The Best Places to Visit in Europe in the Summer

The 9 Best Places to Visit in Europe in Summer

The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and school’s out – it’s time for summer vacation! While the golden beaches of the Caribbean and the lush national parks of the US may be tempting, Europe is calling, enticing you with its ancient history, incredible food, and stunning landscapes.  

Summer in Europe is a magical time, when the continent’s rich heritage and contemporary flair come alive in a harmonious dance you’ll want to join in with. Whether you crave the pulsating energy of cosmopolitan capitals, the tranquility of alpine retreats, or the seaside serenity of coastal escapes, the best European summer holiday destinations offer plenty of choices to suit everyone’s plans.

From incredible festivals in Scotland and multi-colored hamlets in Italy to city-wide food fights in Spain and phenomenal live music in France, each destination on this list guards a unique charm waiting to be discovered. So, dust off your travel bucket list, pack your sunglasses, and get ready to uncover the best places to visit in Europe in summer! 

The 9 Best Places to Visit in Europe in the Summer

1. Soak Up the Sun on the Costa del Sol in Andalucia

Best Places to Visit in Europe in Summer: Costa del Sol in Andalucia

If you’re dreaming of a beach vacation, the Costa del Sol is one of the best places to visit in Europe in summer. Perched on the southern coast of Spain, this idyllic paradise is known for its amazing beaches, which boast soft golden sand, gentle lapping waters, and excellent facilities. 

Playa Burriana in Nerja is one of my favorites. It stretches on for half a mile and is dotted with children’s play areas, volleyball courts, and watersport kiosks. Steps back from the beach is a promenade which is lined with seafood restaurants and cocktail lounges.

If you’re looking for something a little more secluded and peaceful in Nerja, I recommend Cala del Cañuelo. It’s hidden inside the Acantilados de Maro Natural Park and can only be accessed on foot or by a specialist bus service, so it’s always quiet. The water is superb for snorkeling and there are 600 ancient rock paintings here, some of which are said to be up to 40,000 years old. 


2. Attend the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 

What Places to Visit in Europe in Summer: Edinburgh Fringe Festival

When it comes to high-octane festivals, Edinburgh is one of the coolest places to visit in Europe in summer. For around three weeks each August, the city hosts the largest arts festival in the world – the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

This phenomenal event includes around 3,000 international shows spread out across 300 venues. It’s been performed every year since 1947 and gets better with every edition. 

From stand-up comedy, acrobatics, magic shows, and burlesque performances to music concerts, Broadway shows, silly quizzes, and sing-a-longs, there’s absolutely loads going on. There are multiple showings of each performance, but tickets sell out far in advance. So you get to see everything you want to, buy your tickets as soon as you know you’re going. 


3. Go Village Hopping on the Amalfi Coast

Where to Vacation in Europe in Summer: Amalfi Coast

Ask any Italian local and they’ll tell you that the Amalfi Coast is one of the very best European summer holiday destinations. Boasting rugged cliffs, shimmering waters, colorful villages, and divine food, this stretch of coastline is one of those places that you need to see for yourself to understand how beautiful it really is. 

There are a few beaches dotting the dramatic shoreline, but I say your time is better spent exploring the ancient cobblestone pathways. Follow your feet, allow yourself to get lost, and see where you end up! 

Start off by taking a boat tour along the coastline to get your bearings, then head off and explore. If you’re looking for a local souvenir, this part of the country is famous for its lemons – you’ll find limoncello, lemon-scented soaps, and ceramics decorated with brightly colored lemons all over the place. 


4. Drink at the World’s Longest Beer Garden in Berlin

Best Places to Visit in Europe in Summer: World's Longest Beer Garden in Berlin

You don’t have to wait until fall to experience a beer festival in Germany. For one weekend each August, Berlin celebrates the International Berlin Beer Festival along Karl-Marx-Allee Boulevard. 

Around 350 individual breweries from 90 countries around the world come together to share their unique drinks and celebrate. The venue is cleverly divided up according to the geographical origins of beers, so you can drink your way around the world without ever leaving the city!

The venue has seating for more than 8,000 people and has received the Guinness World Record for the “world’s longest beer garden,” which measures almost 6,000 feet long. One of the best places to go in Europe in summer if you’re in the mood to party, this beer festival also includes live music and entertainment, plus a host of food stalls to help you soak up the beer. Best of all, the event is completely free to enter!  


5. Go Hiking in the Soča Valley in Slovenia

What Places to Visit in Europe in Summer: Soca Valley in Slovenia

Get ready for one of the best European summer holiday destinations by making plans to visit Slovenia. This magical country is home to the devastatingly beautiful Soča Valley, a sparkling gem with absolutely loads going on. 

From themed hiking trails that unveil the country’s fascinating past to exciting water sports opportunities that invite you to see the valley from a whole new perspective, there’s so much to do here that you’ll never want to leave!

If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s whitewater rafting, paragliding, ziplining, canyoning, caving, rock climbing, and paintballing. If you’d prefer to take it a little easier, there’s also fishing, walking, spa resorts, castles, boat trips, and gourmet restaurants. 


6. Have an Epic Food Fight in Buñol, Spain

Where to Vacation in Europe in Summer: Bunol Spain

When it comes to places to visit in Europe in summer for a unique experience, Buñol is a peaceful, sleepy village for most of the year. But on the final Wednesday of each August, the quiet village bursts into life and hosts the biggest food fight in the world!

Known as La Tomatina, the food fight originally began in 1945 as a political protest. But since then, it’s transformed into a massively fun festival, during which thousands of over-ripe tomatoes are hurled in all directions in a village-wide food fight. 

It’s traditional for everyone to wear white on this day. But be aware that you will definitely get covered in crushed tomatoes, so don’t wear your best white clothes! And you don’t need to bring tomatoes with you – they’re provided for everyone on a giant truck in the center of the village. 


7. Have Date Night at the Isola del Cinema in Rome

There are countless reasons why Italy is one of the best places to visit in Europe in summer. But the Isola del Cinema may be one that you’re not familiar with. Between June and September, the Tiber River in Rome becomes home to an incredible outdoor film festival. Chairs are laid out in front of a giant screen and a vast selection of movies are projected onto it.

You’ll have the chance to watch timeless classics such as “West Side Story,” modern favorites like “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” and even independent films from aspiring directors and producers. The movies are in various languages, with a decent selection of showings in English. So you can make a full night of it, the festival also includes cafes, bars, food vendors, and trinket sellers. 


8. Join in With the World’s Biggest Street Party in Paris

Best Places to Visit in Europe in Summer: World's Biggest Street Party in Paris

I’d usually recommend you avoid Paris in the summer because temperatures can soar and the crowds can be hectic. But there is something that makes the City of Light one of the best places to go in Europe in summer – Fête de la Musique.

This spectacular music festival has been growing remarkably fast since it began in 1982. Although it’s now celebrated in 540 cities throughout the world, it began in Paris and no city does it better than the one that started it all. 

For one night only on June 21st, Paris is transformed into a giant party with free entrance for everyone. Live music gigs take place in bars, theaters, parks, on street corners, and even on balconies. 

The most impressive performances are usually held at the Petit Palais, Jardin des Tuileries, the Institut du Monde Arabe, Jardin du Luxembourg, the Louvre, on Place Denfert Rochereau, and along the banks of the Seine.


9. Ride the Highest Train in Europe in Jungfrau, Switzerland

What Places to Visit in Europe in Summer: Jungfrau Switzerland

If you enjoy ticking unique things off your travel bucket list, Switzerland is one of the best places in Europe to visit in summer. This country is one of the most beautiful in the world and the best way to admire the spectacular scenery is onboard the highest train in Europe. 

The Jungfrau Railway is just 5.6 miles long, but it whisks you up through the Swiss Alps, through the incredible Jungfrau tunnel, and up to Jungfraujoch – the highest accessible peak in Europe.

Because the ride is so short, the train stops halfway at Eismeer Station. Here you can get out, admire the view, and snap a few photos before heading back onboard and making your way to the summit. 

There you have it! The 9 best places to visit in Europe in summer. What are your favorite places to visit in Europe in summer?


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Author

  • Nicola Quinn

    Nicola is a freelance writer with an insatiable hunger for travel. She swapped her home in the UK for the sunny Canary Islands when she was just 11 and she has been based there ever since.

    From crawling on her hands and knees inside pyramids in Egypt to swimming with baby sharks in Bali and searching (fruitlessly!) for the Northern Lights in Iceland, Nicola takes every chance she gets to explore new places.

    The incredible experiences she has around the world fuels her writing and inspires her to plan even more adventures for the future.

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