15 Breathtaking Summer Escapes for Retirees

Just retired? Here are 15 foreign travel destinations you have to visit.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Dust off your bucket list because summer 2024 presents a fantastic opportunity to explore the world. While some popular destinations might be bustling (think Paris during the Olympics!), many hidden gems await discovery.

There are still plenty of desirable places to visit, and some are affordable in their off-season. Even if you’re just planning for retirement, you should add these cities to your list of places to go.

We sifted through advice from travel experts and senior travel enthusiasts to find 15 of the top destinations for retirees to visit around the world this summer.

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Auckland, New Zealand

michael/Adobe Auckland City New Zealand

The summer in the U.S. is the winter in New Zealand, which means travelers can expect fewer crowds and, hopefully, lower prices.

The flight is rough — at least 12 hours if you are flying from L.A. — but Auckland is a stunningly beautiful place for retirees to explore, and winter temperatures tend to be mild (in the 50s).

Berlin, Germany

JFL Photography/Adobe berlin skyline panorama

Summer is a pleasant time to visit Berlin, with temperatures hovering around the mid-to-low 70s. The tradeoff is that the city may be a bit more crowded with tourists. 

However, travelers will still enjoy everything Germany’s capital city has to offer, from stunning parks to a thriving arts scene.

Brisbane, Australia

Dave/Adobe overlooking south bank parklands

Another Southern Hemisphere gem, Brisbane, has its winter when the U.S. has its summer, meaning June through August see mild temperatures (around the low 70s).

This comfortable, dry season tends to draw more tourists, but it also gives retirees a chance to bask in the city's beauty.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

Angela Bragato/Adobe buenos aires

Buenos Aires is another option with an opposite summer season from the U.S. This beautiful Argentine city’s peak tourist months are January and February.

Because the city’s winters (June-August) tend to be mild anyway, with average temperatures hovering around the low 60s, this could be the prime time for retirees to visit and save big.

Dublin, Ireland

borisb17/Adobe temple bar street dublin ireland

Dublin is a great trip for retirees. There’s plenty to do and see in the city, and you can take a bus to tour other areas, like the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher. 

Summer weather in Dublin is also relatively mild, but it is their high tourist season, so you may be looking at peak prices.

Edinburgh, Scotland

evenfh/Adobe edinburgh skyline scotland

June through August is Edinburgh's busy season, so you'll likely have to deal with crowds. 

With mild summer temperatures (averages are in the mid-to-low-60s) and plenty of history and stunning architecture to explore, Scotland's capital is another great destination for vacationing retirees. 

The city's popular Fringe Festival also runs the first two weeks of August.

Grand Est, France

Bernard 63/Adobe obernai bas rhin

Paris, Bordeaux, and France’s many other famed regions have their allure. But if you want to enjoy a quieter, perhaps cheaper, French experience, head to Grand Est.

Formerly known as Alsace, Grand Est is filled with ancient castles, cathedrals, and delicious wineries, blending French and German cultures. The capital city of Strasbourg is a walker’s delight, with areas like the Grand Ile and the Petite France to explore.

Kyoto, Japan

Nataliya Hora/Adobe autumn garden kyoto japan

Retirees looking for somewhere warm for vacation should consider Kyoto, known for its stunning architecture, rich history, and incredible food scene.

It’ll be hot — average temperatures will be in the high 80s and 90s in July and August — but tourists flock to Kyoto in the spring and fall for the gardens. Summer travelers may be able to nab some good deals.

La Fortuna, Costa Rica

raquelm./Adobe river at tabacon hot springs

If tropical bliss is on your bucket list, you may want to consider La Fortuna in Costa Rica. Known as the gateway to the Arenal Volcano National Park, there's spectacular hiking here.

The weather is warm year-round, and many also come to La Fortuna for wellness treatments. Summer is the rainy season, though, so while you may find bargains, you may also find unpredictable weather.

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Toronto, Canada

anderm/Adobe skyline of toronto

Toronto comes alive in the summer, so if you don’t mind dealing with the high tourist season and the prices that may come with it, it’s well worth a trip.

Summer visitors can expect a lively city with great food at the St. Lawrence Market, the Harbourfront Centre, and beautiful parks and museums.

Tuscany, Italy

monticellllo/Adobe san gimignano tuscany italy

Tuscany is a must-see destination for many retirees. 

However, you may want to consider an early summer visit (or even a shoulder season visit in May or September), as many of the restaurants and shops in the Italian city are famous for closing in August so their owners can vacation.

Panama City, Panama

Astrid Garces/Adobe panama skyline

Whether you’re looking to explore the rainforest or enjoy the city’s quaint old quarter (or both), Panama City makes a great and often affordable destination for retirees. 

Plus, during the rainier months of August and September, you can spot beautiful sea life like orcas and sharks.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Marc Jedamus/Adobe Reykjavik at wintertime Iceland

Iceland is known for its natural beauty, glaciers, waterfalls, and hot springs — and has truly unique summers. 

Average temperatures rise a bit from June through August, and Reykjavik experiences extra-long days from mid-May through mid-August. At its peak in June, the sun shines for an incredible 21 hours.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Nancy Pauwels/Adobe bequia with palm trees

A gem in the southern Caribbean, St. Vincent and the Grenadines offers visitors access to stunning beaches and makes for an excellent late-spring or early-summer getaway (hurricane season begins in July). 

During the shoulder season, the hotels tend to drop their rates.

Zurich, Switzerland

rudi1976/Adobe zurich switzerland

While you may be dealing with decent-sized crowds in the summer in Zurich, you’ll likely get better deals than in December-February when tourists flock to the area due to its proximity to the Swiss Alps. 

Summer temps tend to be mild, and you’ll get to enjoy plenty of natural beauty.

Bottom line

rh2010/Adobe senior couple hiking with trekking sticks

While visits to many of these gorgeous cities around the world can be done on a budget, you may have better luck saving cash if you book slightly into the shoulder season. For many of the gems on this list, that may mean May, September, or even October.

For retirees who want to live well, finding ways to save on everyday items and once-in-a-lifetime travel will enhance their best years. 

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Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.

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