Even when it’s not summer, we’ve got sun on the brain. Those long, languid, evenings and cloudless skies are perfect for exploring Europe at its fun-loving best. If you’re anything like us, you’re already well at work on your summer-in-Europe checklist. Here’s ours. (It’s okay if you want to steal a few…or 101.)
Summer Activities in Europe
- Take a picnic (and your swim suit!) to Vienna’s Strandbad Alte Donau—a bathing beach on a secluded offshoot of the Danube.
- Sip a mélange (espresso with steamed milk and a dollop of milk froth) at an outdoor café in Vienna.
- Enjoy a performance (jazz, classical, opera, and more) at the annual Salzburg Festival.
- Hike around the turquoise lakes of Austria’s Altausseer See, Grundlsee, or Hintersee regions.
- Discover why the Belgian beer culture is part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list with a visit to the Halve Maan brewery in Bruges.
- Rent a cuistax on the coast and pedal along the boardwalk.
- Visit the preserved 12th-century Gravensteen Castle in Ghent.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Plunge into the Trebižat River on a rope swing at the base of Kravica Falls.
- Hike through Vrelo Bosne, a 1,500-acre public park in the foothills of Sarajevo’s Mt. Igman.
- Admire the handmade crafts in Baščaršija, an oriental bazaar and the beating heart of old Sarajevo.
- Visit the Stari Most Bridge in Mostar.
- Marvel at the waterfalls in Krka or Plitvice Lakes National Parks.
- Tour the enormous 4th-century Diocletian’s Palace in Split.
- For spectacular views, take a cable car from downtown Dubrovnik to the top of Mt. Srd.
- Kayak through the inlets of the island of Korčula.
- Raft down the Vltava River and camp along the banks.
- Enjoy a spa day in UNESCO-listed Karlovy Vary.
- Tour the picturesque vineyards in the Morava region.
- Catch a puppet show at the National Marionette Theatre in Prague.
- Search for the Six Forgotten Giants (gigantic wooden troll sculptures) hidden in the Danish forests.
- Enjoy a day at Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens, the second-oldest amusement park in the world and the model for Disneyland.
- Lounge on Hornbaek Beach on the Danish Riviera.
- Hunt for fossils along the sheer white cliffs at Møns Klint.
- Picnic in London’s Hyde Park.
- Relax on a riverboat on the River Thames.
- Tour the quaint Cotswolds, then set out on the 100 miles of hiking trails that wind through the area.
- Walk the grounds of Windsor Castle.
- Venture into Pyhä-Luosto National Park, and explore its pine forests, scenic gorges, and the Lampivaara Amethyst Mine.
- Take a ferry from Helsinki to the Suomenlinna Fortress.
- Visit the 52-acre Helsinki Zoo.
- Indulge in a sensational sandwich at the Comptoir de la Gastronomie in Paris.
- Attend the Royal Serenade at the Palace of Versailles.
- Bike along the vineyards of Bordeaux.
- Peruse the colorful open-air markets in Aix-en-Provence.
- Gape at the splendor of Cologne’s Kölner Dom, a 13th-century cathedral whose steeple was the tallest structure in Europe until the construction of the Eiffel Tower.
- Nurse a liter of foaming brew at Englischer Garten in Munich.
- Spend an afternoon strolling through the gardens of Sanssouci Palace.
- Go for a dip in Lake Voliagmeni, whose high concentration of salts and minerals make for a therapeutic swim.
- Check out the Minoan ruins of Knossos on the north side of Crete.
- Support the Athens & Epidaurus Festival with a play or musical performance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
- Climb Mount Olympus near Thessaloniki.
- Smell your way through the spices in Budapest’s neo-Gothic Great Market Hall.
- Party in Siofok on the shore of the Balaton Lake.
- Step back in time in the city of Esztergom.
- Explore the basilica and arboretum of the 1st-century, UNESCO-listed Pannonhalma Archabbey.
- Head to Dynjandi Falls in the remote West Fjords.
- Take a hike through Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.
- Hop on a ferry to Videy Island in Reykjavik.
- Keep your eyes peeled for puffins in the Westman Islands.
- Visit the Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, which is now a museum and art gallery exhibiting paintings and sculptures by its prisoners.
- Gape at the Slieve League Cliffs in County Donegal.
- Explore the unique moon-like landscape of the Burren.
- Grab a pint and take in some traditional Irish music at a pub in Dingle.
- Discover the breathtaking karst formations inside the Frasassi Cave in Ancona.
- Take a cicchetti (bar snacks) tour of Venice.
- Head to Milan’s La Scala for an opera performance.
- Watch the Palio di Siena horse race in Siena.
- Experience UNESCO-listed Lake Ohrid by attending theater, music, and dance performances at the Ohrid Summer Festival.
- Wander around the Old Bazaar in Skopje, Macedonia.
- Visit the half-submerged Church of St. Nicolas in Lake Mavrovo.
- Explore Mdina, the old capital of Malta.
- Take in views of the city and Grand Harbour from the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta.
- Go for a horseback ride along the beach at Golden Bay in Malta.
- Visit the Neolithic temples and archaeological sites in Gozo.
- Ride a bike to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.
- Explore the open-air museum of Zaanse Schans.
- Wander through the charming town of Marken on Ijsselmeer Lake.
- Play hopscotch on the hexagonal basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway.
- Cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in Ballintoy.
- Go for a drive along the Causeway Coastal Route between Belfast and Derry.
- Visit Castlewellan Forest Park, Northern Ireland’s 1,100-acre national arboretum.
- Head to Sunnylvsfjord for spectacular views of the country’s UNESCO-listed fjord network.
- Learn about the Sami culture and experience the midnight sun in Norway’s northern Finnmark County.
- Admire the outdoor art in Oslo’s Vigeland Sculpture Park
- Spend the day exploring the ancient structures of Lillehammer.
- Look for bison in Białowieża National Park, Europe’s largest plot of original old growth forest.
- Climb the sand dunes at Slowinski National Park.
- Hike the Tatra Mountains around Zakopane.
- Visit the 12th-century Convento do Cristo in Tomar.
- Take cruise on the Douro River through Portugal’s wine country.
- Relax on Matosinhos Beach near Porto.
- Visit the waterfalls and pools near Glenbrittle on the Isle of Skye.
- Have a drink at the Old Forge Pub, the most remote pub in Scotland.
- Trek up to Ljubljana Castle.
- Go kayaking in Lake Bled.
- Sample pintxos—Basque tapas—in San Sebastian.
- Catch a cable car to the top of Barcelona’s Montserrat.
- Attend La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain.
- Go for a hike along the Kungsleden, or King’s Trail.
- Take a ferry to the island of Gotland.
- Explore quaint medieval Sigtuna, the oldest town in Sweden.
- Try your hand at cheese making in medieval Gruyères.
- See the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva.
- Enjoy a ride on the cog railway up Mount Rigi.
- Go for a hike in the Bernese Oberland.
- Take a hot-air balloon ride over Cappadocia.
- Go for a dip in Pamukkale’s otherworldly thermal pools.
- Shop at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
- Visit tiny St. Govan’s Chapel on the Pembrokeshire coast.
- Cross the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on a canal boat in Wrexham.
- Hike around Snowdonia in Gwynedd.