I don’t know about you, but in Oregon in the Winter it’s cold and dreary, particularly so this week and while I don’t mind the rain so much, I am looking ahead to future warmer months and Summer travel! As a teacher, I travel the most during my Summer break and with it being such a busy season, it’s important to plan ahead and schedule out that Summer trip you’ve always wanted to take to Europe. There are so many amazing places to go during the warmer months but these are my favorite and in my opinion, the best places to travel in Europe in the Summer, along with cities to stop in and when to go!
We spent a few days in Geneva last Summer and fell in love with the city, enough that we’re returning this Summer and exploring more of Switzerland. The best way to enjoy Geneva – splurge on a nice hotel (I love Hotel Bristol Geneva) and spend your days wandering. Geneva is totally manageable in a couple days, has lovely shopping, great plazas and parks, and great food. We didn’t have a lot of plans for Geneva and really enjoyed just taking the time to explore it on foot. The weather in Switzerland in the Summer is usually cooler than other spots in Europe too, so you won’t be overheated. This Summer we have plans to base ourselves in Geneva but take train day trips to other spots in Switzerland to explore the country more and I can’t wait!
London is amazing all times of the year but in the Summer, the city is alive! Summertime in London is generally pretty nice weather, though there have been some weeks in the past few Summers when the UK has had pretty intense heat waves, so make sure your hotel has AC. Other than that though, Summer in London is pretty great. You can wander everywhere on foot, the pubs and restaurants spill out onto the sidewalks and you can spend your afternoons in the amazing parks throughout the city. There are great day trips from London too – a couple of my favorites are Richmond (where they film Ted Lasso) and Cambridge! For the best base in the city, my go to London hotel is the Hoxton Holborn – amazing location, close to a Tube stop that will get you everywhere, and beautiful design.
Ahh France… I of course love the country at all times of the year and it’s close to my heart, but Summer in France, there is something just so magical about it. Of course Paris is a must in the Summer time and the nice weather when the city comes alive and cafes spill outside in the warm air. Paris can get hot though, so make sure your hotel has AC and be prepared for warmer temps than London or Switzerland. Also try to enjoy Paris in June or July, since in August most Parisians leave and go on holiday and the city feels a little more touristy than usual. And while I love Paris in the Summer, perhaps what I love more though are the little towns scattered through France where life feels just a little more romantic in the Summertime. Some of the places I love the most are the tiny towns in Provence (if you want to see the lavender, go in early July) and Annecy. If you’re looking for a mid-size city to base yourself, Toulouse and Lyon are a few of my favorites too! The best way to see France in the Summer is to rent a car and just drive. Of all the places in Europe, driving in France is fairly easy and it’s the best way to see this incredible country in the beautiful warm weather!
La Dolce Vita didn’t start out of nothing – Summer in Italy is a must do, but be warned, Italy gets hot in the Summer, like really hot! My tips for traveling Italy in the Summer start with going earlier in the Summer – May and June are actually lovely there as far as weather – warm but not sweltering. Come July and August, it’s hot! The other tip to Italy in the Summer – lots of sorbetto and gelato! I’m a fan of Rome in general and on a warm Summer night, there is something so beautiful about eating pasta outside in a plaza listening to the sounds of the city and taking in the amazing old buildings. Make sure your hotel has AC as most AirBnB’s won’t in Italy. I’m also a fan of Tuscany and Umbria and all the amazing little towns scattered in that area of the country but you will need to rent a car to visit those and driving in Italy is not for the faint of heart so be prepared!
One of my favorite destinations of all time, so much that Nick and I pretty much visit Iceland yearly and have done so for nearly a decade, Iceland is amazing in the Summer. The weather will still be cool, it never gets really that hot in Iceland, but it’s pleasant and Reykjavik comes alive in the nice weather! While I love a few days in Reykjavik, the real beauty of Iceland is renting a car and driving. It’s stopping to pet horses on the side of the road, and having to stop and take pictures every few minutes because it’s so beautiful. I’ve written so much about traveling to Iceland here and you’ll find everything you need for logistics and what to see and do! I’ve explored most of the island at this point (except the West Fjords which are still on my list) but wherever you choose to go, you won’t regret it. Some of my favorite spots to stay Reykjavik are here and if you’re venturing East, I love the Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon!
Ireland in the Summer time just feels completely different than Ireland in the Winter – people are outside, music is spilling out from pubs, and the green of Ireland feels ultra-green against the blue sky backdrop. I love Dublin in the warm weather, but I think the magic of Ireland is also in the smaller areas like Galway, Adare, and the Northern Irish Coast. Or spend a few days at the incredible Mount Juliet Estate and rise bikes and pet horses for a few days. The tip in Ireland – rent a car. You’ll be able to see so much and really see the beauty of the country. My one tourist tip – don’t do the Blarney Stone – I’m still having trauma from leaning down backwards off a castle wall and it’s not worth the wait!
Ahh Spain, there is something so lovely about Spain at all times of the year but in the Summer, Spain feels even better. The tapas, the cava, the architecture, the people … Spain is incredible. Summer in Spain can get hot though, and crowded, so May and June might be a little better in terms of heat and crowds in general. Also, not a lot has AC in Spain so keep that in mind before traveling and check your accommodations to see if they have AC. A hat and sunblock is also a must for Spain in the Summer! My favorites are Barcelona and Sevilla, both cities to just wander and get lost in on a Summer morning before spending the afternoon eating churros con chocolate. Madrid is lovely too but feels more like a big city.