Best European Holiday Destinations this Summer
Being right on our doorstep, Europe makes for a perfect summer holiday destination. But with so much choice, picking where to go can be hard. We fly to hundreds of Airpots all over Europe, so we know the best places to visit and the must-see attractions once you arrive. From Croatian cities to Hungary’s capital, we’ve picked out the best holiday destinations in Europe this summer. We’ve also listed the top things to do in each, so you can plan a fun-filled itinerary!
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Famous for its beautiful architectural buildings and UNESCO-protected historic centre, Naples is a popular European holiday destination. One of Europe’s largest and oldest cities, it’s lively, it’s chaotic and it’s like nowhere you’ve ever visited before. Culture vultures will find two royal palaces, three castles, and ancient ruins that include some of Christianity's oldest paintings, as well as a plethora of museums and art galleries. Naples was the city which invented pizza, so foodies need no convincing.
Things to do in Naples
- Mount Vesuvius dominates the skyline and landscape surrounding – a legendary volcano that famously erupted in 79 AD and caused the destruction and burial of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Today, you can take a bus tour from Naples to visit this magnificent natural phenomenon and climb up its slopes to peer into the crater.
- Visit the ancient city of Walk through the extensive ruins and learn the history of its destruction. Particularly interesting sights include the Amphitheatre, the case del Fauno, the Temple of Apollo and the Temple of Jupiter.
- Naples has some great museums and galleries, including one of the world’s best collections of Greek and Roman antiquities at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. Or visit the stately monastery complex at the National Museum of San Martino, just outside the city, with breath-taking views of Naples.
- From Naples, sail to the island of Capri for the day. One of the most famous destinations along the coast, this bustling town lounges along the cliff tops and flaunts jaw-dropping natural beauty. Visit the island’s famous Blue Grotto and take the chairlift up to Mount Solaro.
Croatia – Split, Dubrovnik & Pula
Sapphire clear waters lap onto stunning white pebbled beaches and ancient walled towns offer shade from the baking sun, Croatia is a dreamy European holiday destination. Croatia’s astounding island-speckled coastlines is its main attraction – the perfect backdrop for all your Mediterranean fantasies. Lie on a shingly beach with a trashy holiday novel in one hand and a cocktail in the other, take a catamaran island hopping, or perhaps windsurfing is more your thing. Whatever you fancy doing on your holiday, Croatia is an idyllic place to do it.
Three of our favourite places to visit in Croatia are Split, Dubrovnik and Pula; check out the best things to do in each city below.
Always buzzing, Croatia’s second largest city is the perfect blend of ancient and modern. Its dramatic coastal mountains act as the perfect backdrop to the turquoise waters of the Adriatic and the town offers an irresistible mix of history, fine food and unruly spirit.
Top things to do in Split
- Visit Diocletian’s Palace – a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most impressive Roman monuments. You’ll discover important sites like the Peristyle (the centre of the Palace), the Cardo (one of the main streets through the palace) and the cellar (a filming site for the Game of Thrones!). Climb the Bell Tower of St. Domnius Cathedral for stunning views over the city.
- The Old Town of Split is the maze of streets and cobblestoned lanes that surround Dicoletian’s Palace. Sped time getting lost in the labyrinth of cafés, restaurants and shops that spill out into People’s Square.
- The Riva Promenade is the harbour of Split and offers a bustling waterfront with palm trees, colourful buildings and views out to the Adriatic Sea. Pick a restaurant and enjoy fresh seafood and some delicious wine.
- Klis Fortress not only offers panoramic views of Split and the Dalmatian Coast, but it is also the Game of Thrones filming location for Meereen. This ancient fortress has a long history, being the site of multiple battles with the Knights Templar, Ottomans, and the Mongols.
A shimmering jewel in the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is otherworldly. The main draw is the charming pedestrian-only Old Town, packed with aristocratic architecture and elegant ornate churches, as well as restaurants and shops a plenty. Coupled with beaches, pristine sea and top-notch food, Dubrovnik is an irresistible holiday destination.
Top things to do in Dubrovnik
- No visit to Dubrovnik would be complete without a walk around the remarkable city walls, the finest in the world and the city's main claim to fame. From the top, the view over the old town and the shimmering Adriatic is sublime. It takes approximately two hours to walk the entire loop around the city.
- Wander the narrow streets of the Old Town, where locals’ houses line the narrow streets and sunlit squares. Visit the churches, palaces and museums, as well as the markets, bazaars, cafés and restaurants.
- Take the cable car up to Mt Srđ for spectacular views of Dubrovnik and Lokrum, with the Elafiti Islands filling the horizon.
- Visit Lokrum Island for the day, just a short ferry ride away from Dubrovnik harbour. Escape the city and enjoy a day at the beach or wander the island’s gardens. Keep an eye out for peacocks and large rabbits.
If you want the beauty of Croatia but without the tourist crowds of the Dalmatian coast, Pula could be the holiday destination for you. Set on the Istrian Peninsula, this historic city is a pure delight. Most well-known for the near-intact Roman monuments that are still the main features of its city centre, it is a lush green city, whose close proximity to Italy can be felt in its culture and architecture.
Top things to do in Pula
- The Amphitheatre is undoubtedly Pula’s main attraction. The most complete Roman colosseum in the world, set beside the sea, it’s both stunning and fascinating. Hosting gladiatorial battles 2,000 years ago, today the Pula Arena stages an annual film festival, live concerts and the Outlook music festival.
- Pula Market is housed in a historic building and was first opened in 1903. You will find two floors filled with meat, fish and local produce. Outside, nearby gardens and orchards fill fruit and vegetable stalls.
- Pula is a small city, so it’s easy to walk around and enjoy the tranquil beauty. Walk along the waterfront to the marina to see the boats bobbing on the calm water. Then, check out the town centre that was once a Roman Forum. Today the piazza is a pedestrian-only zone with many cafés, restaurants and shops.
- There are no real beaches in Pula itself, but you can take the city bus to the peninsula of Verudela, where you’ll have your pick of shingle shores.
From dramatic history and flamboyant architecture to healing thermal waters and an unbeatable nightlife, Budapest has something for everyone. Split by the River Danube, Budapest has 2 districts – hilly Buda and flat Pest – connected by the 19th century Széchenyi Chain Bridge. Boasting beauty, culture and a quirky spirit, Hungary’s capital manages to pay homage to the old whilst embracing the new, meaning it’s suited to every type of traveller.
Top things to do in Budapest
- Admire the city’s architecture. From the Neo-Gothic Parliament Building to the stunning interior of Stephen’s Basilica, and the beautiful Hungarian State Opera House building, you will be in awe.
- Relax in some of Budapest’s famous baths. Budapest is blessed with an abundance of hot springs and, as a result, ‘taking the waters’ has been an experience here since the Roman times. From relaxing day baths to party baths that go on until the early hours, you’ll have your pick.
- Visit Fisherman’s Bastion for fairy-tale turrets and some of the best views of Budapest. Take the funicular up to Buda Castle or if you’re feeling fit and want to save money, you could walk up. From Fisherman’s Bastion, watch the boats bob lazily down the river Danube and be sure to pop into one of the city’s most famous patisseries, the 200-year-old Ruszwurm Confectionery, whilst you’re up there.
- Visit the Great Market Hall, one of Europe’s finest indoor markets covering three floors. You will find delicious local produce, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a range of Hungarian arts and crafts. It is the oldest market in the city and is notable both for its size and its beautiful architecture.
- Visit Heroes’ Square featuring the historical equestrian statue complex named the Hungarian Millennium Monument. The square is flanked by two fine art museums, the classical Museum of Fine Art and the contemporary Hall of Arts (Mucsarnok).