Europe is a diverse and unique continent, each city, country and region has its unique charms and characteristics. With so many options it can become difficult to decide where to go. This article looks to find the best places to visit in Europe for summer 2023, taking the guesswork away from you and making it that bit easier to book (or harder when you see how great some of the places are!) We have looked at a mix of city and beach destinations to compile a list of the best summer destinations in Europe for 2023.
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Vienna, also referred to as the ‘city of music’, is Austria’s capital and one of our choices for a 2023 European summer destination. It’s the perfect city trip to soak in the culture, history and beauty of the city. The city is proud to have called itself home to hundreds of musicians and composers including Strauss, Mozart and Beethoven. See where they lived or hear their renditions at the Vienna State Opera House, it’s not to be missed.
Vienna is full of history and culture, it has been the capital of Austria since 1918 and before that was the seat of power for the Habsburg empire and one of the capital cities in the Austro-Hungarian empire. You should visit the Hofburg Imperial Palace and see where the former royals lived and ruled their mighty empire from. With a population of 2 million people and on the banks of the river Danube the city offers a bustling and cosmopolitan yet relaxed experience.
The city has an abundance of theatres, classic coffeehouses and archaic buildings for you to wander about and get lost in history. With an average summer temperature of 25–27°C bask in the sun in one of the city's many public squares and parks. Stroll down the old side roads and round the world-famous Zoo in the Schönbrunn Palace or even through one of the many art galleries such as the renowned Albertina. Awarded as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2017, you’ll quickly see why.
There’s a whole host of things this city has to offer from the Naturhistorisches Museum, an evening cruise along the Danube, a visit to Vienna City Hall (Rathaus) or dinner in one of the city's many premium restaurants. But don’t worry, there are lots of cheaper options too, be sure to try a Vienna Schnitzel!
The city is served by Vienna International Airport (VIE), which boasts 68 airlines flying to Europe, North America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It’s never been easier to get to Vienna! The airport is well connected to the city with trains, buses and the public metro all connecting the airport to downtown Vienna and Wien Hauptbahnhof. Vienna and Austria as a whole use the Euro.
Another great European Destination is Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic — formerly Czechoslovakia. The city is abundant with history as it has seen various powers come to rule it with at one stage being governed by the Austrian Habsburg Empire. The city is a dichotomy between ancient gothic architecture and modern futuristic designs. With cobblestone streets, it’s easy to get lost in the city's charm and winding roads.
Prague is a city bursting with history and culture and makes you feel like you're walking through a fairytale. A lot of the city's architecture has inspired the designs of Disney, Grim and other fairytale novelists. View sites such as Prague Castle or one of the many churches and museums. You should head to the old town and enjoy one of the little cafes there, or when in Prague get a pint of world-famous Czech beer, Na zdraví (cheers)!
Head over the Charles Bridge and take in the city surrounding you, this bridge has been used in hundreds of films such as Mission Impossible. St Vitus Cathedral is a grand gothic church popular with tourists and an essential visit. Tourists also flock to the statue of St. Wenceslas snapping pictures and sharing their adventures with the saint. With centuries of history and culture, the city is perfect for everyone. The city isn’t overly expensive meaning a visit here won’t eat away at your bank balance which is always a bonus! That is why we believe that Prague is a great cheap European summer destination for 2023.
During the summer months, the city has an average temperature of 18–20°C, which is perfect for comfortably exploring the city. The country uses the Czech Koruna and has hundreds of bureau de changes in the city for you to change money up if needed.
Václav Havel Airport Prague (PRG) serves the city and has 65 airlines operating to the city and serving destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and North America. Multiple low-cost airlines service the city making it a great location for the budget traveller. The airport has multiple bus services to get you to central Prague and construction of a rail line is underway, due to be completed in 2025.
Split is a beach town in Croatia, running along the coast of the Adriatic sea and the second-largest city in the country. Over the years the city has seen a change in ownership, from the Venetian empire and the Roman empire to French rule and Habsburg control. Before finally being liberated by Yugoslavia and then becoming modern-day Croatia in 1991. Over these centuries and various changes in power, the city has an abundance of history, culture and miles of sandy white shoreline.
The city is the perfect destination for the cultural enthusiast as well as for the sun worshiper. The city boasts hundreds of hotels, resorts and villas up and down the coast giving the option to lounge by a swimming pool or lay on the beach soaking up the sun and the natural environment. Why we think Split is the perfect European summer destination. For those wanting a bit more culture and heritage then stay in Split itself, there are lots to see. The city is famed for its ancient Diocletian's Palace, built during the Roman empire. Visit Saint Domnius cathedral or snap pictures of the Grgur Ninski Statue. The old town was awarded a UNESCO World Heritage Site protectorate meaning the city is full of culture and history.
The area is full of things to do, visit one of the city's many bars and restaurants and try some of the delicious local cuisines. Dine by the Riva harbour and watch all the yachts arriving and heading out to sea. Visit one of the many local vineyards and sample some of the Croatian wine, a great day out for any novice sommeliers. Split is the perfect European destination for everyone. The city has an abundance of culture as well as luxurious and budget-friendly hotels, tasty food and bustling nightlife.
With average temperatures of 23–26°C and typical Mediterranean climates, it’s the perfect summer destination.
The city is served by Split Airport (SPU), which is about 20 minutes from downtown. The airport is served by 43 different airlines with destinations across Europe making it easily accessible for the continent. If travelling from further afield you can easily connect via a major European hub onto Split. The airport has both rail and bus links making it easier for you to move around the area with ease. Croatia doesn’t use the Euro as a national currency but has the local Croatian Kuna, so be aware of that before arriving!
The French Riviera is France's premier beach resort and playground to the rich. With things to do and events all across summer, it’s the perfect European summer vacation. See where they host the yearly Cannes film festival and walk up the red-carpet feeling like an A-list celebrity. Head to one of the many marinas along the coast and gaze at the multi-million Euro yachts moored, who knows you might spot someone important! Each city along the Cote D’Azur has its own unique charm and history. Visit the bustling cities of San Tropez, Nice, Cannes or Monaco or for a more relaxed vibe visit the smaller and quainter towns such as Antibes, Juan-la-Pins or Cagnes-sur-Mer.
Visit the casinos of Monte Carlo or browse through one of the many luxurious boutiques along the promenade. When the sun goes down the French Riviera knows how to throw a party. Head to one of the many popular nightclubs along the coast and party into the early hours. Prefer a more relaxed evening? Head to one of the many restaurants serving up traditional French cuisine with multiple Michelin Starred restaurants — you’ll be spoilt for choice while spoiling your tastebuds. The area is home to hundreds of museums and art galleries being a cultural hotspot, perfect if this is what you’re into. For those who would rather relax then there are miles of sandy beaches across the region for you to lounge on.
The French Riviera is the perfect European summer destination for the luxurious traveller. It is an expensive part of Europe so bear this in mind before travelling. The region and wider Metropolitan France use the Euro as does the microstate of Monaco so be sure to bring this with you. The region has an average summer temperature of 20–23°C making it the perfect Mediterranean summer climate with hot days and warm nights.
Nice Cote D’Azur International Airport (NCE), Toulon-Hyères International Airport (TLN) and Marseille-Provence Airport (MRS) all serve the region, but depending on where you’re heading the choice of airport is important. If you plan on visiting Nice, Cannes, Monaco or the surrounding areas then it’s best to fly to nice. Thinking of heading to San Tropez then it’s the easiest option to fly into Toulon-Hyeres as this is closest to the resort. Major international airlines such as Air France, British Airways, Delta, Air Canada and Qatar Airways operate to the airports making it easy to fly in from an international location.
Budapest began as two cities on opposite sides of the Danube river. Originally the two cities began as Buda and the second as pest before merging into the city it is today. The city is the capital of current-day Hungary and was the second most important city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Like its previous sister city Vienna, Budapest is steeped in history, culture and things to do. It’s a great European city destination to visit for summer 2023. The city is world-renowned for its thermal baths with rumoured healing properties. Visit one of the many public open-air baths at any time in the day, but beware — they do get busy! Or visit them at night when the city turns them into open-air clubs, a fun and different experience to typical nightlife.
The city has lots on offer for you to visit. Head to Matthias church and see its grand architecture or the Citadella nestles on Gellert Hill. From Buda Castle, look out across the city, it’s a great time to visit at night and see the sky of the city light up with lights. Stroll down the banks of the Danube and take in the grandeur of the Hungarian Parliament building and visit the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. Take a trip to the Hungarian National Museum and learn more about the origins and history of Hungary. Budapest offers lots to do culturally and has numerous shows in the evening at the National Theatre and Hungarian State Opera House for what is on when you’re there.
The city is well connected with the Budapest Metro helping you to traverse the city, with single tickets being only 350HUF (£0.81/$1.09/€0.96). The city uses the Hungarian Forint and has many bureau de changes available to change up money, but you may get a better rate before coming. The city is compact enough to be able to wander its streets on foot or by bike if you would prefer. Like surrounding countries, Budapest has a continental climate with temperatures ranging from 19–20°C.
The city is served by Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD) which offers up to 44 different airlines servicing multiple destinations across Europe, the Middle East and Asia making Budapest an easily accessible destination in Europe. You can easily hop on one of the many bus or train services from the airport to the city centre. We think that anyone would love Budapest and it’s definitely somewhere to look at for a European summer destination for next year.
The Amalfi coast, which has been growing in popularity ever since becoming a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997 is located in the region of Campania in Southern Italy. The stretch of coastline borders both the Gulf of Salerno and the Tyrrhenian Sea. This region is ubiquitously Italian with hundreds of small fishing villages rising from the sea up into the foothills of the surrounding mountains. The Amalfi Coast is the perfect place for a romantic getaway with picturesque scenery and divine food. The name of the coastline originates from the region's major town of Amalfi which has historically been the area's main political centre point.
Go for a drive along the winding coastal roads clinging to the rock faces and take in the natural beauty, but be warned this isn’t for the faint-hearted! Visit one of the region's many public piazzas and feel like a local, experiencing the hustle and bustle of the town, sipping an espresso (or an Aperol). Set sail along the coastline and crash through the turquoise waves and see all the ancient roman villas lining the coastline or head to the La Galli islands, where legend says that the sirens call home and lure ships and seamen.
The area has an abundance of ancient churches and cathedrals and towers to visit, dating back to the Roman Empire. This part of Italy is known for its lemon growing being some of the largest lemons available, the ground has the perfect minerals and nutrients to boost this growth. With an abundance of lemons, the area is famous for the Italian liquor of Limoncello, be sure to get a bottle to bring home to your friends and family. Go on a tour of one of the area’s Limoncello factories or of one of the many vineyards and go wine tasting. Not only is the area known for its drinks and vegetation, but there are also hundreds of Ristorantes, Trattorias and Osteria’s all offering different culinary experiences.
During the summer months, you can expect the temperature to reach up to 29°C. When it gets this warm there’s nothing better than dipping into the tranquil seas along the coast which also has an average warmth of 26°C. All through the summer months the sun shines all day and has the lowest amount of rainfall, this would be the perfect time to visit. Italy is a member of the eurozone so bring Euros with you. As it is smaller than other major cities of Italy and a lot more traditional, you may find it harder to use debit and credit cards.
The best airport to fly into would be Naples International Airport (NAP) as it’s located near to the Amalfi Coast in neighbouring city Naples. The airport offers 49 different airlines to a whole host of European, Middle Eastern and North African destinations. As the world reopens the Amalfi Coast is somewhere to consider as a 2023 European summer destination.
Paphos is a beach town in the western end of the island of Cyprus. The city shares a border with the Mediterranean Sea, boasting 150m of blue flag sealine. The beach resort is full of archaic and traditional architecture and mosaics, making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is the perfect destination for a European summer destination as it boasts both a cultural scene as well as hundreds of hotels and miles of beaches to relax on.
If you’re visiting the area then you should make time to visit the tomb of the kings, these are ancient Egyptian catacombs that were carved into the rock and used as burial sites. The area also has the world-famous house of Dionysos which is excellent to view some of the ancient and traditional Greek mosaics and artwork. The temple of Aphrodite is something you shouldn’t forget to see, visit the ruins of the ancient temple and look out across the Mediterranean seas from the hills of the island. Across the area, there are hundreds of picturesque walking trails perfect for keen hikers or relaxed ramblers.
Paphos has an abundance of hotels catering to everyone’s budget so you can easily have a budget-friendly or a luxurious holiday if choosing to visit, which is why you should consider it as a destination for summer 2023. Across the summer months, the region has an average temperature of 22–26°C and hours of sunshine making it perfect as a summer destination. The country uses the Euro so makes it even easier if travelling from another eurozone country.
The beach resort is served by Paphos International Airport (PFO) which is about 6.5km from the centre of Paphos, so transfer times are quick meaning you can get to starting your holiday even quicker. The airport has 25 airlines, primarily low cost and leisure, operating to various destinations across Europe, Russia and Israel.
Greece is renowned for its idyllic islands spanning across the Aegean sea. With hundreds to choose from it may be difficult to decide because each offers its own allure and charm. There are hotspots like Mykonos, Santorini, Heraklion and more, however, we recommend Naxos. Naxos is the largest island of the Cyclades group in the South Aegean Sea and offers a lot of what Santorini and the major island offer but are by far a lot less busy. It’s a more authentic and uncommercialised part of Greece and one of our recommendations for summer 2023.
The island is home to Mount Zas, the highest point of the Cyclades islands and great if you are a hiker looking to explore the area on foot. Climb to the mountain’s peak and look out across the island and South Aegean sea and take in all its natural beauty and glory. The island is extremely fertile so is full of lush greenery and scenic cedar forests. Not only does the island offer an amazing experience for hikers but it also has miles of sandy white shoreline stretching around its entirety, 40km to be exact. It’s the perfect destination to relax and unwind. Book into one of the island's many hotels with some on the beach and others rising up the mountainside like little white boxes stacked atop of each other. Naxos is the perfect destination to get back to nature and escape from the hustle of a city and truly relax.
With average summer temperatures of 23–25°C, it’s a warm and enticing climate, one that could be perfect for a European summer holiday. The island uses the Euro like the rest of Greece, but it’s strongly recommended to bring currency with you as some outlets may not accept card.
Naxos does have an airport that you can fly into, Naxos Island National Airport (JNX). However, as it’s less well known in the travel industry fewer airlines cater for the demand. Only Olympic Air, which is part of Aegean Airlines and Sky Express, operate to the island. Both airlines serve the Naxos to Athens route. Although it may appear difficult to get to, this isn’t the case, you can easily connect from an Aegean flight via Athens on to Naxos. Similarly, Alternative Airlines helps compile multiple flights with different carriers all onto one itinerary making it easy for you to into Athens with any airline and connect with either Olympic Air or Sky Express.
The Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal with 155km of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Cadiz. The region is one of Portugal’s premier agricultural heartlands producing some of the finest fruits and vegetables including Oranges, Raspberries and Strawberries. This means that a trip to the Algarve will mean an abundance of fresh, healthy and delicious food and meals incorporating all of this produce. Not only is the area one of Portugal’s premier agricultural locations it is also a holiday hotspot. With temperatures reaching 22–24°C in the Summer months and miles of beaches you’ll be quick to see why.
The area is mountainous, so great for exploring nature or experiencing how this has caused the locals to adapt their culture. Along the coast are numerous cities, you can explore from the capital of Faro with cathedrals and plazas to enjoy, sit and have a traditional Pasteis de Nata (custard tarts to you and me) and take in the surroundings. Head to the town of Silves and see how it has preserved its Arab charm from the days of the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula. Looking to have fun when the sun goes down? Be sure to visit Albufeira and Portimão and see their bustling nightlife. The Algarve is the perfect place to relax with multiple spas and thermal baths across the region. Relax by one of many hotel pools or by the sea. The region truly has something for everyone.
Faro Airport (FAO) is the major international airport that serves the Algarve region. 30 airlines operate to the airport, serving destinations across Europe with direct summer flights to Canada. If travelling from a further international destination then you can connect via Lisbon with TAP Air Portugal or via Iberia’s Madrid hub, Lufthansa’s hubs, British Airways Heathrow hub or through many others. The airport boasts numerous low cost and leisure airlines meaning that it could be quite cheap to get to the Algarve, making this destination perfect for summer 2023. Like many other countries in the European Union, Portugal uses the Euro, making a visit here even easier from other Eurozone countries.
Spain is a culturally diverse country, with each autonomous community having its own unique language, culture and allure. It’s a country you can visit numerous times yet have a completely different experience each time. Located on the eastern coast of Spain the Valencian community is full of experiences, culture and more importantly, food! The country's most famous dish Paella, traces its origins to this region, with Valencians considering this part of their identity. The region is also known for its Arroz Negre, rice cooked with squid ink, Gazpacho and Allioli. You can be sure a visit to Valencia will be a tasty one!
Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain, after Madrid and Barcelona and is the capital of the Valencian Community. The city can be described as where the past meets the future, with ancient buildings dating back to 1238 and new buildings looking like something from 1000s of years into the future. Take a stroll through the city and see the grand cathedral or the gothic Lonja de la Seda building. Learn about scientific discoveries at the city’s ‘City of Arts and Sciences’ and the ‘Prince Felipe Science Museum’. The city has an abundance of museums, art galleries and other culturally significant locations. Catch a show at the famous ‘Queen Sofia Palace of the Arts’ in the evening.
Although being a city, you can easily escape to quieter areas and head to one of the city’s many parklands and wetlands reserves. Valencia is famed for some of the beaches it has on the eastern end of its boundaries with Llevant, Patacona and Port Saplaya beaches being close. Or travel further along the coast to find quieter and authentically Spanish beach resorts. Valencia offers you everything you could want from a city, the hustle and bustle, seeing famous sites but also the relaxing parklands and beaches meaning there is something for everyone. You can easily find budget, boutique or premium hotels across the city and its coastline making it a great European city to visit in summer 2023.
Valencia is a fun, vibrant and cultural city offering something for everyone’s palette and somewhere you should consider for your 2023 European summer vacation. But be sure to pack some Euros with you because that is the local currency for Spain and the Valencian Community.
Valencia Airport (VLC) is the city's major international airport. The airport is served by 29 different airlines operating to a range of European destinations as well as some North African cities. You can easily connect via a major hub airport as Valencia is connected to Madrid (Iberia), London (British Airways), Paris (Air France), Amsterdam (KLM), Frankfurt/Munich (Lufthansa), Istanbul (Turkish Airlines) and more making the city easily accessible. Like many other cities in Spain, Valencia has a robust metro service called Metrovalencia with tickets being as cheap as €0.72 EUR. The metro system serves the airport and even has 2 lines helping to take you downtown.
You may not have considered mountainous Switzerland for a European summer destination, however, we think it has a lot to offer and one you should consider. Lake Geneva is one of Europes largest natural lakes and is located in the Alps. The lake spans 2 counties, being shared both by Switzerland and France. Although across 2 countries as both are part of the European Schengen area, you can freely cross both borders undisturbed, meaning you can enjoy both Switzerland and France. During the summer months, there is an average of 20°C so it’s warm but not too hot, making it a comfortable temperature and great if you don’t like extreme heat.
On the French side of the lake, you have the resort town of Évian-les-Bains, yes the same place where the bottled water comes from! You can even go on a guided tour of the factory and learn the history of the company, how they came to discover the springs and how they bottle their water. If you would rather relax then the town has multiple spa centres where you can relax, detox and be pampered like royalty, which has been visited by Kings of Britain, Egypt and more. Being surrounded by the Alps, go for a hike across the mountains and explore the natural beauty of the area or go for a dip in the lake.
Head over to the Swiss side and explore the city of Geneva, the second-largest city in Switzerland. The Swiss are known for their fondue and chocolate so be sure to head to one of the city's many chocolatiers and taste what they have to offer and visit a fondue and raclette restaurant in the evening by the banks of Lake Geneva. The city has a lot to see with the grand spectacles of Saint Pierre Cathedral, Palais du Nations and the Museum of Art and History. Stroll through the city's ancient streets and fall in love with Geneva.
As the lake spans 2 countries it is important to be aware that both use different currencies. In France, they use the Euro, whereas in Switzerland they use the Swiss Franc (€1 = 1.05CHF) so be sure to bring both with you if you plan on visiting both sides! Lake Geneva is a naturally beautiful destination and one that might not at first spring to mind as a European summer destination, but we think that it’s somewhere that should definitely be visited!
The closest airport to Lake Geneva is Geneva Airport (GVA), which is used by both the Swiss and the French. 58 airlines operate to the airport, providing an expansive route portfolio for travellers. A range of airlines serve the airport from national airline Swiss International to Royal Jordanian, United, Vueling and more. All offering different price points and different routes. This makes Geneva an easily accessible destination for summer 2023. Geneva Airport has excellent transport links to the city with frequent bus and rail services making it easy to transit downtown.
There are just so many amazing places to visit in Europe, although we have covered some, there are still hundreds more. However, there are a few other options that we definitely don’t want you to miss out on.
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and a cosmopolitan city, famous for the little mermaid statue. The city has a lot to see and do with royal palaces and cathedrals to explore. Visit Freetown Christiania and international commune dating back to 1971, when squatters took over a military base and integrated it into Copenhagen. Take a day trip across the Øresund Bridge into the neighbouring Swedish city of Malmö and explore another Scandinavian destination. While in Copenhagen be sure to visit one of the many Pâtisserie and try a Danish pastry! If visiting you can fly into Copenhagen Airport (CPH) or if flying regionally you can arrive into Roskilde Airport (RKE).
The Dutch love their beer so book a trip to the Heineken factory and learn how the beer is produced and its origins. Understand what life was like during the time of Nazi occupation and head to the Anne Franke House Museum to see where she and her family famously hid before being captured by the regime. Sail down one of the many canals that make Amsterdam like the Venice of western Europe. The city has so much on offer that it’s definitely worth a visit and is a holiday destination in its own right. The major airport you can choose to fly to is Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS).
A tale of 2 cities from East and West. You’ll enjoy what the city has to offer. Visit the famous sites of the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin TV tower and Reichstag building. Learn how life was when the city was divided at Checkpoint Charlie and in one of the many museums the city has. See the remnants of the Berlin wall, which is now used as a public art gallery with some famous pieces such as the Iconic Kiss. Head to one of the many bars and clubs Berlin is known for or try your luck at getting into Berghain! Berlin is a fun and vibrant city, great for youngsters, clubbers and historians alike. Berlin has closed its 3 previous airports of Tegel, Tempelhof and Schonefeld, since the opening of Berlin Brandenburg (BER).
Often referred to as the Cornish Riviera, with miles of crisp white beaches you’ll see why. The area is a calm and relaxing escape from life where you can relax by the beach and do some watersports or visit one of the many local towns. If you’re interested in conservation and nature then the Eden Project is perfect for you, with its futuristic domes, see all the flora it has to offer. Cornwall is a beautiful destination and with lower temperatures than other European beaches could be perfect for you and as a European summer destination. Cornwall has its own airport, Newquay Airport (NQY) offering services domestically as well as to Germany, Switzerland and Spain.
Europe is full of beautiful and ancient cities and miles of picturesque coastline. Each country has its own unique cultures, foods and experiences for you to see. We hope that getting a glimpse into some of the places you can travel will excite you and help you to decide where to go for your European summer vacation! Visit www.alternativeairlines.com to search and find flights with over 600 airlines to European destinations now!
Publish Date: 30/11/2021
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