This blog post was updated on July 19, 2019.
It’s almost time for summer vacation! Do you know where you’re off to yet?
Keeping in mind beautiful beaches, bustling cities, great cultures, and unbelievable food and drink, we’ve come up with a list of seven European cities where summer fun is savored and celebrated like no where else on earth!
If your summer travel plans must include dancing the night away and partying until dawn, then Berlin is the place to be. With its overwhelmingly youthful population and large creative industries sector, the vibrant and cosmopolitan German capital is arguably Europe’s best option for nightlife and street culture. And come summertime, the city shows a sultrier side and parties longer and harder than during winter.
Bars and clubs abound (sometimes in the most unexpected places), the street art is top rate, and currywurst is … well, definitely worth a try (especially in the wee hours of the morning after a raucous night on the town). Of course, cultural and historical sights such as the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Reichstag, and the Pergamon Museum ensure there’s plenty more to experience in Berlin.
For fans of live performance, August in Edinburgh means one thing: Fringe! The three-week Scottish shindig is the largest arts festival in the world, and gives you the opportunity to be entertained by a huge variety of world class, up-and-coming, and often rather “out there” shows with long-standing emphasis on comedy, improv, and (as the festival’s name implies) the very best in fringe theatre.
Even though there are bound to be throngs of tourists in the city over summer, part of what makes Edinburgh Festival Fringe such an electric time to visit is the chance to interact with folks from all over the world in a setting that’s totally welcoming.
Luxuriant Lausanne on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland is an ideal setting for all sorts of summer activities. Whether you’re looking to experience upscale escapades in some of Europe’s finest hotels and restaurants, seeking a city-based Alpine excursion, or simply desiring to go jump in the lake, you’ll find loads to do in Lausanne.
Top highlights of any visit to this elegant city include the Olympic Museum, the Collection de l’Art Brut museum, the Lausanne Cathedral, steamboat tours of the lake, wine tasting tours of the terraced vineyards of Lavaux, and day trips to the nearby rural villages, farms, and forests.
When it comes to sizzling hot summer destinations, Frances’ second city is the first word out of the mouths of many in-the-know Euro jetsetters. If you’re big on bouillabaisse and French food in general, this port city is for you. But there’s more to Marseilles than its famous fish soup. The city boasts a beautiful beachfront, and some of Europe’s best street art and indie galleries, and a mix of modern architecture (Le Corbusier, Zara Hadid) and ancient maritime history.
Perched on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, this gateway to Provence (and a wealth of picturesque and bucolic countryside considerations) is a fabulous place to soak up the sun and take in the best of France old and new.
Quirky locals, a village-like vibe, and unparalleled natural beauty in its west form set the right tone for an amazing time in this far-flung and friendly North Atlantic city, seemingly perched on the edge of the earth. If you’re hoping to have the wildest of times during your next trip abroad, Reykjavik is the perfect base for Icelandic adventures.
No trip to this magnificent little city is complete without a stroll down the hip and happening Laugavegur Street, a visit to the iconic Hallgrímskirkja cathedral, and a free walking tour that uncovers some of its most amusing stories.
Foodies know this Basque city with a beach is a dream come true. Considered by many to be the capital of Spanish cuisine, San Sebastian teems with outstanding tapas bars and a disproportionate number of Michelin-starred restaurants. Its famous wines, ciders, cheese, and seafood are highly sought after throughout Spain and the rest of Europe. Its Old Town oozes with culture and nostalgia while its famed La Concha beach is the perfect crescent-shaped
Its Old Town oozes with culture and nostalgia while its famed La Concha beach is the perfect crescent-shaped playa for running your toes through the sand. Don’t forget to visit its well-known aquarium and indulge in its excellent pintxos (Basque tapas).
Yet again, the Austrian capital has topped the rankings of most livable cities in the world (for the eighth consecutive year). Summer, with a calendar brimming with festivals and outdoor events, is an especially super time to investigate and discover what makes this city beside the blue Danube such a nice place to live.
With its many architectural gems (from imperial palace to city hall), it is certainly among the continent’s most beautiful big cities. The arts thrive here and are accessible to locals and visitors alike through many world-class museums, myriad galleries, and historical attractions. Exploring Vienna on foot or via affordable and efficient public transport is as easy as 1-2-3. So waltz on over ASAP for an awesome Austrian vacation!
Where’s your dream European destination? We’d love to read about your travels in the comments section.