Top 5 European summer holidays
As I write this post, the ice cream in the bowl beside me is rapidly morphing into a milkshake. There’s a mugginess in the air, and I’m wondering whether clothes are even necessary in this heat.
It’s summertime, the most wonderful time of the year. Forget Christmas, this is the season that brings out the best in everyone. To quote American author and journalist Charles Bowden, ‘Summertime is always the best of what might be’.
Summer for us Europeans is a big deal. We tend to be go back to Italy, where summer holidays are typically a month-long affair. However, the continent has tons of alternative ideas up for grabs, and climates to suit everyone. Being a summer baby, I myself enjoy places with plenty of sunshine, but would be open to trying somewhere cooler.
Where to next
We’re spoiled for choice in Europe when it comes to deciding on where to spend the summer holidays. That said, it can be difficult deciding upon the best destination that’s right for couples.
Below is a detailed list of 5 European summer holiday destinations for couples to get some alone time. From cities to beaches, there’s plenty here to ensure maximum summer holiday enjoyment.
1. Montpellier, France
The capital city of the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south of France has plenty to offer the summer holiday seeker.
The historic hotels (hôtels particuliers) are a main attraction of the city, with many of the buildings having medieval roots. Founded in 1593, the Jardin des plantes de Montpellier is the country’s oldest botanical gardens. Do as the locals do and gather in the Place de la Comedie.
The city square’s a focal point in Montpellier, and here, you can see the famous Opera Comédie that was built in 1888. The building’s home to the National Opera, and there are 2 main buildings for performances.
From the Place de la Comedie, you can walk to the Esplanade de Charles de Gaulle. The small park connects the square to the Corum — a building that holds conferences and an opera house. Love French wine? Take a look at these tours and drink to your hearts content.
More to see — European summer holidays
While in the vicinity, you can’t miss visiting the Musée Fabre. It’s one of Montpelier’s most famous sights, exhibiting paintings from the 17th to 19th centuries, as well as sculptures.
Your museum ticket also gets you entry to the L’Hôtel de Cabrières-Sabatier d’Espeyran, a grand Montpellier mansion. On display are the furniture, ceramics and decorative objects, popular with the Montpellier elite at the time.
In July, the temperatures average 29C (84F), providing scorching summer weather. In light of this, the sandy beaches of Plage de l’Espiguette and Carnon are the perfect spot for cooling off.
Where to stay in Montpellier
Domaine de Verchant
Offering 26 elegantly rooms and suites, Domaine de Verchant gets my vote for Montpellier. It has a Turkish style spa complete with hammam, and is surrounded by the region’s vineyards. Needless to say, you’ll have a great time here sampling all of the local wine.
2. The King’s Trail (Kungsleden), Sweden
For couples looking for a European summer holiday with a difference, this may be it. There’s no beach in sight here, just a hiking trail in the picturesque north of Sweden.
Approximately 440km (270mi) long, the King’s Trail passes through the Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve, one of Europe’s largest protected areas. The trail runs between Abisko in the north and Hemavan in the south.
Most hikers tend to do the Abisko to Kebnekaise route, simply because it’s accessible to all. You don’t need to be super fit, and can still enjoy the surrounding views of the natural valley and mountains.
Summer in Sweden — European summer holidays
The summer season usually runs from mid-June to the end of September. Swedish mountain huts are located along the trail, giving travelers a comfortable place to rest and recharge.
As well as seeing farming villages, there’s also the chance to see Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise. The trail will also take you to Sarek National Park, which makes up part of Lapland’s national heritage.
You can reach Abisko by direct train from Gothenburg or Stockholm.
Where to stay in Gothenburg
Dorsia Hotel & Restaurant Gothenburg
Add a boutique touch to your Kungsleden holiday. With 37 individually designed rooms to choose from, Dorsia Hotel & Restaurant is an eye-popping choice in Gothenburg.
It’s located near the canal in the centre of the city, making it very accessible to the main attractions. Discover Gothenburg like a local with a fun guided tour at the lowest prices.
Where to stay in Gothenburg
Lydmar Hotel, Stockholm
Wake up to views overlooking Stockholm harbour with a few nights’ stay at Lydmar Hotel.
Its 5-star rating shows in its sleek and stylish rooms, with a brasserie and gym. The hotel’s location is within walking distance of Stockholm Palace.
Hotel J, Stockholm
I had to include a second choice, simply because it was love at first sight, and it’s perfect for couples.
Hotel J gives you a taste of the Scandinavian seaside, and all in charming décor. If you can, take a sea view room; it’s especially pretty during summer.
3. Paphos, Cyprus
The coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus has a reputation for somewhat being a partying and boozy destination. However, like many other partying districts, there’s more to do here than drink and be merry.
With August being the peak of the summer season, it gets extremely hot here — sometimes unbearable. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that Paphos has all the right ingredients for a memorable summer holiday.
The city is on the official list of UNESCO cultural and natural treasures for the number of ancient remains. Visit the harbour to see the impressive Paphos Castle. Once a fortress, the castle was also used as a prison, and more recently a place for cultural events.
Step back in time to the 4th century BC with a trip to the Tombs of the Kings. The large necropolis site carved from solid rock is the underground tombs that don’t actually belong to kings. It’s said to be the tombs of Paphos aristocrats and officials of the time.
Squeeze in a spot of romance by visiting the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Ancient Greek goddess of love. Aphrodite’s Rock is a sea stack you can find off the shore off the main road from Paphos to Limassol.
Swimming isn’t advised here as the water can be rough. Also, it’s not permitted to climb the rock, so don’t even attempt it.
Get to know Paphos and the surrounding vicinity in Cyprus from a tour guide who knows best.
Where to stay in Paphos — European summer holidays
Almyra Hotel Paphos
There’s only one place I’d stay at when in Paphos, and that’s the ultra-chic Almyra Hotel Paphos. Accommodation to suit every type of traveler, there’s nothing I don’t love about this boutique hotel.
There are 189 rooms in total, including 36 suites. Most offer panoramic sea views, complimentary fluffy slippers (which I love!) plus free Wi-Fi in rooms.
On site is an award-winning Almyra Spa, with steam and sauna rooms, and an indoor, and outdoor infinity pool.
4. Korcula, Croatia
Korcula has that local charm and authenticity that you can’t find in Dubrovnik.
The 6th largest island, Korcula is 20 miles in length and has its own ‘Little Dubrovnik’.
Korcula Town gives you a taste of life on the island, and in the most relaxing way possible. It’s bursting with medieval squares, churches and traditional homes.
The town’s also renowned for its dense forest and many olive groves and vineyards. Expect food and wine to be local and of an excellent standard. Catch the best views of Korcula by boat with a guided cruise.
Korcula’s lesser known, but then less busy, than the popular Hvar and Brac islands, but this makes it more appealing. Ferries connect Korcula to the mainland, but only during the summer season.
Where to stay in Korcula
Tara’s Lodge Hotel
Get lost in endless blue views of the Dalmatian Sea by checking into Tara’s Lodge hotel.
There are 15 modern rooms, each with stylish furnishings, a terrace and an outdoor pool. Bright, airy and spacious, it’s the luxury boutique choice in Korcula.
5. Taormina, Sicily (Italy)
No European summer holiday list would be complete, without an Italian destination.
On the east coast of Sicily sits the town of Taormina. It’s a great example of its ancient Greek ancestry, and simply beautiful especially in the Sicilian sunshine.
Walk through the town’s quaint streets, aligned with shops, cafes and restaurants. Visit the open-air Teatro Greco (Greek theatre), the second largest in Sicily, and maybe even catch a performance.
My other must-see sights in Taormina include Isola Bella, a pretty island in the sea you can walk to. Take a mini cruise or see the best views of Taormina and the neighbouring Aeolian islands with a guided tour.
Where to stay in Taormina — European summer holidays
Hotel Villa Ducale
Hotel Villa Ducale is the ideal location for seeing the main attractions of the town centre.
Its accommodation is elegant in décor and offers stretching views of the blue Mediterranean Sea. It’s perched high on a hillside, offering views of the town and the Strait of Messina.
What do you think of these European destinations? Will you be visiting any of these places soon, or maybe you’ve already been? Drop me a comment below, I’d love to hear them.
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