We have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore and vacation in Europe, and we all loved it! Summer is the perfect time to explore the beauty of Europe and there are some amazing European summer destinations out there to see!
With its breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, and fascinating history, Europe offers a wide range of destinations that are sure to leave you mesmerized.
From the sun-soaked beaches of the Mediterranean to the picturesque towns of the Alps, there are countless places to discover.
Come with us on a journey through the top 10 European summer destinations that are sure to make your summer vacation an unforgettable experience.
Our Top 10 European Summer Destinations
Whether you’re looking for a hot spot for a day trip or a place to sprawl out and unwind for weeks at a time, we’ve got the best and most picturesque places to do so.
Pack your bags and get ready to embark on a European adventure like no other!
1. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is a city that truly has it all, which is why it’s one of the most popular summer destinations in Europe.
Situated on the coast of northeastern Spain, this cosmopolitan city is known for its stunning architecture, world-class cuisine, and lively culture. Once there, you simply must check out the Sagrada Familia, a towering basilica designed by the legendary architect Antoni Gaudi.
We also recommend taking a leisurely stroll along the famous Las Ramblas street and exploring the Gothic Quarter.
But Barcelona isn’t just about the sights – it’s also a city with a rich culinary scene. From traditional Spanish tapas to modern molecular cuisine, there’s something for every palate in Barcelona. And of course, no visit to Barcelona is complete without trying the city’s signature dish – paella!
Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a fun-filled family vacation, Barcelona is sure to leave you with lasting memories.
And don’t forget to soak up the sun on any of the city’s golden beaches! It’s nice sometimes to let go of the itinerary and just unwind for a change!
2. Amalfi Coast, Italy
Italy is known for its unrivaled cuisine and historic cities like Rome, but that leaves out the beautiful and totally underrated Amalfi Coast.
Known for its breathtaking scenery, picturesque towns, and crystal-clear waters, the Amalfi Coast is a stunning stretch of coastline dotted with colorful fishing villages, hillside lemon groves, and dramatic cliffs that drop off into the sea.
One of the most popular towns on the Amalfi Coast is Positano, with its charming pastel-colored houses and winding streets that lead down to the beach. Amalfi, Sorrento, Atrani, and Praiano are all great spots to check out as well.
The beaches along the Amalfi Coast are some of the most beautiful in Italy, with clear turquoise waters that are perfect for swimming and sunbathing. It’s a great place for taking a boat tour along the coast to see the stunning scenery from a different perspective.
And, as with all of Italy, the Amalfi Coast is known for its delicious food, with fresh seafood, homemade pasta, and locally grown produce on offer.
Grab a great meal, take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea, and find out why the Amalfi Coast is one of our favorite spots for vacationing in the summer!
3. Paris, France
You’ll find Paris, France as a destination on most people’s bucket lists, as it’s a must-visit destination for any world traveler with its timeless charm and endless attractions.
Paris, known as the City of Light, is a world-renowned destination that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and romance. Popular spots include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and Notre Dame Cathedral.
Beyond these tourist must-see destinations, visitors can explore the city’s charming neighborhoods, stroll along the Seine River, and enjoy a picnic in one of the many beautiful parks.
Paris is also a mecca for food lovers, with its world-renowned cuisine and exceptional wine. From traditional French dishes like escargots and boeuf bourguignon to decadent pastries and macarons, Paris has something to offer for every palate.
The city’s cafe culture is also legendary, with locals and visitors alike enjoying a leisurely coffee or glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe. Make sure you block out a good portion of time to simply sit back and sip an espresso.
4. Santorini, Greece
Santorini is breathtakingly beautiful. known for its picturesque whitewashed buildings, stunning sunsets, and turquoise waters.
Visitors can stroll through the charming little villages perched on the cliffs overlooking the sea, visit ancient ruins and museums, or simply sprawl out on the beach and take it all in.
Santorini’s unique landscape was formed by a massive volcanic eruption that took place over 3,000 years ago, which resulted in the creation of a massive caldera.
Today, visitors can hike along the cliffs to see the stunning views of the caldera, take a boat tour to explore the volcanic islands nearby, or even go scuba diving to see the underwater world of Santorini.
Sure, you can have a great time visiting other Greek islands like Mykonos or even the nearby but very much not Greek island of Cyprus, but there’s something special about Santorini which makes it our pick for the coolest spot to consider for your summer vacay.
5. Copenhagen, Denmark
Slap on your wooden shoes, because Copenhagen gets our next spot on the list.
This vibrant and modern city seamlessly blends history and innovation. It’s known for its colorful houses, picturesque canals, and world-famous cuisine.
Visitors can explore the city’s charming neighborhoods, such as the trendy Nørrebro or the bohemian Christiania, or take a bike ride along the waterfront.
Copenhagen is also a hub for design and architecture, with numerous museums and galleries dedicated to showcasing the city’s innovative design culture.
Visitors can also indulge in the city’s renowned food scene, with everything from traditional Danish smørrebrød to modern Nordic cuisine on offer.
Whether you’re looking for art, culture, or cuisine, Copenhagen is sure to impress.
6. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik is a stunningly beautiful city located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. It’s known for its stunning medieval architecture, crystal-clear waters, and scenic views of the surrounding hills.
The city’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a maze of narrow streets, historic buildings, and charming squares that evoke the spirit of the past.
In fact, it was for these reasons that the showrunners of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones used Dubrovnik as the prime shooting location for scenes that took place in the iconic King’s Landing location.
Visitors to Dubrovnik can stroll along the ancient city walls, which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding coastline, or take a cable car to the top of the nearby hill for panoramic views of the city and the sea. Dubrovnik is also a great destination for foodies, with fresh seafood, traditional Croatian cuisine, and locally produced wine all on offer.
It’s not the first place that comes to most people’s minds, but Dubrovnik is an incredible place and one of our top spots for a summer vacation.
7. Interlaken, Switzerland
Interlaken is a picturesque town located in the heart of the Swiss Alps, nestled between two crystal-clear lakes. It’s known for its stunning scenery, snow-capped mountains, and outdoor adventures.
Most folks visit for the skiing and snowboarding opportunities in the winter months, but a hike through the Swiss Alps in the summer simply cannot be beat.
It’s an excellent way for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers to get their fix of flora, fauna, and natural beauty in one of the world’s most picturesque destinations.
If you prefer to stay on the beaten path, however, Interlaken delights with a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and bars. Visitors can enjoy traditional Swiss cuisine, including cheese fondue and raclette, or try local beers and wines.
The town is also a hub for adventure sports, with paragliding, bungee jumping, and river rafting all on offer.
8. Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh is a historic and cultural city located in Scotland, known for its charming old town, stunning castle, and world-renowned festivals.
If you want to feel like you’ve been plopped into a tale with King Arhur and Merlin, wander through the city’s winding streets, taking in the stunning architecture and rich history, or climb to the top of Arthur’s Seat for unbeatable panoramic views of the city.
Beyond the sights, Edinburgh is home to a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and theaters showcasing everything from Scottish history to contemporary art.
The city is perhaps best known for its annual festivals, including the Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival, and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a spectacular display of military bands and pageantry.
9. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is another spot that folks tend to flock to for the winter months to catch a glimpse of the famed Northern Lights, but it’s a great visit during the summer too!
As the capital and largest city of Iceland, Reykjavik features otherworldly landscapes. Since summer provides weather that’s just a tad more manageable than the infamously frigid winter season, you’ll get a prime opportunity to stroll through the charming streets and explore the colorful neighborhoods that make Reykjavik special.
Catching a whale watching tour from Reykjavik’s picturesque harbor, exploring the nearby lava fields and glaciers, and taking a dip in the world-famous Blue Lagoon are all musts for a trip to Reykjavik.
10. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands, known for its picturesque canals, historic architecture, and vibrant nightlife. Explore the city’s charming streets and canals, museums, cafes, and other attractions including the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Rijksmuseum.
Don’t sleep on the food scene in Amsterdam either! It’s a total hub for foodies and nightlife enthusiasts, with numerous restaurants, bars, and clubs offering everything from traditional Dutch cuisine to international dishes.
There’s a lot to love about Amsterdam, and there’s virtually no better time to visit than in summer.
Frequently Asked Questions about European Summer Destinations
Where can I find the best beaches in Europe?
Not every European destination is known for its sandy beaches. If you’re looking for the best beaches to visit in Europe, places from our list include Barcelona, the Amalfi Coast, and Santorini, which all are excellent spots to soak up some fun in the sun.
Other great beach destinations in Europe include the French Riviera, Algarve in Portugal, Costa del Sol in Spain, and the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia.
Where is the best street food in Europe?
The best place for foodies to “mangia” depends entirely on personal taste and preference, but some cities are known for their particularly delectable street eats. From our list, you’ll find great street foods in Barcelona, Paris, and Copenhagen for starters.
Other great foodie locations include Berlin, Budapest, and Lisbon.
What are the best festivals in Europe during the summer months?
There are plenty of festivals to check out during the summer months in Europe. Of our listed cities, we can’t stress enough how cool it is to attend open air Dubrovnik festivals, which include a variety of live music concerts, theatrical plays, and movie screenings during the summer months.
Edinburgh Fringe is a must-catch as well.
Other fantastic festivals in Europe include Glastonbury Festival, Roskilde Festival, Tomorrowland, Sziget Festival, and Latitude Festival, to name a few.
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