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34 Prettiest Summer Destinations in Europe

With great weather to enjoy stunning mountain ranges, vast open countryside, beautiful cities and towns filled with majestic architecture, and breathtaking European beaches to swim in, there is no shortage of summer destinations in Europe.

Out of virtually thousands of summer destinations in Europe to choose from, I have listed just a few gems I hope will whet your appetite when deciding which are the best places to visit in Europe in summer.

34 Best Summer Destinations In Europe

1. Dublin, Ireland

Campanile inside of the trinity college campus in Dublin, Ireland

Not the first place you would think for a summer vacation in Europe, Dublin has many attractions that make it deserve a spot on this list.

With excellent dishes and beverages, Ireland‘s capital city has great food venues for a pleasant evening with friends. Oh, and pubs, too, of course!

A pint of Guinness (or some whiskey) goes well with lively Irish songs! If you’re looking for a quiet city, Dublin isn’t the best place. The Irish capital is vibrant, and it’s impossible not to feel this energy pulsing in the streets.

Architecture-wise, the city pleases most tastes because Dublin is exceptionally photogenic, so don’t forget to explore the town to find the best photo spots, such as the famous Dublin doors, St Patrick’s Cathedral, and Trinity’s Library.

Most people spend a couple of days in Dublin, but the city has enough to keep you busy for a month.

If you want to see a little more of Ireland (one of my fave European countries), know that there’s a lot to learn about the Emerald Isle, and you can easily venture on some day tours from Dublin. Who knows, even stay in a Castle near Dublin?!

Pro tip: Although summer is the driest season, be sure to add a light rain jacket to your packing list. The weather in Ireland is mild but also wet (and unpredictable!). Better safe than sorry!

2. Faroe Islands, Denmark

Vagar, Faroe Islands, Denmark

If there was a place you should only visit in summer, the Faroe Islands must be the closest to it. 

Stuck in the middle of the North Atlantic with the mercury hovering just above freezing point, visiting in winter may not be a good idea. 

Even in summer, the temperature only rises to a chilly 50°F, making warm clothing absolutely necessary.

Regardless of the sub-polar climate, the Faroes are still a stunning European summer destination for nature lovers, particularly birdwatchers. 

Consisting of 18 islands with a landscape of tall mountain peaks, narrow fjords, and cliffs plummeting vertically into the ocean, they provide a haven for millions of nesting seabirds. 

Summer is also the breeding season for 350 bird species, including the Atlantic puffin, petrel, and the European Oystercatcher.

This rugged landscape transforms into a carpet of color in summer, with the annual wildflower bloom providing excellent hiking, camping, and various extreme sports. 

Nature photographers can capture incredible rock formations, with waterfalls cascading into the ocean and secluded bays and quaint villages spreading along this ancient Viking stronghold. 

And if you’re an indie rock fan, why not attend the annual three-day music festival held every summer in the tiny town of Syðrugøta?

3. Azores, Portugal

Amazing view of Lake Azul in Azores, Portugal

A paradise with a lot to be discovered spread throughout nine islands. The Azores in Portugal is where you want to go next summer in Europe to have a relaxing experience.

So, when you visit the Azores, be sure to enjoy a thermal bath in one of its natural pools by the ocean. The geothermal water mixes with the ocean’s water here.

And since the island is far away from the continent, you can find some incredible animals to watch: rare birds and whales. Totally environment-friendly!

Not only is the biodiversity amazing, but you can also find cool street art in Ponta Delgada.

For foodies, if you have been to Lisbon, you know Portuguese food is delicious. That’s no different in the Azores. Be sure to look for Cozido de Furnas and the local cheese. Thank me later.

4. Sicily, Italy

Entrance to local shop in Taormina, Sicily

Although this Mediterranean island is considered a year-round destination, with a 600-mile coastline packed with stunning beaches and hidden creeks lapped by crystal-blue waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling, visiting Sicily any time other than in summer makes absolutely no sense.

The island’s landscape of high mountain peaks, active volcanos, lush forests, olive groves, and vineyards is a haven for hikers, photographers, and nature lovers. 

Amongst this natural beauty, Sicily’s rich history dating back to 8,000 BC is reflected in its countless archeological sites, impressive cathedrals, and stunning architecture wherever you go. 

Quaint villages and historical towns to wander around are everywhere, with hundreds of outdoor restaurants and cafes lining narrow alleys and wide open piazzas to enjoy yummy Italian food while basking under the warm Mediterranean sun.

5. Ghent, Belgium

View of St Nicholas' Church in Ghent, Belgium

Medieval architecture, mouthwatering chocolate, and cold beer…yes, I’m talking about Ghent, a lovely town you won’t want to miss!

Home to countless coffee shops and bars that serve the best Belgian beer brands you could think of, the town is also famous for having a delicious local dish, the Gentse Waterzooi (chicken soup).

Pssst: Did you know Ghent is one of the best day trips from Paris?

Oh, and if you’re in the city around the last week of July, be thankful! You’ll experience the Gentse Feesten, a music and theater festival that started over 150 years ago!

Also, be sure to explore some ancient sites such as Belfort en Lakenhalle, Het Gravensteen (a former castle), and Sint-Niklaaskerk (another church). There are so many places to visit

6. Gdansk, Poland

The view from the observation deck of St Mary's Cathedral in the historic center of Gdansk

Often overlooked as a European summer destination, Gdansk is a beautiful city to wander around and lose yourself amongst its fairy-tale buildings, churches, castles, galleries, canals, and dozens of fascinating historical landmarks. 

Numerous museums showcase its rich history, and being the city that was attacked by Germany on 1 September 1939, setting off WW2, a most captivating WW2 Museum is a must-see.

It may surprise first-time visitors to find miles of beautiful beaches with loads of scenic walking and cycling trails along the city’s naturally wooded shoreline. 

But these activities are more enjoyable during summer in northern Poland on the Baltic Sea.

Less than an hour away, Malbork Castle, the world’s largest castle, may just be another good reason to include Gdansk in your list of summer destinations in Europe.

7. Cotswolds, England

Blue skies and reflections in the picturesque Cotswold village of Castle Combe

Regarded by many to be the prettiest part of England, this 800-square-mile landscape in the southwest consists of rolling green hills, flower-carpeted meadows, stone-walled farmlands, and dense woodlands. 

Between this stunning rural landscape, the most charming stone-built villages and small towns packed with antique shops, pubs, restaurants, and farm stalls offer local delicacies and are perfect places to stop, wander around, or even stay over.

Throw in numerous national parks, ancient historical sites, magnificent cathedrals, medieval castles, intriguing museums, and stately palaces. 

There are so many places to explore and things to do here. It’s no wonder the Cotswolds rate highly amongst the best places to visit in Europe in summer.

8. Algarve, Portugal

Camilo Beach at Algarve, Portugal

We’re talking about 130 miles of coastline: gorgeous sandy beaches, sheltered coves, towering cliffs, picturesque white-washed fishing villages, an interior of high mountains, nature parks, cultivated farmlands, and forest-covered hills. 

And all that is just a few hours’ drive apart. Deemed the Jewel of Portugal, Algarve is certainly one of the best summer destinations in Europe.

The south-facing coastline is Europe’s sunniest region and a haven for beachgoers, with miles of trails atop the high cliffs giving spectacular views of the beaches, astonishing rock formations, and the clear turquoise ocean. 

The Rio Formosa Lagoon, a stopping place for hundreds of migrating bird species, provides additional attractions, with birding and kayaking tours through its labyrinth of creeks and inlets.

While the calmer waters of the 100-mile-long south-facing coastline provide excellent swimming, snorkeling, and sun tanning, the 30-mile west-facing coast is ruggedly beautiful. 

It is amongst the best places to visit in Europe in summer for surfers and other watersport enthusiasts. It also provides some of the most magical sunset locations on the planet.

9. Normandy, France

Omaha Beach in Normandy, France

Apart from being amongst the best summer destinations in Europe, you could easily spend the entire summer in Normandy and still see but a fraction of its beauty. 

The coastline is blessed with towering chalk cliffs plummeting vertically into the sea and endless sandy beaches between quaint fishing harbor towns.

The interior is equally decorated with charming rural towns filled with medieval forts, grand cathedrals, historic landmarks, and countless museums dating back from Norman times to the famous D-Day Landings of 1944. 

The scenic countryside is regarded as the agricultural powerhouse of France. It is famed for its food-tasting tours of the finest seafood, apple cider, calvados, cheeses, and, particularly, Camembert, found anywhere.

Amongst Normandy’s best attractions are the iconic Mont St Michel Abbey, the medieval port city of Rouen, the gigantic cliffs and rock arches at Étretat, the D-Day Beaches, and the dozens of charming towns scattered in between. It is a perfect place to spend a summer vacation in Europe.

10. Amalfi Coast, Italy

Amalfi coast line of Mediterranean sea, Italy

I defy anyone to find a more scenic drive anywhere in the world than the 25-mile-long road along the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy. 

Between Positano in the west and Vietri sul Mare in the east, the narrow road winds past terraced gardens, vineyards, and villas, dramatic cliffs encompassing gorgeous beaches and secluded coves, beautiful towns, and fishing villages, with the crystal emerald Tyrrhenian Sea as a backdrop. A chocolate-box picture around every turn.

Although it gets crazy busy in summer, visiting the Amalfi at any other time makes no sense. Perhaps the shoulder seasons may be better to avoid the tourist masses. Still, summer is also when many cultural, art, and music festivals take place here.

Not to be missed is the historic town of Ravello, Amalfi,  Positano, and although strictly not considered part of the Amalfi Coast, the picture-postcard town of Sorrento. 

Apart from the jaw-dropping scenery from literally everywhere, you’ll find cathedrals, historical buildings, stunning hiking trails, and romantic little villages to stop and taste their delicious local produce and cuisine.

There is nowhere better to sip a sunrise coffee in the morning or a limoncello liqueur in the evening than the Amalfi Coast, most certainly one of the most stunningly beautiful summer destinations in Europe. The most challenging thing to do here is leave.

11. Setubal, Portugal

Castle in Setubal with beautiful view of Atlantic Ocean

Oh, Portugal! A country with some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe! And you wanna know the best part? They aren’t so far away from Lisbon!

Setubal is just an hour away from the Portuguese capital city, and there you can find the most paradisiac beaches near Lisbon! Galapinhos, Galapos, or Coelhos all clear sand beaches with vibrant blue water. And these are just some of them!

Bring your picnic basket and sunbathe in a jaw-dropping view on one of these pristine beaches!

Pro tips: If you’re renting a car, which is highly recommendable for this region, be sure to arrive early to save your spot in the parking lot. Otherwise, just catch an Uber! It’s not expensive!

12. Monaco

Street in Monte Carlo, Monaco

With over 12,000 millionaires living in a country no more than one square mile, if you want to rub shoulders with the rich and famous, there isn’t a better place to do so than Monaco. 

This square mile has no shortage of things to do and see. Extravagant casinos to gamble are a dime in a dozen. Palatial hotels and shopping malls will boggle your mind, where luxury, marble floors and crystal chandeliers become standard. 

At the same time, the waterfronts are packed with luxurious yachts and lined with fine-dining restaurants, cocktail bars, and nightclubs.

Must-see attractions include the 13th-century palace of Prince Albert II atop a hill overlooking the harbor, the oceanarium, the neo-Romanesque Monaco Cathedral, and the stunning European gardens of the Jardin Exotique overlooking the ocean. 

There are also various museums to while away the hours once you tire of Lamborghinis, Maseratis, and celebrities buzzing around you. A ride to the top of the hill provides genuinely stunning views of the country.

13. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Aerial view of Dubrovnik old town, Croatia

If you’re looking for a heavy dose of history alongside your sun and sea, then Dubrovnik, at the southern tip of Croatia, is the perfect summer destination.

The best way to approach the magnificent walled city for the first time is by boat; on our trip to Dubrovnik, we stayed in Cavtat, just down the coast and a 30-minute boat ride from the historic port at the foot of the walls.

Walking the walls is a definite highlight of any trip to Dubrovnik. With the red roofs of the city on one side and the clear blue water of the Adriatic on the other, it’s an evocative experience.

Once you’ve seen the city from above, get an even higher view by taking the recently-reopened cable car to the top of Mount Srd.

Dubrovnik has been in the news recently for receiving too many visitors, and on days when there are big cruise ships in town, you might want to get some peace and quiet.

One of the loveliest day trips we took was to Lokrum Island, a nature reserve with a botanical garden, a ruined monastery, and an abandoned fort; the monastery and fort were both locations for Game of Thrones.

Once you’ve finished exploring the island, there are several lovely small beaches where you can relax in the sunshine before you take a boat back to your accommodation in Dubrovnik.

In the late afternoon, the city gets quieter and even more enjoyable just to wander, sip a drink, and have some dinner.

Leaving the old port on our little boat as the sun set behind the walls was magical – the perfect end to the perfect summer’s day in Dubrovnik.

By Helen from Helen on her Holidays

14. French Riviera, France

Villefranche sur Mer on the French Riviera, Cote d Azur, France

If it’s movie stars and celebrities you’re looking for, the French Riviera, particularly the resort towns of St. Tropez and Cannes, is the place to head. 

To increase your chances, timing your visit to the annual Cannes Film Festival around the latter part of May is crucial. 

Situated in southeastern France, this stretch of coastline is one of the most expensive places to live and is home to many celebrities.

Also known as the Côte d’Azur, it includes the city of Nice and encompasses the Principality of Monaco. 

Famed for its lavish towns, resorts, villas, beaches, and yachting marinas, it has been the playground for royalty, aristocracy, and superstars for centuries.

Fortunately, it’s not just glitz and glam that the French Riviera is famous for. In between, there are numerous quaint towns with charming restaurant-lined harbors, beautiful beaches, and coves to swim in crystal turquoise waters, historical landmarks, and view sites to soak in the spectacular scenery. 

There are also many affordable hotels, guest houses, and restaurants to sample the delicious local cuisine without first robbing a bank.

15. Lake District, England

Buttermere in Lake District, England

Several people had told me that England’s Lake District was lovely, but it still far exceeded my expectations. In addition to the stunning scenery, I just loved the tranquil atmosphere.  

Rightfully so, the Lake District has been recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The summer is the best time to visit because you can get out on the water and do some hiking!  

A boat tour is definitely one of the best things to do in the Lake District. We decided to take a cruise from Bowness to Ambleside, do some exploring, and then return back to Bowness.  

If you prefer, you can also rent a self-drive or rowboat to explore the lake on your own.

The water is calm, and the scenery is picturesque, making it a perfect summer destination! On our boat ride, there was narration so you could learn more about the area.  

I thought it was interesting that the children’s author, Beatrix Potter, was instrumental in preserving the Lake District.

In Ambleside, we explored the town and then did a hike where we passed a few waterfalls and then got breathtaking views of Windermere.  

Everything was so green, and I loved that parts of the hike went through fields of sheep. I would love to go back to the Lake District to see more this summer.

By Anisa from Two Traveling Texans

16. Provence, France

Lavender field in Provence, France

Staying in the area and explicitly known for its truly breathtaking scenery, Provence has to be amongst the best places to visit in Europe in summer. 

The widely varied landscape consists of lush rolling valleys carpeted with vineyards, olive groves, and pine forests in between photogenic towns crammed with historical landmarks, old, stone-built villages, and lovely open-air markets displaying their local specialties.

To add to its charm, rows of purple lavender fields stretching for miles bloom in the heart of summer, making a drive through Provence an exquisite summer destination in Europe for photographers. 

Its natural beauty has attracted and inspired many great artists to this area, the likes of Picasso and Van Gogh.

Coastlands, mountains, urban and rural landscapes packed with history, architecture, natural beauty, great food, and superb wines are all rolled into one here in Provence.

17. Slovenia

Soca river in the forest, Bovec, Slovenia

Suppose gorgeous scenery of tall alpine mountains, lush forests, blue lakes, emerald-green rivers, historic cities, towns, and villages packed with medieval castles and historical monuments, along with a Mediterranean coastline, floats your boat. In that case, Slovenia is the place to go. 

Sandwiched between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, Slovenia may be a small country, but as far as natural beauty goes, it packs a big punch, making it one of the finest summer destinations in Europe. 

Within this diverse and beautiful landscape, one could enjoy hikes with spectacular mountain views, swim and snorkel in clear blue waters, or laze in the sun on the beaches. 

Secret caverns, tunnels, and ancient caves provide so much more. At the same time, numerous castles, churches, picturesque towns, villages, and cities are packed with quaint cafes, bars, and restaurants to savor the delicious local cuisine.

There is so much to see and do in such a small place, and what’s even better is that Slovenia is far cheaper than most other European summer destinations.

Its stunning landscape of coastline with pretty beaches lapped by calm blue waters, towering mountains, lush forests, tranquil lakes, free-flowing turquoise rivers, and waterfalls is a magnet for hikers, climbers, swimmers, kayakers, photographers, and nature lovers.

Ambling through historic towns, tasting the local cuisines, and visiting medieval castles and other historical monuments, such as Predjama Castle and Postojna Caves, will take your breath away. 

Bled Castle, perched high above the serene Lake Bled with its iconic church-topped island, is often called the Image of Paradise.

18. Crete, Greece

Greece, Crete

Whether it’s history, culture, architecture, or spectacular natural scenery you’re looking for, Crete, Greece’s largest island, has it all.

But to enjoy its magnificent beaches and rugged mountainous landscape, like anywhere else in the Mediterranean, the summer months are the best time to visit.

The 4,000-year-old Knossos archeological site, the imposing fortress at the harbor entrance, and the stunning St Minas Cathedral and St Titus Church are must-see attractions in the capital, Heraklion. 

Along with various buildings and monuments in Venetian, Ottoman, and Christian architecture, they bear testimony to Crete’s diverse but often violent past.

The shoreline of this Greek island is crammed with gorgeous beaches, secluded coves, and rugged cliffs, lapped by the warm waters of the Med and lined with outdoor cafes, bars, and restaurants. 

For a unique sight, get to the westernmost upper corner of Crete, to the pink-sand Balos Beach. 

Nature lovers find this remote beach to be one of the prettiest and most unusual summer destinations in Europe.

19. Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Aerial drone view of Saint Michael Church in Cluj Napoca, Romania

Cluj-Napoca is the capital of Transylvania, Romania. It is one of the most visited cities in the country, and rightfully so.

Between museums, restaurants, and amazing things to do just a day trip away, you won’t be bored here.

Cluj-Napoca is served by an airport that gets plenty of flights from other European cities. But if you fancy the train, that’s also a lovely way to get here.

The city center is quite packed and pedestrian-friendly. Start your visit in Union Square, where you will find St. Michael’s Church and the statue of Matthias Corvinus. Getting hungry?

No worries, plenty of restaurants and cafes are available in the area. The whole area around Union Square is dotted with places to visit, including the old citadel walls and The Tailor’s Tower. Then make your way to Museum Square.

Hungry for green spaces? Hit Central Park to relax and unwind. Or visit the Botanical Garden. And then climb Cetatuia Hill (Fortress Hill) for some lovely views of the city. Oh, and you can also visit a Romanian castle near Cluj-Napoca.

If the summer heat is a bit too much for you, plan some day trips. Turda Salt Mine comes from sci-fi movies, and it’s a must-visit. Located just 50km from Cluj-Napoca, it’s easiest to rent a car for this day trip.

Once at the mine, enjoy the museum and then spend some time playing billiards, mini-golf, riding the ferry wheels (yes, INSIDE the mine), or taking a boat trip on the lake (again, INSIDE the mine).

Nature enthusiasts would love Dragan Dam, which can also be done as a day trip, but you’d better pack your tent and stay for a while. Or just pack a swimsuit and head to Tarnita Lake near Gilau.

By Cristina from LooknWalk

20. Balearic Islands, Spain

Playa de Formentor, Palma Mallorca, Spain

World-renowned for their scenic coastline of beautiful beaches, rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and natural beauty, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, off the eastern Spanish coast, provide some of the most popular summer destinations in Europe. 

But it’s not all just heavenly beaches, nature parks, scenic mountain hikes, and warm sunny weather.

You’ll find modern cities with vibrant nightlife, waterfront marinas, and great food among the main islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. 

In the rural areas, there are quaint towns and villages with narrow cobblestone streets, ancient castles, cathedrals, medieval Gothic and Moorish architecture, and numerous pre-historic archeological sites to leave you speechless.

During the first week in July, the annual Open Air Concert of jazz, soul, and gospel music takes place at Torrent de Pareis in the northern mountainous region of Mallorca. The imposing ravine provides remarkable natural acoustics, providing a unique experience.

A word of warning to all conservatively-minded beachgoers is that many beaches on these islands are classified as official and unofficial nudist beaches.

21. Interlaken, Switzerland

People standing on the observation deck in Interlaken in a beautiful summer day, Switzerland

Nestled between two crystal blue lakes with a river running through them, this small and very walkable town in the Swiss Alps is the epitome of sheer beauty for a perfect summer vacation in Europe. 

Tall alpine peaks and dense forests surrounding the town add to its charm, while beautiful historic buildings, shops, and cafes make it a joy to stroll through its charming streets.

Riverside, lakeside, and glacier hiking trails lead to numerous platforms high above, offering spectacular scenery. 

Cable cars and gentle boat rides are also available for the not-so-active. It is also a haven for extreme sports enthusiasts, offering paragliding, skydiving, bungee jumping, and canyoning.

22. Liechtenstein

Female tourist admiring view of Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Landlocked and sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria, Liechtenstein is a tiny European country—a mere 15 miles long and one of the smallest countries in the world. 

But thankfully, unlike other principalities like Monaco or Gibraltar, it remains vastly undeveloped.

This fantastic place offers a breathtaking landscape of pristine alpine mountains, forests, and summer-flower-covered valleys teeming with wildlife such as deer, foxes, and many bird species: nature lovers and photographers dream.

Between this natural beauty, you’ll find old charming villages, vineyards, medieval castles, and art galleries. 

The short distances between this country’s wonders place Liechtenstein amongst the most popular summer destinations in Europe.

23. Wadden Islands, Netherlands

Texel Lighthouse is one of the famous Dutch landmarks not to miss
Texel Lighthouse is one of the famous Dutch landmarks not to miss

Largely unknown to many people outside of Europe, these islands between the Netherlands and Denmark are part of a unique ecosystem governed solely by the tides. 

Linked like a chain, they’re accessible by public transport, each having its own character and appeal. 

Between them, they offer acres of cultivated fields in small villages with various cafes and restaurants serving some of the tastiest freshly-caught fish and oysters. 

Miles of open beaches, high dunes, dense forests, and salty marshes provide a haven for 300 bird species and numerous marine creatures.

A favorite activity is walking through the mudflats during low tide, crossing shallow channels, and being amazed at how many marine species live in this seemingly sterile environment. 

These islands offer the opportunity to engage in unusual activities like beach karting and kite surfing, as well as plenty of accommodation options.

It is certainly one of the most beautiful and unusual summer destinations in Europe.  

24. Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Historic city of Perast at Bay of Kotor in summer, Montenegro

Situated on the Adriatic coast of Montenegro, rugged mountain peaks, pebbly beaches, and ancient fortified towns surround this tranquil and beautiful bay. 

Despite its picture-perfect and romantic setting, it remains relatively unknown, but in my view, it deserves to make our list of best summer destinations in Europe.

It’s not just the heavenly scenery that you’ll find here. History and culture add another dimension. Kotor town is a gem all on its own. 

Surrounded by three miles of stone walls built into the mountain from the 9th century, in the Old Town, you’ll find narrow cobblestone streets lined with ancient stone-built houses, cute shops, historical monuments, churches, and a piazza full of cafes and restaurants to enjoy their delicious cuisine and soak in the medieval ambiance. 

Steep stairs lead up to the city walls to enjoy panoramic views of the bay with its tiny islands and ships cruising in and out.

Besides swimming in the warm Adriatic Sea, relaxing on the beaches, and strolling through the quaint alleyways eating excellent food, boat trips allow you to explore the rest of this picturesque bay—a beautiful coastal paradise surrounded by mountains.

25. Budapest, Hungary

Tower and staircase Fishermans Bastion is a must visit during 3 days in Budapest
It looks like a fairytale

Dissected by the picturesque Danube River with many medieval bridges connecting the two sections of Buda and Pest, Budapest is one of the prettiest cities in Europe, without any doubt. 

A cruise along the Danube reveals a skyline packed with natural and architectural beauty and magnificent landmarks in every direction.

Amongst its wonders, the stately Hungarian Parliament Building alongside the river, the historic St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the Buda Castle complex are must-see attractions. 

The views from the castle are truly unforgettable and are worth the climb or the price of the funicular. 

Culture, history, and natural beauty abound here, making Budapest one of the best summer destinations in Europe. It’s a good place to see in winter, too.

26. Iceland

Stokksnes cape with Vestrahorn (Batman Mountain) on background in Iceland

A rugged landscape of dramatic mountains and active volcanoes, massive glaciers and ice-blue lakes, hot springs and waterfalls, epic fjords, black sand beaches, icebergs, and jagged cliffs, as well as mischievous elves and trolls and, of course, the midnight sun—that could be Iceland in a nutshell.

Stuck in the middle of the North Atlantic, Iceland can only be truly appreciated in summer unless you’re happy to visit in winter with the mercury hovering below freezing point. 

During summer, it’s still pretty chilly, so pack some warm clothing, too. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but Iceland has recently become a favorite summer destination in Europe.

This landscape provides some of the most stunning hiking trails, epic flyfishing, and out-of-this-world photography opportunities. 

Summer is not the best time to see the Northern Lights but the best time to see whales.

The capital, Reykjavik, offers an excellent base to stay in, with tours to numerous small harbor towns scattered along the coastline easily arranged. 

Sights not to be missed are the Blue Lagoon, Batman Mountain, viewed from Stokksnes Beach, Diamond Beach, and a hike to an active volcano.

27. Aarhus, Denmark

Evening lights in the Åboulevarden in Aarhus, Denmark

Situated on the east coast of the Jutland Peninsula, Aarhus rates amongst the best places to visit in Europe in summer for various reasons. 

The higher temperatures and maximum daylight hours experienced in summer allow one also to enjoy the numerous beaches and outdoor museums, wander around the waterfront, the old quarter, and quaint streets, and experience the famous three-day NorthSide Music Festival, held annually in June.

The city’s architecture has a rich blend of old and new, dating from early Viking times to futuristic, the most bizarre being The Iceberg, a massive apartment block housing 7,000 people. 

Combining history, art, and culture, Aarhus is packed with museums and galleries to keep visitors there for days. 

At the same time, cafes, restaurants, and food markets serve a delicious range of foods, all loaded with hygge, the Danish secret weapon to eternal happiness.

Do not miss the Aarhus Art Museum and the Old Town Museum.

28. Capri, Italy

Boats at Marina Grande embankment in Capri Island in Tyrrhenian sea, Italy

If you’re looking for a Mediterranean paradise for your summer holiday, look no further than Capri, Italy.

This dream of an Italian town has the amazing food and gelato you’d expect from Italy but also offers breathtaking sea views, the bluest water, mountain tops, and the charm of the Amalfi Coast.  

The island of Capri is reachable via a short ferry ride from Naples or from other nearby Italian islands.

You’ll arrive in Marina del Grande and will be greeted by captains ready to take you out on their boat for a personalized island tour.

A full circle around the island takes approx. four hours and includes close-up views of Faraglioni, the legendary trio of impressive rock formations rising out of the sea, and a visit to the Blue Grotto.  

At the Blue Grotto, you can even choose to get in a rowboat to explore the deep blue caves yourself.

The highest point of the island is the mountaintop of Monte Solaro, which reaches 650 yards above sea level.

Another highlight of Capri is taking the single-person chairlift to the top of the mountain, where you’ll be blessed with the most incredible, indescribable views.

At the top, you can also treat yourself to a glass of wine at the café while admiring the panoramic before descending back down.

Many people visit Capri as a day trip, but I encourage you to spend at least an evening on the island to watch the magical sunset, as it’s unlike any sunset you’ll ever witness. Enjoy your European holiday!

By Rachael from Bee Anything But Boring

29. Isle of Skye, Scotland

The Neist point lighthouse on Isle of Skye, Scotland

Any nature lover will agree that Scotland is a popular destination for the summer.

My favorite part of our road trip through the country was the Isle of Skye. Kayaking, chasing waterfalls, wild swimming, hiking, and camping are just a few activities you can enjoy there. Or you can even join a walking tour

I suggest spending at least four days on the island, as there are lots of things to do on the Isle of Skye! The highlight of our trip was hiking to the Old Man of Storr during sunset.

We had glorious warm weather, and no one else was on the top that evening! We enjoyed the silence, the beautiful orange sunset, and the company of the sheep.

On our way back to the car, the moon shone beautifully on the horizon. It was a truly romantic evening with my boyfriend. Another must-see on the island is the Fairy Glen.

This area is unique. It is great fun to just walk around the site and explore the interesting rock formations and cone-shaped hills.

If you are lucky, you might even meet the fairies, who live here according to the legend!

By Eniko from Travel Hacker Girl

30. Malta

The Crystal Lagoon on Comino island in Malta

Situated in the heart of the Mediterranean and surrounded by clear, deep-blue waters, summer is the best time to visit these ancient islands, rich with history, culture, architecture, delicious food, and natural beauty. 

In this tiny archipelago, you’ll find stunning coastlines of jagged cliffs, rocky coves, harbors, and expansive sandy beaches to swim, snorkel, kayak, surf, or soak in the sun.

The rest is a haven for nature and history lovers with modern complexes and old traditional towns and villages packed with many ancient fortresses, elegant churches and cathedrals, historical landmarks, gigantic structures, and underground complexes dating back to 5,000 BC. 

Many of these archeological sites still need to be understood. Not to be missed is the imposing Fort St Elmo, which withstood the bloody siege of 1565 and during WW2. 

The museum provides outstanding exhibitions of Malta’s turbulent past from pre-historic times to WW2.

During summer, each town holds at least one feast dedicated to a saint, and along with other music and arts festivals held during this time, summer is definitely the time to enjoy these jewels of the Med.

31. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Yellow church and buildings in Luxembourg city seen from above.
Luxembourg city seen from above.

Not often a destination people think of going for a city break, Luxembourg is a great option for some European sunshine without the crowds.

Relatively undiscovered compared to neighboring regions, you can still bag really cheap flights, accommodation, and food in Luxembourg at a weekend as prices drop due to fewer business travelers.

This contrasts with other tourist traps where prices soar due to people flying in for a weekend away!

Luxembourg City, the capital of this tiny nation, is a great hub of culture, food, and drink and has a lovely quaint, UNESCO-listed old quarter to explore.

In summer, bars spill out onto the pedestrianized streets offering deck chairs to relax on, and parks beside the river are full of locals hosting a picnic.

The city hosts many fantastic events over the summer, including lots of open-air music events and cinema showings to make the most of the lovely weather. Make sure to check what’s on so you don’t miss out on a fun evening.

Being such a small size, Luxembourg is also a great country to enjoy a road trip around, you can easily drive from North to South in a day with some excellent stops along the way.

Explore the Moselle sparkling wine region and pop into one of the Luxembourg crémant producers to sample some delicious bubbles.

For a more outdoorsy adventure, head to Mullerthal to wander through forests seeking canyons and waterfalls, or for culture, head further North to Vianden to admire the beautiful castle atop a hill.

Luxembourg has something for every type of traveler.

By Laura from The Travelling Stomach

32. Cinque Terre, Italy

Beautiful view of Manarola town, Cinque Terre, Italy

Situated on the northwest Italian Riviera coastline, this tiny province offers relaxing and somewhat demanding nature trails between five coastal towns, offering panoramic views of the steeply terraced landscape and the blue and tranquil waters of the Ligurian Sea. 

Chocolate-box scenery of colorful villages with vineyards hugs the cliffs plunging to the sea where fishing boats bob on the water in the old harbors, and trattorias line the edges serving the freshest seafood, classic Italian dishes, and delicious local wines.

Hiking trails are pretty rugged, so wearing proper shoes and starting early in the morning will help avoid the hot midday sun.

33. Stockholm, Sweden

Scenic summer view of the Old Town pier architecture in Sodermalm district of Stockholm, Sweden

During the summer in Stockholm, daylight lasts almost all day, extending over 18 hours at its peak.  

With the never-ending light, the mild temperatures, and the multitude of outdoor activities for travelers, summer is the perfect time to visit this Scandinavian gem.  

Between the months of May and August, the city truly comes alive as its residents flock outside to make the most of the short season.

Some of the best exploring to be had in Stockholm is outdoors, so you should plan your Stockholm itinerary accordingly.

During your time in the city, plan to wander through the narrow streets of Gamla Stan, the city’s Old Town that dates back to the 1200s.

Boutique-hop through trendy Södermalm and enjoy Fika (loosely translated from Swedish to mean a coffee break) while lingering at one of the neighborhood’s chic outdoor cafes.

History lovers will enjoy Skansen, an outdoor living history museum where visitors experience Swedish history in a unique manner.

Finally, if you’re visiting during the summer, a cruise through Stockholm’s archipelago of 30,000 islands is an absolute must.  

Being out at sea is the best way to appreciate Stockholm’s unique geography. During one of the sunset cruises, you can toast to a speedy return to this lovely city!

By Jessica from The Belle Voyage

34. Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, Bulgaria

Aerial view of the Bolata beach in Bulgaria

For a beach vacation in Europe, the Bulgarian Black Sea coast offers 220 miles of stunning beaches, sheltered rocky coves, and loads of towns and resorts with all the modern amenities and recreational activities. 

Summer is the best time to visit the Black Sea as water temps reach 78°F, but bear in mind that cooler currents sometimes change that.

Along the coast, historic towns like Sozopol, Varna, and Burgas are a delight to wander around their winding cobblestone lanes, admiring 18th-century houses, traditional architecture, grand churches, and museums showcasing Bulgaria’s rich history. 

Seaside and nature parks are popular for birdwatchers, while tons of bars, cafes, and restaurants serving the most delicious local dishes line the beaches, streets, and harbor fronts.

What are your favorite European destinations to visit in the summer?

Have you been to any of these summer destinations in Europe? Or what other destinations would you add to this list? We are curious about your answers! Comment below. We would love to hear from you!

Our best travel tips & resources:

Here're our all-time favorite travel tips & resources so that you can save money and plan your travel logistics hassle-free! For more travel resources, check out our travel tips.
  • Saving money: Fly on offseason, winter (not Xmas or NYE), Tuesday, or Wednesday! According to experts, these are the cheapest days to fly.
  • Travel insurance: Before you leave for your trip, make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy because accidents happen on the road. We have been paying for Safety Wing travel insurance for a little over a year now, and we happily recommend them to our family and friends.
  • Accommodation: We usually stay in mid-range comfy hotels or private rooms in hostels. These are the sites we use to book accommodation: for hotels (excellent flexible cancellation policy) and Hostelworld for hostels (low deposit and easy cancellation).
  • Tours:We absolutely love booking guided tours with locals to get a history lesson while sight-seeing, especially food tours and walking tours! We book all of our tours using Viator and GetYourGuide.
  • Transportation: We use Google Maps to figure out how to get around a place using public transport. When we book a rental car, we always use Discover Cars to find the best deal.

Amy Day

Friday 8th of June 2018

Dubrovnik and Romania are my favorite destinations. I made my plans to visit Dubrovnik this summer but did not decide about Romania yet. Your post is great and so useful. Thanks for sharing all the tips.


Wednesday 30th of January 2019

Milos, Greece

Bruna Venturinelli

Sunday 10th of June 2018

Hi Amy, glad I could help. Romania is a great country, I've been there in January and totally fell in love with it. If you want more tips about it, check out this link:

Cathy Beesey

Wednesday 6th of June 2018

Bruna I enjoyed your list; would highly recommend Dubrovnik and I’ll put the Lakes District on my list. Thanks Cathy

Bruna Venturinelli

Thursday 7th of June 2018

Hi Cathy, thank you so much! I really appreciate it!


Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Love this list. I haven't been to any of these places yet but definitely want to visit now!

Bruna Venturinelli

Tuesday 5th of June 2018

Thanks, Amy! I appreciate it!


Saturday 2nd of June 2018

I'm so glad to hear Lake District is on your list! I'm going there next weekend :) I've been looking at alternatives to Sicily (because of flight prices) but I think I might start looking into Capri now!

Bruna Venturinelli

Tuesday 5th of June 2018

Oh, nice! Tag me in your photos then, I'd like to see it :) That's the problem with Sicily, I've been searching for cheap flights for a while now without success. But Capri...omg, it's so amazing!


Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Love this list, and what I love the most about it is these are not the obvious places to visit at a summer vacation. And yet they have so much to offer... Thank you for this little piece of inspiration

Bruna Venturinelli

Tuesday 5th of June 2018

Glad you like it, Mina! That was exactly what we wanted to create. Some destinations are just too obvious, right? And too crowded too!