BIG ISLAND, HAWAII. With temps in the 70s and a variety of microclimates in the rain forests and mountains, this is a Pacific paradise. Here, the iconic Waipio coastline.
The Big Island offers opportunities to relax on a sunny, colorful beach (white, black, and green sand!), walk on an active volcano in Volcanoes National Park (above), and attend a traditional luau with hula dancing, roasted pig, mai tais, and Hawaiian beer.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA. You'll find a summer high of 76, winter low of 50 here, where the cool Pacific and inland desert create a perfect oasis.
Spend a day in San Diego's Balboa Park, home of the San Diego Museum of Art and the justly renowned San Diego Zoo (above). Take the ferry to Coronado and ogle the famous hotel that has hosted more than a dozen U.S. presidents. Party Wild West style in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Mangia in Little Italy.
(Courtesy Cburnett/Wikimedia Commons)
LISBON, PORTUGAL. A low of 59 in January and a high of 83 in July thanks to the Atlantic breezes and Gulf Stream make Lisbon a respite from extreme weather all year round.
Take a walking tour of Lisbon that includes food and wine tasting. Stroll the majestic square Praça do Comércio. Take a day trip to beautiful Sintra, where royalty used to get away from it all. Listen to traditional fado music, an unforgettable, melancholy style of Portuguese singing. Ride the Elevador da Glória to the top of one of Lisbon's seven hills for a great view.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA. The Atlantic and Indian oceans keep the climate here mild, and our winter is Cape Town's summer.
Explore Cape Town's Table Mountain National Park and hang out with the penguins (yes!) on Boulders Beach (above). For bigger wildlife thrills, head to Kruger National Park to see lions and elephants in the wild. Cape Town is where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean; the west side is best for soaking up the sun, the east side for swimming and surfing.
ECUADOR. The city of Quito enjoys highs in the 60s, lows in the 50s all year round. These days, Ecuador’s Bartolome Island, in the Galápagos, home to the aptly named Pinnacle Rock (above) and other stunning natural wonders, is drawing more visitors than ever.
(Courtesy Friendly Planet Travel)
The Galápagos Islands are 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific. Be prepared to be photobombed by one of these adorable critters!
(Courtesy Friendly Planet Travel)
SARDINIA, ITALY. Summer highs in the 70s and winter lows in the 50s make this island one of the finest climates in the Mediterranean; its mountainous interior, including gorgeous Lake Flumendosa (above), is highly walkable.
Sardinia is in many respects a nation unto itself (it even has its own Latinesque dialect, Sardo, that is spoken in remote interior regions). It's consistently praised for having 1,000 miles of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, including Pelosa Beach (above). A visit here can feel like a step back in time, with villagers tending flocks of sheep, making their own cheese, producing exceptional wines, and living in stone villages that have changed little since the Middle Ages.
BERMUDA. With its unique position in the Atlantic, this island enjoys summer and fall in the 70s, winter and early spring in the 60s.
Like Bermuda’s signature dark and stormy cocktail, which mixes tropical rum with decidedly British ginger beer, Bermuda juxtaposes new- and old-world delights at every turn. Hit Elbow Beach to soak up the mild climate, then dive into a traditional English pub for grub and a pint (or a fruity Rum Swizzle). Here, the view from La Serena Spa.
(Courtesy La Serena Spa)
NEW ZEALAND. Visit Queenstown (above) and you'll find temps in the 60s November through April and in the 50s May through October.
(Vichaya Kiatying-angsulee / Dreamstime.com)
New Zealand is, of course, the real-life Middle-Earth, where the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit (above) films were shot. You’ll find so many varieties of terrain (mountains, beaches, forests), you may wonder whether Kiwis ever leave. Try Auckland’s Sky Tower for a bird’s-eye view of the city; and take the Twin Coast Discovery Highway for dramatic coastal views, beaches, and 82-foot-high Whangarei Falls.
BARCELONA, SPAIN. Get ready for summer in the 70s and winter in the 50s, and be sure to buy your tickets online to skip the long lines at Barcelona hotspots such as La Sagrada Família and Parc Güell, a sort of Gaudí theme park that allows only a certain number of people in each day.
At the beach along Barcelona's Barceloneta, stop by Tapa Tapa for endless plates of tapas, seafood paella, and cold sangria.
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA. With temps in the 50s and 60s most of the year and highs in the 70s in January and February, Adelaide is one of the world's mildest cities.
Adelaide, a city of more than 1 million, is often overshadowed by better-known down-under stops like Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef, but it is consistently ranked one of the world's most liveable cities and offers a thriving arts scene, live music, and great pub and nightclub options.