Top 5 cities for a European Summer
Summer in Europe is no longer just about soaking up the sun, mojito in hand on a Greek island. After experiencing dull and dreary winters, many European cities come alive when the sun comes out. These cities we’ve explored can be a great inclusion between your island hopping to give you the ultimate European escape. They still offer enough culture and attractions to keep you busy, but are much more outdoors focused than the galleries of Paris or the museums of London.
Krakow is becoming increasingly more visited than Poland’s capital, Warsaw and it’s easy to see why. Similar in look and feel to popular Prague, Krakow offers beautiful architecture, cobblestone squares with horse-drawn carriages and is a hub of Eastern European nightlife. Explore the Gothic Wawel Castle or taste authentic Polish cuisine in the many stalls near the main square. Oh, and after your day of exploring, why not cool off with a vodka tonic in the sun- or wódka as those Poles like to call it.
The Swedes are all about the sun. After suffering a harsh winter, come June we see their somehow already bronzed bodies and blonde hairdos emerge from hibernation. Stockholm is very much a water city, situated where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea.
Best way to see it? Once you’re done with the main city, stroll through Old Town Gamla Stan’s narrow pedestrianised streets which will lead you to the bohemian quarter of Södermalm. Södermalm is filled with quirky boutiques, gardens and interesting cafes to fill your afternoon. Sweden’s capital is a sophisticated city best explored in the summertime if you wish to experience the Swedes at their most hospitable.
If you really can’t manage without a beach, Dubrovnik strikes the idyllic balance between spending your mornings exploring the walled city of Old Town and your afternoons lazing on Banje beach. The beauty of Dubrovnik is that it is such a visually unique city, that it doesn’t need to offer many activities- simply soak up the Croatian charm because it really is spectacular. If you have some time in this area, check out some of the nearby islands, such as Hvar and Korcula. Or, take a day trip, which brings us to...
This tiny city in Bosnia and Herzegovina has taken off in a big way, largely due to being only a 2 hour drive from the popular Dubrovnik. Mountains, nearby waterfalls and a very recent war history make this a must if visiting nearby Croatia. It has much more of a small town feel than a city, with a gorgeous stream dividing up the Croatian West and Bosnian East rivals that remain from the 1993 Croat-Bosniak war. The 29 metre Stari Most bridge connects the two sides which has become a popular tourist attraction for diving off into the year-round icy cold river.
'The Dam' is finally starting to earn a well-deserved reputation that steers away from the traditional tourist traps. Amsterdam is a charming summer city, which is no doubt best seen as the Dutchies do- by bicycle. Ride around Vondelpark, or venture out to explore the beaches. Save the sunbaking for Greece; the beaches here are more about sitting on a lounge chair soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the local snack bitterballen with a beer.
If bikes aren’t your style, when the sun is out a canal boat ride is not to be missed. The locals spend their Saturdays doing laps of the canals with their music blasting and their drinks flowing. Even if you take a tourist boat, you’ll still get to experience the locals in their zone and it’s definitely the best way to see this beautiful city and its main sights.
Ready to swap your thongs for some sandals? Check out these great tours that explore these summer cities: