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Malta from East Midlands Airport

Gozo

Laid-back Gozo is Malta's hidden secret. With a population of just 30,000, this fairytale-esque haven has a much more relaxed vibe than it's neighbouring island - and depending on who you ask, it's more beautiful, too (according to myth, Gozo is thought to be the legendary Calypso's isle of Homer's Odyssey).

On the longest day of the year, take in megalithic temples, historical forts and panoramic views in this beautiful location. Celebrate the Solstice by gathering at Hagar Qim Temples (dating back some 3000-4000 years BC) where you'll find tours and refreshments arranged as locals and visitors alike give thanks to nature.

Florence

Romantic Florence is beautiful at any time of the year, but witnessing rays of sunshine piercing through Florence's Duomo during the Summer Solstice period makes for a truly unforgettable memory. 

As the midday sun's rays pass through the opening of the Duomo, an illuminating sphere is created on the marble floor. This freak occurance has been commonplace since 1475 and is known as a gnomone - make sure you arrive early at the cathedral to witness the spectacle. Well, they do say the best things in life are free.

Florence via Pisa from East Midlands Airport
Riga from East Midlands Airport

Riga

Head to pretty Riga for the summer solstice and you’ll quickly discover a surprising side to the Latvian capital. 

Held on the 23rd of June this year, the traditional Līgo solstice celebration sees natives return to tradition as they give thanks to nature and fertility with bonfires, flower crowns, music and plenty of food and drink. The all-night party carries on until dawn, where revellers greet the sunrise on the bank of the river. Jump over bonfires, take part in traditional games, and sing and dance all night long – after all, it only comes around once a year…