Heatwaves across Europe in summer 2023 saw temperatures hitting the high 40s in parts of the Mediterranean, including Spain, Italy and Greece, according to the Met Office.

With record-breaking temperatures recorded worldwide last year, many tourists are looking for cooler holiday destinations for 2024. Google Trends data shows a 300% increase in the search term “cooler holidays” compared to the same time 12 months ago.

The term coolcation is the latest travel trend as suggested by CN Traveller and The Independent. It simply means taking a vacation in a colder destination.

Iglu Cruise data revealed an indication into coolcation destinations trends. The following destinations saw demand increase in 2023 (compared to 2022):

  • Arctic – 235%
  • Canada – 137.4%
  • British Isles – 33.3%
  • Antarctic – 32.4%
  • Fjords & Norway – 23.2%
  • Alaska – 22%

Dave Mills, Chief Commercial Director at Iglu Cruise has revealed why coolcation destinations are increasing in popularity. He said:

People are looking for cooler travel destinations for several reasons. Firstly, the record-breaking temperatures we have seen across the globe in recent years mean that many people feel uncomfortable when travelling in the sweltering heat. A cooler destination is much more manageable for those who may struggle in intense temperatures.”

Also, a coolcation often provides travellers with the opportunity to see a different part of the world. People often search for new travel destinations to tick off their bucket lists, and visiting the likes of Iceland, Norway or Alaska provides just that. These destinations can be visited all year round, not just in the winter months. Visiting a cooler destination in the summer can be advantageous as travellers may enjoy longer hours of daylight.”

Iglu Cruise has also revealed some of the benefits of a coolcation:

Fewer Crowds – While the rise in coolcations is growing in recent years, many destinations are still quieter than the likes of the Mediterranean or the Caribbean. This means fewer crowds, giving you the space to enjoy your break without lining up for attractions or fighting to get into restaurants.

New opportunities – A coolcation may provide new opportunities and activities you wouldn’t usually get to experience, such as hiking through the open wilderness, dog-sledding and whale watching. Visiting new cities such as Reykjavik or Tromso also has lots to offer, including the Northern Lights if you’re lucky.

Amazing landscapes – Many coolcation destinations such as Norway, Canada and Alaska offer a completely new type of natural beauty that you may never see when closer to the equator. Snow-covered mountains, lush greenlands and glaciers are just some of the extraordinary sights you can look forward to.

Which coolcation destinations should you visit this year? Here are Iglu Cruise’s top picks!

 

Norwegian Fjords

Cruises start from £537 per person

The Norwegian Fjords are famed for their rolling green landscapes bursting with nature, cascading waterfalls and majestic mountains. It is also a great place to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, especially if you are travelling around October to March.

Fjord simply means a narrow inlet of the sea between cliffs or steep slopes, and Norway has over 1,000 of them, more than any other country in the world. The Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, is often regarded as “the king of the fjords” for many reasons and attracts thousands of visitors every year.

UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) also lists the Norwegian Fjords as a World Heritage Site, meaning the area is protected so that future generations can enjoy the outstanding beauty in years to come.

 

Alaska

Cruises start from £484 per person

Nicknamed the last frontier, nowhere gives you wild experiences like Alaska, and the largest state in the US is the perfect destination for a coolcation.

There is an abundance of wildlife to be seen. Kodiak brown bears are native, with 98% of the world’s population calling Alaska home. Wolves, deer, bison, sea otters and moose can also be found, as well as humpback whales and orcas.

The breathtaking landscapes of Alaska include the Kenai Fjords National Park; which boasts  587,000 acres of mountains and untamed natural beauty. Wrangell–St. Elias National Park also features the world-famous Hubbard Glacier, the largest in North America.

 

Arctic

Cruises start from £695 per person

The Arctic Circle is an enchanting and widely undiscovered frozen landscape, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the northernmost region of the world.

Countries included in the Arctic Circle are Canada, USA, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Norway – with so many locations to choose from, there is plenty to discover.

Iceland’s Reykjavik offers breathtaking views of Mt. Esja, the mystical Snaefellsjokull glacier and the Atlantic Ocean. The Blue Lagoon hot springs should be added to everyone’s bucket list. During the summer months in many regions of the Arctic, it is also possible to witness a true gift, 24 hours of sun, giving visitors more time to enjoy this wonderful part of the world in a new light.