Planning to visit Europe in the summer and don’t know where to go? Here are the best European summer destinations to include on your Europe Bucket List.
These are the best places for a summer holiday in Europe and, and, as you’ll see, but they are suitable for many preferences so you’ll definitely find some travel inspiration for you.
With so many proven benefits of travelling, a trip to Europe in the summer might be a great idea for you. You can expect amazing cities – as there are plenty of choices: from the iconic Paris, London, Rome or Venice to offbeat destinations in Europe such as York, Funchal, and more.
There are also numerous things to do in each city – both for relaxation and for discovering the local culture, so you won’t get bored.
In fact, after reading this article, you may end up with a big places to visit in Europe bucket list.
As you’ll see, I’ve included links to comprehensive articles with itineraries or guides for each city – so you can get all the information you need when planning your next summer holiday in Europe.
If you need some motivation to travel, here are the best travel quotes to inspire wanderlust.
Best time to visit Europe in the summer
What you need to know is that somewhere in Europe varies from one country to another. For instance, it’s very hot in Greece and the best time to visit is after August 15th, as I found out from the locals.
Usually July and mid-August are very hot, so if you want to go to the beach or if you just like hot weather, you can go to Europe during this time.
As I like to explore cities on foot and I’m not a big fan of high temperatures, the best time to visit Europe in the summer is June, for me and my family.
If you like shopping on your vacation, then you can plan your European summer holiday in mid-June and you’ll have great offers to choose from. Remember to buy travel insurance when you go abroad as it could help you a lot on your holidays.
Best European summer destinations: Top places for a summer holiday in Europe
The first thing that I need to mention is that Europe is home to amazing museums, fantastic landscapes, parks, great cuisine, interesting traditions, and fascinating cultures.
There are numerous big cities famous worldwide – Paris, London, Venice, etc – as well as smaller cities or villages worthy to be discovered.
Also, there are many expensive cities in Europe (London, Switzerland – the country,) as well as cheap travel destinations in Europe. you have plenty of options for your European vacation in the summer, regardless of your budget or preferences.
Included below are the best European summer destinations, both famous and some off the beaten path places to visit in Europe.
I hope you’ll find some ideas for your next summer holiday in Europe.
1. Vienna, Austria
One of my favourite cities in the world, Vienna is a great European summer holiday destination.
There are plenty of museums to visit in Vienna, wonderful architecture to admire, great history to discover, and you can also take amazing day trips from Vienna.
When in Vienna, you simply have to visit the Schonbrunn Palace, the museum of fine arts, have fun in Prater amusement park, visit UN headquarters, take a walk in one of the parks, check out very very Palace and Klimt’s masterpieces.
In all honesty, while you can visit Vienna in one day or two days, you can easily spend weeks here and still have what to see and do.
2. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
One of the popular European destinations, Amsterdam is a bike-friendly city and a great idea for a summer holiday trip in Europe.
From the spectacular museums in Amsterdam that you’ll love to discover, to the parks and a cruise on the Amstel, there are many things to do in Amsterdam that you love.
Discover the famous Amsterdam attractions as well as off the beaten path things to do in Amsterdam from this amazing insider guide and don’t forget that Amsterdam is one of the safest cities in Europe.
As there are also UNESCO sites in this city, you’ll have plenty of things to include in your Amsterdam itinerary.
3. Brasov, Romania
One of the best mountain cities to visit in Romania will surprise you in a good way. Whether you decide to spend only 48 hours in Brasov or to plan a longer trip here, you’ll have a lot to see and do in this great city.
Plus, you can take day trips to visit Bran Castle (and find out why it is known as Dracula’s castle), visit the fortresses at Râșnov and the Dino Park there.
You can also decide to go to Sinaia, a famous mountain resort in the Prahova Valley, Romania where you can visit the monastery, take a cable car to 2000m, the streets and admire the beautiful houses and visit the train station and the impressive model train diorama there.
4. Paris, France
The beginning of the summer is perhaps the best time to visit Paris. You get to enjoy the beauty of the gardens and parks, And, and if you’re avoiding these Paris mistakes then you will definitely have the best first trip to Paris possible.
If you’re thinking you shouldn’t visit Paris, I want to remind you that the city is home to the most visited museum in the world and of the probably the best museum dedicated to the Impressionism art – Musee d’Orsay.
I visited Paris and I enjoyed every single moment I spent here, and I’m sure you can have a great time too, whether you are visiting Paris in one day or spend a week here.
Now I hope to visit Paris again soon, and this time I’ll take my son and show him the best things to do in Paris.
One thing is sure: Paris is one of the best cities to visit in Europe, and, I’m sure, it is on many people’s European bucketlist!
5. London, UK
I have a friend who loves London more than any other city in Europe, and once you visit it, you can understand why she likes it so much.
It’s the special atmosphere, the amazing museums and galleries – most of them with free entry – and historical buildings, the wonderful parks, the history, and the architecture.
You can spend days here roaming the streets and discover all the things London has to offer – and, as you can see in this local’s guide to London, there are plenty of things to do here.
London is also filled with amazing hidden gems, so make sure you include as many hidden attractions in London on your itinerary as possible.
6. Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich is the biggest city in Switzerland and one of the most expensive cities in the world. It is also a city that has a lot to offer to all its visitors.
On your trip, you should definitely check out Lake Zurich, the Old Town, and Lindenhof. You should also consider going a bit off the beaten path at Rapperswil and Appenzell.
There are also great unique things to do in Zurich – this article includes 30 of them for all preferences.
7. Seville, Spain
Seville is Spain’s fourth-largest city and welcomes its visitors with a vibrant street life, tapas, festivals, and orange trees.
In Seville, you can find Spain’s largest cathedral, a stunning royal palace, The Alcazar, interesting museums in other great things to do including less-popular attractions for those who want to go off the beaten path.
So, if you want to choose Spain as your holiday destination in Europe, Seville may be one of the best cities to visit and one of the best places to spend your summer vacation in Europe.
8. Rome, Italy
Rome is another popular destination in Europe, and it can also be a great summer holiday idea, especially if you are visiting early summer.
It’s an open-air museum and seeing the Colosseum up close, and all the other famous attractions such as Trevi Fountain, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Trajan’s Column, or the City center (UNESCO listed) is an amazing experience.
As we’ve shown you in this comprehensive travel guide to Rome, there are also off the beaten path things to do in Rome.
Let’s not forget that you can also visit the Vatican and its museums and basilica while in Rome.
Yes, Rome is one of the best summer holiday destinations in Europe.
9. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is one of the popular European destinations and you won’t regret choosing it as your summer holiday destination in Europe.
As we’ve shown you in this complete travel guide, there are plenty of things to see and do in Lisbon, both famous – such as visiting Lisbon Castle or the impressive Belém – as well as lesser-known places to visit.
Add to these the great atmosphere, beautiful sights, and good food, and you’ll know you’ll have a great time and a wonderful European summer getaway.
10. Venice, Italy
Venice, oh, Venice – one of the most famous places to visit in Italy – and a popular European destination is perfect for a summer holiday in Europe.
You’ll love admiring Rialto Bridge, seeing Doge’s Palace and Basilica di San Marco. You’ll also discover great off the beaten path things to do in Venice too, including Madonna dell’ Orto and Pellestrina.
And, if you need more inspiration, here’s the complete guide to Venice by a local to help you plan the perfect trip to Italy – it also includes restaurants, tips, and hotels in Venice.
11. Sofia, Bulgaria
Dating back to 7000 BC, Sofia is Bulgaria’s capital and the largest city in the country.
Often an underrated European city, Sofia is accessible and one of the best European summer destinations.
On your trip, you should admire Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, check out Sofia Central Mineral Baths, head to Vitosha Boulevard, and visit the National Palace of Culture.
You can also go to lesser-known attractions in Sofia such as Boyana Church, The Reading Room, and Shisham Street.
Read this complete Sofia travel guide and start planning your trip.
12. Dublin, Ireland
Dublin is one of the places to visit in Europe in the summer that has a lot to offer to all its visitors.
St. Patrick´s Cathedral, Trinity College, and O’Connell Street: General Post Office & Spire are famous things to see in Dublin, while Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin Castle, and Phoenix Park as less popular places to visit in Dublin, Ireland.
If you want to learn more about Dublin, the great activities to enjoy here, where to stay, and tips read this guide and discover all the things to see and do in Dublin.
If you want to experience the Irish vibe on your European summer vacation, then Dublin is the perfect place for you!
13. Berlin, Germany
Brandenburg Gate, the TV Tower, Reichstag, and East Side Gallery – all famous attractions in Berlin, and places known worldwide.
Berlin is a city rich in history and in things to do, both famous and less popular, but very interesting.
If you want to discover Germany, you can choose Berlin as your European summer holiday vacation spot and you won’t regret it, especially as Berlin is a green city (yes, many green spaces and parks to explore).
14. Costa del Sol, Spain
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe, Costa del Sol is a perfect European summer holiday spot.
From gorgeous beaches for which Costa del Sol is renowned to cool leisure activities, you can find many things to do here.
Costa del Sol isn’t a city, but an area with several popular destinations such as Malaga, Marbella, Nerja, Estepona, or Fuengirola.
Here’s an itinerary for 3 days in Costa del Sol with the best things to see and do here to inspire you!
15. Snowdonia, UK
If you prefer an outdoor summer holiday destination in Europe, then Snowdonia might be the perfect place for you.
The scenery is simply stunning, and there are many hiking opportunities here, as well as great places to visit.
Include Harlech Castle, Betws-y-Coed, and Beddgelert on your itinerary – and go off the beaten path at Llynnau Cregennen.
This comprehensive Snowdonia guide presents you the best places to visit, both famous and off the beaten path things to do in Snowdonia, tips for visiting, and where to stay and eat.
16. Vilnius, Lithuania
One of the best budget destinations in Europe, Vilnius is also one of the top summer vacation spots in Europe.
There are plenty of things to do in Vilnius. For instance, the entire Old Town neighborhood is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, so you simply have to see it on your trip.
You should also visit the Trakai Island Castle and discover the interesting Užupis – a small artist neighborhood across the River Vilnia that considers itself an independent nation. It has its own constitution and president.
Here’s a local’s guide to Vilnius to help you plan your trip and an itinerary for 3 days in Vilnius if you will be visiting for a short period of time.
While in the area keep in mind that you can also visit Chernobyl – read here the ultimate guide to Chernobyl today – what to see on a Chernobyl and Pripyat tour.
17. Lucerne, Switzerland
Lucerne is a charming Swiss city located just 45 minutes from Zurich. The city is home to Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), Europe’s oldest wooden covered bridge and an icon of the city, easily recognizable from famous postcards.
Lake Lucerne, with the amazing mountains surrounding it, is perfect for a refreshing swim during the summer.
Lucerne Old Town and The Culture and Convention Centre Lucerne (KKL Luzern) are other famous places to visit in the city.
If you take a trip to Vitznau you’ll have the chance to board the oldest funicular in Europe.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to see and do in Lucerne so you won’t regret choosing Lucerne as your next summer holiday destination in Europe.
18. Florence, Italy
Mostly known for its part in the Renaissance, Florence is a vibrant Italian city perfect as a summer vacation destination in Europe.
There are so many things to do in Florence, from Florence Cathedral (The Duomo), Statue of David (by Michelangelo), Palazzo Vecchio, Bargello Palace and Museum, and Orsanmichele Church, to the off the beaten path attractions such as Bardini Garden, Casa Buonarroti, and Piazza Della Liberta.
As the best time to visit Florence is from June to September, you can plan your summer vacation in Italy and include Florence on your itinerary, or decide to dedicate your entire summer holiday to Florence.
19. Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest becomes a European travel destination more and more popular each year.
As I got to show my hometown to many foreigners, I saw that they are pleasantly surprised by the city and what it has to offer.
From amazing museums – such as the open-air Village Museum to the Art Collections Museum (here are the top museums to visit in Bucharest and the best art museums in Romania’s capital) – to a vibrant nightlife, from many malls and shopping centers to great parks and the record-holding building – The Parliament House, the famous spa – Therme – there are many things to see and do in Bucharest.
While you can see a few things from Bucharest in one day, I’m recommending you to spend more time here as you have what to do.
Apart from all the amazing things to do in Bucharest, you can also take wonderful day trips – to the Black Sea, to the mountains (Prahova Valley resorts or Brasov), to Corvin’s Castle in Hunedoara and more.
20. Warsaw, Poland
Warsaw is considered, by some people, an underrated European destination, so you may have the surprise of visiting it without running into huge tourist crowds.
Your summer vacation in Warsaw should include a visit to Warsaw’s Old Town including the Royal Castle, the Market Square, and the Barbican, Pawilony, University Library Gardens, and Wilanow Palace and Gardens, though there are many things to do in Warsaw you can check out.
Choosing Warsaw as your European summer holiday will allow you to discover more about the country’s and area’s history, to admire beautiful architecture – including fortifications – and listen to some Chopin music (free concerts during the spring and summer next to its statue).
21. Kingston upon Hull, UK (UK’s City of Culture in 2017)
If you want to go to choose a different European summer vacation destination, then head to Hull, UK.
Did you know that the world’s biggest Yorkshire pudding factory is in Hull and that Hull is the only city in the UK with phone boxes in cream colour?
Add to that, while in Hull, you can visit Hull Marina, Queen’s Gardens, the old town, Hull Trinity Market, Newland Avenue, and more, and you’ll easily discover that this can be the perfect choice for a European vacation.
22. Haarlem, The Netherlands
If you want to go beyond Amsterdam in The Netherlands, then head to Haarlem.
Located just 20 minutes from Amsterdam, this is the perfect place for a day trip or for a short, relaxing vacation, when you don’t try to visit as many places as possible.
Even if it’s a small city, there are still plenty of things to do in Haarlem.
Fantastic museums, hidden courtyards, Contemporary Art, Toneelschuur, the Iconic Windmill and more are waiting for you in Haarlem to charm you instantly.
If you want a laid-back European summer holiday with fewer crowds, then this is the perfect choice for you.
23. Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Plovdiv, the oldest city in Europe is one of the hidden holiday gems in Europe.
Home to the longest pedestrian street in Europe, an interesting underground attraction – the ancient Roman Stadium – museums, art galleries, ruins from the Thracian times, and many more, Plovdiv will keep you busy for days.
You can plan a longer European summer vacation in Plovdiv, or choose to explore the city in 3 days.
24. York, England
York, England is a relatively large city in North Yorkshire, UK. There are plenty of things to do here, indoors and outdoors, so, while the British weather is unpredictable, you’ll find something to do each day.
As there are many places to visit and activities available in the city – see this York sightseeing guide – you’ll have what to do here.
From the impressive York Minster to the York Dungeons, from York’s Chocolate Story to the Yorkshire Museum, from Merchant Adventurers Hall and York’s City Walls to Rowntree Park, York museum gardens, York Army Museum, and Fairfax house and beyond, there are many famous attractions in York as well as offbeat things to see and do here.
Be warned: during your holiday here, you may discover that York is one of the best European summer destinations.
25. Krakow, Poland
Kraków retains its royal feeling as the second largest town in Poland with its Old Town named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and numerous things to see and do here.
While in Krakow, you’ll be able to relax in Planty Park, one of the largest and more beautiful parks in Krakow, or admire the beautiful Krakow Rynek (main square).
You’ll be able to discover great museums such as those dedicated to Insurance, Old Torture Devices, HistoryLand Kraków museum and more.
You should also visit Wawel Castle, the old town, and historical churches. In fact, you won’t be bored here. You may actually discover that you needed to plan a longer summer holiday in Europe.
26. Bristol, England
Did you know that world-renowned street artist, Banksy, originated in Bristol? Yes, this means that you can see many of his early masterpieces in the city.
If you are not an art lover, you’ll still find many things to do in Bristol: from the Clifton Suspension Bridge to the Cabot Tower and the amazing views it offers, from the Harbourside to the Beese’s Riverside Bar, open only during spring and summer – these and many more activities are waiting for you.
Bristol is one of the best summer destinations in Europe beyond the famous cities and, if you want to go somewhere special, Bristol might be the perfect choice for you.
27. Bratislava, Slovakia
Did you ever see a photo of Cumil (or the Watcher)?
It is famous – and it is not the only thing to see in Bratislava.
From a controversial bridge (UFO Bridge) to a castle, from Hlavne Namestie (or Main Square) to the Old Town and Grassalkovic Palace (or the Presidential Palace), you’ll have plenty of things to see here if you choose Bratislava as your European summer destination.
As we’ve presented you in this Bratislava guide, there are things to do for all preferences, enough to keep you busy for at least a week.
28. Stuttgart, Germany
One of the first cities in Germany visited by my husband, Stuttgart is a perfect destination for car lovers the city is home to two famous car markers.
You can find here the Mercedes-Benz Museum and the Porsche Museum. But there are plenty of things to see and do in Stuttgart beyond these two amazing museums.
Check out Palace square – you may even find a festival taking place here when visiting -, head to Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart, see amazing views of the city from Palace Solitude and get long walks in Killesberg Park.
If you want to spend your summer vacation in Germany, then consider Stuttgart, especially if you’ve visited other cities.
29. Selje, Norway
Norway, Oh, Norway. A superb country with so many great places to visit. If you want to get an authentic small-town feeling, then head to Selje, Norway on your summer vacation.
Selje beach will enchant you with its white sand (not so common in Norway). Risnakken is a great place to go hiking – in fact, there are many hiking trails near Selje.
The island right outside of Selje is called Selja and it’s here that the legend of Saint Sunniva was born. You can learn more about it and see what else is there to do in Selje from this insider’s guide.
One thing is clear: Selje is one of the best non-touristy places to visit in Europe and a perfect summer destination in Europe.
30. Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain
Sanlúcar de Barrameda is a favorite holiday destination in Spain for locals and foreigners alike.
The Palace of Medina Sidonia, Castillo de Santiago, Doñana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bajo de Guía, and Calle Ancha are must-visit places in Sanlucar.
Of course, one of the main attractions of the city is the beach. As Sanlúcar de Barrameda is one of the best European summer destinations, you will be able to enjoy long, relaxing days at the beach, while also discovering the city and its special attractions in other days.
In fact, it’s this mix of relaxation and wonderful things to do and places to visit to learn more about the history and culture of the city, that make Sanlúcar de Barrameda one of the best holiday destinations in Europe.
31. Munich, Germany
One of the famous cities in Germany, Munich is definitely one of the best European summer destinations.
Munich is the capital of Bavaria and, indeed, it’s famous for Oktoberfest, but there are plenty of amazing things to do here during the summer!
As a note, speaking of beer, make sure you check out Hofbräuhaus and Hofbräukeller.
Marienplatz is a must-visit place in Munich as here, in the central square, you’ll see the imposing neo-gothic city hall.
Head to Old Pete to admire the city from above and also check out the former castle of the Bavarian kings and Castle Nymphenburg on your visit.
Check out our local’s guide to Munich to get more inspiration on things to do in Munich and make sure you see them on your Munich summer trip.
32. Valencia, Spain
Valencia is home of one of the top 20 most-visited tourist attractions in Europe and one of the popular cities in Spain.
The city offers an amazing mix of urban and beach activities, which makes it one of the best European summer destinations.
You will be able to enjoy relaxing days at the beach – La Malvarrosa, Playa de Pinedo – but also to visit impressive places – Valencia Cathedral, museums, parks, and more.
The best part? Many of these amazing Valencia attractions are free to visit.
33. Copenhagen, Denmark
If you want to go to Denmark on your summer vacation in Europe, then Copenhagen, the capital, is a great choice.
It’s a city waiting to be discovered, with many famous places to visit as well as hidden gems waiting for you to explore.
Make sure to see Rosenborg, Strøget, Tivoli Gardens, and the iconic Nyhavn on your Copenhagen trip.
Read this complete Copenhagen guide to find out what to do in the city on your European summer holiday.
Danes are among the happiest people in the world, and visiting Copenhagen will recharge your batteries. The city is home to modern buildings, royal history, great restaurants, and amazing attractions and gardens – everything you need for a perfect summer trip to Europe.
34. Zagreb, Croatia
Did you know that you can find the Museum of Broken Relationships) in Zagreb?
Yes, that’s one of the unique things to do in the city – but there are plenty of activities to enjoy in Zagreb as locals recommend.
From cool museums to numerous streets to explore, from the beautiful Zrinjevac park to Dolac Farmers Market, a cool funicular and a medieval fortress and beyond, you’ll definitely enjoy your Zagreb vacation!
There are plenty of accommodation options for all budgets, as well as numerous restaurants and bars to try – and the food is delicious! All the more reasons to consider Zagreb as your European summer vacation destination!
35. Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh is one of the best cities to visit in Scotland and an amazing idea for a summer trip to Europe.
Visiting this city will allow you to discover many historic places, to get amazing views of the city, to relax in the numerous pubs, and to visit impressive attractions.
You can also explore on foot numerous areas to discover the city and its hidden gems and you can visit impressive museums.
Speaking of museums, apart from famous ones, I have to tell you that there is also a unique museum you should include on your itinerary: Surgeons Hall Museums.
You can see here all the famous attractions as well as off the beaten path things to do in Edinburgh and decide if this is your next summer vacation destination in Europe.
36. Chichester, England
Not as famous as London, but definitely worth visiting, Chichester will enchant you if you choose it as your next European holiday destination.
If you are visiting Chichester in the first week of June, then you’re in luck: you can visit the stunning Lordington Lavender.
You can walk in the lavender fields, take amazing photos and create life-long lasting memories!
On your Chichester summer vacation, you can also admire the interesting cathedral, explore the city on foot, head to Kingley Vale Nature Reserve, visit the open-air Weald and Downland Museum and its numerous houses from different ages.
In fact, for a small town, you can find so many things to see and do in Chichester so you’ll be able to have an interesting and unique European summer vacation.
37. Poznan, Poland
Did you know that you can visit the Rogalowe Muzeum Poznania – the Croissant Museum where you can taste AND learn how to make Croissants?
And that’s only one of the amazing things to see and do in Poznan, Poland. You can check out the cathedral, the beautiful parks, the famous Ostrow Tumski bridge, and more.
You’ll also find here a great gastronomical and cultural scene – so, while you’ll discover a new city and country, its history and culture, you can also relax and have a great summer holiday in Europe.
Poznan is close to Berlin and Warsaw, so you can also take day trips and discover even more cities in the area!
38. Turin, Italy
Turin was the first Italian capital city and the city where royal kings and queens lived so, while other cities may be more famous nowadays, you could consider choosing it for your next European summer getaway.
There are several museums you can visit here – the Egyptian Museum, the Cinema Museum and, of course, the unmissable Car Museum. Keep in mind that Turin is the birthplace of Fiat 🙂
There’s also a medieval part to explore and, of course, Turin offers the possibility to discover it on foot.
So, if you want something different, you could consider Turin as your next summer vacation destination in Europe, as there are plenty of things to do here.
39. Funchal, Madeira
If you want to choose a unique summer holiday in Europe, then Funchal, Madeira, Portugal might be a great idea for you!
The doors of the Old Town of Funchal are painted by local artists, so each door is different. The botanical gardens, the Cristiano Ronaldo Museum, the cable car – and more – will enchant you (and surprise you).
You’ll discover that there are many Funchal attractions, as well as things to do near the city so you’ll have a great time here if you choose this place as your offbeat European summer destination.
40. Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire
Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire is Shakespeare’s home turf so, obviously, you can visit his birthplace here (and the museum) as well as Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Shakespeare’s mother’s house and farm.
But there is so much more beyond that. Dine on a boat on the river, check out the unusual Mechanical Art and Design Museum and discover the amazing places to visit near Stratford.
As this local’s guide to Stratford proves, you can have an enchanting vacation here and you may end up considering this UK town as one of the best places to visit in Europe in the summer.
Here you have it: these are the best European summer destinations!
These top 40 destinations are the best places to visit in Europe. So, when planning your summer holiday in Europe, use this list for inspiration.