We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

A scent can take you anywhere—to your childhood kitchen as a batch of cookies is in the oven, to the botanical garden where you love to pass the day. It can even take you on a mental vacation as you find yourself daydreaming about cerulean waters and verdant citrus groves, with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand. At least that is what I discovered when I lit Nest’s Amalfi Lemon and Mint candle.  

Among my massive collection, no candle has ever quite transfixed me the way that this one has. Since I typically favor smoky, woodsy scents all year long (which usually leads me to panic-buy all the evergreen ones I can find in December), a citrus scent wasn’t in my comfort zone. Still, I tested it out and found myself mentally seated outside an osteria, where I might be nursing a bowl of olives with an Aperol Spritz while gazing out at the Mediterranean Sea. 

NEST Fragrances Amalfi Lemon & Mint Classic Candle
Amalfi Lemon and Mint Classic Candle, Nest ($41)

With no vacation on my calendar in the near or even distant future, I’ve been rationing the Nest candle for the moments when I feel like I really need an escape—even if it’s just one that happens in my mind. Below, six more creatives share the scents that transport them to the beautiful, summery destinations of their dreams. 

The Refreshing Floral

Portus Cale Gold & Blue Candle
Gold & Blue Candle, Portus Cale ($42)

I often buy candles on trips—burning them later gives me a moment to appreciate a memory from past travels. Right now, I’m burning a candle from Castelbel I picked up while shopping for gifts in Lisbon, Portugal. It has a floral scent that’s fresh and soothing at the same time, and I love that it has a Portuguese ceramic tile pattern on the packaging. —Jennifer Kwon, president of Calpak

The End-of-Week Reset

Black and white candles
Moroccan-Scented Candles, 54kibo ($85)

On Fridays I love to burn a scented candle to usher in a new mood for the weekend. I’ve been burning Dounia Home’s Oud and Jasmine candles that are from Morocco, scents that remind me of my trip to Marrakech in 2014. The city is such a magical place that is, all at once, both modern and ancient. Next on my purchase list are the Lenox Luxury Candles from Harlem Candle Company, which have a layered scent profile, including tangerine, green apple, coconut, and vanilla. —Nana Quagraine, founder of 54Kibo

The Nostalgia Boost

Motia Candle
Motia Candle, Kishmish ($28)

I love the Motia candle from Kishmish, which reminds me of summers at my parents’ home in Pakistan. —Shiza Shahid, founder of Our Place

The Spicy Touch

Soukie Ceramic Candle, Soukie Modern ($175)

With its spicy and woodsy notes, the intoxicating aroma of our Soukie Bougie candle transports us to many afternoons spent strolling through the open-air spice market in the Marrakech souk. We are always burning one in our home. —Kenya Knight and Taib Lotfi, founders of Soukie Modern

The Sunset Scent

Night Blossom candle
Night Blossom, Hi Wildflower ($42)

I’m enjoying Hi Wildflower’s Night Blossom candle these days, which has notes of jasmine and neroli, and is inspired by the South Asian tradition of attar making with flowers. The floral scent reminds me of balmy summer nights spent in India as a child visiting family and also of watching sunsets in Rajasthan on my work/pleasure trips now as an adult. —Nisha Mirani, cofounder of Sunday/Monday

The Summery Twist

Brown candle
Aptos, Norden ($55)

We just got a new candle in from Norden called Aptos. It smells like geranium, black pepper, and turmeric—it feels simultaneously homey and cozy, but also summery and adventurous. I especially love the scent. —Sara Berks, founder of Minna

Introducing Domino’s new podcast, Design Time, where we explore spaces with meaning. Each week, join editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez along with talented creatives and designers from our community to explore how to create a home that tells your story. Listen now and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.