Top 5 European Destinations To Visit This Summer
When we picture visiting Europe in the summer, images of sipping coffee in Italy, riding the London Eye or sitting on a gondola in Venice may all come to mind. And for good reason – they are all fun and exciting things to do in Europe. But for many people, they’ve already been done. But there is more to Europe than the few places that pop up on TV. Here are 5 places in Europe that aren’t at the top of your radar, but where you’re sure to have a blast!
Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
This stunning lake in Slovenia covers 790 acres, and is the largest permanent lake in Slovenia. Just a short 26km from Lake Bled, the most famous lake in Slovenia, Lake Bohinj is less touristy but equally as beautiful. It is a glacial lake, whose clear waters contain brown trout, common minnow, Arctic char and burbot, and it’s a popular destination for outdoor activities including hiking, kayaking and horseback riding.
Latvia’s capital city Riga is both timeless and modern. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Riga offers beautiful river views, cobblestone streets, and stunning architecture that combines 800 years of history, from the German Knights, Swedish Kings and Soviet commissars who all left their footprint in this metropolis. Visit Riga’s Central Market to get some yummy Latvian staples like sausage, cheese and black bread, and take your picnic to one of the beautiful parks in the city.
Hvar Island, Croatia
Hvar Island, known as the “sunniest spot in Europe”, offers beautiful Mediterranean beaches without the same crowds found in other well-known locations. Visit some or all of the four main towns on the island: Hvar Town, Stari Grad, Vrboska and Jelsa. Tour the 16th century Franciscan Monastary, visit the vineyards, sleep in beautiful hotels and eat at elegant restaurants. In the interior of the island you’ll find pathways lined with lavender leading to secluded coves. It’s a hidden gem that you won’t want to miss!
It’s not Paris, and it’s not Marseilles. It’s Colmar, one of the most charming and romantic destinations in Europe. Located on the Alsatian Wine Route, the city has kept it’s old town well preserved with numerous architectural landmarks and several fascinating museums. Whether you take a boat trip down the canal or rent a bicycle to explore the cobblestoned streets on your own, you’re sure to enjoy your time in this historic little town. If you enjoy perusing the shops, you’ll love all the little boutiques selling a variety of local, gourmet products - everything from wine to cheese chocolates to pretzels.
The largest city in the northern province of Biscay, Bilbao was voted the 2018 European City of the Year by the Academy of Urbanism. Home of the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim museum, as well as the Fine Arts Museum and the Basque Museum, you can visit Bilbao to see hundreds of exhibitions and presentations. Bilbao and the surrounding Basque country are also home to 40 Michelin-starred restaurants, so real foodies will need a few days to hit all the spots they want. See international opera stars at the Palacio Euskalduna, or just enjoy the natural beauty of the rolling green hills around Bilbao to the beautiful coastline just a short drive away.