Whether it’s the long winter days or the chilly temperatures, I can’t help but start to think about summer. It’s inevitable and these places where you should go for a European summer get me excited every year. I always cling to those days on the ocean, where the sun dips below the Mediterranean and with a glass of wine in hand there seems no better place in time. The days are easy, lunches are slow, and the nights long. A European summer is always my favorite trip of the year and every year I always pick somewhere new to explore, even if it’s just for a short time.
This year we will be headed to Croatia and as I was planning out the trip, I wanted to share a few of my favorites places where you should go for a European summer. Check them out here!
Where You Should Go for a European Summer
I always think of Italy when I think of summer. Maybe it’s the cold limoncello or the seafood pasta, but my closest memories always bring me back to coastline. What I love about Italy is that you’re never too far from the ocean. You can easily fly into Florence or Venice and with a train ride be at the Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre.
I know I am wildly biased about France, but I will say the French know how to enjoy their summer. It’s typically the time of year that most take off for a few weeks at the beach to be with family and friends. The cuisine is always a plus and can you really beat a bottle of rose on a hot summer day?
If there’s one place to island hop through the summer, Greece is definitely the spot to be based. It’s wide range of island experiences start from the sheer cliffs of Santorini to the hidden beaches of Naxos. I love the people, the views are incredible, and nothing beats the crisp waters in Greece.
Portugal always has a special place in my heart. The streets are full of energy and it seems that Lisbon can do no wrong. It’s a different kind of European summer where days are spent in open terraces soaking in the views, enjoying incredible Portuguese cuisine.
Where to Go:
Lisbon, Porto, Algarves, and Cascais.
Oh the joy of being in Barcelona in the summer. Long nights of dancing, strolling the streets of the Gothic Quarter, and riding bikes down the beach. Tapas, cava, and endless beaches to choose from makes Spain one of my favorites.
Where to Go:
Barcelona, Costa Brava, Ibiza, and Majorca, and Minorca.
After my first trip to Malta, I was convinced that this is Europe’s best kept secret. The small island of Malta is packed with character, lively streets, and perfect beaches to cool off at. It’s a gem to explore and one could easily lose track of time here.
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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!
These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.
1. Book Your Flights
Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.
2. Book Your Accommodations
Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.
3. Book Your Tours & Experiences
4. Book Your Car
Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.
5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access
Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.
6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.
My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are: