You are here

Summer Holidays to Suit Your Degree

The deadlines are done and exams will soon seem a thing of the past, which can only mean one thing: it’s time to celebrate with a getaway.

While a party session in Ibiza or a lazy break to Lanzarote are obvious choices, why not revel in your newfound freedom somewhere a little different? 

From skyscraper-centred Dubai, to music-mad Croatia, whether you’re studying architecture or aiming for a BA in music, read on to find out where your degree should be taking you this summer.

Degree: Architecture 
Destination: Dubai

If skyscrapers and unconventional structures set your pulse racing then a trip to Dubai is essential for any budding architect. 

Not only is it home to the world’s tallest building and Earth’s largest shopping mall, but it boasts more skyscrapers than any other city; growing from one in 1991, to over 400 today.

The Burj Khalifa holds the title for the tallest building in the world and stands at almost 830 metres, with 164 floors. The observation deck, found on the 124th floor, is a must-visit for stunning city views. As a student or recent grad, you’ll want to head to the world’s highest nightclub, on the 144th floor, for jaw-dropping panoramic views of the city.

This architecturally fascinating emirate has many manmade islands, one of which is shaped like a palm tree and houses the fabulous Atlantis the Palm; a resort packed with hotels, restaurants, water parks and a spa. 

Degree: Music
Destination: Croatia

Croatia’s festival calendar is expanding each year, with 2014 fit to burst with upcoming music events. From classical to jazz, rock to pop, there’s a festival here to suit all genres.

of setting off soon after exams? Then the INmusic festival should do the trick. With some of the hottest names in rock and pop, including MGMT, Bombay Bicycle Club, Foals and the Black Keys, set to appear, Zagreb’s the place to be from the 23rd-25th of June.

July events include the Garden Festival, an eight day DJ-centred extravaganza, as well as Electric Elephant, for lovers of dance music. For something classical, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival isn’t to be missed, with tons of artists performing between the 10th of July and 25th of August. 

If you put the celebrations on hold until September, Outlook Festival won’t disappoint. Over 400 acts, including Busta Rhymes, will be playing in and around Fort Punta Christo, on boat parties and across a kilometre stretch of beach, so you’ll be in a music lover’s heaven. Tickets for the hugely popular Hideout Festival have now sold out, but its sister event, Unknown, should fill the void. With Disclosure, Clean Bandit and London Grammar confirmed, it’s worth booking your tickets for this event, held from the 8th-12th of September, now.

Degree: History
Destination: Malta

We all know Egypt is crammed with history, and you’re probably a little sick of studying the Romans, so you might well be surprised by the amount of culture bursting from Malta. At just 17 miles long, the mini Mediterranean island, nestled between Sicily, Tunisia and Libya, has been considered a potential location of the lost island Atlantis. 

Malta is also home to the Megalithic Temples. Built between 3000 BC and 700 BC, the temples are the world’s most ancient manmade structures; older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Giza. Seven of the 11 monuments are categorised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Maltese folklore dictates giants built the temples.

The spectacular capital, Valetta, was built during the rule of the Knights of St. John in the 16th century. This fortified city is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and houses the famous St. John’s Co-Cathedral.

Although bursting at the seams with history, the island of Malta is fast becoming recognised for its nightlife. Hosting the annual Isle of MTV and home to the huge open air nightclub, Gianpula, it’s an essential destination for releasing that end of academic year stress.

Degree: Food and Culinary Arts
Destination: Greece

If your degree involves the study of food, gorgeous Greece is packed with dishes to tantalise your taste buds this summer, and allow you to embrace a destination with a passion for eating. Any true food lover should have Greek cuisine on their hit list. 

Some dishes can be traced back to ancient Greece, others to the Hellenistic and Roman periods, whilst some reveal Arabic, Persian or Turkish roots. With a focus on vegetable and herb laden meals, often drizzled in olive oil, it’s a seamless accompaniment to the sun, sea and sand found on the islands, well worth three years of study to enjoy!

Grab a light lunch – or breakfast, depending on how heavy the night before was – with a Greek salad, full of feta, or a gyros pitta packed with meat, vegetables and tzatziki; a fresh, cucumber and mint flavoured dip. For your main, visit any taverna and begin with a meze, often packed with pitta, dips, and a choice of bite size treats. For something heavier, moussaka or pastitsio is a must.

Deserts often involve honey; baklava, a pastry based pudding, filled with nuts and drenched in the sweet syrup, remains a firm favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. And, of course, a Greek dish wouldn’t be the same without a glass of Greek wine, or Mythos, if beer is your thing.

Degree: Conservation
Destination: Madeira

Take a break from preserving the environment by exploring the already luscious landscapes of Madeira. If you favour flora and fauna over sandy beaches, the vast area of colourful vegetation and vivid plants and flowers makes Madeira the perfect choice for unwinding after a stressful year of assignments. 

The Portuguese archipelago can be found just north of Tenerife and its ‘laurisilva forests’ house native trees, some of which are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Although wetter to the northwest, the island’s drier to the south and boasts numerous lavada walks, built in the 16th century. As a hilly island, many are cut into the mountain sides with some still accessible, ideal for exploring the island.

Not known for its wild nightlife, Madeira is a little more relaxed than a Friday at the student union, however, the capital of Funchal has plenty of bars and places to explore. Average summer temperatures reach a comfortable 25°C, so you won’t miss out on some well-deserved vitamin D.

Seems there’s more the world than shots in the sun, so how about heading somewhere new this summer? 

  • Date published: 29th May 2014
  • Written by: Kim Cockayne

Latest Gap Years