17 Best Places to Visit in Europe in the Summer of 2024

Steve Cummings

Puglia, Italy

Europe is an incredible place to visit for a summer vacation. Across the 50 countries officially part of the continent, there is a mix of cultures, cuisines, great places to see, and things to do. If you are planning a trip there this year, settling on an itinerary may be intimidating. That is what we want to help with.

In the following guide, you will find some of the best summer destinations in Europe to give you ideas of just how good your summer vacation could be. Here are 17 of the best places to visit in Europe.

1. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary
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If you are interested in some of the most stunning architecture spanning periods from Art Nouveau to Gothic and neoclassical to Baroque, the Hungarian capital of Budapest is the best place for summer in Europe. 

The Blue Danube is the perfect connector for all these differing influences, as it runs through the city. Budapest is also no stranger to design ingenuity, and since the horrors of communist rule left much of the town in ruins, it has risen in defiance, and the ruin bars district is an excellent example of this. 

The Chain Bridge is a magnificent attraction in its own right but also offers stunning views of the majestic Hungarian Parliament Building and Buda Castle. There is so much to see and do.

2. Bern, Switzerland

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One of the most picturesque cities in Switzerland, a land that is already picturesque, Bern has some fantastic architecture, particularly in the incredibly well-preserved Old Town, and there are amazing beautiful gardens around the city. 

With many cafés and museums, this is one of the best summer spots in Europe. Located at a handy central point in Switzerland, it is also a great base from which to explore the rest of the country.

3. Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy
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Among the best European summer destinations is Cinque Terre in Italy. If you like spending time on the warm and idyllic Italian coastline, this area offers plenty. Many beautiful and pristine beaches, vibrant and quaint little villages, and fantastic hiking trails take you into the countryside and up the stirring hills there. 

The five towns that make up Cinque Terre include Riomaggiore, Manarola, Comiglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. These can all be visited by taking a train or by foot. They offer breathtaking views of the perfect Ligurian Sea.

4. Mallorca, Spain

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If you are looking for stunning seaside resorts and beach havens to spend your European summer holidays in, then Mallorca should be near the top of the list. Often overlooked by its Balearic Island neighbors Ibiza and Majorca, Mallorca is a stunning location for a warm and relaxing summer vacation. 

Whether you are looking for a chance to chill by the pool or the sea on the beach or want to explore this island's culture and artistic heritage in the glorious Mediterranean, there is so much to see and do. The Galleria Continua, for example, is something all art lovers will want to check out.

5. Santorini, Greece

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We have covered this in other blog posts on the site, but Greece is the perfect destination for a summer break in Europe. There are many places to visit in Greece, but Santorini stands out for its blue-domed churches and white buildings that are highlighted against the clearest blue skies you could hope for. There are some awe-inspiring sunsets just waiting to be experienced. Pristine, idyllic beaches along with all that mouth-watering Greek food are calling you. And if you enjoy a slightly strong libation, you could partake of some Ouzo.

Whether planning a romantic getaway for two or looking to take the whole family, you will enjoy the stunning scenery as you look out across the Aegean Sea.

From Santorini, you can also check out some other great places in Greece: Crete, Corfu, Athens, and many different cultural and historical sites are easily accessible from Santorini.

6. Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland
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Reykjavik in Iceland is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in summer. It is a unique destination with stunning landscapes, beautiful midnight sun, and hot springs. That's not all, though, as there are natural attractions like the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa that offers mineral-rich, warm waters that are ideal for relaxing soaks. There are unique museums and colorful buildings.

Then, once you are done, you can head to Iceland's more out-of-this-world scenic regions, from the black sandy beaches to jaw-dropping waterfalls. You can also find unobstructed views of the Aurora Borealis from Iceland.

7. Paris, France

Eiffel Tower, Paris France
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You will always find Paris on lists of the best cities to visit in Europe in summer. One of the most romantic cities in the world, Paris is also known as the City of Lights. 

Famous all year long, summer in Paris offers incredibly long days, hot weather, and lots of fun and lively outdoor festivals around the cities. We've yet to mention the Seine River, Luxemburg Gardens, Jardin des Tuileries, the Arc De Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, the Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre.

8. Glasgow, Scotland

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We added Glasgow just because we personally love the city over here at the Frugal Expat, and we have put it in this list to be different. Although Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, Glasgow is a vibrant and exciting cultural melting pot. 

World-class museums, art galleries, some of the most breathtaking architecture, much of it designed by Glasgow's own Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and a wide variety of live music and comedy venues highlight a visit to Glasgow. Glaschu in Scottish Gaelic translates as “dear green place,” which is a fitting tribute to all the beautiful areas of luscious green around the city, including the stunning Glasgow Green and Kelvingrove Parks. If you are looking for a frugal choice, Glasgow is among the must-visit cheap destinations in Europe.

9. Vienna, Austria

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Vienna in Austria is often highlighted as one of the most beautiful places to visit in a European summer. A wonderful city, there is delicious food at every corner, a rich history and heritage, and some truly remarkable architecture. 

Among the many great sites you must visit while in Vienna are the Gothic architectural masterpiece St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Imperial Palace, the spectacular Schonbrunn Palace, and the exquisite gardens on its grounds. If you want a taste of Austrian food, walk around Naschmarkt, where you will find vendors selling a little bit of everything. Or, if you are a fan of classical music, you can take in a special concert in one of the central locales in the world for musical heritage.

10. Puglia, Italy

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What summer vacation would be without a trip to pristine and paradisaic beaches? When looking for some of the best beaches in Europe in summer, look no further than Puglia in Italy. 

Puglia is found in the heel of the country's boot and is known, among other things, for its quaint little whitewashed villages that look like they are from another period, truly yummy Italian food, and some of the most gorgeous beaches of all in Europe. 

While in this part of Italy, you should visit Albarello, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, with some breathtaking trulli houses that are not found anywhere else.

11. Santander, Spain

Santander, Spain
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You may be looking to visit Spain but want to try something different. 

Sure, Barcelona is delightful, Malaga is splendid. But one of the best summer destinations in Europe is Santander in Spain. Located in the country's north, it is famous for its rich and long cultural heritage, fun and vibrant atmosphere, and beautiful beaches. 

You can experience the lively nightlife, taste some of the most delicious seafood you've ever had, and stroll along the inspirational Playa del Sardinero. To explore a natural beauty landmark, visit the Picos de Europa National Park from Santander in a day.

12. Tallinn, Estonia

St. Olaf Baptist Church and Tallinn City Wall in the morning, Tallinn, Estonia
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Among the best places for summer in Europe is Tallinn in Estonia. Charming is a great way to describe the beautiful and incredibly well-preserved medieval city that offers so much for lovers of architecture and history. 

While here, there are many stunning landmarks to check out, including Kadriorg Palace and Park, Tallinn Town Hall, and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. You will want to take advantage of the inspirational views of the Kalamaja neighborhood or Toompea Hill. Estonia is often overlooked due to the upheaval of the past, but it is a beautiful country that is improving every year. The people are friendly in the capital, and you can learn so much there.

13. Krakow, Poland

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When you are looking for something different in the way of a summer break in Europe, Krakow has a lot to offer. 

This city has unique architecture and a rich and checkered history. Art galleries and museums, like the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Wawel Royal Castle, dot the city. If you want to go beyond the city parameters, you can take day trips to Wieliczka Salt Mine, which has crystal-clear lakes and miles of incredible underground chambers.

14. Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium
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Many of the best cities to visit in Europe in summer have rich medieval pasts, and one of the most impressive is Bruges. Visit this charming little city for spectacular architecture and photogenic canals. 

There are a variety of museums and other historical sites of interest, such as the Belfry of Bruges and the Groeningemuseum. If there is one thing that Belgium is famous for, it is the tasty chocolate for sale there. Take a stroll around the city with an indulgent treat.

15. Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany
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Berlin is another of the best summer destinations in Europe. Vibrant and culturally rich with a long and intriguing history, Berlin offers visitors a look at the past and the promises of the future. There are some fantastic locations and tourist attractions like Museum Island, home to some stunning art collections. 

In addition to this side of Berlin, there is the NOW, highlighted by a vibrant and exciting nightlife with an exceptional selection of clubs and bars. When you want a break from the hustle-bustle, why not take a stroll or picnic in one of the many cities in the gardens and parks. If you are hungry, you can enjoy some delicious delicacies like the sausages that the city is famous for.

16. Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway
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The Norwegian capital city of Oslo is among the best European summer destinations. It's found on the country's southern coast, and if you choose to visit Oslo in summer, you will benefit from very mild temperatures and long days. There are beautiful city parks like Ekebergparken Sculpture Park and Vigeland Park, where you can walk around or stop for lunch in a naturally beautiful spot. If you are interested in art, there is the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History and Munch Museum, featuring artwork by Edvard Munch.

17. Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland
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When you think of Helsinki, you might think that it's always cold here. Believe us, that is not the case. When a team member visited last year in the summer, it was very hot! 

Located on the country’s southern coast, there is a stunning blend of Russian and Scandinavian influence, which can be experienced by looking at its architecture and learning about its rich culture.. There are the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma or the Helsinki City Museum in terms of museums and galleries. For a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can take a ferry to the neighboring island of Suomenlinna, an 18th century sea fortress.

Final Thoughts

Santorini, Greece
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If you are looking for the best summer destinations in Europe to visit, whether for a selection of city breaks or for an extended time on the continent, we hope to have whetted your appetite with these possibilities. No matter what you are seeking from a holiday, you will find it on the continent. There are museums galore, truly luscious beaches, and some tasty cuisine. You can learn about history and culture and view some of the most breathtaking views and world-famous works of art.

Whatever you do, we hope you have an excellent time on your summer vacation to remember in Europe. We assemble the best guides possible but may need to include some things. If there is a specific city, town, or even a coastal village that could make a summer vacation in Europe not just good but great, please let us know in the comments section below.

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