The Best International Vacations for the Extended Fourth of July Weekend

Photographed by Arthur Elgort, Vogue, December 1992

 

It may seem like sacrilege to go on an international vacation for Fourth of July (it’s America’s birthday, after all). But this year, American workers are presented with the holy grail of holiday timing—an Independence Day that falls on a Wednesday, giving most an extra day or two off on either side. So, why not take advantage of this calendar bingo-space and check a country off your visit list?

Below, six cities that are a direct flight from multiple U.S. cities, and lodging recommendations for each.

Barcelona

With its Catalonian architecture and famed galleries, Barcelona is an absolute must visit for any culture tripper. Even better to visit in a month where you can experience the city’s other distinctive feature: its beach. With temperatures in July averaging around 80 degrees, it’s the perfect time to see Sagrada Familia and Sant Sebastía.

The arrival of Airbnb Plus in the city means it’s easy to find lodgings like this modern apartment, with vaulted ceilings, that’s oh-so-conveniently located near Paseo De Grácia.

Photo: Getty Images

Bermuda

Bermuda is the lazy international traveler’s dream: a quick flight from the East Coast, but with both British and Caribbean charm that makes it feel a world away. Stroll along the pink sand beaches and get a fried fish sandwich from Art Mel’s Spicy Dicy, a Bermudian institution.

The island’s iconic Hamilton Princess Hotel still has availability, as does the newly renovated Rosewood Bermuda, which re-opened April 1.

Photo: Getty Images

London and the English Countryside

Grab your best little white dress and head to London for Wimbledon. The tennis tournament runs through July 15, which means plenty of time to see Rafael Nadal and Sloane Stephens (or, at the very least, spot a British royal in the crowd).

Take a day or two in the English countryside, which is having a worldwide moment thanks to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Windsor wedding. The Vogue-approved Lygon Arms, in the Cotswolds, is a mere two hours away from the city center. The 600-year-old hotel sits near a 140-mile lavender field, which comes alive in purple-splendor during mid-June and early July.

Photo: Getty Images

Glasgow, Scotland

Thanks to its whiskey boom, the largest city in Scotland landed a place on The New York Times’s coveted “52 Places to Go in 2018” list.

But it’s not just drams and pints—Glasgow is also home to several revered museums, including the Zaha Hadid-designed Riverside Museum and the eclectic Burrell Collection. With the winter gloom and gray at bay, what better time to experience it all?

The Hotel Du Vin, a charming boutique hotel comprised of five Victorian townhouses, still has availabilities for the week of July 2.

Photo: Getty Images

 

Stockholm, Sweden

The midsummer celebrations in Sweden may have come and gone—but the daylight sure hasn’t, with the average sunset occurring at 10 p.m. Stay at Miss Clara or the Lydmar Hotel, which “has the best location of any hotel in the city.” Head to the Sodermalm neighborhood for its innovative food scene, Stureplan for its party vibe, and the lush, green island of Skeppsholme if you want to take a break from the action of the city.

Photo: Getty Images

 

Shanghai, China

To get away from it all—like really, really get away from it all—head east to Shanghai, China. It’s not a quick flight: 12 hours from Los Angeles, 15 from New York City, but for those who have five or so days off, it’s actually a doable journey.

You can go the luxury route: China’s cultural capital has seen a boom of five star resorts this year, like Aman’s Amanyangyun and the Bvlgari Hotel, or you can go the more thrifty one: like Barcelona, Shanghai is one of the few international cities to have Airbnb Plus listings.

With 24 million people, Shanghai can seem overwhelming to many travelers. But don’t let the size intimidate you: many of its neighborhoods are walkable gems, from the artsy M50 district to the luxury district of Lujiazui, and there are English-speaking locales aplenty. Don’t forget to bring that old, out-of-stock dress you love so much—Vogue contributing editor Lynn Yaeger has written about the thrill of clothes copying in Shanghai. “Some visitors to Shanghai head straight for the Bund, the museums, the dumplings, but for me, the lure of having a couple of old dresses copied, practically overnight, means that I will gladly endure a 17-hour flight,” she writes.

Photo: Getty Images

 

Guadalajara, Mexico

Just a quick (and inexpensive) flight away from Los Angeles, Guadalajara has long been a food and art lover’s paradise. Stay at the effortlessly charming Casa Fayette, which has the perfect deck on which to sip an ice-cold margarita or mezcal on the rocks.

Photo: Getty Images