Huayna Picchu, Peru
At an elevation of nearly 9,000 feet, the view from atop this peak, which towers over the 15th-century ruins of Machu Picchu, is breathtaking in a number of ways. A steep, slippery climb to this rocky summit is a nerve-racking effort—one instantly rewarded with a panoramic perspective of the Urubamba River Valley and the famed city of the Inca. Don’t linger too long—the hike down is a doozy.
Villa Borghese Gardens, Rome, Italy
The Villa Borghese gardens, near the Piazza del Popolo, is a picnic-perfect landscape for escape. The Spanish Steps lead up to this English-style garden, but the romantic feel of the urban park is all-Italian—a fact reinforced by the sculptures by Bernini and paintings by Titian, Raphael, and Caravaggio housed within the Galleria Borghese on the broad expanse of these scenic gardens.
Point Reyes National Seashore, Point Reyes Station, California
This spectacular nature preserve located on a 70,000-acre peninsula north of San Francisco is rich in wildlife. Hikers, backpackers, and beachcombers ply the trails, especially the wildflower-wild Chimney Rock hike, while picnickers head to the nearby Point Reyes Lighthouse for prime whale watching in January and March and coastal beauty year round.
Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, France
Fountains, sculptures, two museums (the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume and the Musée de l’Orangerie—which houses famed water lily paintings by Monet) and countless comfortable chairs make this garden on the perimeter of the Musée du Louvre a surprisingly tranquil space for staging your own déjeauner dur l’herbe. With the Seine on one side and Rue de Rivoli on the other, the park is a well-placed rest stop. Stop by patisserie Angelina (226 Rue de Rivoli) to pick up a Mont Blanc cake!
Aran Islands, Ireland
Embarking on a scenic ferry ride to the karst limestone landscapes and rough green terrain of Inishmore island. Explore some of Ireland’s oldest archaeological remains and landmark monasteries and then head to the Iron Age fort of Dun Aengus to savor a summertime picnic while gazing over the Atlantic Ocean!