21 Sun-Soaked Summer Destinations in Europe (+ Travel Tips!)

Summer is the perfect time to explore the beautiful continent of Europe. Whether you’re looking for sandy beaches, charming villages, or stunning natural beauty, Europe has it all. In this article, we’ll take a look at 21 sun-soaked summer destinations in Europe that are sure to inspire your next adventure. And, of course, we’ll also provide some travel tips to make your trip even more enjoyable.

The Best Places to Visit in Europe in Summer

Andalucia, Spain

If you’re looking for beautiful beaches and plenty of sunshine, the Andalucia region in southern Spain is the perfect summer destination. With its stunning natural beauty, whitewashed villages, and the famous Costa del Sol, Andalucia offers a beach getaway like no other. And the best part? It’s more affordable than nearby coastal destinations in France or Italy.

Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast has gained international fame in recent years, and for good reason. Its sparkling coastline, historic cities like Dubrovnik and Split, and beautiful islands like Hvar and Korčula make it a magical summer destination. And if you’re a sailor at heart, exploring Croatia’s 79 islands by boat is a must.

Algarve, Portugal

Located in the southwestern corner of Portugal, the Algarve is a once-secret European summer destination that has rapidly increased in popularity. Its rugged beauty, rock formations, and stunning sea caves make it stand out among other European summer destinations. Just keep in mind that the water in the Algarve tends to be colder than in other places.

Sicily, Italy

Italy’s southernmost region, Sicily, is a delight to visit during the summer. With its beautiful beach towns, delicious food and wine, and remarkable affordability, Sicily is a great choice for a summer road trip. Don’t miss the stunning beaches of Cefalu and Avola, the charming towns of the Val di Noto, and the bustling streets of Palermo.

Provence, France

Provence is a classic European summer destination known for its sprawling lavender fields and charming villages. From mid-June to mid-July is the best time to see the lavender fields in full bloom. But even if you miss the lavender, Provence has plenty to offer, including the Verdon Gorge and Calanques National Park.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Italy’s Amalfi Coast is one of the most sought-after summer destinations in Europe. With its dramatic cliffs, azure waters, famous cuisine, and beautiful villages, it’s easy to see why travelers have been drawn to this coastline for thousands of years. While traditional beaches are not the main attraction here, there are still places to swim and plenty of stunning landscapes to explore.

French Riviera

The French Riviera is another iconic summer destination in Europe. From St. Tropez to Cannes to Nice, the French Riviera offers exclusive beaches, historic cities, and plenty of yachts. And don’t forget to take a day trip to Monaco if you’re in the area.

Turquoise Coast, Turkey

Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, also known as the Turkish Riviera, is a hidden gem in the southwest of the country. With its gorgeous beaches, picturesque small towns, and low prices, it’s an underrated summer destination. Plus, the Turquoise Coast is located near Europe, making it an easy addition to your European summer trip.

Ireland

Ireland may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a summer destination, but it’s actually a great choice. With its beautiful natural sights, charming villages, and increased chances of sunny days, Ireland shines during the summer months. And the best part? You’ll have plenty of hidden gems to explore without the crowds.

Slovenia

Slovenia’s tiny coastline often gets overlooked in favor of neighboring Croatia, but it shouldn’t be. Packed with natural beauty, charming seaside towns, and a quirky capital city, Slovenia is a great choice for a summer road trip. Don’t miss the famous Lake Bled, the jaw-dropping hikes in Triglav National Park, and the beauty of Piran and Ljubljana.

Greek Isles

With hundreds of islands to choose from, the Greek Isles offer endless possibilities for a summer vacation. From the white-and-blue villages of Santorini to the party scene of Mykonos, there’s something for everyone. Consider renting a sailboat and exploring several islands by sea for a truly unforgettable experience.

Balearic Islands, Spain

Located off the east coast of Spain, the Balearic Islands Archipelago is home to infamous party island Ibiza, beautiful Mallorca, and the more low-key Menorca. Whether you’re looking to party or relax on a quiet beach, the Balearic Islands have it all.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Nestled along Italy’s Ligurian coast, the villages of Cinque Terre are postcard-perfect summer destinations. With their colorful houses, quaint harbors, delicious food, and hiking opportunities, Cinque Terre is a must-visit. Consider staying overnight to experience the villages without the crowds of day-trippers.

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom may not have the best reputation for its weather, but summer is the best time to visit. From the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands to the charming villages of the Cotswolds and the beaches of Brighton, there’s something for everyone. Consider exploring the best road trips or taking a train journey across the countryside for a memorable trip.

Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

The Bay of Kotor in Montenegro offers breathtaking views and beautiful towns without the crowds of neighboring Dubrovnik. Explore the towns along the bay, visit Kotor and climb to San Giovanni’s Fortress, and extend your trip to Tara River Canyon and Durmitor National Park for even more natural beauty.

Jungfrau Region, Switzerland

Switzerland’s Jungfrau region is paradise on Earth in the summer. Nestled in the Alps, this region offers stunning views, incredible hiking opportunities, and the chance to visit the “Top of Europe” at Jungfraujoch. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or prefer to admire the mountain views while enjoying local cheese, the Jungfrau region is a must-visit.

Albanian Riviera

The Albanian Riviera may not be as well-known as other summer destinations in Europe, but it’s worth exploring. With its stunning beaches, affordable prices, and plenty of beach towns to choose from, the Albanian Riviera has a lot to offer. Consider combining a trip to the Riviera with a visit to Corfu, Greece, which is just a short ferry ride away.

Iceland

Iceland in summer is a land of magic. With its midnight sun, hot springs, waterfalls, and green landscapes, it’s a dream destination. Whether you’re horseback riding, snorkeling between tectonic plates, or simply enjoying the stunning scenery, Iceland in summer is an unforgettable experience.

Puglia, Italy

Located on the “heel of the boot,” Puglia is known for its lovely beaches, whitewashed villages, and delicious food. While its most famous village, Alberobello, is not on the coast, Puglia is generally seen as a beach destination. Consider adding a stop in Matera, a haunting city located nearby, to your Puglia itinerary.

Faroe Islands

For a truly offbeat and spectacular summer vacation in Europe, consider the Faroe Islands. Located halfway between Iceland and Norway, this remote archipelago offers breathtaking ocean views, soaring cliffs, and some of the best bird-watching in the world. While it can be a bit pricey, the Faroe Islands are worth the dedication to experience their unique beauty.

Tips for Exploring Summer Destinations in Europe

Now that you have a list of sun-soaked summer destinations in Europe, here are some tips to make your trip even more enjoyable:

  1. Prepare for crowds: Summer is the busiest season in Europe, especially in coastal destinations. Be prepared for heavy crowds and high prices. Consider avoiding August, the peak month for European beach vacations, if possible.

  2. Consider the shoulder season: If you want to avoid the peak summer months, consider traveling in September. The weather is still summer-like, and the water is warmer after a whole season of heating up.

  3. Book ahead: Given the heavy crowds, hotels and attractions fill up quickly during the summer. Book your accommodations and major attractions in advance, especially for popular destinations like Cinque Terre or Santorini.

  4. Be cautious of your belongings: Pickpockets are more common in crowded tourist destinations, so be extra careful with your valuables. Consider using an anti-theft backpack for added security.

  5. Don’t forget sun protection: Protect yourself from the sun, even if you’re not at the beach. Carry a hat and sunscreen with you, as prices for these items can be high in beach towns.

  6. Visit attractions outside of peak hours: To avoid the heat and crowds, plan your visits to major attractions early in the morning or in the late afternoon/early evening. Take a siesta or relax on the beach during the hottest part of the day.

  7. Check for air conditioning: Double-check that your accommodations have air conditioning, as it’s not always standard in Europe. It can make a big difference in your comfort during the summer.

  8. Dress appropriately for churches: If you plan to visit churches, dress modestly with your shoulders, cleavage, and knees covered. Keep the dress code in mind as you plan your day.

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to embark on a sun-soaked summer adventure in Europe. Whether you choose to explore the beaches of Spain, the islands of Greece, or the charming villages of Italy, you’re bound to have a trip of a lifetime. Enjoy your summer travels!

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