Anthony Baraya

Travel Insurance

22 Jun 2015

Travelling Europe: Ultimate summer destinations

As winter settles in and the days are now shorter, we’re trading beach towels for blankets and settling into a routine that involves mostly staying in. But what if you’re not ready to throw in the towel just yet? An extra-long summer is not completely out of the question for Aussies wishing to travel this year. According to Business Insider, 2015 is looking to be the cheapest time for a Europe trip, with flights to Europe at an all time low. It’s not too late to plan your trip and find a great deal to visit some amazing European destinations.

To help you compile your bucket list we’ve collectively come up with some amazing destinations all over Europe, and they aren’t all tourist traps. Whether you’re looking to hike Mont Blanc in France, fish in the Alta River in Norway or simply relax somewhere in the Greek Islands, there’s something in this list for everyone. Here are some of the handpicked must-see European destinations of 2015!

Lake District National Park, United Kingdom

If you want a summer escape away from crowded cities, and are looking to connect with nature, this glorious location has plenty to see and do. This picturesque district has some impressive views and leisurely activities to take part in – from kayaking to birdwatching and everything in between. The visitor centre at Brockhole now has treetop nets consisting of tunnels, walkways, trampolines and slides between the treetops. Anyone aged 3 and up is welcome to have a go. For couples looking to get hitched, the Lake District was recently voted the most romantic location for marriage proposals in the United Kingdom.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

You’d be wise not to overlook the city of Dubrovnik. This Mediterranean gem is one of the most popular tourist destinations, so prepare for crowds during the summer. You can relax by the calm blue waters, or tour one of the many gothic churches and palaces. It is remarkably well-preserved, showcasing some striking medieval architecture from the renaissance and baroque eras.

Santorini, Greece

No European summer trip is complete without a visit to at least one Greek island. The Greek Isles are a hot spot for tourists from all over the world, so you can meet plenty of people if you decide to visit. Santorini is a beautiful island and is part of an archipelago of the same name. If you’re a lover of history, make sure you visit the ruins of Akrotiri which were preserved by volcanic eruption around 1450 BC. You can get a rare glimpse back in time to the Minoan period, with its sophisticated and elaborate architecture. If you love the beach, you’ll love Santorini as there are plenty of beaches to relax in or go snorkelling. Red Beach is one of the most famous, but there’s also Perivolos, Monolithos, Vlyhada, White Beach and many more.

Riga, Latvia

For an unforgettable summer escape think Latvia’s beautiful beaches. Riga is known as the cultural capital of Latvia with a rich tapestry of arts and culture including classical music halls, art galleries, delicious food and active recreation. Take yourself on a gastronomic journey throughout the city by doing a food tour and expose yourself to the true flavour of Riga. Alternatively, take a tour of the Old Town of Riga characterised by the medieval and Art Nouveau buildings some of which date back to the 13th century. Make sure you visit St Peters Church for a spectacular view of the entire town.

Parnu, Estonia

The Baltic region is known for its great beaches and relaxed summer lifestyle. For locals, Parnu is considered the summer capital of Estonia. Visit the Beach Promenade, a winding trail along the beach with gorgeous fountains, views of the coastline and glowing lamps making it perfect for a night stroll. Do a guided scooter tour, or roam the town at your own pace. The nightlife here is also very active and you’re sure to meet many locals as well as tourists when you’re out and about.

Golden Sands, Bulgaria

This seaside resort is hugely popular among Europeans due to the gorgeous beach and numerous bars and restaurants in the area. The water is clear and generally does not experience dangerous currents. Unlike the wide expanse of beach you will find all around Australia, beaches in Europe tend to get crowded in summer and this one is no exception. This beach is located in the city of Varna, which is the seaside port of Bulgaria and a great location on its own. If you have time, be sure to visit the Aladzha Monastery, the Varna Museum of Archaeology and Euxinograd Palace.

The Spanish Isles – Mallorca and Ibiza

Mallorca (or Majorca) and Ibiza have always topped the charts as European summer holiday destinations. There are many ways to enjoy Mallorca besides the glistening coastline. You can make your way into the countryside and stay in a rural hotel or embark on a trek through the mountain village of Valldemosa. Ibiza on the other hand is known for its party atmosphere, and travellers who love the night life will have no problem finding others to party with. If you’re not up to partying there are plenty of other activities to take part in, including horse riding up the mountains, sampling a selection of gourmet Spanish food, or visiting the Punta Arabi in Es Canar markets.

We hope that we have given you some thought starters to help plan your next European summer escape. Enjoy your adventures and travel safely!