Europe is one of the best places to head to during the summer. The continent has so many opportunities and options for activities – and it has great, cheap travel options between different countries if you are hoping to see a variety of places while you’re abroad. While there are the classic places that everyone loves and wants to visit, there are just so many great places in Europe for travelers. Really, you might actually have trouble narrowing down the list of places you can and want to visit. We’ve got just what you need to kickstart your planning: a list of 25 of the best places in Europe you can visit this summer.
Even better? There’s a destination for everyone on this list, from the city-lover who wants a week of art and glamour, to the adventurer who wants to get off the beaten path. On a budget? We got you there too. Need a cheap flight? We definitely got you covered. So where are you off to next?
It’s no wonder that Paris is at the top of our list of best places in Europe to visit this summer. A trip to Paris is always a good idea. A trip to Paris is ideal if you’re in need of some art, culture and croissants. Head to the Louvre or the Musee d’Orsay, picnic under the Eiffel Tower, tour the stunning Palace of Versailles, do some serious shopping and soak in all the art and culture that Paris is famous for.
Roundtrip flights to Paris (CDG) from $497* or $296* one-way.
Ah, Rome! Anyone who’s been to Rome knows that one trip to the Eternal City is not enough. You could spend years exploring Rome and not get bored! Whether you’ve been to Rome before or still have it on your list, move it to the top of your must-visit list and start planning a trip. From the centuries of history to awe-inspiring cathedrals. Delicious gelato and pizza to fancy dinners and fun nightlife in Trastevere. Iconic monuments and endless sightseeing, incredible museums and shopping. And so much more! Rome is absolutely one of the best places in Europe to visit this summer (or anytime, really).
Roundtrip flights to Rome (FCO) from $406* or $332* one-way.
For a stunning, colorful, historic and hip European city by the sea, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Barcelona. From its iconic architecture and stunning cathedrals to its well-known nightlife and delicious food, Barcelona packs a major punch. It’s one of the best places in Europe for students—with a youthful population and a number of universities, there’s always new people to meet and tons of fun things to do. But the city is also home to plenty of culture and historic neighborhoods. It’s also right on the beach. No matter what you like to do while you’re on vacay, you can most likely find it in Barcelona.
Roundtrip flights to Barcelona (BCN) from $420* or $345* one-way.
Iceland has exploded in popularity over the past few years, and it’s no wonder why it makes the summer an ideal time to visit. Iceland is a rugged and remote destination, perfect for adventures of all kinds. Staying in Reykjavik will offer the perfect balance of city life with adventure right on your doorstep. If you’re visiting in the summer, you’ll even get to take advantage of the “midnight sun,” since the sun hardly sets for most of the summer. Explore waterfalls, go horseback riding on black sand beaches or take a hiking trip through the highlands. Before you head home, make time to relax in hot springs or the famous Blue Lagoon.
Roundtrip flights to Reykjavik (KEF) from $418* or $236* one-way.
It’s no doubt that Venice is one of the most romantic cities in Europe. Even if you’re traveling solo or with friends, though, Venice is still hands-down one of the best places in Europe to visit. This small canal-lined island is full of hidden gems and colorful streets to uncover. With no cars at all, it’s perfect for getting lost wandering, riding a gondola or taking a water-taxi (the public “bus” system in Venice) around the canals or to a neighboring island. If you have time, you can visit Murano to learn more about Venice’s glass blowing tradition (and pick up some unique souvenirs). Burano is another great option for an off-the-beaten-path and less touristed side of Venice.
Roundtrip flights to Venice (VCE) from $641* or $385* one-way.
Ireland—with its famously green landscapes and cool weather—is one of the best places to visit in Europe, especially in the summer. Though the weather may be cool, Ireland is famous for its warm and welcoming culture, which has attracted writers and artists for centuries. You’ll find plenty of restaurants, cafes and pubs to fill up at, no matter the time of day, plus lots to see and do. Visit ancient castles, learn about Irish heritage at one of the city’s museums, explore medieval cathedrals and more.
Roundtrip flights to Dublin (DUB) from $361* or $348* one-way.
7. Dubrovnik, Croatia
If Croatia isn’t already on your bucket list, it’s time to add it! Dubrovnik is one of Croatia’s most beautiful cities and a great jumping-off point for other adventures throughout the country. With Croatia’s stunning beaches and waterfalls, there’s no better time to visit than during the warm summer months. (The ocean’s warm enough to swim between June-September, typically). Walk the famous Walls of Dubrovnik before branching out to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park and Krka National Park. Nearby islands and beaches provide lots of opportunities to sunbathe or swim too!
Roundtrip flights to Dubrovnik (DBV) from $825* or $487* one-way.
Lisbon is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It’s also super easy to explore on a budget (especially when compared to bigger cities like Paris and London). Visit cathedrals, palaces, historic monasteries, medieval castles and more in the historic city of Lisbon, or enjoy café culture and walks along the coast. Take a day trip to nearby Sintra to see Pena Palace or travel to the famous Faro district for some of the most scenic beaches. Wherever you go, make sure you try some of Lisbon’s delicious food and pastries!
Roundtrip flights to Lisbon (LIS) from $667* or $344* one-way.
If Santorini isn’t on your bucket list yet, what are you doing? Santorini is 100% one of the best places to visit in Europe in the summer. Plus, being able to relax in Greece with some of the best views in Europe and the crystal-clear Mediterranean Sea always nearby is definitely a great way to spend a few weeks. Santorini’s most famous for its whitewashed houses and buildings with blue roofs—often against the backdrop of stunning sunsets. Besides the magical views though, you’ll find plenty of things to eat and drink, ancient ruins to explore, and of course, numerous beaches to enjoy.
Roundtrip flights to Santorini (JTR) from $898* or $618* one-way.
You can also fly into Athens (from $892* roundtrip / $366* one-way) and take a ferry.
Montenegro is a little-known European destination among Americans, but it’s one of the best places in Europe to visit in the summer! This small coastal country near Croatia offers stunning Mediterranean views and charming Balkan towns. It’s a great way to get off the beaten path in Europe and have an experience that’s different from what everyone else has already done! Visit historic cities like Kotor and Ulcinj or experience Montenegro’s natural beauty in glacial lakes, Mediterranean beaches and more.
Roundtrip flights to Montenegro (TGD) from $864* or $493* one-way. Or fly into Tivat Airport (TIV) if you’re headed to the coast roundtrip from $977* or $549* one-way.
11. Amalfi Coast
Ready for the views of a lifetime? Whether you want to rent a car and see it for yourself, take public transportation or an organized tour, or even sail along the coast, there’s plenty of ways to soak in the rolling hills and colorful towns. The Amalfi Coast offers everything you could want from a summer vacation in Europe. Start by exploring Positano, Sorrento and Ravello. You can also take day trips to Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii or the island of Capri and the Blue Grotto. Wherever you go, you’ll find plenty of beaches, sunshine, good views and good food. We can’t think of a better way to spend your summer vacay.
Though you may not have Cyprus on the top of your European bucket list, it’s one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean and is stunningly beautiful. It’s definitely one of the best places in Europe, especially during the warmer months! It’s located near Greece and Turkey and offers breathtaking views, crystal-clear warm waters, more than enough beaches and ancient castles and ruins. There’s a lot of hidden gems to discover if you get off the beaten path in Cyprus. However, if you just want to enjoy a relaxing afternoon by the beach, you’ll find plenty of places for that as well!
Madrid is one of our most popular destinations in Europe any time of year. Summer, though, is an especially nice to time to visit, with plenty of sunshine and festivals in the city. It can get quite hot during the peak summer months, but thankfully, there’s plenty of museums, galleries and indoor events to explore where you can beat the heat. Madrid is a hub for art and culture, with palaces and museums galore. Not just that, though—there’s also bustling plazas and public markets where you can sample some of Spain’s most delicious food.
Roundtrip flights to Madrid (MAD) from $412* or $357* one-way.
Malta, a Mediterranean island located between Sicily and the North African coast, is home to thousands of years of history. It holds some of the oldest stone structures and monuments in the world (even older than the Pyramids of Giza!) and of course, gorgeous Mediterranean beaches. Malta’s got tons of activities to do – scuba diving in one of the oldest Mediterranean islands? Yes please, sign us up asap. It’s also easy to travel on a budget in Malta, which helps make this island one of the best places to visit in Europe this summer.
Roundtrip flights to Malta (MLA) from $729* or $472* one-way.
Porto is often overshadowed by the larger (and much more famous) Lisbon, but Porto is worth a visit by itself! It’s one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal: a coastal city known for its medieval district, stunning Old Town (that’s actually a UNESCO World Heritage site!), scenic bridges and delicious food and wine. The colorful streets and buildings are perfect for wandering through. Even better, the city’s many cafes and restaurants make it a must-visit for foodies. Plus, moderate summer temperatures—rarely getting above 80°F—make it one of the best places in Europe to visit in the summer.
Roundtrip flights to Porto (OPO) from $435* or $296* one-way. If you want to see Lisbon too, the train ride is only 2.5 hours.
Istanbul is an underrated city in Europe, but it’s definitely one of our favorite places to visit! The only city to straddle both Europe and Asia, Istanbul has a unique blend of cultures and history. When you visit, you’ll get a taste of some of the many empires and cultures that have ruled in Istanbul over the centuries, from Byzantine basilicas to Ottoman mosques and more. There’s history around every corner—as well as things to do, food to eat, and outdoor markets to shop in.
Roundtrip flights to Istanbul (IST) from $682* or $401* one-way.
Seville may not get the same amount of press as Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona, but there’s no doubt that it’s one of the best places in Europe to visit this summer (or any summer). It’s famous for its rich history and culture, beautiful architecture, delicious tapas and as the birthplace of Flamenco dancing. It’s also home to the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, stunning (and enormous) palaces and plenty of beautiful sights (and food) to take in during your trip.
Roundtrip flights to Seville (SVQ) from $648* or $444* one-way.
Crete may not be as well-known among the Greek islands as Santorini or Mykonos, but as the largest Greek island (and with plenty of beaches and incredible scenery!), it still deserves a place on your European bucket list. Visit the super-photogenic pink-sand beach (Elafonisi) and enjoy nights out in the Old Venetian Harbor. It’s perfect for a beach getaway, especially if you’re looking for somewhere off the beaten path!
Roundtrip flights to Crete (CHQ) from $786* or $472* one-way.
Sarajevo is another little-touristed (for now) European city, and one of our favorite hidden gems in Europe. The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, this small city is easy to explore and full of history, scenic views (take the cable car for real panoramic views!) and beautiful bridges. Take a day trip to the nearby (and picture-perfect) Mostar, go shopping at the local markets and soak in local life in one of our favorite small towns in Europe. Another plus: because it’s much less touristy than other cities, it’s also much easier to explore on a budget. Win-win!
Roundtrip flights to Sarajevo (SJJ) from $766* or $533* one-way.
Copenhagen is one of the most student-friendly cities in Europe, from just the sheer number of students in both full-time and study-abroad programs, to the endless free things to see and do, to the open and welcoming culture. The coastal city is home to historic palaces and castles, amazing food and breweries, charming canals and colorful streets. It’s a very bicycle and pedestrian-friendly city, making it easy to navigate and—as an added bonus—it’s often ranked as one of the happiest cities in the world. Where better to visit this summer?
Roundtrip flights to Copenhagen (CPH) from $386* or $264* one-way.
Slovenia is perfect for an off-the-beaten-path European destination. From cities like Ljubljana (pronounced loo-blee-ah-na, in case you were wondering) to Piran, you’ll find plenty of European charm, minus the crowds—just what you’ll want once travel to Europe starts ramping up again. Ljubljana is a great city on its own, with charming streets and medieval history. However, it’s also a great place from which to explore Slovenia’s other gems, like the famous Lake Bled, coastal Kotor or some hiking or kayaking in Slovenia’s Soca Valley.
Roundtrip flights to Ljubljana (LJU) from $830* or $484* one-way.
22. Colmar, France
Colmar is hardly as well-known as other cities in France, but it’s a no-brainer as one of the best places in Europe to visit this summer. Right near the border of France and Germany, this fairytale town has influences from both cultures and looks like it’s right out of a storybook. Its Old Town has cobblestone streets and canals lined with colorful medieval and Renaissance buildings and houses. Besides wandering through (and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over) the charming streets, enjoy some delicious foods, visit and tour ancient landmarks and pop into a museum or two to learn more about the history of this region.
Roundtrip flights to Lyon (LYS) from $845* or $501* one-way.
23. Mallorca, Spain
Ever heard of Ibiza? Mallorca (Spanish spelling Majorca) is its much larger, and dare we say, more beautiful, next-door neighbor. Mallorca is without a doubt one of the most beautiful Spanish islands. It’s home to unreal beaches, secluded coves and mountain trails, stone villages and Spanish architecture. For some of the prettiest beaches and most charming mountain towns in Europe, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Mallorca. Even better, it’s just a 50-minute (and very cheap) plane flight away from Barcelona.
24. Nice, France
For a coastal European vacation with a dose of elegance, you can’t go wrong with the French Riviera. And in the French Riviera, Nice is one of the best places to visit. It’s known for both its beautiful beaches and vibrant downtown city life. Explore the beach promenade, visit historical sites and museums, tour numerous art galleries and, of course, fill up on delicious foods and scenic views. Don’t forget to save plenty of time for relaxing on Nice’s many beaches!
Roundtrip flights to Nice (NCE) from $734* or $447* one-way.
If you haven’t put Albania on your bucket list yet (or maybe you’ve never even heard of it) it’s time to change that. Albania, a small country in the Balkans, is one of the best places in Europe to get off the beaten path. Plus, it’s a fantastic place to enjoy a European vacation on a student budget. It’s pretty easy to explore Albania for just €20-30 a day. Take a road trip between some of Albania’s inland mountain villages, or make it a beach trip and visit beautiful (and budget-friendly) spots like Ksamil and Dhermi.
Roundtrip flights to TIA from $595* or from $335* one-way.
*Flight prices were accurate at the time of publishing, but are subject to availability and subject to change at any time. Airfare published here was priced for flights between May-August 2023.