5 summer destinations for art lovers
09-08-2023, 16:26
Summer holidays really don't have to consist only of sun, sea and beach. For the sun-loving art lover, there are plenty of great summer destinations where you can alternate sunbathing with a fine dose of art and culture. Five summer destinations for art lovers.
Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France

Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a picturesque medieval town on the French Riviera, is where Marc Chagall lived and worked for many years. Moreover, it is home to the Fondation Maeght. This famous museum was founded in 1964 by Marguerite and Aimé Maeght, a couple who owned a prominent art gallery in Paris. The collection includes works by several prominent 20th-century artists, including Alberto Giacometti, Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, Georges Braque and Alexander Calder.

The Fondation Maeght also houses temporary exhibitions, as well as a sculpture garden and a library specialising in modern and contemporary art. The building, designed by Spanish architect Josep Lluís Sert, is a wonderful example of how modern architecture can blend seamlessly into its natural surroundings. Fondation Maeght is one of the most renowned modern art museums in France and is well worth a visit for art lovers visiting the Côte d'Azur.

Porto Ercole, Italy

This beautiful coastal town on Tuscany's Monte Argentario peninsula was the last home of the famous painter Caravaggio, also called the Rembrandt of Italy for his breathtaking 'chiaroscuro'. In Porto Ercole, you can immerse yourself in the mystique of his life and work. Visit the location where he died in mysterious circumstances and experience how the dramatic Tuscan landscapes influenced his work. In summer, of course, you can also enjoy its beautiful beaches and local cuisine while walking in the footsteps of one of the greatest artists of the Italian Baroque.

By the way, did you know that the village was the favourite holiday destination of the Dutch royal family for many years? In 1959, Prince Bernhard had his holiday villa l'Elefante Felice (the happy elephant) built there, where he, Princess Juliana and their children spent many holidays. Unfortunately, the villa cannot be admired; it was demolished in 2012.

Cap d'Antibes, France

Known for its luxury and beauty, this glamorous coastal town on the French Riviera also has strong ties to the art world. Pablo Picasso spent a productive summer there in 1946 at the Château Grimaldi, where he created some of his famous works. Now this château is the Picasso Museum, which exhibits some of his works.

Speaking of Grimaldi, this wealthy and influential family, along with the Oetker family in-law, also owns the iconic Hotel du Cap Eden Roc in Cap d' Antibes. Ever since 1870, this hotel, with a spectacular swimming pool in the rocks by the sea, has acted as a haven for the happy few. Who holidayed there? Literary giants like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, actors like Marlene Dietrich, Alain Delon, Elizabeth Taylor, artists like Chagall, Picasso and Matisse, musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, John and Yoko and Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg and royals like the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson. And oh yes, during the Cannes film festival, Vanity Fair always hosts a fat party for the Hollywood crowd in attendance.

In case a suite at this super-deluxe hotel is just a bit above your budget, you can of course just have a coffee there and feast your eyes on all the glamour peeps walking around.

Cadaqués, Spain

Cadaqués, located on the Costa Brava in Catalonia, Spain, is famous for its historical links with some big names in the art world. The most famous of these is that of Salvador Dalí. This surrealist artist spent much of his childhood in Cadaqués, drawing inspiration from the town's unique landscape and surrounding natural beauty. In the nearby village of Portlligat, Dalí built a house where he lived and worked for many years. This house is now a Dalí Museum that is definitely worth a visit.

And it was not only for Dalí that Cadaqués was a haven. Its charm and serene landscape also attracted other great artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Marcel Duchamp. These artists often came to Cadaqués for holidays and artistic retreats, and the town has a lasting place in their work and lives.

In addition to its rich artistic heritage, Cadaqués still offers many art galleries and events today, including the international music festival held every summer. With its whitewashed houses, winding streets and spectacular views of the Mediterranean, Cadaqués remains a magnet for artists and art lovers alike.

Lagos, Portugal

If you are looking for a mix of sun, sea, beach and art, Lagos, in Portugal's Algarve, is also a great choice. This historic city by the sea offers beautiful beaches and a healthy dose of culture, with a rich art scene.

Lagos' strong artistic heritage is evident in the charming old town, which is full of galleries featuring art by local and international artists. Besides traditional painting and sculpture, there is also a growing street art scene, with murals brightening up the city.

One of the most famous art-related events in Lagos is the street art festival where streets in the old town are transformed into open-air galleries and filled by artists throughout the summer. If you don't want to miss a street art piece, start your walk at the LAC (Laboratório Actividades Criativas), where you can pick up a walking route.

Lagos is also home to the Santo António Cultural Centre, an important centre for art and culture that organises exhibitions, concerts and other events. Nearby, you will find the impressive Ponta da Piedade, a natural landscape of rock formations that has inspired many artists.

More inspiration?

A detailed explanation and tips for organising an art fair can be found in our paper 'Event registration at art fairs'.