- Written by Dan
Summer in Europe
Hostelling International / Photo by Tambako
Nothing Beats a Sizzling Continental Summer!
Summer in Europe is a great time and a perfect place to take a road trip, island hop, go interrailing on the continent’s amazing rail network, or try a combination of all three!
We culled the archives and came up with a few fantastic favourites to consider a Summer in Europe is on your docket.
The recent Royal Wedding showcased all things both British and Royal at their very best, and with the 2012 Olympic Games fast approaching, London is once again in the spotlight and at the top of most people’s wish list. A classic European must-do, the capital of the UK has all the museums, historic buildings, statues and famous sights you could ask for. And don’t forget—a trip to London is not complete without a trip on the tube, traditional fish and chip dinner, or a pint of warm beer at the local pub.
Ah, la Ville-Lumière, the city of lights, and yes, the city of romance! Take in Paris from all angles on top of the Eiffel Tower, which gives you a bird’s-eye view of this incredible, sprawling city. A leisurely cruise along the Seine reveals the numerous Parisian landmarks that dot its banks. Meander through the city’s streets and alleys, mostly because Paris is best seen on foot. Experience old Paris in Montmartre, where you will be transported back to the days when famous artists like Van Gogh called this city home.
Barcelona is one of our favourite European cities. Antoni Gaudi’s architecture alone makes the city unique and magnificent. One of his masterpieces is Parc Guell, and should absolutely top your sightseeing list. Take an evening stroll along Las Ramblas and enjoy the buzzing throng of locals, regional visitors and travellers. Check out street performers and market stalls along the way. The city’s fantastic restaurants give you plenty of options to sample authentic Spanish food—just know the nights start late here, with most locals only heading out for dinner at 10 p.m.
Berlin is like a living, breathing history museum, with its tumultuous past smacking you in the face almost every time you turn a corner. Checkpoint Charlie, the Reichstag, and what’s left of the Berlin Wall trace the city’s evolution through the 20th century. Unter den Linden, at the heart of the historic section of Berlin, is a fascinating boulevard, terminating at the majestic Brandenburg Gate. If you’re more into nightlife than history, Berlin’s diverse club scene will not disappoint. Dance the night away at one of the legendary underground clubs—that is, if you can find one!
Amsterdam is a city of districts, each revealing a unique personality. Stroll around the historic Canal District, or better still, rent a boat and explore by water. If you’re a culture fiend, head to the Museum Quarter and spend an afternoon with the works of Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Vermeer. Not to be missed is the Heineken Experience Center. Learn about the history of Holland’s most famous beer, and take a virtual reality ride through a brewery from the perspective of a Heineken bottle! And of course, several cold samples are included in the tour.
Stretching from Sorrento to Salerno, Italy’s Amalfi Coast has been hailed as Europe’s most stunning stretch of coastline. Cliffside villages, citrus groves, vineyards and sparkling blue waters—what more could you ask for? Each town along the coast has a unique flavour. Positano is postcard-picturesque, while Amalfi has character and a deep sense of history. If life on land is too stressful, you can always escape to one of the nearby islands of Capri, Procida or Ischia.
If you want to party, then Ibiza is the island for you. A famous holiday spot for young, trendy Europeans, the main resort of San Antonio offers world-class night clubs and bars. The music and clubbing scene is legendary here. But if you want to experience something more authentic, a short trip out of the resort takes you to stunning coastlines, beaches and traditional Spanish villages.
Here, the glitz and glam of Hollywood is transported to the South of France! St Tropez is a popular summer vacation destination for the rich and famous. But if cruising around in a Lamborghini isn’t your thing, don’t worry—this resort has much more up its sleeve. St Tropez dates back to Neolithic times, with six sites in the area dating as far back as 5000-1000 BC. You’ll also find the seaside town has still retained its small fishing village charm, with colourful streets and markets selling fish, flowers, local produce and antiques.
The azure waters, sandy coves and whitewashed houses of the Greek Isles are perfect for an island hopping summer adventure. Each island has its own charm; you’ll find tranquil islands like Andros and Lesbos, or more popular ones, such as Santorini, Kefelonia, Kos and Rhodes. You can also visit Leonard Cohen’s old favourite, Hydra. Island hop using the local ferry service or join one of the many sailing flotillas.
Whether you’re a festival fanatic or just want to take in the scenery, County Cork really does have something for everyone. Located at the most southern tip of Ireland, it has endless breathtaking views, especially from Kinsale and Cobh. While the views in the county alone make a trip to the Emerald Isle more than worth it, the bustling city of Cork has plenty of pubs and clubs serving, what else, but the famed Guinness and hearty Irish stew we all know and love. Did we also mention that the city is located only minutes from Blarney? Kiss the famous stone and get the Irish ‘gift of the gab.’
Summer in Europe is one of the best seasons to explore and indulge, and with this list as your guide you are sure to have a spectacular time.