When you go to Europe this summer, chances are you’re going to one of these fabulous destinations where our customers are traveling. Our Europe Summer Flights page will guide you to the best dates to travel for the best prices to the best cities. What more does a European vacation need? Without further ado, here are the top cities this year as decided by CheapAir.com’s customers!
10. Copenhagen, Denmark
Is design your thing? Then you might want to stop over in Copenhagen, the home to all things Scandinavian cool. A love for the details, simplicity and beauty are design principles that thread the needle for most of what Danes appreciate and cultivate in their capital city. The city is one of the globe’s, cleanest and greenest capitals, so it tops “livability and happiness” lists year over year. Come and see for yourself! It’s a wonderful city to visit.
9. Munich, Germany
Berlin might be more “cool” and Cologne more sophisticated, but there may not be a more “German” town than Munich. The cultural center of Oktoberfest, this somewhat conservative city offers visitors a veritable feast of Bavarian delights. Summer brings locals out to the many biergartens around town to simply soak up the sun and dine on traditional fare (schnitzel anyone?) Munich has a compact and picturesque historic center, and the lodgings are reasonable by European summer standards.
8. Venice, Italy
Ah, Venice. Is any European trip complete without a visit to the ancient “City of Love,” “City of Canals,” or “City of Bridges?” We’ve been there and oh, lordy. It makes all of the “Best of” lists for good reason. Venice offers spectacular architecture, oodles of romantic atmosphere, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences around every corner. Take a ride on a gondola, walk across the Rialto bridge (built in the 12th century), and take a drink at the famed Harry’s Bar (more a restaurant than watering hole these days), a storied haunt of old Hollywood and jetsetters alike.
7. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon (and Portugal in general) is having a big moment, mainly because it’s a pocket of affordability on an otherwise overpriced continent. For some reason, though Portugal boasts amazing beaches, history and culture, it never quite breaks out of that up-and-coming category. It’s bittersweet. We think Portugal deserves to be on the top of everyone’s “must” list, but we also like that it still flies under the radar and attracts a more discerning clientele. With no huge sights to see, Lisbon is a great little town to explore and relax in – what are you waiting for?
6. Paris, France
No surprise Paris hovers around the top of the most popular places to travel on the continent since about, well, forever. For most folks, a trip to Paris is a rite of passage and for many of those it’s also their favorite city of all time. This rep is well earned. Paris is home to some of the most important museums, restaurants, shopping and architectural landmarks in the world. Paris does not disappoint. Check out our post on how to keep to a budget while you’re here!
5. Dublin, Ireland
Though Dublin has sights galore to keep the average traveler busy for weeks, the thing you come away with from a trip to this wonderful little city is the character and warmth of the Dublin denizens. People all over Europe will tell you Ireland is their favorite place, and though it doesn’t get talked up as much as the other European capitals, Dublin has romance, style and even it’s own river to stroll along (the Liffey, don’tcha know?) Dublin is a great city for soaking in culture – and the culture in Dublin is beer.
4. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Most American college students in Europe like to make a pit stop in Amsterdam as this freewheeling and somewhat libertine capital city has a laissez faire attitude about drugs (hash bars) and sex (the red light district). But if those activities are your only focus in Amsterdam, you’re missing out on so much! Amsterdam has many picturesque canals to wander or cycle on (many more citizens use bikes to get around than cars), and a visit to the Anne Frank house is a window into one of the darker periods of history, and the Van Gogh Museum, with the world’s largest collection of pieces, is a must visit if you’re a fan.
3. Athens, Greece
There may not be a more complicated capital than Athens in all of Europe. Greece was the architect of modern democracy and ruins all over the Athens show the majesty and grandeur of the ancient Greeks. At the same time, the country has struggled with a variety of maladies including keeping up with modernization and a hit or miss style of historical preservation (many people who visit Greece are surprised at the ruins’ state of disrepair). At the same time, Athens has so much to recommend it including delicious cuisine, warm and welcoming people, and pride in its place in history.
2. Madrid, Spain
The capital of Spain tends toward the traditional in dining and culture. Madrid has some of the continent’s most amazing museums, with the Prado at the top of the list. Food tends to be hearty and there’s a stew on every restaurant menu. Madrid is said to have more bars than any other city in Europe, and once you’ve been there, you won’t doubt it! Madrid is also perfectly situated for day trips to historic Toledo and Segovia.
1. Barcelona, Spain
It shouldn’t surprise you that Barcelona tops our list of most popular cities this year. It’s a splashy, stunning mélange of cool. Barcelona is style personified (shopping beats Madrid every day of the week and twice on Sunday), and the eternally- under-construction Sagrada Familia Basilica is one of the most important works of the Catalonian architect, Gaudi. Dining in Barcelona is inventive and partying seemingly a national pastime – really is “go big or go home” in Barcelona. If you’re planning to meet up with locals, you won’t meet for dinner until at least 10:00pm and head to the clubs? People wouldn’t be caught dead out much before 2am! No wonder they have siesta in the afternoon.
Check out our post on under-the-radar destinations for more Europe inspo!