“We’re all going on a summer holiday”…
From a quick Easter city break to family meet-ups, there’s probably plenty already on your travel schedule this year. However, in this blog post, we’re looking at what’s usually the main event of the year – the summer holidays.
So, here you’ll find some of the best summer holiday destinations in Europe, complete with our experts insights on what you can expect there, what kind of holiday you might want to take and of course, where to stay.
1. Marbella, Spain
Best for: Escaping to the summer sun for a chic seaside break
What’s Marbella like?
One of the shining gems on the Costa Del Sol, Marbella is the epitome of summer holidays and coastal village vibes – making it one of the ultimate summer sun destinations in Europe. With plenty of sunshine to go around, a beautiful collection of sandy beaches and beach clubs, plus a brilliant music festival with top performers in the July heat – there’s no shortage of things to keep you entertained in Marbella.
It’s also one of the best destinations for couple’s retreats and holidays with friends. Plus, with temperatures in the summer of around 28°C, you’ll be able to soak up some of that well-earned sun on the beach as the Andalusian landscape envelopes you.
Must see in Marbella?
- Check out the Starlite festival held every year across the summer months for fantastic music performances, DJ sets and gourmet menus at the restaurants and gastro-spaces.
- A summer holiday is never complete without relaxation time on the beach. Marbella has plenty to choose from, with golden sands, lapping Mediterranean waters and sand dunes.
Food fans – be sure to check out Marbella’s mention in our top hotel restaurants in Spain!
Where to stay in Marbella?
One of the finest hotels in the region is the glamorous Puente Romano Beach Resort, set on the glistening Golden Mile on the Costa del Sol. Boasting a prime position between Puerto Banus and Marbella Old Town, this hotel offers the ideal base for enjoying the pretty Spanish streets and beach, the latter being just a short walk away over the promenade. A highlight is ‘La Plaza’ – a lively courtyard at the heart of the resort featuring some of the 20 restaurants.
2. Limassol, Cyprus
Best pick for: Exploring all that the island of Cyprus offers, including history, natural beauty, and fun for the kids.
What is Limassol like?
Cyprus is the kind of destination that people head back to, year after year.
This could be down to the ample sunshine and the 30°C average temperature in the summer; it could be the mixture of landscapes, from the sprawling Troodos Mountains to the beautiful beaches; or, it could be the smiling faces of the Cypriot people who welcome them to the island.
Limassol is a port town, so you can expect to find all the amenities and facilities that you might need here, as well as some fantastic areas to visit and activities to take part in. Dotted around the island are small insights into some of the island’s ancient history, including the Kourion archaeological area and the Troodos Mountains, which give the coastal town a unique feel.
Must see in Limassol?
- Located to the west side of Limassol is the Kourion Archaeological Area. Kourion is a well-preserved area with a history dating back to the ancient Greeks. The remains in this area are now predominantly from the Roman and Byzantine periods. Well worth the trip if you’re a history buff!
- In the summer months, Cyprus can get very hot. One of the best ways to cool down with the kids is at the Fasouri Watermania Water Park. Kids and adults can enjoy the thrill of the giant water slide, splash about in the pools and relax as you float down the lazy river.
Where to stay in the Limassol area?
As you head a little way east of Limassol, you’ll find a hotel that really packs a punch. Amara is a five-star luxury resort that sits on the beachfront of the south coast of Cyprus. Here, you can expect total relaxation with beautiful views of the sunset over the warm evening waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Each room in the resort offers 180° ocean views, and there’s a fantastic spa where you can take part in multiple therapies and wellness activities after a long day of exploring the island.
“AMARA is a fabulous hotel for foodies and spa lovers. You can indulge in an exclusive culinary concept by world renowned chefs or take some time to relax in the huge spa, set amongst ancient ruins for the ultimate relaxation.” – Elyse, Travel Specialist
3. Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
Best pick for: Something a little different – cruising, luxurious surroundings and total relaxation.
What is the Bay of Kotor like?
Our next pick for your upcoming summer holiday would be Montenegro, in the UNESCO-listed Bay of Kotor. You’re probably more used to hearing people discuss Croatia when thinking about the summer holidays. Still, if you head further down the coast from Dubrovnik, you’ll arrive at the entrance to this enchanting region.
This area along the Adriatic Sea regularly reaches an average temperature of 28°C and is a perfect summer destination. In fact, Montenegro is fast becoming one of the best European destinations for a holiday.
Must see in the Bay of Kotor?
- For adrenaline junkies who are willing to go a little further out of the Bay of Kotor area, there are fantastic rafting adventures to be had around four hour’s drive away. The Tara River Canyon is the perfect spot to enjoy a thrilling ride and take in the inescapable natural beauty of Montenegro.
- If you’re planning on staying closer to your home away from home, why not take a boat trip out into the Bay of Kotor? The team at Portonovi Village can plan this, and it will take you out to explore part of the Adriatic Coast or Kotor, the capital city of Montenegro.
Where to stay in the Bay of Kotor?
Relax on the ‘Montenegro Riviera’ at Portonovi Village; this is one of the most picturesque areas for some rejuvinating summer sun. Watch the waves of the Adriatic bump against the stone walls of the marina, spend an afternoon on the stunning private beaches from the beach club and eat, drink and relax in the range of restaurants.
The exclusive One&Only Portonovi is a superb hotel in Portonovi Village. You won’t want for anything, and staff will go above and beyond to make each stay memorable.
One&Only’s resorts are always in top locations, and their first European property is no exception! Perched on the edge of the stunning Boka Bay, this resort is also near the picturesque town of Perast with its Venetian stone palaces and upmarket waterfront. It’s also a stone’s throw from UNESCO-listed Durmitor National Park, home to Europe’s deepest gorges as well as bears, wolves and the largest variety of butterflies.
4. French Riviera, France
Best pick for: A classic and elegant summer holiday in Europe, perfect for yachting and beach clubs.
What is the French Riviera like?
When you think of European cities for a summer break, St. Tropez on the French Riviera should be on your list. Between Marseille and Nice on the southern coast of France sits this small yet luxurious town. Walk the narrow cobbled streets, visiting beautiful boutique stores and glimpsing the blue water as you stroll in the comfortable 23°C sunshine.
If you want to explore the south of France a little more, you could take a road trip to Nice for the day. For the ultimate all-relaxing holiday with a touch of glamour, spend time in the charming town of St. Tropez and sun yourself on the stunning beaches in the area.
Must see in the French Riviera?
- Once upon a time, St. Tropez was a fishing town. Now, its transformed into a sleek marina and a popular spot for people-watching, sipping on a coffee in a café or visiting the herb fish markets.
- One of the famed activities that St. Tropez is known for, we couldn’t leave out yachting. To see the best of the Mediterranean, you’ll want to cruise out onto the water on one of the luxury yachts that are moored in St. Tropez. Spend family time on the water, take in the sights and savour the delicious delicacies of France as you go!
Where to stay in the French Riviera?
Lily of the Valley is a perfect destination to call your home on holiday. The wellness resort is located just a few minutes drive from the heart of St. Tropez. Lily of the Valley promotes healthy living and wellness at its core, with food and activities that will leave you feeling renewed and ready to face the world back home.
5. Costa Navarino, Greece
Best pick for: Seeing Greece’s most unspoiled coastline
What is Costa Navarino like?
Tucked away in south-west Peloponnese you’ll find Messinia’s stunning resort of Costa Navarino, a picture-perfect Mediterranean scene of olive groves and sleepy harbours. It’s also fringed by some of Greece’s most breathtaking beaches, which are diligently protected while sheltering migratory birds and nesting turtles.
The Costa Navarino area sprawls across 1,000 hectares, and features an exclusive collection of luxury hotels. Here, you can relax in the peace and quiet, or embark on a number of activities to explore further – you can bike along the trails, head out rock climbing or spend the day enjoying an array of watersports.
Must see in Costa Navarino?
- Costa Navarino is a world-class golfing destination, offering four 18-hole courses with stunning surroundings.
- Navarino is simply stunning. There are so many ways to explore, from catamaran sailing along Gialova Bay, to hiking the waterfalls of Kalamari and kayaking or snorkelling in the crystal-clear bay.
Where to stay in the Costa Navarino area?
Nestled in a shroud of olive groves along the beachfront, The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort is a sophisticated and refined spot that’s considered one of the finest resorts in Greece. For a unique food experience, you can spend the day at a nearby authentic Greek home with local Messinian women, learning family recipes. If you visit from October to December, you can also join in with the olive harvest.
6. Ibiza, Spain
Best pick for: A mix of quiet pockets and vibrant nightlife in one of the top summer holiday destinations in Europe.
What is Ibiza like?
The iconic party island of Ibiza should always be on any best European summer holiday list. Whether you’re looking for bustling nightlife spots in Ibiza town or you want to spend time exploring the beautiful scenery on the Balearic Islands, there’ll be something that takes your fancy in here.
For those who want to rest and relax in a serene environment, stay away from the noise of Ibiza Town or San Antonio. Instead, head to some of the beautiful beaches dotted across the island including Pou des Lleo beach for watersports like snorkelling, or head inland for some hiking up to the highest point on the island. In the 26°C heat (on average) there’ll be more than enough sun to soak up as you traverse the island.
Must see in Ibiza?
- Take a day trip across to Formentera to enjoy the white sandy beaches reminiscent of the Caribbean, or hire a moped or e-bike to travel around the smallest of the Balearic Islands. If you like to do walking on your holidays, you can traverse to La Mola for stunning views of the bay.
- Head out to the water for a catamaran cruise. Watching the sunrise or sunsets from the water is a special experience not to be missed.
Where to stay in Ibiza?
Discover the new Six Senses Ibiza and enjoy the bohemian hippy vibe the island is so loved for. With extensive spa treatments and daily yoga it’s the perfect summer escape. Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay is located closer to Ibiza Town for those looking to have the chance to experience the island’s nightlife, or just take a short taxi to the old town for mouth-wateringly fresh tapas.
“Six Senses Ibiza is beautiful! The view from reception is simply amazing, with impressive floor-to-ceiling doors which open-up to panoramic vistas of the sea. I loved the rooftop morning yoga and sipping a cocktail on the pool terrace for the most amazing sunset experience.” – Gabrielle, Product Manager
For more ideas, see our experts’ guide to where to stay in Ibiza.
7. Bodrum, Turkey
Best pick for: Couples looking to spend time together whilst enjoying a little Turkish escape.
What is Bodrum like?
Bodrum is a coastal town on the southern coast of Turkey. It looks out to the glittering Aegean Sea and has some fabulous sunsets that glow a beautiful pink on the horizon. Bodrum is a town with a bit of a buzz; it has ample amounts of nightlife, fantastic Turkish food (try Manti, similar to mini tortellini, or Börek, thin filo pastry with delicious cheese) and brilliant hammams for total relaxation.
With an average summer temperature of 30°C, you’ll want to spend a lot of time soaking up the warmth of the sun and taking dips in the sea to cool off. Another great way to spend the day is taking a boat trip out to explore the Aegean, and you could also hop across to the Greek islands of Kos or Rhodes from Bodrum.
Must see in Bodrum?
- A fun way to visit the Turkish coastline and waters is by Gulet. These sailing vessels tend to have a small number of cabins and are brilliant for private romantic moments on the water. There are plenty of vessels that offer five-star cuisine, and you’ll have the opportunity to make unforgettable memories as you glide through the sea.
- Being by the water means that watersports are common, and there are some great locations close to Bodrum for scuba diving and windsailing in particular. For diving, you’ll be able to see through the turquoise waters to the marine wildlife, including the coral beds.
Where to stay in Bodrum?
For couples, head to Amanruya near Bodrum for a relaxing summer break. Away from the major hustle and bustle, this serene resort is enclosed by a stunning pine forest reserve on one side and the Aegean Sea on the other side. Relax on the deck, taste a wonderful blend of cuisines and take a breather at the Turkish Spa.
8. Algarve, Portugal
Best pick for: A golden sun-soaked coast that’s perfect for families
What’s the Algarve like?
The Algarve, in southern Portugal, boasts stunning golden beaches and crystal-clear waters over 150km of rugged coastline. It’s a family-friendly haven, with resorts and fun activities for kids of all ages. From building sandcastles to exploring coastal towns, the Algarve offers diverse experiences. You’ll also find plenty of watersports like surfing and kayaking, along with hiking trails and boat tours. For a taste of culture, you can seek out historic landmarks and local markets.
Summer temperatures in the Algarve average between 25 to 30°C, which is ideal for outdoor activities and beach days. Whether seeking relaxation or adventure, the Algarve promises an unforgettable holiday for families under the warm Mediterranean sun.
Must see in the Algarve?
- Ria Formosa Natural Park is an area of natural beauty in the Algarve. Visit for sunny coastal walks or a day of kayaking, during which you can admire the views of the wetlands and spot the diverse birdlife
- Stop by Vilamoura marina to wander the sophisticated waterfront, lined with glimmering yachts. Stop for a bite to eat at the chic harbourfront restaurants, or potter around the shopping boutiques.
Where to stay in the Algarve?
Anantara Vilamoura is one of the finest places to stay in the Algarve. The resort caters to everyone, with both a family-friendly area and a more peaceful adults-only area. Along with being just a short drive away from the marina of Vilamoura, you can also hop on the complimentary shuttle to the chic Purobeach Vilamoura beach club. Golfers will also be delighted, with private transfers to all Vilamoura golf courses and the expert assistance of a ‘Golf Guru’.
Whatever your preference for a summer we hope that these six fantastic European summer sun destinations whet your appetite for your 2024 holidays.
Our Travel Specialist would be more than happy to tailor your own holiday to your exact requirements so get in touch to start planning your next summer holiday.