Are you heading to Europe this summer? Yes? Well, lucky you!

Europe is an amazing continent to explore, whether you join a group tour or venture out on your (first) big solo trip. There is so much to see and the diversity of landscapes, cultures and foods you get to experience in a considerably small space is just so unique. From the breathtaking fjords of Norway to the turquoise waters of the Greek islands, from the romantic cities of Prague and Budapest to the tapas and fiestas in Spain – the fact that all these places are just a few flight hours apart from each other and there are numerous budget airlines to choose from makes Europe a perfect place for an extended summer holiday.

Whether you have got several weeks to spare or need to fit as much as you can into 10 or 14 days make sure you come up with an itinerary that gives you as many different glances at Europe as possible. Exploring a big city, getting lost high up in the mountains (not literally though) and enjoying life by the beach can easily fit into one week, you just need to pick and choose your favourites. Here are 20 very different experiences you must not miss if you are heading for Europe this summer.

20 Experiences you Must Have in Europe this Summer | Travelettes

1. A city trip to Lisbon

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again – if you want to visit a city that allows you to stay on a budget, but also boasts delicious food, a great cocktail scene, beautiful architecture and is right by the sea, Lisbon is your go-to place! The Travelettes have gone here many times, had amazing weekend breaks and girlfriend getaways and fell in love over and over again.

20 Experiences you Must Have in Europe this Summer | Travelettes

2. Interrail around Eastern Europe

Interrailing – aka. travelling around Europe with an unlimited rail pass – is extremely popular in Europe and can save you some pennies if you plan your itinerary well. Travelette Caro went interrailing around Eastern Europe last summer and wrote a beautiful travel story about her experiences. Her itinerary included amazing places like Budapest (Hungary), Belgrade (Serbia) and Lake Bled (Slovenia). Seeing Europe by train and feeling the wind in your hair as you lean out the window is one of a kind!

caroline_schmitt_travelettes_interrailing_eastern_europe - 20

3. Renting a houseboat in Berlin

No one is questioning that Berlin makes for an amazing city trip in summer, but did you know that the bustling city is surrounding by hundreds of lakes? OK, maybe not hundreds, but there are quite a lot! A few years ago Katja and I rented a houseboat from Wasserkutsche and spent two days sailing from lake to lake. We had a BBQ on the roof of our boat, rented kayaks to explore the canals around Dämeritzsee and chugged through Berlin’s own little Venice. This is Berlin like you’ve never seen it before!

 

4. Learning how to Surf

Depending on how brave (and crazy) you are you can pretty much surf along the entire Atlantic coast of Europe, but unless you’re a daring professional you might want to start in places with plenty of surf school and warm enough summer sun to heat up after a few hours in the sea. Last year Sophie and I went to Fuerteventura to give surfing a shot with Planet Surfcamps, but there are also great surfspots in France, Portugal and Morocco (which of course is Africa, but it’s just a quick flight from many European air travel hubs). Former-travelette Marie has actually launched her own blog Salt In My Hair where she always inspires with her latest surf adventures.

20 Experiences you Must Have in Europe this Summer | Travelettes

5. Exploring the Balkan region

Most people think of the Mediterranean sea and immediately have images in their head of the south of France, the coast of Italy or the Greek islands. Why not loose the crowds and head to the Balkans instead? The beaches and islands of Croatia are one of a kind, and the countries further inland boast amazing cities, beautiful landscapes and adventurous gorges and lakes. Here are ten places you should not miss when exploring the Balkan region.

20 Experiences you Must Have in Europe this Summer | Travelettes

6. Fill up on culture at the Edinburgh Festivals

A trip to Scotland is always a good idea but never is Edinburgh more alluring than throughout the whole month of August when the city hosts six of its 12 festivals roughly around the same time. The city fills up with national and international artists, musicians, comedians and performers, the streets are bustling with visitors from around the world and for a whole month the city turns into a creative hotspot one simply should not miss!

To get an overview of the festivals that are on in Edinburgh around the year read on here, and for ten survival tips for Edinburgh in August check out this post.

edinburgh fringe festivals kathi kamleitner-12

7. Eat your way through the Netherlands

The way to a travelette’s heart is through her stomach – this is oh so true when you read Frankie’s declaration of love to the Netherlands in the form of 16 Dutch foods you have to try. One dish sounds and looks better than the other. Tiny pancakes called poffertjes, Dutch-Indonesian Kipsate, the famous stroopwaffel – Dutch menus hardly list anything we wouldn’t want you to indulge in. As if Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the tulip fields were not enough already, the Netherlands are also a must see if you’re into food – and who isn’t?!

20 Experiences you Must Have in Europe this Summer | Travelettes

8. A city trip to Oslo

From the nordic capitals in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, Oslo is by far my favourite. There is so much green in the city, there is a lot of street art and the ferry to some of the islands in the fjord of Oslo is included in your public transport pass – who doesn’t love to see a city from the water? There are so many things to do in Norway, but even if you head up north to the fjords, Bergen or the North Cape, make sure to spend some time in Oslo as well. Check our our 12 and 24 hour city guides!

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9. Don’t miss out on Slovenia

Because it is so big and diverse, Europe is still full of surprising underdogs – places like Slovenia for example. Ljubljana is officially one of the most traveletty towns on the continent, highly recommended by my colleagues. But the country doesn’t stop being awesome there! It is also really budget-friendly, has one lovely seaside town between Italy and Croatia, some great mountains and rivers for hiking and rafting adventures, and the incredible Lake Bled is like out of this world!

Not convinced yet? Here are 5 reasons why you need to visit Slovenia NOW!

Why I am Not Afraid to Travel Alone (Anymore...) - Miriam Risager, Travelettes - Lake Bled, Slovenia

10. Chilling by the Med on the Balearic islands

You might have heard about the Balearic islands before – Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca and Fomenter have a reputation of their own. However all four are really different, and cater to different budgets and kinds of travellers. We have broken it all down for you right here, but just so you know you really can’t go wrong with any of them!

Battle of the Balearics - Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca, Menorca

11. Do Barcelona on a Budget

Barcelona is without a doubt one of the most famous and popular cities in Europe – and that is for a good reason. The city is right by the sea combining the best of everything (a bustling city and a beautiful Mediterranean beach) but it’s also very easy to visit the city on a budget. Take these 11 things to do in Barcelona on a budget and you will surely have a fantastic time!

Barcelona20.jpg

12. Eat all the gelato in Italy

Is there any country in Europe more famous for its indulging food than Italy? Hardly… You could spend weeks or months exploring the different parts of Italy alone and discover everything between the high mountains of South Tyrol to the antique ruins in Rome and the specs of colourful houses in Cinque Terre. But one thing you have to do for sure is eat all the gelato you can get your hands on!

Here are some suggestions where to go for the best Italy experiences.

Gelatarium in Lucca by Frances M Thompson

13. Go Retro with a PolaWalk

A PolaWalk is a guided photography tour for which you’re equipped with a polaroid camera and 8 shots to get the perfect picture. I’ve first come across this tour in Vienna, but in the meantime PolaWalk has expanded to Graz in Austria and Warsaw in Poland. It was a lot of fun and being so used to my digital camera I loved the challenge of having to properly think about light, composition and angle before taking a shot. The pictures I took away from this afternoon in Vienna still grace my pin board!

travelettes-vienna-polawalk

14. A Girlfriend Getaway in London

Whether you travel with your friends from home, or meet up with a bunch of gals you met on your travels in other places – London is THE perfect place for a girlfriend getaway. Our team met up there last year. We rented an AirBnB in East London, sipped the finest of cocktails in one of London’s rooftop garden bars and shopped till we dropped in all of the markets and vintage shops. Here’s some inspiration!

london girlfriend getaway cover

15. Hiking the Alps

Being from Austria I long lost my heart to the Alps and if you have a trip planned to Austria, Northern Italy, Switzerland or France you MUST NOT miss a trip into the mountains. Singling out one specific place seems a bit unfair, but one of my favourite stories is how guest blogger Leigh Ann fulfilled her childhood dream of hiking the mountains of Chamonix.

For more inspiration from the Alps across the nations have a look here.

 

16. Join Pop in the City

Two years ago I joined Pop in the City in Nice together with my friend and former travelette Marie. Pop in the City is an urban race for women who compete in teams of two and have to master all sorts of challenges around the city to gain points. Each challenge’s location is hidden behind a riddle that the poppins (the participating women) have to solve with the help of the locals. It’s a new and exciting way to explore a new city and if you are up for a challenge, why don’t you join one of their races in Hamburg, Nice or Seville this year?

Pop In the City - Nice, Cote d'Azure - Kathi Kamleitner

17. Don’t miss out on Scotland

The incredible landscape of Scotland often falls short because people travelling the UK spend most of their time in the cities. London, Edinburgh, maybe Glasgow or York are all amazing places, but it would be a shame if you missed out on the landscapes of the Scottish Highlands and Isles. Some of my favourite places are around the Loch Lomond National Park and the pretty seaside town of Oban (where the sea kayaking is at its best!), and of course there is also the Isle of Skye and Loch Ness waiting for you. Make sure to put some days aside for a road trip around Scotland!

Weekend Trip to Oban-24

18. Do a River Cruise on the Dalyan River

This is not your average cruise just as much as it is not your average river. The Turkish scenery that the river cuts through is breathtaking, the abundance of fish and turtles makes it great for any nature lover and there are many surprises waiting for you. Like the sulphuric mud baths of Dalyan where you pay a little price (namely covering yourself in stinky mud) in order to emerge with the smoothest skin possible. Cruises on the Dalyan river can easily be booked a day or two ahead, just ask a local travel agency or your hotel for help with that. For more inspiration have a look at Alex’s travel story!

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19. Dance with somebody at a Music Festival

Summer time is festival time in Europe and music festivals, big and small, pop up all over the continent. We dedicated an entire section to festivals around the world, but among our favourite music festivals in Europe are Bestival in the UK, MS Dockville in Hamburg and Roskilde Festival in Denmark. Have you ever been to one and can recommend it?

glastonbury-festival

20. Go island hopping in Greece

Greece has always been my favourite places around the south of Europe, especially when it comes to the colour of the water and the secluded beaches you can find. Ever since my parents started driving there all the way from Austria with us kids in the back of our car, I have been desperately in love with Sirtaki, Ouzo and feta cheese – well, maybe the Ouzo came later…

There are so many Greek islands and all are so different, that it’s hard to find a place to start. Our list of 10 amazing island experiences in Greece should help with that!

The Church of Seven Martyrs

Of course there are so many more experiences to have, countries to visit and places to see – I could go on and on with this list. Do you have a favourite place for summer in Europe that I haven’t mentioned here? Share them in the comments!

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20 Must Have Experiences in Europe this Summer | Travelettes.net