The question really is, when is it *not* a good time to visit these spectacular European cities? Of course, Europe’s good in every season, but there’s something special about these nine places in the summer. Warm weather, bustling cities, long evenings, good food: it’s the recipe for a magical vacay.
Where to begin? Whether you’re looking for a good budget destination this summer, great beaches or amazing culture, we’ve rounded up 9 of our favs.
1. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Ultimate Summer Fun
What can we say? Amsterdam is pretty much the ultimate summer destination if you’re looking for a good time. The weather is perfect in the summer and Amsterdam is home to dozens of festivals and concerts in the summer months, from jazz to rock to outdoor theater performances and everything in between.
Pick up plenty of cheese and crepes and enjoy a picnic by the canals. Take a canal cruise (especially at sunset!). If you’re traveling solo, try staying in a hostel—you’ll meet tons of other travelers you can explore Amsterdam with. Plus, many hostels organize activities, like pub crawls or beach days, so that you can really get a feel for the city.
2. Prague, Czech Republic: Easy on the Budget
Looking to travel on a budget this summer, but still want to see somewhere incredible? Head to Prague. Stroll along the Charles Bridge, check out the outdoor markets and snap some Insta shots of the 600+ year old astronomical clock in Old Town. Enjoy castles, beer and food galore!
Since $1 USD is equal to about 22 Kč (Czech korunas), you’ll be able to travel longer in Prague while spending less. What to spend your korunas on? Prague is known for its beer, but there’s some other things to try too: palačinky (Czech pancakes) and smažený sýr (basically a deep-fried cheese dish: yes please) are two must-tries.
3. London, UK: Ideal for Students
London is an ideal European destination for students. It’s filled with things to do, history, museums, art, nightlife and plenty of other students to hang out with.
Also, did you know that most museums in London are free? This makes it super easy to check out some of London’s greatest art and artifacts without spending a penny. Summers in London are also perfect for outdoor concerts and festivals (there’s tons!) and shopping at Borough Market next to the London Bridge.
4. Vienna, Austria: Beauty Queen
If you’ve loved Paris, then you’re going to LOVE Vienna. It’s a stunning city, filled with beautiful architecture and a beautiful culture. It’s known for its artistic and intellectual culture, so it’s a great place to study abroad for the summer.
Enjoy palaces and public gardens, outdoor markets and cozy coffee shops, plus hundreds of film, theater and music events during the Festival Weeks in May and June. The best part? Many of the events are free! If you’re ready to spend some time outside, Austria has six national parks and dozens of other hiking and outdoor adventuring areas—including the eastern side of the Alps.
5. Porto, Portugal: Undiscovered Gem
Head to Porto if you’re looking for somewhere a bit quieter and still relatively undiscovered this summer. Porto is endlessly instagrammable, with tiny streets, colorful buildings and river walks.
It’s also endlessly walkable. If your feet are feeling sore, you can hop on a historic tram (linha 1 is one of the most scenic routes). Plus, Porto is super close to the beach, so be sure to walk down to the beach and lighthouse at Foz. Imagine this: lazy days by the beach and long evenings sipping *actual* Port wine (named after Porto!) and eating fresh seafood. Sound good? That’s Porto.
6. Dubrovnik, Croatia: Best Beaches
Best beaches in Europe? Croatia is definitely at the top of the list. Picture crystal-blue warm waters, miles of sand, and plenty of beachside activities. Whether your ideal beach day is napping and tanning or spending the day sailing or windsurfing, Croatia will not disappoint.
The city of Dubrovnik has a lot to admire too: get lost through the streets of Old Town Dubrovnik or enjoy a walk around the ancient city fortress walls. Dubrovnik is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, so if it’s not on your list yet, it definitely needs to be. Summer is an ideal time to visit so you can take full advantage of beaches and beachside bars, amazing sunset views, and did we mention the incredible beaches? Get ready to get your tan on.
7. Barcelona, Spain: Ideal Summer Livin’
Summers were made for life in Barcelona: sunny beach days, walks through whimsical city streets and poppin’ nights with endless tapas and sangrias. See amazing architecture like La Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo or spend the afternoon in the magical Park Guell.
Want some good views of the city? Take the cable car from the Old Port to the top of Montjuic: you’ll have fantastic views the whole way. If you’re visiting near the end of the summer, head to Valencia (just a quick flight or train ride away) for La Tomatina, the world-famous tomato fight festival. (It’s happening on August 30 this year.)
8. Edinburgh, Scotland: Cooler Weather
If you’re looking for somewhere cooler to hang out this summer, head to Edinburgh. Unlike most other seasons in Edinburgh, you’ll find plenty of blue skies while still enjoying cooler temps.
While you’re in Edinburgh, you can soak up medieval castles, the Royal Mile and some Scottish bagpipes. Or enjoy a summer hike with 360° views of Edinburgh from the top of Arthur’s seat. Don’t forget to stop in at Mary’s Milk Bar for some of the best ice cream in Europe.
9. Rome, Italy: Classic Europe
Rome is a classic must-visit when it comes to Europe. It’s especially nice in the summer, when long days and cool nights make the magic of the city even easier to find. And Rome has *literally* everything: art, history, museums, amazing food, and fun things to do allllll day long.
It’s also just a quick trip to other must-sees in Italy, like the Amalfi Coast and the islands of Capri and Sardinia. If you’ve been waiting for a chance to hop on a plane and travel across the Atlantic, now’s your chance!
Which of these best cities to visit for a European summer would you most like to visit? Snag yourself a cheap flight and get yourself to Europe asap!
*Flight prices were accurate at time of posting, but are dynamic and subject to change at any time. All flights were priced out between June 2023 and September 2023.