Picnics are enjoyed in many settings, such as parks, beaches, or even when travelling to another destination. Do you stop for a picnic, when exploring a new place? They’re a fun way to bring the family together!
Although picnics are quintessentially British, they first originated in France (1692). The custom arrived in the UK when members of the French aristocracy fled here during the French Revolution. Since then, the “Piquenique”, has appeared within different cultures across the world. Over time, each picnic-loving destination has added its own foods and activities to enhance the experience for all the family.
As International Picnic Day approaches, we wanted to inspire you to go on a picnic, by sharing how fun they can be in different destinations. Will you visit a new location to tuck into a picnic with the locals during a city break? Or will you recreate some of their unique picnic traditions at home? Here are our favourite destinations for a picnic…
Where are the best picnic destinations in the world?
At a French picnic, F stands for fine, French flavours. There’s nothing laid back about a French picnic (forget the Tupperware!). To ensure a fine wine tastes its best, pour it into some stemware. Stemware is a drinking glass with a long stem, in the shape of a wine glass. It’ll allow your wine’s flavours and aromas to be breathed in
Next, pair your wine with Camembert, crackers, charcuterie, and a side of cornichons, (minuscule, sour French pickles). A baguette shouldn’t be forgotten either, as well as a red and white blanket, to sit on by a river or lake. Another place to find a picnic spot along a river is Turkey…
Visit one of the thousands of picnic grounds (piknik yeri) and riverside spots in Turkey. In Turkey, it’s not unusual to bring your own cushion, rug, or furniture– fairy lights are optional too. Here, a picnic spot is a space to be comfortable while playing games and feasting. Turkish picnic food includes stuffed vegetables, Turkish meatballs, lentil soups, and delightful desserts. If you’re still there at dusk, light a bonfire, play some music, and dance in the moonlight. Across the water from Turkey is Greece…
Picnics in Greece are popular at the start of Lent (“Kathara Deftera” or Clean Monday). On this Greek holiday, head to the fields and mountains with Lenten foods to create a great Greek picnic. Lenten foods consist of vegetables, dried legumes, and seafood.
After you’ve enjoyed the feast, join the Greeks for some kite flying. Kite flying is a fun and traditional Greek activity for Clean Monday. In the Greek Orthodox religion, the kite symbolises the flying of our soul towards God. Afterwards, visit a Greek village and embrace Greek culture. Listen to live music and celebrate the beginning of spring with the locals. If a cooler destination is more to your tastes, welcome spring with a picnic in Finland…
The best time to go for a picnic in Finland is Labour Day on May 1st. On May 1st in Finland, many people are looking for a way to recover from celebrating the arrival of spring. This involves tucking into a traditional May Day Lunch or “herring lunch” in a park. On the menu will be salty foods such as pickled fish and a carbonated fruit drink called sima to wash it down. Afterwards, try a special Finnish May Day dessert – the May Day fritter. It’s a round, deep-fried pastry, (like a funnel cake). To taste the freshest foods from Finland’s forests book an excursion to try local freshwater fish, vegetables, and berries.
During a traditional Icelandic picnic, the focus is on secrecy. Find a secluded spot for not just a picnic but to go berry picking! Picking berries or “berjamór” is a fun activity enjoyed by all the family. Also, it’s a chance to experience Icelandic nature, while enjoying a picnic. Picnics in Iceland include cooked sausages, corn on the cob, fish, and vegetables.
A good time to enjoy a picnic and find the best berries is from mid-August to mid-September. If berries are not for you, one of the best locations for a family picnic is on the small, green island of Videy. You can reach it from Reykjavik harbor by ferry. Just remember your blankets! For a warmer destination for a picnic head Downunder to Northern Australia.
South of Darwin within Australia’s Northern Territory, people celebrate Railway Heritage Picnic Day. Traditionally a public holiday for hardworking railway workers, the day celebrates the heritage of the Adelaide River township. Held on the first Monday in August, families can enjoy a weekend of leisure, food, and games, such as dancing, tug-of-war, and even lizard racing! On arrival, take a stroll along the lily-studded reservoir before tucking into traditional railway food and drinks at the Adelaide River Railway Heritage Precinct.
Also, in Darwin, the average temperature stays around 30 degrees Celsius in August. Which might make it the best location for a family summer holiday to Australia. If you wish to picnic on another summer’s day, visit the USA…
7. The United States of America
Which summer day would you like to visit the USA for a picnic? Memorial Day (late May), Independence Day (4th July), and Labor Day (early September) are all bank holidays in America. This is when American picnics are popular.
An American picnic often takes place as a special gathering. It’s a time to celebrate the human spirit, culinary diversity, adventure, and play fun games. For instance, you can take part in three-legged races or the egg and spoon race. Another race or contest popular at American picnics are food-eating contests.
However, if you’d like a quieter picnic, return to the UK.
8. The United Kingdom
Picnics first occurred in Britain in the Middle Ages. They took place when royal hunting parties had food brought out for them, to celebrate the success of a hunt. So, if you weren’t a royal huntsman you wouldn’t have been aware of them. In fact, the word wasn’t even known back then due to its French origins.
In fact, the iconic British picnic foods we love today didn’t emerge until the late 18th century. Also, some foods were only available to the upper classes. For instance, the humble Scotch egg was only eaten by upper-class travellers.
Travel forward 200 years and Scotch eggs are a staple on a British picnic menu, Alongside sausage rolls and fairy cakes – eaten at a location of your choice. Where will you piquenique with the family next?
Free Spirit Travel Insurance for picnic destinations
Whether you’re off to Iceland for berries and picnicking or surrounded by Turkish delights pack Free Spirit travel insurance in your basket for your next picnic.