What should I include or consider for this summer?
We love Europe, and we have been all over the old continent, exploring the best European destinations over the last summers and winter.
We are Europeans ourselves, lived in several places!
However, that’s not to say we know it all. No way. We would still love to know more, explore more and discover the smallest villages to the highest mountains. There is so much to explore.
Last Update for 2020: Guide to book accommodation in Europe
After our travels, and the stories of our friends who actually went to places we have on our bucket list, we are keen sharing with you the 21 best European destinations for this summer 2020.
From the most southern point of Europe, up to Scandinavia, from Lisbon and Porto to Moscow – there is a lot to explore and discover.
Before we kick off…
Traveling in winter? Find our top 16 European Winter Destinations here.
Here is our perfect and light packing list (to pack smarter and lighter).
Best Places to visit in Europe (in Summer)
Let’s kick away those bulky winter boots and put on the flips flops.
We created this extended list with a map of 21 European destinations to enjoy this summer:
- Ghent, Belgium
- Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain
- St. Petersburg
- Leiria, Portugal
This list of cool European destinations is a great resource for the 1st time visitor as well as the experienced European city-hopper.
It will be your inspiration for your Europe summer itinerary and things to do. Here you find a bunch of best things to do in Europe too.
Bear in mind, many of these places are also fantastic in the off season., not only perfect in July, August and September.
As we really, really love the beach…and food…and a cool hostel, we want to start wiiiiiiiiith:
1. Rhodes, Greece
Rhodes and actually all the Greek Islands are famous for being an awesome European summer destination!
You can either join the popular nightlife or just hang out at the beach all day long and go early to bed to repeat it the next day.
Either way, don’t miss out on the food, you would regret it!
Make sure you get out of the city as well. The island has plenty of different corners to explore. Therefore, get a bike, scooter or rent a car and hit the road. Check prices directly with Discover Cars here.
Where to stay in Rhodes?
Rhodes is home to STAY Hostel Rhodes, an outstanding hostel for every type of traveler.
In fact, it is a 5 Star Hostel!
The high-quality hostel skipped the idea of bunk beds, and you will get a well-designed room, with a comfy mattress and single beds.
For the couple-traveler, there are as well double-rooms, no worries! Families can go with the apartments.
What do to in Rhodes:
So, what can you do here on the island?
EXPLORE! You can dive into the food culture, the wine, the historic center and history behind and of course so much nature from parks to beaches.
Besides exploring, here is a list of things to do in Rhodes:
2. Santorini, Greece
Everybody will be jealous of your sunset photos from Santorini! This is why we added the instagrammy-glam-factor!
Known as one of the most beautiful islands in Greece, it is much better to stay on the island than doing a single day trip.
Once the tourists from the cruises leave the island, you will feel like in heaven. Make sure you rent a car in Santorini. We always compare car rentals with Discover Cars. But, make it a small one. You will be glad you did, since some streets are narrow. Economy car rental prices start from around 11€ per day.
It’s time to find a nice terrace and watch the magical sunset while delighting some Greek food.
We recommend combining both trips to Rhodes and Santorini. Both islands offer everything you need for your epic European summer. From here you can take as well day trips to smaller islands around.
Where to stay in Santorini?
Experience to sleep in a cave! The 5 Star Hostel Caveland Santorini used to be a winery, and a former luxury hotel.
It was totally refurbished and nowadays it is a unique hostel.
They offer yoga classes on the rooftop terrace, cozy vibes, and… a swimming pool!
The perfect combination to feel relaxed and refreshed after an exploring day.
Read: best hostels in Santorini compared – with Pools and Instagram
What do to in Santorini
Most people just go to Santorini to fill their Instagram profiles with beautiful photos of white houses (you can check our Instagram). Fair enough, we say.
Yet, this tiny but beautiful island has much more to offer:
- local tips to enjoy Santorini as a Local
- Fun things to do in Santorini
- 49 Santorini photos to fall in love with the island
One of the absolute must-things to do in Santorini are:
- Take a Volcano Tour
- Visit one of the most the beautiful villages in Europe, Oia
- Take a parasailing flight
- Enjoy sunsets
- enjoy food and a few cocktails in a beach bar
Update: Guide to 5 best Volcano Tours in Santorini
3. Interlaken, Switzerland
- and again: SPORT!
Interlaken is the European sports capital! You can do endless sports activities here.
A few activities to mention:
- jumping out of a plane
- climbing down a canyon
- or simply trekking around their stunning mountains
Even if you are not looking for adventure on your Europe itinerary, you can enjoy the incredible nature here. The high mountains, the lakes, the green all over.
It is a explosion of colors here, something we personally did not expect that beautiful!
Therefore, Interlaken is one of the best places to visit in European Summer (and winter)!
You can reach Interlaken by train, bus and your own car. We parked our car directly in front of Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof in the center.
For getting around Switzerland, I highly recommend renting a car. In parts, the train is absolutely gorgeous, but when travelling with more than 1 person, the car is the cheapest way to get around.
Where to stay in Interlaken?
Centrally located, on a budget, and with high standards, Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof is the place to sleep in Interlaken.
They do have a spacious kitchen and social area, as well an inclusive breakfast to start your day with energy.
Read: Complete guide to best hostels in Switzerland
What do to in Interlaken:
Interlaken is known as a sports capital, so you will struggle to decide what to do. You can find all the best things to do in Interlaken with Outdoor Interlaken.
They also list all of the activities in Interlaken in Winter. For the relaxed travelers, it is also a great destination, as you will be surrounded by incredibly amazing nature.
4. Ghent, Belgium
- Hidden gem
Ghent is a real hidden gem in Europe.
The city of Bruges and Brussels are the famous spots in Belgium, and they eclipse Ghent.
In our opinion, Ghent is a more lively city: Its architecture, its canals… and the lively student flair fills up the city.
Let the big tourists crowds go to the nearby Bruges and enjoy a European hidden gem.
Especially at night, Ghent is extremely beautiful. Walk around at night, have dinner, and wander along the canals. Like in many European destinations, the lights of the main sights are turned off at midnight.
BTW: Bruges is really beautiful. It’s worth it to stop by for day trip!
Where to stay in Ghent?
Stay at a cute old Belgian house with cozy rooms just in front of the Castle.
B&B Waterzooi is not only a beautiful accommodation.
The hosts go out of their way to make guest stay as pleasant as possible.
As for hostels, check out all hostels in Ghent here.
What do to in Ghent
Belgium is known for its beer and chocolate and beer, but culturally, it has many other things!
Here you have some articles which might be interesting for you:
- Joëlle from Worldwanderista has a list of things to do in Ghent
5. London (classic)
- The unofficial capital of Europe (still)
- Everybody must visit London at least once in a lifetime
London is a vibrant city which everybody must visit at least once in their life.
Landmarks, activities, experiences,… it is in continuously changing. This one is a real classic. London, the biggest city in Europe and as big as New York City, I believe, has EVERYTHING.
From theater, musicals, every type of culinary scene in the world, sport, big events, street art, art, museums, …. the list is endless!
Here’s our guide to 62 Things to do in London for free.
Where to stay in London?
London is huge. Best would be to read this detailed guide on where to stay in London.
It covers all neighborhoods and types of accommodation.
Back to my recommendations: Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage is located in an old Victorian Mansion. It will make you feel in a real British home.
Palmers Lodge Hillspring was an old former police academy.
Nowadays, it has been turned into a boutique hostel with comfortable self-customized bunk beds. Both 5 Star Hostels are very near from the metro stop, which is the perfect way to move around the city.
Not a hostel type of person? Then check this guide on where to stay in London – with handpicked hotels for families and couples.
Read: Full guide to best hostels in London
What do to in London
London city has infinite activities to do.
We collected some interesting posts for you so you do not feel overwhelmed:
- 18 fun things to do in London
- our local secrets for London, with budget travel hints
- 62 FREE things to do in London
- perfect itinerary for 4 days in London
- One Week in London – 7 days Itinerary
- for unique tours, check Take Walks in London
6. Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Hidden Gem
Artsy, architecture, lifestyle…
Rotterdam is one of the most exhilarating cities in Europe. It is basically an open air gallery.
It will delight you with its world and lifestyle vision.
Where to stay in Rotterdam?
To experience Rotterdam at its fullest, go to Ani&Hakkien Hostel, the coolest hostel in town.
With a cozy common area and a green garden with hammocks, they do even have a vintage shop, an exposition of works and live music or film screening.
In this cozy hostel is all about creating a sense of community.
You might never want to leave this hostel!
We compared the best hostels in Rotterdam here.
What do to in Rotterdam
Famous for its nightlife, Rotterdam is also an open air gallery with plenty of things to offer. Visit the impressive masterpiece of market hall and head over the Kinderdijk.
In spring you will find many tulip fields all around. The perfect, cliché Netherlands experience. But seriously, it is beautiful!
We collected more awesome things to do in Rotterdam for you:
7. Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
- Hidden gem
- Surfing! or kite surfing, paddle boarding…
Fuerteventura is a volcanic island in Spain with great food, good weather, and smiley people. Yes, Canary Islands are Spanish even though their location is more South than Morocco.
We like to say: It’s Africa with Europeans living on it.
Super important will be to rent a car. We have lived two months on Fuerteventura. The public transport exists, but it is not very frequent and not easy to get around. We highly recommend to rent a car. This way you can drive to Cofete in the South and explore the area around El Cotillo.
Where to stay in Fuerteventura?
Fuerteventura looks small on the map but distances are tricky and long. You should adjust your location to the activities/ places you want to do and see.
The best option for Fuerteventura is to rent an apartment or to stay at a super cool surf hostel.
Here you can find all hostels in Fuertventura.
There are many beautiful apartments in Airbnb.
The best area to stay in is the North, around Corralejo and El Cotillo. if you want to some nightlife and more restaurants, Corralejo is the best option.
Read: guide to best hostels in Spain – with map and itinerary
What do to in Fuerteventura
Surf, kite surf, paddle-surf, sunbathing, trekking, cycling, or simply eating!
So many fresh products and good Mediterranean food with reasonable prices are waiting for you. One of the most beautiful beaches for me was the Playa de la Escalera.
Also: do not miss out to drive South to the Cofete and Villa Winter. You will need to rent a car for this.
Legend has it that at the end of WW2, Nazi officers escaped from Europe to Cofete in Fuerteventura to take a submarine to South America.
Personal note: We did our very first hitchhiking in Fuerteventura.
- Culture (museums)
- Epic crazy nightlife and party
Amsterdam knows how to meld history with urban modern flair! You can find many interesting cultural spots, learn a lot about the European History.
As well as enjoy its canals, neighborhoods, cafés, eateries, and exciting lifestyle.
Where to stay in Amsterdam?
The two best hostels in Amsterdam are Ecomama and Cocomama. Both very good located, these are the hipster places in Amsterdam.
Cocomama is the very first boutique hostel in Amsterdam.
With a very intimate atmosphere, only groups of maximum 4 people are accepted. Each room is designed with a unique Dutch theme. You will enjoy its design and activities!
Ecomama, the green sister or Cocomama.
A funky eco-friendly hostel with plenty of activities for the new-generation travelers.
Read: complete guide to best hostels in Amsterdam – compared
For Hotels and Apartments, read this guide on where to stay in Amsterdam for first-timers.
What do to in Amsterdam
If you plan any museum visit, bear in mind that you might find a long queue.
We collected here the 3 museums you should book in advance. You can buy your tickets on the following links:
For the daily life experiences, we collected many other ideas to spend your time:
Lisbon to us, this city is charismatic and vibrant, plus the food is amazing (and CHEAP!).
The city itself has so much to offer, from Culture to Architecture, and nightlife.
But, the area is stunning as well. You can do endless day trips to nice cities like Peniche, Evora and Cascais. Only a short bus or train ride away, there are nice sandy beaches.
Lisbon is a great city to visit for families.
Where to stay in Lisbon?
What about to stay central with city views? Cool, uh?
Wait, wait….it gets better! Cool Design, a Zebra bar and a swimming pool on the rooftop terrace.
The 5 Star Hostel in Lisbon, Sunset Destination Hostel, has everything mentioned. A relaxing paradise in the city center.
Get our full guide to the best hostels in Lisbon, Portugal here.
What do to in Lisbon
Lisbon is easy to move, to find good food and to enjoy your time. No need to rent a car or anything. It is easy to get to the beaches by public transport and get around the city. Even renting a bike is not the best idea, as it can be hilly. Personally, I do not enjoy this when cycling.
My best tip, is enjoy the beautiful trams and take buses around. I always enjoy this in Lisbon. That being said, you can also make a full Portugal trip out of your time. Rent a car in Lisbon and drive up the coast to Porto; you will encounter beautiful, small villages along the way.
Here some information for you:
- 29 fun things to do in Lisbon, Portugal
- 5 Things you should really do in Lisbon
- our 5 best local tips for Lisbon
- for unique tours in Lisbon, have a look at Take Walks
Also, we collected here the must do things in Lisbon. You can buy your tickets in advance on the following links:
- Cheap destination
- Beaches and day trips
It is still a hidden gem. From Lisbon we move up to the North to Porto. It is cheaper than Lisbon and smaller. And it has different things to do. You can climb the bridge here, taste the world famous port wine and wander the Douro River along to the ocean.
Porto is amazing!
It is also home to the famous Lello library. You know the one J. K. Rowling was writing partially Harry Potter. It is one of the most beautiful book shops in the world.
They have a clock tower in the very city center to climb, the Clerigos Tower. From here you see the whole city. This is especially wonderful during sunset.
Another highlight for me was climbing the Porto bridge near the ocean – for only 15€!
Where to stay in Porto?
We found the perfect place for
- small groups
The Passenger Hostel is the absolute most amazing and best hostel in Porto.
It is a top-notch hostel located literally inside a monumental building. It is the Sao Bento Station. So you are staying downtown!
You enjoy an included breakfast, play some fun games and mingle with fellow hostel mates, and wake up in a design-led hostel environment.
Read: Complete guide to best hostels in Porto – from High-end Boutique to Backpacker
What do to in Porto?
In Porto you can enjoy an incredible culinary scene. You eat like a king here!
Besides eating like there is no tomorrow, have a port. Better, a port wine. The world famous porto wine is being shipped from here. The wine itself comes from the Douro Valley.
Take a river cruise to the douro valley.
Visit the world famous Library Lello and understand a part of Harry Potter a bit more.
Walk around the small alleys and the hills in Porto. Climb the Clerigos Tower during sunset.
Another highlight for me was climbing the Porto bridge.
Read our guide to the 11 hidden gems of Porto.
We even took a day trip to Costa Nova Beach and Aveiro, called the “Portuguese Venice“. For this you will need to rent a car. There is tolls in Portugal, but they are very cheap, so nothing to worry about.
- Cheap destination
In the shadow of the big Barcelona and Madrid, Valencia is yet a beautiful destination who managed to keep it’s authentic vibe and lifestyle.
Come here, enjoy the Spanish lifestyle at its best within Valencia’s old town.
Oh and the beach is not far away from the city center!
Where to stay in Valencia?
Valencia has some cool hotels and guesthouses. We wrote a big guide on comparing best hostels in Valencia.
Airbnb is also very common. Here’s our 35$ discount for your first booking with Airbnb.
As for hostels, there is a few super cool ones. The coolest hostels in Valencia are:
- Cantagua Hostel – best for female solo-travelers (it has an age limit!)
- Home Youth Hostel by Feetup Hostels – best hostel for backpackers
- Valencia Lounge Hostel – best option for couples
Cantagua Hostel comes with a beautiful interior design, super cool dorms, and a chill out vibe you will enjoy.
The staff is on top of the game, and the location is in Eixample, directly at Russafa. If you have read our introduction, we have mentioned Russafa and City Center are the best neighborhoods to stay in Valencia.
Cantagua Hostel is fantastic for its vibes, its cleanliness, location, and design. It has an age limit though.
If you are traveling solo, stay here!
What do to in Valencia
There are plenty of things to do in Valencia. The most famous is la Tomatina and Las Fallas in March. Not heard about it?
Both are epic festivals!
If you are not in Valencia during the festival, no worries, there are plenty of things to do in the third biggest city in Spain:
As for renting a car, for Valencia itself as a city break, you won’t need a car at all. You can rent a bike and ride it to the beach, I always enjoyed this.
As for day trips, I absolutely recommend visiting the castle in Xativa. You won’t expect this, I promise. Another highlight for me was the tiny town of Bocairent. It is TINY and you can visit a very authentic bullfighting arena and caves.
You will need a car for these day trips. I know I sound like a broken record, but Discover Cars…well, you know!
Check the guide on best things to do in Spain here.
Just North of Valencia you find Barcelona. Barcelona has it all: party, beach, culture, architecture, mouth-watering food…
What else could you ask? Oh, good transport connection in case you want to escape from the city one day.
Well, Barcelona has good transport, (and many places to visit nearby). Here is a guide on how to get around Barcelona.
Where to stay in Barcelona?
So many places, so little time… stay central or nearby a metro stop, that is the key to enjoy Barcelona to the fullest.
Here you have a full guide to where to stay in Barcelona.
It includes where to stay for families, friends, couples… A full guide with neighborhoods descriptions.
We have also some hostel recommendations, check them at our article 3 best hostels in Barcelona.
What do to in Barcelona
We know and love Barcelona, it is our hometown. That is why, we can give you plenty of information about it.
- 23 fun things to do in Barcelona
- cool things to do in Barcelona
- Barcelona nightlife tips – and how to dress
- 33 day trips from Barcelona
Visit Barcelona on a shoe string budget? Then check all the FREE Things to do in Barcelona. Whatever you do, do NOT rent a car in Barcelona. It is a pain to park, seriously.
Of course, for visiting the Costa Brava and such, the car is a very good idea. The train will only bring you to Blanes, the first village at Costa Brava. The bus is also an option as it connects villages like Tossa de Mar, Pals and others.
Please remember that there is tolls in Spain. Yo can calculate your route and total costs for gas and tolls with Viamichelin.com.
As for sights, we collected here the 3 places you should book in advance. You can buy your tickets on the following links:
It is one of the tiniest countries in Europe, surrounded by mountains.
Andorra is a sports country, you can enjoy kayak, mountain bike, skiing, rafting,… or simply admire the scenery. I both enjoy it for hiking in summer as well as winter sports in winter.
Getting to Andorra by public transport from Barcelona is not very easy. Getting to Andorra by car is much easier and more flexible. In fact, all the other travelers at Mountain hostel came by renting a car from Barcelona.
It is a great chance to visit one more country in Europe most people do not even know.
Fun Fact about Andorra: Andorra has no army and an agreement with both France and Spain about their defense. Both countries would defend Andorra with their military in case something happens.
Where to stay in Andorra
Located in an old farmhouse, Mountain Hostel Tarter is the place to be. You will get the vibes and mood to enjoy this tiny country at the best.
Mar, the owner of Mountain Hostel, will help you to design your perfect itinerary.
She knows this country as the back of her hand, and she loves to show it to all the hostel guests. Have a look at the hostel story on the video below.
NOTE: They even have an open air Jacuzzi. One more reason to stay with them.
What do to in Andorra
Kayak, Mountain Bike, skiing (in winter time), rafting… There are plenty of activities to do in this tiny country!
The scenery is very beautiful. If you do not want to practice any sport, you can just relax and enjoy the views.
Andorra is also known for their low taxes.
Many people from the countries nearby come just to buy Alcohol, electronics, and even cheese and sugar products.
14. Venice, Italy
It is incredibly beautiful with its old buildings, romantic flair all along the city, nice sunsets and Italian food.
The floating city of Venice is one of those places everyone wants to see at least once in their life.
The city of Venice is very very touristy. This is no secret. However, to my surprise, you can sneak away from the tourist path really easily. Just go away from the main San Marco Square and the street connecting it with the train station.
It is beautiful, romantic – come here, please.
It is great in summer and winter. Actually, all year long!
Where to stay in Venice
Located in an old form monastery, Combo Hostel is the place to stay during your visit to Venice.
A premium hostel in the main island of Venice with cozy designed rooms and in-house bar offering one of the best spritz in the city.
This hostel is perfect for solo-travelers, couples and families. For more details, check this guide on where to stay in Venice for first-timers.
Read: complete guide to the best hostels in Venice Italy
What do to in Venice
So many things to do in Venice besides taking 1.000.000 photos for your Instagram feed. Find here our best 6 hidden gems to Venice.
- Visit Burano, the colorful island next to Venice
- Have a coffee in Piazza de San Marco
- Eat tasty Italian food. Here we list our favorite restaurants in Venice.
- Hop on a boat ride
- Exclusive Alone In St. Mark’s Basilica After Hours
As for transport in Venice, you cannot even drive a bike in the actual center and city. You can take a train to the entrance of the city, and that is it. At some points you can cross the big canal with a public boat, which costs around 2€.
There is no bikes, no cars, no segways and so on in Venice. Do not be that person calling a hotel asking for parking spots in Venice…just, don’t!
If you plan to travel by car around Italy, you will need to park you car in the Mestre area.
Take a trip to Bologna too. It is the birth place of Italian Cuisine. We recommend staying 2 nights in Bologna. Check out WE Bologna, a fun and design hostel we love. The train connection to Bologna and Florence is perfect and very affordable.
Our full article: We_Bologna, the 5 Star Hostel in Bologna
- Hidden Gem
- Education hub
Its nickname is Jewel Box and it is still a hidden gem for many people. Dresden is not very known outside Europe!
Dresden also has one of the most impressive nature landmarks nearby: Elbe Sandstone Mountain.
And is the capital of Saxony, and was the former royal residency.
Where to stay in Dresden
To get the authentic Dresden flair, stay at Lollis Homestay. A creative, laid-back hostel, run by genuine backpackers.
They turned an old DDR car into a cosy bed. They do offer a room where you will feel you shrink yourself, like in the 80s movie „Honey, I shrunk the Kids“.
An authentic mirror of the city and neigbourhood it’s nestled in.
What do to in Dresden
If you go during summer, you will be able to hang out on all the beer gardens that are around the city. But there are many other things you can do!
We listed a full list with 32 cool things to do in Dresden.
We highly recommend to visit the Sandstone Mountains. It is about 45km from Dresden, a great day trip. Have a look at the photo below. Wanna go here for a hike?
The Elbe Sandstone Mountain is located in the Czech Republic, just across the border. You can rent a car with Discover Cars and drive there.
16. Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Relatively unknown
It is the perfect bite-size city! The capital of Slovenia is also a cheap, safe destination, and you will find friendly locals.
Ljubljana means “beloved” in a literal translation. And believe us: It won’t take you too long to fall under his charm.
We have visited for 3 nights, this is a great time window to see it all, enjoy the free walking tours and eat at the markets. I absolutely enjoyed the car-free inner city. More cities should follow their example.
If you are coming for 3 days to Ljubljana, you can also throw in a day at the famous Lake Bled. Get a car or take a short bus ride to the lake. Go for a hike here and enjoy the warmer months here.
Did you know that there is actually free-living bears in the mountains of Slovenia? No worries, they actually never come to the cities. But, there is areas where you can go and watch them. Amazing!
Where to stay in Ljubljana
As Ljubljana is a very cheap destination, why don’t treat yourself with a faboulous penthouse with a terrace?
As for an apartment: You will have a blast at Embassy terrace apartment. It also has an open bath-tube!
As for cool hostels: Hostel Celica is a an awesome hostel.
It is a former prison, turned into a fun, cool hostel. Perfect for families, groups and solo-travellers.
They even host live concerts, walking tours, bike tours. Seriously, this is the best hostel in Ljubljana. We actually visited them in person of course.
Read: 3 best hostels in Ljubljana compared
What do to in Ljubljana
As Ljubljana is a relatively unknown, it is difficult to find good articles about it.
Yet, we some interesting information:
- A real gem on the Danube river
While it should be ranked as one of the top places to visit in Europe, Budapest is still an underrated city.
Why? Well, some people say they want to keep it from themselves and avoid the massive tourism.
Budapest will surprise you with exciting sites, delicious dishes and relaxing thermal waters.
Where to stay in Budapest
The Maverick City Lodge. It is a modern design Hostel located in the heart of Budapest close to plenty of restaurants, cafés and monuments.
This makes it very convenient to come and go!
In this guide we compare the best hostels in Budapest, Hungary.
What do to in Budapest
There is a reason not to plan your weekends in Budapest. Budapest hosts most festivals than weeks of the year! We have to admit, Hungarians know how to celebrate.
Here you can check all the official events in Budapest.
Check also 29 places that prove that Budapest a stunning city in Europe .
Check out our favorite fun things to do in Budapest: it includes a spa, a local restaurant and a green park to relax.
Don’t leave Budapest if you did not ticked the following things:
- Dinner cruise along the Danube with live music
- Go to a Spa and spend your day relaxing in the warm water
18. St Petersburg
- Cheap destination
St Petersburg, or “Peeter” as locals call it, is a young and vibrant city is full of museums, cathedrals, gardens… and royal palaces.
Where to stay in St. Petersburg
Check out the capsule beds at Inbox Capsule– everything you need to be comfortable in one small space, with the added bonus of an in- room social area.
And here is a spoiler! Each capsule has its very own ventilator and A/C.
Read: 3 best hostels in Saint Petersburg
What do to in Saint Petersburg
- Stingy Nomads put online a complete itinerary for 3 days in St. Petersburg
19. Berlin (classic, Hipster)
Berlin is a unique city in Germany, and Europe. Actually, Berlin is a unique city in the world!
Full of history and impressive monuments, it has some of the best museums and Galleries in Europe.
Yet the best is the Berlin flair: neighborhoods with plenty of cafés, bars, discos, and people enjoying life. Mix it with the culture richness and you get a heaven for creatives and travelers.
Where to stay in Berlin
What a better place to stay in Berlin than at the stylish boutique Wallyard Concept Hostel.
Combining an industrial design with the hipster vibe of Berlin. WALLYARD (as we call it for short) goes beyond simply putting together a stylish-looking hostel – it is a lifestyle.
Read: complete guide to best hostels in Berlin
What do to in Berlin
Here’s our guide to cool things to do in Berlin.
Too many things to little time. Berlin offers to many things for the travelers. Here our highlights:
- Visit the Bundestag: Book here a free visit at the parliament
- Visit the Berlin tower and have a window seat
- the coolest city in Germany
Hamburg is not the typical European holiday destination.
There are no castles, no palaces, no big squares with gilded monuments, neither grand downtown avenues.
Even the biggest church is relatively modest. That shows you that this city has been a conservative merchant city.
Hamburg it is the second largest city in Germany, and of course, it does have some sights.
The most interesting part though is its vibrant music scene,its funky accommodation, mouth-watering food and drink smorgasbord. And the brilliantly unpredictable night life.
It’s a positively city buzzing with a youthful, creative and welcoming energy.
Where to stay in Hamburg:
Here#s our guide to best hostels in Hamburg, Germany.
Heading to Munich, South Germany? Here’s our guide to the 3 best hostels in Munich.
What do to in Hamburg:
- Visit the Philarmonie
- Climb St. Michaelis church tower
- Time out collects 7 best things to do in Hamburg
- Wander the harbour
- Soak in the St Pauli and Reeperbahn Nightlife
Need more inspiration?
Read our guide to cool things to do in Hamburg and discover a delicious restaurant, a cool breakfast place or where to picnic with locals.
21. Tartu, Estonia
- hidden gem
Estonia is still a hidden gem in Europe and most of the travelers will choose Tallin to visit.
But if you want to get to the bottom of what Estonia is really about, go to Tartu.
Tartu is actually the oldest city in Estonia. It dates back to the 11th Century! It is also home to one of Northern Europe’s oldest universities.
Even though is the second largest town in Estonia ,Tartu is very compact. With most sights, restaurants and nightlife nestled across a couple of parallel streets, the best part is that it is a hot bed for creative and scientific culture.
Tartu is full of students. Meaning, there is always something on from theatre performances to concerts and festivals.
Nightlife is EPIC!
Where to stay in Tartu
Minimal design, maximal effect! Stay at Hektor Design Hostel.
Located inside an old and nostalgic commercial space and warehouse, this budget accommodation invites guests to the cool, young city in an unique way.
What do to in Tartu
- Fancy a video about what you can expect from Tartu? Just hit play
Extra: 22. Leiria in Portugal
- Hidden gem
Leiria, located in Portugal, is still a hidden gem.
Having all the good food, and good vibes Portugal is known for, it has also design galleries to check out during your travel. It is located North of Lisbon, on the way to Porto.
You could even just take a day trip from Lisbon to Leiria. Actually, I would add Leiria to your list for the road trip in Portugal I recommended to you earlier.
Where to stay in Leiria
Portuguese are known for being very welcoming. They do really appreciate tourism.
To get to know better the Portuguese culture and get the best hidden tips, we recommend you to have an Airbnb experience.
A really fantastic hostel to stay in Leiria is the Most Art Boutique Hostel.
What do to in Leiria
Such a hidden gem that no many posts about the city are yet written.
In Leiria, you can visit the castle, one of the many expositions or simply enjoy the lifestyle and Portuguese food.
Just 14 minutes away, you can visit one of the 7 wonders of Portugal, the Batalha Monastery.
Best time to visit Europe on a budget?
As always, Europe is busy in the vacation time of the schools, meaning AUGUST!
This is when you find most places more expensive and crowded.
We especially enjoy traveling in Europe in May, June and September to November. This is when the places are usually a bit cheaper, less people and therefore a bit more to enjoy.
This is especially good to know if you are traveling Europe on a budget.
How to get around Europe?
Getting around Europe is fairly easy. There are many options and it can be really really cheap, if you play your cards right.
The main transportation in Europe are:
- Car Rental
- van life
The most flexible way to get around.
It is perfect to be independent. You can visit villages, beaches, you name it. There is MANY rental companies out there.
The absolute easiest way to compare car rentals is Discover Car.
Finally we can recommend a car rental site. We have tested this website several times and it is great.
They compare different companies and is no hidden costs etc. It is all very well straight forward. They also offer car insurance with them directly. This makes things much easier and cheaper!
Why? Because the car insurance is usually the most expensive part.
As always, we recommend checking the small letters when renting cars.
Bear in mind: It’s more expensive to rent a car when you cross borders. Renting a car in Spain and giving it back in France can be quite expensive. Plus, not all rental companies allow crossing borders. I recommend renting cars inside one country.
Every country has its own train company.
These are at the same time the cheapest option to buy. You can buy either online or directly at the train station.
In countries like Germany and Italy I experienced big online discounts. When you book ahead of time, it can safe you a lot of money.
Fast and cheap! The bus to the airport can sometimes be more expensive than the flight itself.
I am not kidding!
My record? I caught a flight for Fuerteventura, Canary Islands for 12€.
Kiwi allows a lot of filter options and you can even search by radius.
What does this mean?
Just draw a circle around a destination, like Italy and Kiwi shows you the cheapest destinations to fly to. Pretty handy, especially when you are flexible!
It might be slower, but it is a great and cheap way to get around.
I wrote a complete guide on taking the bus with Flixbus in Europe.
A great tip: Always bring a jacket to the bus when traveling. Some countries like Spain are world championship winners in Air conditioning. At least, that is what it feels like. I once got really sick from an AC in summer, not a great way to spend the warm days, right!?
There is always a local company running these ferries, so I do not have a generic rule or website about this. If you have any, I would love to add this to the list.
Just to have this list completed, the #vanlife movement in Europe is huge.
France has a big cultural thing going on with vans and caravans, same as Germans, and Dutch. In counties like Portugal you can even rent vans for a day or week.
This is more for the adventurous traveler, but certainly possible.
This one however takes a long time, so not really recommended for a 2 weeks Europe trip. However, Europe is very bike friendly. Especially “flat” countries like the Netherlands are wonderful for cycling.
Personally, I took once a bike trip from Stockholm to Oslo, amazing time!
So, if you are ever considering doing a bike trip, go for it! I can really recommend it.
Accommodation in Europe
When you travel around, you obviously need a place to stay. In Europe the most common types of accommodation are:
- Guesthouses and B&Bs
- Camping Sites
Resorts are not that common but you can definitely find luxury spas and resorts all over the place as well.
What re some booking sites to find accommodation?
1. Booking.com (for Hotels and Guesthouses)
For all your hotel bookings all over Europe, Booking.com is the safest places to book. It is the worlds biggest website for accommodation and comes with lots of advantages.
The biggest advantage: It is reliable!
2. Hostelworld (for Hostels and budget places)
As for budget places and especially hostels, Hostelworld.com is the most commonly used booking site. They offer the widest range of budget accommodation in Europe.
Read: how to use Hostelworld – our step-by-step guide
Talking about hostels, do not underestimate the hostels in Europe. They can be pure luxury, and there is even 5 Star Hostels.
Example? The photo below shows the 5 Star Hostel in Santorini, a former winery, 5 Star Resort with swimming pool, BBQs and yoga lessons.
Summary Best places to visit in Europe this summer
Here you have our 21 top places to visit in Europe this summer.
Did you have already some of them on your bucket list? Did we inspire you with a couple of places to add to your bucket list? We would love to hear about it.
So, please feel free to leave a comment below.
Get ready for your summer European trip and read the following articles:
- 15 Accommodation Booking hacks for your European trip
- Stay connected in Europe with Hippocket WiFi
- Get cheap flights in Europe and all over the world
- Download the smartest packing list
Here you have also the full list of all the places we include in our best places to visit in Europe this summer.
Map with all destinations for better planning
We put them also on a map.
This way, it will be easier for you to plan your itinerary.
- Ghent, Belgium
- Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain
- St. Petersburg
- Leiria, Portugal
Over to you
We wrote this guide to best summer destinations in Europe due to our readers request.
More than 30.000 readers enjoy our best winter destinations in Europe.
But for summer?
Oh, yeah, for summer, Europe has even more to offer.
Therefore, we wrote this guide and we want to to make this article as useful as possible.
Any questions, doubts, anything?
Please please please leave a comment and let us know.
Your comment helps us to cover all the questions you still have after reading the whole article.
It helps us to make this article better, it helps travelers to travel to cooler places and get more information you need.
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