If we had a playlist for a summer in Europe, it would include a ton of ABBA, the sweet serenades of Sufjan Stevens, and a hint of Harry Styles, obviously! With travel being back on for a while now, people are hopping on a plane and making the trip they never got around to doing during the pandemic’s peak, like a trip around Europe, for example. While it’s lovely to travel all year round, it’s especially lovely during summer with so many things to do.
Caution: Reading the rest of this article will make you want to get a head start on your own playlist because there’s a European summer experience with your name on it, and if there’s ever a good time to go, it’s right now.
1. Live out your musical dreams in Salzburg
The Austrian hills are very much alive with The Sound Of Music Tour, and should you find yourself in Salzburg, you won’t want to miss it. After all, who doesn’t want to wander the same paths where Julie Andrews and the Von Trapp children belted out to ‘I Have Confidence’, ‘Do-Re-Mi’, and ‘My Favourite Things’?
Musical lover or not, we’re certain you’ll fall in love with the city, its history, and the charming musical that captivated the world. And if that doesn’t do it, Bill Lee’s rendition of ‘Edelweiss’ will definitely leave you smitten with Austria.
2. Hop on a Venetian gondola
Yes, we know it’s a bit of a cliche and touristy, but taking in the sights of Venice from the canals as your gondoliere sings, ‘O Sole Mio’ is worth it! For the simple reason that you are in Venice in the summer, living the life most people dream about, so why not romanticise your holiday in Italy?
The best way to explore a ‘floating city’ is by water; book a Gondola Canal Tour and explore the Canale Grande, San Moisè, San Giorgio Maggiore, and more.
3. Dip in Iceland’s geothermal spa
Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is arguably one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. Up to 4,000 people come from around the world to dip in this stunning azure-blue mineral spa daily. The lagoon’s otherworldly beauty, backdropped by Iceland’s volcanic landscape, is reason enough to go, but many come here for the water’s healing properties.
According to research, they believe that the high concentration of silica in the water can help improve psoriasis and eczema as well as prevent premature ageing. So we think a trip to Iceland is a necessity. You know, strictly for health purposes, of course.
4. Pour your own pint of Guinness in Dublin
If Ireland is not yet on your list of places to see in Europe, you’re missing out. Dublin’s fair city is home to beautiful cathedrals, castles, and parks, but our summer pick for your visit here is a trip to the Guinness Storehouse. It’s true that the stout tastes better here; as creamy as a milkshake, actually.
Learn a six-step ritual to pouring your own pint at the Guinness Academy, or have your face printed on the head of your smooth Guinness. Take in the panoramic views of the Gravity Bar as you dive into the history of Ireland’s most iconic drink.
5. Rent a campervan in Switzerland
The Swiss Alps are a thrill to experience in winter, but the summer months call for longer days spent outside, where you can truly experience the best Switzerland has to offer. And the best way to do it is by renting a campervan. We understand that road-tripping in a new place can be a little scary, but some research and preparation will allow you to make the most of your stay.
The summer is the best time to plan a road trip, especially if you aren’t used to driving in snowy conditions. Warmer weather is terrific for hiking, kayaking in Lake Brienz, and exploring local villages. We recommend spending anywhere between two weeks to a month to get the most out of your time here.
6. Wine, cheese, and chateaus in France
Have you really been to France if you have yet to spend a summer sampling different wines in an underground cellar as you graze on a charcuterie board while discussing the gustation, notes, and body of the wines? If you answered no, make your way to the French Riviera and book a wine tour in Provence.
Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of the stunning vineyards on this guided tour as you learn about the town’s history and spend a whole day tasting some of the best wines in France.
7. Experience a crowded Italian beach
If the Swiss Alps are where you’d be in the winter, the Italian coasts are where you need to find yourself in the summer. Capri, Amalfi, Portofino, Sorrento, the list goes on. Picture endless days swimming in the Tyrrhenian Sea, soaking in the sun, Aperol Spritz in hand –- what could be better?
The summer months are the busiest in the coastal areas, with locals and foreigners flocking to the beaches. You’re probably thinking you’d like to skip the crowds to spend time on a more secluded part of the beach, but there is something idyllic about being where the crowd is. There’s nothing quite like sitting amongst colourful beach umbrellas, beach mats, and towels sprawled out, listening to the sound of the waves, the people and the music. The energy is infectious!
8. Spend a few days in the city of Lisbon
The city of Lisbon takes on a whole new life in the summer months when music, festivals, art, and parades paint the streets with fun and laughter; sightseeing Portugal‘s coastal capital city, visiting places like the Belém Tower, Elevador de Santa Justa, and Padrão dos Descobrimentos amongst others.
Summer days on the beach, picnics in the parks, and tram rides are only made better by the summer nights, where the nightlife spills onto the streets, echoing the sounds of good music and dancing. The city is electric and promises a trip to remember.
9. Hit up a sauna in Helsinki
They say you’ve never been to Finland if you don’t do an ice plunge before hitting up a Finnish sauna. Saunas are a big part of Finland’s culture, having over three million saunas found all over the country. You’ll even find a sauna at a Burger King in Helsinki — that’s one way to rid yourself of the calories!
The summer months call for swims in the freezing lakes followed by the sauna, then back into the lake and back to the sauna, enjoying good food and drinks in between. If the prescription from the happiest country in the world is to ‘swim, sauna, and repeat’, then we’re taking it!
10. Summer in wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen
If we had to pick only one European city to spend a summer in, it would be Copenhagen. This Danish capital has it all –– stunning architecture, nordic cuisine, an extraordinary approach to art and design, and friendly locals.
Denmark is also the birthplace of many well-recognised names: LEGO; Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (yes, this is where the famous The Little Mermaid statue resides); and Danish architect, Bjark Ingles, to name a few.
The city is essentially overflowing with culture, art, innovation, and sustainability. Taking a boat tour or renting a canoe is a great way to explore and learn more about the city from the canals too.
Sample an assortment of smørrebrød (Danish open-faced sandwiches) and spend a day at the Tivoli Gardens, the (second-oldest) amusement park that inspired Walt Disney to build Disneyland. Whatever you decide to do, there is so much this city has to offer.