From the colossal Brandenburg Gate in Germany to the shape-shifting Golden Horn beach in Croatia, Europe is a fascinating kaleidoscope of cultures, landscapes, and history. And while solo travel is good, some journeys are better when shared with other people. Whether you are traveling with old friends or a bunch of adventurers you’ve just met, here is a list of the best summer destinations in Europe you and your group will absolutely enjoy.
Germany may not have the best beach destinations. But it makes up for this with long sunny days, flower-clad fields, and fun (beer!) festivals galore. Cycle your way to the lush region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and see the famous lakes Thuren and Mirower See.
Love nature? Go to the Black Forest, the Brothers Grimm inspiration for their fairytales. Explore the wooded mountains, glacial lakes, and historic silver mines of the Bavarian Forest National Park. Visit Lake Constance for its watersports and scenic views, Rothenburg for its city walls and the bizarre Medieval Crime Museum, and the Rhine for an unforgettable river cruise.
Want to see as much of Europe in a short time? A good decision is to book the Eurail, which traverses over 33 countries across the continent, allowing you to enjoy a flexible and convenient trip.
For your summer dose of vitamin sea, you need not travel farther than Greece. The country is a mosaic of adrenaline-pumping adventures, vibrant nightlife (we have our eyes on you, Mykonos!), countryside serenity, incredible ancient masterpieces, Instagram-worthy sceneries, and ridiculously sumptuous cuisine.
When in Greece, it’s almost a sin to miss the romantic and breathtaking island of Corfu. Aside from its magnificent architecture and colorful culture, Corfu has some of the most alluring beaches in the country. Want the best views of the island? Stay at large Corfu clifftop villas overlooking the Ionian Sea, and you may never want to leave.
Picturesque landscapes, delectable cuisine, incredible culture -- France is not a very big country, but it will spoil you for choices. Your biggest dilemma would be where to spend your summer in the country.
If you want to stroll through lavender fields in bloom and lush orchards, go to Provence. Head to Normandy if you wish to revel at majestic cliffs, stunning beaches, and charming little fishing villages. To explore a pastoral paradise of pristine lakes and rugged mountains, visit the French Alps. Of course, you should never miss Paris in summer, with its blooming parks, night markets, open-air movie screenings, and gourmet ice cream at an alfresco café by the canal.
Italy is lovely all-year-round, but it is even more beautiful in summer. No wonder summer is the height of tourist season in the country, especially in big cities such as Rome, Venice, and Florence.
But if you want to get away from the crowd, escape to the surreal seaside region of Cinque Terre, the stunning Amalfi coast, or the magical Lake Como.
Have you wondered what if Italian hill towns are as beautiful as their seaside counterparts? Then, climb the clifftop village of Orvieto, with its 800-year-old cathedral and iconic Torre del Moro, San Gimignano, with its magnificent towers and best-tasting bruschettas in the region.
Don’t forget the romantic Verona, the otherworldly Naples, and food capital (arguably so) Bologna. Wherever you go, you will find excellent food, world-class wine, and stunning sceneries to cherish forever.
Summer or not, Croatia has the kind of climate that makes you want to stay forever. Here, you can lounge all day at the beach, cruise the islands at sunset, and dine at a clifftop restaurant in the evening. For a tiny country, Croatia packs in ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It means you'll have your fill of beauty, history, and culture.
Let nature take your breath away at the Plitvice Lakes National Park, fall in love with history at Diocletian's Palace in the magnificent city of Split, and immerse in local culture in Dubrovnik as you wander along centuries-old cobbled alleys.
*Post contributed by peer travel writer, Penny Martinelli.*