One of the most amazing things about traveling in Europe is how incredibly easy it is to get around. That’s why the “whirlwind European adventure” is still such a classic for summer travel. With so much to see and do, a summer trip through top European destinations is a new experience every time you go.
Contiki has recently announced their “Bag Tag” contest, allowing U.S. residents the chance to win a bunch of really cool prizes including a Sony Alpha a6000, iPad Mini 3, GoPro Hero4, and even a free European vacation! All you have to do is guess on social media which fun-packed travel bag is going on which of their amazing European tour packages to be entered to win.
(Note: The Contiki “Bag Tag” contest is only for U.S. residents – anyone outside of the US that clicks on the landing page will be sent to a “Bag Tag” quiz to find out which Contiki bag best identifies them.)
After just returning from a trip to the Mediterranean and as a lover of sun-kissed beaches, I personally love Bag #6. What do you think: is it Croatian Island Escape Plus, the Best of the Balkans, or Balkans Discovery?
Head over to Contiki’s “Bag Tag” contest page to check out all six bags and guess the destinations! And to get you ready for a little summer fun in Europe, here is our list of the 10 best places to escape the crowds in Europe this summer.
10 Places to Escape the Crowds in Europe in Summer
Hidden in a ria canyon, this beautiful, secluded Mediterranian port is surrounded by history—literally! The Venetian fortifications are only part of its long history, written in the town’s unique blend of architecture. With its Medieval old town, WWII memorials, and Napoleonic gates, it’s a quiet town with a long history to explore.
One of the 10 most well-preserved Medieval cities in the world, Dubrovnik is more well known for its perfect seaside charm. You’ll definitely want to spend your time outside on its many beaches, in its botanical gardens, and in the Arboretum Trsteno, the world’s oldest arboretum! Bonus for Game of Thrones fans: the town is one of the filming sites for Kings Landing.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
St. Moritz is a big winter destination in Switzerland, but it’s much less crowded in the summer. With an elevation of 1,856 meters, it boasts plenty of sunny days yet it never gets too hot. Outdoor lovers can enjoy the many hiking trails in the area and those looking for a relaxing getaway have plenty of spa resorts to choose from.
Iceland’s capital is the perfect destination for travelers who are interested in wilderness adventuring but who want to be able to return to the comfort of civilization after a hard day’s hike. Day-trips let you explore the solitary beauty of Iceland’s landscape, and you can keep enjoying it after with a relaxing trip to any Reykjavik spa featuring one of its many hot springs!
If you want to see the fjords of Norway, Bergen is the perfect gateway city. Not only does this charming town offer easy hiking access to a trove of nearby landmarks, it’s colorful houses and cozy charm also make it the perfect place to curl up with a good cup of steaming fish soup. After all, the town is well known for its fishing history!
The Gothenburg Archipelago is a collection of islands, some big and some only large enough for a single house! If you’re into island hopping, Gothenburg is definitely an ideal destination. In the city proper, you can spend an adrenaline-filled day at Liseberg amusement park, walk its many parks, and enjoy its famous music scene.
Amazingly picturesque, this Welsh town is perfect for travelers looking to enjoy a quaint English seaside summer. Between trips to any of its several beaches, you can enjoy visiting some of its gorgeous art galleries and museums, like The Glass Gallery, which specializes in stained glasswork, or the Tenby Museum. Nearby Pembroke Castle looms over the town and was the birthplace of Henry VII.
Antwerp is the place to go if you’re a fan of Renaissance art. From Reubens House to the Old Museum, there are plenty of museums, tours, and architectural masterpieces to help you get your aesthetic fill. Bike tours of the city are especially popular, as Antwerp is especially biker-friendly, and can be an enjoyable way to get your bearings if this is your first visit.
Ljubljana (pronounced liu-bliana) is Slovenia’s capital city. Despite being a capital city, Ljubljana still holds a friendly small-town charm, with the benefit of modern amenities like free WiFi. The summer is filled with outdoor events like plays in the park and even an outdoor library, so take your time enjoying the sun and various street festivals.
Like Ljubljana, Tallinn is a capital that nonetheless manages to retain a lot of quaint, historical charm. During the summer, its long coastline becomes a popular destination for beachgoers. Nearby Kadriorg Park extends behind the Kadriorg Park, offering beautiful botanical walks with rich history and architectural wonder.