Best Summer Trips

Lisa Limer / Courtesy Palazzo Margherita

These summer destinations offer city escapes for the urban inclined and quieter locales for those who crave countryside.

In Aesop’s fable “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse,” a citified rodent and his rustic friend swap homes, each believing his own to be superior. The mice soon discover that comfort is a matter of taste, and so it goes with travelers, too. Some are happiest when surrounded by hustle and bustle, while others delight in quiet calm. Preferences are often mixed within a group or even a couple, so thankfully there are many destinations that offer equally stunning city and country options this summer.

If witnessing history is your priority, then there’s nowhere else to be but London, where the queen will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee on the eve of the 2012 Summer Olympics. (How convenient that a dazzling panoply of new hotels is opening for the occasion.) But if settling in the countryside sounds more desirable, boutique properties in New Forest National Park by Lyndhurst Hotels—havens for foodies and spa-goers alike—are just a 90-minute drive away.

In Peru, sip pisco sours in bustling Lima or explore a chic eco-resort and Machu Picchu. In Seattle, celebrate the 50th anniversary of its World’s Fair or head to the San Juan Islands to get up close and personal with nature (don’t miss the whale watching). And while Italy’s fashion designer turned hotelier Giorgio Armani prefers Milan, Italy’s director turned hotelier Francis Ford Coppola can’t get enough of pastoral Bernalda.

The unsaid truth, of course, is that these destinations are often best paired—after all, isn’t there a little bit of town and a little bit of country in all of us?