Have you packed your bags yet? Once the announcement from the European Union came through that they expect to open up to fully vaccinated tourists in the summer, people started looking and booking trips. Europe travel this summer definitely looks promising. So much so that flight booking app Hopper saw a 47% increase in airfare searches from the U.S. to Europe for summer travel plans.
You may think that equals higher prices because of higher demand, but so far, Hopper is actually seeing a decrease. And they’re expecting it to decrease even more in May, according to this Forbes article. The average cost for a round trip flight from the US to Europe is hovering around $760 for the summer. Given Europe is usually peak season for tourists during the summer, that’s a relatively good deal.
All the more reason to book now and start planning a European vacation! So where should you book? And where are people looking to escape to? I’ve rounded up European destinations that are perfect for that much-need and long-awaited vacation. But they’re also great for still following social distancing guidelines, and can help boost a recovery in some of the hardest hit areas.
Europe Travel This Summer: GERMANY
One thing about Germany is it’s big. It covers a vast amount of mainland Europe and that equals a lot of outdoor adventure. Bypass the bigger cities if you’re concerned about crowds and head to the green, lush, forests of Germany. It’s a great opportunity to do a road trip through the country, stopping at smaller towns and villages along the way. Swing by national parks for hiking, kayaking and camping. Take time to stop and view some of Germany’s famous castles along the way. Germany can be an outdoor lovers paradise. But even if the rugged outdoors isn’t your thing, you can visit wine regions, wellness areas and quaint villages.
Europe Travel This Summer: PORTUGAL
Consistently one of the best destinations in Europe for its value, you can plan an epic trip through the country without breaking the bank. But that’s actually not my main reason for loving Portugal. Sure saving money helps, but Portugal is the ideal spot for a mix of just about everything you could want on a vacation. Wine country, sleepy little towns, vibrant city and nightlife in Lisbon and Porto, a gorgeous coastline. Not to mention pretty perfect weather most of the year (mind the humidity in the summer!), and the incredible fresh, local food. It’s all around pleasant. To avoid the crowds, spend less time in the city hubs and more time exploring the Douro Valley, the wine country of Alentejo or Evora. Booking a villa or country home is a great way to travel with a small group. Or better yet, rent a beachfront home in Cascais… dreamy perfection.
Europe Travel This Summer: ICELAND
Iceland is one destination that thrives off of tourism. At one point they had more American visitors during a year than actual residents. And they have been wanting those tourists to come back, being one of the first European countries to open their borders up to travel. Why should you add Iceland to your list? First, it’s otherworldly. There’s a reason why so many movies that are about space are set here. Volcanic land, ice and barren fields give it scenery that you can’t find anywhere else on earth. It has the famous Blue Lagoon for a spa day. It has plenty of outdoor adventures from waterfalls to glaciers and hiking. The city of Reykjavik is full of artsy galleries and shops, amazing food (they’re known for their hot dogs believe it or not) and friendly people.
Europe Travel This Summer: SARDINIA
Italy was one of the hardest hit European countries. It also happens to be one of the most loved destinations around the world. People have been yearning to get back to Italy for the food, the wine, the history and the people. One thing though with a destination that is so popular, it can often be overcrowded in highly touristic areas. Enter Sardinia. The large island off the coast of Italy offers a bit of seclusion from the bigger cities. Spend time in small towns, boutique, family-run hotels and along the coastline. The water and beaches are renowned by Italians and Europeans. And although it’s typically a hot spot for Europeans during the summer, this year may be your chance to see it without as many crowds.
Europe Travel This Summer: IRELAND
Another great option for anyone looking to do Europe, but keeping social distancing in mind (because let’s face it, it will be safer for locals and tourists this way). Road trips will be a key way to see this beautiful island. Just be prepared for a few wrong turns shall I say, when it comes to driving on the opposite side of the road. Driving across or around Ireland is a great way to see all corners of the country–big and small. You’ll see more sheep than people most often, have the chance to spend nights in small BnBs or hotels and meet some great locals. The scenery can’t be beat, so plenty of outside activities will bring some travel joy. And look for any opportunity to stop and do a beer or whisky tasting outside.