Summer Vacation In Europe
I am hopeful that if enough vaccine gets distributed by this summer that travel might be able to reopen to Europe partly, if not for foreigners at least for E.U. residents. You see Europe comes alive in summer. There is an energy and vitality that radiates across much of the continent when the sun reappears after a long winter. As I write this today we have 50 degree temperatures for the first time this year and it is still mid-February-of course last week it was freezing cold. But whether you are looking for the best beach holiday or just to soak up the summer atmosphere of your favorite cities, this is a great time to take a train with your train map and head out to create brand new memories or at least dream of doing so.
Here are 5 places for an unforgettable summer in Europe.
Summer in Europe
1. Porto, Portugal
Home of that delicious alcoholic beverage Port, Porto’s temperate climate allows for a pleasant year-round visit. But when temperatures rise between May and September, the city really comes alive. In the summer there is a slim chance of rain, but it is unlikely, the heat is pleasant along the coast but can reach 100 degrees inland. There is a wide choice of unpretentious beaches from which you can choose where you can cool off. There are normally also several events that take place during the warmer months that attract crowds from all over the continent. Pretty much every town or ‘concelho’ has a festival sometime in the summer and they do a good job at staggering them so they do not compete against each other.
How to get there: There are regular regional trains to Porto from most local destinations, including a direct train from Lisbon. There are also daily trains from Madrid.
You should see Porto Wine Cellars. Port Wine is born in the Douro Valley, but it is the city of Porto that gives the name to the wine, A visit to the Port wine cellars is a mandatory activity during any trip to Porto. The Port wine cellars are all located across the river from the old city center of Porto and to get there you only need to cross the emblematic Dom Luís I bridge. It will take you about 10 minutes and you can easily walk from one side to the other. Nearly all Port wine cellars provide guided tours and tastings.
Internal advice: Summer is the most popular time of the year in Porto. Book in advance and avoid major tourist areas for accommodation if you are not aware.
2. Stockholm, Sweden
The best time to visit Stockholm is in the summer – albeit the city’s costliest time of year – because the temperatures are warmest and daylight lasts the longest. Average summertime highs range between 68 and 71 degrees Fahrenheit, with the hottest weather occurring in mid-July. A far cry from the sub Zero temperatures and short days of the winter.
How to get there: Sweden has an extensive railroad system, and Stockholm is accessible from most major cities and European Airports.
You should see: The ABBA Museum. Abba is Sweden’s most-popular pop group ever. The museum is the Holy Grail for dedicated ABBA fans but most visitors will appreciate a visit to this fun museum. The ABBA Museum is one of the more expensive sights to see in Stockholm and unashamedly commercial but like the music undemanding and easy to enjoy. Admission is only by advanced reservations just like many museums in Europe such as the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. .
Internal advice: If you are looking for real eye-opening experience, go for a dip in Hellasgården.
If you visit in the summer the beaches will be packed, the weather will be hot, and the restaurants will have long waits, but you’ll also experience Monaco at its best and it will be an experience you won’t ever forget.
How to get there: There are daily trains to Monaco from Nice, France (another good summer spot) serviced by the French railway system SNCF.
You should see: The Monte Carlo Casino, officially named Casino de Monte-Carlo. Try and break the bank, we dare you. Actually once before the Euro when they still used French Francs I won 6000 French Francs playing blackjack in less than 30 minutes. *There is a dress code in the main casino but they have a smaller one that is open to anyone except the people who live in Monaco.
Internal advice: Bikes can be rented on Quai des Etats-Unis on the port. Walking is a good way to get around Monaco and you can take advantage of the free public lifts linking the lower and higher streets.
4. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
I’ve written about Lauterbrunnen before but it is worth repeating, The Swiss Alps are known for their dramatic landscapes but in all of Switzerland it is difficult to find anyplace better to visit. Especially if hiking is an activity you enjoy,
How to get there: Trains run to nearby Interlaken from all over Switzerland. Grab a window seat for outstanding views, especially if you are on a double decker train. Take the train to Interlaken Ost and connect with the narrow-gauge lines leading up to the valley.
You should see: Hiking to the nearly 10,000-foot-tall Schilthorn is a truly memorable experience if you are in shape or if not their is a gondola that will take you up to the top as well.
Internal advice: Lauterbrunnen is a pretty quiet place, unless you are hiking and are exhausted take the train back to Interlaken and spend the night there. In Interlaken don’t miss the Husi Bierhaus.
5. Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre is now a National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site with up to 2.4 million people a year visiting. It is a stretch of the Italian Riveira coastline made up of five villages. It is a fantastic place to explore if only for a day or two, or if you have the time you can enjoy the scenery and the water for longer if you just want to relax.
How to get there: The trains are the easiest way to get to and around the Cinque Terre, running between La Spezia and Levanto and stopping at each village. You can also connect to Genoa, Pisa, and Rome.
You should see: As well as walking you can get out on the water – go sailing, swimming, take a kayaking trip or go diving and snorkeling from Riomaggiore.
Internal advice: There’s also a ferry connecting four of the five villages (other than Corniglia which doesn’t have a harbor) with Portovenere, La Spezia and Levanto. It’s worth a day trip to check out the views from the water.
Bonus tips for Summer in Europe
- Summer in Europe is a peak season, so it is important to book early and plan ahead. Once travel restrictions are lifted I expect people to want to use all that pent-up energy on travel. You can also get a discount on tickets by booking in advance.
- Prices are always higher and these places are prime tourist spot so plan to pay a little extra. escalating at this time of year, so look for accommodation just outside the main tourist centers.
- Pack light and keep think minimalistic. Many of these spots are hilly and have cobblestone roads which make rollers difficult to use.
- Be sure to include the usual summer things from sunscreen, hats and towels if going to a seaside destination.
- Pack old clothes you want to get rid of. Wear them and then just leave them behind, creating room for you to make purchases of local products.
Heading to Europe in the summer will take a little planning especialy with possible Covid travel restrictions so stay vigilant of any updates and travel advisories. Bars and restaurants may require reservations so the more you can plan ahead for the better off you will be.
If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.
And ... Don't forget to have fun!