Europe is home to some of the best travel destinations in the world; be it the incredible France or the breathtaking Hungary. Every year, millions travel to the grand continent to witness its awe-inspiring places – which serve as perfect destinations for summer holidays with families or friends.
From lush-green landscapes and skyscrapers, to quaint country cottages and high-end shops, Europe has everything for everyone. You can enjoy the sunset on a warm sandy beach somewhere along the French Riviera, visit a lake in a small city somewhere in Vienna, or explore any of the hundreds of UNESCO world heritage sites – the list keeps going.
The best time to visit Europe is during the summer season (May-October), since most European countries experience extreme temperatures (below 5°C) during winters. However, if you’re a ‘winter person’ at heart, then Switzerland is the perfect place for cool people like yourself.
Home to numerous lakes and villages, the mountainous Central European country is a marvel in itself, and is widely considered one of the best places to sip a cup of steaming hot chocolate, or coffee.
Heads up, as you’re about to sift through our list of five must-visit European travel destinations in 2019:
Madrid’s managed to style out a stumble during the country-wide economic downturn into something of a cha-cha-chá, springing back into step with renewed vigour. The city’s nightlife, always among Europe’s best, just keeps improving – Calle de Ponzano, a strip of standing-only tapas spots and minimalist cocktail joints with its own trending hashtag, is now one of the continent’s coolest nighttime streets.
But it’s not just night owls who’ll notice the changes. An emphasis on sustainable living has led to wide-scale pedestrianisation, bicycle lanes and rental schemes, widened footpaths, and new emissions controls transforming the city. Even the historic Museo del Prado has a new lease of life thanks to an array of special exhibitions – from displays of lesser-seen works to performing art shows – running throughout 2019 in celebration of the museum’s bicentenary.
Bari is a port city on the Adriatic Sea, and the capital of southern Italy’s Puglia region. Its mazelike old town, Barivecchia, occupies a headland between 2 harbors. Surrounded by narrow streets, the 11th-century Basilica di San Nicola, a key pilgrimage site, holds some of St. Nicholas’ remains. To the south, the Murat quarter has stately 19th-century architecture, a promenade and pedestrianized shopping areas.
Don’t call it a comeback, but Bari, which has long served as a jumping-off point for tourists en route to Puglia’s big hitters further south, has got a spring in its step – the once down-at-heel port city protruding from Italy’s Achilles is enjoying a renaissance that’s been a decade in the making.
A reinvigorated old town sets the tone, the boarded-up shop fronts replaced by family-run eateries where grandmothers dish up plates of ear-shaped orecchiette in pretty piazzas. But the changes here are more than cosmetic: cultural spaces are reopening, from the ornate Teatro Piccinni theatre to once-condemned heritage hotels like the Oriente; not forgetting the art nouveau Teatro Margherita, a former playhouse repurposed as a striking art space on stilts over the sea. With the nightlife better (cocktails in a former ticket office, anyone?), the streets safer and the surrounding beaches cleaner, Bari is bouncing once again.
Florence, capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. One of its most iconic sights is the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. The Galleria dell’Accademia displays Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture. The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation.”
Few places consistently rank as highly on travelers’ bucket lists as Italy. Within the gorgeous and fascinating country is Florence, the showcase of the Italian Renaissance. It has been described by many as one giant art museum. There should be no need for more reasons to visit the place after that. It is littered with museums and cathedral with a staggering number of beautiful paintings to view, such as the Uffizi. While visiting the aesthetic city, you should walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo via the Folon Rose Garden for the best view there is.
Croatia has been a very trendy summer destination in the past few years and we can assure you that the ex-Yugoslavian country is worth the hype. From its trendy islands Hvar and Korcula, through to the historic towns of Split and Dubrovnik, all paired with picturesque beaches and the country’s eight national parks, Croatia is wildly diverse and offers something for everyone.
How to get there
Depending on the way you plan your holiday in Croatia, you can fly to Dubrovnik, Split, Pula or the capital city of Zagreb. Airlines flying to Croatia from major European cities include British Airways, Croatia Airways and EasyJet.
Where to stay
For outstanding views of Dubrovnik old town, stay at Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik. Riva Hvar Yacht Harbour Hotel benefits from an ideal location in the heart of Hvar and a waterfront terrace overlooking the Adriatic Sea, while Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Split is a perfect base to explore Split and its surrounding Dalmatian islands.
Monaco, officially the Principality of Monaco, is a sovereign city-state, country, and microstate on the French Riviera in Western Europe. France borders the country on three sides while the other side borders the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco is about 15 km from the state border with Italy.
Most people are surprised to hear that Monaco is not only a city, but a sovereign city-state. It is a small royal principality on the French Riviera of merely two square kilometers of blue waters, palm trees and sandy picturesque beaches. The small size often throws people off, but it has to be the most glamorous little stretch of land in the world. There are a range of things to do in this enchanting piece of land. You could visit the Palais du Prince, a palace which is home to the oldest monarchy in the world. There is also the option of heading to the Oceanographic Museum, the Monte-Carlo Opera House or to the Fontvieille Port area for fantastic bars and restaurants. Of course, no visit to Monaco is complete without visiting the Monte Carlo Casino.
As you can see, Europe has some of the most fantastic and magnificent places to visit. From rich histories and cultures to scenic landscapes and architectural marvels, the attractions are endless. No wonder most of the above mentioned cities are included in everyone’s travel bucket list.