Caribbean city. As you wander this UNESCO World Heritage site, delve into the cathedral, complete with cannonball damage from Sir Francis Drake’s troops in 1586.
SHOPPING: Beautifully crafted Colombian furniture and design can be found at Casa Chiqui – the price tags may be hefty, but the quality is second to none. Star buys include the exotic cashmere hammocks and rugs handwoven by design house Hechizoo, the only place in town to stock them.
FOOD: In Cartagena, ceviche is king. One of the most authentic cevicherias is El Boliche Cebicheria, a teeny-tiny spot serving fresh-off-the-boat seafood with sour cream and yucca chips. If you’re after a more elegant option, the colonial-era courtyard of Alma oozes class.
COCKTAILS: El Barón is home to some of the city’s best mixologists. Grab a table in the shadow of the towering Iglesia de San Pedro Claver church and listen to jazz tunes while the creative bartenders shake up their latest new infusion. The Rosarito comes highly recommended – a mixture of mezcal, cilantro, pineapple extract.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH: Colombia’s fiesta spirit will very much be in evidence on July 20, when the nation celebrates Independence Day. Join in the parades and all-night salsa dancing to mark the 1810 uprising against Spanish rule.
CULTURE: Generations of artists have flocked to St Ives for its extraordinary light clarity, and as a result the mighty Tate selected the seaside town to host one of its two galleries outside London. Another monument to this creative legacy is sculptor Barbara Hepworth’s former studio and sculpture garden, filled with curvaceous masterpieces of bronze and stone.
SHOPPING: Truro is considered the “capital” of Cornwall, its cobbled streets holding an array of shops from high street staples to quirky boutiques. Trawl for Cornish-made silver jewellery in Lemon Street’s indoor market.
FOOD: Two things you must get your chops around in Cornwall: a pasty and a Cornish cream tea. For the former, visit The Chough Bakery on Padstow’s harborfront and you’ll taste why this shop won gold in the World Pasty Championships 2016. As for a delectable serving of homemade scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream, Rosemergy Farmhouse (situated between St Ives and St Just) comes up trumps.
COCKTAILS: Ruby’s Bar in Padstow only opened last year, but its excellent gin selection has already won over locals and tourists alike. Especially delicious is the Ruby’s Fizz cocktail, which pairs raspberry-infused Pinkster gin with sparkling pinot noir from local vineyard Camel Valley, pomegranate and grenadine.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH: Set in the woodland gardens and park of an ancient stately home, Port Eliot Festival (July 27 – 30) is a classy affair that’s about much more than music acts; the eclectic events range books, food, comedy, wildlife and wellbeing.