It is that time of the year again when the days are bright and long, the nights warm and short. People flock to the beaches to take a dip in the ocean to cool off or brave the roaring waves on surfboards, children amble down the streets excitedly with popsicles and ice creams.
While summer time has its perks, the scorching heat, sunburns and humidity are bound to get to you after a while. So if the summers in your city are too intense, you can escape to cities where the weather is cool and balmy enough to give you some respite from the heat so you can have the summer of your dreams.
Here are some of the most exciting European getaways for you to beat the heat, welcome a change of scenery and have an unforgettable summer.
1. Reykjavik, Iceland
While Reykjavik is an epitome of natural beauty blessed with a wealth of sites that attract cultural, historical and nightlife enthusiasts alike, what really sets it apart in summer months is 24 hour daytime. The sun shines benevolently throughout the course of day and sets at midnight, lending a unique and energetic charm to the city and its residents.
Besides this unusual phenomenon, the Icelandic city has so much more for you to explore making it idyllic to spend your summer time.
The highlands are a site of attraction that are only open during the summer months making them a must visit. Some of the best wonders of nature are ensconced within these highlands. The southern highlands house the mountains of Landmannalaugar, the north-eastern highlands boast of a geothermal crater lake called Víti in Askja Caldera. In the south eastern highlands, Lakagígar craters and a natural hot river that ebbs and flows at Hveravellir.
If you’d like to get off the crammed tourist spots, there are much less explored locations like Westfjords that is rich in beaches, has a sparkling Dynjandi cascade, excellent hiking trails and museums.
Summer time is also a peak festival season in Reykjavik which gives you the opportunity to explore the local culture and mingle with the locals. The National Day, Bræðslan music festival and Gay Pride and Culture Night are some of the muh celebrated festivals where you get to experience culture and party like there is no tomorrow.
2. Oslo, Norway
The Norwegian city is great in the winters but even better during summers. With the scent of BBQ grills filling the neighborhood streets, bustling activities at fjords and endless sunsets at beaches, Oslo has a plethora of summer activities that you can try on your solo visit or your stag weekend.
Visit Oslo’s open-air interactive Folk Museum. There is folk dance with elaborate props to enhance your visual experience, folk music and people dressed in folk outfits. The best part is despite being so famous, it is never crammed or crowded. So you can enjoy the folk culture of Norway under the open sky with no one bumping shoulders with you.
A trip to Oslo is incomplete without taking a dip in fjords surrounded by a beautiful scenic view. While the best fjords in Norway are further north-west, Oslo does have many decent fjords.
In the evenings, take a peaceful stroll along the Akerselva river under a clear sky, while the river rivets through the length of the city, cutting it into two.
Oslo also has a vibrant nightlife with an array of pubs and open terraced bars where you can unwind, clink glasses and beer mugs with your fellow travellers and recount the tales of your Norwegian experience.
3. Zermatt, Switzerland
Your perfect mountain getaway, Zermatt in Switzerland is for those who have love for the mountains, an itch for adventure and love to marvel at the wonders of nature.
You can kick off your Swiss holiday with an epic cable ride to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, the highest cable car station in Europe. Once enroute the 4000 m long ride, the stunning vistas of the Swiss, French and Italian alps, glaciers and the scenic landscape will pleasantly meet your eyes.
As your ride ends, a whole new world of natural beauty opens up to you. Anything from skiing, trekking or snowboarding to dining at a restaurant while enjoying the stunning view is what you can do at Klein Matterhorn. Don’t forget to visit the Glacier Palace inside a grotto of a glacier that features some impeccable ice sculptures.
If you fancy a paragliding flight, Rothorn is where you should go. Offering a perfect view of the Matterhorn, Rothorn is popular with paragliders and is known for some lip smacking dawn breakfasts.
And if you thought adventure and beauty is all there is to Zermatt, you’re mistaken. The village knows how to party. Exuding high energy, the pubs and bars of Zermatt see an eclectic mix of locals and tourists drinking and dancing together.
4. Vienna, Austria
Brimming with an assortment of historical building and landmarks, blessed with beaches and home to many boulevards, Vienna is a popular tourist spot. The city’s historical attractions, cultural wealth and balmy weather also makes it a chief destination for an idyllic hen weekend or a sinful stag party. The summer time in Vienna is extremely pleasant so you can explore and enjoy the city without a care.
If you fancy yourself as a wine connoisseur, go touring the wineries and enjoy some wine tasting at Nussberg. From hidden wineries, to the old wineries bordered by Vienna woods and new age hipster wineries where you can seat yourselves on comfortable sofas next to the vines while sipping on freshly made wine and nibbling on some cheese to go with, Nussberg has it all when it comes to everything wine.
While we are at wine, taking a Wachau Valley cruise is an absolute must. A trip to this UNESCO World Heritage takes you through some of the best vineyards and wineries of the country. As a bonus, you get to cruise through the river.
Apart from the sophistication of wineries, you should visit the museums and historical landmarks while walking through cobbled streets or go biking through the streets. Explore the local culture, dine at restaurants and savour the indigenous cuisine and drink away at the open rooftop bars in the summer air to give yourself a perfect summer holiday in Vienna.
5. Copenhagen, Denmark
Sunbathing at Nordic beaches, biking in the summer air, dancing at local festivals and having a picnic in parks. Sounds like the perfect summer time recipe right?
Well, the Danish capital has it all and more to make your summer vacation a time you’ll remember forever. Owing to its vast possibilities and umpteen attractions, Copenhagen is also a famous destination for a stag weekend.
When you can’t choose between a city break and a beach holiday, Copenhagen is the answer. Not far from the main city are the sprawling sandy stretches of Svanemøllen and Amager Beach Park for you to go surfing, swimming or sunbathing on the shore while still enjoying the jolt of the city life.
Summer time in Copenhagen is also ideal to go on a biking expedition through the city’s cycling trails as the colorful buildings pass you by.
Hit the many nightclubs of the city as the sun goes down to start your party clock. Taste some indigenous spirits and let the Danish teach you how to party and show you why Denmark is the happiest country in the world.
So don’t let your summer be a bummer. Traverse through these amazing European cities for a perfect summer holiday while also quenching your thirst for wanderlust.
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