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20 Top-Rated Places to Visit in Europe in Summer

Written by Lisa Alexander and Shandley McMurray Updated Aug 24, 2023

While many of the best places to visit in Europe experience all four seasons, summer's optimal weather makes it a favorite time for vacations. Visiting during summertime means that you don't have to bundle up when traveling. You can shed some layers and bask in glorious sunshine.

Eze on the French Riviera

Warm, long days enhance your vacation experience. It's a joy to walk around the charming historic towns in nice weather; dine alfresco at outdoor cafés or restaurant terraces; and sunbathe on sandy beaches.

If you love sunshine and blue skies, you'll have plenty of choices. From the beach-meets-city vibe of Barcelona to the intriguing architecture and spectacular Mediterranean scenery of Istanbul, the appeal of each destination on this list is undeniable.

Of course, you will want to visit all the famous tourist landmarks on your European vacation. During summer, you also have the chance to see the parks and gardens in full bloom and experience the holiday atmosphere of the seaside resorts during the high season.

Summer is the perfect time for sightseeing and relaxing while creating memories. For more ideas, read our list of the top places to visit in Europe in the summer.

1. Lisbon, Portugal

2. dubrovnik, croatia, 3. reykjavik, iceland, 4. the azores, portugal, 5. crete, greece, 6. french riviera, france, 7. rome, italy, 8. paris, france, 9. biarritz, france, 10. london, england, 11. tenerife, spain, 12. edinburgh, scotland, 13. madrid, spain, 14. florence, italy, 15. amsterdam, netherlands, 16. prague, czech republic, 17. barcelona, spain, 18. budapest, hungary, 19. istanbul, turkey, 20. rhodes, greece.

Old district of Alfama in Lisbon

No European trip is complete without a visit to Lisbon . Generous and enthusiastic by nature, the Portuguese will welcome you with warm smiles and hearty meals. Thanks to an uptick in direct flights in recent years, accessing Spain's neighbor has never been easier – or more affordable.

When you fly into this Portuguese capital, get ready for a workout! Known as the city of seven hills, Lisbon forces you to get moving. Be prepared to walk up and down, down and up – and repeat . Don't worry, hop-on-hop-off buses and trolleys – like in San Francisco – make it easy to give your legs a break.

View of Lisbon from the Parque Eduardo VII

Here, there are many historical buildings to stand in awe of – from the Castelo de São Jorge (Saint George's Castle) to the Santa Justa Lift and the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge . Parque Eduardo VII is the city's largest park, and it offers arguably the best view of Praça Marquês do Pombal , Avenida da Liberdade , and the sparkling Targus River.

Make sure to carve out time for a quick beach trip 20 minutes away, and to feast on pastel de nata , the country's delicious dessert. Refurbished in 2018, the lovely Doca de Santo restaurant offers tasty fare almost as impressive as its river views.

Read More: Lisbon Itineraries for Travelers

Dubrovnik

It's easy to see why Dubrovnik has been dubbed the "Pearl of the Adriatic." Surrounded by ancient stone walls and peppered with orange-tiled roofs, this southeastern Croatian gem is one of the most stunning cities on the Dalmatian Coast. No wonder the television series Game of Thrones chose this as one of its shooting locations.

Dubrovnik's old-world beauty, captivating tourist attractions (the view from atop Mount Srd is unbeatable), and popular day cruises to the Elafiti Islands make this a hot spot for travelers during summer. And don't forget the food– it's almost impossible to pick a bad restaurant.

To avoid the crowds, try to plan your trip at the very start or end of the high season, running from May to September, for less shoulder-to-shoulder action.

View over the Dubrovnik Old Town

In addition to the sights that you'll recognize if you're a Game Of Thrones fan – including Gothic Rector's Palace – this easy-to-navigate city features many buildings preserved from the 16th century. The Old Town brims with restaurants, boutiques, and tours, all surrounded by the impressive stone wall, where many apartments have been carved into the side.

When you have exhausted yourself from sightseeing go for a dip in the sparkling blue Adriatic Sea at one of Dubrovnik's beaches or take a ride on the cable car with 360-degree views of the city and the water.

A quick, 10-minute ferry ride will get you to the picturesque island, Lokrum , where you can take in the scenic views, wander around the botanical garden and nature preserve, and visit the 11th-century Benedictine monastery.

Read More: Croatia Road Trip: Driving the Coast from Istria to Dubrovnik

Summer in Reykjavik

Reykjavik may not be the first place that comes to mind when you're considering places to visit in Europe, but it should definitely be on your list. Summer is a great time to visit Iceland for two reasons: the chance to see the Northern Lights and endless sunshine. And by endless, we really do mean never-ending: from mid-April to mid-August, there is no darkness in Reykjavik, due to its geographical position.

If you don't mind using blackout curtains to help you sleep at night, then visiting during summer has many advantages. For instance, the hiking trails and overlooks are gorgeous at this time of year. Picture colorful fields of greens and flowers, blue skies juxtaposed against the Blue Lagoon healing waters, and near-perfect 60- to 70-degree weather.

In addition to Mother Nature's works of art, Iceland offers urban culture. Reykjavik, the capital, is the largest city in the country. Here, you will find charming shops and restaurants with questionable fare – including shark – and a stunning concrete church, called Hallgr í mskirkja . One of the most enjoyable things to do in Reykjavik is dine at the Perlan museum's restaurant, which rotates to provide views of the town, the ocean, and the countryside.

Read More: Iceland Road Trip: Driving the Ring Road

São Miguel, Azores

Despite the area's vast size, the nine isles that make up the Azores are somewhat hidden gems off Portugal's main coast. These verdant isles are magical and serene, home to UNESCO World Heritage sights, hot springs, gushing geysers, bubbling mud pots, dark caves, and romantic grottos. Visit in summer for the most optimal weather conditions for exploring the outdoor wonders.

São Miguel is the largest of the Azores islands, a true beauty bursting with adventure and plenty of tourist attractions in Ponta Delgada , its capital. On this and the other luscious isles, prepare to be wildly entertained. From biking to paragliding to hiking to spelunking, there are so many fun things to do in the Azores, especially during summer's high season.

Keep your eye out for majestic blue lagoons, volcanic craters, and towering mountains so astounding, you'll need to stop to catch your breath.

Crete, Greece

It's easy to see why Crete is deemed one of the best places to visit in Europe in summer. This Greek beauty is a haven for travelers who love fresh food, historic tales, archeological sites, and the stunning vista of bright azure waves lapping volcanic shores.

Travel in late June if you're hoping to avoid the summer crowds. July and August boast impeccable weather, which means you'll be clamoring for space on the tourist-laden streets and standing in lines at Crete's top tourist attractions .

Crete's soft, sandy beaches are unmissable, especially if you're looking for a way to soak up summer's warm rays. If you only have time to visit one (which would be a true shame), put Elafonissi Beach at the top of your list of must-visit beaches in Crete. It's one of the best pink sand beaches in the world and is located only two hours from the tourist-favorite city, Chania.

Popular tourist towns on Crete include Chania , Agio Nikolaos , and Rethymnon . Many people fly into the city of Heraklion , which is also worth exploring, even if just to see the Palace of Knossos , one of the top archeological sites in Greece.

View over nice on the French Riviera

This legendary stretch of coastline offers everything you need for the perfect summertime vacation: beautiful beaches, quaint coastal towns, fabulous art museums, and endless views of the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. The tourist attractions of the French Riviera appeal to anyone who loves culture along with an amazing beach vacation scene.

The French Riviera (known as the Côte d'Azur in French) extends from Menton, near the Italian border to Saint-Tropez near Marseille (although the region's boundaries are not set in stone). Famous for its sunshine and upscale seaside resorts ( Cannes , Nice , Saint-Tropez ), the French Riviera epitomizes the allure of the South of France.

Although the coastline is synonymous with glamour, the French Riviera overlaps with the more laid-back region of Provence . Several Provençal towns such as Saint-Tropez, Cassis, Antibes, and Fréjus are considered part of both regions. Two of the French Riviera/Provençal region's must-see villages include Saint-Paul de Vence , a fascinating walled medieval town, and Èze , a medieval hilltop town with a magnificent botanical garden (Jardin Exotique) and sweeping coastal vistas.

Be sure to plan ahead if you're going to visit the French Riviera during the summer, which is the high season for both French holiday-goers and international travelers. Hotels tend to raise their rates and quickly become fully booked in June, July, and August.

St. Peter's Basilica and the Tiber River

Rome is a romantic place to travel in Europe during any season, but the sticky, sweet summer is one of the best times to visit the Italian capital. Rome is a unique city that seamlessly combines historic architecture, tourist attractions , and modern culture, not to mention drool-worthy food.

No matter when you visit, carve out time for a trip to the Colosseum , the capital's most famous, and recognizable, attraction. Be warned that the summertime lines can be long, so pack sunblock, a hat, and water for use while you wait your turn to wander around this intriguing site.

After you've lunched on pasta in an open-air patio, people-watched by the Trevi Fountain , and savored gelato near Piazza Navona , head to the city's best museums and palaces to soak up the history (and some air-conditioning) that permeates the ancient walls.

Read More: Top-Rated Churches in Rome

Eiffel Tower at sunset

There's a lot to love about Paris! The Eiffel Tower, the romantic Seine River scenery, the amazing museums , shopping, nightlife, and fine cuisine. Summer only adds reasons to visit: long days to linger at outdoor cafés and wander through the leafy green parks and flower-filled gardens; balmy evenings to appreciate late dinners and cultural performances.

Yes, you'll be looking at higher rates on things like hotels, flights, and tourist attractions , but the added expenses are more than worthwhile. In fact, the weather between June and August is practically parfait (a.k.a. perfect) with highs in the upper 70s.

In addition to dining en plein air (a.k.a. outside), summer's climate allows you to enjoy recreational activities, like outdoor movies, dancing at an open-air concert, or watching bikers roll into town during the Tour de France.

With the sun shining and roses blooming, summertime in Paris gives you a taste of la vie en rose . Plus, the summer season packs an impressive schedule of events and festivals.

Tip: If possible, visit during June or July rather than August. Most Parisians leave the city in August (which can give the city the feel of a tourist take-over) so the city's ambiance changes. Also, many shops and restaurants are closed in August.

Read More: Latin Quarter, Paris: Top Attractions, Tours, & Hotels

The Grand Plage in Biarritz

Biarritz is the ultimate place for a beach vacation in France and manages to retain its air of elegance during summertime, despite the crowds. While other seaside resorts in Europe suffer from over-tourism, Biarritz feels refreshing and refined even in the high season.

Set along the Bay of Biscay, the sublime sandy beaches of Biarritz are wide enough and the scenery is wild enough to keep your focus on nature, rather than the fact that you're sitting in a line-up of tightly packed lounge chairs.

The main tourist beaches in Biarritz are spacious and feature amenities such as striped beach tents, cafés, and lifeguard supervision. Besides the classic beaches, there are also surfer beaches and family-friendly beaches with calm waters.

Other attractions and things to do in Biarritz during summertime include visiting the Biarritz Aquarium, strolling along the seaside, and gourmet dining. Thanks to the city's aristocratic heritage, two historic tea salons (the Miremont and Maison Dodin) serve exquisite traditional French pâtisserie and afternoon tea.

Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster

Since it can start to get chilly as early as late August in London, we suggest catching a redeye to The Smoke in June or July. Since schools don't get out until early to mid-June, you'll fight fewer crowds if you visit before then. It's been known to get quite sweaty at this time of year (into the 70s and even 80s) and air-conditioning is rare, so dress accordingly.

The capital of both England and the United Kingdom, London offers a mix of modern conveniences and tradition. It's also one of the most influential cities on the planet. You'll want a handful of days here, especially since there is so much to see : Westminster Abbey , the London Eye , The Shard , Buckingham Palace , Borough Market , the Tower of London , and the list goes on.

On a particularly lovely day, the city's greens (including the infamous Hyde Park ) are swarmed by Londoners perfecting their tans. Grab food from a local restaurant and enjoy it in the park (like Kensington Gardens , Kew Gardens , or St James's Park ) to make the most of the good weather.

Even if you roll your eyes at the idea, a hop-on, hop-off bus is ideal to get around quickly and without confusion. For city slickers with street cred, navigating the tube and bus system is easy enough, too.

Grab a 99 from an ice cream truck to cool off. This traditional English treat features soft-serve vanilla ice cream that is topped with a chocolate Flake bar.

View over the beach on Tenerife

Tenerife tops the list of the best places to get married in the world . Once you catch sight of its magnificent sandy beaches, dazzling cerulean waves, and lush nature reserves, you'll understand why: it's utterly romantic. A hot spot for travelers to Europe in summer, Tenerife is one of the best places to visit in the Canary Islands .

Most visitors spend the majority of their time digging their toes into the soft sand beaches during summer, but you'd be amiss to skip the other attractions of Tenerife , including a visit to the remarkable Teide National Park . Pack comfy walking shoes and plenty of water if you're planning to hike this volcano, the third highest in the world.

During summer in Tenerife, you can expect dry, sunny skies with temperatures sometimes tipping the thermometer over the 28-degree Celsius mark.

You'll be sharing the streets with many other tourists from across the globe since this is one of the best places to visit in Europe in the summer. Be sure to book your hotel and dinner reservations well in advance.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Summer in Edinburgh is a magical time. The daytime highs hover around 19 degrees Celsius. The mild temperatures allow you to comfortably explore the city's tourist attractions on foot.

Edinburgh Castle is a must-see, particularly when the sun is shining. This iconic landmark is one of the top tourist sites in Scotland . During summer, you have the chance to admire the lush vegetation climbing the hill to the castle, and its blooming gardens.

June, July, and August are perfect months to wander Edinburgh's best parks . Pack a picnic lunch, so you can stay even longer to fully enjoy the fresh air and picturesque surroundings.

Don't miss the Royal Mile , the gorgeous streets that connect Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse . Window shop, people watch, or grab a cuppa in one of the charming cafés.

Read More: Top-Rated Day Trips from Edinburgh

Madrid skyline in the summer

We're not going to lie, summer in Madrid can be hot. We're talking sweat dripping down your back long after the sun sets hot. Don't let temps in the high 80s Fahrenheit (30-plus Celsius) scare you, Madrid is still one of the best places to visit in Europe in summer.

This Spanish gem offers food so good, you'll beg for seconds, lively music to entice you to dance in the streets, and a bevy of museums and galleries to explore. Insider's tip: June and July are the best summer months to visit; some shop owners take the month of August off.

The Mad Cool Festival takes place in early July. This event gives you the chance to rock out to some of their favorite performers in a large, open-air venue.

When you've had enough of exploring Madrid's busy streets and tourist attractions , hop in a bus, train, or rental car to explore the many day-trip-worthy sites and towns nearby. If you have time for just one excursion, head to Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

View of Florence's Duomo and the city

Perhaps you're celebrating a honeymoon or anniversary – or maybe you're in a serious relationship with pasta. Whatever your reason for visiting Italy, our best suggestion is to make sure Florence is on your list of places to visit in Europe in the summer.

This romantic Italian wonderland looks as if it was painted in watercolor and brought to life in order to serve as the capital of Tuscany.

Art fanatics will rejoice in the one-of-a-kind masterpieces bursting onto the scene. The public piazzas include masterpieces of sculpture, while the city's museums introduce you to phenomenal works like Da Vinci's Annunciation and Botticelli's The Birth of Venus , among others.

The Ponte Vecchio Bridge is one of the most picture-perfect spots in Europe. This iconic bridge is graced by colorful shops adorned with shutters, selling touristy kitsch to the millions of visitors that cross it each year.

Other unmissable sights include the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Piazza Duomo, which are impossible to miss. Climb the claustrophobia-inducing 463-step stairway to the top of the Duomo for the best views of Florence. (You must book a time slot to climb the Duomo.)

Tulips blooming along an Amsterdam canal

The Netherlands prides itself on being eco-friendly. Not surprisingly given the country's flat and scenic terrain, the preferred mode of Dutch transport is a bicycle. The country boasts 32,000 kilometers of cycling trails, and it's said that every Dutch person owns two bikes. You'll see thousands of them on the roads of its capital, Amsterdam, especially in summer.

While getting around on public transportation is a cinch, you won't need to bother with trains or buses if you rent a bike during your trip. But if you're crossing the street as a pedestrian, be sure to look both ways – many cyclists zoom straight through.

Summer in Amsterdam

Slow down as you pass the city's impressive houses, hearkening back to the Golden Age in their canal-hugging splendor. Take a cruise along the waterways to pass under the inspiring bridges, and examine the townhomes from a different vantage point.

Some of the top attractions of Amsterdam are the sprawling Rijksmuseum , the magnificent Van Gogh Museum , and the heart-wrenching Anne Frank House museum.

While summer is too late to enjoy the spectacular tulip displays and Tulip Festival, it's the perfect time for outdoor exploration. You will enjoy wandering the city streets and walking or cycling alongside the canals. Summer weather also allows for alfresco dining on restaurant patios.

Old Town Prague

Light on the wallet but heavy on culture, Prague is one of those cities that attracts every type of traveler: from backpackers and nomads to honeymooning couples and the over-50 crowd.

Prague boasts incredible historic monuments and cultural attractions . The distinctive Old Town contains centuries of buildings, and a new square features modern construction.

When you're in town, consider renting a bike to get around, or take the easy-to-navigate public transportation system. Spend a day admiring Gothic churches, the Astronomical Clock , and of course, walk across the Charles Bridge and make a wish. To find something special to take home with you, spend some time shopping in Prague .

If you have time and want to hike, Prague is also a great starting point for the Bohemian Switzerland National Park near the German border.

Read More: From Prague Airport to the City Center: Best Ways to Get There

Park Güell, Barcelona

Barcelona is a beautiful Mediterranean city that buzzes with energy year-round, but during the summer it really comes to life! Especially during June and July, you won't be able to resist soaking up the sun's rays on the beaches after a morning of sightseeing around town.

From the fantastical Sagrada Familia church to the infamous Park Güell , designed by Antoni Gaudí, the tourist attractions of Barcelona reveal a rare mix of historical significance and modern practices.

As you walk or pedal through neighborhoods, you can stop for tapas, or do as the Spaniards do and take a siesta back at your hotel or Airbnb.

Aerial view of Budapest

If you are budget-minded and curious about history, Budapest is sure to delight you. It's easy enough to fly into or access by train, and you will feel as if you stepped back in time as you wander through the Gothic, cobblestone streets.

Besides its tourist attractions, gourmet cuisine is another reason to visit Budapest . The city's foodie scene includes many fusion restaurants that blend European and Eastern cuisines.

When you're touring through town, it's recommended to explore both districts – Buda and Pest (get it?) – which are separated by the notable Chain Bridge.

For fabulous views, take a cable car or the Budapest Eye , a Ferris wheel-like attraction, which is popular with tourists. To learn more about the city's history, head to the Hungarian Jewish Museum or the Budapest History Museum .

Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Technically on the border of Asia and Europe, since it's laid across the Bosphorus Strait, this Turkish city is not to be missed. Western travelers may be intrigued by the city's distinctive Eastern culture and Islamic influences. However, this city has always been at a crossroads and its ancient monuments tell the stories of the many rulers of its past.

Most tourists enjoy the UNESCO-listed Old City , where various districts offer different cultural and culinary delights – from Egyptian to Roman. Topkapi Palace is one of the top places to visit in Istanbul , closely followed by Aya Sofya , a Byzantine masterpiece constructed as a church and later converted into a mosque.

Many people simply enjoy shopping in Istanbul or hunting for treasures in the Grand Bazaar .

Istanbul is renowned for its street food scene, where you can sample flavorful delicacies prepared from local ingredients such as yogurt, eggs, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers alongside kebabs.

Read More: Best Beaches near Istanbul

Lindos Village, Rhodes

If you're searching for gorgeous scenery and fascinating sights, look no further than Rhodes Town in Greece. Pristine beaches line the shore of this historic masterpiece, the largest of the Dodecanese Islands, while the town rises above, abloom in vibrant colors.

The UNESCO-listed Old Town is a delightful maze of winding streets, hidden alleyways, and dramatic architecture dating back to the Byzantine era. It is housed within a crescent-shaped fort and packed with shops and restaurants. This is also where you'll find the majestic Palace of the Grand Masters. The area can get quite crowded during the summer months, so be warned.

Lindos lies a short way from Rhodes. One of the top tourist attractions of Greece , this picturesque village is home to an archeological site and the iconic Acropolis of Lindos .

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17 Best Summer Destinations In Europe (2024)

If you’re planning a trip to Europe this year, you’re probably wondering what are the best summer destinations in Europe.

I live in Europe and I visited almost every European country during summer, so I’m here to help!

Europe is such a diverse continent, so you can spend the summer on the beach, backpacking, hiking, or sightseeing.

Whether you’re after classic European summer destinations like the Croatian coastline and the Greek islands, or cooler spots to enjoy nature and discover hidden gems like the Dolomites or Scotland, there’s something for everyone

Let’s find the best summer spots in Europe!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. I hope you find the information here helpful!

natali in a red dress looking at dubrovnik old city wallls

1. Croatian Coastline

Croatia has been one of the top summer destinations in Europe for several years now. I’m Croatian, so I might be biased, but I’d argue we have one of the best coastlines in Europe. 

With picturesque seafront towns and quaint islands, it is truly a unique place to spend summer.

Croatia might be a small country, but there are so many places to visit along the Croatian coastline from Pula in the north, Zadar in the center, and Dubrovnik in the south.

When you think of summer in Croatia, think of cobblestone streets, stone houses, crystal clear sea, boat tours, and delicious fresh food.

Places like Dubrovnik or Split get quite crowded in the summer, but you can still find hidden gems like Šibenik, Trogir, or the Istrian peninsula . 

While you could pick one destination to visit, I love going on a road trip along the Croatian coastline and visiting several towns.

Another popular way to discover Croatian islands is to join an island-hopping boat tour ! 

Croatia is home to many picturesque islands! Some of the most popular places to visit are Hvar, Krk, Mljet, Korčula, and Vis!

A thing to consider is that while Croatia gained popularity as a budget-friendly summer destination, that is no longer the case. Prices in Croatia are quite similar to prices in Portugal, Greece, or Spain. 

You can still have a budget-friendly holiday in Croatia, as long as you’re aware that Dubrovnik is expensive and you pick cheaper places to visit in Croatia.

natali wearing a white dress standing in front of whitewashed houses along the caldera in oia while backpacking cyclades in santorini

 2. Greek Islands

Island hopping in Greece epitomizes the essence of a European summer like not many other experiences.

Imagine seafront whitewashed houses, blue domes, and vibrant pink bougainvillea trees, and you have the recipe for the most beautiful places in Europe in summer.

Greece backpackers have many islands to choose from, so it might seem hard to pick which ones to visit!

Island hopping the Cyclades is the most popular route to take, featuring destinations like Mykonos, Santorini, and Milos among its stunning array of islands.

These are the most popular and consequently priciest Greek islands. Still, there are many others in the area you can visit on a budget like Naxos or Paros . 

I traveled to Greece several times, and I’m always surprised by how diverse different Greek islands are. 

When I spent 1 week in Corfu in the Ionian islands in the northwest of the country, I thought it looked more like a Croatian than a Greek Island!

Alternatively, you can also head to Crete, Rhodes, or Kos. With so many islands to choose from, you can spend each summer in Greece discovering a new area!

natali sitting on a low stone wall overlooking nice riviera in france

3. French Riviera

Another iconic European summer holiday destination is the French Riviera. 

Traditionally, the South of France is one of the more upscale summer European destinations and not really on the backpacking route.

However, I absolutely love the French Riviera. I visited several times, and it is the epitome of the luxurious European summer holiday.

If you want to treat yourself to French slow-living, with fine wine, fresh produce, and crystal clear seas, coastal towns along the French Riviera are the place for you.

While the water is chilly in the Atlantic beaches near Bordeaux even in the middle of summer, the Mediterranean Sea is warm and perfect for swimming.

You can also visit larger coastal cities like Nice or Marseille, or head to the countryside and lavender fields of Aix-en-Provence.

blue and white striped umbreallas on a beach in cefalu in sicily italy

4. Amalfi Coast

Staying with the upscale summer in Europe theme, we have Amalfi Coast. 

This beautiful Italian region south of Naples is a holiday destination for those who want to enjoy postcard-like cliffside villages, pristine beaches, and delicious fresh food.

I’m a big fan of backpacking Europe , but I’d say the Amalfi Coast is best enjoyed when you’re not on a budget. 

In fact, I found it quite funny how different the atmosphere in these seafront villages was compared to the rugged and busy city of Naples.

Sure, you can still do it on a budget as I did, but there is a certain level of “expectations vs reality” you should be aware of.

Cliffside villages might look beautiful in the photos, but be prepared that you’ll have to climb a lot of stairs to get around.

Most beaches are covered in sunbeds that you’ll have to pay to use. Some beaches are strictly private, and you can’t even put your towel on the beach if you don’t want to pay for a sunbed.

Finally, I visited the Amalfi Coast before it was officially popular, and it was already packed! The area is beautiful, but far from a hidden gem anymore.

natali on the steps leading to kaputas beach in turkey

5. Turkish Riviera

As the prices in traditional European holiday destinations increased, Turkey emerged as one of the best cheap European summer destinations.

Turkish Riviera reminds me a lot of the Croatian coastline and Greek islands, which is not surprising as they are so close!

Several years ago most people went to Turkey in package tours and all-inclusive resorts. While that is still an option if you’re into it, I prefer backpacking Turkey on my own!

There are so many towns along the coastline that you can easily escape the crowds and swim in secluded beaches and hidden bays. 

Apart from pristine beaches and crystal clear sea, Turkey’s main selling point is affordability. 

Spending your summer vacation in Turkey is way more affordable than opting for popular places like France or Spain. 

Finally, Turkey is dotted with impressive historical monuments and unique landscapes like Pamukkale and Cappadocia. 

a sandy beach surrounded by steep cliffs on a clear blue day with bright blue sea in lagos algarve

6. Algarve, Portugal

Portugal could easily be the best place to visit in Europe in summer. 

With beaches from the north to the south of the country, it is no surprise it is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations.

While the whole country is a fantastic place to visit when backpacking around Portugal , the southernmost region of the Algarve with its dramatic cliffs and endless sandy beaches is the main attraction. 

I spent a week in the Algarve exploring the beautiful coastline, and I could have easily stayed longer!

The Algarve coastline is lined with beautiful sandy beaches, surrounded by dramatic cliffs and intricate rock formations. 

When deciding where to stay in the Algarve , you can’t go wrong with any of the coastal towns. 

Albufeira is known as the nightlife hotspot in the region but the whole area is quite lively in the summer. 

However, my favorite town in the region is Lagos , as it has a more local atmosphere and it has more beautiful beaches.

Albania is quickly becoming one of the most popular countries to backpack in Europe . 

If you’re a budget traveler, you’ll be glad to know that prices in Albania are way lower than in the rest of the continent.

At the same time, this small country packs a punch when it comes to things to do.

From breathtaking mountains and hiking trails to pristine beaches with crystal clear seas, Albania has it all.

History lovers will love exploring UNESCO World Heritage sites and quaint mountain villages of Berat and Gjirokastra hiding stories from different times. 

Finally, Albania is really affordable!

It is one of the last places in Europe where you can lay by the beach sipping cocktails without worrying about the bill, especially if you’re coming from Western Europe.

8. Scotland, UK

Moving away from beach destinations, summer in Europe is a fantastic time to enjoy the dramatic landscapes of Scotland.

Picture lush green rolling hills as far as you can see, with single-track roads winding on the horizon leading to picturesque villages.

Summer is the best time to visit Scotland if you want to escape the heat of southern Europe and breathe the fresh air in the great outdoors.

natali facing away from the camera in front of a glacial lake in italy laghi di fusine

9. Dolomites, Italy

If you want to go completely off-grid this summer, the Dolomites mountain range in Italy is the place for you. 

Forget about the crowded cities and screaming children jumping over your towel on the beach and book a trip to the Italian mountains!

There are two ways you can visit this region, as a thru-hiker or a tourist. 

As a tourist, I suggest you rent a car and book accommodation in quaint mountain villages. You can go on a hiking day trip every day or a road trip by staying in different villages every night.

I only visited the Dolomites as a tourist and a hobby hiker, so I didn’t sleep on the trail, only hiked during the day and back to my bed at night.

However, my mom went on a several-day-long hiking expedition while sleeping in mountain homes and she said it was incredible.

You can also combine a trip to the Dolomites with a visit to the Austrian town of Innsbruck for even more breathtaking landscapes!

norway fjord

10. Norway Road Trip

Another option for those who are looking for cool places to go in Europe in summer is Norway.

This Nordic country boasts some of the most incredible landscapes in Europe, combined with Norway’s right to roam , makes for a perfect summer destination for nature lovers.

Norway is pricey, so a fun way to stay on a budget and discover the most remote areas of the country is by renting a campervan.

If you ever wanted to try van life, this is your moment. 

There are more than a thousand campsites all over the country, but sleeping in nature and waking up to breathtaking scenery is an option too!

I visited Norway in the summer, and the weather was just perfect – not too cold, not too hot. 

I was wearing long pants and short sleeves in the north when visiting the glaciers, but it was hot enough for shorts in the south of the country.

11. Baltic Countries

Crowds and high prices are the biggest disadvantages of summer in Europe , but you won’t have an issue with that if you opt to discover Baltic countries this summer. 

Baltic countries are some of the best European summer holiday destinations for backpackers, as they are quite affordable, somewhat off the beaten path, and easy to get around.

Backpacking Baltic countries is also a fantastic way to visit multiple European countries on the same trip, as they are well connected by bus and train network.

While Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are similar, there is something special in each of these countries. 

Tallinn and its fairytale-like walled city center was my favorite, but I also loved the colorful houses of Riga.

natali sitting on the grass looking at a hiking map in the mountains in the summer

12. Switzerland

If you want to switch up your usual beach vacation for a mountain holiday, Switzerland is one of the best places to visit in Europe in summer.

Yes, I know Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries to visit in Europe , but it is worth it! 

In fact, you can easily stay on a budget in Switzerland as most things to do, like sightseeing and hiking, are completely free.

Some of the places that should be on your Switzerland itinerary are Zurich, Geneve, and Interlaken.

Swiss cities are quite picturesque, and I loved strolling the cobblestone streets of Zurich. You won’t miss the sea if you visit in the summer, as you can simply go for a dip in Zurich lake!

You can’t come to Switzerland in the summer and not go hiking! Some of the most scenic hiking trails in Switzerland are the Oeschinen Lake Trail, Stoos Ridge Hike, and Schäfler Ridge Hike.

backpacking poland warsaw

Poland might seem like an unusual choice, but I decided to backpack Poland solo one summer, and I absolutely loved it!

Summer is not the high season in Poland, so you can enjoy most tourist attractions without crowds. 

That is not to say that you’ll be alone, far from that. Still, it is much more enjoyable than the crowds during the Christmas Market season.

While most people only visit Krakow or Warsaw, the country is home to many hidden gems and you can easily spend more than a week in Poland .

From the seafront town of Gdansk in the north to the stunning mountains of Tatra National Park in the south, there is something for every type of traveler.

It is easy to get around Poland by public transport, and it is still quite an affordable destination if you’re worried about the cost of backpacking in Europe .

You should spend at least 2 days in Krakow and visit the infamous Auschwitz, next head to Wroclaw to find all the dwarf sculptures and escape into nature in Zakopane.

backpacking europe summer barcelona

14. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona might be my favorite European city to visit in the summer. There is simply no other place like it.

It is a fantastic destination for every type of traveler. You have a vibrant town with lively nightlife, so many cultural attractions, and a beach right in the city center!

Barcelona is also great for day trips to smaller seafront towns along Costa Brava or Girona. Lloret de Mar is especially well known as the party 

I love Spain so now I can’t stop talking about it, but the Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Mallorca, and Menorca) are the perfect destination to add to your itinerary if you have more than a week in Spain this summer. 

Spanish islands are some of the best party places in Europe during summer!

The rest of Spain is lovely too, but deciding between visiting Barcelona or Madrid in the summer is an easy choice. 

I spent a week in Andalucia in June and it was so hot that I can’t even imagine how bad it gets in July and August, and there are no beaches!

natali sitting on a low stone wall across the river from budapest parliament buidling

15. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is one of my favorite places in Europe and one of the best places to start backpacking in Europe .

I visited Budapest more than 5 times so far, and it is really a year-round destination. 

While it is a charming Christmas Market destination, the city truly comes alive with the warm weather. 

I loved strolling the streets and sightseeing during the day and grabbing a drink by the river or in one of the ruin bars at night. 

Hungary is a central European country, so it is a great budget-friendly alternative to popular places like Berlin or Paris. 

Budapest is also a great destination for foodies with many food courts popping up in the summer. 

It is easy to reach Budapest from all over Europe, as it is one of the biggest budget airline hubs. I once took a flight with a 2-day layover in Budapest just so I could get a vegan burger from one of the stands!

natali wearing a colorful skirt standing in front of a fence with old town of prague in the background

16. Prague, Czechia

Prague is a popular stop on every Christmas Market itinerary , but you might enjoy it even more in the summer!

I visited Prague in the summer, and I loved how lively the city is during the warmer months. 

You’ll get to wander the cobblestone streets, explore the rich history of this royal town, and enjoy the vibrant nightlife.

It is no secret that Prague is a popular party destination in Europe, and Czechia brews some of the best beers. 

If you’re a beer lover, Czechia is the perfect destination for you, as beer is practically synonymous with the country.

london bridge on a cloudy summer day

17. London, UK 

Finally, we have London. The capital of the UK is one of the most popular places to visit in Europe. 

London is a year-round destination, so why should you visit in the summer?

Simply because it is the best time weather-wise to enjoy this vibrant city!

I visited London several times, and visiting in June was perfect. The weather wasn’t as hot as it gets in the south of Europe, but it was sunny and the days were super long.

London is expensive, but there are so many free things to do in London if you’re visiting on a budget!

I loved strolling the markets, having a picnic in Hyde Park, and watching the sunset from Primrose Hill. 

Also, so many London museums are free to visit, including the popular British Museum and Tate Modern art gallery. 

London is a great base for day trips to the countryside, and you can visit Cambridge, Oxford, and Bath. All by public transport!

Final Thoughts: Best Summer Destinations In Europe

Europe is such a diverse continent with something for every type of traveler. 

You don’t need to be a beach lover to enjoy European summer! This is the best time to visit hiking destinations like the Dolomites in Italy and the Swiss Alps!

Summer is also a great time to visit large European capitals without crowds like Prague or Berlin. 

Finally, if you’re dreaming of the classic European summer, head to the south of Croatia, the Greek Islands, or the South of France.

You’ll get to enjoy the laid-back southern atmosphere, crystal clear seas, and long sunny days.

Also, don’t dismiss the Balkans for cheap beach holidays in Europe ! 

best summer destinations in europe - pinterest pin

Natali is the founder of She's Abroad Again. She is a solo female travel and backpacking expert who traveled to more than 30 country over 3 continents, mostly solo and on a budget! She is a lawyer turned travel blogger as she traded long office hours in Croatia for a digital nomad life and currenly calls France her home.

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coastline of Costa Brava Spain as seen from across with water, with a village visible in the distance. Spain's Costa Brava is one of the best European road trip routes!

21 Sun-Soaked Summer Destinations in Europe (+ Travel Tips!)

Wondering exactly where to go in Europe this summer?

These epic summer destinations in Europe–including many of our personal favorite places in the world–will give you plenty of inspiration!

Summer in Europe may be crowded, but it’s also an incredibly beautiful time to explore the continent.

While some cities may be scorching, the coastal and mountainous regions of Europe are arguably never more idyllic than in June, July, and August.

From classic beach getaways to delightful summer road trip spots to lush islands that shine their brightest in the summertime, here are some of the best places to visit in Europe in summer!

No matter which European summer destination you choose, you’re bound to enjoy the trip of a lifetime.

Table of Contents

The Best Places to Visit in Europe in Summer

Tips for exploring summer destinations in europe.

kate storm sitting on a garden wall in taormina sicily overlooking the ionian sea, one of the best places to visit in italy summer

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.

Andalucia, Spain

Known for its beautiful beaches, the coastline of Spain’s Andalucia region is among the best summer destinations in Europe!

Andalucia is the southernmost region of Spain, and it offers stunning natural beauty surrounded by whitewashed villages, along with a hefty dose of that famous Spanish sunshine .

The most famous coastline in Andalucia for European summer getaways is the famous Costa del Sol, located between Malaga and Gibraltar.

Here, you can find some of the loveliest sandy beaches in Europe–and sandy beaches are far from a guarantee on the continent (though pebble beaches have their appeal as well).

As a bonus, an Andalucia vacation can be enjoyed for a fraction of what you might pay along the coast of nearby France or Italy.

Though Andalucia’s inland cities are less ideal places to visit in Europe in summer–beautiful cities like Seville and Granada (home to the famous Alhambra ) are scorching hot during the summer months–they can still make excellent additions to a trip to southern Spain if you’re willing to brave the heat!

Nerja Beach in Andalucia Spain from above, one of the best summer destinations in Europe

Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

Croatia’s sparkling coastline has propelled it from a popular summer destination for Europeans to widespread international fame in recent decades (okay–the coastline and Game of Thrones), and it is easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in summer.

This is one of our personal favorite destinations in Europe, and we will never be done revisiting this magnificent coastline.

Whether you want to stroll the city walls of Dubrovnik , admire Diocletian’s Palace in Split , or go swimming off the coast of Hvar or Korčula, there’s no doubt that Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast makes for a magical summer trip.

If you’re a sailor at heart, Croatia’s whopping 79 islands are also a legendary place to explore by boat!

Want to explore Croatia beyond the Dalmatian Coast?

Famous Plitvice Lakes National Park makes a fantastic inland detour during your summer escape!

View of Hvar Town from Spanish Fort with Pakleni Islands in the distance, one of the best things to do in Hvar Croatia

Algarve, Portugal

Located in the southwestern corner of Portugal, the Algarve is a once-secret European summer destination that has rapidly increased in popularity.

The Algarve’s increased popularity is thanks in large part to its rugged beauty, low prices (which, it must be noted, are rising as fast as its popularity), and its phenomenal rock formations along the coast.

Though you can find charming towns like Lagos , as well as pretty cities like Faro, Portugal , and plenty of sandy beaches here, the real attractions are the sea caves, arches, and rocky cliffs that give the Algarve a unique beauty among the other best places to visit in Europe in summer.

Be sure not to miss the stunning Seven Hanging Valleys Trail (part of which overlooks the famous Praia do Marinha) or the iconic Benagil Cave when visiting!

However, be sure to keep in mind that the Algarve’s beaches, while generally sandy and gorgeous, tend to have colder water than many other summer destinations.

If you’re from a northern climate, you’ll almost certainly be glad to go for a dip, but for those accustomed to warm waters, you may find it a bit chilly!

View of small beach on Algarve Coast in Portugal with a sailboat in the distance and rocky cliffs jutting out to sea

Sicily, Italy

Italy’s southernmost region is an absolute delight to visit in summer.

Featuring phenomenal Italian beach towns , excellent food and wine, a stunning volcano, and remarkably low prices (especially as compared to much of the rest of Italy) Sicily makes for a fantastic European summer road trip opportunity.

While you’re there, don’t miss the beaches of Cefalu and Avola, the gorgeous towns of the Val di Noto, the bustling streets of Palermo , or the Greek theatre and beautiful views from Taormina .

Travelers with more time to experience the beauty of Sicily in summer will also want to see Siracusa, the Aeolian Islands, and Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples!

Cefalu Cathedral with a vespa parked in front of it, one of the best things to see on a Sicily road trip itinerary

Provence, France

Featuring sprawling lavender fields, delightfully charming small villages, and some of the absolute best farmer’s markets around, Provence has long been a classic European summer destination for a very good reason.

For the best chance to see lavender fields at their peak, plan your trip between mid-June and mid-July.

Even if you miss the lavender fields, Provence still has plenty to offer!

And, Provence’s natural beauty is remarkable beyond the lavender fields, too!

Destinations like the Verdon Gorge and Calanques National Park are also among the best places to visit in southern France .

Kate in a blue skirt in Goult, France. There's a stone building with blue shutters to her left, and she's facing away from the camera. Goult is one of the best places to visit in the south of France.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Italy’s premier coastline has been one of the most highly sought-after summer destinations in Europe for thousands of years, luring everyone from Roman Emperors to the stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age to modern travelers.

With its dramatic cliffs, azure waters, famous cuisine, eye-catching art, and beautiful villages, it’s easy to see why travelers have long found these shores hard to resist.

Ironically, traditional beaches are not the calling card of this famous “beach” destination!

There are a few beaches around, sure, and plenty of places to swim, but on the Amalfi Coast, dramatic landscapes supersede places to lounge on the sand.

Though not technically part of the Amalfi Coast itself, it’s worth mentioning the legendary Capri here, as well as the ever-famous Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius , both of which are popular day trips near the Amalfi Coast.

Other side trips nearby include Naples (worlds apart and yet well worth visiting!), Herculaneum, Ischia, and Procida–just to name a few.

Cliffs of Capri with bright blue water and boats visible to the left. Definitely consider a visit here when planning a trip to Italy!

French Riviera

Much like the Amalfi Coast, the French Riviera is absolutely iconic among summer destinations in Europe.

From St. Tropez to Cannes to Nice to Menton and beyond, the French Riviera is known for its exclusive beaches, immense beauty, historic cities, and many, many yachts.

Visitors to the French Riviera can even squeeze in a trip to one of the smallest countries in the world as part of their trip–Monaco makes an easy day trip from Nice!

A summer trip to the South of France often combines time spent both in the lavender-strewn inland areas of Provence as well as the French Riviera, and both are well worth a visit during summer in Europe!

harbor of st tropez in the south of france road trip itinerary

Turquoise Coast, Turkey

Also known as the Turkish Riviera, Turkey’s phenomenal Turquoise Coast is located in the southwest of the country and offers gorgeous beaches along both the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas.

Easily one of the most beautiful places in Turkey , this is a coastline you won’t forget anytime soon.

With picturesque small towns, majestic ruins (including Ephesus), and almost shockingly low prices as compared to other nearby beach destinations, the Turquoise Coast is an underrated summer destination perfect for travelers looking to get off the beaten path in Europe (or, in this case,  near  Europe).

Technically, the only part of Turkey that is part of the continent of Europe is a small piece that includes the far west of the country and half of Istanbul.

However, since Turkey in general (especially Istanbul and Cappadocia ) are often included on a trip to Europe, we think it’s worth including the Turquoise Coast on this list of the best summer destinations in Europe… just in case it tempts you to add it to your plans!

Beach of Oludeniz on Turkey's Turquoise Coast from above, one of the best places to visit in Europe in summer

Ireland is one of our personal favorite places to visit in Europe in summer!

While it may not be a classic summer destination in a sundresses-and-beach-days sense (I’ve definitely spent more time wearing raincoats than bathing suits in Ireland during the summer), the Emerald Isle absolutely shines during the summer months.

Often, it shines quite literally: the late spring and summer offer the highest chances of sunny days you’ll ever see in Ireland!

Pair that with phenomenal natural sights, great food, and adorable villages such as Doolin and Cobh , and it’s easy to fall in love with Ireland.

While popular sights like the Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher will certainly be crowded, Ireland overall can be a great place to escape Europe’s crowded beach towns during the summer months.

Even in June, July, and August, it’s very easy to find beautiful places that you can have all to yourself on the Emerald Isle (and if you need to help, check out some of Ireland’s hidden gems ).

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm standing in front of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland shortly before sunset

Slovenia’s tiny coastline often means that it’s overlooked in favor of neighboring Croatia for a European summer trip.

But, packed with everything from a charming seaside to dramatic mountaintops to a quirky capital city all packed into one tiny country, it absolutely shouldn’t be!

Our first summer trip to Slovenia was enough to make it one of our favorite countries to explore, and we highly recommend a Slovenia road trip to travelers looking for beautiful nature.

From the rightfully famous Lake Bled to the jaw-dropping hikes in Triglav National Park to the beauty of the Soca River Valley, Slovenia is beautiful from all angles.

And, its towns and cities have plenty to offer, too: be sure to relax by the sea in Piran and check out the funky capital of Ljubljana .

In many cases, the easiest way to get to Slovenia from outside of Europe is to fly into Venice –so if you prefer, you can easily combine a trip to Slovenia with one to Italy!

Piran Slovenia as seen from above. Piran is one of the best places to visit in Slovenia

Greek Isles

Boasting a seemingly endless number of islands, a couple hundred of them populated, the many, many islands of Greece are a classic summer vacation opportunity in Europe.

Narrowing down exactly where to go is incredibly difficult, but popular options include Santorini for its classic white-and-blue villages and cliffs and Mykonos for its windmills and its famous party scene.

Also consider Corfu for its beautiful water, a touch of Venetian history, its proximity to Albania, and–very important when planning a multi-stop trip–its easy flight connections across Europe.

Greece’s largest island, Crete, which boasts everything from historical fortresses to some of the best beaches in the country, is also a fantastic choice.

For a bucket-list-worthy summer in Europe that you’ll never forget, consider renting a sailboat and hitting up several islands by sea (you can charter a boat with or without a captain).

Kate Storm in a white shirt and blue jeans overlooking the blue domes of Oia in Santorini--this island is incredible and worth visiting as part of your 2 weeks in Europe!

Balearic Islands, Spain

Located off the east coast of Spain, you’ve no doubt heard of the Balearic Islands Archipelago, even if you’ve never heard the name before.

This is where you can find the infamous party island of Ibiza, the beautiful and popular Mallorca, and the slightly-less-known Menorca, among several others.

If you’re searching for some of the most stunning beach towns in Spain , the Balearic Islands are an excellent place to look.

Even if you’re not the partying type, though, Spain’s Balearic Islands still have a lot to offer for a summer vacation in Europe, including plenty of quiet corners, epic viewpoints, beautiful beaches, and quiet villages.

Soller Mallorca from above, with sailboats parked in the brightly covered bay. Mallorca is one of the best road trips in Europe!

Cinque Terre, Italy

Nestled along Italy’s Ligurian coast, the famous villages of Cinque Terre are among the most picturesque places to visit in Europe in summer–as long as you’re willing to battle the crowds!

Immensely popular but beautiful enough to be worth the hassle, Cinque Terre is known for its colorful villages, quaint harbors, delicious pesto and seafood, and amazing hiking opportunities.

Head to Monterosso al Mare for the best beach, and Vernazza and Manarola for the best views–in our biased opinion, anyway!

While it’s popular to take a day trip to Cinque Terre , we highly recommend spending at least a night or two there if possible–experiencing Cinque Terre in the summer without the crowds of day trippers is a special experience!

View of Vernazza Harbor from Above: One Day in Cinque Terre Itinerary

The United Kingdom

From the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands to the quiet beauty of the Cotswolds , and from the hustle and bustle of London and the charm of Cambridge to the beaches of Brighton, there is no better time to enjoy (comparatively) warm temperatures and sunny weather in the United Kingdom than during the summer months.

True, the UK doesn’t have the best reputation for its weather–but visiting during the summer will absolutely give you the best shot at experiencing beautiful days!

Whether you want to explore one of the best road trips in the UK or enjoy a train journey across the countryside (or both!), you’re bound to have a memorable trip.

White Cliffs of Dover in southern England, one of the best summer destinations in Europe

Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Stare out across the beautiful Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, and you may just think you’re looking out over a fjord.

Located within a couple of hours of popular Dubrovnik in Croatia, the towns along the Bay of Kotor feel remarkably similar to its famous neighbor–but with far fewer crowds and much smaller price tags.

Beautiful Kotor (don’t miss climbing to San Giovanni’s Fortress while there!), Perast, Tivat, and more, all offer a chance to experience a beautiful corner of the Balkans.

And, while Kotor is increasing in popularity among cruise ships, the Bay of Kotor itself is still a relatively quiet place.

If you set off on a Montenegro road trip this summer, you can even extend beyond the bay–Tara River Canyon and Durmitor National Park are also must-see destinations in Montenegro.

Bay of Kotor Montenegro as seen from a hike above Kotor, one of the best places to visit in Europe in summer

Jungfrau Region, Switzerland

I am convinced that Switzerland’s Jungfrau region–located around (literally, above) Interlaken–is paradise on Earth in the summer.

If you’re dreaming of the Alps, check into a hotel in Wengen, Murren, or Grindelwald (for the best views) or Interlaken (for a bit more selection) or Lauterbrunnen (to be in the literal center of the action) and have the trip of your dreams.

Switzerland’s legendarily efficient trains and gondolas mean that wherever you stay, the region is at your fingertips.

Hiking from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidigg,  riding the highest train in Europe to Jungfraujoch  (aka the “Top of Europe”), eating daily fondue, walking from Murren to  Gimmelwald , and riding a historic cogwheel train to Schynige Platte are just a few of the unforgettable experiences you’ll find here.

Whether you want to stretch your physical limits or simply admire the Alpine views while munching on local cheese–or both, of course!–Switzerland’s pristine Jungfrau region is undoubtedly one of the absolute best places to visit in Europe in June, July, and August.

kate storm and jeremy storm overlooking a balcony in wengen switerland jungfrau region

Albanian Riviera

Among all of these places to visit in Europe in summer, the Albanian Riviera is among the most offbeat for travelers hailing from outside the continent.

However, with shockingly low prices as compared to most of these summer destinations in Europe, absolutely stunning beaches, and plenty of beach towns to choose from, the Albanian Riviera has a lot to offer.

While flights into Albania can get a bit pricey (and many arrive in the capital of Tirana, far from the best beaches), Corfu, Greece is easily accessible by air and is located as little as a 30-minute ferry ride from the town of Sardana along the Albanian Riviera!

Albanian Riviera as seen from above with a boat in the distance and mountains in the background, one of the best places to vacation in Europe summer

Iceland in summer is a land of magic.

This is the land of the midnight sun, natural hot springs, endless fields of blooming lupines, glaciers, unbelievably green landscapes, and of course, otherworldly waterfalls.

From horseback riding through majestic landscapes to snorkeling between tectonic plates to soaking in some of the world’s most beautiful hot springs to staring out over the golden light of the midnight sun long past an average person’s bedtime, taking an Iceland road trip in the summer is an unforgettable experience.

While you won’t be able to see the famous northern lights when visiting during summer, the midnight sun, easier driving conditions, and warmer weather (you’ll probably still need to bundle up a bit, though!) make visiting this stunning country in summer a very special experience.

We fell in love with Iceland in summer, and even if you only have a couple of days in Iceland , it’s absolutely worth exploring.

Sunset over waterfalls in Iceland, one of the best places to visit in Europe in summer

Puglia, Italy

Located on the “heel of the boot”, so to speak, the Puglia region of Italy is known for its lovely beaches, whitewashed villages, and delicious food (especially seafood and orecchiette pasta).

While what is arguably its most famous village, Alberobello, home of the trulli, is not on the coast at all, Puglia is generally seen as a beach destination in Europe.

While Puglia has been popular with European travelers for ages, its profile has been growing across the world–and it certainly deserves the attention!

Heading to Puglia this summer?

Consider adding a stop in the haunting city of Matera, which is technically located next door in Basilicata but is a common addition to trips to Puglia! 

Poglinano al Mare Beach in Puglia Italy

Faroe Islands

Far-flung and remote, if you’re looking for an uncrowded, offbeat, and spectacular summer vacation in Europe (and you’re not particularly attached to the idea of being warm), consider the Faroe Islands.

This self-governing archipelago of 18 islands is an administrative region of Denmark and is located (very) roughly halfway between Iceland and Norway.

Home to absolutely spectacular ocean views, soaring cliffs, thundering waterfalls, and some of the best bird-watching on the planet (hello puffins!), the Faroe Islands are perhaps the most unique travel destination on this list.

While they require a bit of money (prices are said to be on par with Norway, arguably the most expensive country to visit in Scandinavia ) and dedication to experience, they’re absolutely magnificent.

Waterfall into the ocean as seen on the Faroe Islands, one of the best summer places to visit in Europe

Prepare for crowds.

Summer is the busiest and most touristic season in Europe–and that’s especially true in coastal destinations like many listed here.

Visiting Europe in summer can be absolutely wonderful, but it comes with heavy crowds and high prices compared to the rest of the year.

If you’re headed to the beach, we recommend avoiding the month of August if you can.

August is when many Europeans take their annual beach vacations, and the beach towns are especially busy and expensive then.

If you do plan to take a European beach vacation in August, we highly recommend booking everything from your hotel to your rental car as far in advance as you can.

View of fortress near Dubrovnik as seen from town walls, with Adriatic Sea in the foreground--when deciding whether to visit Split or Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik wins on views of the city itself!

Consider the shoulder season.

If you’re looking for summer-like vibes in Europe but want to avoid the peak months of June, July, and August, we recommend September over May.

While both can work, September typically has more of a summer feeling in many of these places to visit in Europe than May does, with the added benefit of the water typically being warmer as it has had all season to heat up.

September is one of our favorite months to travel in Europe, and you absolutely can’t go wrong with a late summer trip then!

Mill in Rastoke Croatia with a waterfall underneath it, an unforgettable sight on this Croatia in 10 days Croatia itinerary

Book ahead, especially if you’re traveling to small towns.

Given the heavy crowds we mentioned above, it’s expected that hotels fill up more quickly than in other months, too.

For some of these summer destinations in Europe–especially small towns with limited lodging like Cinque Terre, certain Greek islands like Santorini and Mykonos, and the Amalfi Coast–that means it’s best to book as soon as you can commit to your dates.

With a limited amount of lodging available and primarily small, family-run properties with a handful of rooms catering to tourists as opposed to large hotels, smaller destinations quickly fill up.

Larger European beach cities like Nice and Barcelona will typically have more availability–but if you have your heart set on staying in a certain area or are on a budget, it will still be to your benefit to book your trip in advance!

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm on a balcony overlooking Positano

… and not just for hotels.

In addition to hotels, consider booking major attractions ahead of time too–you’ll definitely want skip-the-line tickets for major attractions like the Colosseum and Eiffel Tower when visiting Europe in summer!

Also, consider that more specialized tours or places that limit the number of visitors like the Borghese Gallery and the Alhambra will sell out well in advance.

It pays to plan ahead when visiting Europe during its busiest months!

We book our skip-the-line tickets and many tours with Get Your Guide and also love the specialty tours offered by Take Walks .

Glass of red wine being held up against sky, Honeymoon in Santorini

Be cautious of your belongings.

While you should always be wary of pickpockets while traveling (and perhaps even in your hometown), the particularly heavy crowds that populate many of the best places to visit in Europe during summer make hotspots like the Eiffel Tower, Colosseum, and the Acropolis even more attractive to savvy pickpockets.

This applies to basically any major tourist destination where thousands of visitors regularly pass through, and the more crowded it is, the more careful you should be!

Be extra careful with your valuables when in a dense crowd as you explore these summer destinations in Europe, and consider carrying an anti-theft backpack as well– we use this one and absolutely love it.

Kate Storm in a gray dress standing in Rue de l'Universite in Paris with the Eiffel Tower behind her

Don’t forget sun protection!

And not just for the beaches, either–it’s easy to lose track of time and get sunburned walking around beautiful cities, too.

Come prepared with your own hat and sunscreen if you can, especially if you’re visiting a beach or coastal area.

As in most places around the world, you’ll pay a pretty penny for sunscreen at the beach in Europe!

Small boats parked near a rocky shore on the Pakleni Islands, one of the best things to do in Hvar

Consider concentrating your tourism outside of peak hours.

When visiting Europe during the height of summer, consider starting your mornings as early as possible, taking a break in the afternoon (ala a Spanish siesta or Italian riposo ), and then picking up your tourism again in the late afternoon/early evening.

This way, you can avoid the worst of the heat and crowds while maximizing the more comfortable time of day.

Of course, you don’t necessarily need to rest during the afternoon if you don’t want to–that can be a great time to hit an air-conditioned museum or relax on the beach!

Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatia postcard view from above with lakes in the center surrounded by trees, a must-see on your 10 day trip to Croatia!

Air conditioning is not a given.

When visiting Europe during the summer, double-check that your hotel or apartment before booking.

Air conditioning isn’t always standard when traveling in Europe, but it’s often very necessary in our opinion !

Kate Storm standing on a bridge in Seville Spain with her back to the camera--Seville makes an excellent stop on a Europe road trip!

Keep church-appropriate clothing in mind.

While the strictness of the dress code varies across the continent, generally you’ll want to pack at least one outfit that covers your cleavage, shoulders, and knees for visiting churches.

Men can usually get away with shorts that hit at the knee, but not always.

When touring any of these places to visit in Europe in summer, keep that dress code in mind as you structure your days.

It’s absolutely no fun being turned away from a tour you expected to take because you dressed for the weather and not the church!

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4 photos of Europe: provence, ibiza, santorini, cliffs of moher, with black and red text on a white background that reads "17 epic summer destinations in europe"

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

7 thoughts on “21 Sun-Soaked Summer Destinations in Europe (+ Travel Tips!)”

Gawd I’m desperate to go to Sicily. I think that’ll be my first place abroad when the lockdown lifts. Trying to decide where to go in Europe and although there are loads of other cool sounding places – I think Sicily is the one for me.

Sicily is absolutely amazing! Highly recommend it, we’d love to go back.

Albanian Riviera is absolutely breathtaking. Great seafood, great wines and great hospitality.

Absolutely! It was one of our “supposed tos” from 2020, we had planned to spend part of June there. Hopefully in the next couple of years we’ll make it.

Its the humidity, not the sun, that will soak you in an EU summer. We quickly learned to limit summer EU trips to the Alps– still humid but cooler.

Any thoughts on Greece during summer, everyone tells me its going to be hot, so unsure.

It all depends on your definition, I suppose! It also varies a lot by your destination–Athens will probably be uncomfortably hot (you’ll want to tour the Acropolis in the morning), but places like Santorini and Mykonos have average summer high temperatures in the mid-80s F or around 27 C.

If you want to visits lots of cities/inland areas and don’t have a high heat tolerance, spring or fall might be best. But if you’re hoping to see the islands and visit them at their most vibrant, summer is the most popular time to visit for a reason. 🙂

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Joanne Owen

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Wondering where to head this summer for your perfect break? Our run-down of the best summer destinations in Europe has you covered, whether you’re seeking a chic sojourn in the sun or adventures in the great outdoors. There’s plenty here if you’re travelling with kids, too, or fancy sampling the continent’s finest food and wine. Read on for inspiration that’ll have you reaching for your passport.

13. Bay of Kotor: best for dramatic scenery

12. french riviera: best for glamour, 11. azores islands: best for natural beauty, 10. balearic islands: best all-rounders.

  • 9. Greece: best for history and island magic

8. Italy: best for romance

7. andalucia: best for foodies and fiestas, 6. switzerland: best for scenery and cycling.

  • 5. Portugal: best for world-class water sports

4. Sweden: best for midsummer festival fun

3. slovenia: best for caves, castles and coastline, 2. iceland: best for adventure, 1. croatia: best for sailing and island-hopping.

The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for exploring the world.

Travel ideas for Spain, created by local experts

Andalucía Explored

9 days  / from 2491 USD

Andalucía Explored

Discover the best of Andalucía's breathtaking palaces, churches, museums, vineyards, and more, as you travel through spectacular scenery dotted with pueblos blancos and bordered by rugged mountains and coast en route to Granada, Seville, Ronda and Jerez de la Frontera.

A culinary experience in Seville

4 days  / from 649 USD

A culinary experience in Seville

Explore the cuisine and surroundings of Seville in Andalucia. From Iberian ham over sherry wines to the production and secrets of olive oil, this tour is an ideal weekend getaway. Decide yourself if you prefer a rental car or a chauffeur-driven car to explore the beauty of Andalucia.

Spanish Honeymoon

10 days  / from 3826 USD

Spanish Honeymoon

Discover Andalusia, starting with the cultural city of Seville, then on to Córdoba and Granada, home of the stunning Alhambra Palace. Next you'll visit Granada and the Albayzin Arab quarter, then enjoy a stunning hot-air balloon ride, before ending your trip with a luxury boat trip from Marbella!

Perched on the edge of a majestic bay, Kotor is the undisputed jewel of Montenegro’s crown. 

Though no longer exactly Europe’s best-kept secret, Kotor’s (modest) rise in popularity hasn't dimmed its timeless delights. By which we mean the cobbled alleyways and secluded piazzas of its medieval Old Town, with its town walls overlooked by monumental peaks.

Visiting for the first time? Read our first-timer's guide to Montenegro, and wise up on the best things to do in Montenegro. You'll also find inspiration in the Montenegro itineraries curated by our local experts.

For example, our Montenegro Adventure will see you experience the country's lakes and mountains in exhilarating style, while also offering the chance to explore Kotor's cultural hotspots.

Where to stay in Montenegro

  • Best for amazing bay views: Conte Hotel & Restaurant
  • Best for price and quality: Apartments Dakovic
  • Best for luxury: Heritage Grand Perast

Browse more accommodation options in the Bay of Kotor.

Things not to miss: Kotor bay, Montenegro.

Kotor Bay, Montenegro © Shutterstock

The Côte d’Azur polarises opinion like few places in France . To some, it remains the most glamorous of all Mediterranean playgrounds. To others, it’s an overdeveloped victim of its own hype.

On balance, though, it's impossible to deny the remarkable beauty of the hills, and the impossibly blue water. It's also clear why the region's light has drawn so many artists, and why visiting the French Riviera remains one of the best things to do in France.

Editor's tip: to experience more of France, check out our walking tour itinerary that'll see you explore less-crowded areas.

Where to stay on the French Riviera

  • Best for budget stays: Hôtel Richelieu
  • Best for secluded stays: Le Clos de Saint Aygulf
  • Best for a perfect honeymoon: Villa 35 de Saint Aygulf

Explore more accommodation options on the French Riviera.

Saint Tropez, Cote'd Azure, France © Shutterstock

Saint Tropez, Cote'd Azure, France © Shutterstock

Looking for a European summer destination that delivers stacks of natural beauty? The Azores offer just that. 

A volcanic archipelago that intersects Eurasian, North American and African plates, its nine islands are lush, and laden with lakes and waterfalls. That and bubbling hot springs and flowery meadows. 

In addition, the Azores offer year-round warm weather, and an inviting unhurried vibe.

It's also a top spot for adventures. Inland, take your pick from cycling, hiking canyoning. Meanwhile, the coast is ripe for whale and dolphin-watching experiences, with satisfying surf off spectacular sandy beaches.

Editor's tip: if you're into nature and adventure, take inspiration from our Azores Wild Nature trip .

Where to stay in the Azores

  • Best for couples: Miradouro da Papalva Guest House
  • Best for budget stays: ZIGZAG HOSTEL
  • Best for luxury: Pedras do Mar Resort & Spa

Browse more accommodation options in the Azores.

Angra do Heroismo z Alto da Memoria, Terceira, Azores, Portugal © Francesco Bonino/Shutterstock

Angra do Heroismo, Terceira, Azores, Portugal © Francesco Bonino/Shutterstock

East of the Spanish mainland, the four main Balearic Islands – Ibiza , Formentera , Mallorca and Menorca – are distinct from the rest of Spain , and from each other.

For example, Ibiza Town is loaded with historic attractions, and also remains hugely popular with clubbers and LGBTQ+ visitors. Meanwhile, the north of the island retains an old school bohemian atmosphere.

For a more rustic vibe, try tiny Formentera — it's not for nothing it's known as Ibiza's unspoiled sister . 

Meanwhile Mallorca — the largest Balearic island — has long cast-off its rep being a place overrun by hard-boozing Brits. These days, it draws more visitors to its fantastic hiking and cycling trails. That said, the island's beaches remain a great reason to visit.

Editor's tip: discover the best Balearic Island for different travel experiences.

Where to stay on the Balearic Islands

  • Best on Ibiza: Aparthotel Puerto Cala Vadella
  • Best on Formentera: Riu La Mola
  • Best on Mallorca: Aparthotel Ona Cala Pi Club
  • Best on Menorca: Grupotel Playa Club

The City Palma de Majorca from a bird's eye view © Olga Yatsenko/Shutterstock

Palma de Majorca © Olga Yatsenko/Shutterstock

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Elafonissi beach in Crete © Shutterstock

9. Greece: best for history and island magic 

Boasting historic sites spanning four millennia, an incredible coastline, and over 200 beautiful islands, it’s little wonder Greece  is one of the best summer destinations in Europe. 

Kicking off in the capital, Athens is a city that melds the magic of ancient myth with the energy of a modern metropolis. 

With the iconic Acropolis —  voted one of best places on earth  — looming large over the city, and family-friendly tavernas serving tasty  Greek food , it's a vibrant starting point for summer vacations.

When it comes to choosing where to find the best break for sand, sea and sun, read up on the  best beaches in Greece , and the best Greek islands . We have to say, even though it's hugely popular, witnessing a a Santorini sunset remains one of the best things to do in Greece . 

Editor's tip: to blend the best of both worlds (island sun and history), see our customisable Historic and Mythological Cyclades itinerary. It includes Santorini and Mykonos .

Where to stay in Greece

  • Best for beach-loving foodies: Corfu Palace Hotel
  • Best for culture vultures: SV Acropolis Residence
  • Best for Santorini sunsets: Golden Sunset Villa

The iconic blue-domed churches of Oia, Santorini

Santorini – one of the best summer destinations in Europe © Shutterstock

Narrowly missing out on the top spot in our reader survey of the most beautiful country in the world,  Italy  is hard to beat when it comes to offering opportunities to indulge in adulterated romance. 

From  Tuscany’s rolling hills and vineyards , and the dazzling Amalfi coast , to romance-rich cities like  Rome ,  Florence  and  Venice , Italy isn’t short of  beautiful places  that'll help you realise your dreams of  La Dolce Vita .

Beyond the mainland, islands like  Sicily  and  Sardinia  offer seclusion and a bounty of beautiful Italian beaches . 

Looking for romantic inspiration? Consider taking a  custom-made trip to the Italian lakes , or a romantic break in Venice . Or how about a longer tour that includes three dreamy cities of the Italian Renaissance .

Where to stay in Italy

  • Best for romantics: Hotel Casanova  
  • Best for history buffs: Residenza Roma Imperiale
  • Best for wine-lovers: Borgo Conde Wine Resort

Tuscany road with cypress tree © Shutterstock

The romance of Tuscany's rolling hills – hard to beat in summer © Shutterstock

For foodies, Spain is one of the best summer destinations in Europe, with Andalucía (arguably) best showcasing the country’s food.

The region’s three most significant cities —  Granada ,  Seville  and  Córdoba  — also display Spain’s Moorish architecture at its most magnificent, providing awe-inspiring backdrops for al fresco dining.

Editor's tip: to make the most of your time in the region, see our customisable best of Andalućia trip, or give your tastebuds a treat on a  culinary break in Seville .

Where to stay in Andalucia

  • Best for traditional charm: Hotel Las Casas de la Judería
  • Best for style-seekers: Vincci Albayzin
  • Best for couples: Casagrand Luxury Suites

flamenco-spain-shutterstock_649168258

Andalucía is known for its flamboyant flamenco traditions and fine food © Shutterstock

Our survey of the most beautiful countries in the world saw Switzerland praised for its “spectacular scenery” and “beautiful spotless cities". It’s also one of the best summer destinations in Europe. 

Switzerland sparkles at pretty much every turn, with dozens of ways to enjoy exhilarating outdoor experiences . 

While adventurers will want to hike the Eiger in the spectacular  Jungfrau region , you could also be inspired by scenery from a quaint mountain train.

That said, there’s no better way to experience Switzerland’s mountain passes than on your bike. 

Running between Italian-speaking Airolo and German-speaking Uri, the epic St. Gotthard Pass is hard to beat. Expect hair-raising hairpin bends, mountain villages, and, uniquely for the  Swiss Alps , bone-shaking cobblestones. 

Switzerland’s urban hotspots are as sparkling as its lakes and ice-capped mountains. Head to well-heeled  Geneva  for museums, scenic shopping and Old Town charm. Meanwhile, cosmopolitan  Zurich  offers café culture and nightlife in sublime surroundings.

Editor's tip: check out our  guidebook and, given that Switzerland has four official languages — German, French, Italian, and Romansch — you might also want to search our  range of phrasebooks . 

Where to stay in Switzerland

  • Best for pampering: Sunstar Hotel and Spa Grindelwald
  • Best for couples: Hotel de Geneve
  • Best for alpine adventurers: Endweg Apartment

oeschinensee-lake-bluemlisalp-mountain-alps-switzerland-shutterstock_604048316

Switzerland's awe-inspiring scenery is sure to stop you in your tracks © Shutterstock

5. Portugal: best for world-class water sports

Portugal’s  expansive coastline makes it a hotspot for water sports, with the  Algarve  boasting the country’s most sheltered — and popular — sandy beaches. 

In fact, this area is home to many of the  best beaches in Portugal.  

Not keen on crowds? Discover where you can get off the tourist trail in Portugal, and take an off-the-beaten-track tour of North Portugal.

Undecided about where to go? See our guide to Porto vs. Lisbon , and read up on the best things to do in Portugal .

Where to stay in Portugal

  • Best for luxury lovers: TURIM Terreiro do Paço Hotel
  • Best for families: Torel Avantgarde
  • Best for surfers: Vila Gale Ericeira

nazare-portugal-surfing-shutterstock_238715383

Wild water sports await in Nazare, Portugal © Shutterstock

Sweden  is a glorious destination for travellers seeking space, serenity and sports around the year. That said, experiencing the midsummer solstice celebrations provides a mix of magic and mayhem you’ll never forget.

Celebrated across the weekend closest to the 24th of June, Sweden’s midsummer celebrations spark a mass exodus from towns and cities as everyone heads to the countryside and coasts. 

Dalarna , the island of Öland, and the  Bohuslän coast  are among the most popular spots. 

As for what to expect, maypoles are erected in gardens and parks as gigantic fertility symbols, while trestle tables buckle under the weight of huge feasts. 

The party extends long into the light night, with much dancing and drinking enjoyed to the tune of accordions and fiddles.

Editor's tip: for year-round inspiration, read up on the best things to do in Sweden.

Where to stay in Sweden

  • Best for 19th-century style:  First Hotel Grand Falun
  • Best for cyclists and canoeists: Slipens Hotell
  • Best for eco-minded families: First Camp Västerås-Mälaren

Nice Little Houses and Luxury Cottages on Stockholm's archipelago © ROUSSELLE Xavier/Shutterstock

Stockholm's archipelago attracts thousands of fun-loving midsummer celebrants © ROUSSELLE Xavier/Shutterstock

Kicking off in Slovenia's  elegant capital,  Ljubljana , is a convenient base from which to visit a host of the country’s attractions. This city has its own hilltop 15th-century castle to explore before you venture further afield.

On that subject, Lake Bled  is an absolute must-visit. A mere 50 minutes from the capital, this mirror-like expanse of water boasts a fairy tale island and cliff-top castle, with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

Around 53 kilometres from Ljubljana, visiting Postojna Caves is another unmissable day trip. On arrival, you’ll board a train that’ll transport you to a sublime subterranean world, culminating in a show-stopping, cathedral-like chamber. 

A few kilometres northwest of Postojna caves, sixteenth-century Predjama Castle is a precariously-sited feat of architectural wonder. It’s built into and around an elevated cave entrance in the centre of a dramatic karst landscape.

Beyond its undeniably beautiful interior, Slovenia’s coastline might be short, but it’s incredibly sweet and varied. 

From picturesque Piran to the spa town of Portorož — which is oft-described as Slovenia’s answer to the French Riviera — Slovenia’s coastline has much to commend it

Editor's tip : to experience Slovenia in all its majesty, book a customisable  treasures of Slovenia trip .  

Where to stay in Slovenia

  • Best for lakeside luxury: Vila Bled
  • Best for families: Guesthouse Soul
  • Best for travellers on a budget: Guest House PachaMama

Slovenia, Julian Alps, Gorenjska, Reflection of Santa Maria Church on Lake Bled

Bleeding beautiful — Lake Bled, Slovenia © Shutterstock

As revealed in our guide to the best places to visit in the summer in Iceland , the country is stacked with adventure experiences — from ice and lava-caving, to glacier hiking and intercontinental snorkelling. 

As a result, it's clear why  Iceland  made it into our run-down of the world’s best adventure holiday destinations, and all done against spectacular backdrops of glaciers, fjords and mighty volcanoes. See for yourself in our  gallery . 

While serious hikers will want to tackle Iceland’s most extreme trail , you could opt to enjoy less challenging walks to cascading waterfalls and bubbling hot springs.

Talking of springs, before you go, read up on Iceland’s best hot pools , and the dos and don'ts of Icelandic spas . It's fair to say, taking the plunge is among the  best things to do in Iceland . 

Editor's tip: want to mix adventure with wildlife-watching and cultural experiences? See our our customisable trips to Iceland’s  enchanting east , or the  wild west .

Where to stay in Iceland

  • Best for families: Kvosin Downtown Hotel
  • Best for thrill-seekers: Hótel Skógafoss  
  • Best for price and quality: Saeluhus Apartments & Houses

black-sand-volcanic-iceland-beach-Dyrholaey-shutterstock_139682365

Dyrholaey beach © Shutterstock

With its gorgeous Adriatic coast offering over 200km of brilliantly blue sea and more than 1000 islands,  Croatia  is one of Europe’s top sailing destinations. 

For chic bars, fun nightlife and fine food, head to handsome Hvar Island. You'll certainly be able to enjoy some of Croatia's top foodie experiences here.

Given that the islands are home to many of the  best beaches in Croatia , you might want to learn how to make the most of island-hopping in Croatia .

Sailing and island exploration aside, Croatia is also an excellent destination for adventure-seekers and culture vultures, as revealed in our run-down of the best things to do in Croatia . 

Editor's tip: been there, done that? Croatia has plenty of  unusual things to do , among them visiting the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia's capital of cool .

Where to stay in Croatia

  • Best for island elegance: Hotel Adriana .
  • Best for Art Deco aficionados: Esplanade Zagreb Hotel
  • Best for couples: Villa Dubrovnik

City Harbour of the town of Hvar, on the island of Hvar, the Adriatic coast of Croatia © rustamank/Shutterstock

Hvar, Croatia © rustamank/Shutterstock

Ready to start planning your trip? Search the Rough Guides Shop  to find the perfect guide to enhance your summer in Europe. 

Alternatively, to forgo the faff of planning and booking your break, use our tailor-made trip service .

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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Chloe's Travelogue

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe

Bucket List , Europe

Summer is the perfect time to explore the beauty and diversity of Europe’s top destinations. Whether you’re seeking sun, sea, sand, or a more cultural experience, there’s a perfect destination for everyone. So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to discover some of Europe’s best summer destinations .

This list highlights a mix of mega-tourist and off-the-beaten-path destinations that will satisfy your wanderlust, whether you’re seeking beaches, mountains, lakes, or city breaks .

During the summer peak season, Europe gets crowded and can be costly. I recommend looking at the lesser-known hidden gems (many of them in this article). Do you only get time off during summer and want to explore the popular tourist hotspots? Book hotels and tickets as soon as possible – at least two to three months in advance.  

Table of Contents

Europe by Season

>> Europe in Spring: Which are the 37 best spring break destinations in Europe?  

>> Europe in Summer: 40 Dreamy Summer Vacations

>> Europe in Autumn: 29 Stunning Destinations for Fall Foliage, Vineyards and more

>> Europe in Winter: 23 Most Magical Christmas Markets in Europe

Pin it for later!

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe | Beach Towns, Alps, Mountains & Lakes, City Breaks and Countryside | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks

Disclosure : This article may contain affiliate links. If you purchase by clicking some of these links, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you . Click here to read full disclaimer. 

Europe Travel Resources 

📲 SIM card: Orange is France’s No.1 telecom company with the best coverage. I used  this Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid SIM (or eSim ), which worked well throughout Europe without hiccups. If you have any trouble using it or need to recharge, you can walk into any Orange store for help.

🛏 Hotels: I use this booking site for competitive rates, a generous free cancellation policy and member perks. Always read reviews before booking.

✈️ Flights : I often use Google Flights to search for the best deals. Then, I directly book flights with the airline.  

🚅 Trains: I love using Trainline to search for train schedules and book tickets. The platform is super helpful when there are any delays, disruptions, or rail strikes, which are all too common in Europe.  

🚘 Rental Cars: Outside the major cities, you may not be able to rely solely on public transportation. For a road trip, book rental cars from Auto Europe .

🎫 Tours: My first choice for booking tours and activities in Europe is Get Your Guide . The platform is easy to book or cancel. It often runs promotions.  

🚑 Travel Insurance: You should always travel with insurance. (Credit card insurance often covers travel disruptions but not medical bills.) Check with your health insurance policy; if it doesn’t cover international travel, compare travel insurance here before purchasing.

🧳 Storage: I love carrying my luggage, says no one! Find storage in the city to safely lock it and enjoy exploring the city without weighing your shoulders. Best €5 you will spend!

Best European Summer City Breaks  

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Brussels, Belgium | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeCityBreaks

Brussels, Belgium

Weather : The average high is 23°C (73°F) and the average low is 14°C (57°F). Precipitation in summer is about 30%.

National Holidays : Belgium National Day (July 21), Assumption Day (August 15)

Hotels to Stay : Motel One Brussels in the city center or Vintage Hotel in Ixelles for affordable chic styles

Crush your thirst with an icy-cold Belgian beer in the summer heat. How does that sound for your summer vacation?

Not everyone wants to rush to a beach town. If your idea of summer vacation is chilling in a city,  one day in Brussels  can make a perfect city break.

Brussels  will see more crowds than usual in summer, like any other European cities. However, it is not as bad as  Paris  or Rome. Also, the summer heat is more bearable, with the temperature rarely exceeding 30°C (85°F). While it may get humid, the chance of rain decreases in summer.

On July 21, Belgium celebrates Belgium National Day. The main festivities occur in Brussels with a parade and fireworks around the Royal Palace. The Belgian Royals go on a summer break right after this celebration;  the Royal Palace of Brussels is open to the public  during this period, giving a rare opportunity for visitors to peek at the official residence of the monarch.

Also, Brussels Flower Carpet is celebrated every other year in August. A gigantic carpet made of a million fresh begonia flowers is set on the Grand Place, creating spectacular scenery in the historic UNESCO World Heritage site.

Last but not least, Brussels is one of the  best gastronomic destinations in Europe , best known for its  waffles ,  chocolates, potato fries  (Don’t you dare call it French fries in Belgium!), mussels, and aforementioned world’s famous Belgian beers.

Contributed by Chloe of Chloe’s Travelogue

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Copenhagen, Denmark | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks

Copenhagen, Denmark

Weather:  12°C to 22°C (54-72°F) Summer is the sunniest time of the year in Copenhagen but you should also expect some occasional rain.

National holidays:  Constitution Day (June 5)

Hotels to Stay:  Generator Copenhagen (good budget stay), Hotel Mayfair (mid-range hotel, well located)

The long summer days in Copenhagen make it the ideal time to explore this beautiful  Scandinavian  city.  

While hiring a bike is the best way to do as the Danes do, especially while the weather is this good, hiring a Go Boat to travel around Copenhagen’s canals is also an amazing option for an afternoon. Relax and enjoy the picturesque views while cruising through the waterways for the perfect way to get a unique perspective of the city and its architecture.

For foodies, don’t miss Reffen – Copenhagen’s street food market located at the waterfront in Refshaleøen. During the summer, Reffen is bustling with activity, with some of the city’s most delicious and diverse dishes made by local chefs. Reffen also has a great range of the city’s best craft beer – perfect for a warm afternoon.

Copenhagen is also known for its parks , and during the summer months, they become a hub for locals and tourists alike. Feel free to join the locals for a barbecue in one of the many green spaces dotted throughout the city to soak up the sun long into the evening.

Alternatively, for those who want a bit more entertainment in their trip to the Danish capital, there are also plenty of festivals and other events that take place during the summer months, such as the Copenhagen Jazz Festival and Roskilde Festival.

Overall, Copenhagen in the summer is the best time to be there. The warm and pleasant weather, with endless activities and delicious food, makes it an ideal destination for travelers.

Contributed by Astrid of Seek Scandinavia

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Berlin, Germany | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeCityBreaks

Berlin, Germany

Weather : The average highs is 24ºC (75ºF) and average lows is 14ºC (57ºF). But it can reach over 30ºC (88ºF).

National Holidays : None in June through August.

Hotels to Stay : Leonardo Royal Hotel Berlin Alexanderplatz , Motel One Berlin Mitte

Spend  two days in Berlin , and you will realize why the German capital city often tops the list of the coolest cities in the world. Without a doubt, Berlin is a trendy and vibrant European destination for history buffs and cultural connoisseurs.

Berlin  has old European charms with  historical landmarks , like Brandenburg Gate. But the city is uniquely eclectic due to its colorful history.  World War II sites in Berlin , such as Holocaust Memorial and Nazi Book Burning Memorial, trace back to Nazi Germany. And  Checkpoint Charlie  and  East Side Gallery  remind us of another turbulent time during the Cold War when Berlin was split into East and West.

Embracing these contrasts and dark past, the city developed an edgy and rebellious spirit, creating a perfect environment for artists. And Berlin has become the artistic and cultural mecca in Europe. From underground techno clubs and  street art , the evidence is found everywhere.

The best time to visit Berlin is from May to September as the city gets lots of sun and warm and calm temperatures. But keep in mind that July is the wettest month.

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Amsterdam, the Netherlands | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeCityBreaks

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Weather : The summer is comfortably warm. Daily high temperatures are around 20°C (68°F) and daily low temperatures are 12°C (54°F). But rain and wind can skew how the temperatures feel.

Hotels to Stay : Hotel Vondel near Museumsplein for location and comfort or The Dylan for luxury stay. 

Summer is the best time to visit Amsterdam for its pleasant weather, long daylight, and lively outdoor events.

The Dutch capital city gets the best weather in summer. Its proximity to the North Sea brings comfortably warm weather without being too hot. The summer weather is perfect for travel as you will enjoy enough sunshine with long daylight. But Dutch weather is notoriously fickle. It may get slightly chilly in the evening, and it occasionally rains. Be prepared with a light jacket and  umbrella  for chilly evenings or rainy days.

Amsterdam hosts many spectacular summer festivals. Open-air music festivals such as Awakenings Festival in July and Dekmantel in August draw techno and electronic music fans, respectively, from all around the world. The Amsterdam Gay Pride also takes place with street parties and the infamous boat parade on canals.

Summer is also a peak season and can be crowded. You must research ahead of time and create your  Amsterdam itinerary  to travel efficiently. It is critical to book your tickets and time slot for  the most popular Amsterdam museums  and attractions well in advance, such as  Anne Frank House  and  Van Gogh Museum .

Amsterdam city card for tourists  will save you money and time. But note that most Amsterdam museums require you to book your time slot even if you are eligible for free admission.

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Porto, Portugal | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks

Porto, Portugal

Weather : sunny and dry, 23ºC – 25ºC (73-77ºF),

National Holidays : Portugal Day (June 10), Assumption Day (August 15)

Hotels to Stay : InterContinental Porto , Torel Palace Porto

Porto is a charming and lively city that is definitely worth a visit. The best time to experience Porto’s magic is during the summer months. From June to September, the weather is perfect for wandering around the city, soaking up the sun and sipping on a refreshing glass of Port wine .

There are plenty of things to see and do in Porto. One must-visit destination is the Ribeira district, which is situated along the beautiful Douro River. You can take a boat tour , or simply walk around to admire the colorful buildings and lively atmosphere.  

The historic Porto Cathedral, the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge and the Crystal Palace Gardens are also worth a visit. Porto is very walkable so you can easily walk between each attraction.

To fully experience Porto, you should spend at least three days in the city. This will give you enough time to explore the main attractions, wander through the streets and discover all of the city’s hidden gems.  

In summer, venture outside of the city center and make a day trip to nearby beaches. Matosinhos Beach and Espinho Beach are both easily accessible by public transport.

Another insider tip is to try the famous Francesinha sandwich, which is a Portuguese delicacy made with bread, ham, sausage and steak, all smothered in melted cheese and a spicy tomato sauce. It’s a culinary experience that you won’t forget!

Contributed by Megan of Traveller’s Elixir

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Stockholm, Sweden | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks

Stockholm, Sweden

Weather:  Temperature ranges from 12°C to 24°C (53-75°F). Mostly sunny with about 7 rainy days per month.

National Holidays:  National Day of Sweden (June 6), Midsummer (June 24)

Hotels to Stay:   Hotel At Six (centrally located), or Giò (affordable luxury)

If you’re keen on discovering the Nordic region but aren’t ready to deal with the blistering cold temperatures, consider visiting Stockholm , Sweden during the summertime! Not only are there  all kinds of parks, museums, and activities to do , but there are also lots of fun events that occur during the summer season!

For example, Lollapalooza Stockholm and High 5ive Summer Festival are both huge 3-day music festivals that occur at the end of June and into July. They not only feature tons of popular artists, but allow guests to indulge in an array of delicious foods, play games, see art installations, and more!

Or, if you want to celebrate with the LGBTQ+ community, don’t miss out on the PRIDE events that happen during the first week of August. You’ll witness parades and celebrations taking place all around town.

And be sure to hit up some of the most popular attractions , such as the Vasa Museum and Stortorget. At the Vasa Museum , you’ll learn the history of the Vasa ship, which sank in Stockholm Harbor on its maiden voyage. Meanwhile, Stortorget features lots of colorful historical buildings!

So, if you’re ready to explore the Scandinavian region without enduring the cold, then consider Stockholm for your next summer vacation!

Contributed by Kristin of Global Travel Escapades

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Cardiff, Wales, U.K. | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeCityBreaks #EuropeanCountryside

Cardiff, Wales, U.K.

Weather : Pleasant with the temperatures around 14-22℃. Summer rainfall is common but doesn’t last too long.

National holidays : St David’s Day (March 1)

Hotels to Stay : Park Plaza near Cardiff castle

Cardiff is the capital city of Wales, a small country off the west coast of England. The best time to visit is during the summer months when the weather is at its best.  

It is easy to visit on a  day trip to Cardiff from London  by either coach or train and the journey is worth making to see the best things the city has to offer.

During the summer, you can enjoy the greenery, beautiful trees and flowers at Bute Park in the heart of the city. Wander round the park or follow the river Taff as it winds through the park.  

Explore the amazing Cardiff Castle and see how it has evolved over the years from a small roman fort to an impressive family home and learn about all its uses over the years.

If the weather is not favorable, make the most of your day by exploring Cardiff market, where you can sample delicious homemade Welsh cakes. Or, pop into one of the many arcades around the city. Arcades are small covered shopping areas filled with boutique shops, cafes, hidden bars and restaurants.

When the sun is shining, Cardiff bay is the place to be. It transforms during the summer into a pop up beach area for visitors to enjoy with fun bars, food stands and live music.

Contributed by Stephanie of Book It Let’s Go

Paris Day Trip to Versailles: The Hall of Mirrors| #ParisinSummer #Versailles #RoyalPalaces #FranceTravel #TravelEurope

Don’t go to Versailles!

If there is one place in Europe I suggest you absolutely stay away from in summer, that is the Palace of Versailles. Read a detailed post about my experience and survival tips – if you still insist on going.

Best Beach Cities in Europe

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Hvar, Croatia | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks

Hvar, Croatia

Weather : Average of   24.7°C   (76°F) with an average of 3 wet days per month, and a less than 10% chance of precipitation

National Holidays : Corpus Christi Day (June 8), Victory Day (August 5), and Assumption of Mary (August 15)

Hotels to Stay : Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel for great location and luxury, Apartments Olive Tree for great location and spectacular views

Hvar is a spectacular destination, and it truly comes alive in the summer.

Just a short boat ride away from Split, this island is perfect for any type of traveler. Hvar Town is full of eager partiers, as well as those looking for rich history, incredible seafood, and a luxury vacation. Attend some of the best nightlife in Europe with exclusive parties, take in breathtaking views from the magnificent fortress, or check out the impressive handicrafts in town. You could easily spend several days enjoying all that Hvar Town has to offer.

Looking for a more relaxed getaway? You can head to Stari Grad and Jels, where you’ll find more quaint seaside towns, with cobblestone streets, charming churches, and a quieter side of the island. There is also an array of tasty and more affordable restaurants, for those who aren’t looking to splurge as much.

The island of Hvar also has some unbelievable beaches, and if you visit in the summer, you can also experience the beautiful lavender fields. With charming towns, delicious food, and stunning nature, there is no better time to enjoy this incredible destination than in the summer months.

Hvar in Croatia  is truly has something for everyone, and is the perfect European summer getaway to add to your bucket list.

Contributed by Danielle of Scratch Your Mapa

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Thassos, Greece | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks #GreekIslands

Thassos, Greece

Weather : Hot, sunny, and dry weather from June to August with refreshing sea breeze. The highest temperature often reaches around 28°C (82.4°F) in July and August, and can rise to 36°C (96.8°F) during heat waves.

National Holidays:  Holy Spirit Monday (June 5),Assumption of the Virgin Mary (August 15)

Hotels to Stay: A for Art Hotel   (by the port, in the centre),  Meli Suites, Thassos  (near Golden Beach),  Vathi Cove Luxury Resort & Spa   (luxury resort near Vathi Beach)

If you’re looking for a place to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then the Greek island of Thassos with breathtaking beaches, spectacular mountains, and delicious cuisine might just be the perfect destination.

Thassos offers a plethora of experiences for visitors, but perhaps the most well-known is  its stunning beaches , which come in all shapes and sizes, from secluded coves offering a peaceful escape (Metalia Beach) to large expanses of golden sand lined with beach bars. The crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving or various water sports.

Thassos also boasts breathtaking mountainous regions, with the highest peak Mount Ipsarion (1204m) offering an incredible panoramic view of both the land and sea. The mountains have many hiking trails suitable for both experienced and novice hikers, providing an excellent opportunity for outdoor exploration with a spectacular view.

And of course, no trip to Greece would be complete without indulging in delicious food! Luckily, the restaurants here offer a wide variety of local dishes visitors can enjoy, including the fresh seafood dishes that Thassos is known for.

If you prefer a more peaceful atmosphere, it’s best to avoid visiting around August 15, a major holiday in Greece that marks the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. However, if you visit during this time, you can witness the beautiful parade in Panagia where locals come together in celebration. Regardless of your timing, Thassos guarantees an unforgettable experience that will stay with you for years.

Contributed by Su of Goya Galeotta

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Naxos Island, Greece | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks #GreekIslands

Naxos Island , Greece

Weather : 26-20°C (68-79°F), mostly sunny

National holidays : Holy Spirit Monday (June 5), Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Aug. 15)

Hotels to Stay : Naxian Horizon , Naxos Hotel Poseidon

Looking for a Greek island escape without the crowds? Look no further than Naxos. While still a popular destination, Naxos is way less busy than some of its more famous neighbors, such as Santorini or Mykonos .  

With its stunning beaches, picturesque villages, and ancient ruins , Naxos is the perfect place to soak up the sun and experience the authentic Cycladic charm during the peak summer months.

June, July and August offer a perfect climate with balmy temperatures and constant sunshine making it an ideal time to visit. The warm seawater is perfect for swimming, windsurfing, or just lounging on the beach. The sea temperature ranges from 22 to 28°C, so if you want the warmest sea, choose to travel between the end of July and August.

Naxos is the biggest island in the Cyclades and boasts fantastic beaches, many remote and completely uncrowded. Visit the family-friendly Plaka Beach, soak up the serenity of tranquil Aliko, or be swept away by the stunning beauty of Hawai Beach with its breathtaking cliff views.

Some of the  best places to stay in Naxos  for first-time travelers include the island’s bustling port town – Chora and Agia Anna, which are a charming small town with a beautiful beach.

By Mal of Raw Mal Roams

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Corfu, Greece | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks #GreekIslands

Corfu, Greece

Weather : Warm and sunny with temperatures ranging from 22-32℃ (72-90℉)

National holidays : Holy Spirit Monday (June 5), Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Aug. 15)

Hotels to Stay :  Grecotel Corfu Imperial , MarBella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas , Mon Repos Palace

Nestled in the Ionian Sea,  Corfu is a perfect summer destination  for beach lovers. With its crystal clear waters and stunning landscapes, it’s no wonder that visitors flock to Corfu year after year.

One of the highlights of Corfu is its charming old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can wander through narrow cobblestone streets and admire the impressive architecture of Venetian-style buildings. The town is also home to a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening.

Of course, the main draw of Corfu is its beaches. Despite the crowds, Palaiokastritsa is worth a visit with its emerald green waters and rugged coastline , earning its nickname as the “Greek Maya Bay”. Glyfada and Agios Gordios are other popular beaches with soft sand and clear waters perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

Apart from the beach activities, Corfu also provides a plethora of other activities for visitors. Visitors can hike through the island’s lush hills and admire the stunning views, or explore the island’s rich history by visiting ancient ruins and museums, such as the Old Venetian Fortress, Angelokastro, and the Archaeological Museum of Corfu.

For those looking to avoid the summer crowds, it’s best to avoid the week before and after Dekapentaygoustos, the national holiday of Greece on the 15th of August. However, if you do choose to visit during this time, you’ll get to experience the festivities of “mini Easter” in Corfu, which is a unique and exciting cultural experience.

In conclusion, Corfu is an excellent summer destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, history, and culture. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore ancient ruins, or indulge in traditional Greek cuisine , Corfu has something to offer everyone.

Contributed by Jo of World Wild Schooling

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Myrtos Beach, Greece | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks #GreekIslands

Kefalonia , Greece

Weather in Summer : Warm and dry throughout summer. The average temperature is 23°C (73°F) in June and 27°C (80 ° F) in July and August, with the daily high in the 30s°C (90s ° F).

National Holidays : Holy Spirit Monday (June 5), Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Aug. 15)

Hotels to Stay : Stay at the Emelisse Nature Resort in Fiskardo for a luxury stay.

If you’re after beautifully warm weather, movie-like beaches (quite literally), and picturesque villages, look no further than Kefalonia.  

While it is less known than some neighboring islands, Kefalonia comes alive in summer. Here, you can enjoy Greece’s beautiful scenery and friendly culture without having to battle too many tourists.

Kefalonia has a lot to offer. If you love beaches, you must head to Antisamos Beach, which is featured in the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Another stunning beach that can’t be missed is Myrtos Beach . Head to the cliffs around it to see it from above.

Another place you also want to see is the Melissani Cave. A lake within a cave surrounded by a wooded forest, book yourself a boat tour for an incredibly unique experience.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Kefalonia , you might want to check out the beautiful fishing village of Fiskardo. While the majority of Kefalonia was destroyed during the 1953 earthquake, Fiskardo was the only point on the island to escape the tragedy. Being here is like taking a step back in time with the original Venetian-style buildings still standing strong.

If you’re visiting in summer, you can expect excellent weather. Temperatures can reach well into the 30s°C, and it cools to an average of 17°C at night. So pack light clothes, relax on some truly stunning beaches, and enjoy Greece’s warm and fun culture.  

Contributed by Kizzi of Off to Get Lost

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Sardinia, Italy | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks #ItalyBeach

Sardinia, Italy  

Weather : Typical Mediterranean climate with dry and sunny summer months with low humidity. Warm to hot temperatures, with an average high of 30°C (86°F) and an average low of 20°C (68°F).

National Holidays : Republic Day (June 2), Assumption Day (August 15)

Hotels to stay : Cala Caterina Rooms (Villasiumius), Colonna Resort (Porto Cervo)

The Italian island of Sardinia is one of the best European summer destinations!  

Sardinia is known for its spectacular white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, which makes it a must-visit summer destination.  

Throughout the rest of the year, Sardinia is pretty quiet, but it comes to life during the summer months. The weather is perfect for enjoying the beaches and you can experience Sardinia in all its beauty.

The beaches in Sardinia are some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. While some popular beaches can get crowded in the summer, there are plenty of lesser-known beaches that are equally beautiful and worth visiting. As there are so many beaches to explore in Sardinia, it’s always easy to find a quiet beach to get away from the crowds. For example, instead of the crowded Porto Giunco beach in Villasimius , head to the neighboring lesser-known Punta Molentis.  

In addition, to visit some of the   best beaches in Sardinia  only accessible by boat, go on a boat tour to explore the jaw-dropping coastline along the Capo Carbonara Marine Protected Area.

Sardinia is an incredibly popular summer holiday destination for Italian families. August, in particular, is the busiest month, as many Italians take August off from work. So make sure to book your accommodation in advance.

Contributed by Catrina of 24 Hours Layover

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Tropea, Italy | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks #ItalyBeach

Tropea, Italy  

Weather : Temperatures range from 26 to 30°C (80-86°F)

Hotels to Stay : Il Borghetto Creative Resort , Townhouse Tropea

Tropea is a beautiful coastal town located in the Calabria region of southern Italy. With its crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, Tropea is the perfect place to relax and unwind in the summer.

While there are plenty of  things to do in Tropea  and it’s easy to spend the day wandering the narrow cobblestone streets and alleys, it’s the beaches that people visit Tropea for.

Tropea is located along the “Coast of the Gods,” and boasts some of the best beaches in Italy, if not in Europe. Soft, white sand and clear, calm waters make the beaches ideal for families or couples looking to soak up the sun.

The main beach in Tropea is located just below the town’s historic center. From the beach, views of the colorful buildings perched atop the dramatic cliffs add to the incredible scenery.

While Tropea is known for its beaches, it’s also famous for its red onions, which are known for their sweet flavor and distinctive shape. Every July, the town celebrates these famous onions with the Red Onion Festival. This unique festival lasts for several days and includes live music and plenty of food. There are plenty of opportunities to sample different local dishes made of local stapes such as red onions and bluefish.

Contributed by Erin of Wanderlust with Kids

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Amalfi Coast, Italy | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks #ItalyBeach

Amalfi Coast, Italy  

Weather : Warm and sunny with an average temperature range of 23-31℃ (73-88℉).

Hotels to Stay : Hotel Buca di Bacco (Positano),  Belmond Hotel Caruso (Ravello), Hotel Santa Caterina (Amalfi)

If you’re looking for a summer vacation that offers warm weather, stunning scenery, and plenty of activities to keep you entertained, the Amalfi Coast in Italy is the perfect destination. During the summer months, the temperature ranges from 23°C (73°F) to 31°C (88°F), making it an ideal place to soak up the sun. You can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and boating.

One of the main benefits of visiting the Amalfi Coast in the summer is the abundance of events and festivals that take place during this time. From Ferragosto (Assumption Day) on August 15 to the Feast of Saint Andrew on June 27, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the local culture and traditions.

Although the summer months attract many tourists, you can still beat the crowds by visiting the more under-the-radar spots like Procida or Vietri sul Mare. Even within busy Positano, you can visit quieter beaches, such as Fornillo Beach, instead of the busy Spiaggia Grand.

The Amalfi Coast offers endless activities, including historic sites like the Amalfi Cathedral and the Villa Cimbrone Gardens, as well as the chance to hike along the Path of the Gods or take a boat tour to the nearby island of Capri .

When it comes to accommodations, the Amalfi Coast has no shortage of luxurious and stylish hotels to choose from. If you’re a first-time visitor, stay in Positano as it offers the most to do and is the most picturesque. If you love quieter areas you can stay in Ravello or Praiano.

So, pack your bags, swap your winter clothes for beach attire, and get ready to enjoy the sunny atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast this summer!

Contributed by Jackie of Joujou Travels

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Procida Islands, Italy | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks #ItalyBeach

Procida Island, Italy  

Weather : sunny, warm and dry with temperatures ranging between 15℃ and 30℃ (59℉ to 86℉)

National holidays : Republic Day (June 2), Assumption Day (August 15)

Hotels to stay : Vento di Mare

Procida is a small island situated in the Bay Of Naples, Italy. Characterized by distinct candy-colored architecture, Procida has been selected as the Capital of Culture of Italy in 2022. This nomination has definitely drawn international attention to the island which is often overshadowed by bigger and more popular counterparts, Ischia and Capri .

Interestingly, a petite island was known to many filmmakers a long time ago before travelers got to know about it. Thus, it was used as a backdrop in over a dozen of feature films. The most well-known is Il Postino and The Talented Mr. Ripley .

Apart from the pop of color and being a star of silver screens, Procida also has several pleasant beaches to spend time under the sun and in the water. Due to the volcanic nature of the island, the beaches here are black, yet the waters that bath Procida are crystal clear and great for swimming or even scuba diving.

Procida remains the least visited of the Campagnia Archipelago trio and is significantly less crowded. This makes Procida a perfect European destination to visit in summer.

A regular ferry runs daily from Naples and takes around 40 minutes to reach the island. Thus  visiting Procida as a day trip from Naples  is an obvious choice for many travelers. Yet overnight stay is highly recommended to witness magnificent sunsets and enjoy quiet mornings.

Contributed by Ausra of The Road Reel

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Xlendi Bay, Gozo, Malta | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeanBeach #EuropeCityBreaks

Xlendi Bay, Gozo, Malta

Weather in Summer : Hot, dry weather with lots of sunshine. Temperature ranges from 28–32℃ (82–90℉) during the day and 22–24℃ (72–75℉) at night.

National Holidays:  Freedom Day (March 31), Good Friday (April 7), Sette Giugno (June 7), Victory Day (September 8), Independence Day (September 21), Republic Day (December 13)

Hotels to Stay:   Cesca Boutique Hotel for a charming, relaxing stay.

One of the best European destinations to visit in summer is Gozo, Malta. Don’t let its size fool you, this tiny island packs a punch with plenty of sunshine, delicious food, beautiful countryside, and gorgeous Mediterranean water.

Tucked away on the island of Gozo is Xlendi Bay,  one of the best towns to visit in Malta. This seaside town makes an excellent base for exploring the island, as it offers a wide variety of food and accommodation choices for both couples and families.

With its crystal-clear waters, charming waterfront restaurants, and laid-back vibe, Xlendi Bay is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Not only is it close to other attractions on the island, but this   little gem has a beach all its own, which means you can spend the day swimming in the sea or paddling around in a kayak.

Gozo is known for its picturesque landscapes and stunning natural beauty. For hikers, there are several walking and biking paths throughout the island that lead to lookout points over the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

And no visit to Gozo would be complete without hopping on a boat tour to explore the island’s rugged coastline and hidden lagoons. Visit the former site of the Azure Window, snorkel in the crystal waters, or scuba dive in fascinating underwater caves, reefs, and shipwrecks.

So, whether you want to hike the unique landscape, lounge by the beach, or snorkel next to colorful fish, Gozo is a fantastic choice for your next Mediterranean vacation.

Contributed by Robyn of Two Empty Passports

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: The Bay of Motor, Montenegro | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks

The Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Weather : 18 – 30°C (64 – 86°F)

National holidays : Fašinada (July 22), Bokeljska noć (August)

Hotels to Stay : Historic Boutique Hotel Cattaro , One & Only Portonovi , Heritage Grand Perast  

The Bay of Kotor is a stunning off-the-beaten track destination for a summer vacation. Voted one of the world’s most beautiful bays, it boasts dramatic landscapes, inviting sea and romantic seaside villages.

Kotor Bay’s must-see destination is Kotor , a 2,000-year-old town encircled by 4.5km of impenetrable walls. Grab a cone of gelato and wander Kotor’s pedestrian streets to explore the town’s ancient palaces and churches.  

Kotor is also known as a cat-lover’s paradise, with cats lounging in patches of sun throughout the town.

For the best views of the town, take a hike up the old military path to San Giovanni Fortress. It’s a short and steep hike, but you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping views of the bay.

From Kotor, you can take a boat to Perast , popular for its romantic baroque architecture and romantic charm. Our Lady of the Rocks, the 500-year-old island church that floats just offshore is a must-see here. On July 22, each year you can witness Fašinada, a celebration of the founding of the church, where local families decorate their boats and row out to the island to throw rocks around it.

For a change of scene, head to Porto Montenegro or Portonovi marinas to see the glittering super yachts . The marinas’ villages offer top-notch restaurants and are beautiful places for a stroll on summer evenings.

Contributed by Sarah of Montenegro Pulse

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Texel, the Netherlands | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks

Texel, The Netherlands

Weather : Mostly sunny in June – August. Temperatures vary from an average low of 13°C (56°F) to an average high of 19°C (66°F).

National holidays : None. (Once every 3 years, Pentecost falls in June; there’s a first and second day of Pentecost, always on Sunday and Monday. The next is in June 2025.)

Hotels to Stay : Hotel Greenside Texel

Texel is an island in the North of the Netherlands. It has beaches on all sites. Summer is perfect to visit the island, since there are nice temperatures, lots of sunny days and August is the warmest month.  

Summer is also the high season; however, the beaches of Texel won’t be as crowded as on the mainland. Unlike Zandvoort and Scheveningen, the beaches on the Texel island are not as easily reachable for a one-day visit.

Texel has sand beaches, and is suitable for playing and sunbathing on the beach. Swimming in the sea or surfing is also an option.

Nevertheless, the beach isn’t the only thing to do on Texel.  Cycling on Texel  is one of many popular activities as the flat island makes exploring on bike perfect. There are biking lanes all over the island, one of which is 140 kilometers (87 miles) long. Bike renting facilities are widely available.

There are also many museums. For example, both the Schipbreuk- en Juttersmuseum Flora and Kaap Schil museum have a collection of finds from beach combing on display, each with a different take on it.

At the Northern tip of the island is the lighthouse, De Cocksdorp. Visitors can climbe up to take a look at the exhibit inside.

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Cabo de Gata, Spain | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks

Cabo de Gata, Spain  

Weather in summer : Semi-dry and sunny summer with the temperature ranging between 19°C and 30°C (66-86°F)

National Holidays : Assumption of Mary (August 15)

Hotels to stay : Casa Luna in Las Negras, Hotel Senderos in Agua Amarga, Doña Pakyta in San José

When talking about Summer destinations in Spain you may think about Ibiza, Mallorca, Tenerife, or Málaga but have you ever heard about Cabo de Gata ?  

This Natural Park of paradisiac beaches is located in the Spanish province of Almería (in Andalucía), in the south of Spain. It has 50 kilometers of the best-preserved cliff coastline of the European Mediterranean coast and many beaches of turquoise pristine water to enjoy some days of swimming and sunbathing , without all the crowds.  

Cabo de Gata is indeed a perfect destination for those who seek to relax off the Spanish summer beaten track.

There are almost no rainy days throughout all year. In the summer months, maximum temperatures reach up to 28-30°C, and the minimum temperatures rarely go below 19°C. Also, the maximum water temperature is 26°C and does not drop below 16°C, even in the winter months.

Don’t miss out some of the best spots in Cabo de Gata: 1) Long and huge white sand beaches , such as Mónsul and Los Genoveses; 2) wild and hidden little coves, such as Cala de Enmedio; 3) breathtaking views arriving at Cala San Pedro; and 4) the clearest water in Playa de los Muertos – Fear not, unlike its name, the only thing that will die there is your will to leave this place.

Contributed by Inês of Randomtrip.net  

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Coasta de Sol, Spain | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks

Costa del Sol, Spain

Weather : The weather in Spain is usually very dry; you can expect up to 30 °C (86°F) during the day with plenty of sunshine.

National holiday s: Labor Day (Día del Trabajo; May 1) , Assumption of Mary (Asunción de la Virgen; August 15)

Hotels to Stay : Sol Guadalmar

The Costa del Sol, situated on Spain’s southern coast, is one of the best European destinations to visit during summer. With its warm climate, stunning beaches, and vibrant nightlife, the Costa del Sol has something to offer for everyone.

One of the primary reasons the Costa del Sol is an ideal summer destination is its vast and diverse selection of beaches. With over 150 km of coastline, the Costa del Sol boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, from sandy stretches to secluded coves. These beaches offer visitors a variety of activities, such as swimming, sunbathing, and water sports like windsurfing and jet-skiing.

In addition to its natural beauty, the Costa del Sol also has a vibrant nightlife scene. The region is known for its bars, nightclubs, and beach clubs, which come alive after dark. Whether you want to dance the night away or enjoy a quiet drink while watching the sunset, there is plenty to choose from.

The beautiful Costa del Sol is also home to various cultural attractions. The region boasts several historical cities, such as Malaga and Marbella, but also the famous white villages Acebuchal, Frgiliana and Competa, which offer a wealth of cultural and artistic experiences. Visitors can explore ancient ruins, museums, and art galleries or simply wander through the narrow streets and soak up the local atmosphere.

Contributed by Victoria of Guide Your Travel

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Algarve, Portugal | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks #PortugalBeach

Algarve, Portugal

Weather : Sunny and humid with an average temperature of 23.5°C (74°F)

National holidays : Portugal Day (June 10), Feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24), Assumption Day (August 15)

Hotels to Stay : Inn Seventies in Lagos has spacious rooms, a pool, and sun terrace.

The Algarve in southern Portugal is truly a summer destination worth experiencing.  

There are a lot of fun things to do along the coast from  boat tours in Lagos  to explore the breathtaking Ponta da Piedade rock formations or kayaking to the majestic Benagil Cave . The party goes on at the party strip in Albufeira and so do a whole lot of fun water activities like parasailing and paddleboarding .  

The far west is best for surfers that will normally move up the coast towards Arrifana. But be aware of the massive crowds with diverse activities, turquoise water and golden cliffs.  

To escape the crowds, head to the eastern Algarve – from Faro to Tavira. You will find cute fishing villages and the beautiful Ria Formosa Natural Park made up of marshes, shrubs, and saltwater lagoons. It is a plethora for wading birds and migratory birds . Although winter is the season for flamingos, you might still see some hanging around in summer.  

The highlight of the east coast in summer are the barrier islands protecting the marshes. You can either go on a boat tour to explore multiple islands and relax on the golden beaches or walk across the footbridge to Tavira Island, where you can continue the 1.3 km to Barril Beach on the little tourist train. There you will see 200 anchors lined up in the sand, known as the Anchor Cemetery, left behind when tuna fishing declined.

Contributed by Linn Haglund of Amused by Algarve

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Aveiro & Costa Nova, Portugal | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks #PortugalBeach

Aveiro & Costa Nova, Portugal

Weather : The average temperature in summer is sunny at 23°C (73°F).

National holidays : Portugal Day (June 10), Assumption Day (August 15)

Hotels to stay : TRIADE Apartamentos

Summer in Portugal can get crowded, especially in places like Porto, Portugal’s second-biggest city. But not far from Porto is a town called Aveiro, considered Portugal’s version of Venice with its many canals. Even though Aveiro has a lot to offer, it’s not one of those overcrowded places (not yet, anyway).  

Aveiro is about a one-hour drive from Porto. So it makes for a  perfect day trip from Porto , or you can set up base in the less-crowded Aveiro and do a day trip to Porto .

While in Aveiro, you can stroll through the lovely old town, take in the relaxing atmosphere over a drink and go for a gondola ride through the canals . After you had your fill of the charming old town of Aveiro, you can hop on a short bus ride and relax at the beach in the coastal town of Costa Nova.  

Besides relaxing on a beautiful beach without the crowds, you can explore the colorful houses of Costa Nova, which this beach town is known for. Its colorful striped houses are a great background for any photo shoot. So take as many pictures as you want and then head to the beach to relax. What’s better on a hot summer holiday than getting to spend some time on the beach?

Contributed By Tina of Veganderlust

Summer Alps, Mountains and Lake Vacations

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Olpererhutte, Austria | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeAlps

Olpererhütte, Austria

Weather : The average temperature around 18-19°C (64-66°F)

National Holidays : Whit Monday (May or June), Assumption Day (August 15)

Hotels to Stay : Dominikushütte, Olpererhütte

Sitting atop of Austria’s picturesque Zillertal Alps, the  Olpererhütte  is a mountain hut that truly captures the essence of the Austrian Alps. Getting to Olpererhütte is easiest by car from Innsbruck Austria or Bolzano Italy.

The Olpererhütte trail sits at an elevation of 2,389 meters. It takes about 1.5 hours of strenuous hiking. However, the trek is well worth it as it offers an exceptional vista point for hikers and nature lovers.

Situated right in the middle of the Zillertal Alps, hikers can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains, lakes and valleys. As it is only accessible on foot following 1.5 hours of hiking, it makes an ideal location to beat the summer heat and crowds.

As the Olpererhütte is located in a remote mountain area, you can disconnect from modern life. It begs you to forget your to-do list and immerse in your senses.

Besides its stunning location, another reason why Olpererhütte offers a unique experience is because of the cozy, welcoming cabin awaiting hikers at the end of the trail. The hut is also near some of the region’s most popular day hiking and hut-to-hut hiking trails, like the Berlin Höhenweg.

You can celebrate finishing a strenuous hike while enjoying delicious homemade food at a welcome place, overlooking the Schlegeisspeicher Lake from 2,300 meters up. Try its apricot cake and the “Hutten spritz,” an elderberry-infused cocktail. Some visitors choose to stay overnight in the shared dormitories.

Overall, the Olpererhütte trail is an incredible destination for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty and hospitality of the Austrian Alps. Its stunning location, delicious food, and warm hospitality make it a sacred place.

Contributed By Morgan of Crave the Planet

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Salzkammergut, Austria | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeAlps

Salzkammergut, Austria

Weather : The temperatures range from 15℃ to 25℃ (59-77℉) in July and August with16 hours daylight. Expect 15 days of rainfall each month in June through August.

National holidays : Whit Monday (May or June), Assumption Day (August 15)

Hotels to Stay :  Villa Seilern Vital Resort (Bad Ischl) , Hupfmühle Pension (Sankt Wolfgang), Welterbe-Wirtshaus Steegwirt (Bad Goisern)

The Salzkammergut region is home to more than 30 lakes, hence known as the Lake District. It extends from the edge of Salzburg in the west to Dachstein in the southeast and Gmunden in the north. Its outdoor adventure opportunities make the region a resort destination in both summer and winter.  

When the sun is shining, the outdoor area comes to life. Summer is a great time to appreciate the glacial waters. For example, swim in Wolfgangsee, go sailing in Traunsee and stand-up paddleboard in Attersee. And take in the views of the enchanting UNESCO town of Hallstatt accessible by ferry.

Salzkammergut offers plentiful hiking and mountain biking options for every skill level. There are hundreds of kilometers of well-established trails connecting the entire region.  Meander along the rolling Traun River or explore the densely wooded forests and wander through the wildflower-scattered pastures .  

The elevated mountain trails are best in the summer months when the snow has melted, and the ground has time to dry. Most mountain huts – besides from designated ski areas –   are only open during the summer season.

If you want to appreciate the views without hiking, mountains like Dachstein, Katrin, Schafberg, or Feuerkogel have chair lifts, funiculars, or even a cog train to take you to the summit.

Interested in a deeper traditional Austrian experience? The summer calendar is full of cultural festivities in the picturesque towns around Salzkammergut most often paired with food, beer, and live music. Pair the incredible experience with a delicious piece of  Apfelstrudel .

Contributed by Laura Marson of A Dynamic Life

Dolomites, Italy

Weather : Average temperature in Bolzano is 29°C (84.2°F) while it is around 11°C (51.8°F) in the mountain.

National Holidays : Republic Day (June 2), Assumption Day (August 15)

Hotels to Stay :  Taubers Unterwirt Active & Vitalhotel in Bolzano or Theinersgarten in Ortisei for best accessibility to hikes

The Dolomites mountain range is located in northern Italy and stretches out over three Italian regions: Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Friuli Venezia Giulia. There is no place like the Dolomites to beat both the blistering Italian summer heat and the never-ending throngs of snap-happy tourists.  

If it is your first time in the Dolomites, focus on exploring the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol region as it is the most well-connected in terms of tourist infrastructure and public transportation. This region also has some of the most stunning  sustainable hotels in the Dolomites .

Getting to Südtirol can be done by flying into the International Airport in Venice (Marco Polo VCE) and hopping on a bus in the direction of Bolzano. From here, purchase the Südtirol Pass, which provides you access to all the busses, trains and a select number of cable cars within the entire Südtirol region.  

First-time hikers will love traipsing along the  Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Seceda and the entire Val Gardena area , which in summer is bursting with colorful flowers. More experienced hikers might try their hand at the Alta Via Route or even try out one of the Via Ferratas, climbing routes through the mountains with steel cables.

Visitors looking to simply relax should make a beeline to one of many lakes in the region , such as the “instagram-famous” Lago di Braies , the fairytale-like Lago di Carezza and the much lesser-known Lago di Dobiacco.

Contributed by Caroline of Veggie Wayfarer

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Bergen, Norway | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #Fjords #EuropeCityBreaks

Bergen, Norway

Weather : Daytime highs of 17-18℃ (63-65℉) and nighttime lows of 10-13℃ (50-55℉) with rainfall for 12-15 days

National holidays : None in the summer

Hotels to stay : Radisson Blu Royal Hotel , Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz

Bergen, Norway , is one of the best Northern Europe destinations to visit in the summer. The traditionally rainy city is more likely to have sunshine in the summer than at any other time of year, and daytime temperatures are wonderful for outdoor activities.

Visitors will want to begin their trip to this Norwegian city by walking the Bryygen Wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site . The colorful wooden buildings make for great photos. Bergen’s waterfront fish market features the catch of the day and is a great place to eat, by the water.

Next on the itinerary should be a funicular ride to the top of Mount Floyen , one of the several mountains surrounding Bergen. From the viewing area at the top, visitors can get panoramic 360-degree views over the city and the sea. You can either walk down, or take the funicular back to the city center.

Visitors can also take the cable car to the top of Mount Ulriken, and intrepid hikers can hike between Mount Floyen and Mount Ulriken.

Bergen is known as the gateway to the Norwegian fjords , and many visitors plan a day trip to Flam and the scenic Naeroyfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its exceptional beauty.

Whatever you choose to do in Bergen, you’ll have a wonderful summer vacation here!

Contributed by Dhara of It’s Not About the Miles

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Flam, Norway | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #Fjords #EuropeCityBreaks

Flam, Norway

Weather : The high temperatures range from 20 to 22 ℃ (68-72℉). It is often sunny, but with a chance of clouds and rain (7-11 days per month).

National Holidays : Occasionally Pinse (Pentecost) falls in June, during which both the Sunday and Monday are public holidays in Norway.

Hotels to Stay : Heimly Pensjonat offers modest accommodation and food, with a stunning view across the fjord.

Flam is a gorgeous small town in Southern Norway – the perfect place for exploring the majestic and natural beauty of Norway’s fjords. Flam is 310km from Oslo and 170km from Bergen and is reachable by train, road or boat.

It sits at the end of the Aurlandsfjord branch of the Sognefjord, also known as the ‘King of Fjords’ . It has wonderful views straight down the fjord and offers plenty of ways to enjoy the water and the scenery.

While it’s a quaint little town, there are lots of  things to do in Flam  in summer, including fjord cruises, fast RIB boat experiences and kayaking on the still, deep waters. You can get up into the surrounding mountains to enjoy the views from winding scenic roads, hiking paths and mountain bike routes (after this, you might want to take advantage of the Flam’s fjord-side sauna!). There’s also a stunning viewpoint over the fjord at Stegastein.

It is highly recommended to take a ride on the local train because the Flam Railway is one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. The railway runs through the Flam valley between Flam and the mountain station of Myrdal. Covering a vertical distance of 864m, it is one of the steepest railways in the world and in summer, you’ll enjoy views of the fast-flowing Flam river, its green valley, many snow-capped mountains and breath-taking waterfalls.

Contributed b y Martha of MayCauseWanderlust

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Picos de Europa, Spain | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeAlps

Picos de Europa, Spain

Weather : Temperature ranges from 15 to 24℃ (58-76℉). Summers are generally sunny, warm and dry although you should expect showers or cloud and the occasional misty day.

National Holidays* : Revetlla de Sant Joan (June 24), Dia de Santiago (July 25), Assumption Day (August 15)

*Note: Día de Cantabria  (Day of Cantabria) celebrates the history, culture and language of the Cantabrian region of Spain. It is on the second Sunday of August, but is not a public holiday.

Hotels to Stay : El Azufral in Potes, Hotel Mirador de la Cepada in Cangas de Onis

Summer in the Picos de Europa is a hiker’s paradise. Located on the northern coast, the park offers some of Spain’s most beautiful landscapes.

Summer is absolutely the best time to explore the limestone peaks, green valleys, traditional villages and meadows brimming with wildflowers. From June to September, the park comes alive making it the perfect destination for lovers of the outdoors with hiking, cycling and climbing for all levels, as well canyoning, kayaking and horseback riding.

If you prefer something less strenuous, Fuente Dé cable car takes visitors up to 1,823 metres where you can enjoy breathtaking views over the surrounding landscape.

The Monasterio de Liebana, home to the Lígnum Crucis, said to be the single largest piece of Christ’s cross and a place of pilgrimage since medieval times and is the final stage of the  Camino Lebaniago .

If you’re based in Potes you can also take an  historic walking tour   to learn more about this fascinating little mountain town.

The Covadonga Lakes are another very popular attraction, offering stunning vistas from the mountains to the glorious Cantabrian coast with gentle hikes suitable for all levels. During the summer months, visitors can expect local festivals with traditional music and dance and food festivals and markets showcasing local produce and the  region’s renowned wine and cheese .

You will need a car to make the very most of a visit to the Picos; you’ll be free to explore beyond Potes to other glorious sites, such as Cangas de Onis or some of the region’s renowned beaches at Llanes or Ribedesella or the stunning little fishing town of San Vicente de la Barquera with its 13 th  Century Castle.

Contributed by Colleen of Then We Walked

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeHiking

La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain

Weather in Summer : Sunny, humid and dry with the temperature ranging from 21℃ to 28℃ (70-82°F)  

National Holidays : Fiesta de la Candelaria (August 15)

Hotels to Stay : Hotel Rural Casa Lugo in Agulo,  Parador de la Gomera in San Sebastina de La Gomera

La Gomera is one of the Canary Islands’ hidden gems. Its subtropical climate makes it a good travel destination all year round. However, the best season to visit the island is summer. The days are the hottest of the year, allowing you to spend more time outdoors.

La Gomera is located 45 minutes by boat from Tenerife . The island destination is ideal for those seeking to unplug and reconnect with nature while discovering some unique ancient traditions.

From the wild unexplored beaches of the North East of the island, to the calmer waters of the Valle Gran Rey, where you can swim with Manta Rays, La Gomera is a perfect secluded beach destination.

La Gomera features a radial structure of deep ravines and it is home to the World UNESCO heritage laurisilva prehistorical forest, the Garajonay national park . Hiking in La Gomera will allow you to cool down from the Summer beach heat and explore some unique landscapes.

Do not miss the chance to attend the El Silbo show during your stay at the island. El Silbo (the whistle) is a whistling language used by the inhabitants of the island since the 15 th century to communicate across deep ravines and valleys. There are several ritual places scattered around the island, where The Guanches (aboriginals) used to offer sacrifices to their Gods.

Contributed by Pilar of Travel the World Pages

>> Swiss Travel Pass : Take advantage of unlimited access to public trains, buses and boats to reach mountains and sail picturesque lakes near 41 cities in Switzerland!

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Lucerne, Switzerland | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #SwissAlps

Lucerne, Switzerland

Weather : Mild and pleasant summer weather, with average temperatures ranging from 13℃ to 23℃ (57-75°F).

National Holidays : Whit Monday (May or June), Swiss National Day (August 1)

Hotels to Stay : The iconic Grand Hotel National , known for its luxurious amenities, stunning lake views, and convenient location in the heart of the city.

Lucerne, a gorgeous and charming city in the center of Switzerland, is the ideal place to travel in the summer. Every kind of traveler may find something to enjoy in Lucerne because of its breathtaking natural beauty, historical sites, and plenty of outdoor activities.

The Chapel Bridge is one of the must-see sights in Lucerne in the summer. The oldest wooden bridge in Europe, this famous covered wooden bridge offers beautiful views of the city and the surrounding mountains. It was built in the 14th century. It is a unique opportunity to stroll along the bridge and take in the exquisitely painted triangular panels that represent scenes from Swiss history.

The Lion Monument , also referred to as the Lion of Lucerne, is another important monument. This enormous sculpture which has been carved into a rock, honors the Swiss Guards who died during the French Revolution. With its surrounding lush greenery, the Lion Monument is a compelling and poignant work of art that is worth seeing at any time of year.

There are options to tour the magnificent Swiss Alps during the summer in Lucerne. Visit Mount Pilatus , one of the most recognizable summits in the area, for a day excursion to take in the expansive views of the alpine surroundings. After taking a leisurely boat ride on Lake Lucerne, take the steepest cogwheel railway in the world to ascend.

Consider  planning a trip to Lucerne  that includes viewing the Old Town’s medieval buildings, going to the Richard Wagner Museum, taking a boat tour to the adjacent Swiss Transport Museum , and dining at some of the city’s best restaurants to make the most of your time there.

Contributed by Trijit Mallick of Budget Travel Buff

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Lugano, Switzerland | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #SwissAlps

Lugano and Ascoda, Switzerland

Weather : Hot and sunny summer weather with clear blue skies most days, with average temperatures ranging from 13℃ to 22℃ (57-71.6°F). For 2023, the highest temperatures reached 35℃ (95°F).

National Holidays : Whit Monday (May or June), Swiss National Day (August 1)

Hotels to Stay : Luxury Hotel Splendide Royal Lugano with stunning Lugano Lake views. Art Hotel Riposo for peace and relaxation in Ascona.

For a beautiful, warm destination for the summer, consider your next trip to the Ticino canton of Switzerland, specifically Lugano and Ascona. Both are located South of the Alps in Switzerland, next to the lakes and surrounded by palm trees.

During Summer, the region is perfect for those who love social events. There are many events throughout the season. For example, there are the 10-day-long Locarno Film Festival (buy tickets in advance!), ongoing Jazz music events, a few vintage car shows and general food truck festivals. The local weekly market is also great for buying some delicious local delicacies. To avoid the weekend crowds, try to visit during the weekdays for any specific activities.

For adventurous activities, surrounding Lugano and Ascona are many mountains with different hiking routes based on fitness level, such as Monte Brè, Monte Tamaro and  Cimetta . All are suitable for families with kids. Start with the funicular and then hike to the peaks .

Alternatively for relaxing summer, visit a local spa, such as the Termali Spa . They have some amazing massage and relaxation packages, with private room with balcony, hot tub and sauna access. This is combined also with a local aperitief with drinks and fresh snacks.

Lastly, since this is the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland, don’t miss Italian cuisine . Check out  Piazza Ascona  in Ascona for delicious pastas and bruchettas, and  Acqua e Farina  in Lugano for freshly baked pizzas. You’ll be in for a treat!

Written by Zoe of Together In Switzerland

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Mürren, Switzerland | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #SwissAlps

Mürren , Switzerland

Weather : Dry and sunny between 15-20 ℃ (60-70℉) during the day. The weather can change quickly between sunny and cloudy in the mountains at higher altitudes.

National holidays : Whit Monday (May or June), Swiss National Day (August 1), Assumption Day (August 15)

Hotels to Stay :  Hotel Eiger , Hotel Jungfrau

The  village of Mürren  is located at 5,400 feet (1,646 meters) altitude above the Lauterbrunnen valley in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. Mürren is special because the small hamlet of 400 residents is situated on a rocky mountain plateau that can only be accessed with a cable car or a Swiss mountain train.  

Refreshing temperatures and a unique view of the snow-capped mountain trio, Eiger, Jungfrau and Mönch , make Mürren a perfect summer destination.  

Most visitors enjoy the local vibes among the traditional timbered Swiss houses, but the area has much more to offer. A cable car ride takes visitors further up to the Schilthorn, a mountain that was made famous thanks to a James Bond movie filmed at the summit and in Mürren.  

Families will appreciate the children-friendly flower trail, which can teach children and adults alike the various local flower types and their importance to the ecosystem. Breathtakingly beautiful hikes with difficulty levels bring one closer to the natural habitat of the Swiss alps and are a prime reason for many to stick around in this Swiss village.  

Mürren is also known as an extreme sports destination. The paragliding experience and via ferrata attract every summer the bravest in the world. Visitors can expect to find peace and fun all-in-one in Mürren.

Contributed by Paul D’Souza of Paulmarina

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Appenzell, Switzerland | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #SwissAlps

Appenzelle , Switzerland

Weather : Warm and pleasant summer weather with an average of 16°C (62°F)

National Holidays : Swiss National Day (August 1st)

Hotels to Stay:    Alte Metzg Boutique is known for its convenient location within Appenzell and amenities such as a beautiful terrace and sauna to relax after a long day of hiking.  

Located in northeastern Switzerland, Appenzell is a nature-lover’s dream with its gorgeous hiking trails , alpine lakes, rolling hills, and some of the happiest cows on the planet. Summer is the best time to visit Appenzell to enjoy the area’s activities!

Summer is the warm season in Appenzell, with temperatures reaching an average of 62°F daily. July is the hottest month, reaching an average of 69°F. Though the Summer is warm, the heat is not unbearable, providing the perfect climate for outdoor activities. It is also the rainiest time; however, it does not typically rain very hard.

Two of the most popular hikes in Appenzell include the Ascher Hike and the Seealpsee Hike.  

The Ascher Hike starts from the Ebenalp cable car and leads visitors through a cave, past a small chapel, and to the magnificent Ascher restaurant carved into the cliffside.

The Seealpsee hike starts directly from Wasserauen Station, where visitors climb uphill for approximately an hour to a gorgeous alpine lake. From there, hikers can swim in the crystal clear waters, enjoy one of the restaurants, and even take a rowboat into the lake!

Another popular activity during the Summer is participating in Alpstobete. This is a traditional Swiss festivity hosted by herdsmen throughout the Summer weekends. Visitors can enjoy traditional folk dancing, music, and yodeling.

For tourists visiting Appenzell , one of the best places to stay is the Alte Metzg Boutique. It has six beautifully furnished rooms, a well-stocked kitchen, a sauna, a terrace, and some of the most welcoming staff in Europe.  

As a bonus, guests staying three or more nights are eligible for the Appenzell Holiday card. This card provides perks such as free transportation to and from Appenzell to any airport, free transportation throughout Appenzell, free museum entry, free hiking shoes rentals, and more.  

Contributed by Shar of Sightseeing Shar

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe | Beach Towns, Alps, Mountains & Lakes, City Breaks and Countryside | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeBeach #EuropeCityBreaks

Best European Countryside Holidays in Summer

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Lavender Fields in Provence, France | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeCityBreaks #EuropeanCountryside

Provence, France

Weather:  24-30 ℃ (75-86℉). Normally sunny, dry and hot.

National holidays:  Bastille Day (July 14), Assumption Day (August 15)

Hotels to Stay:  La Bastide de Moustiers in the Valensole area, or Coquillade Provence in the Luberon.

Summer is  lavender season in Provence , and there’s no better time to experience the magic of this special region.  

From around mid-June, the fields around Provence come to life, and the heady scent of lavender starts to fill the air. Head to the Luberon to see smaller lavender fields tucked between hilltop villages and framed by stately country houses and vineyards .  

Or visit the famous Valensole Plateau with its more agrarian landscape and endless lavender farms. Here, you’ll find the most visited fields, but there’s plenty of space to accommodate the crowds.  

In between your lavender forays, you can take a dip in the Lac de Sainte-Croix, paddle up the Verdon Gorge , visit the traditional ceramics ateliers in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie , or even visit the factory of local cosmetics brand, L’Occitane.  

Don’t forget to stock up on lavender souvenirs at the various farm stands you’ll pass along the way, to support the local producers.  

And don’t miss the Valensole lavender festival, which takes place on the 3rd Sunday of July. If visiting later in the season (mid-July onwards), head to the upper Luberon, where you’ll find fine lavender growing at higher elevations around Sault , Aurel and Ferrassières. Sault also hosts a lavender festival on the August 15, to celebrate the year’s harvest.

Contributed by Nadine of Le Long Weekend

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: La Rochelle, France | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeCityBreaks #EuropeanCountryside

La Rochelle, France

Weather in Summer:  Warm and dry with July being the hottest month and temperatures range from 20°C – 24°C (68-75℉).

National Holidays:  Bastille Day (July 14), Assumption Day (August 15)

Hotels to stay : Maison des Ambassadeurs , Hôtel La Tour de Nesle

Sat on the Atlantic Coast La Rochelle has everything for the perfect summer getaway with beautiful sandy beaches, rich cultural heritage, and scenic landscapes.

There are many things to do in La Rochelle starting with the Vieux Port (Old Port) and marina. With stunning ocean views, the city is dotted with shops and restaurants housed in picturesque 17th and 18th-century architecture.

The city has several popular beaches, such as Plage des Minimes and Plage de la Concurrence. They are perfect for swimming, sunbathing and relaxing. Also, there are plenty of water sports available.

Renowned for its rich cultural heritage , there are several historical sites and museums to explore. The Musée Maritime, located in the Old Port, features the city’s maritime heritage, while the Musée d’Orbigny-Bernon showcases the region’s archaeology, fine arts and decorative arts.

Additionally, the Aquarium La Rochelle is one of the city’s most popular attractions, with over 12,000 marine species on display, making it a great place to visit with children.

Other notable landmarks include the Gothic-style St. Nicholas Tower, the imposing La Rochelle Cathedral, and the stunning Hôtel de Ville (City Hall).

In July, there is the famous festival, Les Francofolies de La Rochelle. Founded in 1985 it’s a celebration of French-language music, with an emphasis on francophone artists from around the world. Held over five days the festival offers live music concerts, workshops, film screenings, and street performances.

And finally, don’t forget to try the Charente Maritime Oysters, which are farmed from the oyster beds on the nearby islands of Ile de Ré and Ile d’Oléron. The city is famous for its seafood.

Contributed by Kylie Lang of Life in Rural France

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Strasbourg, France | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeCityBreaks #EuropeanCountryside

Strasbourg, France

Weather : Sunny with some rain, temperature ranges from 14℃ to 25℃ (57-77℉)

National Holidays : Bastille Day (July 14), Assumption (August 15)

Hotels to Stay : Hôtel des Vosges

Strasbourg may be best known for its Christmas market ; however, it really shines in summer when the weather is sunny and hot. The capital city of the Grand Est region is located in a valley between the French Vosges and the German Black Forest mountains.

There are lots of things to do in Strasbourg in the summer months. At 142 meters tall, Strasbourg Cathedral is the tallest building in the city. Climbing to its platform (at 66 metres) is a highlight of any visit. On a clear summer day, it’s possible to see all the way to the Vosges and Black Forest mountains. On summer nights, the city also puts on sound and light shows with projections on the cathedral’s facade.

On Sunday mornings in summer, the city puts on Alsatian folk performances at different locations, such as Place Gutenberg and the quai near Palais Rohan. During these shows, performers are in traditional costumes, and there is also traditional music by local orchestras.

Strasbourg is a green city. During the summer, its parks and green spaces are in full bloom. On Friday evenings, there are cinéma en plein air (outdoor movie nights) events at different parks around the city. Also, the city brings sand to Presqu’île Malraux to bring a bit of the beach to the River Ill.

Contributed by Melanie Ferguson of Postcards and Places

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Menton, France | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #FrenchRiviera #EuropeanCountryside

Menton, France

Weather : The summer months average a temperature of 27°C (80°F) – perfect for swimming in the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

National Holidays : Bastille Day (July 14), Assumption Day (August 15)

Hotels to stay : Hotel Richelieu , Hotel le Dauphin or Best Western Premier Hotel Prince de Galles

Menton is one of the French Riviera’s lesser talked about towns. Nevertheless, it truly is the area’s best kept secret. This absolutely stunning town on the Côte d’Azur is the final stop before the border crossing into Italy and it is well worth the train trip.  

Menton is a town that warrants a longer, relaxing stay but is also possible to visit on a day trip from Nice if that’s where you’re choosing for your home base in the region.

The beautiful  old town of Menton  rivals any of the other busier stops on the French Riviera with winding cobblestoned streets and saffron painted buildings. The Vieux Chateau Cemetery sits atop the cliffs with unparalleled views of the turquoise ocean below, so this is one stop that definitely should be on your Menton itinerary.

Other notable stops in your Menton adventures are the Jean Cocteau Museum, 17th Century churches the Basilica St Michel and Chapelle des Penitents Blancs a stroll (or a sunbake) along the beachfront Promenade du Soleil. Menton is also famous for its citrus festival and citrus products, so you’ll find many stores selling all kinds of citrus goodies such as Limoncello, gelato and soaps to purchase as souvenirs.

Contributed by Emma of Emma Jane Explores

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Wicklow, Ireland | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeCityBreaks #EuropeanCountryside

Wicklow, Ireland

Weather : Summertime lows average 9°C (49°F) with highs around 21°C (70°F). A mix of cloudy and sunny days, usually humid.

National holidays : June Bank Holiday (June 5), August Bank Holiday (August 7)

Hotels to stay : Stay at the Wicklow Way Lodge or Lynhams Hotel

Travelers who love to spend time outdoors and also beat the summer heat will love visiting Wicklow, Ireland. Located about an hour south of Dublin , County Wicklow is known as the Garden of Ireland for its lush greenery and beautiful mountains. During the summertime, you’ll find that the entire area is in bloom, warm enough that you can laze in the sun or go for a swim in the ocean.

There are so many wonderful things to do in Wicklow , but one of the top attractions is definitely Glendalough . This glacial lake is set in the Wicklow Mountains, and you can hike above and around the lake on the Spinc Trail. Near Glendalough is a set of monastic ruins that you can visit, full of funerary stones, a de-roofed cathedral, and a round tower.

Spend part of a day exploring Powerscourt Estate and Gardens and the nearby town of Enniskerry. Powerscourt is a large and beautiful garden where you can explore at your own pace. After visiting Powerscourt, grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine in the cafe that overlooks the property.

If you’d like to go for a dip or a sea swim, as the locals call it, visit Brittas Bay along the coast. This small beach is popular with locals and a favorite for some small seals who like to bask in the sunshine. Go south just past the main beach to a smaller cove, which is more protected and secluded.

Contributed by Amber of Amber Everywhere

40 Best Summer Destinations in Europe: Giethoorn, the Netherlands | #SummerEurope #travelEurope #EuropeCityBreaks #EuropeanCountryside

Giethoorn, The Netherlands

Weather :   20 degrees Celsius (68°F) to 26 degrees Celsius (79°F)

National Holidays : None

Hotels to Stay : De Kruumte ,  Hoeve Blitterswijk ,  B&B De Stadssingel

Giethoorn is one of the most popular and romantic destinations in the Netherlands that is best enjoyed during the summer. This is because summertime in Giethoorn is full of lush greenery, bright flowers in the gardens of the cute cottages along the canals, and languid canal cruises in boats that make no noise, thus preserving and tranquility of this almost fairytale-like village.  

One can reach Giethoorn from Amsterdam within 1.5 hours by car, 2 hours by public transport or as part of a boat tour. This 800-year-old village is famous for being a village with no roads. This means that the only way to commute here is by boat!  

Sure, there are narrow paths along the village as well, but a boat ride is one of the  best things to do in Giethoorn . There is no permit needed to operate a boat and it’s better to book online to get the best prices and to beat the crowds! A 3-4 hour boat ride is the perfect amount of time to see most of Giethoorn by boat and then one can see the rest of this charming village by foot.  

Visitors arriving by car do not need to worry since there are parking lots on the outskirts of the village and plenty of hotels and restaurants.

Contributed by Soujanya of The Spicy Journey

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25 Best Summer Destinations In Europe You Should Visit

Are you looking for the perfect destination in Europe to spend your vacation this summer?

Then you’ve come to the right place! In this post, 25 travel bloggers will guide you through the most beautiful places to visit in Europe in summer whether you want to go in July, August or even September.

This is the best representation I can give you about this diverse continent. From la Bella Italia to the cooler northern Iceland, there’s a perfect holiday destination for everyone!

Are you ready to get inspired by these beautiful summer destinations?

Use this handy map to see where your dream summer destination is located in Europe.

Best summer destinations in Europe

Iceland - best summer destinations in Europe

Contributed by Suzanne of Meandering Wild

Iceland is the perfect location for a summer trip. While it is often associated with snow, dark winter nights, and the northern lights, the summer brings almost constant daylight, beautiful flower meadows and puffins.

The midnight sun means that you can explore for long days.  You don’t need to think about getting back to your hotel before it gets dark. This also means that you can visit the larger attractions late in the evening and have them to yourself.

The best way to explore  Iceland in the summer  is to complete the ring road as a road trip. This will take you past the well-known waterfalls including Godafoss and Skogafoss and the beautiful Diamond Beach which is scattered with icebergs. You will visit geothermal areas with steaming mud pools and see the large geysers. A summer road trip also means you can explore the more remote areas which are often cut off in the winter months. 

The weather in the summer can be variable. Lots of layers of clothing are needed as well as waterproofs and winter layers. Even in July, the temperature may struggle to be a few degrees above freezing and the Atlantic storms can bring heavy rain and strong winds.

This is not a warm lazy summer destination, but the landscapes and adventure make up for this completely.

Pula, Croatia

amphitheatre of Pula, Croatia - best summer destination in Europe

Contributed by Martina & Jürgen of Places of Juma

One of the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe is definitely  Pula in Croatia ! On this trip, you can expect a beautiful historic old town where you can even visit the famous Croatian amphitheater. This dates back to Roman times and can even be compared to the Arena in Rome . But not only the landmark of Pula is worth seeing, in the city center there are other Roman buildings and temples waiting for you. Picturesque are also the small alleys and pretty city squares, where you can enjoy the wonderful summer scenery with a cocktail or ice cream. In summer there is often live music and lots going on.

Another highlight that makes Pula extremely attractive as a summer destination is the countless magnificent bays and beaches. They are located outside the city and delight with beautiful nature and fabulous watercolors. Perfect if you want to relax for a few days and still do some sightseeing and excursions.

But the region around Pula is also worth seeing, so you can experience a lot here also in summertime. Some of the most beautiful sights of Istria, such as Cape Kamenjak or the mountain village of Motovun are not far from Pula.

Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina

Sarajevo

Contributed by Džangir Kolar of Dr. Jam Travels

Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country in southeast Europe. One should visit this city for many reasons, but the main 6 would be history, culture, people, food, nature, and prices. History and sites you can find in the city ranging from medieval Ottoman times, the Austro Hungarian empire, Yugoslavia with Tito, the winter Olympic games in 1984, up to the late independence war in the 1990s.

The cultural mix here is something rarely seen in one place. In a square of a few 100 meters you have temples from the four main monotheistic religions (catholic, orthodox, Muslim, Jewish) and it has been this way for over five centuries.

People here are kind, relaxed, and constantly joking. Food is again a mixture of cultures, heavily influenced by Turkish cuisine. You should try ćevapi meat rolls or one of the pies at Baščaršija Bazaar. Also, the aščinica dinner type of venue is a place to taste many things like Beg soup or stuffed peppers. For dessert, you should order baklava and coffee prepared in a special way.

Within half an hour from the city center, you have beautiful hills, rivers and waterfalls. Summers here are hot, 30+ celsius degrees. Last but not least are prices: Sarajevo is one of the cheapest capitals in Europe. For example, a beer would be 1.5 €. If you put all these features together, it is a no-brainer where you will spend your next summer vacation.

Santorini, Greece

Santorini

Contributed by Monique of Trip Anthropologist

One of the most romantic and beautiful European summer destinations is Greece’s Santorini Island. This summer is a fantastic time to visit Santorini because it will not be as crowded with cruise ships as in other years.

This is particularly so with beautiful Oia which is the most sophisticated and photographed town on the island. Make sure you walk down the many wide steps to tiny Ammoudi Bay where you can swim, snorkel, dive or just eat fresh seafood right by the water in the tiny restaurants.

Watching the sunset over the volcano across the caldera and the Aegean sea is a magical experience. Exploring the island from the sea, sailing around Santorini, hiking from Fira to Oia, and exploring the central ancient villages such as  Megalochori , are all must-do experiences!

At the southern end of Santorini is Akrotiri which is home to the archaeological site of Ancient Akrotiri, Greece’s equivalent of Pompeii. Around the central villages are wineries, some with views over the caldera.

Traditional cave hotels make a wonderful respite from the fierce summer sun. It is a great idea to hit the beaches or take to the water in the middle of the day. Sunset is the most lovely time of day and thousands of people gather near Oia castle to watch the sun sink below the volcano.

Lisbon, Portugal

summer travel destinations europe

Contributed by Venaugh of Venaugh

Lisbon, Portugal is a summer destination that you’ll never forget. The weather is perfect! It’s lovely and cool around 22 degrees Celsius even when the sun is still out, and it’s not an intense sun that’s extremely hot when you stand in it. However, some places are very windy as you go further out of the city.

There are so many wonderful sites to see like the Tower of Belem, Boca de Inferno, and of course, the breath-taking architecture. There is also Roca da Cabo which is the most western point of the entire European continent. And it looks like an image from a postcard!

Although there are also some gorgeous beaches, be prepared for extremely cold waters. Also, many of the buildings have historic value, including the places you may rent, however, there are also some more modern alternatives that can be found as well. All these reasons, plus so many more, make Lisbon a great summer destination.

Related: 19 famous landmarks in Portugal you should visit!

Alghero, Sardinia

summer travel destinations europe

Contributed by Claudia Tavani of Strictly Sardinia

Alghero is easily one of the best summer destinations in Europe. This small town on the northwestern coast of Sardinia is truly unique. Famous for being a Catalan-speaking town, thanks to the fact that for a long time it was under Catalan influence, Alghero is a great place to visit year-round but it becomes fully alive during the summer months. 

Among the  best beaches in Alghero  there is Le Bombarde and right next to it, Lazzaretto beach. Both are small coves surrounded by a thick forest of Mediterranean pine trees populated by thousands of cicadas whose sound is almost deafening – in an absolutely pleasant way. Mugoni is another beloved beach, a favorite of locals and offering views of Capo Caccia (also visible from town), a promontory from where you can enjoy perfect sunset views and where you’ll find walking and hiking trails.

Capo Caccia will also give you access to Neptune Caves: the Escalade Cabirol is a stairway of more than 600 steps that will take you to the spectacular caves. Alternatively, you can go there by boat from Alghero tourist harbor. 

Not far from Alghero, Porto Conte Park is perfect for nature lovers; Nuraghe Palmavera is a well-kept archeological site and Sella & Mosca is one of the best wineries in Sardinia where you can also go wine tasting. 

Alghero is well connected to the rest of Europe via direct budget airline flights.

Scotland, UK

Scotland - best summer destinaton in Europe

Contributed by Kristin of Adventures with Ensuite

Scotland has some interesting cities but the main reason it is such a great destination is its countryside and magical scenery. The highlands and the Hebridean islands are paradises for lovers of the outdoors and summer is the best time to experience the unique landscapes.

You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to hiking in Scotland. Some areas not to miss are Glencoe and nearby Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the UK.

Fort William, the town close to Ben Nevis, is also home to the Jacobite Express steam train – although this train is more famous as the train featured in the Harry Potter movies.

A few hours further northwest is the Isle of Skye with its fairy pools and unique rock formations such as the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing. 

The summer months bring the dreaded midges but don’t let them stop you from visiting. Summer is the best time to experience the Scottish outdoors since the weather is warmer and it rains less.

But be aware that the weather is very variable in these parts, even during summer. So come prepared for all four seasons in a single day so that nothing can stop you from enjoying the beauty of the landscape.

Algarve, Portugal

Algarve, Portugal

Contributed by Alya and Campbell of Stingy Nomads

Algarve, a region in the south of Portugal is an amazing summer destination in Europe. The region offers great weather, many outdoor things to do, beautiful historical towns, sandy beaches, a warm sea, and delicious local food. Algarve can be a perfect holiday place for any traveler; a solo traveler, a romantic couple, or a family with children. 

The most popular beach holiday places in the Algarve are Lagos, Faro, and Albufeira. All three towns have beautiful sandy beaches, charming historical centers, many restaurants, and hotels. Outdoor activities in the Algarve include surfing, kayaking, hiking, cycling, dolphin watching, etc. Hiking is one of the most popular activities here. A wide range of walking routes along the coast including the famous Rota Vicentina offers stunning views.

In summer in the Algarve the weather is great. It’s hot and sunny every day with very little rain and a refreshing sea breeze. August is the busiest time in the Algarve with thousands of foreign and local tourists coming here for the summer holidays. If you want to skip crowds it’s better to come in June or September. 

The quickest way of getting to the Algarve is to fly to the international airport of Faro; there are direct flights from many European cities. From Faro, you can take a bus, a train or rent a car and drive to your final destination.

London

Contributed by Alice of Adventures of Alice

London is the capital of England, but it’s also one of the best cities in the world with plenty to do for any kind of traveler. It’s a magical place, always buzzing with new and exciting things to do. There’s so much to offer and whether you’re spending  24 hours in London  or a whole week, the city has something for everyone.

The best way to navigate the many choices on offer is by following locals around their native boroughs, or simply taking in the sights from above with a ride on one of London’s iconic double-decker buses.

The city also has a rich history that spans centuries. It has survived gunpowder plots, The Great Fire of London and two world wars, plus, it’s also home to some of England’s most famous landmarks like Big Ben, The Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. 

You’ll find plenty more incredible sights when you explore this city on foot or via a riverboat tour. There are countless parks throughout London, which makes it easy to find outdoor activities like cycling through Richmond Park or visiting Kew Gardens for a stroll among acres upon acres of beautiful botanical gardens. 

Plus, the food scene here is out of this world – after all, London is considered one of the culinary capitals and has everything from Michelin Star dining to fantastic street food. Perfect for culture, history or just good old-fashioned fun, London is one of the best summer destinations in Europe.

Baku, Azerbaijan

Baku Azerbaijan

Contributed by Ellis of Backpack Adventures

Baku is a city that is both European as well as Asian. Located on the Caspian sea coast it is at the crossroads between east and west. There are modern shopping streets and futuristic architecture but also a beautifully renovated historic center that brings you back to the days of the Silk Road. 

In Baku, you can visit old caravanserais, mosques and hammams. Some buildings, such as the maiden tower, are so old that people only know mysterious legends about its dynamic past. Baku is one of the oldest cities in Europe and it was founded before the 5th century BC. 

Baku was fought over by the Romans, the Persians, the Arabs, the Ottomans and the Russians. Nowadays it is the capital of independent Azerbaijan, but it remains a melting pot of different cultural influences. At the same time, Baku is changing with new futuristic buildings such as the flame towers that rise above the city

Summers are warm and dry and the great weather is perfect to explore the city. If it gets too warm in Baku itself, it is very easy to escape the summer heat. Baku is close to the Caucasus mountains and before you know it you can be surrounded by fresh air, green alpine meadows and snow-capped mountain peaks.

Provence, France

Provence France

Contributed by Nadine of Le Long Weekend

Summer in Southern France is absolutely magical. Bathed under a golden sun, and with impossibly blue skies, Provence positively glows in the warmer months. It’s a time when the farmer’s markets are in full swing, fun & entertaining cultural events fill the city streets, and long lazy lunches are savored under the shade of a plane tree.

The weather is typically hot and sunny, with sweltering days and warm nights. Because of this, it’s best to go exploring in the mornings and reserve the afternoons for a dip in the sea, or to spend time by the pool. Of course, there’s one attraction in particular that draws in visitors to this bucolic corner of France every year, and that’s the  lavender fields of Provence . Early-mid summer is the ideal time to witness the spectacle before the fragrant crop starts getting harvested in mid-July.

But even if you miss this key event, there’s plenty to keep you busy in summer. Hire a pedal boat and float down the spectacular Verdon Gorge, shop for souvenirs in the antique markets in L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue, discover the region’s famed rosé & go on a tasting tour of several vineyards, or spend time in the charming seaside village of Cassis. The Provence is incredibly varied and has something for everyone to enjoy.

Related: 21 cool weekend breaks in France

Granada, Spain

Granada - best summer destination in Europe

Contributed by Joanna of The World In My Pocket

Granada is one of  the most beautiful cities in Andalucia , a perfect destination for a summer holiday in Europe. You can almost be guaranteed that the weather will be sunny and hot if you visit Granada during the summer months. Granada is one of those cities that offers something for every member of the family, no matter what they are interested in.

One of the main attractions in Granada is the Alhambra, a fantastic Moorish fortress which has stood the test of time and is now the most visited landmark in Spain. If you want to visit, make sure to book your entry tickets ahead of time, as they usually sell out at least three months before. Even if you didn’t manage to book a ticket, you should still visit the gardens of the Alhambra, which are one of the best examples of the Nasrid landscaping.

Another great thing to do in Granada is to attend a flamenco show in one of the caves outside of the city center. It is a unique, emotional experience, that shouldn’t be missed.

Summer in Granada is a perfect time to enjoy tapas at the many outdoor terraces around the city. Remember that this is one of the few places in Spain where you get free tapas when you order a drink.

Related: Malaga one day itinerary

The German Alps

castle in the German Alps

Contributed by Daniel and Ilona of Top Travel Sights

The Alps in Southern Germany are amongst the best European summer destinations. Here, you can find a wide variety of attractions, from castles to cute mountain villages and various hiking trails.

One of the highlights of Southern Germany is  visiting Neuschwanstein Castle . The fairytale castle, which inspired Walt Disney’s  Sleeping Beauty  castle, is amongst Germany’s most famous landmarks. You can easily spend a whole day in the area, exploring the viewpoints around the building. Plus, did you know that you can visit a second castle, just a few hundred meters away?

Hohenschwangau Castle might not be as well-known as Neuschwanstein Castle, but the interior is stunning, and it’s well worth a visit. For both castles, make sure to book your tickets in advance as a limited number of visitors can tour them every day.

Another fantastic thing to do in Southern Germany is to hike in the Alps. You can find hundreds of hiking trails in Southern Germany. Some, like the hike to Lake Schrecksee, take you to alpine lakes. Others allow you to climb mountain tops or walk across meadows.

The weather in the Southern German Alps often gets hot enough in summer to swim in the alpine lakes. Nevertheless, some days might be cloudy or windy, so remember to pack a light jacket.

Malta

Contributed by Emily of Emy’s Way

An amazing summer destination in Europe that is often overlooked is Malta, a small Mediterranean island located south of Italy. I arrived with no expectations but quickly fell in love with its gorgeous views, old medieval towns and delicious local cuisine. On top of that, Malta offers so many adventurous activities that will make your trip truly unforgettable.

One of the things you can’t miss when visiting Malta is its historic capital, Valletta. It’s one of the most impressive cities I’ve ever seen, its old glory completely intact. Definitely check out the Barrakka Gardens and enjoy some stunning sea views.

If you love snorkelling or want to marvel at clear turquoise waters, I suggest a boat trip to Comino and Gozo. For the best sandy beach in Malta, head to Ghajn Tuffieha Bay. Another amazing sight to see are the ancient towns of Mdina and Rabat, as well as the nearby Dingli Cliffs (try to catch a sunrise if you can!).

If you’re visiting Malta during summer, you can definitely expect hot temperatures around 30°C. However, since you’re on an island, there are plenty of opportunities to go for a swim and cool off! If you don’t want to rent a car, there’s a great bus and ferry system that’ll take you to pretty much anywhere.

Puglia, Italy

Puglia, Italy

Contributed by Ophelie of Limitless Secrets

Puglia is one of the best destinations to visit in Europe in summer! Located in the south of Italy, exactly at the heel of Italy’s boots, this region is not too touristy yet and is worth being discovered!

Firstly, the coastline here is stunning with impressive cliffs and crystal-clear waters. You will find some amazing beaches here too! Also, Puglia is famous for its charming towns and the beautiful architecture in its cities. It’s quite warm and sunny here in summer so you can enjoy the best of what Puglia has to offer!

Go to Monopoli and Polignano a Mare if you like pretty towns on the coastline. If you want to be blown away by some impressive cliffs, coastal views and natural pools, you should drive to the south around Torre dell’Orso and Torre Sant’Andrea. Do not miss the little village of Alberobello with its Trulli. These houses look like they are coming right out of a fairy tale! If you like history and architecture, you can visit Locorotondo, Lecce or Ostuni.

The best way to travel around in Puglia is to do a road trip. You can start in Bari, the capital of Puglia and then head to the south. 

Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne

Contributed by Dymphe of Dyma Abroad

One of the best European summer destinations is the city of Lucerne in Switzerland. The city of Lucerne is one of the most beautiful places in the country. It is a very fun city with lots of things to do and see. Especially during summer, Lucerne is amazing!

One of the best things to do during summer is going to Lake Lucerne. This is one of the most  beautiful lakes in Switzerland and there are lots of water activities you can do here. For example, you can swim at many places at the lake. Furthermore, you can rent a boat and explore the lake from the water.

Another great thing to do in Lucerne is going to the Kapellbrücke, which is a wooden bridge from the Middle Ages. Besides that, the old town of Lucerne is great to visit too! There are lots of beautiful buildings here, and you find here lots of shops, which is great if you like shopping! Another great thing about Lucerne in summer is that there are many flowers throughout the city! Also, the weather in Lucerne is very pleasant in summer. July is the warmest month and it has an average temperature of 77°F (or 25°C).

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest

Contributed by Nate  of Travel Lemming

Summer is a wonderful time to  visit Budapest  because the warm, but not overbearing, weather is perfect for strolling along this extremely pedestrian-friendly city. Summer is also when Budapest plays host to one of the most popular music festivals in Europe: the Sziget Festival, a week-long festival attracting nearly 1,000 performances from around the world. 

Even if you’re not a music buff, though, you’ll find lots to do in Budapest in the summer. You can’t miss the famous Hungarian Parliament building, perhaps the most beautiful structure in the world. Then stroll across Budapest’s Széchenyi Chain Bridge and climb Buda Castle for sweeping vistas of the city. In the evening, be sure to check out the unique atmosphere at one of Budapest’s famous ruin bars like Szimpla Kert. 

For a real treat, take an evening river cruise along the Danube. While there are many companies selling organized boat tours, you can actually take one of four public transit boat lines to get the same experience on a budget. A ride costs a mere 750 HUF, or about 3 USD, and the boats even have bar service! 

Whatever you do in Budapest, you’re sure to soon discover why this incredible city is undeniably one of the best summer destinations in Europe. 

Constanta & Mamia, Romania

Romania

Contributed by Richard of RJ On Tour

The Black Sea Resort of Mamaia is a district of Constanta in the East of Romania. It really is a fascinating and fun place to visit and it is hot and sunny in the summer.  Mamaia is a beach resort with long sandy beaches, great bars and restaurants. Visitors can take part in many watersports or relax on the lovely beaches. The resort has a cable car running along it, a funfair and water parks.

Constanta however is the oldest inhabited city in Romania and has a history dating back to 600BC, thus it has some fantastic historical buildings to explore. The cathedral is a splendid sight, as is the iconic Art Nouveau Casino. The city is fascinating and very different from other places in Romania.

Dining out and drinks in Mamia and Constanta are relatively cheap by European standards. There are also many options to suit most tastes. Dishes such as mici and ciorba are delicacies in the area and Ursus is a great hot day tipple. This is the most popular beach holiday destination in the country for great reasons. One of the special aspects of the coast here is the spectacular Black Sea sunrises every morning.

Cyprus - best summer destination in Europe

Contributed by Lavina of Continent Hop

Cyprus isn’t too famous a spot for a European summer getaway; however, not many know that it is one of the best places to spend summer in Europe where the weather is warm (even super hot sometimes in August), the sea is pleasantly refreshing (think Indian Ocean temperatures) and calm, and it’s perfect in almost all aspects!

Cyprus is compact yet packs a punch. It’s got numerous archaeological spots that one can spend hours exploring. Most of them are concentrated in Paphos like Tombs of the Kings, Neo Paphos, Paphos castle, and the Agios Neophytos Monastery, to name a few. There are also numerous natural attractions like Adonis Baths Waterfalls and Petra Tou Romiou, which are very pretty and worth a visit.

It isn’t just about the things you can see and visit, though.  Traditional food in Cyprus  is simple yet tasty. The Mezze platters are a sight to behold with items like hummus, tzatziki, sausages, grilled halloumi and another ten things in the least. Cyprus has wineries, too, so expect some delightful drinks to go with it!

There are many options for snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, and even cave scuba diving available on the island for those who prefer an active holiday.

Corfu, Greece

Corfu

Contributed by Daniela of No Hurry To Get Home

Corfu is one of the best Greek islands and one of the dreamiest summer destinations in Europe if what you’re after is a mix of beaches and gorgeous nature. Aside from being home to some of the best beaches on the continent, this gem of an island also boasts lush mountains that are perfect for a hike.

Aside from its turquoise beaches, what makes Corfu so special is just how much there is to do. A must-do is Porto Timoni, which is one of the most gorgeous beaches on the entire island and has some amazing snorkeling opportunities. Another awesome thing to do is checking out Canal D’Amour (Love Channel) and spending a few hours exploring the historical goodness of Corfu Town. Summer is the best time of the year to visit thanks to its wonderful mild weather (hot during the day and mildly chilly in the evenings.

As for  where to stay in Corfu , Porto Demo Boutique Hotel is a wonderful choice if you’re looking for a luxurious vacation. If you’re on a budget, San Georgio Hotel is another great option. If you’d like to party, Corfu Town is probably your best bet!

Faroe Islands, Denmark

Faroe Islands

Contributed by Sunetra Biswas of Globetrotting Su

Dreaming of towering cliffs with unspoiled natural beauty, views of vast oceans with epic roads to traverse endlessly, surrounded by magical and fairytale villages, then the Faroe Islands is the place for you. One of the best destinations for a summer road trip, Faroe Islands is an untouched and underrated gem in the world. Faroe Islands is a self-governing archipelago that consists of 18 rocky, volcanic islands, situated between Scotland, Iceland & Norway in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The best time to visit the Faroe Islands is in summer (June-August) when the average temperature is around 13-15˚C with yellow buttercups blooming all over the island. The islands are generally windy, cloudy and cool throughout the year. But the long hours of daylight (~19h) during summer with reasonably dry and settled weather makes it an ideal time for hiking and driving across the stunning landscape. The ultimate way to explore and experience the Faroe Islands is through road trips where the islands are very well connected by roads and ferries.

Although it may seem like a tiny nation, there’s a lot to do and explore. Some of the main highlights of this nation are the islands of Vagar, Streymoy and Eysturoy. Don’t miss the cute flock of puffins in Mykines, fairytale villages of Saksun and Gjogv, hiking the Kallur lighthouse in Kalsoy and exploring Tinganes, Tórshavn’s old town. To best experience Faroe Islands, dedicate a week to 10 days for the most amazing summer trip of your lifetime.  

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana

Contributed by Mansoureh of Travel with Mansoureh

At the heart of Slovenia , lies Ljubljana, one of the most charming and underrated European capital cities. This city has plenty to offer and is an ideal destination for a summer holiday when you can go paddle-boarding on the river, or have a drink on a boat tour around the city. 

One of the main attractions is Ljubljana Castle, standing on top of a hill above the town center. You can visit the courtyard free of charge, but you need to purchase a ticket to be able to visit other parts of the castle. The ticket costs €10 per person, by adding €3 more, you can also access the funicular. 

Strolling around the town center is a delight. There are shops, restaurants, cute cafes with beautiful settings and amazing views over the river. Ljubljana is famous for its beautiful bridges, the two famous ones are Love Bridge and Dragon Bridge. Keep in mind that a dragon is the symbol of the city.

By staying in Ljubljana, you will be able to take day trips to other popular destinations in Slovenia. Lake Bled , one of the prettiest lakes in the world, and Postojna Cave one of the largest caves in Europe are only 40 mins drive from Ljubljana. 

Related: how to spend one day in Ljubljana

Paris, France

Montmartre Paris - best summer destination in Europe

Contributed by Elisa of World in Paris

Paris in the summer is a moveable feast! In the summer, the weather is always good, and the sun sets late. It is the time of dinners on a terrace, canal cruises, picnics in the park, and fun festivals.

Paris in the summer sees the Paris Plages, when the banks of the Seine River are covered by sand and invaded by hammocks, chaise longues, and beach bars. It also celebrates the arrival of the Tour de France and the National Day (14th of July), usually with a military parade and a show of music and fireworks around the Eiffel Tower.

Two days in Paris can give a taste of what the city has to offer. For a unique Parisian experience, however, aim at three days or more so you can also have the time to get lost or wander around your favorite neighborhood. If this is your first time in Paris, this list of  things to do in Paris  will come in handy.

Paris in the summer is high season and booking transportation and accommodation in advance is paramount. Also, consider skip-the-line tickets for the most popular attractions, like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, or the Versailles Palace.

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin

Contributed by Krystianna of Volumes & Voyages

Dublin is the perfect destination to visit in the summer, whether you’re traveling solo or with your friends and family. It’s the capital of Ireland and is located right on the coast. Dublin is also a transportation hub in Ireland, making it the perfect location to base yourself while taking day trips across the country to places like Blarney Castle, the Cliffs of Moher, and even Belfast in Northern Ireland.

There are so many fun activities in Dublin that you won’t want to miss out on. Make sure you take the time to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College (even if you aren’t a literature fan), have a fresh pint of Guinness at the  Guinness Storehouse , and explore the Temple Bar area. Dublin County is also home to lots of great coastal getaways that can be reached using the Dublin Bus, including Howth and Bray, which are incredibly underrated locations with gorgeous cliff walks!

The weather in Dublin during the summer is perfect, and it never really gets too hot. The average temperature during the summer is 68°F/20°C, and it doesn’t rain as often as you may think. When you visit, be sure to pick up a Leap Card as soon as possible to save yourself money on public transportation, which is rather reliable in comparison to some other European cities.

Rome, Italy

Trevi fountain Rome

Contributed by Debbie Fettback from World Adventurists

There is nothing like the feeling of Rome during the summer. With its thousand-year-old buildings and the feel of the city being a huge open-air museum, its beauty appeals to everyone. Wandering ancient cobblestone streets, admiring the fountains, ruins, historical and religious sites under the shining sun, you will fall in love with summertime in Rome.

The historic center (Centro Storico) is where you will find many of the well-known churches, fountains, and piazzas. You won’t want to miss The Colosseum, the largest amphitheater in the Roman world, and one of Rome’s biggest attractions. The details of the Trevi fountain will blow you away. Don’t forget to throw your coin into the fountain and make a wish! Vatican City is another must-see. The Sistine Chapel, designed by Michelangelo, is one of the greatest treasures of Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world.

Summertime in Rome can get quite warm with temperatures between 30-45°C. However, that also means you’ll have plenty of extra opportunities to cool down with different flavors of gelato!

With so much to see and do, the eternal city of Rome is sure to steal your heart. Everyone should  visit Rome at least once !

Related: the ultimate Rome bucket list

Related: how many days should you spend in Rome?

It’s time to plan your summer in Europe!

I hope you gained a lot of inspiration for your next summer holiday in Europe because these destinations above represented the absolute best places to visit in Europe in summer!

If you’re not sure whether summer is the best time to visit or you want to avoid the crowds, check out my blog post about the best fall destinations in Europe !

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Travelling Thirties

20 Best Summer Destinations in Europe (2024)

Summer and Europe! Nothing goes better together than perhaps pizza and cheese…?

Europe is filled with gorgeous outdoor eateries, amazing ice cream shops, stunning beaches, more islands than you could ever dream and is the perfect place to visit for summer.

Some of the best summer destinations in Europe include, Italy, Greece, France, Montenegro and …. well, you’ll have to keep reading to find out more!

Even though I lived in Scotland for 5 years I had spent mostly the winter exploring Europe.

After a summer weekend trip to Belgium, I had to see more of Europe in the summer.

One of my favourite places in Europe to visit in the summer is Italy. Gelati and gorgeous beaches do I need to say more?

I have teamed up with some amazing travel bloggers to bring you an incredible list of the best European summer destinations.

Hey There……there is a very good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Table of Contents

Best European Summer Destinations

1. capri, italy.

summer travel destinations europe

Capri one of the best summer vacations in Europe because it is one of the best beach destinations in Europe .

We visited Capri on a day trip on a day trip from Sorrento. Whilst this gorgeous town deserves so much more than 24 hours, it is possible to see the best of Capri and the top things to do in Capri in a day.

One of the easiest ways to get to Capri is to fly. The closest airport to Capri is Capodichino/Naples International Airport in Naples, Italy (NAP) and then take a boat to Marina Grande, Capri.

One of the best things to do in Capri is to take a boat trip around the island and visit the blue grotto . You also need to take in the views of Capri from either Belvedere of Punta Cannone or Augustus Gardens.

If you choose to spend more than one day in Capri, Hotel La Minerva is a lovely place to stay it features beautiful decor, views to die for and an excellent buffet to start your door. The summer pool is a delight and the views of the sea are amazing.

2. Bruges, Belgium

Paulina, Paulina on the road

The colourful buildings in Bruges town square

Bruges is one of the preserved destinations in Europe and one of the best medieval cities in the world. The capital of the province of West Flanders is the most visited town in the country. What makes it special is that it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2020. The town was founded in the eleventh century and was one of the wealthiest towns in the country by the fifteenth century. However, by the early twentieth century, it was poverty-stricken. But it quickly recovered and became an attractive tourist destination.

Although you can rent a car to reach Bruges, it is more preferable to go by train. Take a train from any of the train stations in Brussels to Bruges which takes approximately one hour to reach. The ticket costs €14.30. Or, you can even take a guided tour at a cheap price that includes transport and an English-speaking guide.

Bruges offers a lot of walking tours. One of the best trails to take is walking to the little town of Damme, which is a 5Km walk along the canal. It is a refreshing trail and is not difficult at all. If you want to go further, there are some nice trails like Cap Blanc Nez and Cap Gris Nez.

Do not forget to bring your camera along because the town has some impressive picturesque spots like Mine water park and popular castles.

The best time to visit Bruges is from May until August to enjoy the warm summer sun. It is the  best day trip from Brussel.  For a longer vacation, you can stay at Hotel Van Cleef.

3. Paris, France

Elisa, World in Paris

The sunsetting behind the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Paris is one of the best summer holiday destinations in Europe. After a long and cold winter, the city wakes up, the parks and gardens are in full bloom, and you can have great sunny days with blue sky perfect for sightseeing.

I recommend a minimum of  4 days in Paris  to visit the main attractions, one day more if you want to take a day trip to Versailles or somewhere else.

If you are lucky with the weather, explore the city on foot. Stroll through the Champs Elysées and the Tuileries Gardens, walk along the Seine River banks, and get lost in the Marais or Montmartre, perhaps with a coffee break in a quintessential Parisian café.

On a beautiful summers evening it is highly recommended to night hop on a boat cruise , with or without dinner , to see the main monuments lit up.

From Europe, it is possible to reach Paris by train or car while visitors from overseas will fly to Paris Orly or Paris Charles de Gaulle.

We like the hotel  Handsome Hotel by Elegancia  in Paris 1. Located just 800 meters from the Louvre , this hotel offers its guests great facilities and always gets the best reviews.

4. Strasbourg, France

Mark,  Wyld Family Travel

Sunset over a river with half timber houses lining the river.

Strasbourg is one of the best European cities to visit in summer. It is a little bit of German and a lot of French. Over the years Strasbourg has belonged to both Germany and France and the influence of both countries runs deep in the capital of the Alsace Region of France .

Strasbourg makes a great destination for summer for its own attractions and its located close to both Germany and Switzerland. Strasbourg is a green city with plenty of parks and miles of bike paths.

Summer wine festivals amazing foods and old-world charm. Don’t forget to try the local Alsacian specialties such as knuckle of pork with sauerkraut, Flamkussen and wash it down with a glass of the regional Gewurztraminer wine. 

The Strasbourg Cathedral was once the tallest building in the world. A walk to the La Petite France district is a must with its old-world timber houses shining in there bright colours.

A cruise on the canals of Strasbourg brings this charming city into view from a whole another angle.   Day trips from Strasbourg  can easily visit the Alsace Wine Route, Europa Park, Colmar, Freiburg, the Black Forest and Basel.

Strasbourg is easily reached from Paris by the TGV in under 2 hours. Strasbourg has its own international airport for visitors. You will find plenty of boutique hotels in the old town city centre,

5. Herceg Novi, Montenegro

Samantha, Sam Sees World

A white picket fence lining the ocean with green trees in the background -Herceg Novi, Montenegro

Traveling around Europe in the summer is one of the best things you can do. Europe is filled with so much diversity and amazing towns and villages to explore and discover.

However, during the summer months, Europe gets increasingly busy, which is why finding a summer hidden gem destination is important.

The undiscovered nature along with the breathtaking beauty of Herceg Novi, Montenegro is what makes it one of the places to visit in Europe in summer.

Herceg Novi is a small coastal town located along the coast of the Bay of Kotor. It can be reached by flying to Dubrovnik, Croatia, or to Tivat or Podgorica in Montenegro and driving to Herceg Novi from there.

Once there you will be welcomed by an authentic Montenegrin town that is relatively untouched by tourism.

The summer months are when Herceg Novi thrives! The whole coast is packed with beaches that are always full of people, the water is a vivid blue, the weather is always sunny and hot, and the town is waiting to be explored.

In addition to enjoying the water and pastel-colored old town, one of the best things to do in Herceg Novi is to take a boat tour. Boat tours around the Bay of Kotor will bring you to some of Montenegro’s best places like Kotor, Our Lady of the Rocks and more!

Plus the scenery of the mountains is unreal and really is one of the best summer places in Europe.

6. Sardinia, Italy

Lotte, Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog 

summer travel destinations europe

Located in the Mediterranean Sea and the second-largest Italian island, Sardinia a wonderful place to visit and one of the best places in Europe for summer.

This beautiful island packs a whole lot of things to do and, as with the whole of Italy, is a foodie’s heaven (think pasta, pizza, coffee, gelato, and more).  

As Sardinia is an island, you either have to fly there (Alghero and Cagliari have international airports) or take a ferry from the mainland of Italy (or from neighbor island Corsica which belongs to France).

Things you can’t miss on your  Sardinia itinerary  are the cities Alghero, Oristano, Cagliari, and the beautiful village of Bosa.  

Natural highlights are the Grotto di Nettuno, Tiscali Mountain and the stunning Maddalena archipelago. Are you looking for beautiful beaches? Sardinia has plenty of those but I can highly recommend spending a day at Spiaggia La Pelosa (near Stintino) and Spiaggia di Is Arutas (near Oristano).  

There is plenty of interesting history on Sardinia as well, such as the impressive Nuraghi Losa, an ancient fortification built from large boulders, the mysterious Nuragic village of Tiscali, and the Ruins of Tharros.

Altogether you won’t run out of things to see on Sardinia so be sure to spend at least a week there! 

7. Ibiza, Spain

James, Team J Travels

The sunset over a town on the beach.

It is a decades long summer tradition for the world’s most high profile DJs to flock to the Spanish island every year to take up residencies in some of the biggest and best super clubs on the planet. 

There is a suite of world-class talent on offer every night of the week, with the most popular parties taking place from Monday to Thursday – while the rest of Europe go about their work week. 

The majority of party goers will stay in the following towns in Ibiza : 

  • Playa D’en Bossa – Best beaches on offer and home to the most big name clubs like Hi, Ushuaia Hotel, and the Bora Bora Beach bar. 
  • Ibiza Town – Good mix of nice hotels, restaurants and shopping areas. Light on clubs though with Pacha being the only big name in town. 
  • San Antonio – Most popular with the Brits, and famous for the sunsets on the western side of the island, followed by more public drunkenness than you will encounter elsewhere. 

My best advice is to stay somewhere quiet on the fringe of these areas. The Taxi situation is far better than it was ten years ago and the peace and quiet during the day will make your trip far more enjoyable. 

The Hotel Cenit is also by far the best hotel I have stayed in. The water views are amazing, there is a good atmosphere, and it is within walking distance to Ibiza Town and nearby beaches. 

If looking for more wholesome activities here are some highlights to check out: 

  • Walk the streets of the old Spanish town of Dalt Vila. A two thousand year old city that has a unique mix of traditional buildings mixed with modern, high-end commercial stores. If you are up for it you can walk up to Ibiza Castle. It is a challenging walk but offers unrivaled views of Ibiza Town and the harbor. 
  • Cala Tarida and Cala Llonga are both worth a day trip, and if you headed further south you could catch a glimpse of the beautiful rock formation of Es Vedra. 
  • You can also just hire a car and explore some of the hidden corners of the island. There are plenty of quiet beaches that are equally stunning, but more laid back.

8. Porto, Portugal

Vanda, The Yogi Wanderer

Colourful buildings and houses over looking a river with a bridge crossing the river.

Portugal’s second-largest city is one of the best summer destinations in Europe for history buffs and beach bums alike, not to mention a food and wine lovers’ paradise.

From a vibrant art and cultural scene to uncrowded surf spots, from beautiful architecture to the stunning Douro River, the birthplace of Port Wine really has it all.

Located in the north of the country, Porto has an international airport and is easily reached by plane, train, or bus.

I recommend staying at least a couple of days, more if possible, to enjoy everything the city has to offer. And it’s a lot!

Start by exploring Porto’s downtown, where you’ll find many of the city’s most famous landmarks, like Lello Bookstore, Clérigos Tower, São Bento Train Station, and Porto’s Cathedral.

Then head to the picturesque Ribeira district and soak in its unique charm and beauty. Make sure to climb to the upper deck of the iconic Dom Luis Bridge, for some spectacular panoramic views of the city.

For the modern and cultural side of Porto, have a peek at the incredible architecture of Casa da Música, visit the impressive Serralves contemporary art museum, and stroll along the Foz do Douro waterfront.

If you have the time, I highly recommend doing a cruise along the Douro River. The classic route from Porto to Régua, takes you through the amazing scenery of the Alto Douro wine region, one of the oldest wine regions in the world and a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Check out my  Porto itinerary  for more things to do and local travel tips.

Jamie, Travel Addict

Houses with red roofs over looking a rock structure in the green blue ocean.

Croatia is swiftly rising in popularity as a summer destination spot – with it’s charming cities, rich history, and pristine beaches it’s easy to see why.

The most popular destinations to visit in Croatia revolve around the ocean, and range from Zadar in the north, to Split in the center, and Dubrovnik in the south. Each city has it’s own unique draw – the ancient walls of Dubrovnik that served as a backdrop for many episodes of Game of Thrones (and you can walk along them for amazing views), the ancient Roman palace beneath the charming streets of Split, or the gorgeous Venetian influences on the amazing Zadar. Each city has something tremendous to offer, and plenty of great food.

The easiest ways to get to any of those cities is to fly, each one has their own sizable airport with daily flights to a variety of destinations throughout Europe.

The best way to get from city to city is by boat – sailboat or the junkers are a fantastic way to travel the coast of Croatia in summer . There are various companies that offer group tours of the islands, or will provide boat and skipper to travel at your leisure, but it is one of the most fun ways to get around. There’s the added bonus of having your mode of transport also as your accommodation, which floats with you to each gorgeous island along the way.

It also gives you easier access to some of Croatia’s true Adriatic gems. For the adventurous and nature lovers you can’t miss the island of Mjlet with it’s amazing National Park. For incredible food and culture the charming island of Hvar is a popular destination. But the most beautiful of all is Korcula, with it’s winding streets, charming town and fantastic atmosphere.

10. Copenhagen, Denmark

Linn, Brainy Backpackers

Bright coloured buildings with umbrellas and boats lining a canal on a sunny day.

Copenhagen is one of the most beautiful places in Europe in summer. The city is full of things to do and is best seen by foot or by bike. You can rent bikes by the train station or you can go on a guided bike tour around the city. Make sure you go to Nyhavn and soak in the iconic, colorful buildings at the famous port. While you’re there, it’s perfect to go for a boat trip too.

Make sure you see the Little Mermaid and take a stroll along Langelinie. The quay there is an extension of Copenhagen harbor and deep enough for large ships. There are beautiful fountains and a green park to explore and maybe even have a little picnic on a warm summer day.

If shopping is your thing, make sure you get time for some shopping at Stroget, one of Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping streets with it’s 1,1 kilometers.

Finally, whether you have  one day in Copenhagen  or one week, you should not miss out on a visit to Freetown Christiania. Though it used to have a bad reputation, this neighborhood has become a safe place to go. You should keep in mind that even though cannabis is sold in Freetown Christiania, the locals don’t want any drugs or drug tourism there. And cannabis is illegal in Denmark just like other drugs. So be respectful and just enjoy the little markets, natural smoothies, street art, and chilled vibe.

Copenhagen airport is well connected to the rest of Europe and a fair bit of destinations in the rest of the world. There is both metro and train that goes straight into the city center.

Generator Copenhagen is a budget friendly and great hostel with shared and private rooms. If you are looking for a hotel, Citizenm Copenhagen Radhuspladsen is a good alternative.

Or, My Path in the World

A natural stone structure with a cave in the middle surround by blue ocean waters.

Malta is not your usual European summer destination but it is one of the best European countries to visit in summer. Beyond its dreamy bays and natural pools, it’s home to cities that were built by knights, historical landmarks and archeological sites, enchanting villages, and an intriguing culture that was influenced by the Arabs, Italians, and Brits.

Your  Malta itinerary  can certainly be all about relaxation and soaking up some sun, and places like Għadira Bay, Riviera Bay, and St. Peter’s Pool are perfect for doing exactly that. But if you feel like seeing more of this fascinating destination, you have to visit places like the cave complex of the Blue Grotto, the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, cities like Valletta and Mdina that will make you feel like stepping back in time, and even a film set turned into an attraction park called Popeye Village.

You should also head to Malta’s two other islands – Gozo and Comino (which is uninhabited). You can either visit them independently by taking a ferry, book a full-day cruise, or take a guided day tour.

As for accommodation, I recommend staying at the Slimiza Suites hotel in the city of Sliema, which is a fantastic base for exploring the island. You can also look for hotels in the capital city of Valletta, which is also very well connected to other parts of the island.

12. Durmitor National Park, Montenegro 

Erin, Curiously Erin

An orange van driving over a bridge surrounded by mountains and trees.

The absolute highlight during my European summer trip was Montenegro and particularly Durmitor National Park. Durmitor NP is located in the northwest corner of the small country and is the perfect destination for adventure lovers and thrill-seekers.

Not only is it one of the most picturesque locations but compared with other European parks it’s relatively undiscovered. The highest tourism season is winter which means you’ll have almost 80,000 acres to yourself and travel buddies.

A few must do’s include:

– Visiting the Tara Canyon bridge. This bridge is what I believe to be the most iconic symbol of Durmitor and connects the two sides of the Tara Canyon by a 172m high arched wonder. A great activity to do here is zipline across the canyon. You’ll find a few operators all charging around €10.

– Take a self-guided audio tour. A lot of the national park surrounds a great panoramic ring road. Download the free  izi.travel  app and the Durmitor audio guide to make available offline. The tour starts and concludes in Zabljak and is your companion for the 76km loop. You’ll hear lots of interesting facts, interviews with locals, and ideas for photo stops and short walks.

– Go hiking. The  Durmitor National Park hiking  trails range from short loops around the Black Lake to full-day and overnight adventures. Whatever your hiking style summer is the best time to get out and hopefully catch a glimpse of a chamois or mountain goat.

13. Sicily , Italy

Emily, Wander-Lush

The islands of Sicily in the ocean

Nothing says summer in Europe like an ice cream cone on the beach. Where better to soak up the season than the birthplace of gelato, sunny Sicily.

The largest of  Italy’s islands , Sicily on of the best summer destinations in Europe. Summer is definitely high season so you may have to contend with crowds when exploring the island’s historic old towns, but you can find relative solitude in the smaller villages and outlying islands.

Summer is the best time for hiking in Sicily, including the Mount Etna summit. Hire a boat and get out on the water to explore the beaches, coastal rock formations and volcanic islands, or join a walking tour in any of the bigger cities to learn about Sicily’s unique history and culture.

Aside from gelato and Aperol Spritzes, you can taste Sicily’s fresh, varied cuisine at traditional trattorias across the island.Spend a few days in Sicily’s biggest city, Palermo, staying at a boutique hotel such as Palazzo Natoli (which is conveniently located near the cathedral) before exploring the island’s interior and 1,400-plus kilometres of coastline.

If possible, hire a car so you can travel at your own pace. Seven to 10 days is the ideal amount of time to spend in Sicily.

14. Gaeta, Italy

Lisa, Planning Away

Stone walls, yellow umbrellas, white fences and trees on a beach.

Have you ever heard of Gaeta, Italy?  If you are an international traveler probably not. It is not listed in any guidebooks and there are no train stations nearby. It is a local treasure! 

Gaeta is the best European summer holiday destination in Europe. It is one of the most southern cities in the Lazio region of Italy.  Located about two hours from Rome or Naples.  Renting a car is the only way to get there

There are seven beaches in Gaeta .  These beaches are very popular amongst the locals.(especially in August) There are beautiful cliffs and grottoes to explore. It is also a great place to snorkel and scuba dive.  One of the beaches is only accessible by row boat.  Be sure to rent a boat, a bike, or hit the hiking trails in this area.  

There are many stunning accommodation options in Gaeta. Beautiful resorts are located along the coast which make for amazing views of the ocean.  We stayed at the Grand Hotel Le Rocce.  The grounds are absolutely beautiful.  The private beach and pool were incredible. This may be one of the most romantic places in Italy!   

Gaeta is worth checking out on your next trip to Italy!

15. Hallstatt, Austria

Jürgen & Martina, PlacesofJuma

An Austrian village in between green mountains over looking a large lake.

Hallstatt, the picturesque little village in the Salzkammergut, is certainly one of the best summer destinations in Europe. Situated in a breathtaking setting on the shores of the black Lake Hallstatt and with the imposing mountains in the background, this small village of 800 inhabitants is a real visitor magnet.

In summer, a picture-book atmosphere awaits you here – no wonder that this place is probably the most photographed in Austria.

Although the  Austrian village Hallstatt   is relatively small, there are many sights worth seeing, such as the historic marketplace with the beautiful Trinity Column. Especially beautiful are the many colorful houses with the many blooming flowers.

Also interesting in Hallstatt is the Bone-House, where a collection of 600 colorfully painted skull bones has been kept. Those who love to take amazing pictures should in any case also visit the Hallstatt-Aussichtspunkt – the viewpoint of Hallstatt where the best pictures are taken.

But also in the surroundings of Hallstatt, especially nature lovers, sports and outdoor enthusiasts will have their fun. The summer highlights to do are a hike on the Dachstein-Krippenstein Mountain towards the 5-Fingers Skywalk and also a visit to the beautiful Gosau with its magnificent Lake is absolutely recommended.

16. Prague, Czech Republic

Veronika, Travel Geekery

People relaxing on the grass of a river bank over looking an old European city under the shade of trees.

Prague as a destination is amazing any time of year and on of the best summer in Europe. For the best  Prague summer  experience, don’t dedicate too much time to the touristy sights in the historical city center, and instead enjoy Prague like locals do.

Hang out at Prague’s parks, stroll by the river or sit down with a bottle of wine, hop on a bike and ride as far as you can.. Join locals at outdoor swimming pools, hike the forests surrounding Prague – the list goes on and on! Prague cultural life is alive and kicking in summer too. Opt for a summer cinema or just chat with locals at any beer garden, since the city is full of them anyway.

There are many tours specializing in getting you out of the busy city center on a bike or e.g. a boat. Guided tours also include hikes to nature on Prague’s outskirts.

Prague is easy to reach from anywhere in the world – you can fly to the Vaclav Havel Airport or use the dense train and bus network, which covers Central Europe.

When choosing a place to stay in Prague, I can highly recommend the Mosaic Hotel – it offers various types of accommodation from basic dorms to luxury rooms and is conveniently located in the New Town area, from where you can walk easily to the city center or hop on a tram to the outer neighborhoods.

17. GDAŃSK , Poland

Agnes, The Van Escape  

Colour buildings and black gate lining a river on a sunny day.

Situated by the Bay of Gdańsk and the Baltic Sea, Gdańsk is an ideal place for summer holidays. The proximity of the sea ensures perfect relaxation on the sandy beach outside. But the attractions of the city will not let you get bored when you get off the deckchair. Gdańsk is a city where over 1000 years of history intertwined with modernity. It was here on September 1, 1939, on the Westerplatte Peninsula, where the Second World War started. Moreover, it was in Gdańsk in 1980 that Solidarity was born.

How to get to Gdańsk?

Gdańsk has excellent flight connections all over Europe. Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport is close to the city; there are public transport and private transport to the center. Furthermore, the railway network provides quick connections with other cities in Poland. You can quickly get to Gdańsk from Warsaw or Kraków. Finally, if you like to travel by ferry, you can go to Denmark or Sweden from the port of Gdańsk.

Where to stay?

Depending on your budget and needs, you can find cheap but cozy hostels or exclusive and modern apartments and hotels in Gdańsk. In the heart of the city there are excellent hotels such as Hilton Gdańsk, Radisson Hotel & Suites, IBB Hotel Długi Targ, or Radisson Blu Hotel. If you are looking for beachfront accommodation, a great beach view offers Novotel Gdańsk Marina.

Things to do in Gdańsk?

Gdańsk is the city of freedom and solidarity. In the European Solidarity Center can learn the history of the “Solidarity” movement. Lech Wałęsa, the first chairman of NSZZ “Solidarity,” former president of Poland and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has his office here.

From the European Solidarity Center is close to the Museum of the Second World War , which tells about the most significant armed conflict with a broad international context.

One of the most representative places in the city is Długa Street, with many Renaissance tenement houses. Long Embankment is a water promenade and an ideal place for walks to observe the passing ships and the city’s architecture. You will also find great restaurants and bars. There is also the Crane, the largest and the oldest of the surviving port cranes of medieval Europe. Through the St. Mary’s Gate, you enter the most delightful St. Mary’s Street with shops with amber jewelry.

Finally, if you want to take a break from the city, it is worth going to the beaches in Jelitkowo, Stogi, or Brzeźno.

Tour recommendations

It’s worth considering a guided city tour to learn about its stories. An Interesting option is a boat trip on the Bay of Gdańsk. It’s also great to visit Sopot and Gdynia from Gdańsk.

18. Belgrade, Serbia

Ellis, Backpack Adventures

White Church with a green dome roof and water features lining the path to the church.

Belgrade in Serbia is one of the top summer destinations in Europe and for good reasons. It is cheap, does not have the tourist crowds yet that other European capitals have and has lots to offer to its visitors. You can even go to the beach in Belgrade.

Belgrade has a scenic location where the Sava and Danube rivers meet. They offer a nice respite from the summer heat. Most locals head to the island of Ada Ciganlija to relax on the beach or for activities like water skiing and beach volleyball.

You can also go walking or cycling along the boulevard that runs along the shores of the Sava and Danube rivers. However, the most beautiful way to see the rivers is from the ancient Kalemegdan fort. From here you have a beautiful view on the city.

Belgrade is a very young and dynamic city with lots of cafes and restaurants and an active nightlife. Summer is perfect to spend the day on one of the restaurant terraces in the bohemian quarter of Skadarlija or in Zemun.

Its center with the pedestrian street Knez Mihailova and the Zeleni Venac market is also a great place to explore on a nice summer day. In the rare case that the weather is not in your favor, Belgrade has lots of interesting museums too.

19. London, England

Pauline, Beeloved City

A Building labelled the borough market opposite a green and brick pub.

If you are visiting Europe in summer, going to London should be on your bucket list! 

As you may know, England is known for its rain which is why summer is the best time to visit. You will maximise your chances of having nice weather and will get to enjoy some of the best activities in the city! 

First, head to the famous landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge and Tower of London. If you want to learn more about the history of London, make sure to hop on one of the many walking tours in the city. 

Once that’s done, you can stroll along the Thames banks and stop in one of the bars with a terrace overlooking the river. The Old Thameside Inn, located near London Bridge, is a great place to grab a drink if you want to discover what an authentic British pub is like.

If you are a Potterhead, you can also go on a walking tour and discover the best Harry Potter sites in London. 

Alternatively, you can also opt for a Jack the Ripper tour. You will learn plenty about England’s most famous serial killer and discover East London!

The British capital is also known for its street art and markets. Head to Shoreditch or Brixton to see wonderful murals and grab some delicious street food.

With a total of 6 airports, you can fly to London from almost anywhere in the world. You can then either take a bus or a train to London Victoria. There are also 2 international train stations (King’s Cross and St Pancras) with direct trains to/from Paris and Brussels.

In terms of accommodation, you will be spoilt for choice. The best neighbourhoods to stay in are Westminster, city of London, Shoreditch, Kensington and Hammersmith.

20. The Netherlands

Maartje, The Orange Backpack

A bridge over a canal with old buildings and bikes lining the banks

The Netherlands is a great destination in Europe all year round, but nothing beats a summer trip to this small country. It’s the time the flower fields are blooming, the locals sit down at terraces with a Dutch beet and the sunny weather makes the country look at its best.

The Netherlands is a small country you could easily visit in about a week, though you might want to opt for more time to fully enjoy all highlights. Most travelers stick to the famous capital of Amsterdam, but there’s much more to see and do around the country. Public transport is an easy way to get around and explore more than just Amsterdam.

Head north of Amsterdam to see some authentic old villages and windmills like at Volendam or the Zaanse Schans. Enjoy the finest modern architecture in the bustling city of Rotterdam and  unwind at the beaches of Texel island  or the forests of the Veluwe National Park.

The Netherlands is home to the most beautiful European castles; Castle De Haar close to the historical city Utrecht is our absolute favorite.

Did you know Amsterdam also hides a stunning palace in the plain side at one of its main square?

Where are you favourite summer destinations in Europe? Let me know in the comments below

Printable summer beach vacation packing list

Fiona xoxo

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I'm Fiona, the Australian blogger behind Travelling Thirties. Travel has always been my passion since 2007. I created this site to help inspire you to travel the world. In 2010 I moved from Australia to Scotland with $500 and a one way ticket, no one thought I'd last 5 minutes but I lasted 5 years. I share everything from one day itineraries to travel tips and tricks from Australia to Europe that will inspire you to get out and travel. Some of my favourite countries I have been to are France, Finland, Denmark, and England.

Travel Expertise: Europe Travel, France Travel, Christmas Markets, travel planning, itineraries and travel tips

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The Mindful Traveller

The Mindful Traveller

Eco Travel Blog & Photography

20 Best Summer Destinations in Europe

11 January 2024 · In: Europe , Travel

best summer destinations in europe

Are you looking for the  best summer destinations to visit in Europe ? You have come to the right place! This article walks you through  20 locations to add to your bucket list  for an  unforgettable sunny holiday , whether you are travelling for a day trip, a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation.

As the days get longer and the temperatures rise, Europe invites you to indulge in the magic of summer. From the  sun-kissed beaches  of the Mediterranean to the  lush landscapes  of the north, the continent unfolds a variety of destinations, each offering  plenty of things to do  with a unique  blend of culture, adventure and relaxation . 

Join me on a journey through some of the most  enchanting summer hideaways in Europe , where historic cobbled streets meet azure coastlines, and ancient traditions dance with the rhythms of modern life. 

Whether you seek the thrill of  outdoor adventures , the serenity of  secluded islands  or the vibrant energy of  cosmopolitan cities , Europe promises a  memorable sunny escape . 

So, are you ready to discover the  top 20 European summer destinations that you must visit ? Let’s get started! And, of course, let me know in the comments below if you have any other suggestions 🙂

Disclosure : Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, we will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. For more information, please  read our full affiliate disclosure .

20- Azores Islands, Portugal

Overview: fun summer hideaways in europe.

1- Dubrovnik, Croatia 2- The Algarve, Portugal 3- Andalucia, Spain 4- French Riviera, France 5- Amalfi Coast, Italy 6- The Island of Iceland 7- Bay of Kotor, Montenegro 8- The Greek Islands 9- Istanbul, Turkey 10- Interlaken, Switzerland

11- Ljubljana, Slovenia 12- Lofoten Islands, Norway 13- Cinque Terre, Italy 14- Balearic Islands, Spain 15- The Archipelago of Malta 16- Amsterdam, Netherlands 17- The Island of Cyprus 18- Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 19- Sicily Island, Italy 20- Azores Islands, Portugal

best summer destinations in europe

Top European summer locations – Map

Click on the top left of the map to display the list of stops and locations.

20 best summer destinations in Europe

Here are 20 destinations that will inspire your next European summer getaway. However, keep in mind that these places can be incredibly busy during this season, so plan ahead and book your accommodation in advance.

Best accommodation options

Looking for the best (and eco-friendly) accommodations for your European trip?

Check out Booking.com to search and compare which one is best for you. From affordable guesthouses to luxury resorts, they have a great selection of places – with sustainable features!

1- Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, often called the  Pearl of the Adriatic , is a stunning  coastal city in southern Croatia  and a fantastic European summer destination due to its  perfect blend of historical charm and natural beauty .

Renowned for its  well-preserved medieval architecture , the city is encircled by  ancient stone walls  that offer  panoramic views  of the Adriatic Sea in a unique setting for your exploration.

In addition, its  historic Old Town , a UNESCO World Heritage site, features narrow cobbled streets, impressive  Gothic and Renaissance buildings  and  iconic landmarks  such as the  Sponza Palace  and the  Rector’s Palace . 

In summer, relax under the Mediterranean sun on  beautiful beaches , stroll through  picturesque streets  and enjoy outdoor cultural events like the  Dubrovnik Summer Festival .

The  picturesque setting of Dubrovnik , with its terracotta roofs set against the backdrop of the crystal-clear sea, combined with a  wealth of activities ,   has made it an  exceptional summer location  to add to your bucket list – especially for  Game of Thrones  fans, as the city has been a  filming location for the TV show .

THINGS TO DO IN DUBROVNIK IN SUMMER

  • Walk the City Walls to experience breathtaking views
  • Wander through the charming streets of the Old Town
  • Explore Fort Lovrijenac, a fortress perched on a rocky cliff
  • Enjoy the sun and sea at Banje Beach, a famous pebble beach
  • Take a Game of Thrones tour to discover filming locations
  • Ride the Cable Car to Mount Srđ for panoramic views
  • Go island hopping, such as Lokrum or the Elafiti Islands
  • Attend the Dubrovnik Summer Festival for a variety of performances
  • Indulge in delicious Croatian cuisine at one of the outdoor cafés
  • Join a kayak excursion to explore the coastline and hidden caves

TOP EXPERIENCES I RECOMMEND

2- the algarve, portugal .

The Algarve is a  picturesque region  located along the  southern coast of Portugal , standing out as an  exceptional summer destination  due to its captivating blend of  sun-soaked beaches ,  dramatic rugged cliffs  and  charming fishing towns .

Characterised by a  Mediterranean climate , the Algarve attracts visitors with  warm and sunny weather , creating an ideal setting for  beachgoers and outdoor enthusiasts  – whilst  remaining affordable , whether you are travelling solo or with friends!

Popular summer activities you can experience include exploring the  spectacular coastline  and its  hidden caves , enjoying  water sports  such as kayaking and paddleboarding, and savouring  delicious local cuisine . 

In addition, nature lovers will love exploring the many  picturesque coastal trails  along the  sandy beaches  and  golden cliffs . You guessed it, with its diversity of activities, the Algarve is the perfect destination for those seeking  relaxation and adventure .

The Algarve has been one of my favourite recent trips! In the spring, I ventured on a 5-day road trip from Faro to Lagos and fell in love with this region. The locals were incredibly welcoming, and the scenery was gorgeous. I stopped along the way at many pretty fishing villages and enjoyed the beach each day. I believe the Algarve is a perfect European beach holiday destination!

READ MORE: Algarve Portugal Road Trip: Epic 5-Day Itinerary

THINGS TO DO IN THE ALGARVE IN SUMMER

  • Explore the iconic Benagil Cave, a famous natural wonder
  • Relax on pristine beaches, such as Praia da Marinha
  • Wander through the historic town of Lagos
  • Take a boat tour to discover hidden coves and rock formations 
  • Hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
  • Head to Alvor for water sports activities such as paddleboarding
  • Explore the historic Old Town of Faro
  • Golf in Vilamoura with a backdrop of stunning landscapes
  • Indulge in the local cuisine at traditional seafood restaurants
  • Discover the charm of Tavira and its quaint streets

3- Andalusia, Spain

Andalusia, located in  southern Spain , is an  excellent summer holiday destination  and rich region renowned for its  cultural heritage ,  diverse landscapes  and  vibrant traditions . 

Boasting a mix of  Moorish and Spanish influence s, the Spanish region is home to  iconic landmarks  and  architectural marvels  such as the  Alhambra  in Granada, the  Mezquita  in Córdoba and the  Giralda Tower  in Seville, offering a captivating journey into the past of Spain.

In addition, one of the best things about Andalusia is its  diversity of landscapes ! The  sun-soaked beaches  of the  Costa del Sol  provide a perfect setting for relaxation, whilst the  Sierra Nevada mountains  offer a refreshing escape for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

From  traditional festivals  and  flamenco performances  to  flavourful cuisine  and picturesque  white villages , the summer charm of Andalusia also lies in its ability to cater to  various interests , creating a memorable and immersive experience for all kinds of travellers.

THINGS TO DO IN ANDALUSIA IN SUMMER

  • Explore the stunning Alhambra, a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Experience Flamenco in Seville by attending a live performance 
  • Wander the Mezquita in Córdoba, a mosque-turned-cathedral
  • Unwind on the sun-drenched beaches of the Costa del Sol
  • Visit Ronda and its iconic Plaza de Toros
  • Hike in the Sierra Nevada mountains for breathtaking views
  • Visit the Alcazar of Seville, a royal palace known for its architecture
  • Experience the lively Feria de Málaga, a vibrant summer festival
  • Indulge in the diverse flavours of Andalusian cuisine
  • Discover the picturesque White Villages (Pueblos Blancos)

4- French Riviera, France

The French Riviera, also known as the  Côte d’Azur , is a  glamorous and picturesque stretch  of the Mediterranean coastline in  southeastern France . It is an ideal summer destination to add to your backlist, renowned for its  breathtaking landscapes  and  bustling resorts .

With its  pristine beaches ,  crystal-clear waters  and  iconic coastal towns  like  Nice ,  Cannes  and  Saint-Tropez , the region offers a perfect playground for sun-seekers, celebrities and culture enthusiasts alike.

And if you are looking for an  upscale vacation , you will love the  luxurious nightlife ,  chic boutiques , vibrant cultural scene (including the Festival de Cannes) and  timeless glamour  associated with the French Riviera.

Finally, the region enjoys a  rich heritage  through its many  museums ,  vineyards  and  world-class cuisine , creating an enticing atmosphere for those seeking a  high-end and unforgettable summer experience  on the dazzling shores of southern France.

The French Riviera never ceases to amaze me! Even though France is my home country, this region always feels like a different place with its own culture and lifestyle. It is also one of my favourite locations to visit when I want to unwind and relax, especially in summer. And if you would like to avoid the crowds, you will find plenty of small villages hidden in the hills and vineyards for an ultimate Provençal experience. 

READ MORE: South of France Road Trip: 1-Week Itinerary

THINGS TO DO IN THE FRENCH RIVIERA IN SUMMER

  • Take a leisurely walk along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice
  • Explore the charming Old Town of Nice (Vieux Nice)
  • Experience the glitz and glamour of the Cannes Film Festival (May)
  • Relax on the beaches of Saint-Tropez, such as Pampelonne Beach
  • Visit Monaco and explore the luxurious Casino Square
  • Embark on a hike in the Calanques National Park 
  • Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the Nice Jazz Festival (July)
  • Discover Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Cap Ferrat
  • Tour the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence
  • Go on a sailing trip along the French Riviera

5- Amalfi Coast, Italy

The Amalfi Coast, located in  southern Italy , is a  stunning stretch of coastline  along the Tyrrhenian Sea, offering a  diverse range of activities  for a memorable summer vacation!

Renowned for its  dramatic cliffs ,  pastel-coloured fishing villages  and  panoramic views , Amalfi is a  UNESCO World Heritage site  and an idyllic destination you should visit.

Stop at  picturesque towns  such as  Positano ,  Amalfi  and  Ravello , which offer a perfect blend of  historic charm ,  natural beauty  and delicious  regional cuisine , making them a sought-after location for travellers seeking  relaxation and cultural exploration .

Additionally, the  warm Mediterranean climate  of the Amalfi Coast enhances the appeal of its  pristine beaches, historic architecture  and  scenic hiking trails , the perfect place to  enjoy nature  whilst  immersing yourself in culture  on the sunny shores of southern Italy.

THINGS TO DO ON THE AMALFI COAST IN SUMMER

  • Wander through the narrow streets of Positano
  • Admire the stunning Amalfi Cathedral (Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea)
  • Hike the Path of the Gods (Sentiero degli Dei) for spectacular views
  • Experience the glamour of Capri by taking a boat trip 
  • Discover the tranquillity of Ravello, a perched town
  • Indulge in the flavours of Amalfi Coast cuisine
  • Escape the crowds and unwind on Atrani Beach
  • Visit the Fiordo di Furore, a stunning fjord-like inlet
  • Attend the Ravello Festival, a classical music and arts festival 
  • Take a scenic drive along the Amalfi Coast Road (SS163)

6- The Island of Iceland

Iceland, located in the North Atlantic, is a  stunning island  and land of  breathtaking landscapes  characterised by geysers, hot springs, glaciers and volcanoes. If the island is popular all year round, it is an  extraordinary summer destination  offering unique experiences.

The  extended daylight hours  during the Icelandic summer allow for endless exploration of its beautiful landscapes, from the  iconic geothermal wonders  of the  Golden Circle  to the beauty of  Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon . 

In addition, the  Midnight Sun  bathes the country in a soft glow in the summer season, creating a magical atmosphere for  fun outdoor activities  like  hiking ,  horseback riding  and  whale watching .

With vibrant  cultural festivals , relaxing  geothermal hot springs , and the chance to witness  powerful waterfalls  like Gullfoss and Seljalandsfoss, Iceland is a haven for road trip lovers and offers a  one-of-a-kind summer adventure  in a supernatural setting.

Iceland is a country I never get bored of exploring! I visited the island in winter and spring and loved each season. However, summer is one of the best times to visit the islands due to its opportunities, such as wildlife spotting (whales and puffins), road-tripping with a caravan, exploring the middle of the island and enjoying the Midnight Sun.

READ MORE: 9 Perfect Days in Iceland: Ring Road Itinerary

THINGS TO DO IN ICELAND IN SUMMER

  • Discover the iconic Golden Circle to witness natural wonders
  • Relax in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon
  • Marvel at the surreal beauty of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon,
  • Hike in Vatnajökull National Park, the largest national park in Europe
  • Drive along the scenic East Fjords and enjoy dramatic landscapes
  • Experience the phenomenon of the Midnight Sun (the sun barely sets)
  • Visit the charming town of Akureyri in northern Iceland
  • Embark on a hike to Glymur, the second-highest waterfall in Iceland
  • Try horseback riding on Icelandic horses
  • Join a whale-watching tour to enjoy the diverse marine life

7- Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

The Bay of Kotor, located in  southwestern Montenegro , is a  mesmerising fjord-like inlet  and a remarkable summer destination surrounded by  dramatic limestone cliffs  and  charming coastal towns . 

The beauty of the bay is accentuated by the  medieval fortifications  of the Old Town of Kotor, including its well-preserved city walls, combined with the  panoramic views  from the  fortifications of St. John , creating a unique cultural experience. 

The towns of  Perast  and  Herceg Novi  also add to the charm with their  historic architecture  and  scenic waterfronts ,   along with summer events like the  Kotor Carnival , making the Bay of Kotor a UNESCO World Heritage site and a  culturally rich destination  on the Adriatic coast.

Finally, do not miss out on all the  outdoor activities ! With plenty of fun opportunities like  kayaking ,  boat tours  revealing hidden gems and the inviting waters of the Adriatic Sea for  swimming , the bay offers a perfect mix of  relaxation and adventure . 

THINGS TO DO ON THE BAY OF KOTOR IN SUMMER

  • Wander the narrow streets of the Old Town of Kotor
  • Hike to the top of the Fortifications of St. John (San Giovanni)
  • Discover the charming town of Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks
  • Enjoy the scenic beauty of the Bay of Kotor by kayaking
  • Take a swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea
  • Indulge in local Montenegrin cuisine at seafront restaurants
  • Explore the bay on a boat tour to visit small islands
  • Hike the Vrmac Ridge for stunning views of the Bay 
  • Visit the town of Herceg Novi, known for its charming Old Town
  • Attend the lively Kotor Carnival, featuring cultural performances

8- The Greek Islands

The Greek Islands, scattered between the Aegean and Ionian Seas, form an  archipelago of unparalleled beauty and diversity  and are an ideal destination for summer vacations. Known for their  crystal-clear waters ,  white-washed houses  and  rich cultural heritage , each island possesses a unique character.

From the iconic  Santorini , with its dramatic  caldera  views and  blue-domed churches , to  Mykonos , renowned for its vibrant  nightlife  and  golden beaches , the Greek Islands have something for everyone!

And for history and culture lovers, do not miss the  ancient ruins  and  historical treasures  found in places like  Crete  and  Rhodes .

Whether  sailing through the Cyclades , exploring  picturesque villages  or indulging in  traditional cuisine , the Greek Islands provide an  irresistible summer escape  with a blend of beauty, history and Mediterranean charm.

The Greek Islands are one of my favourite places! I have visited Crete, Rhodes and Santorini (all in the summer – and yes, it is hot, but the wind makes it bearable!) and loved each of them for their different  characteristics . Each has a distinct atmosphere that will completely transport you, so you will never get bored. 

READ MORE: 15 Best Things to Do in Santorini, Greece

THINGS TO DO ON THE GREEK ISLANDS IN SUMMER

  • Wander the narrow streets of Oia and Fira on Santorini
  • Relax on Mykonos beaches like Paradise and Super Paradise
  • Visit the Acropolis in Athens (starting point for island-hopping)
  • Explore the ancient ruins of Knossos on Crete
  • Embark on a hike through the Samaria Gorge on Crete
  • Join a sailing tour to explore the Cyclades islands
  • Visit the Palace of the Grand Master on Rhodes
  • Unwind on the pink sands of Elafonissi Beach on Crete
  • Discover the lesser-known gem of Folegandros
  • Take a boat trip to the sacred island of Delos

9- Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, a transcontinental city straddling Europe and Asia, is a  vibrant metropolis  that harmoniously combines its  rich history  with dynamic modernity , emerging as an exceptional summer destination.

Formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, the city showcases a  fascinating mix of cultural influences , visible in its  iconic landmarks  such as the  Hagia Sophia , the  Blue Mosque  and the  Topkapi Palace . 

The bustling  Grand Bazaar  and the  Spice Bazaar  offer a sensory journey through bustling markets, whilst the  Bosphorus Strait  provides a picturesque divide between the European and Asian sides of the city.

With its  pleasant summer climate ,  charming parks  and the enticing flavours of  Turkish cuisine , Istanbul invites you to immerse yourself in its culture and scenic beauty amid the  atmospheric streets and waterfronts .

THINGS TO DO IN ISTANBUL IN SUMMER

  • Explore the Hagia Sophia, a historic marvel
  • Admire the intricate tilework of the Blue Mosque
  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Grand Bazaar
  • Take a leisurely cruise along the Bosphorus Strait
  • Visit Topkapi Palace, a former palace of the Ottoman sultans
  • Relax in Gulhane Park, a peaceful green space near Topkapi Palace
  • Descend into the atmospheric Basilica Cistern
  • Enjoy a romantic dinner cruise on the Bosphorus
  • Admire the mosaics and frescoes at the Chora Church
  • Indulge in the rich flavours of Turkish cuisine at local restaurants

10- Interlaken, Switzerland

Interlaken, nestled between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz in the  Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland , is a  picturesque town  renowned for its  stunning alpine scenery , making it a must-visit summer destination.

Surrounded by the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains, the town is a  gateway to the Swiss Alps . It offers a  perfect base for outdoor enthusiasts  and a playground for adventure seekers, with  fun activities  like  hiking ,  paragliding  and  boat trips  on the crystal-clear lakes. 

You will also be able to explore the  charming streets of its Old Town , lined with shops, restaurants and cafés, enjoying a delightful blend of  Swiss hospitality  and  breathtaking landscapes .

Whether indulging in  thrilling experiences  or simply enjoying the  serene beauty , Interlaken allows you to immerse yourself in the captivating charm of the  Swiss summer  in the Bernese Oberland region.

THINGS TO DO IN INTERLAKEN IN SUMMER

  • Enjoy a scenic boat cruise on Lake Thun or Lake Brienz
  • Embark on a memorable journey to Jungfraujoch, the  Top of Europe
  • Experience the thrill of paragliding and soaring above Interlaken
  • Hike the scenic Harder Kulm Panorama Trail for spectacular views
  • Take a nostalgic cogwheel train to Schynige Platte
  • Go white-water rafting on the Lütschine River
  • Explore the charming streets of the Old Town of Interlaken
  • Venture on the Jungfrau Railway to the village of Wengen
  • Hop on a boat trip across Lake Brienz to Giessbach Falls
  • Indulge in a Swiss chocolate-making workshop

11- Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a  charming European city  characterised by its  picturesque Old Town , decorated with  historic architecture  and crossed by the  Ljubljanica River , which becomes a bustling hub during the summer months.

With a vast history blending  medieval, Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture , the Slovenian capital offers a unique and inviting atmosphere, perfect for a  short weekend getaway .

The city is also known for its  rich cultural scene  and  iconic landmarks  such as the  Ljubljana Castle , the  Triple Bridge  and the  Dragon Bridge . 

And whilst  Tivoli Park  offers a serene escape, do not hesitate to venture along the buzzing riverbanks and into cultural districts like  Metelkova City , which adds a  modern and artistic touch .

In addition, you will find many  pedestrian-friendly streets , lively  outdoor cafés  and  open-air markets  in a  relaxed ambience , making it a delightful destination for  exploration and cultural immersion  during the summer holidays.

THINGS TO DO IN LJUBLJANA IN SUMMER

  • Visit Ljubljana Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the city
  • Take a leisurely walk along the banks of the Ljubljanica River
  • Escape to Tivoli Park, the largest green space in the city
  • Take a scenic boat tour on the Ljubljanica River
  • Explore the alternative and artistic district of Metelkova City
  • Enjoy panoramic views from the Nebotičnik Skyscraper
  • Immerse yourself in Slovenian art at the National Gallery
  • Experience the Open Kitchen food market, held every Friday
  • Attend cultural events such as the Ljubljana Festival
  • Take a short trip to the enchanting Lake Bled

12- Lofoten Islands, Norway

The Lofoten Islands, an  archipelago off the northwest coast of Norway , are a stunning tapestry of  dramatic landscapes  and vibrant  fishing villages  under the enchanting glow of the  Midnight Sun .

Characterised by  rugged mountains ,  crystal-clear fjords  and  traditional red cabins  dotting the coastline, the islands provide a  picturesque backdrop  for  outdoor activities  like hiking, kayaking and fishing – a true having for nature lovers.

Plus, the summer season bathes the archipelago in  continuous daylight , allowing you to  explore its beauty around the clock !

Whether delving into  Viking history , capturing  stunning vistas  or experiencing the  tranquillity of fishing villages , the Lofoten Islands have a unique and magical charm during the  Arctic summer .

THINGS TO DO IN THE LOFOTEN ISLANDS IN SUMMER

  • Embark on a scenic hike to Reinebringen for panoramic views 
  • Visit the charming village of Å known for its historic fishing industry
  • Experience the majestic Trollfjord by taking a boat trip
  • Explore the well-preserved fishing village of Nusfjord
  • Kayak in the enchanting phenomenon of the Midnight Sun
  • Explore the stunning landscapes by driving the scenic routes
  • Photograph the iconic Hamnøy Bridge
  • Learn about Viking history at the Lofotr Viking Museum in Borg
  • Experience traditional fishing in the rich waters
  • Enjoy a hike along the Offersøykammen Trail for panoramic views

13- Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, located on the rugged  Italian Riviera , is a collection of  five colourful coastal villages : Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.

Perched along  steep cliffs  overlooking the Ligurian Sea, these quaint and traditional towns are known for their  pastel-coloured buildings ,  charming harbours  and  spectacular landscapes .

In summer, the sun-kissed buildings and harbours come alive, offering a  picturesque setting for exploration . Plus, the network of  scenic hiking trails  connecting the villages provides  breathtaking views  of the Mediterranean, whilst  sandy beaches  invite  relaxation . 

With  delicious   local cuisine ,  crystal-clear waters  and the opportunity to experience the unique charm of the Cinque Terre  from land and sea , this  UNESCO World Heritage site  is the perfect destination for those seeking a mix of  coastal beauty  and  cultural richness  in the heart of Italy.

THINGS TO DO IN THE CINQUE TERRE IN SUMMER

  • Hike the Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail) that connects all five villages
  • Wander the narrow streets of Vernazza
  • Unwind on the sandy beaches of Monterosso al Mare
  • Experience the Cinque Terre from the sea by taking a boat tour
  • Explore Riomaggiore, known for its colourful houses
  • Indulge in the delicious Ligurian cuisine
  • Explore the quieter perched village of Corniglia
  • Discover local wines in Manarola, known for its vineyards
  • Capture the views of the Cinque Terre from vantage points
  • Witness a mesmerizing sunset from the heights of Corniglia

14- Balearic Islands, Spain

The Balearic Islands, an  archipelago in the western Mediterranean Sea , are a group of  four main islands : Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. These Mediterranean gems offer an  ideal setting for sun-soaked   relaxation and water activities , each with its own distinct character.

Known for their  stunning beaches ,  crystal-clear waters  and  vibrant nightlife , the Balearics have something for everyone due to their diverse appeal, whether it is the lively  Ibiza , historic  Mallorca , tranquil  Menorca  or the idyllic  Formentera .

From exploring  historic towns  and  scenic landscapes  to indulging in  world-renowned nightlife , the Balearic Islands provide a  dynamic and versatile summer experience , especially attracting young adults looking for a fun time in the heart of the Mediterranean.

THINGS TO DO IN THE BALEARIC ISLANDS IN SUMMER

  • Enjoy the pristine white sands and turquoise waters of Es Trenc
  • Wander the historic streets of Ciutadella in Menorca
  • Experience the legendary nightlife of Ibiza
  • Discover the Caribbean-like beauty of Playa Illetes on Formentera
  • Explore the landscapes of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains
  • Dive into the crystal-clear waters of Cala Galdana in Menorca
  • Visit the capital city of Palma in Mallorca and explore historic sites
  • Stroll through the cobbled streets of the Old Town of Ibiza
  • Join a sailing excursion to explore the Balearic Islands
  • Unwind on the beach at Ses Illetes in Formentera

15- The Archipelago of Malta

Malta, a  small archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea , is a fantastic summer destination, offering a perfect blend of  rich history ,  captivating landscapes  and  vibrant Mediterranean culture . Its capital city,  Valletta , is known for its  UNESCO-listed Baroque architecture , including the iconic  St. John’s Co-Cathedral .

The islands also offer a mix of  historic sites , such as the  ancient megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra  and  picturesque fishing villages  like  Marsaxlokk  in a beautiful coastal setting. 

And with its  clear blue waters ,  sandy beaches  like  Golden Bay  and  scenic spots  like the  Blue Lagoon  on Comino, Malta provides ideal conditions for  water activities  and  relaxation . 

Finally, do not miss out on its  diverse cultural events  and savour the  unique flavours of Maltese cuisine . The archipelago is the perfect destination for those seeking a  memorable summer experience .

THINGS TO DO IN MALTA IN SUMMER

  • Wander through the UNESCO World Heritage city of Valletta
  • Take a boat trip to the Blue Lagoon on the island of Comino
  • Explore the ancient megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra
  • Experience the underwater world by snorkelling or diving
  • Visit the historic walled city of Mdina, known as the Silent City
  • Unwind on the sandy shores of Golden Bay Beach
  • Venture to the neighbouring island of Gozo by boat
  • Discover the Three Cities: Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua
  • Attend the Malta International Arts Festival
  • Indulge in Maltese cuisine at local restaurants

16- Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, the capital of the  Netherlands , is a city characterised by its  historic architecture ,  vibrant cultural scene  and  iconic canals  which come alive in summer with blooming flowers and outdoor cafés, creating a  picturesque backdrop  for leisurely strolls.

Known for its emblematic  17th-century canal houses ,  world-class museums  such as the  Rijksmuseum  and  Van Gogh Museum , and the famous  Anne Frank House , the city offers a rich mix of art, history and modern urban living. 

In addition, its  numerous parks , like  Vondelpark , offer an ideal green escape for  picnics  and  cycling , whilst the lively atmosphere in  Dam Square  is the perfect spot to immerse yourself in the  local vibes , making Amsterdam a captivating summer destination for your next city break, especially if you seek a  dose of culture with outdoor enjoyment .

And, of course, do not hesitate to  explore the city on a bike  – one of the most used modes of transport in Amsterdam, which adds to its charm!

READ MORE: 40 Best & Prettiest Cities to Visit in Europe

THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM IN SUMMER

  • Visit the Anne Frank House to learn about the poignant history
  • Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque canals
  • Immerse yourself in the art world at the Van Gogh Museum
  • Rent a bike and explore Vondelpark, a sprawling green oasis
  • Discover Dutch art and history at the Rijksmuseum
  • Stop at the Bloemenmarkt, the floating flower market
  • Enjoy Amsterdam from the water by taking a canal cruise
  • Explore the historic Red Light District
  • Spend time in Dam Square, the central square
  • Attend open-air festivals and summer events

17- The Island of Cyprus

Cyprus, an  island country in the Eastern Mediterranean , is known for its rich history, diverse culture and stunning landscapes. With an ideal  Mediterranean climate , the island offers  sun-soaked beaches  along its coastline framed by  crystal-clear waters ,   providing an idyllic setting for  relaxation  and  water activities .

You will also come across  Byzantine churches  and  ancient archaeological sites , including the  ruins of Kourion , the  Tombs of the Kings  and the  Paphos Archaeological Park , which showcase the ancient past of the island, whilst the  Troodos Mountains  offer a fun escape for nature enthusiasts. 

In addition, do not miss out on vibrant cities like  Limassol  and  charming villages  such as those in the  wine-producing regions , providing a perfect taste of traditional Cypriot life. 

Finally, stop at the capital,  Nicosia , standing as the  last divided capital  in Europe, with a unique blend of  Greek and Turkish influences  contributing to the cultural tapestry of the island.

Whether exploring  ancient ruins , indulging in  bustling city life  or simply relaxing on  picturesque shores , Cyprus has plenty to do for a  diverse summer experience  in the Eastern Mediterranean.

THINGS TO DO IN CYPRUS IN SUMMER

  • Enjoy the beautiful beaches of Cyprus, such as Nissi Beach
  • Discover the UNESCO-listed Paphos Archaeological Park
  • Escape the heat and explore the Troodos Mountains
  • Visit Petra tou Romiou, also known as Aphrodite’s Rock
  • Explore the Kykkos Monastery, a famous monastery
  • Wander the charming streets of Limassol Old Town
  • Try water sports along the coastline, including paddleboarding
  • Attend a wine-tasting tour to explore the island’s wine culture
  • Witness the flamingos at Larnaca Salt Lake
  • Experience the vibrant nightlife of Ayia Napa

18- Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, the  capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina , is a city with a  rich and complex history , blending Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and Yugoslav influences. Even though it is not a popular tourist destination, the capital is worth adding to your bucket list, especially in summer.

Nestled in a valley  surrounded by mountains , Sarajevo is known for its  multicultural heritage  and captivating mix of diverse architecture, including  mosques, synagogues and churches . 

The city gained international attention during the Bosnian War but has since rebuilt itself, now offering a  vibrant cultural scene ,  historic sites  and a  welcoming atmosphere  that reflects its resilience and past.

Wander through the  Old Town  to appreciate its  Ottoman architecture  and  bustling bazaar , creating a memorable atmosphere for your exploration. You can also enjoy  panoramic views  from the  Yellow Fortress  and  Trebević Mountain  and experience its resilience through its  historical landmarks , including the  Latin Bridge . 

Finally, in summer, the city comes alive with  cultural events ,  festivals  and the  warm hospitality  of its residents. As a result, the diverse offerings of Sarajevo make it an ideal destination for those seeking a compelling combination of  history, culture and outdoor experiences  in the heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

THINGS TO DO IN SARAJEVO IN SUMMER

  • Wander through Baščaršija, Sarajevo’s historic bazaar
  • Discover the Latin Bridge, famous for its historical significance
  • Explore the Old Town’s diverse cultural and religious sites
  • Hike to the Yellow Fortress for panoramic views
  • Visit Vijecnica, the City Hall, a magnificent building
  • Take a cable car ride to Trebević Mountain for breathtaking views
  • Try Ćevapi at a local restaurant, a traditional Bosnian dish 
  • Tour the War Childhood Museum to learn about the Bosnian War 
  • Attend the Sarajevo Film Festival, an internationally acclaimed event
  • Go on a leisurely stroll along the Miljacka River

19- Sicily, Italy

Sicily, the  largest island in the Mediterranean , is a  melting pot of cultures and landscapes . With a rich history influenced by Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Normans, the island is adorned with  archaeological wonders , including the  Valley of the Temples  in Agrigento and the ancient theatre in  Taormina . 

Its diverse landscapes, from the  pristine beaches  and  crystalline waters  to  charming coastal towns  such as  Cefalù  and  Taormina  and the  dramatic volcanic scenery  of  Mount Etna , offer a perfect playground for adventure seekers – who will also love the picturesque setting of  vineyards and olive groves.  

Sicily is also celebrated for its  delicious cuisine  and  culinary scene , a  fusion of flavours  and fresh ingredients reflecting its cultural diversity and adding a  gastronomic delight  to the experience. 

Combined with  vibrant markets ,  medieval towns  and a  warm Mediterranean climate , Sicily provides an  immersive summer getaway  ideal for history buffs, nature enthusiasts and food lovers alike.

THINGS TO DO IN SICILY IN SUMMER

  • Wander the charming streets of Taormina
  • Embark on a hiking adventure on Mount Etna
  • Visit the Valley of the Temples and its ancient Greek ruins
  • Enjoy the beautiful beaches of Sicily
  • Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Palermo’s markets
  • Take a boat trip to the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago
  • Explore the historic city of Syracuse and its district, Ortigia
  • Indulge in Sicilian cuisine, savouring local specialities
  • Take a boat tour to the picturesque village of Scopello
  • Attend the Infiorata in Noto, a colourful flower festival

The Azores Islands, an  archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean , are a stunning and  isolated Portuguese territory  known for their  dramatic landscapes ,  volcanic craters  and  lush greenery . 

Made up of  nine main islands , each with its  unique charm , the Azores are characterised by mild temperatures in summer and offer outdoor enthusiasts a  paradise for activities ,   such as  hiking ,  whale watching  and exploring  geothermal wonders .

In addition, you will encounter  scenic lakes ,  hot springs  and  vibrant coastal towns , creating a harmonious blend of natural beauty and Portuguese culture in the middle of the Atlantic.

The  distinct atmosphere  of each island,  welcoming locals  and the opportunity to savour  fresh cuisine  will further enhance your immersive and tranquil experience on the Azores for an  exceptional summer getaway .

THINGS TO DO ON THE AZORES ISLANDS IN SUMMER

  • Explore the twin lakes of Sete Cidades on São Miguel Island
  • Discover the geothermal wonders of Furnas
  • Embark on a whale-watching tour from Pico Island
  • Hike to the summit of Mount Pico, the highest peak in Portugal
  • Wander the city of Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira Island
  • Enjoy a refreshing swim in the natural volcanic pools
  • Admire the beauty of Lagoa do Fogo, a stunning crater lake
  • See the unique landscapes of São Jorge, known for its Fajãs
  • Visit Horta on Faial Island, known for its marina
  • Indulge in the local Azorean cuisine and specialities

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How to reduce your eco-impact in Europe

Sustainable travel  means exploring the world whilst being aware of your surroundings and having a positive social, environmental and economic impact on the places you visit.

Being a responsible traveller whilst enjoying your summer vacation in Europe is possible! Here are some  sustainable tips for reducing your carbon footprint :

  • Use green methods of transport . Use public transport as much as possible to travel to and from your destination (train or coach). Europe has a fantastic transport network that can take you anywhere, even on a budget. Once at your destination, prioritise walking or cycling as much as possible.
  • Select an eco-friendly accommodation . It is not always easy to determine whether a hotel has eco-conscious practices, but try to look on their website for green credentials such as Green Key or eco-labels, and ask questions. You can also use  Bookdifferent  or  Ecobnb  to help you decide. And if you like nature and the outdoors, why not organise a camping trip?
  • Reduce water and energy usage . Turn off lights, air conditioning and electronic devices when not in use. In addition, conserve water by taking shorter showers and reusing towels during your stay. 
  • Shop local & eat at local restaurants  that use produce from the region. It will contribute to the local economy and reduce your carbon footprint by supporting restaurants where food does not come from long distances.
  • Choose sustainable tours and activities . Opt for eco-friendly tours and activities that support local communities and ecosystems. Avoid activities that involve harm to wildlife or contribute to environmental degradation.
  • Use reef-safe sunscreen . Protecting your skin from the sun is non-negotiable, but be careful about the cream you choose.  Zero-waste and reef-safe sunscreens  are an excellent alternative to chemical creams and are incredibly beneficial for many reasons: they protect the environment by reducing plastic waste and preserve your health by eliminating harmful components.
  • Treat the landscapes and wildlife with respect .   Do not come close to animals, do not feed them and respect their home – on land and in the sea. Always pay attention to where you walk or cycle (or drive if you rent a car).
  • Bring a  reusable filtered water bottle  with you . It will help avoid buying single-use plastic bottles that will be wasted. Instead, refill your water bottle wherever you can – at a fountain or river! It will also help you save money and stay hydrated on the go.
  • Do not leave a trace . Do not litter, and pick up any trash you encounter. Leftover waste can be extremely harmful to the local ecosystem. So, once again, be zero waste and take your garbage with you. 
  • Always respect the local heritage . Treat people and their surroundings with respect. Sustainable travel is not only about the environment but also about the local communities. So, always be respectful and smile!

WANT MORE INSPIRATION?

  • The Complete Guide to Sustainable Travel
  • 10 Best Travel Apps for Exploring Sustainably
  • Best Ecotourism Activities Around the World
  • 15 Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Eco-Adventure

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Prettiest European summer destinations – FAQ

If you are looking for destinations in Europe that are sunny but not too hot in July, you might consider Northern and Western European countries, as well as higher-altitude locations, including Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The cost of travel can vary greatly across European countries, but some destinations are generally more budget-friendly than others. Here are some countries in Europe known for being relatively affordable: Portugal, Greece and Slovenia.

Several European countries are known for their pleasant and sunny summer weather, offering a variety of summer experiences, from beach destinations to cultural explorations, including Spain, Italy, Croatia, Turkey, Cyprus and Malta.

best summer destinations in europe

And you, what is your favourite summer destination in Europe? Let me know in the comments below!

With love ♡ Lucie

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