Tuesday, June 20, 4:24PM UTC. That moment marks the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, a sacred time of celebration for many cultures. This day can be considered the true start of summer for the north and is heralded with festivals across the globe. We’ve mentioned the winter solstice for the southern hemisphere in our post about Inti Raymi (which takes past just 2 days earlier) and the best places in South America to celebrate this event, but now we’d like to get our northern friends a bit of love with the top 6 destinations to celebrate the summer solstice.
The land of the midnight sun is not to be missed anytime this summer, but if you visit from June 15-18th you can experience the phenomenal Secret Solstice Festival! This amazing music festival brings not only the best artists from Iceland but also international guests such as Big Sean, Foo Fighters, The Prodigy, Rick Ross, Chaka Khan, and much more to perform under the midnight sun!
A classic summer solstice destination, Stonehenge is an especially sacred site for druids, pagans, and Stonehenge enthusiasts alike. You’ll want to spend sunrise to sunset here to witness the sun pass perfectly over this monolithic site. And, like Reykjavik, Stonehenge has its own music festival: Stonehenge Summer Solstice Festival. Funning from June 18-21st, this camping festival in Salisbury Plain brings together travelers from around the world to celebrate the solstice.
Why Santa Barbara, you might be asking? Well, this California coastal city is home to the 40+ year old Summer Solstice Celebration, a spectacular blend of world cultures and arts for 3 days of parting in Alameda Park. Running from Jun 23-25, the festival hosts a parade of over 1,000 participants (this years theme is “Celebrating Unity” traveling right through Downtown Santa Barbara. Perfect for a weekend getaway from Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is the perfect local celebration of the solstice.
Though it technically takes place on the winter solstice of the southern hemisphere, Inti Raymi is still a perfect festival to celebrate the sun. Though it takes place 2 days after the official summer solstice of the northern hemisphere, Inti Raymi is a fantastic weeklong festival that travelers should not miss out on. If you’re willing to
Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza are a must see for any intrepid traveler, but during the summer solstice these three giants creates a fascinating alignment. Standing facing the Sphinx and between the two largest pyramids, you can watch the sunset directly between the pyramids, creating a halo around the head of the Sphinx.
White Night Festivals are held across the globe during the summer seasons of each hemisphere when the days are long and sunsets are late – hence the name. These art festivals are enchanting celebrations of the arts, from opera to ballet to carnivals. You can enjoy them in multiple major cities in the northern and southern hemisphere, but the original White Night Festival of St. Petersburg is one of the best ways to celebrate the Summer Solstice.
Running from May to July, the city nights come alive with performances with the “Stars of the White Nights” ballet performances at Mariinsky Theatre, the Scarlet Sails fireworks show, concerts at Palace Square by international artists, and carnivals at Catherine Palace, Peterhof suburb, and Pavlovsk suburb. If it’s your first time in the city, take in a St. Petersburg night tour to introduce yourself to the city’s stunning nightlife.