By Nomadic Matt
Nomadic Matt shares his favorite European destinations.
I’ve been traveling to Europe in the summer for the last five years. Everyone is out in the cafes, there are lots of concerts, the weather is great, and there are tons of travelers around. Even if it’s just for a few weeks, I will always visit Europe during the summer. I have too. I crave it. One of the greatest things about Europe is the number of potential destinations. There are so many cities, towns, parks, and islands to see that it would take a lifetime to try to see all of Europe. Here are my top places to visit:
I have a strong affinity for all things Scandinavian, and Stockholm is no exception. It’s why I have moved here for the remainder of the year. I love it and what is not to love about it? It is one of the most beautiful I cities n the world. The reds and greens of the buildings have an old world charm, the locals are incredibly friendly, the city is abuzz with life in the summer time, the weather is just warm enough, and there is an infectious charm to the city. Within seconds of stepping into the city, few people ever want to leave.
Utrecht is a miniature version of Amsterdam but without the huge crowds. Utrecht’s city center features many historic buildings and structures. You’ll find beautiful canals, historic churches, great green spaces, and lovely town squares. The city is a big university town has a very youthful and vibrant feel to it. Hardly anyone ever visits the city despite it being only 30 minutes from Amsterdam. You get the same magic minus the crowds.
Cornwall’s culture, spectacular landscape, and mild climate make it a popular tourist destination during the summer, even with the English. Too many people stick to just London when they visit England but if you really want to take in the country, you need to visit Cornwall, where the rolling hills, easy hiking trails, beautiful lakes, and tiny towns with friendly locals will give you a much better understanding of the country than just London.
The city of light is everything people say it is. From the second I stepped out onto the Champ Elyse, I knew I would love Paris. There’s an vibrant energy to the city that excludes life. Paris is so large, so full of life that you’ll never be able to see the city in just one visit. It would take years. But you can get a good idea in just a few days as you marvel at the Eiffel tower, stroll through the food markets, picnic and Montmartre and take in some of Paris’s famous clubs.
There’s more to this city than just coffeeshops and red lights. I came to visit in 2006, loved it so much, I stayed for 4 months. Amsterdam is a city of cobblestone streets set upon a beautiful backdrop of lovely canals. In Amsterdam, you’ll find a very artistic city with tons of wonderful museums, locals always willing to share a beer, and delicious outdoor cafes in the Jordaan area of town.
These islands are the mecca of summer beach fun in Europe. With hundreds of islands, it’s hard to really pick the best. The island of Ios is the center of the party. Mykonos is great for those who want a romantic getaway. Paros and Naxos are quiet and relaxing. Crete and Santorini perfect for those who want history. Kos is popular with the Brits. But no matter what island you choose, you’ll find an affordable beach destination surrounded by warm clear water.
Barcelona is Europe’s party city. The city goes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and could give NYC a run for the “city that never sleeps” title. Be prepared for late night dinners and until dawn parties. People in Barcelona have a zest for life and it shows in their late nights, beach days, and long and plentiful dinners. Plus, this city that dates back to Roman times has beautiful architecture, great Roman ruins, and his home to the famous Gaudi architect and his surreal buildings.
London has some of the best museums in the best in the world (and free), there is a lot of history here, and the pub culture is wonderful. Head to Brick Lane for an amazing Sunday food market filled with the best Indian in London. While I always find London an expensive city to visit, I like the historic nature of the city, the pub culture, and it’s melting pot feel to it.
Europe’s nightlife capital, hip and trendy Berlin is an energetic destination. While the city is very bland looking, the mouth watering and cheap food, the art scene, and the amazing music scene more than makes up for the drab, old communist feeling you get in Berlin. Through in some beautiful parks, lots of outdoor and green space, and a young, hipster feel to it and you get the most youthful city in Europe.
There are a million destinations in Europe. This list of cities will give you a mix of old world, new world, beach destinations, and history.