Our Top 7 Places to Visit in Europe this Summer
Guess what? Things are starting to heat up in Europe, and that can only mean one thing… the summertime escapades are about to kick off.
Drop a pin on a map anywhere in Europe, and you’re guaranteed amazing eats, fascinating history, epic views and wild parties. But if you’re a sun worshipper, then it’s time to get outdoors to enjoy the endless array of activities on offer when the sun comes out to play.
Pack away your cozy slippers and start planning for the summer fun with this huge selection of summer adventures. Here’s our must-do list to help you get a move on with your travel plans.
We hope you love carbs, jumping in the sea, taking a stroll through history and last but not least - stopping for gelato and Aperol Spritz’s, everywhere.
Hike the Cinque Terre Trails
The coast comes to life in summer with flowers and vibrant blue water. Also known as ‘Five Lands’, these colourful villages sit along the Italian Riviera and date back to the 11th century.
Head to the ‘Lovers Lane’ trek that runs from Manarola and Riomaggiore and stick around for the sunset. Pose up a storm while you’re waiting for the cotton candy show in the sky. You won’t regret it.
Glide through Venice in a Gondola
This may seem very touristy, but gently drifting through the canals is the ultimate way to cool down in the Floating City, especially in summer when it’s sweltering.
Afterwards, it's only fair to pick a shady spot along the banks, find yourself a decent happy hour and sip on a nice cold refreshing prosecco. Fantastico.
Whip through the streets of Rome
Rome is so much more than its famed fountains and landmarks. The magic lies in the twists and turns hidden within the bustling city.
Jump on the back of a taxi scooter, you can easily fit all the sightseeing hotspots into a single day, but then make sure to lose the map and just cruise through the tiny cobblestoned streets. It does get ridiculously humid and busy, so plan to get out and about early each morning.
Here, it’s all about slowing down, exploring the stunning coastline, the old world history and binging on some of the freshest seafood in the Mediterranean.
Take a dip at Krka National Park
Over 1 million people flock here every year to plunge into the crystal clear pools surrounded by cascading 44m waterfalls. So make sure to pack your swimmers so you can swim beneath it. From there, the National Park is home to plenty of great trails and wildlife to explore, so hire a bike and cycle around. Don’t forget to pack a picnic!
Sail the unspoiled stretches
Sail away, sail away, sail away. Booking a week to cruise the yacht-filled waters is the new must-do for anyone seeking some fun in the sun. It’s essentially endless boat parties as you island-hop from one exotic location to the next. It’s the perfect way to get an inside look at the culture, explore the other islands and have a bloody great time.
Explore medieval paradise with fewer crowds
One of the most well-preserved medieval cities left today, Dubrovnik is also known for its seaside charm. It’s got tons of beaches, botanical gardens and the world’s oldest arboretum so you’ll definitely want to spend your time outdoors! You can also nerd out and see some Game of Thrones filming locations for yourself.
It’s filled with charming terrace cafes and rooftop bars to sip on endless jugs of Sangria. The days are longer, there’s a plethora of tapas to try and the beaches stretch for days, so there’s no shortage of great things.
Dance ‘til the sun comes up in Ibiza
Known as the undisputed capital of clubbing, it plays host to some of the best nightclubs in the world. From April to October, Ibiza comes alive with the likes of world class DJ's David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Armin Van Buuren and Calvin Harris hitting the decks, so you can party like a rockstar until the break of dawn and beyond.
Go soccer-mad in Barcelona
You don’t have to be a football fiend to appreciate the size and structure of Camp Nou, Barcelona’s Soccer stadium. If you’re in town from August to May try and pick up some tickets and bare witness to possibly the greatest footballer of all time, Messi.
Toss Tomatoes in Valencia
To this day, no one really has any clue about how the tradition of La Tomatina originated back in 1945. But, it’s now the biggest food fight in the world. More than 40,000 tomato throwing enthusiasts descend to the tiny Mediterranean town in mid-August to pelt 145,000kg of produce at one another.
Related: Global Destination Review: Spain
The land of the clog is the country of H2O. As you can imagine, most of the summer activities involve floating on the water. But there’s always tons of vibrant festivals to enjoy in Holland too!
Float around in Amsterdam
Don’t let the Red Lights & coffee shops fool you; Amsterdam is full of outdoor adventures.
Probably the best thing to do to explore the city’s beauty as it blossoms is to jump on a ferry down the canals. Float past old-world architecture and flowers of every colour of the rainbow along the banks.
Party hard in Rotterdam
To get away from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, head to the port city of Rotterdam or as the ‘Manhattan on the Maas’. The Rotterdam Summer Carnival (Zomercarnaval) is known as the Dutch answer to Rio and it welcomes more than a million visitors in each year in July, when bands, parades and parties take over the city centre.
Tulip spotting in Keukenhof
Visiting Keukenhof for a stroll through the world’s biggest flower park is a staple for the Dutch during tulip season from mid-April when it opens its doors. More than 7 million bulbs are planted in the park every year, and the sight is absolutely breathtaking as the gorgeous colours bloom.
France has a unique charm about it no matter the season, but summer truly draws you in. Drinking wine and eating cheese is just the beginning - there are oodles of open-air festivals and events to see.
Relax on the 'beach' in Paris
Paris Plage has to be the best summer activity in the City of Lights. They take the sand to the Seine and transform it into a full-fledged beach, complete with “boardwalk cafes”, open-air bars, deck chairs and umbrellas.
If you're in town mid-July, the country transforms for Bastille Day - France’s very own 4th of July. At the end of July, one of the world’s most-watched cycling events, Le Tour de France, ends on Champs-Elysées. Come along and cheer on the riders as they zoom by on the final stretch.
Explore the South of France
The south of France is where it’s at in the summer months. ‘Nice’ (pronounced like “niece”, ie, the opposite of a nephew) is quickly turning into a popular tourist hub and is among one of the best places in Europe to enjoy the summer season - offering the best of both worlds, beach & city.
Lavender season in Provence is in full bloom by late June. So exploring the rolling purple fields, UNESCO villages and amazing food is a must. Then there are the nearby coastal paradises of Cannes & Monaco. The list never ends!
Escape to the Champagne region
After all these adventures, why would you not relax outside with a glass of wine? To find the world’s best bubbly, go to the region where it got its very name - Champagne. Grab a bike and ride through the French vineyards, checking out the local producers as you go.
Related: Global Destination Reviews: France
Summer in Greece means even more than the postcard-worthy beaches and the ancient ruins. It’s when it truly comes to life with festivals, feasts and fairs (panigiris), and unforgettable sunsets.
Laze around in Santorini
While on Santorini island, don’t miss days on the red and black sand beaches, you can easily hire a quad bike to whip around to each beach.
By night, watching a sunset is said to be spectacular. It's to be among the most sought-after views in the world. Oia is generally considered to be the best location on the entire island (which makes it really busy).
Greece Island Hop
If this doesn't scream summer holidays, then what does? Greece has more than 6,000 islands of every size. That's a new island for nearly every day for the next 20 years.
The most popular islands include Santorini, Mykonos, Crete and Rhodes. But you can always do a boat tour to take you to a few of the smaller ones so you can cruise the vibrant blue seas and enjoy the rich history, great weather and delicious Greek cuisine all over.
Famously known for being cloudy and overcast - in the summer months, Foggy ol' turns into Paradise. The skies clear and the days are longer and the whole country springs to life.
Ace a Match at Wimbledon in London
It's the oldest tennis tournament in the world! It has been held at the All England Croquet Club since 1875 and it's the only grand slam still played on grass. Here's a guide on how to get tickets to the prestigious event held from early to mid-July.
Head to Summer Festivals Basically Everywhere
They're everywhere and they form one of the most saturated festival markets in the world - there’s Glastonbury Festival, Download Festival, Bestival, Isle of Wight Festival, Reading & Leeds Festivals and Wireless Festival, just to name drop a few. English festivals are renowned around the globe for capturing the coolest acts and witnessing one for yourself is an absolute must.
Throw down a towel at Brighton Beach
Get away from the crowded cities and see one of the UK’s best beaches in Brighton, you will never get bored in this eccentric city. When you've had enough of the beaches, there are a few summer festivals to enjoy. There's a watersports festival Paddle Round the Pier in early July & Brighton Carnival in mid-July.
What are your "must-do’s" for a European summer? Let us get you there!