Come summer time everyone is itching to get away from home and make their way to where all the sun and fun is, but if you don’t have extended vacation time then it can be difficult to find an easy-to-visit destination. Fortunately, there are more than a few locations in Europe that provide alluring attractions and are also easy to reach – so perfect for a short-notice adventure. If you’re looking to book your last minute holidays but are wondering where to head, then here are five European destinations that are certain to excite this summer.
One of Europe’s most picturesque city’s, Dubrovnik is located on the Adriatic Sea along Croatia’s southern coastline. It is best known for its Old City, which is home to immaculately preserved historical Gothic architecture, all surrounded by stonewalls that were completed in the 16thcentury. The entire Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with marble streets, the 12thcentury Cathedral of the Assumption, as well as pristine beaches and water, it is easy to see why Dubrovnik is one of Europe’s best cities to visit.
Malta is another destination that is steeped in history, though the attractions you’ll find here date way back to prehistoric times. Ħaġar Qim is the country’s most ancient of sites, a Megalithic temple that was built between 3700 and 3200 BC. Malta’s capital, Valletta, is also filled with important cultural monuments, and has been called “one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world” by UNESCO. Those less interested in history and architecture will find that Malta is also home to outstanding beaches that provide the perfect setting to enjoy watersports or to simply relax in the Mediterranean sun.
Hungary’s capital, Budapest is a city steeped in European history and replete with aesthetically beautiful architecture, making it the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. The Castle District is home to the former Royal Palace that was first established in the 13thcentury, and also houses the Hungarian National Gallery, whose collection includes art from the 11thcentury to the present. For the ultimate in romance, be sure to take a night-time stroll along the Danube and view the waters from the beautiful Széchenyi Chain Bridge.
For the perfect mix of culture, nightlife, culinary delights, and beaches, there are few cities that can come close to the offerings of Barcelona. The capital of Catalunya, Barcelona is renowned for its historic Gothic Quarter, which became the inspiration for such artists as Picasso and Gaudi, the latter of which would go on to design the city’s iconic Sagrada Familia Basilica. Barcelona is also home to a wide range of Michelin starred restaurants, trendy nightclubs, and tasty tapas bars, as well as the famed La Boqueria market. To top it all off the city’s Mediterranean beaches are always an exciting place to relax and unwind, listen to live music, or play sports like beach volleyball and football.
There are few cities in the world that bring the past and the present together with as much panache as the city of Amsterdam, where you’ll find the likes of funky modern sculptures along the streets, and the work of masters in museums like the Van Gogh Museum. Summertime is the perfect season to discover the best Amsterdam has to offer, as you can stroll, bike, or even hop in a canal boat to ferry towards your next destination.