7 places to keep cool this summer

Feeling the heat? We've tracked down the world's coolest destinations for you to chill out in
Beautiful view on the Skradinski waterfall at the end of the Krka river in Krka national park in Croatia

Summer is great. Sunny days (whole days, not intervals!) are terrific. But sometimes it’s too hot. Here’s a list of five cold places, where you can beat the heat and forget about air-con

1. Aurora Ice Museum, Fairbanks

Located in Fairbanks, Alaska, the Aurora Ice Museum is the world's largest ice environment – and it’s open all year round! Mind-blowing carvings, magical ice scenes and breathtaking sculptures are made on site by husband-and-wife team, and world ice-carving champions, Steve and Heather Brice. It’s pretty cool – if you know what I mean.

2. Waterfalls Krka, Croatia

Croatia is known for its sunny beaches, but picturesque waterfalls are another must-see for any visitor. Krka National Park’s famous Skradinski Buk waterfall may not be as impressive as Plitvice lakes, but it offers one huge advantage – the opportunity to dive in the turquoise water. Swimming under Skradinski Buk is permitted so grab your swimsuit and cool off.

3. The Himalayas

Trekking to the roof of the world may make you a little hot under the collar initially, but with the mountains reaching heady heights, the warm temperatures won't hang around for long. The Himalayas are home to some of the best trekking trails in the world, as well as some of the most awe-inspiring mountain views. 

Head to the Himalayas with Insight Guides: browse available trips online now

Skradinski Buk

Trekking to Pangboche. Photo: Insight Guides' local expert and trip provider Mark 

4. Ice caves, Iceland

We don’t need to convince anybody that Iceland is truly a land of ice – after all 11% of the country is covered by glaciers. And some of its most remarkable features are the ice caves hidden within these glaciers – no two caves are the same and every year new ones appear. With the glaciers in constant flux, weird and wonderful formations are created. A trip inside one of these transient structures is a truly unique experience.

5. Harbin Ice Festival

Officially the largest snow and ice festival in the world, this is where you go to get chilly. Located in Harbin, in north-eastern China, the month-long festival sees the world's biggest, grandest and most intricate ice sculptures erected around the city. Active travellers can take part in Yabuli Alpine skiing and winter-swimming in the Songhua River.

Plan a tailor-made trip to China with Insight Guides: simply tell us where you want to travel and we'll do the rest

6. minus5º ice bar, New York

New York’s Hilton Midtown is home to a surprisingly original venue – the minus5º ice bar. Tables, chairs, walls, even the glasses – everything is made of ice chunks weighing a total of 90 tonnes. As the name suggests, the temperature inside the bar is kept at a constant -5 degrees. The $20 cover charge includes a winter jacket and, most importantly, gloves for holding on to those cold drinks. 

7. Ice canyons, Greenland

Last but not least, Greenland is not as green as you might think. Most of its surface is ice-bound in fact. Giant blocks of ice, which have broken away from the northern shore and are drifting around the North Pole, are genuinely impressive. But nothing can compare to the amazing canyons (up to 45 metres/115ft deep), which carve their way through melting ice. You can even rent a kayak to admire the astonishingly blue ice up close.

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Fretting about the approaching autumn? 5 ways to extend your summer

Only have time for a short trip? Don't miss our top 5 summer city breaks in Europe

And if you're sticking to London this summer: 5 ways to keep cool in the UK's capital city