Summer is fast approaching which means it is time to check out the hottest getaway spots for the warmest period of the year. Here are 10 European destinations that should definitely be considered in 2017, be it for very different reasons and for different types of travellers.
1. Makarska, Croatia
The small city of Makarska, located between Split and Dubrovnik, is already a summer hotspot but its beauty and authenticity haven’t yet completely faded amidst the huge influx of tourism that Croatia has witnessed over the past few years. Makarska is in fact a brilliant summer destination that combines the availability of pristine beaches with a certain local charm and a buzzing nightlife scene. Dubrovnik and Split are moreover relatively close, which gives travellers excellent opportunities for day trips.
2. San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain
The small Basque coastal city of San Sebastian is one of the cultural and architectural jewels in northern Spain. Its reputation as cultural hotspot coupled to its buzzing food and nightlife culture are the main reasons for San Sebastián’s continuous success. Notwithstanding its small size, the city has been attracting a lot of attention recently, mostly due to the San Sebastián film festival and the fact that it was named European Capital of Culture in 2016, along with Wroclaw, Poland.
3. Lake Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled is one of Eastern Europe’s hidden natural treasures. This uniquely shaped lake offers perfect sunbathing and swimming possibilities and moreover scores points with its remote location and the untouched wilderness that surrounds the lake and the small ancient town of Bled.
4. Puglia Region, Italy
Italy has so many beautiful regions that it is incredibly hard to chose one over the other. The region of Puglia does not get as much fame as the Amalfi coast or Tuscany but definitely has its part to play when it comes to Italy’s most beautiful regions. Apart from the two stunning cities of Bari and Lecce, the heel of Italy also has some of the most beautiful countryside towns and several medieval fortress towns, in addition to its world class beaches.
5. Kotor, Montenegro
The Unesco world heritage site of Kotor holds an ancient sea fortress nestled between high mountains and colourful forests. The town of Kotor is a gem in itself and the fact that Budva, Montenegro’s new coastal party and tourism capital, is located just a short drive away, adds to Kotor’s attractiveness.
6. Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain
Formentera is the smallest and least populous of the 4 Balearic islands and arguably the most beautiful. This diminitive Balearic island offers its visitors pristine, secluded and off the beaten path beaches and benefits from the fact that mass tourism has invaded the bigger islands of Mallorca and Ibiza but not yet Formentera. Although Formentera can’t compete with Ibiza on the nightlife front, it is definitely the calmest and least touristy destination in the Balearic islands.
7. Gdansk, Poland
The Baltic coastal city of Gdansk is Poland’s principal seaport and its fourth-largest metropolitan area. The city which once attracted wealthy merchants from the Hanseatic trade league is today a major tourist destination which is mainly due to its picturesque 17th century architecture and its wide range of historic sights. Apart from being a culture hotspot, the city also hosts several large universities which have spawned a vibrant food and nightlife scene.
8. Novalja, Pag Island, Croatia
Croatia has many stunningly beautiful islands but few offer Pag’s diversity. The island is in fact divided into two parts: on the one hand Novalja, a lovely little resort town where new apartment complexes have settled alongside a charming old harbour and beautiful secluded beaches and on the other hand Zrce, arguably Croatia’s hottest party town. The shore of Zrce is in fact an area with a dozen amazing nightclubs where globally renowned DJs keep you entertained from the early afternoon until the early hours of the next morning.
9. Azores, Portugal
The unique natural beauty that can be encountered on the Azores islands is second to none in Europe. The volcanic islands are in fact the only place in Europe where this specific geology can be found and the Azores are therefore a must visit destination for nature lovers and adventurers alike. The remote location in the Atlantic furthermore adds to the Azores’ attractiveness.
10. Zakynthos, Greece
Akin to Croatia, Greece is blessed with a tremendous amount of beautiful islands boasting pristine beaches and charming little villages. Zakynthos is one of the more developed and affluent islands but also one of the most alluring. Its drop dead gorgeous beaches and its picturesque villages have delighted travellers for quite a while now and even if Santorini has been stealing the spotlight for the last couple of years, Zakynthos is still one of the must visit destinations in Greece and Europe.