stone pathway with table and chairs under canopy of flowers in white village on european summer holiday
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20 Best Summer Holidays in Europe in 2023

European summer hot spots alert! Top bloggers reveal their best summer holidays in Europe. If you’re looking to spend your next summer vacation in Europe look no further I’ve got some inspiration for you!

The List of 20 Best Summer Holidays in Europe

Are you ready for the best summer destinations in Europe? You won’t find any of the usual suspects on this list – you know the ones I’m referring to – Paris, Rome, London, or Barcelona. No way, this inspiring list of the best summer holiday destinations in Europe has some new ideas for you.

This European summer destinations list is a mix of smaller, “second” cities (ok, with one exception, Dublin!) that aren’t always the first destination you think of when you say “let’s go to Europe this summer!” Small towns, under-the-radar pretty places and some rural gems are what you’ll find on this list.

That also means that your Europe summer vacation won’t break the bank. Saving money on visiting lesser-known destinations that are equally, if not more, charming and picturesque is the way to go!

It also means that these places will be a little less crowded too. With everyone travelling again, European summer holidays are in high demand. And, that means crowds! And I know you don’t want that!

So let’s dive in, with thanks to these 20 travel bloggers for sharing their favourite summer vacations in Europe!

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Hallstatt

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Hallstatt
Experienced (and photo) by Jess of Uprooted Traveler

Hallstatt looks like something straight out of a fairytale, with its colorful gingerbread houses, tucked into the slopes of the Austrian Alps. Come summer, the pleasant temperatures and endless nearby outdoor adventures make this the perfect destination.

There are so many things to do in Hallstatt, making this one of the best summer destinations in Europe! No trip to Hallstatt is complete without moseying around its charming Old Town, where charming alpine buildings border the sparkling shores of Lake Hallstatt. For a different perspective, consider packing a picnic lunch and renting a canoe to paddle out into the middle of the water, where you can drink in the views of the adorable town and the dramatic Alps surrounding you. 

One of the best things about visiting in the summertime is that most of the high-elevation attractions will be snow-free. Head to Dachstein Krippenstein, a park situated in the mountains, ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 meters in elevation. Here, you can enjoy everything from lowkey activities, like taking in the alpine views from its gondola, to heart-pounding adventures, like climbing its via ferrata. 

While you’re here, don’t miss the Salzwelten, the oldest salt mine on the planet. While salt mines may not generally sound overly exciting, there are plenty of quirky aspects to enjoy here, from boasting the longest wooden slide in Europe (which just so happens to be completely underground!) to a salt mummy discovered in the early 18th century.

European Summer Holiday Tips for Hallstatt

  • Hallstatt is known for its picturesque Old Town that has UNESCO status and is surrounded by beautiful scenery with outdoor activities like hiking, biking, boating and swimming
  • Weather: Temperature 20-25°C (68-77°F)
  • Top-rated experience in Hallstatt: A scenic 2-hour walking tour with a professional photographer who brings you to the best locations to snap that perfect photo (iconic Mühlbachwasserfall waterfall, Bone Church), book this popular tour
  • Nearby day trips: Salzburg (1 hour), Berchtesgaden, Germany (1 hour), Linz (90 mins), Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic (2.5 hours), Innsbruck (3 hours)

Places to Stay in Hallstatt

Makarska Riviera, Croatia

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Riviera Croatia
Experienced (and photo) by PlacesofJuma

The Makarska Riviera in Croatia is an excellent choice for a summer vacation in Europe! This fascinating region has a lot to offer. There is the famous old town of Makarska, a beautiful countryside with nature and mountains, and a breathtaking coastline with stunning beaches to explore! Plus, it’s very sunny this time of year, the temperatures are delightfully hot, and the sea is pleasantly warm.

The main town is Makarska, a marvellous Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea. It’s very popular for its stunning beaches, attractive harbour and bustling nightlife. Nearby there is the Biokovo Mountains National Park, one of the amazing places to see, with a beautiful skywalk and several hiking trails.

The coastline of the Makarska Riviera is stunning. The sea is crystal clear and reflects in the most amazing turquoise colours. You can take beautiful hikes here, and in sunny weather, you can even take a boat or kayak down the coast. Don`t miss seeing Punta Rata Beach, with the famous Brela stone. This stunning place is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

European Summer Holiday Tips for Makarska Riviera

  • Makarska Riviera is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and stunning scenery
  • Weather: Temperature 25-30°C (77-86°F), with higher temperatures due to heat waves
  • Best towns to visit in Makarska Riviera: charming village of Podgora, the pretty beach town of Brela, and Baska Voda a small town with a pretty harbour and long beach
  • Top-rated experience in Makarska Riviera: Admire the waterfalls in Krka National Park on a 10-hour tour from Makarska. Explore the park and enjoy a walk along the waterfall, book this amazing tour here!

Places to Stay in Makarksa

  • Biokovo Beauty – a 2-bedroom stone villa set against the backdrop of the Biokovo mountains, includes a plunge pool jacuzzi, home gym and outdoor dining
  • Boutique Hotel Ani – hotel steps from a beach offers modern rooms, and pool and wellness amenities
  • Blue Stargazer – a 3-bedroom modern contemporary home set in the mountains with a short drive to Makarska, includes a pool, impressive views of the sea, and fun, funky interiors
  • Hotel Park Makarska – located right next to a beach, this hotel offers full amenities with sea-facing rooms

Pula, Croatia

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Pula
Experienced (and photo) by Natali from She’s Abroad Again

If you’re dreaming of spending your European summer holidays on a beach, strolling cobblestone streets and discovering quaint villages, look no further than Pula. Located on the Istrian Peninsula along the Adriatic coast in the northwestern part of Croatia, this lesser-known coastline is equally stunning.

What makes the coastal town of Pula one of the best summer destinations in Europe is its location, size and versatility. Pula is the biggest town in the region and offers plenty of things to do during the day and night.

Beaches in Pula are worth the visit just by themselves. With hundreds of hidden caves on the Istrian Peninsula you can visit on a kayak tour, pebbled beaches and the untouched, rugged coast, there is something for everyone. Nature lovers will adore Brijuni National Park, with its safari-like zoo or Kamenjak Natural Park.

Pula is home to one of the best preserved Roman arenas and unlike the one in Rome, Pula Arena hosts many events throughout the year. As one of the best places in Europe to visit in July to see a movie under the stars at the Pula Film Festival.

European Summer Holiday Tips for Pula

  • Pula is known for its stunning coastline and beaches
  • Weather: Temperature 25-30°C (77-86°F), with higher temperatures due to heat waves
  • Top-rated experience in Pula: Visit Venice for the day with this round-trip boat shuttle, book your trip to Venice here!
  • Nearby day trips: Vodnjan (12km), Rovinj (40 km), Porec (59 km), Motovun (70 km), Grožnjan (86 km)

Best Places to Stay in Pula

  • Hotel Milan – a 4-star modern hotel with a restaurant, and terrace located in Old Town steps from the beach
  • Collins Apartment Center – 4-star self-catering apartments with modern decor and a terrace with views of Old Town and a kitchenette
  • San Martino – an affordable, clean and newly refurbished room in the centre of Old Town

Normandy, France

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Normandy Beaches
Experienced by Stephanie Craig of History Fangirl

The region of Normandy in northern France is a special place to visit any time of year, but summer is the most significant time to make your way here – especially if you can make it the first week of June!

That is because the towns and beaches of Normandy that were liberated on D-Day and during the ensuing Allied campaign throw a huge event to commemorate.

This is more than just a small memorial celebration – Normandy comes alive. Historical reenactors flock to the area, complete with era-appropriate cars and clothing. Seeing a World War II-era Army jeep coming down the road is a regular occurrence, as is seeing men and women wearing period uniforms.

Make sure to stop by a Normandy Cemetery (American and Canadian), as well as stop by each of the five D-Day beaches. The town of Sainte-Mère-Eglise was the first town liberated on D-Day and definitely one to seek out.

There are, of course, other periods of history to celebrate. Some of the most popular things to do in Normandy include seeing the Bayeux tapestry at Bayeux Cathedral, Mont Saint-Michel, and the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen.

European Summer Holiday Tips for Normandy

  • Normandy is known for its beaches as being the site of the Allied landings on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as well as its cuisine, specifically, camembert cheese originated in Normandy
  • Weather: Temperature 20-25°C (68-77°F)
  • Top-rated experience in Normandy: Embark on a WWII Normandy full-day visit to the key American beaches and sites linked to D-Day on this guided tour, experience this knowledgeable tour here
  • D-Day beaches to seek out: Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, and Gold Beach
  • Nearby day trips: Mont Saint-Michel – the stunning island abbey, Honfleur – a pretty port town, Deauville – an elegant seaside resort town, and Rouen – to visit the Cathedral

Best Places to Stay in Normandy

  • Deauville Darling – a 2-bedroom modern apartment with a balcony decorated in soft muted tones is located in the quaint town of Deauville with a few minutes walk to the beach
  • Merry Maritime – a cute 3-bedroom triplex apartment styled in Scand-inspired design is located in the picturesque port town of Honfleur
  • Hotel Saint-Delis, La Maison du Peintre – a luxury 5-star Relais Chateau property in Honfleur
  • La Maison De Lucie – a 3-star cozy hotel with a homey and nostalgic feel located in Honfleur
  • Coastal Wandering – a 3-bedroom stone cottage in the coastal village of Langrune-sur-Mer is the perfect vacation home for families

Munich, Germany

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Munich
Experienced (and photo) by Paul D’Souza of Paulmarina

Munich is an inconspicuous city in southern Germany where the locals are very warm and welcoming. Yet, the city is truly a place that every traveller should add to their list of best holiday destinations in Europe in summer.

Stroll through the Old Town and eventually, it always leads to a beer garden and of course a hearty Bavarian meal. The city has a lot to offer in terms of culture but in the summer months, you should add the Tollwood festival to your bucket list. It’s a bi-annual outdoor festival with concerts and theatres, and it is a place where you can discover artists from all over the world.

Munich is also known for its vast English garden and for the unusual Eisbachwelle, a river where surfers train and you can watch them. While you will be exploring the countless attractions in Munich, you might want to add a day trip or two to nearby famous places.

Nature lovers will appreciate the beautiful Königssee lake, the lesser-known Wimmbach gorge with waterfalls or the Chiemsee lake with the palace on the lake island. Furthermore, the Neuschwanstein castle and the Linderhof palace built by the fairy tale king Ludwig of Bavaria are worth a visit.

European Summer Holiday Tips for Munich

  • Munich is known for its beer culture, especially the annual Oktoberfest, the largest folks fest in the world
  • Weather: Temperature 20-25°C (68-77°F)
  • Top-rated experience in Munich: A 3-hour guided bike tour through Munich gives you the opportunity to actively explore the vibrant city and the English Garden, don’t miss out on this fun activity!
  • Nearby day trips: Garmisch-Partenkirchen (1 hour) Salzburg (2 hours), Berchtesgaden, Germany (2 hours), Innsbruck (2 hours), Fussen (2 hours), Lake Constance (2 hours), Neuschwanstein Castle (2 hours)

Places to Stay in Munich

  • Cherry Kirsch – super stylish studio apartment with balcony steps from Old Town
  • BEYOND by Geisel – a 5-star adults-only hotel with a gorgeous interior that sits on the main square with views of the iconic town hall
  • Ruby Rosi Hotel – a highly stylized 4-star hotel with a restaurant, bar and modern rooms with a terrace
  • Or, start your own search here

Mykonos, Greece

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Mykonos
Experienced (and photo) by Dymphe of Dymabroad

One of the best summer destinations in Europe is the Greek island of Mykonos. Mykonos is a beautiful island that has a large variety of things you can do. The island is known for its nightlife scene and there are a lot of beach clubs in many places on the island. Best of all, the island has a lot of beautiful beaches, such as Paradise Beach and Paraga Beach.

Mykonos Town is the island’s main town. Here, you can see a lot of houses with a typical Cycladic architectural style. There are a lot of small meandering streets and alleys that can be wonderful to explore. Many restaurants and bars can be found in the town too, especially those next to the sea offering a great view.

What’s so great about Mykonos Town is that there are many places where you can get beautiful views. One such place is the area of Little Venice, it’s known as one of the most Instagrammable places in Mykonos.

Mykonos is a destination that is perfect if you want to relax and have fun at the same time, which makes it an ideal European summer destination. One of the best hidden gems in Mykonos is Cine Manto Mykonos, which is an open-air movie theatre in the center of Mykonos Town.

European Summer Holiday Tips for Mykonos

  • Mykonos is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and the picturesque Cycladic architecture
  • Weather: Temperature 25-30°C (77-86°F), with higher temperatures due to heat waves
  • Top-rated experience in Mykonos: Go on board the traditional boats and take a tour through the Agora, the Sacred way and the Temple of Apollo. Admire the house of Dionysus, and the House of Cleopatra, book this incredible activity here!
  • Nearby islands worth seeking out: Delos Island, an ancient Greek archaeological site and UNESCO World Heritage site. Tinos Island features beautiful architecture and stunning landscapes

Places to Stay in Mykonos

  • Midsummer Mirage – a 2-bedroom villa with views of panoramic views of the Aegean Sea on the terrace and from the infinity pool
  • Aegean Waltz – a 1-bedroom suite with a living area and kitchen within a small modern villa with a communal pool and outdoor lounging space
  • AK Mykonos – stylish hotel located within a 5-minute walk of Agios Charalabos Beach
  • Paolas Town Boutique hotel – located in the Drafaki area, this hotel is traditionally built in Cycladic style and a short walk to the beach

Westfjords, Iceland

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Iceland
Experienced byjinalee

Iceland is one of the best places in Europe to visit in the summer. While you won’t find the Northern Lights, you can take advantage of perpetual daylight to explore much of the country – including the Westfjords.

Most Ring Road itineraries will skip over the Westfjords, which is such a shame. The Westfjords is one of the most pristine and uninhabited areas in Iceland, known for its rugged landscapes and spectacular wildlife. Since it’s so remote, the Westfjords is a safe haven for many animal populations, including puffins that come back to Iceland every spring and summer to breed. 

One of the most spectacular places to see the puffins up close is at Látrabjarg cliffs in the Westfjords. Látrabjarg is a secluded cliff – one of the highest in Europe – that’s a puffin paradise. With the cliff’s protection and few natural predators, the puffins are unphased by humans, allowing you to observe them for as long as you’d like. You can also spot other bird populations such as razorbills, arctic terns, and more. 

Whether you’re a bird lover or just want to see more of this uninhabited country, you’ll want to include the Westfjords as part of your Ring Road road trip. There are few places in the world where you’ll find endless miles of greenery, rugged cliffs, and dramatic oceanside views with few settlements in sight.

European Summer Holiday Tips for Westfjords

  • Iceland is known for its stunning natural landscapes which include hot springs, geysers and volcanos, as well as northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer
  • Weather: Temperature 10-15°C (50-59°F)
  • More to see in Westfjords: Dynjandi waterfall – a 100 m cascading down a mountain, Raudasandur Beach- a red sand beach, the charming town of Ísafjörður, Reykjafjarðarlaug and Pollurinn hot springs

Places to stay in Westfjords

Dublin, Ireland

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Dublin 1
Experienced (and photo) by Janelle of Make the Trip Matter

Dublin is a fantastic European summer holiday destination. From museums, cultural events, and monuments to street performers, galleries, and shops – the city truly has something for everyone.

It’s also renowned for its rich history. St. Patrick’s Cathedral stands tall among some of the oldest churches in the country. While Dublin Castle serves as a witness to countless political events that have shaped contemporary Irish identity.

With a variety of events taking place all summer long, there is something to suit every taste – from lively music festivals to quieter art exhibitions and unique cultural experiences. The most popular summer events include Dublin’s Pride festival in June and the All-Ireland Senior Championship Gaelic Games in July. 

Enjoy the sunshine (and break from the consistent rain in Ireland) on one of the many rooftop bars and beer gardens around the city – check out Sophie’s Rooftop Bar & Terrace or Layla’s Rooftop Restaurant. Or, use the pleasant weather to explore the beautiful surrounding nature such as the beaches of Dollymount Strand or Skerries North Beach (best for swimming) or hiking and rock climbing through the stunning Dublin Mountains. However you decide to spend your time in Dublin, you’re sure to have a memorable summer vacation!

European Summer Holiday Tips for Dublin

  • Dublin is known for being a vibrant capital full of character, history and charm with friendly locals that are described as the “heart and soul” of the city
  • Weather: Temperature 15-20°C (59-68°F)
  • Top-rated experience in Dublin: A visit to the home of Guinness – take a self-guided tour of the Guinness Storehouse, and enjoy a complimentary pint. Or learn the secrets of making Irish whiskey on a fully guided tour of the historic Jameson Distillery in Dublin. Then, enjoy a comparative whiskey tasting!
  • Nearby day trips: Belfast (2 hours), Cork (3 hours), Galway (2.5 hours)

Places to Stay in Dublin

  • Clementine Divine – a one-bedroom suite self-catering apartment in the up-and-coming hub of Docklands – building includes communal spaces of a cocktail bar, working space and all-day restaurant
  • The Alex – a 4-star hotel with a cool, chic design and vibe
  • The Dean – is a hip hotel with a rooftop bar and lively lobby bar making this a great choice for travellers who enjoy the nightlife
  • Number 31 – a boutique hotel in a Georgian townhouse with a guest lounge space with an open fire
  • Or, do your own search here

Dolomites, Italy

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Dolomites
Experienced (and photo) by Candice Criscione of Mom in Italy

The Dolomites are a dramatic mountain range in northern Italy, and one of the best places to visit on a summer trip to Europe.  

Although the Dolomites call Italy home, you’ll find a mix of cultures scattered among the alpine peaks – from Italian to Austrian to the small Ladin community.  Each culture brings its own food, dress, traditions and languages.  In fact, you’ll often see road signs with all three languages, and you’re just as likely to find canederli con crauti (dumplings with sauerkraut) as you are to find pizza and pasta.  

The mountain range is home to some of Italy’s best skiing slopes (and the 2026 Winter Olympics), but in the summer the area truly shines. In-the-know hikers, cyclists (mountain and road), rock climbers, spa lovers, and foodies head to this fairytale destination for spectacular scenery, friendly locals, and the ability to ‘find some space’ in a crowded European continent.

While Lago di Braies is hot on the Instagram scene, locals flock to Laghetto di Fiè (the little lake of Fiè) when the temperatures soar. The tiny lake has won awards for its water quality and boasts a Kneipp walk, easy access to gorgeous hiking trails, and a small bar for snacks or aperitivo.  

European Summer Holiday Tips for the Dolomites

  • Dolomites is known for its breathtaking landscape, including dramatic peaks, rocky crags, and verdant valleys. The unique type of rock called Dolomite gives the mountain range a distinct appearance and as such made them a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Weather: Temperature 15-25°C (59-77°F)
  • Insider’s tip: For an aperitivo with a view head to Fiè allo Sciliar’s Romantik Hotel Turm.  Order the local hugo spritz and watch the sunset create alpenglow on the Sciliar range from the terrace of the hotel’s bar.  
  • Must-see places and hidden gems: the charming town of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Europe’s largest high-altitude Alpine meadow of Alpe di Siusi, Seceda – a scenic viewpoint only accessible by cable car

Places to Stay in the Dolomites

  • Fairytale Weekend – perched above Lake Garda, this 2-bedroom apartment is in a romantic spot and has a dreamy pastel colour palette that’s almost whimsical
  • Lake Garda’s Embrace – a 1-bedroom apartment with a gorgeous vintage aesthetic with original rafters and marble fireplace – views from the balcony are of Lake Garda and mountains in the distance
  • Alpine Meadow Flower – a 2-bedroom traditional chalet-style building with a wooden roof and pretty wooden balcony in the Italian Alps
  • Romantik Hotel Turm – a luxury hotel featuring towers from the 13th century offers full amenities like a wellness centre and fine dining restaurant

Puglia, Italy

Puglia is one of the most beautiful regions in Italy, located in the southeastern part of the country. Its picturesque landscape, whitewashed towns, and crystal-clear waters make it an ideal European summer destination.  

The region boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Be it the famous stunning white sand beaches of Salento, or the rocky beaches around Polignano a Mare and Roca Vecchia, you’ll always find some refreshing waters to take a dip in. If you do visit the Roca Vecchia region, make sure to stop by Grota della Poesia or the Cave of Poetry for a unique swimming experience. 

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alberobello, known for its unique trulli houses. It’s surely one of the prettiest places to visit in Puglia. You can also explore the picturesque streets of the town of Lecce, a charming town known for its stunning Baroque architecture. 

For an out of the world experience in Puglia, check out the Bauxite Caves situated near the town of Otranto. It’s a lake with deep green waters with a very unique landscape surrounding it that makes you feel like walking on Mars. It’s a popular hiking area amongst locals and tourists. 

Food lovers visiting this region will surely be amazed by its exceptional culinary scene. It’s known for its simple, yet delicious, cuisine that is centred around fresh, local ingredients. Don’t miss out on trying the local burrata cheese, orecchiette pasta, and freshly caught seafood. 

European Summer Holiday Tips for Puglia

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Puglia
Experienced (and photo) by Merryl of Merryl’s Travel and Tricks
  • Puglia is known for its pristine beaches, charming towns, and unique architecture of the distinctive cone-shaped buildings called Trulli.
  • Weather: Temperature 25-30°C (77-86°F), with higher temperatures due to heat waves
  • Top-rated experience in Puglia: Explore the UNESCO-status Alberobello with a local guide and learn more about its unique history while admiring the famous Trulli buildings, book your date!
  • Hidden gems in Puglia: Grotte di Castellana, a network of underground caves located near the town of Castellana, a 13th-century castle called Castel del Monte, and the charming town of Locorotondo
  • Day trip to Matera- is known for its Sassi, or cave dwellings and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world

Places to Stay in Puglia

  • The Trulli Maze – a 1-bedroom in the heart of the iconic town of Alberobello in a converted Trullo with a large stone terrace
  • Albergo Alberobello – a 3-bedroom Trullo converted home set amongst 7 acres with a pool near Alberobello
  • Candelabra Cactus – a 1-bedroom apartment with a large rooftop terrace with city and sea views in the heart of Ostuni
  • White Water Rest – 2-bedroom home with original features of vaulted ceilings and thick brick walls – with streamlined furnishings and a soft colour palette in the pretty town of Ostuni

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Sicily, Italy

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Sicily
Experienced (and photo) by Wanderlust Storytellers

Sicily is one of the most known Italian Islands and it’s for good reason. This Mediterranean island is right off the toe of Italy’s boot and is perfect for any summer vacation in Europe. That’s because the island is surrounded by turquoise waters and magnificent seaside towns with so many small cafes for you to enjoy the local food and produce.

The island of Sicily is made up of some beautiful towns, each offering the traveller a unique experience and something different to see. The best way to explore the stunning scenery, architecture and history are by doing a Sicily road trip. This will allow you to visit all of the best places in Sicily in one trip.

You’ll even be able to explore a couple of active volcanoes, like Mount Etna which is the highest active volcano in Europe. Its fascinating moonscape features ancient craters, lava flow caves, and spectacular views.

Although all the small towns of Sicily are full of charm, Cefalu is where the real beauty of Sicily can be found. This seaside town is situated in the northern part of the island and offers all of the top things to do in Sicily – beautiful beaches, delicious food, rich history, and vibrant culture. With dramatic stone cliffs and sparkling oceanside location, visiting this town is a must for anyone visiting Sicily.

European Summer Holiday Tips for Sicily

  • Sicily is known for its beautiful coastlines, ancient Greek ruins, delicious cuisine, and famous landmarks like Mount Etna and the Valley of the Temples
  • Weather: Temperature 25-30°C (77-86°F), with higher temperatures due to heat waves
  • Top-rated experience in Sicily: Discover the famous archaeological site at Agrigento in Sicily, the imposing Doric temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site, book here for the best rate!
  • Don’t miss seeing these places: the city of Taormina, the Baroque architecture of Noto and Ragusa, the beautiful beaches of San Vito Lo Capo, and the UNESCO-status Old Town of Catania

Places to Stay in Sicily

  • The Art Museum – located in Palermo in a historic medieval building renovated with contemporary art and modern furniture, while still retaining the charm of the past with the beautiful stone feature walls throughout this beautiful 1-bedroom apartment
  • The Old Pomodoro Factory – a former tomato sauce factory in Palermo has been converted into a stylish 2-bedroom apartment with its own garden terrace
  • Taormina’s Tower – a converted former watchtower, in the city of Taormina, has sweeping vistas across the bay towards Isola Bella is now a 2-bedroom three-storey home, and it’s gorgeous!
  • Fire on the Mountain – admire the stunning views of Mount Etna from this 1-bedroom apartment’s roof terrace located in the town of Catalina.

Kotor, Montenegro

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Kotor
Experienced (and photo) by Kami of My Wanderlust

Kotor, Montenegro is one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see. The charming little town, dating back to BC times, is packed with history, attractions, and stunning views. Making this one of the best European summer destinations.

The Old Town in Kotor is small but full of winding lanes, picturesque corners, and beautiful historical palaces. Wandering around it is a pure pleasure and the stone walls are a great escape from the summer heat.

One of the best things to do in Kotor is to climb up to the fortress for some breathtaking views of Kotor Bay with its dramatic landscape.

Even though Kotor isn’t located directly on the seaside, you can still enjoy a beach day here. A short walk away from the Old Town you’ll find a small city beach where for a small fee you can rent a sunbed, jump into the waters of Kotor Bay and simply relax in the beautiful scenery.

Since Kotor is a popular summer destination, especially among day trippers, you can postpone visiting the Old Town until the afternoon when the crowds are mostly gone. Instead, go for a walk along the Kotor Bay to Dobrota – along the way you’ll be able to admire even more stunning views as well as find some more secluded beaches to relax. 

European Summer Holiday Tips for Kotor

  • Kotor is known for its beautiful natural scenery and well-preserved medieval architecture like the 14th-century city walls that surround the historic Old Town and the Castle of San Giovanni
  • Weather: Temperature 25-30°C (77-86°F), with higher temperatures due to heat waves
  • Top-rated experience in Kotor: See Montenegro’s most popular attractions, including Our Lady of the Rocks, on a boat tour. Swim in the Blue Cave, known for its iridescent colour, book this memorable experience here!
  • Other cute towns to visit: the charming town of Perast is known for its beautiful Baroque architecture and historic churches, and the coastal town of Budva features beautiful beaches and historic landmarks
  • Nearby day trips: Skadar Lake – known as the largest lake in the Balkans, famous for its crystal clear waters and Lovcen National Park – a nature reserve with stunning mountain landscapes and hiking trails

Places to Stay in Kotor

  • Wave As I Swim By – a 3-bedroom stone hilltop villa with views of the Bay of Kotor with a pool, sauna and a gorgeous interior
  • Mountain Bay Breeze – a 4-bedroom sea-facing villa with a pool that sits on a secluded on the Bay of Kotor
  • Hotel Monte Cristo – a 4-star in a 13th-century building in the heart of Old Town

Groningen, Netherlands

canal with boats trees and houses on summer vacation in europe
Experienced by Kayla Ihrig of Writing From Nowhere

Groningen is a charming Dutch city that’s the perfect escape in summer. When compared to Amsterdam, the prices are lower, crowds are smaller, and you can explore the entire city on foot or by bicycle. Rent one for the day or the week at the train station. 

This city is known for its bustling university, which is listed as one of the top 100 universities in the world. The university is the reason why Groningen is the youngest city in the Netherlands, with the slogan “Nothing tops Groningen.” Come visit and you’ll quickly feel the youthful buzz and exuberance. 

This is especially true when the sun is out. Order a drink on a sunny terrace on the Grote Markt square. Or have a picnic and pop open a bottle of wine in the Noorderplantsoen park. For lunch, stroll the market, called the Vismarkt and pick up a freshly-baked creation for lunch. Bread is a very Dutch (and safe) lunch option, but if you’re feeling brave, follow the smell of raw fish and onions to the herring stall. 

What makes Groningen one of the best European summer destinations is the impressive list of summer festivals.

  • Bevrijdingsfestival or Liberation Festival – falls around the national bank holiday in early May
  • Stadspark Live – a weekend in June that brings together musical guests worldwide
  • Noorderzon – an 11-day in August, with performances by artists from around the world, including theatre, music, and visual arts

Come explore for a few days or stay for a month-long working vacation. Groningen won’t run out of charm, good food or cold drinks!

European Summer Holiday Tips for Groningen

  • Groningen is known for its one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the Netherlands and its year-round festivals
  • Weather: Temperature 20-25°C (68-77°F)
  • Top-rated experience in Groningen: Get an introduction to Groningen from a local guide and learn about the city’s tips and best-kept secrets on a customized walking tour, book your walking tour here for the best rate!
  • Hidden gem: Wadden Islands is a group of five islands off the northern coast of the Netherlands, known for their sandy beaches, dunes, and quaint villages
  • Day trips to these Dutch cities: Amsterdam (2 hours), Utrecht (2 hours), Edam (2 hours), Leeuwarden (1 hour), Giethoorn (1 hour)

Places to Stay in Groningen

Lofoten Islands, Norway

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Norway
Experienced (and photo) by Angela of Where Angie Wanders

The Lofoten Islands in Norway may not be the first place you think of when looking for the perfect summer destination in Europe. This Nordic location is typically associated with Aurora Borealis, snow and husky dogs, but all that changes in summer, making it one of Europe’s most beautiful places to visit. In the summer months, the Lofoten Islands experience the midnight sun, where the sun remains visible for 24 hours a day.

Firstly it’s one of those off-the-beaten-track places perfect for lovers of the great outdoors. Those travellers who love to walk, hike, cycle, and generally be at one with nature, without the crowds.

As an alpine location, the scenery is stunning. Think mighty mountains, glacial lakes, pine forests and charming traditional fishing villages waiting to welcome you. 

And then there are the beaches. They are not what you would imagine finding in the most remote parts of Norway, and they give the Caribbean some competition, albeit the water may be slightly colder!

Dining in the Lofoten islands is a fine affair, and some fabulous restaurants can be found scattered around the busier towns. Most dishes are based on lamb or fish dishes, with potatoes and berries commonly featured on menus.

For an authentic taste of the arctic waters, head to Anitas Sjømat near the popular town of Reine. It serves a wide variety of local seafood, fish soup, and smoked salmon burgers, which can be eaten in Anita’s restaurant or on the outside ocean-view terrace.

European Summer Holiday Tips for Lofoten Islands

  • Lofoten Islands is known for its dramatic scenery famous for its rugged mountain peaks, crystal-clear fjords, and picturesque fishing villages, as well as the natural phenomenon of the midnight sun in the summer and northern lights during the winter
  • Weather: Temperature 10-15°C (50-59°F)
  • Top-rated experience in Lofoten Islands: experience Lofoten’s epic Trollfjord onboard a catamaran cruise, book this amazing experience here!
  • Cute Fishing Villages worth seeking out: Reine and Hamnøy located on Moskenesøya Island, Kabelvåg features the Lofoten Islands Museum, the UNESCSO-status village of Nusfjord, and the colourful village of Henningsvær

Places to Stay in Lofoten Islands

Madeira, Portugal

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Portugal
Experienced (and photo) by Jenifer of The Evolista

Madeira is one of the most unique summer destinations in Europe with its tropical landscape, beautiful beaches, and incredible hiking. This Portuguese island off the coast of Morocco offers the perfect summer vacation climate and tons of fun activities.

One of the biggest draws is the Levada Walks and hikes in Madeira, which promise spectacular views of lush, volcanic topography filled with waterfalls and scenic vistas! Whether or not hiking is your thing, make sure to catch the sunrise at the top of Pico Arieiro. Just drive up to the viewpoint and bring a warm jacket.

Madeira also offers plenty of other activities like sunbathing on black sand Seixal Beach, swimming at the Porto Moniz natural pools or a visit to the Madeira Botanical Garden, that’s a quick cable car ride from downtown.

Stay downtown in one of the best Funchal boutique hotels. It’s a convenient base for the many activities around the island and it’ll give you plenty of time to enjoy this charming colonial city. For dinner one night, be sure to try the chef’s table at Akua. It’s like taking part in a cooking show where you can see every dish being prepared and then the chef describes the dishes as you are being served.

A visit to Madeira should absolutely be on your Europe summer vacation bucket list!

European Summer Holiday Tips for Madeira

  • Madeira is known for its beauty! The island has a dramatic coastline and is referred to as the “Island of Flowers” because of the many gardens, and its unique Madeira wine
  • Weather: Temperature 25-30°C (77-86°F)
  • Top-rated experience in Madeira: swim in the natural volcanic pools at Porto Moniz, visit one of Portugal’s 7 Wonders – the Fanal Laurisilva forest to see beautiful waterfalls, enjoy the biggest plateau at Paul da Serra, the highest Sea Cliff in Europe and swim in the volcanic pool. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Book this once-in-lifetime experience here!

Best Places to Stay in Madeira

  • Uma Bela Arte – a light, stylish studio apartment in the heart of bustling Funchal with a city rooftop view
  • Sun, Sea & Solitude – a secluded, quiet retreat on the beach with outdoor al fresco dining and BBQ in this quaint 2-bedroom cottage
  • Albatroz Beach and Yacht Club – 5-star resort property offers rooms with views of the Atlantic and Deserted Islands with 3 pools and all the amenities you could ever want
  • Next – by Savoy Signature – a 4-stary property located in the centre of Funchal with a restaurant, pool and wellness centre

Italian Ticino Region, Switzerland

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Riveria Swiz
Experienced (and photo) by Jan of Janadventures

For a delightful summer vacation in Europe, make sure to visit the Ticino region of Switzerland!

Ticino is located in the south of Switzerland, bordering Italy. It is known for its warm and sunny climate, stunning natural beauty, and rich cultural heritage.

From the town of Locarno, you can visit the Madonna del Sasso, a catholic sanctuary and pilgrimage church in the village of Orselina. The Madonna del Sasso is the most important sanctuary in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. For many centuries, pilgrims would walk to the Sacred Mountain. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared here in 1480. 

Another must-do is to drive through the Verzasca Valley and see the famous Roman scenic bridge called ‘Ponte dei salti’. This typical medieval stone bridge is in the town of Lavertezzo. What makes this area extra special is the crystal-clear emerald green and the turquoise-blue water. There are many rocks and places along the valley to sunbathe and swim in the natural pools.

Don’t miss seeing the lovely Foroglio Waterfall. The walk to the waterfall from the parking area is less than 10 minutes. You can see the 108-meter waterfall along the easy walk.

Ticino is a great place to explore during the summer months!

European Summer Holiday Tips for the Locarno

  • Italian Ticino Region is known for its beautiful scenery, with clear lakes, majestic mountains and incredible valleys as well as the blend of Swiss and Italian cuisine.
  • Weather: Temperature 25-30°C (77-86°F)
  • Day trips from Locarno: Lake Lugano – a beautiful lake with pretty villages (48 km), Belliinzona – a historic town famous for its castles (23 km),

Best Places to Stay in the Italian Ticino Region

  • Alpine Gateway – a 1-bedroom modern apartment with a balcony in the Italian-speaking town of Locarno
  • The Valley Below – a 2-bedroom apartment with walk out to a pretty private garden is flanked on all sides by the Swiss Alps, at the bottom of a picturesque valley in the pretty village of Maggia
  • Hotel Lago Maggiore – a modern hotel located on the lake promenade of Locarno

Zermatt, Switzerland

mountain in behind lake in summer vaction in europe
Experienced (and photo) by Martha of May Cause Wanderlust

Swiss summers are lovely and the town of Zermatt is very scenic with its all-wooden chalets with mountain views. When the snow recedes, the lovely mountain countryside reveals some great things to do, including hiking and cycling.

If you want a snowy mountain experience in summer, you have two spectacular options. At 3883m, the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise has views of dozens of mountains and glaciers in France, Italy and Switzerland, including the Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, Breithorn and Mont Blanc. While Gornergrat is slightly lower at 3135m, this also has amazing 360-degree views of the alps, as well as a breathtaking view over the Gorner glacier. Lastly, the Matterhorn in Zermatt is just as striking in summer as it is in winter. It overlooks the town like an eternal sentinel.

If all this sounds good, you might be wondering how to get to Zermatt. Well, it’s car-free, which adds to its charm. The best way to get to Zermatt is by train. The Glacier Express runs between Zermatt and St Moritz, so combining that scenic train ride with a few days in Zermatt makes for one of the best summer destinations in Europe!

European Summer Holiday Tips for Zermatt

  • Zermatt is known for being a world-class winter ski destination with its high-end ski resorts
  • Traveller’s Tip: the best views of Matterhorn are from the Gornera river and the nearby Riffelsee lake offers a magical view of the mountain reflected in the water
  • Weather: Temperature 15-20°C (59-68°F)
  • Top-rated experience in Zermatt: Take a cable car to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise to enjoy the scenic views from the top, book your spot here!
  • Nearby day trips: Geneva (2.5 hours), Bern (2 hours), Milan, Italy (3 hours), Turin, Italy (3 hours)

Best Places to Stay in Zermatt

  • Goggle Lines – a 2-bedroom contemporary condo with views of Matterhorn mountain from a balcony
  • Schweizerhof – a small luxury boutique with views of Matterhorn mountain with a pool, wellness centre and restaurant
  • Hotel Ambassador – a typical Swiss-alpine style chalet where every room features a balcony with views of Matterhorn mountain, includes breakfast, an indoor pool and a sauna

Andalucia, Spain

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Spain
Experienced (and photo) by Linn Haglund of Amused by Andalucia

If you are looking for epic European summer destinations, look no further than Andalucia in southern Spain. With over 320 days of dun in the year, this is a summer paradise. Explore stunning, white-sanded beaches in Cadiz like Bolonia Beach and Valdevaqueros, or party on Costa del Sol where the luxury beach clubs of Marbella will blow you away.

For an off-the-beaten-path experience, head to Cabo de Gata, Almeria’s most beautiful destination to get away from the crowds even in the high season. There, you can walk from beach to beach to uncover secret coves and hidden beaches on the volcanic coastline.

You can also discover the many charming white villages near the coast, like Casares, Mijas, Pueblo, and Frigiliana for picture-perfect sunsets with coastal views. Active travellers will love the Atlantic coast where you can go surfing, kitesurfing, and diving.

You might also love whale and dolphin watching which is especially nice around July-August when the Orcas come past the Strait of Gibraltar. The summer months are also perfect for high-altitude hiking in Sierra Nevada National Park where you find several of Spain’s 3000-meter peaks, including Mulhacén which is the highest peak in the Iberian Peninsula with its 3479 metres of altitude.

European Summer Holiday Tips for Andalucia

  • Andalucia is known for being the birthplace of flamenco, as well as its beautiful beaches, Moorish architecture and pretty white villages
  • Weather: Temperature 30-35°C (86-95°F)
  • Top-rated experience in Andalucia: Explore one of the most-visited sites, the Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens, on a 3-hour tour with a local guide
  • Day trip to Portugal: Visit the historic, pretty town of Tavira (3-hour drive)

Best Places to Stay in Andalucia

  • Catalonia Ronda – a stylish hotel with an infinity pool, hot tub, and a rooftop terrace with views of the square and Tajo de Ronda
  • Soho Boutique Castillo de Santa Catalina – this ultra lux hotel from 1932 features gardens and sweeping views over Málaga Bay
  • Cabogata Beach Hotel – this luxury 5-star beachfront resort has all the amenities you could ask for along with stylish rooms

Antalya, Turkey

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Turkey
Experienced (and photo) by Haley of Haley Blackall Travel

Antalya, located along the scenic Turquoise Coast in Southern Turkey, otherwise known as the Turkish Riviera, makes this one of Europe’s best summer destinations. One of the largest cities, Antalya boasts a charming and vibrant old town on its eastern edge, and an expansive pebbled beach perfect for lazing under the Mediterranean sun. 

Konyaalti Beach runs an impressive 13km expanse, Antalya’s top attraction in summer. Small pebbles adorn the wide beach with lapping waves for calm strolls to the water and back to your beach towel. Watch as parasailers fly overtop, or give it a go yourself!

Take a leisurely walk from Konyaalti Beach to the old town centre. Stop at Kaleici Panoramic Elevator for beautiful views over the marina and coastline, past the stone Saat Kulesi, and historic Hadrian’s Gate. Coffee at The Sudd is a must. 

Enjoy a seafood dinner and drinks in the marina at Alma Restaurant. For something a bit more spirited, check out one of the many pubs dotted in the area.

Depending on how many days you spend in Antalya along your epic Turkey itinerary, you may want to partake in a day trip or two. Exploring the ancient ruins of Perge and Aspendos with a stop at the stunning Kursunlu Waterfalls is the top ticket!

European Summer Holiday Tips for Antalya

  • Antalya is known for its beaches, and historic sites making this a popular destination for tourists
  • Weather: Temperature 30-35°C (86-95°F)
  • Top-rated experience in Antalya: Visit the “Cotton Palace” of Pamukkale and the ancient city of Hierapolis, on a full-day guided tour. It includes sites of the Apollo temple, the Roman baths, the agora and a swim in the thermal waters.

Best Places to Stay in Antalya

Totnes, Devon, UK

Tips Summer Holidays in Europe Denotes
Experienced (and photo) by Heather and Peter Cole of Conversant Traveller

Summer in Devon is idyllic, with flower-filled country lanes, sunny beaches and mysterious moors to discover. The county is not quite as well-known as neighbouring Cornwall, so tends to be a bit quieter during the peak summer season.

The charming town of Totnes makes a great base for exploring rural Devon, with plenty of hidden gems to discover nearby. Prettily located on the River Dart, this historical settlement is packed with heritage and culture. There are plenty of things to do in Totnes itself that will keep you busy for a day or two. Totnes Castle has stunning views across the valley and is a great place for an al fresco picnic, while just out of town, the 15th-century Berry Pomeroy Castle is one of the most haunted buildings in the UK.

England isn’t known for its wine, which makes a visit to Sharpham Vineyard extra special. In summer, the lush green vines sprawl across the hillside along the river, and there are tours available for those who want to discover more about the wine-making process. Cheese and wine tastings on the scenic terrace are the perfect accompaniment to your visit.

European Summer Holiday Tips for Totnes

  • Totnes is known for its rich history dating back to Saxon times and being a cultural hub with a bohemian vibe
  • Weather: Temperature 15-20°C (59-68°F)
  • Nearby day trips: Plymouth (30 minutes), Exeter (45 minutes), Dorchester (2 hours)

Best Places to Stay in Totnes

  • The Old Forge – stay in a 600-year-old stone building with pretty gardens, breakfast is included and is a short walk to the town centre
  • The Steam Packet Inn – is located on the banks of the River Dart and is a short walk to the historic town centre

As a Holidaymaker

Now that you’ve seen the inspiring list of the 20 best summer holidays in Europe which one are you going to head to next?

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