Best Places To Go In Europe This Summer

The best summer destinations in Europe to visit on vacation include sun-drenched Greece, sophisticated Paris, and wild and wonderful Iceland.

Summer holiday destinations Europe

Best Summer Vacation Spots in Europe

Summer in Europe is a magical time, with each region offering its unique blend of culture, history, and breathtaking beauty. Whether you're a foodie, adventure seeker, or culture enthusiast, there's a perfect destination waiting for you.

Dave walking around Prodromos in Paros island Greece

As I've been living in Greece since 2015, I'm going to come right out of the gate with my heavily biased opinion – Greece is the absolute best summer destination in Europe!

With a mix of world-class beaches, historic sites, and great food, Greece is the perfect country for every type of traveler.

Myrtos beach in Kefalonia

(The incredible Myrtos Beach in Kefalonia, Greece)

Still, we have to give these other countries a chance as well, don't we!

So in this article, I'll outline some of the best places to take a summer holiday in Europe for your consideration. (But I might mention Greece more than once, just so you know).

I'll also include what I call a reality check for each of these summer European destinations. That's because they are popular, (perhaps a little too popular).

Europe Best Summer Destinations

  • Bask on golden sand beaches in the Mediterranean or explore the wild landscapes of the Nordic nations.
  • Island hop your way through the stunning landscapes of the Greece Isles, Balearic Islands in Spain and Azores Islands in Portugal.
  • Enjoy vibrant cultures, rich history & diverse experiences from Santorini to London to Copenhagen!

1. Europe Summer Vacation: Exploring the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean region is known for its sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and charming towns. But have you truly experienced the magic of the Mediterranean?

This enchanting region offers more than just beautiful landscapes; it's a treasure trove of vibrant cultures, rich history, and unforgettable experiences.

From the breathtaking sunsets of Santorini, Greece, to the beach paradise of Mallorca, Spain, and the cultural haven that is Malta Island, the Mediterranean is the perfect summer escape for those seeking sun, sea, and unforgettable memories.

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece, is a stunning summer destination in Europe. Without doubt, it's one of the most romantic and delightful places to visit.

Enjoying the Santorini sunset


This picturesque island offers visitors a unique blend of stunning sunsets, refreshing sea breezes, and charming blue-domed churches and whitewashed buildings, making it the perfect backdrop for a memorable summer vacation.

During your visit, be sure to witness the incredible sunset over the volcano across the caldera and the Aegean sea – a truly unforgettable sight. I highly recommend taking the hike from Fira to Oia which reveals the island coastline at its most stunning.

And after a day of exploring, retreat to a traditional cave hotel to escape the summer heat and recharge for another day of unforgettable experiences.

Reality check: Santorini is a tiny island and has far too many visitors. Avoid August if at all possible. The best summer months to go would be June and late September.

Think that Santorini may be too touristy for you? Visit Folegandros instead.

Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca, Spain, is a true paradise, boasting 262 beaches, lively beach clubs, and an array of cultural events and festivals. With its mix of stunning beaches and vibrant inland cities, Mallorca offers a diverse range of experiences for every traveler.

From the bustling capital city of Palma to the serene mountain villages, Mallorca is a perfect summer destination for those seeking both relaxation and adventure.

While there, be sure to visit the charming old town of Alcudia and explore its rich history, or take a boat trip to one of the island's secluded coves to enjoy the crystal-clear waters and lovely beaches.

Reality check: It's difficult to find the ‘real Spain' in the resort areas. The European school holidays in August mean it's very busy at this time.


Malta, nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, is a summer destination packed with culture, tradition, exotic scenery, and history. The Megalithic structures of Malta are some of the oldest in Europe.

The Megalithic Temples of Malta Hagar Qim and Mnajdr

This island paradise offers a unique blend of stunning landscapes, ancient ruins, and bustling cities, providing visitors with an unforgettable experience.

During your visit, don't miss the chance to explore the beautiful bays of Gadira and Riviera, the enchanting Blue Grotto, and the colorful fishing village of Marsaxlokk.

And for those seeking a taste of history, the ancient city of Valletta and the medieval town of Mdina are must-visit destinations, showcasing Malta's rich past and vibrant present.

Reality check: The beaches are ok, but not super special in my opinion.

Also read: Is Malta worth visiting?

2. Best Summer Cities In Europe

Western Europe offers an irresistible charm that draws travelers from all corners of the globe. From the medieval soul of Porto, Portugal, to the iconic sights of London, UK, and the artistic allure of Paris, France, this region provides a diverse range of experiences for every type of traveler.

As you explore the stunning palaces, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and vibrant cities of Western Europe, you'll discover a perfect blend of history, culture, and modernity that makes this region an unforgettable summer destination. 

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal, is a city with a medieval soul, contemporary architecture, and a rich culinary scene, making it one of the best summer destinations in Europe. This compact city offers a wealth of experiences for travelers seeking a blend of old and new.

Blue tiled buildings in Porto

During your visit, don't miss the opportunity to explore the city's diverse neighborhoods, from the medieval wonders of Sao Nicolau to the modern marvels of Boavista. And for a unique culinary experience, head to Matosinhos to sample the city's delicious cuisine.

With its rich history and vibrant atmosphere, Porto is a must-visit summer destination for any European adventure.

Reality check: Summer heat – This is one hot city!!

Also read: Things to do in Porto

London, UK

London, UK, offers a variety of activities for different types of travelers, making it one of the top summer destinations in Europe.

From the historic icons of Buckingham Palace and Big Ben to the lush greenery of Kew Gardens, there's something for everyone in this bustling city. It has some of the most famous landmarks in Europe, and it's possible to spend weeks exploring just the museums alone!

During your visit, be sure to explore London's numerous parks, attend concerts and festivals, or take a leisurely stroll through the city's charming neighborhoods.

And for foodies, London's rich culinary scene offers a diverse range of dining experiences that will leave your taste buds craving more.

Reality check: Some of the most overpriced, poor quality accommodation in the world!

Paris, France

Paris, France, is a beautiful city during the summer months, offering a mix of art, culture, and delicious food that's sure to delight any traveler. It's easy to see why Paris is a bucket list destination in Europe for many people.

As you wander through the city's charming streets, you'll discover iconic landmarks, world-class museums, and vibrant neighborhoods that make the City of Light an unforgettable summer destination.

The Eiffel Tower

Don't miss the opportunity to stroll along the Seine, marvel at the iconic Eiffel Tower, or explore the world-famous Louvre Museum. And for a truly Parisian experience, sit back and people-watch at a sidewalk café while savoring a freshly baked croissant and a steaming cup of café au lait.

Reality check: Parisian attitude to anyone who doesn't speak perfect French!

3. Europe Summer Travel: Eastern European Escapes

Eastern Europe offers a wealth of unique escapes that are perfect for those seeking off-the-beaten-path experiences during their summer vacation.

From the lively streets of Budapest, Hungary, to the convenient base of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the charming coastal city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, Eastern Europe is an ideal destination for travelers seeking a mix of culture, history, and natural beauty.

As you delve into the captivating landscapes and historic cities of Eastern Europe, you'll uncover hidden gems and unforgettable experiences that will leave you yearning for more. 

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary, is a lively city during the summer months, offering visitors beautiful gardens, stunning sunsets, and unforgettable Danube River cruises. This vibrant city is the perfect destination for those seeking a mix of culture, history, and natural beauty.

Budapest is becoming popular with people after city breaks for the best summer vacations in europe

During your visit, be sure to explore the city's numerous attractions, such as Buda Castle, St. Stephen's Basilica, and the Parliament Building.

And for a truly unique experience, take a dip in one of Budapest's famous thermal baths, where you can relax and rejuvenate your senses while soaking in the city's rich history.

Reality check – Budapest is a huge city. You'll need more time than you think!

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia, is a convenient base for those looking to explore nearby attractions such as Lake Bled, Postojna Caves, and Predjama Castle.

This charming city offers a mix of natural beauty, historic landmarks, and a vibrant cultural scene, making it an ideal summer destination for travelers seeking a diverse range of experiences.

During your visit, don't miss the opportunity to explore Ljubljana's bustling city center, where you'll find a variety of shops, restaurants, and historic sights.

And for a truly unique experience, take a boat tour along the Ljubljanica River, where you can admire the city's stunning architecture and picturesque views from the water.

Reality check: Actually, Slovenia is a really lovely country!

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia, is a charming summer destination that boasts preserved historic cities, seaside charm, botanical greens, and a variety of sightseeing attractions. This coastal city is the perfect destination for those seeking a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty.

Summer vacation Europe in Dubrovnik

During your visit, be sure to explore Dubrovnik's stunning Old Town, where you can wander through its charming streets and marvel at the city's ancient walls and historic buildings.

And for a truly unforgettable experience, take a daring jump off of Buza 1 and two cliffs or enjoy a refreshing swim along the city's pristine beaches.

Reality check: Dubrovnik feels like a tourist theme park with no soul. Most visitors who visit both Dubrovnik and Split come away preferring Split by miles!

Also read: Is Dubrovnik overated?

4. Europe Summer Trip: The Allure of Nordic Countries

The Nordic Countries offer a unique blend of breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant culture, and unforgettable experiences that make them an ideal destination for those seeking a truly unique summer adventure.

From the stunning landscapes of Iceland to the midsummer solstice celebration in Sweden and the lively cityscape of Copenhagen, Denmark, the Nordic countries provide a diverse range of experiences for every type of traveler.

As you journey through these captivating regions, you'll discover the allure of the Nordic countries and uncover the hidden gems that await you in this stunning part of the world. So let's delve into the allure of the Nordic countries and discover the unique experiences that await you.


Iceland boasts breathtaking natural beauty, unique activities, and the “midnight sun” during the summer months, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a truly unforgettable summer vacation. This stunning island offers visitors a diverse range of experiences, from exploring its dramatic landscapes to taking part in thrilling outdoor adventures.

During your visit, don't miss the chance to witness the incredible “midnight sun,” where you can enjoy 24 hours of daylight, and explore Iceland's numerous natural wonders, such as its hot springs, glaciers, and waterfalls.

And for a truly unique experience, try ice and lava-caving, glacier hiking, or intercontinental snorkeling, which are just a few of the many adventure activities available in this enchanting land.

Reality check: With a narrow summer season and an increase in popularity, tourism in Iceland has exploded. Expect it to be busy… oh, and very expensive!

Also read: My cycling trip around Iceland


Fun fact: I use to live in Sweden … well, for a few months anyway.

Sweden's midsummer solstice celebration in June is a unique cultural experience that includes maypole dances, feasts, and drinking. This festive event showcases Sweden's rich cultural heritage and provides a glimpse into the country's unique customs and traditions.

During your visit, be sure to explore Sweden's stunning landscapes, from its lush forests to its beautiful archipelago, and take part in the numerous outdoor activities available, such as hiking, biking, and kayaking.

And for a truly authentic Swedish experience, don't miss the opportunity to join in the midsummer solstice celebration and immerse yourself in Sweden's unique and vibrant culture.

Reality check: An expensive country to travel without your own transport.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark, is a vibrant city with a mix of old and new culture, offering a variety of activities for all kinds of travelers. From its historic landmarks and bustling city streets to its charming neighborhoods and lively nightlife, Copenhagen provides an unforgettable summer experience for everyone.

During your visit, be sure to explore the city's numerous attractions, such as the iconic Little Mermaid statue, the colorful Nyhavn canal, and the enchanting Tivoli Gardens amusement park.

And for a truly unique experience, venture into the alternative community of Freetown Christiania, where you can explore its fascinating history, vibrant street art, and lively atmosphere.

Reality check: Nothing to think of really!

5. Europe Summer Holidays: Island Hopping Adventures

Island Hopping Adventures provide a unique opportunity to explore the Mediterranean Magic, the Charm of Western Europe, and the Allure of Nordic Countries in one unforgettable journey. From the scenic beauty of the Greek Isles to the lively atmosphere of the Balearic Islands in Spain and the adventure-packed Azores Islands in Portugal, island hopping allows you to experience the unique culture and beauty of each destination.

As you embark on your island-hopping adventure, you'll discover hidden gems, breathtaking landscapes, and unforgettable experiences that will leave you yearning for more. So let's dive into the world of Island Hopping Adventures and uncover the unique experiences that await you.

The greek islands are the best places to go in europe in summer and you can travel between them by ferry boat

Greek Island Hopping

I knew I'd find a way to slip in some more Greece suggestions!

The Greek Isles offer numerous summer vacation opportunities, with Santorini and Mykonos being popular for their scenic beauty and vibrant party scene. These picturesque islands provide the perfect backdrop for a memorable summer adventure, where you can unwind on stunning beaches, explore charming villages, and indulge in delicious local cuisine.

Greece has different island chains such as the Cyclades islands, Dodecanese Islands, and Ionian islands. When planning to go Greek island hopping, it's easiest to choose which island chain best suits, and then pick the islands to visit from there. 

Reality check: Can be confusing for first time visitors. Use Ferryhopper for booking ferry tickets in Greece.

Greece is one of the best places in europe to visit in summer for island hopping adventures

Balearic Islands, Spain

The Balearic Islands in Spain are perfect for summer getaways, offering beautiful beaches, buzzing nightlife, and amazing cultural attractions. These sun-soaked islands provide an ideal escape for those seeking relaxation and adventure, with a diverse range of experiences available for every type of traveler.

Whether you're looking to unwind on stunning beaches, explore medieval castles, or dance the night away in lively clubs, the Balearic Islands have something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to embark on an unforgettable summer adventure in Spain's beautiful Balearic Islands.

Reality check: Relatively easy to island hop, but you'd be better off with your own transport to see the attractions of each destination.

Azores Islands, Portugal

The Azores Islands in Portugal offer a unique summer vacation experience, with adventure activities such as hiking, surfing, whale watching, and snorkeling available for those seeking an adrenaline rush. These stunning islands provide a diverse range of experiences, from exploring their dramatic cliffs and lush green landscapes to discovering their rich history and vibrant culture.

During your visit, be sure to take advantage of the numerous adventure activities available in the Azores Islands, and embrace the thrill of exploring this breathtaking destination. With their stunning natural beauty and unforgettable experiences, the Azores Islands are the perfect destination for your summer island-hopping adventure.

Reality check: Price!

Best Europe Summer Destinations FAQ

Readers looking for the best European summer destinations for their next vacation often ask questions such as:

Which part of Europe is coolest in summer?

If you're looking for Europe's coolest summer weather, head straight to Reykjavik, Iceland. Temperatures rarely exceed 13 degrees Celsius (55 Fahrenheit) so it's a great place to beat the heat. Reykjavik is a great destination for those looking to escape the summer heat of southern European countries like Greece and Italy.

Which are the best European summer holiday destinations for sea and sun?

Some of the best European summer holiday destinations for sea and sun include Costa del Sol in Spain, Algarve in Portugal, Crete in Greece, Amalfi Coast in Italy, and French Riviera in France. Up and coming beach destinations in Europe include Croatia and Bulgaria.

What cities are the best to visit on a Europe summer trip?

Some of the best cities to visit on a Europe summer trip include Barcelona in Spain, Paris in France, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Rome in Italy, and Berlin in Germany. Athens is also a good European city to visit in summer, commonly included before or after a cruise ship vacation.

Is it worth it to go to Europe in the summer?

Yes, it is worth it to go to Europe in the summer. The weather is warm and pleasant, the cities are lively, and there are plenty of outdoor events and festivals to enjoy. However, keep in mind that summer is also peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices especially in the popular beach resort areas.

When are the summer holidays in Europe?

The summer holidays for school kids in Europe vary by country and region, but they typically range from late June to early September. The absolute busiest month for tourism in Europe is August, so if you have flexibility on when you can travel, avoid that month unless you like crowds and higher prices.

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Dave Briggs visiting an island in GreeceDave Briggs
Dave is a travel writer based in Greece As well as creating this guide looking at the best places to visit in Europe in the summer he's also written hundreds more travel guides to destinations all over Europe. Follow Dave on social media for travel inspiration from Greece and beyond:

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