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Escape the summer heatwave with these super-cool destinations

We never thought we'd say it, but we're kind of done with hot weather. If you fancy swapping barbecues and bikinis for woolly hats and hot chocolate, there's no better place to escape than these seven destinations which stay cool even in the height of summer. Heatwave? What heatwave?

Rovaniemi, Finland

Rovaniemi is firmly in the Arctic circle,  and is the capital of Lapland: if that’s not cool, we’re not sure what is. Because it stays light all night from May to August, you can really make the most out of your days. Feast on Lappish tapas at Café & Bar 21, treat yourself to a nocturnal sauna session or go swimming in one of the surrounding lakes. You can even visit Santa – it is his home town, after all.

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D(r)ive into the mist ☁️

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Sognefjord, Norway

Norway’s longest and deepest fjord starts just north of the city of Bergen and stretches to the mountainous Jotunheimen National Park, home to the Jotedalsbreen glacier. The fjord is surrounded by hiking trails and studded with rural villages where you can stop off and enjoy local culture. The fjord’s branches are equally impressive and include the UNESCO listed Nærøyfjord and the deep green Lusterfjord. Who’s up for a dip?

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Kayaking in Nærøyfjord 🇳🇴 Tag someone you would do this with! 📷: @jappern

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Ushuaia, Argentina

It might sit on the Tierra del Fuego archipelego, but there’s nothing fiery about the weather in Ushuaia. The southernmost city in the world, this is where most Antarctic cruises begin their voyage. While you’re in town, trek (or take the ski lift) to the Marshall glacier for icy views across the Beagle Channel. Back at sea level, take a guided sea kayaking tour through the strait where Charles Darwin saw his first iceberg and enjoy a bit of penguin-spotting.

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Harris, Outer Hebrides

Excuse us for banging on about it, but Scottish beaches are pretty incredible: especially on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, where the white sand and turquoise waters of Luskentyre, Huisinis and Scarista beach look like something out of the Caribbean. As the island sits off Scotland’s extreme north-west coast, temperatures rarely rise above 16°C during the summer months. Even on the warmest days the Atlantic remains a pleasantly cool 13°C – ideal for a refreshing paddle.

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Tignes, France

It doesn’t get much cooler than skiing down a glacier, and with 20km of runs to choose from Tignes’ Grand Motte is one of Europe’s primo destinations for summertime snowsports. After a morning of swooshing down the slopes, head downhill to Tignes Lake. On shore you’ll find Acroland, an activity area featuring bungees, trampolines and a giant waterslide which ends with a high-speed plunge into the icy waters of the Alpine lake. Refreshing.

The easiest – and most scenic – way to reach Tignes is to fly into Turin, hire a car and drive across the French border into the Alps.

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Yukon, Canada

Incredibly vast and very sparsely populated, Canada’s Yukon province is heaven for anyone who wants to get back to nature. The capital city, Whitehorse, is rich in gold rush history and just a short drive from the wilderness. Less than two hours to the west is Kluane National Park and Reserve: home to Canada’s highest mountain and a huge range of wildlife including moose, black bears, porcupines and eagles. The mesmerisingly green Emerald Lake is less than an hour to the south. The average temperature of 14°C is ideal for hiking and exploring.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

With an average summer temperature of 10-13°C we reckon Iceland is pretty well-named. The capital city, Reykjavík, is renowned for its viking history, colourful buildings and surprisingly vibrant nightlife –  the streets around Laugavegur rock well past dawn on weekends. Things really start getting interesting when you leave the city: geysers, hot springs, volcanoes and wild puffins are just part and parcel of the chilly country’s dramatic scenery.

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Reykjavík City at Sunset 🌇🌇 . . . . . 📸 @ozzophotography

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Need more summer travel inspo?

Fancy cooling off  at the seaside instead? There’s still time to escape to these hidden beaches this summer.

Want top luxury on a backpacker budget? Try our seven tips to make five-star hotels more affordable.