From England to Peru to Spain to Sweden, Musement offers a glimpse of six global destinations to celebrate the summer solstice.
Long summer days, leisurely evenings on the patio, the occasional midnight swim, glistening starry skies. How does the world celebrate the official arrival of summer and the longest day of the year? In no particular order, Musement takes a look at five of the top destinations to kick off summer and celebrate the solstice on June 21!
1. Stonehenge, England
One of the most important summer solstice celebrations takes place at Stonehenge, a travel bucket list must, which is easily accessible from London. Each year, thousands of visitors flock to these stone giants to admire the perfect alignment of the sun with the axis of the megaliths.
2. The White Nights Festival, St. Petersburg
Any time of year, St. Petersburg is a fascinating city that offers plenty to see and do. However, from mid-May to mid-July, the city comes to life and plunges into exhilarating excitement. During the White Nights Festival, St. Petersburg never sleeps. Throughout this period, the city hosts various concerts, shows, and festivities including the “Stars of the White Nights” festival at the Mariinsky Theater. Quite naturally, the festivities reach their peak during the summer solstice.
3. Inti Raymi, Cusco
Machu Picchu tends to be the main draw to Peru, but few travelers know that one of the world’s most fascinating ceremonies takes place each year in nearby Cusco. Inti Raymi, literally “sun festival” in Quechua, takes place every year on June 24th, the Southern Hemisphere’s winter solstice, right in the heart of the Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park. Animated by traditional dances and songs, this historical reenactment is undoubtedly captivating.
4. Secret Solstice, Reykjavik
The arrival of summer is not only celebrated through ancient rites and traditions. In Reykjavik, where the summer sun never sets, one of the world’s most rollicking electro-music festivals, the Secret Solstice, takes place. Why fight the rhythm of nature when you can adapt by, instead of turning in, partying for three days in a row?
5. Nit de Sant Joan, Catalonia
In Spain–-especially in Catalonia–-locals pull out all the stops to celebrate St. John’s feast day. We strongly advise you to live this unique experience at least once in your life. The particularly cheerful and warm festivities vary by region, but they always take place around a big bonfire. Borne from pagan summer solstice rituals, this feast was adopted by Christians and is now celebrated on the birthday of the Saint John the Baptist on the eve of June 23 to 24. In Barcelona, it’s the perfect chance to party ’til sunrise.
6. Midsommar, Sweden
Saint John, or more specifically the “Midsommar”, holds particular importance in Sweden where the day is a national holiday. In this part of northern Europe, the summer solstice is celebrated not around a bonfire but a flowery maypole. The program includes dancing, music, banquets, laughs, great spirit, and flowers, flowers, and more flowers.