For many of us the long hot summer months mean one thing — time to get out there and explore. Everyone’s idea of a vacation is different, but there’s no doubt that lazing on the beach, exploring new cities and seeing the sights will be high up on many a person’s itinerary.
If you’re looking for ideas for this year’s European summer getaway then here are four strong contenders.
The open-air museum
The compact Mediterranean Island of Malta certainly packs a lot in if you’re looking for history, beaches and some great nightlife. The capital, Valletta, dates back to the 16th century and has so many historic buildings that UNESCO has deemed the entire city a world heritage site. Meanwhile, the island is blessed with more than 300 sunny days per year, allowing you to relax on the beach at spots St. Julian’s Bay or the Caribbean-like Hondoq ir-Rummien on Malta’s sister island of Gozo. If you’re up for a spot of adventure while you’re on your vacation, you can take to the seas with some scuba diving, or head out into the city and experience the nightlife. Whether you’re looking for adventure or simply to relax, Malta will hit all the right notes.
A Croatian favorite
The historic, walled city of Dubrovnik is often called the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ and will be the highlight of any Croatia trip. The city has enjoyed UNESCO World Heritage status since the late 1970s and the famous walls, which stretch for two kilometers, date all the way back to the 13th century. The medieval streets and architecture are like something out of a fairy tale, but the best place to view the city while you’re on your Dubrovnik holidays is from on high by taking a cable-car to the summit of Srd Hill.
City of water
Venice may be thronging with tourists in summer, but that doesn’t detract from the beauty of this Italian masterpiece. The long summer days are the perfect for spending more time sightseeing those iconic attractions. If you really want to have the place to yourself, wander through St. Mark’s Square at 7.00 in the morning, it’s beautiful. A Grand Canal cruise under the Rialto and Ponte dell’Accademia bridges is a must, but make sure to explore the quieter back streets to find the hidden restaurants where the locals eat. Soaking up the atmosphere with a glass of Venetian wine in one of the many canal-side cafes is one of the best summer activities in this ridiculously romantic city.
Feel the passion
It’s one of the world’s most diverse cities, but Barcelona is best enjoyed during the summer, mainly because this Mediterranean city has some unbelievable beaches. Of course, the sand isn’t the only attraction and there’s the hauntingly dramatic Old Town Gothic architecture, a traditional restaurant around every corner and some of Spain’s coolest nightlife options. Many visitors arrive simply to see the legendary FC Barcelona play and you can also take a tour of the famous stadium. Art museums and historic palaces are all part of the lifestyle in Barcelona.
You can visit all of these destinations throughout the year, but there’s always a more fun atmosphere during summer. The weather is great, the people are relaxed and those pavement cafes and restaurant terraces will always be the best place to mix with the locals while you all take it easy in the sun.