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10 unique spots to add to your summer bucket list

10 unique spots to add to your summer bucket list

Summer is just around the corner, so it’s time to pack away those puffer jackets and start making plans for some epic summer adventures while you travel or study abroad!

This year, why not escape the crowds by exploring some hidden gems around the world. From stilt houses in Miami Beach, to free tapas in Madrid, here are 10 unique spots to add to your summer bucket list.

1. Sliema, Malta: Il-Merill

For a taste of true Maltese cuisine, visit Il-Merill, a humble family run restaurant in Sliema where the portions are huge and the prices are low. Try traditional Maltese dishes such as rabbit stew, local goats cheese and bragoli. The place isn’t big, so book ahead to guarantee a seat.

2. Singapore: Pulau Ubin

While Singapore is often described as a concrete jungle, the many tiny islands off the coast offer a chance to reconnect with nature. Pulau Ubin is a tranquil spot just 15 minutes from the mainland by bumboat (a small wooden barge).

Upon arrival, you can hire a bicycle and cycle your way around the island's meandering boardwalks. Explore the traditional kampong village, historic quarry, go bird watching, explore wetlands and mangrove forests or relax on the rocky beaches. The trip costs S$3 each way and departs from Changi Point Ferry Terminal.

3. Miami Beach: Stiltsville

Get away from the crowds and the glitz of Miami Beach and explore Stiltsville. Learn about the fascinating history of Miami’s former stilt village and explore the six remaining houses. Once a playground for the wealthy, this unique spot is only accessible by boat. So if you don’t know a friend with a boat, join an official Biscayne National Park Institute tour, held Thursday to Sundays throughout summer.

4. Nantes: Puy du Fou

Twice voted best theme park in the world, Puy du Fou in western France is a theme park without rides — and you won’t even miss them. Although it's about an hour's drive from the city of Nantes, it's well worth the trip. The main attractions here are the historic extravaganzas — from Vikings to the Knights of the Round Table, these live action shows will transport your heart and mind to another time. Friday and Saturday nights culminate in the ultimate spectacle — La Cinéscénie, an epic show with over 2500 actors and 28,000 costumes.

5. Brighton: Beach Box Spa

An outdoor spa on Brighton Beach sounds very ooh la la, but not at the Beach Box Spa. This rustic outdoor spa experience aims to recreate the Scandinavian sauna tradition and invites visitors to steam up in the wood fired saunas, before cooling off in the cool plunge pool (or the ocean). Open year round, so you can warm up in winter and refresh in summer.

6. Berlin: Badeschiff

Cool off at this riverside swim spot right in the heart of Berlin. Kick back on a deckchair with your toes in the sand, or take a dip in the crystal clear water in the floating barge. With a DJ spinning house music, a well-stocked bar, and uninterrupted panoramic views across the Spree and Berlin skyline, this is one of Berlin’s coolest summer spots. Make sure to reserve your spot in advance online.

7. New York: East River

New York swelters in summer, so luckily you’re never too far from the water. Every summer, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse offers free kayaking along the East River. Book online for the free 20-minute sessions on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and all day Saturday. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you might even want to sign up for kayak polo!

8. London: Life-sized Monopoly

Fans of the iconic board game will be thrilled to hear that you can now play a life-size edition in central London. Navigate around the 15 meter game board with real-life tokens (played by actors) as you complete challenges, buy houses, collect rent, escape jail and earn stacks of Monopoly money. Don’t miss the Top Hat bar for a drink on your way out.

9. Seoul: Mr. Toilet House

If you love toilet humor, you’ll love the Haewoojae Museum located close to Seoul. Also known as Mr. Toilet House after its founder, this museum is dedicated to all things toilet! It focuses on toilet culture, science and facts, and comes complete with what is thought to be the world’s largest toilet sculpture. Admission is free, laughs are priceless.

10. Madrid: El Tigre

This casual tapas bar in Madrid’s uber-cool Chueca neighborhood attracts students and the after work crowd thanks to free plates of tapas.

10pm is peak time, so arrive earlier or be prepared to squeeze your way through the crowds to a table. With every drink order, you’ll receive a large plate of traditional tapas such as chorizo, croquetas, Spanish omelet or patatas bravas. El Tigre has two venues — 23 Infinitas Street and 23 Hortaleza Street.

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