Looking for the best places to visit in Europe in summer? We got you covered! Europe summer destinations present an endless possibility of so many things to do and see, it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled this travel guide of the top rated places to help you in planning your trip to Europe for your next fabulous summer vacation.
20 Best Places to Visit in Europe in Summer: Europe Summer Destinations
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What better way to spend summer than on a continent as diverse, spirited, and charming as Europe?
Summer in Europe begins in June and ends in September. The warm weather makes it easy to tour the continent, providing clear paths for a breezy road trip and sunny terraces and beaches for a good tan.
With glistening coastlines and sunny blue skies, there’s a reason why this time of the year is Europe’s peak season.
Although many travelers from all over the world head to Europe in summer, there’s plenty of space for everyone. But, we’ve especially listed some hidden gems for those of you looking to soak in the sun away from the crowd.
The Best European Summer Destinations to Visit
Home to 44 countries, Europe is brimming with fun and lively summer destinations for jet-setters. From the warm Amalfi Coast in Italy to the charming streets of Barcelona, let’s dive into all the exciting places to add to your European summer bucket list.
1. Provence, France
Summer is the best time to see Provence in France, with the lavender fields thriving from mid-June to mid-July.
Aside from the heavenly lavender fields, Provence is known for its medieval towns, charming hilltop villages, delectable food, and fine wine.
The lavender fields aren’t the only floral setting, with the sunflower fields adding a splash of yellow to this region in the South of France.
Life here is relaxed and laid back — perfect if you’re looking to take a break from the city and slow down your pace.
There’s much peace in strolling the region’s many fields, from vineyards and farmlands to orchards and gardens.
Whether you explore these by foot, bike, or horseback is up to you, but either is poetic and perfect enough for exploring the French countryside.
Provence has also been the inspiration for many famous artists, including the likes of Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, and Paul Cezanne.
Even today, poets, painters, and designers escape to Provence to be inspired by the evergreen hills, terrace gardens, limestone cliffs, and azure waters of the Mediterranean sea.
Calanques National Park
While in southern France, try and squeeze in Calanques National Park in your French itinerary.
Located on the Mediterranean coast, the Calanques National Park is the only European national park to encompass land, sea, and peri-urban areas in one park.
While you can hike or bike from Marseille to Calanques, kayaking on the glistening waters allows you to explore the park while keeping cool and fresh in summer.
Check out this tour of kayaking in the Calanques National Park — the three-hour trip takes you to views of the Green Island, Eagle Beak, and Miguel Creek.
2. Menton, French Riviera
Menton is a town located between Monaco and the Italian border that is framed by the mighty Alpes-Maritimes mountains. This picturesque town is known for its subtropical microclimate and beautiful gardens, one of which is the La Citronneraie lemon grove.
Nature lovers will enjoy the Fontana Rosa Garden, which is sweet-scented and filled with petals.
Summers in Menton are lovely, particularly from late June to July. The average temperature in Menton is 30 degrees Celsius, but it seldom feels as hot due to the cooling summer wind blowing across the Bay of Garavan.
The evening temperature barely dips below 19-20 degrees Celsius – and you can still dine outside in summer clothes.
When the weather is warm and sunny, there are plenty of things to do in Menton on the French Riviera. One can enjoy a leisurely walk along the beach, take a swim in the Mediterranean Sea, go for a bike ride, or explore the charming old town.
There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes where one can enjoy a delicious meal or refreshing drink. In addition, there are several art galleries and museums that are worth a visit.
The Menton area is famous for its production of lemons and oranges. There are many lovely citrus gardens in the area, as well as historical sites to see. In July, the Menton Tango festival is held.
All in all, Menton is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing vacation in the sun.
3. Andalucia, Spain
A European summer trip is incomplete without visiting Spain’s beautiful beaches. This is why Andalucia is number one on our list of the best summer destinations in Europe.
Andalusia in Southern Spain is famous for its stunning coastline spanning 800km and boasting two seas — the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The region boasts world-famous beaches with sparkling blue waters and soft, smooth sands where you can absorb all the Spanish sunshine.
One of the most famous coastlines in Andalucia is in the Province of Málaga — Costa del Sol.
With pretty beach resorts on its shores and charming villages inland, Costa del Sol is a famous spot for locals and tourists alike. Check out this luxury catamaran tour for a captivating sunset over Costa del Sol’s glistening waters.
Read: How to spend one week in Spain
4. Barcelona, Spain
Yes, another Spanish summer destination. But, why would go to Spain and not visit Barcelona? (especially when this is a good airport to arrive at from North America!)
Similar to Andalusia, Barcelona has some stunning beaches on offer. But while Andalusia has that “old Spain” charm with Moorish architecture and quaint villages, Barcelona is more cosmopolitan and high-spirited.
The vibrant city is packed with famous landmarks and tourist attractions to add to your Barcelona itinerary.
Whether it be the architectural masterpiece Sagrada Familia cathedral or Park Güell showcasing Antoni Gaudi’s phenomenal work, Barcelona is a feast for the eyes!
One of the best and fastest ways to explore this city is via a bus tour. This hop-on and hop-off city bus tour is ideal if you want to visit Barcelona’s top landmarks in a few days.
Choose from a one or two-day option and explore the Picasso Museum, Gothic Quarter, and many more exciting attractions and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Have more time on this city break, add an evening of stunning views at the Bunkers del Carmel.
Keen to see more of this beautiful country? Check out our collection of the most beautiful places in Spain with some hidden gems we guarantee you’ve never seen before!
5. Lisbon, Portugal
When visiting this Portuguese city, be ready to work your calves up and down Lisbon’s many hills. After all, the city’s nickname is “A Cidade das Sete Colinas” which translates to “The City of Seven Hills”.
But if you don’t want to get all sweaty in the Portuguese summer, then it’ll be a relief to know that there are plenty of hop-on-hop-off buses and beautiful trams.
Like many other world-famous European cities, Lisbon is brimming with historical buildings, picturesque parks, opulent palaces, and precious museums.
Parque Eduardo VII serves views of some of the city’s best landmarks. On the other hand, Castelo de St. Jorge is a medieval castle perched on Lisbon’s highest hill in the Alfama neighborhood.
The Romanticist palace, adorned in bright colors, is an emblematic landmark for Sintra and a jewel for the world.
6. Rome, Italy
Delicious food, friendly people, and fantastic architecture make up the city of Rome. Not only a famous place in Italy, but Rome is also renowned worldwide for its ancient history and cuisine featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients and simple but flavorful recipes.
Nicknamed “the Eternal City”, legend has it that the Italian capital was founded epochs back in 753 B.C.
Referenced countless times in romcom novels and movies, Rome today has become synonymous with love and is a famous destination for honeymooners.
Whether it be the mighty Colosseum or the magical Trevi Fountain (throw in a coin, or two, or three), you’ll fall deeper in love with Rome as the days go.
7. Cinque Terre, Italy
Located in Northern Italy in the province of La Spezia, Cinque Terre gets its name from a series of seaside villages.
The area is located on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline and is home to five towns setting the scene with pastel-colored houses and lively harbors.
Dine on fresh seafood, take a walk in the chatty harbors, and dive into the fresh waters of Cinque Terre to cool off the heat.
Traveling from village to village is easy with a short train, bus, or boat ride. Or, you can hike the trails in between, but it’s quite the workout and not ideal with the sun high in the sky.
Can’t choose between train rides or hiking? Purchase the Cinque Terre Train Card, which gives you access to unlimited train rides for the day along with hiking trails so you can do a mix of both.
When visiting Italy’s coasts, you can head north to visit Cinque Terre or south for the stunning Amalfi Coast (or both, if you can fit it in your Italy itinerary).
8. Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is a part of Southern Italy in the province of Salerno. You may have seen this colorful coast with its sheer cliffs, pastel-colored villages, and sparkling waters on your Instagram feed or TikTok page.
The coastal road connecting the city’s port to Salerno’s clifftop is dotted with grand villas, lemon groves, and vineyards.
Start your day early with a refreshing dip in the aquamarine sea and then feast on world-famous Italian pizzas to satiate your hunger.
To quench your thirst, choose from a selection of Italian wine-based cocktails, like Aperol Spritz, Negroni, or Bellini.
But, most importantly, don’t forget the lemon granitas — the perfect antidote to a hot day and a must-try while visiting the Land of Lemons on the Amalfi Coast.
Amalfi Coast Italy in November or the winter months are not the best for water/beach activities, so plan a trip in the summer months instead!
9. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Fun and adventurous Dubrovnik is often overlooked when one pictures a European summer.
Amongst the likes of Barcelona, Lisbon, Rome, and Paris, Dubrovnik may not be the first city to pop up in your mind. But, this Europe summer destination is every bit worth the visit.
Dubrovnik is a Croatian gem and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the Dalmation Coast.
Although the city is fun all year round, it’s a special treat during summer when the days are sunny and warm but not blazing hot.
Spend your days swimming at the beach or exploring the city’s ancient stone walls.
Dubrovnik’s Old Town is a UNESCO site featuring stone walls and forts from the 16th century. Its unique buildings will transport you to another era with their Romanesque-Gothic style architecture.
Consider yourself a GOT fan? Then don’t miss this exclusive Game of Thrones tour of Dubrovnik that takes you through King’s Landing. See in real life the Red Keep, the venue of the Purple Wedding, and the House of the Undying.
If you don’t want to miss the palace gardens, be sure to upgrade your tour to include a trip to Trsteno Arboretum.
Read: Check out our 3-days in Dubrovnik itinerary if you’re planning a short stay.
10. Istanbul, Turkey
You’ve seen videos of the funny Turkish ice-cream men playing tricks and pranking their guests. Well, time to get yours for the ‘Gram!
Even though only half of Istanbul is a part of the European continent, excluding it from this list just didn’t feel right.
Boasting palaces with ornate interiors, bustling bazaars of warm spices and antiques, underground tunnels, and magnificent mosques, Istanbul is a treat to all the senses.
With so much to see and do, you’ll never be bored in this Turkish city. With each day, you’ll be left wanting more.
And if you get hot very quickly, then Istanbul makes for a great European destination in summer since there are plenty of things to do indoors.
Whether it’s exploring the underground tunnels of the Basilica Cistern or the passages of Topkapi Palace, you can tour the many landmarks without breaking a sweat.
The Topkapi Palace is one of Istanbul’s top attractions and can get crowded very easily, especially during the late morning hours up till 3 pm. So, if you want to be there before it becomes crowded, we recommend following these tips.
Firstly, try and buy your tickets online to skip waiting in queues. Secondly, make it your first stop for the day and arrive as early as possible (at the opening time, if possible).
The palace (or Sarayı in Turkish) is huge with four courtyards and a Harem. It can take anywhere between two to four hours to tour the entire complex. We suggest starting with the Harem and Treasury sections first, as they give the best glimpse into the life of the Ottoman Sultan.
The Third Courtyard has the Privy Chamber, which houses the most sacred objects of Islam and is a must-visit if you’re interested in relics of the Muslim world. The best times to visit Topkapi Palace are Monday mornings, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.
11. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is a romantic, charming city ideal for every kind of traveler.
The magical city is nicknamed “The City of a Hundred Spires” for its stunning cathedrals with pointy spires that cast a shadow over its cobblestoned streets and quaint cafes.
Prague sees some of the highest numbers of tourists every year compared to other European capitals. This is largely due to the city’s aesthetic and fairytale-like atmosphere.
Maybe it’s the Prague Castle, that’s not really a castle but actually a cathedral.
Or, perhaps it’s Charles Bridge, the oldest bridge standing over the Vltava river and the second oldest in the country.
Whatever it is, Prague is a favorite European destination for many tourists — even in summer.
Aside from visiting Prague Castle and Charles Bridge, you can also explore Old Town Square, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Astronomical Clock.
If you’re a second-time visitor and aren’t too keen on revisiting the famous tourist attractions, here are some hidden gems to check out.
Petrin Tower serves panoramic views of Prague and the surrounding hills. It’s easily accessible via an elevator or a flight of stairs if you’re up to burn some calories.
The Strahov Library is said to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. It’s also one of the best-hidden gems in Prague, if not Europe.
Book lovers can find it in Strahov Monastery, the oldest Premonstratensian monastery in Bohemia.
Beer lovers have two special, unique places to fuel their passion for this beverage. Surprise your palette with the slightly bitter taste of the beer ice cream at U Medvidku, and unwind at a spa while sipping on a beer at Bernard Beer spa.
12. Reykjavik, Iceland
Sunshine lovers should include Reykjavik on their list of European destinations for endless sunlight.
During summer, the capital of Iceland is practically swimming in the sunshine with no darkness. Yes, you read that right.
Iceland’s capital Reykjavik sees no night from mid-April to mid-August because of its geographical location and experiences the midnight sun!
So, if you’re looking to bask in sunshine 24/7, visit Reykjavik during its peak summer months. You’ll be greeted by clear blue skies, sunny days, and thriving fields of colorful flowers set amongst neverending greenery.
There’s so much to do, too, for solo travelers, couples, and families. To splash around in the water with your kids, head to Laugardalslaug or Árbæjarlaug.
Thrill-seekers have access to a long list of options, including hiking at Öskjuhlíð and whale watching at Faxaflói.
Visit the Perlan Dome for a fine-dining experience while observing 360-degree views of Reykjavik.
Short on time? This 3-day Iceland summer adventure takes you through the city and the Secret Lagoon with activities like horseback riding, snorkeling, and more. You can keep Reykjavik as a base city, and then take day trips from there!
11. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is one of the best European destinations for budget backpackers. It’s pretty, too, with a blend of stunning architecture styles like Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance.
In fact, Budapest’s medley of different architectural designs makes it a very picturesque and aesthetically-pleasing city to sightsee.
The city is rich in history and boasts a vibrant food and night scene. In the day, you can head to the thermal spas for a soothing soak, and at night, have a gala time bar-hopping or attending one of the many music festivals.
Some of the most famous music festivals in Budapest are:
- Sziget Festival in August — a multi-genre festival
- Festival of Folks Art in August — celebrating folk culture
- Jewish Summer Festival in September — which aims to promote Jewish culture
- Budapest Summer Festival from June till August — features open-air summer programs
14. London, England
A European destination list is incomplete without a special mention of London.
Home to Buckingham Palace, this famous European city is a must-visit year-round. But, the best time to visit London for mild temperatures and sunny days is from March till May.
Although these are also the months that bring in the most tourists, the city may get crowded.
London takes a complete 180-degree turn in summer, transforming from gloomy, rainy days to sunny weather with green parks and blooming gardens. This makes the weather ideal for sightseeing.
Whether it be the London Eye, The Tower of London, The Shard, or Westminster Abbey, every London landmark is distinct and alluring.
When you’re not on foot discovering the many historical buildings speckled across the city, enjoy a picnic at one of the many parks or gardens.
Hyde Park is the biggest of the four Royal parks in London, and Kensington Gardens is great for admiring the Kensington Palace from outside.
15. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Just picturing the Netherlands is like a breath of fresh air, maybe because the country prides itself on being eco-friendly.
And if you’re okay with cycling your way through Amsterdam, you’ll save a ton on transport and can spend more on visiting actual tourist sites and attractions.
Small safety tip: Look both ways before crossing the streets.
Where in other countries you have to watch out for cars, the equivalent of automobiles in Amsterdam are bicycles. This is not to say that no one drives a car here.
But, when crossing the road, bike path, or pedestrian crossing, watch out for cyclists as they have the right of way throughout the entire country.
Once you’ve got your bike, you can begin zooming through the city and making a stop at all the impressive architectural feats.
On the hottest day of your trip, take a cruise along the iconic canals of Amsterdam. This luxury city cruise conveniently departs from the Anne Frank House or Riskmuseum, so you can include it in your day’s plans after visiting either one of the landmarks.
16. Santorini, Greece
Picture-worthy sunsets meet island-life in Greece, known as one of the best islands in the world and a top honeymoon destination.
If you fancy romantic sunsets, luxury sails on the briny blue, and swimming in infinity pools, Santorini offers all that and more.
A part of the enchanting Greek islands, Santorini is just one of the best summer places to visit in Greece and overall Europe.
The city’s most popular sunset viewing spot is Oia (a coastal village on the island of Santorini), but sunrises here are equally as magical.
For water fun like swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, head to Black Beach and Red Beach.
If you want to do something different and daring, visit Nea Kameni — an uninhabited island made of black lava rock.
Here, you can participate in volcano hiking and relax in the nearby hot springs filled with sulfur water.
Read: How to spend one week in Europe with 27 itinerary samples
Greece Island Tours
Greece has many beautiful surrounding islands that are worth the visit if you’ve got time on your hands.
If you can’t afford to spend many days in Greece, this five-day island tour includes a visit to Paros and Santorini. But, if time isn’t a constraint and you’re up for island-hopping in Greece, then we highly recommend this 11-day tour.
The island tour starts and ends in Athens and takes you to some of the best Greek islands, including Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini.
17. Interlaken, Switzerland
Interlaken is the sports capital of Europe, serving as one of the top destinations for adventure seekers.
Get your blood pumping with thrilling sports activities. Paraglide above the Swiss Alps as you soar above Lake Thun and the Jungfrau mountains, a famous Swiss peak.
To see more of Jungfrau’s majestic peaks, take a day trip from Interlaken to visit the ‘Top of Europe’. Your tour will begin with a coach ride to Grindelwald. From there, you’ll board an Eiger Express gondola to the Eiger Station.
The adventure doesn’t end here — the next round is embarking on the cogwheel train up the Jungfraujoch pass.
At last, you’ll arrive at your final destination — the Top of Europe, boasting glorious panoramic views of the Alps. Also included in your tour is a fairytale ice palace!
And in addition to the countless adventures, you can expect plenty of Swiss chocolate, Swiss cheese, and everything else that Switzerland is famous for.
18. Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina
The town is only about a two-and-a-half-hour drive away from Dubrovnik, so you can easily include it on your list of summer places to visit in Europe.
The city, situated along the Neretva River, is rich in history and natural scenery. It served as an Ottoman garrison town in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Today, the city is famous for the Old Bridge (a stone arch bridge built over the Neretva River) and ancient Turkish houses.
The Old Bridge, named Stari Most, is an engineering marvel designed by the Ottomans and a must-visit when in Mostar.
And although this bridge steals the spotlight, there are many other landmarks and little attractions in this city that will leave you in awe.
19. Durmitor National Park, Montenegro
Durmitor National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Montenegro. It is a place of great natural beauty and is perfect for every outdoor lover!
There are many interesting things to do. Some of the top activities in the park include hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and rafting.
Hiking is a popular activity in Durmitor National Park because of the amazing views that can be seen along the trails. There are many different trails to choose from, so everyone can find the perfect one for them.
Some of the more challenging trails lead up to the peaks of the mountains like Zabljak Knob Trail or Ice Cave Trail, while others follow the river valleys like Bobotov Kuk Trail.
Spend time in the lap of nature in Durmitor National Park, and visit its 18 glacial lakes. On a short trip, just pick a few favorites and give it a day!
Rafting is an activity that is perfect for those who are looking for a thrill. Go rafting over the Tara river. This river offers some of the best rafting in Montenegro. The rapids are challenging, but they are also a lot of fun.
Kotor to Durmitor National Park is close to 3 hours by road, and it requires a car to explore it.
20. Albanian Riviera, Albania
The Albanian Riviera is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
The Riviera forms a part of the Albanian Ionian Sea Coast and is sprinkled with pretty coastal towns and villages like Palasë, Dhërmi, Himara, Qeparo, Piqeras, Lukovë, and the city of Sarandë.
The crystal clear waters and the miles of sandy beaches make it a perfect place to spend your summer vacation. The vibrant nightlife and the wide range of restaurants make it an ideal place to eat out and enjoy yourself. Pick Dhërmi for its nightlife!
For hiking and outdoor adventure, head to Iljas and Vuno. If you’re looking to just relax and soak in the sun, then visit Borsh and Himara.
You can visit the Albanian Riviera by bus, by taxi or by car from Tirana airport. The buses take 3 – 5 hours. There is affordable accommodation including hostel options in the region.
Tips Traveling to the best summer destinations in Europe
Weather in Europe in summer
The most important thing to keep in mind when traveling to Europe in the summer is the weather. Be prepared for both rain and sun, as the weather can change quickly. Early June and August are tricky months in the coastal areas and some cities. But July is usually nice and warm overall!
When traveling to Europe in the summer, it’s important to be prepared for the heat.
Temperatures go as high as 35 to 40 degrees Celsius in some places, so it is important to pack the right clothes, stay hydrated, and use sun protection.
Make sure to pack clothes that will keep you cool, such as light-colored cotton clothing and sandals. It’s also a good idea to bring a hat and sunglasses to protect you from the sun.
Also, pack an umbrella and sunscreen with a high SPF.
If you need a printable packing list for Europe, you can download it below
Beware of crowds
Europe is going to be crowded in summer. Be prepared for large crowds of people in popular tourist destinations. Try to avoid visiting places like the Louvre in Paris or the Colosseum in Rome during the day in the peak summer season. Instead, opt for late afternoon or evening.
If you’re looking for a more peaceful and quiet experience, try traveling to smaller villages or towns. You’ll be able to find some amazing spots that aren’t as popular with tourists.
Book everything in advance
As summer is a popular time to visit in Europe, we recommend booking your hotels and tours ahead of time. Planning is key to ensure you are not disappointed with sky-high prices, or worst case – no vacancy or tour available on your travel dates.
If you are planning to rent a car, make reservations prior to your trip as well.
Plan for festivals in the summer in Europe
Europeans love their festivals, and there are many happening in the summer months. If you’re looking to experience a local festival, do some research to see what’s going on during the time of your visit.
Be sure to book your accommodation and transportation well in advance if there is a festival you would like to attend, as they tend to fill up quickly.
Wake up early for photos and beaches
When traveling in Europe in summer it is best to wake up early to enjoy the sights without the crowds. As the days are longer, and the sun rises sooner, it is possible to do that.
This is also a good idea for capturing photos and to enjoy a little bit of tranquility before the crowd madness begins. Most of the popular tourist destinations are busiest in the late morning and early afternoon.
And if you’re looking to relax on a beautiful beach, get there early to reserve your spot!
If the summer heat is too much to bear, consider visiting Europe in late August or September. Although most Europeans enjoy their summer breaks in August; early September (first week) can still give you the best of the warm temperatures, and skies, but minus the crowds!
Or go off the beaten path in Europe with these destinations!
Final Thoughts on the Best Destinations for Your European Summer Trip
The continent of Europe is one of the most diverse continents in the world — whether it comes to history, culture, traditions, landscapes, or food. That’s why it’s so hard to choose not just one but even a few of the best places to visit.
Its vibrancy and natural beauty, coupled with ancient buildings encompassing museums, palaces, and cathedrals, attract tourists from all over the world.
And in summer especially, Europe is the go-to destination for people seeking leisurely fun with ample sunshine.
We listed our favorite European summer destinations that are a must-visit, but there are many more.
No matter how many times you visit this continent, there’ll always be a place you miss. However, the good news is that whichever place you do end up visiting is sure to be an adventure of a lifetime.
While summer in Europe may be more crowded than usual, it’s also the best time to get in as much of the continent as comfortably as you can.
Wonder what the continent is like in the cold? Read our guide on the best winter destinations in Europe.