The northern hemisphere is quickly approaching the most fun time of the year: the hotter months. For those of us in the Old Continent (or anyone traveling there), the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe await. While things get a little more crowded during this time of year, the south cannot possibly loose its charm. The best summer destinations in Europe include ancient cities full of history, beaches as far as the eye can see and natural paradises of all sorts.
The Most Beautiful Summer Destination in Europe – Road Trip Time!
Driving by the best summer destinations in Europe has all the fun of road trips and more. Rocky mountains, broad skies and seas of blue – what more can you ask out of life?
1. Amalfi Coast – The Breathtaking Villages of Italy’s Mediterranean
Famous villages like Positano and Ravello often appear on the lists of the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe. The views driving by the Tyrrhenian Sea are unforgettable and oh-so-romantic. The villages are some of the cutest I’ve ever seen!
One of the reasons this is one of the best summer destinations in Europe is culture. Locals are sweet and attentive, often striving to provide a custom experience that will leave a mark on your heart. There are some genuinely spectacular boutique hotels in the Amalfi Coast, and as it happens throughout Italy, the food is incredible!
2. Algarve – Face the Wild Atlantic Ocean
With its turbulent waves, mild climate and beautiful cliffs, Portugal’s Algarve Coast has a little California vibe to it. The Atlantic is fierce here, helping it become one of the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe.
Portugal is a country of wine, with a long-standing tradition that has been going on for centuries. You’ll find yourself entranced with flavors as you see some of the best summer destinations in Europe. Besides the majestic views of the Atlantic, this is also an area of golfers, with broad courses along the coast.
Drive across dreamy and picturesque villages like Sagres and Silves, remembering the wanderlust that got you away from home. Read all about my top 3 Portuguese Villages in my country side road trip post!
Find the perfect hotel for your stay in Faro, Algarve through BOOKING.COM by clicking here. The natural wonders of the Portuguese coast await – why not see them with an incredible, custom tour from GET YOUR GUIDE?
Best Summer Destinations in Europe for the Luxury Beach Paradise Experience
The Mediterranean is world-renowned for having some of the most beautiful beaches on Earth. The southern part of the continent is where the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe are located, and many of them face the Mediterranean. The ones below are the most luxurious paradises!
The Magical Islands of Greece
Greece is a culture of rich history, one of the places where human ingenuity has thrived most, for thousands of years. It’s also home to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on Earth. Hosting some of the most famous sceneries in the world, Greek islands offer a world of colour, between the bright Mediterranean to the whitewashed homes and ancient ruins. What I love most about the Cyclades is that each is wildly different. Read about the personalities of my three favourite Greek islands, below!
3. Santorini – The Dramatic Volcano Island
The Cyclades are always a good idea, and there’s a particular magic to visiting Santorini: its dramatic views. One of the most popular Greek islands (which is already saying a lot!), Santorini also happens to be a land of volcanos. The local beaches mix the seemingly endless Mediterranean blues with black lava sand for a picture-perfect look.
When in Santorini, rent a car and road trip across the island. Start your days in capital city Fira, a vibrant town full of fun places to hang out, which you’ll discover by getting lost in its narrow little streets. Enjoy delicious meals, fall in love with local handicrafts and get a feel of the everyday life of locals. Step a little away from the main attractions, and you’ll find yourself alone with some of the loveliest places on Earth!
Step away from Fira to get a glimpse of the quieter side of this beautiful island. Drive 15 minutes to find Pyrgos, a cute little mountain town where life is slower and there are fewer tourists. Then, see the island from above at the Prophet Elias Monastery. Don’t forget to take a dip in the nearby beach of Perissa, a beautiful place with black lava sand, full of lovely beach clubs like Waves Chill Out.
The most magical place of all in Santorini is a little away, in the town of Oia. A postcard-looking place, most pictures you’ve seen of Santorini were taken there. You can go from Fira to Oia by foot for 3 to 5 hours if you’re feeling adventurous, finding beautiful photo spots along the way. Catch a sunset and remember it for the rest of your life!
See Santorini for Yourself…
Check out this 4-Hour Small-Group Wine Tasting Tour!
4. Mykonos – The Island of Winds
Mykonos is known as one of the most fabulous beach destinations, and everything about it is paradisiac. It’s got an unmistakably boho-chic aura as one of the ultimate luxury Mediterranean spots. As one of the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe, you’ll find the cutest main village, Chora, with sweet hangouts everywhere. There’s a great selection of hp eateries and beach clubs here, and the boutique hotels are some of the loveliest I’ve visited.
Besides being one of the best summer destinations in Europe, it’s also one of the great party islands in the Mediterranean. Hosting magical sunsets, where the pink sun bathes the whitewashed village, that’s when the island wakes up. Afterward, it’s time to party until it’s so late it’s early!
Make the Best of Mykonos
Mykonos is one of the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe and a personal favorite of mine. You can read my full travel guide to this beautiful island here. If food is one of the reasons you travel to the best summer destinations in Europe, check out my favorite Mykonos restaurants.
Read about my hotel in Mykonos, the Rochari, in my review. For ideas on how to spend your lazy days on the island, here’s my guide to the top beach clubs in Mykonos. And don’t miss my list of the most Instagrammable places in Mykonos!
Find a hotel to live out the Greek fantasy in Mykonos through BOOKING.COM, right here. See Mykonos differently or travel around the nearby Greek islands with one of the lovely tours from GET YOUR GUIDE!
5. Paros – The Peaceful Place
While less famous than its neighbours, Paros is just as beautiful as sister islands Mykonos and Santorini. Mykonos offers something of a party vibe, Santorini is full of dramatic sights… and Paros feels like the quieter and more authentic alternative. There are many vibrant places in Paros, but it feels like you have them to yourself, as there are fewer tourists, particularly in the evenings when the day cruises have left.
As the third-largest Cycladic island, Paros has a lot to offer in terms of things to do. Parikia, the capital and port town, is a pink beauty, with small and cute streets lined with bougainvilleas. When parading around town, you’ll find beautiful Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches and even a lovely castle. Have your camera ready!
Naoussa, meanwhile, is a town with a focus on outdoorsy activities, where you’ll find lots of options for scuba diving, fishing and even trips to the nearby islands. It’s also where most of the bars and restaurants are, so great for social butterflies.
Get away from it all at Piso Livadi, a fishing village 19 km away from Parikia. Relax by walking along the harbour and then trying delicious and super fresh fish!
The Sunny Spanish Experience
Sunny all year long and with a love for great food and wine – what’s not to love about Spain? With plenty of islands and beach destinations to visit in the summer, you can’t go wrong with some sun and paella!
Check if you need a visa to travel to Spain in the iVisa widget below.
Your visa experience doesn’t need to be complex – find out more on the Booking Support & Input section of this post!
6. Marbella – The Andalusian Beach Darling
Spain has some of the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe, and Marbella is one of my favorites. A darling of travellers, this Andalusian resort area was once a tiny fishermen’s village. It has become one of the best summer destinations in Europe! Marbella has the warmth that only Andalusia’s Costa del Sol can provide with a luxury feel.
The Marbella experience is one of Spanish luxury, which means one thing above all: great food. You’ll also find many fantastic beach clubs here! Although Marbella is a modern city, parts of it date back to the 17th century. The old town is well worth a visit – but you’ll usually find yourself strolling around the lovely and never-ending boardwalk!
For more on what to do in Marbella, check out my travel story and my travel guide. Spice things up by dining around town, using my restaurant review as reference. Don’t miss my Marbella beach club review.
7. Palma de Mallorca – Tapas, History & So Much to See
While it has many of the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe, that’s not why I keep coming back to Spain. What drives me back is the local love for the finer things in life, be it a good conversation, wine, or tapas. And this liveliness is more apparent than in Palma de Mallorca!
Part of the Balearic islands, Mallorca is one of the best summer destinations in Europe. Get to know the old Palma village, with its beautiful buildings and cathedral. Then, go shopping, and enjoy the darling beachside boutique hotels, many of which have private beaches. Still, even the city beaches are amazing, and the beach clubs (particularly the Puro ones) are unmissable.
There’s a lot to do in Mallorca, so I’d recommend renting a car and exploring the island!
Get the best out of the Mallorca sun by hopping between beach clubs – read my review to find the coolest ones. You can read about the most delicious Palma restaurants here, and the top activities here.
For the most amazing Mallorca hotels, book your stay through BOOKING.COM, here. See Palma and the entire island of Mallorca through different eyes by choosing one of the wonderful tours from GET YOUR GUIDE!
City Weekends at the Most Beautiful Summer Destinations in Europe
To me, some of the best summer destinations in Europe are also its great cities with a great climate. Whether they’re by the beach or just magic locations with hot days, these are my favorites!
8. Barcelona – A Feast of Colour
Barcelona isn’t just one of the most beautiful cities in Europe – it’s among the loveliest in the world. A thriving metropolis and one of the most touristic places on Earth, there’s something worth photographing everywhere. This is an old and proud city with thousands of years of history. What’s more, it doesn’t look like any other town, not even within Spain. Barcelona has grown between the Mediterranean and the mountains, serving a unique look.
When walking around the oldest part of the city, where hundreds-of-year-old buildings surround you, you’ll feel sometime in the Middle Ages. Here and there, you’ll find walls from much longer back, even from Roman days. And yet in every corner, there’s something wholly contemporary: the traditional and trendy tapas places, the cute little shops. The Catalan capital has such a distinct personality and rich culture!
One thing you can’t miss when visiting Barcelona is visiting the great architectural accomplishments of Catalan modernist architecture. All over town, you’ll find gems from the late 19th century and early 20th, particularly by Antoni Gaudí. Places like the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló have become emblems of international architecture!
Check out this Gaudi Tour with Sagrada Família & Park Güell Tickets!
9. Lisbon – The Nostalgic Town
A warm city in every possible aspect, Lisbon deserves its place as one of the best summer destinations in Europe. While most places on this list vibrate loud and clear, Lisbon’s charm is sweeter and more subdued. It’s a city of pink colors, of long afternoons with a bottle of delicious wine and deep conversations. There’s an inescapable air of nostalgia (or saudade in Portuguese, a kind of longing) that eases the soul here. If your search into the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe requires peace and quiet, Lisbon is the place for you.
Fall in love further with Lisbon on my travel guide and my guide to taking perfect pics in the Portuguese capital. For some culinary tips, head to my restaurant review. Read about my favorite boutique hotels in Lisbon in my hotel review.
10. Madrid – A Great & Thrilling Capital & One of the Most Beautiful Summer Destinations in Europe
Even though it’s a landlocked city, Madrid very much deserves its spot as one of the best summer destinations in Europe. A thriving town full of rooftops to drink and eat tapas, Madrid is all about the summer vibes. A big city with the Latin flavour of the south of Europe, it’s a metropolis above all. Neighbourhoods full of personality, beautiful parks and green areas, some of the most impressive museums and great shopping – Madrid has it all!
Read about my favorite restaurants and rooftops in Madrid here. For a guide of the city beyond the crowds, click here. If you’re looking for boutique hotels in the Spanish capital, this is your chance!
11. Tel Aviv – Party Across the Mediterranean in One of the Most Beautiful Summer Destinations in Europe
A Middle Eastern party town, Tel Aviv can’t technically be among the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe. But it has an honorable spot in my heart, and it feels like a European city. It’s a little like Miami in the sense that it’s vibrant and beachy, but culturally the vibe is very continental. It’s also a place of rainbows, as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. Tel Aviv hosts a very modern society in an ancient setting: Jaffa is one of the oldest ports in the world, and it has been used for thousands of years!
Read my Tel Aviv travel story and travel guide for more on this incredible Mediterranean beach city. For the coolest eateries in town, head to my restaurant review. If, like me, you’re a fan of fashion, don’t miss my style tips for a Tel Aviv visit. And, of course, you can find my favorite hotels here!
Booking & Tour Information Beyond the Most Beautiful Summer Destinations in Europe
- Visa. Do you need a visa to enter any of the countries above? Do all your paperwork easily and in one place through iVisa!
- Flight. For the best flight deals to the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe, click HERE. Momondo is my Go-To All in One Travel App. If you have not downloaded it yet – just CLICK HERE!
- Hotel. Find the best hotels wherever you go through Booking.com!
- Guide. HI, HI offers an excellent choice for those visiting the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe: a local guide. You can find great ones in Lisbon and Madrid right here!
- Tours. You can find incredible tours for each of the best summer destinations in Europe listed above through GET YOUR GUIDE. What are you waiting to book the most amazing experience?
Did you like this post on the best summer destinations in Europe? Check out some pins for the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe, below!