Travel

Where Europeans Go For Summer Vacation

These destinations are hot spots for Europeans.
07/05/2018 09:01am ET | Updated July 5, 2018
Milena Pigdanowicz-Fidera via Getty Images
Positano, on Italy's Amalfi Coast.

Summer is a classic time for travel. During the warm season, Americans flock to beaches, national parks and beyond. While we’re familiar with favorite American destinations like Florida and California, we wanted to know where Europeans like to go “on holiday.”

We asked travel bloggers from Europe to share their favorite summer travel spots, and the places where their fellow Europeans tend to congregate during the season. (Hint: It’s not too far from home.) Many locations, like the Amalfi Coast, are also popular with Americans ― while others, like the Bulgarian Black Sea, might be less familiar.

We’ve divided their answers into 15 destinations, though there is a bit of overlap. Without further ado, here are some travel spots sure to give you some serious wanderlust.

Croatia

“I think Croatia has become extremely popular over the last couple of years. I think a few factors caused the tourist boom. First, the popularity of ‘Game of Thrones’ ― fans want to see these gorgeous filming locations for themselves. Second, these days many Europeans are afraid of heading to Turkey, Egypt or Tunisia, previous hot spots for all-inclusive holiday packages. Croatia was an affordable alternative for beach holidays. Also, Croatia is a place that many Europeans can reach by car, so it’s very economical for families that can just hop in a car instead of paying for multiple plane tickets.” ― Anna Karsten, travel blogger at Anna Everywhere

Samantha T. Photography via Getty Images
Dubrovnik Harbor, Croatia

Canary Islands

“Summer is all about great weather and interesting adventures. As I love being active while enjoying the sun, one of my favorite summer destinations is Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands of Spain. It offers a great combination of surfing opportunities and spectacular scenery. Fuerteventura is easily reachable from Spain and all over Europe. A boat ride to the nearby island Los Lobos is a perfect day trip, as are the other Canary Islands such as the more popular Gran Canaria and Tenerife.” ― Maria Stoyanova, travel blogger at Travelling Buzz

Bulgarian Black Sea

“The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast has always been a popular destination among Europeans for summer holidays. The picturesque Sozopol, the UNESCO World Heritage town of Nessebar, the long sandy beaches of Gradina and Smokinya make it a great place for vacation with kids or friends. All of this, added to the affordable prices, great food and quality, attracts people from all over Europe.”
― Stoyanova

Emil Ivanov via Getty Images
Beach on the Black Sea.

Greek Islands

“My favorite places to travel during the summer are the Greek Islands. Greece has more than 6,000 islands, of which about 230 are inhabited. There is an island for every taste. You can find pebbled beaches or sandy beaches, green islands or not, the most amazing colors in the water, nightlife, rich history, great food, hospitable people and fantastic weather. Alternatively, I would choose an island in Italy like Sardinia. The Mediterranean is the best place to spend your summer. I have noticed that a lot of Europeans tend to visit some specific places in the summer more than others. For example Santorini, Zante, Rhodes in Greece or Southern Spain, the Canary Islands, etc.” ― Chrissy Manika, tourism professional and travel blogger at Travel Passionate

Indonesia

“Indonesia is very popular. Loads of Europeans like to explore a completely different climate and culture. The flights are long so the best period to go is during summer holidays when most people can go on a long holiday of work.” ― Nick & Hannah, travel bloggers at Salt in Our Hair

“One of my favorite places I had the chance to go to recently was Sulawesi, an island of Indonesia. Sulawesi is still very authentic and cheap with few tourists. You can enjoy the stunning Toraja culture, discover some very rare animals species in their tropical forest (tarsier, birds, monkeys) or swim into one of the most preserved and colorful coral reefs in the world.” ― Alex Vizeo, travel blogger and YouTube personality

“Abroad, Southeast Asia is the biggest tourist attraction, since it’s cheap, it has many inexpensive flights compared to other regions in the world, and the culture is very different to ours! It’s easy to travel there and safe for every type of traveler. Of course, avid travelers take on more exotic destinations, but it’s not the norm.” ― Alvaro Rojas, travel blogger at Wander Reds

Valery Bocman via Getty Images
The Borobudur Temple Compounds in Indonesia.

Sweden

“During July, I do actually prefer to stay in Sweden. There are few things that beat a good Swedish summer. And the best place to go is the Swedish island called Gotland. My favorite place all year around is Italy ― the ultimate mix of great food, sun, culture, beautiful language and a perfect cappuccino in every corner.” ―Sofia Zetterqvist, writer and travel blogger at Fantasiresor

Spain

“I’m based in Barcelona and have seen tourist numbers skyrocket over the last few years. I think people come to Barcelona because it’s such a dynamic destination. From the labyrinthine alleyways of the Gothic Quarter to the iconic Picasso Museum, there’s a wealth of cultural and historical attractions to explore, not to mention Antoni Gaudi’s colourful architectural marvels and the city’s world-class gastronomy scene. But as well as offering the best of a city break-style holiday, Barcelona also boasts a 4-5 kilometer stretch of urban beaches, which are blessed with the region’s Mediterranean climate and a clutch of trendy nightlife options. Other popular destinations in Spain include places like Madrid, Valencia and Seville, although I’m excited to see more people heading north to the greener and less-touristy Spanish regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country, all of which offer unique cultural charms, world-glass gastronomy and some of the most outstanding natural beauty in Europe. Spain’s Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza) are also extremely popular for those in search of a more beachy type of holiday ― they’re well set up for families as well.” ― Ben Holbrook, photographer and travel writer at Driftwood Journals

“Spain is quite popular. I am in love with Barcelona, like many others. Some people don’t mind the crowds so they go in peak season. I think the most important thing is affordability, great food and nice beaches and shopping. I mean, who doesn’t want a good sangria with some ham croquettes on a sandy beach in Barcelona? One other thing is affordable flights. For example, coming to Croatia is a very expensive sport, but Spain has so many low cost airlines flying in and out all year around. People want to relax on their holidays, not be stressed thinking about their wallets, so I think that is why Spain is so popular.” ― Ella Dvornik, lifestyle and travel blogger at I Am Ella

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Mallorca, one of Spain's famous Balearic Islands.

Italy

“In Italy, it’s always crowded in Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast during summer. ... Another favorite of mine is the Dolomites in Italy where I just came back from a couple of weeks ago. The nature is surreal, and it’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in Europe. Most areas in the Dolomites are best explored during summer. All of the lakes with the mountainous backdrops are so beautiful and the hiking trails are great too. Some of my favorite places in the Dolomites are Lago di Braies, Lago di Carezza, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and Val di Funes.” ― Alex Waltner, travel blogger at Swedish Nomad

“Recently I’ve noticed many people go to the south of Italy, especially in Puglia and Sicily. Both of those Italian regions have beautiful seaside but there is also the possibility to visit cultural and/or historical places, so they are ideal to enjoy every aspect of the perfect holiday.” ― Michela Figliola, blogger at Warm Cheap Trips

“During summer, I love to go to our beautiful beaches along the Italian coast or some little island in the south, like Capri or Aeolian Islands, Ponza, Ventotene. In Italy it’s becoming very popular to go to Puglia, even a star like Madonna decided not to go to Sardinia anymore and choose a more authentic and intimate kind of vacation in Puglia. People are looking for authenticity, real experiences.” ― Francesca Di Pietro, travel psychologist, coach and blogger at Viaggiare da Soli

Iceland

“Our number one favorite place in the European summer is Iceland. Iceland in summer has beautiful days of clear blue skies and flowers are blooming. It is also the best time to visit the country weather-wise.” ― Nick & Hannah

Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon via Getty Images
Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland. 

Portugal

“My favorite place in Europe in summer is Portugal. You have everything: Beaches, great food, culture, monuments and great night life. And it’s still one of the cheaper countries in Europe (maybe not for so long). It is very easy to get there since there are so many low-cost airlines that go there.” ― Vizeo

The Balkans

“In the recent years, I’ve seen more and more people being interested in countries like Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria ― those places slightly more off the beaten path. I think it’s a natural development since Spain and Italy get too busy in summer and not all the beaches are as pristine as they used to be.” ― Veronika Primm, travel blogger at Travel Geekery

“The last three summers, I’ve found some new favorite places ― Albania for example, which is a bit similar to Greece but much less explored and cheaper as well. I really like Ksamil in the southern part of Albania. If you want to experience white sand and crystal clear turquoise water a la Caribbean, then Ksamil is the next best thing in Europe!” ― Waltner

Frans Sellies via Getty Images
Ksamil, on the Albanian riviera.

The Mediterranean Sea

“Being based in Belgium, I love traveling south in summer. We don’t have guaranteed good weather in Belgium, so on a vacation, I like to know the sun will be shining and it will be above 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) at least 90 percent of the time. This means traveling to the countries surrounding the Mediterranean as well as the Greek Islands and Malta. I think those places tend to be popular with Europeans in general.” ― Sofie Couwenbergh, travel blogger at Wonderful Wanderings

“Italy, France, Spain and Greece are really popular places to visit. Most of the countries offer perfectly good weather all summer, the beaches are stunning, it is easy to travel, the food is delicious and most of the locals speaks English.” ― Tine, travel blogger at A World of Backpacking

Classic Cities

“Despite the high visitor number, I think Europeans will always be drawn to timeless cities, like London, Belfast, Paris, Rome, Florence, Lisbon, Krakow and Prague, because they offer so much in terms of culture, art and history. They’re wish-list destinations, i.e., places we all dream of visiting ‘at least once’ in our lives. We wear them like feathers in our hats. They are marks of taste and distinction. I think people are drawn to these busy destinations in the summer, even though they know they will be overcrowded, simply because they know that the weather will be at its best. It’s a romantic notion ― we want to see these iconic cities at their very best, especially because we may only ever go once in a lifetime.” ― Holbrook

kilhan via Getty Images
Aerial view of Krakow, Poland. 

European Countrysides

“I travel a lot during all the year but during summer I prefer going to countryside like Andorra, Switzerland, Italy, backcountry of France (Avignon, etc.) or other quiet places with nice landscapes. I realize a lot of Europeans travel to Santorini (Greece), Spain, Provence. These places are popular thanks to social networks such as Instagram.” ― Thibault Touzeau, travel blogger at Travel Me Happy

Camping Destinations

“For those who are more fond of nature adventures with both hiking and camping, I must say that Iceland, Norway, and the mountain areas in France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria are also quite popular. All of them offer amazing nature, great trails, breathtaking views and good camping opportunities for those who like to be outdoors.” ― Christine Wedberg, travel blogger at Christine Abroad

“Coming from the Netherlands, I’ve grown up with camping in Germany, France, the U.K. and sometimes Scandinavia and a lot of my classmates also went to Spain and Italy a lot. Many people from the Netherlands like a holiday where they can bring their car (and tent or caravan), so they won’t get much farther than this in about 2-3 weeks of travel. I think that nowadays, these countries are still very popular, especially for families with children, although I am hearing more people exploring Eastern Europe as well now, as the nature is incredible there and most places are very affordable for both campers and people staying in hotels.” ― Nienke Krook, travel blogger at The Travel Tester

Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.