Last Updated on October 3, 2022 by Nellie Huang
For those who are planning a vacation this summer, here is the list of best summer destinations in Europe, from the coastal villages of Cinque Terre to the bay of Kotor, Montenegro.
Europe may be a year-round travel destination; but the most popular time to visit Europe is during the summer months of June to September. During these months, the sun is high up in the sky and the beaches are warm. The beaches are at their best, and everyone is in a laidback, holiday mood.
Now that summer is upon us, I’ve rounded up some of the best summer destinations in Europe, based on my personal experience traveling and living in Europe over the past 10 years.
Table of Contents
- The Best Summer Destinations in Europe
- 1. Cinque Terre, Italy
- 2. Balearic Islands, Spain
- 3. Provence, France
- 4. Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
- 5. Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
- 6. Lisbon, Portugal
- 7. Andalucia, Spain
- 8. Paris, France
- 9. Amalfi Coast, Italy
- 10. Edinburgh, Scotland
- 11. Valletta, Malta
- 12. Lucerne, Switzerland
- 13. Ljubljana, Slovenia
- 14. Copenhagen, Denmark
- 15. Sicily, Italy
- How to Have the Best Summer Holidays in Europe
- Are You Traveling to these Summer Destinations in Europe?
The Best Summer Destinations in Europe
1. Cinque Terre, Italy
Translated to mean “5 lands”, Cinque Terre is in fact made up of five villages poised along the Ligurian coast of northwestern Italy. Possibly my favorite part of Italy, Cinque Terre is chocked full of dramatic cliffs, charming seafront villages, amazing restaurants, world0-class hiking trails, and a timeless ambiance.
Because of the picturesque setting, Cinque Terre is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site which draws in a crazy 2.4 million visitors a year. While the Cinque Terre towns are no longer sleepy fishing villages, the Cinque Terre towns have retained their historical architecture and a network of stunning hiking trails. Check out my Cinque Terre itinerary and recommendations on where to stay in Cinque Terre.
2. Balearic Islands, Spain
The Balearic Islands in Spain are also among the best places in Europe for perfect, sunny weather and glorious beaches. History-lovers can explore the medieval castles and historical old towns, while adventure-seekers can go hiking, cycling, and canyoning.
The Balearics comprise of four main islands: Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. Each has its own distinct character. Those looking to party this summer will like the crazy raves on Ibiza, while those traveling with kids will appreciate the variety of things to do in Mallorca, and offbeat travelers seeking to veer away from the crowds should check out Menorca and Formentera.
3. Provence, France
For those who are looking for the best places to visit in Europe in summer, Provence located in the south of France is your best bet. We drove our campervan and spent a month exploring Provence in summer, and absolutely loved it! From the stunning spearmint waters of Gorge du Verdon to the charming villages of Gordes and Roussillon, we weaved our way through the Provence countryside and found it a perfect summer destination. Provence is also popular for those picturesque lavender fields offering a perfect sea of purple lavender during the spring-summer months.
4. Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
Bay of Kotor is one of Europe’s hidden treasures that isn’t quite as well known as the other spots on this list. The winding water channel is an inlet that extends all the way to the Adriatic Sea, with a curvy shoreline sheltered by the towering Black Mountains of Montenegro and lined with some of Europe’s most charming villages.
At the Bay of Kotor, we spent our days swimming in the sea (just steps from our front door), going for long walks along the coast, feasting on fresh seafood in charming little taverns, and exploring the beautiful fortified city of Kotor. We also hired a car and drove up to the hilltops overlooking Kotor and went for long hikes in the area.
5. Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
The Dalmatian Coast in Croatia is also among the best summer holiday destinations in Europe, in my opinion. A few years ago, we went Croatia island hopping on a sailing trip from Dubrovnik to Split. With over 1,185 islands peppered all over Dalmatia, it’s clearly impossible to see them all — but this journey definitely gave us a taste of Croatian islands.
Nicknamed the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, the walled city of Dubrovnik is the star of the Dalmatian Coast. With its ornate palaces, narrow cobbled streets, and Venetian-style architecture, the UNESCO World Heritage site is an impressive place to wander around and get lost. Another spot worth visiting is Korčula, one of the biggest islands in central Dalmatia, said to be the birthplace of world-renown explorer Marco Polo. Marco-inspired souvenirs are sold all over town but beyond the tacky gimmicks, the town is actually quite a quiet and charismatic place with an artful layout.
6. Lisbon, Portugal
With gorgeous weather and plenty of sunshine throughout the year, Lisbon has remained one of my favorite summer holiday destinations in Europe. During the month of June, the air is filled with the scent of grilled sardines as locals prepare for the month-long Santos Populares festivals. Also, when I am here, I use Luggage Hero’s luggage storage guide Lisbon option to store my luggage as I tour the city. This offers me peace of mind and more convenience as I can pick up my luggage as and when I choose.
7. Andalucia, Spain
I might be biased, but I would certainly rate Andalucia as one of the best summer destinations in Europe as I lived in Granada for more than 8 years! However, it is also the hottest place in Europe and therefore you need a little planning to do. The ‘sunshine coast’ is a perfect place for those who want to enjoy lazy days on the beach. Chill on Marbella beach, wander the old town of Mijas, dance flamenco in Seville, and hike up the trails to the Alhambra: Andalucia has no shortage of things to do.
Because of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, there are plenty of outdoor activities to do here in summer: from hiking the Caminito del Rey, what was once Spain’s most dangerous trail, to canyoning in the Rio Verde system, climbing the highest mountain in continental Spain.
8. Paris, France
Visiting Paris during the summer months makes it easier to enjoy the local attractions. During my visit to Paris, I managed to laze around the beaches in Paris allowing me to soak up the sunny weather. This is also the best time to attend the Paris Street Music Festival and Open-Air cinema that is held on the lawn of the Parc de La Villette.
Some of the must-sees in Paris include Eiffel Tower, Arc d’Triomphe, and the Seine River. During my trip to Paris, I used Luggage Hero’s luggage storage Paris options to help me walk around the city hands-free.
9. Amalfi Coast, Italy
Amalfi Coast is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Europe in August. With beautiful weather and plenty of activities to do around this place offers the best holiday experiences in Italy. I certainly enjoyed being here and unwinding as I went around taking some images that go into my collection.
I would recommend visiting Amalfi Coast in May and June to avoid the crowd during the high summer months (July & August). There are many private boats that one can hire to explore the hidden coves and beaches. I love Italian food and the Amalfi Coast has some of the best!
10. Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh might not be on top of the list for the best places to visit in Europe in summer but it certainly has a lot to offer. With the sun shining above me, I managed to walk through this hilly capital city exploring the historic buildings and architecture. Using the Luggage Hero’s luggage storage Edinburgh option made it even easier as I could store my bags and pick them up conveniently.
I am a huge sucker for dramatic sunsets and I believe Edinburgh managed to impress me the most. I also attended some of the summer festivals here that allowed me to mingle with the locals. With plenty of beer and local cuisine around, Edinburgh certainly is on my list for the summer holidays in Europe.
11. Valletta, Malta
Valletta is certainly one of the most underrated holiday destinations in Europe during the summer months. Located south of Italy, Valletta is known for its gorgeous views and old town charm. I loved the stunning ocean views while I was enjoying the dinner overlooking the sea.
With sunny weather conditions, Ghajn Tuffieha Bay is one of the best beaches in Malta, in my opinion. I would also suggest a boat trip to Gozo and Comino to explore the local landscape. While the weather here was hot, I managed to go for a swim to beat the heat.
12. Lucerne, Switzerland
It is hard to keep Switzerland out of the list when we are talking about the best summer holiday destinations in Europe. We visited Lucerne as part of our Switzerland road trip and were blown away by the nature surrounding this beautiful lakeside city.
While there are spots at the lake where swimming is allowed, I decided to rent a boat and explore the city from the lake. At sunset, I went exploring the Kapellbrucke, which is a wooden bridge from the Middle Ages. Lucerne also offers plenty of local cafes and restaurants that serve the best local cuisine.
13. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Slovenia is one of the underrated countries in Europe that has a lot to offer and at the heart of it is Ljubljana. This city has plenty of options and makes it a perfect cheap summer destinations Europe has to offer. Adventure-seekers can go paddle-boarding on the river or hiking around the trails while enjoying the sunny weather.
To me, the best part about this European city is the bridges it has to offer. Lake Bled is also one of the best lakes where I spend a few hours taking some beautiful shots. With plenty of cafes and restaurants, Ljubljana is a great place for foodies. Read my recommended 10-day Slovenia itinerary.
14. Copenhagen, Denmark
Those looking to enjoy summers in Europe can also focus on Copenhagen as one of the best destinations. This city is packed with summer activities and is best explored by bike or foot. I personally love the colorful buildings along Nyhavn, lined by brightly colored 17th and early 18th century townhouses and bars, cafes and restaurants. The famous Tivoli is worth a visit: the amusement park is the third-oldest operating amusement park in the world.
15. Sicily, Italy
Sicily has remained one of the best places in Europe for summer attracting tourists from all over the globe. During the high summer season, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes that offer the best Italian cuisine on the menu. Also, this is the birthplace of gelato, so be ready for some ice cream indulgence.
Sicily is ideal for those who are looking for a laid-back relaxed trip. However, it also offers plenty of options for those seeking adventure. Hiking Mount Etna, exploring the beaches and walking the historic lanes of this city are among the few things on the list.
How to Have the Best Summer Holidays in Europe
Research & Plan
When planning to head to Europe for the summer months research and plan well. Most destinations in Europe are packed with tourists during the peak tourist months. This means that accommodation prices can go up quickly.
Rent An Apartment
Renting an apartment to me sounds like a safer and more affordable option than booking a hotel that can cost more. This offers more room and flexibility and an option to cook personal meals.
Book Flights in Advance
With more people flocking to Europe in the summer months flight bookings can cost more. Booking flight tickets in advance would offer low rates to manage the travel budget.
Plan Sightseeing Routine
When I travel through popular tourist attractions and sightseeing locations I prefer to plan everything in advance as it saves my time and allows me to make the optimum use of my day and money.
Get City Pass
Many cities in Europe have city pass. I usually buy these passes if I’m staying in the city for more than a few days. This allows you to hop the queue and get access to multiple venues and public transport.
Staying hydrated in the summer months is crucial, especially when touring the city. I recommend carrying a water bottle that helps in staying hydrated and fresh even when touring the city.
While there are many street food options in many cities of Europe it is essential to eat healthy to make the most of the Europe holidays. Choose the best restaurants and eateries that offer value for money deals.
Touring Europe in the peak summer months without applying sunscreen is not a great idea. Hence, liberally apply sunscreen before venturing out in the sun.
Take Care of the Luggage
Pickpockets and scammers exist all over the world and therefore focus on storing luggage safely. Use luggage storage options that are present in some of the cities in Europe.
Are You Traveling to these Summer Destinations in Europe?
Europe is a great place for those who want to make the most of the summer months. However, it is vital to look for the best destinations in Europe that can offer the best holiday experiences. These European cities are perfect for those looking for a relaxing tour and those seeking adventure. With a variety of cuisine and shopping options available, these cities in Europe are a perfect getaway during the sunny months.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Luggage Hero, but as always, I only endorse brands/products that I’ve personally used.
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