12 incredible places for your summer bucket list

If you’re anything like us, you’ve been  staring out the window at the rain and daydreaming about your summer escape working a lot this winter. When it’s absolutely bucketing down and the storms are so regular you’re on a first name basis with them all, summer can seem like a lifetime away.

But it’s not, really. And it’ll sneak up on you before you know it. So why not indulge in a little travel-porn and start planning. We’ve found 12 of Europe’s most unbelievably beautiful sights, so stunning they’ll make you want to book your summer holidays right now…

Plitvice National Park, Croatia

Breathtaking view in the Plitvice Lakes National Park .Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park is like Europe’s very own Eden. Sixteen staggeringly beautiful lakes spill into each other through a network of cascading waterfalls over limestone dams, surrounded by miles and miles of beautiful forested landscape. You’ll get there in under two hours from Rijeka or Zadar, and you’ll probably never want to leave.

Cofete, Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is a little bit quieter than the other Canaries, and Cofete beach is one of the most remote spots on the island. It’s a wide, wild, mysterious beach that’s difficult to get to – the drive there will take you along some steep and single-track roads – but when you’re walking along it, with the Jandia mountains in the horizon, you’ll realise it’s worth the journey.

The Blue Hole , Gozo Malta

blue hole malta

Is this the prettiest swimming pool in Europe? Not only can you leap into the cobalt blue waters of the Mediterranean, but you’ll be jumping into a natural, sheltered swimming pool created by a sunken underwater cave.

Sete Cidades

Sete Cidades Lake (1a)

There are so many beautiful places to see on the Azores that it’ll make your head spin, but one of the most gorgeous has to be Sete Cidades. The huge volcanic crater, three miles wide, contains two mirror-like lakes that are made for swimming and paddleboarding – but the really spectacular part is the view into the crater from the top of its edge.

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos

Navagio beach in greece island Zakynthos

Navagio Beach is one of the most gorgeous in the Greek Islands – from the white pebbles and paradise waters to those incredible cliffs and the lonely old shipwreck on the strand, a visit to this beach on the north western coast of Zakynthos is a day at the beach you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Cinque Terre

The five fishing villages of the Cinque Terre are like something straight out of a fairy tale. Higgledy-piggledy colourful muddles of houses sit high atop terraced golden cliffs, punctuating a beautiful 6 mile stretch of the Northern Italian coast. It’s about as romantic as a place can get, and it comes complete with incredible Italian food… win.

Formentera

Formentera is the smallest Balearic Island. The only way to get there is by boat from Ibiza, which means it doesn’t get the crowds that the rest of the Balearics do. It’s a proper little paradise, and the emphasis on environmental protection here means it’s likely to stay that  way. Go here to swim in the clearest waters you’ve ever swam in, and witness sunsets that will take your breath away.

Oia, Santorini

santorini1

Part of the Cyclades Islands in Greece, Santorini is like a little heaven on earth. Oia village is one of the most famous places on the island, thanks to its cliiftop location, the whitewashed, blue roofed houses that are built there, and the view down over the Aegian sea when the sun sets behind the horizon.

Trolltunga, Norway

trolls tongue norway

It’s a bit of a road trip from Oslo, but once you get to Odda on Norway’s west coast, you can embark on the hike of a lifetime. It takes between 10 and 12 hours, you’ll ascend around 900 metres, and your legs will hurt by the end of it – but the payoff is better than you can ever imagine. Go stand on the Troll’s Tongue overlooking lake Ringedalsvatnet, and prepare to have your mind blown.

Kotor, Montenegro

kotor

Fly to Podgorica and make your way to Kotor, under two hour’s drive away. When you get there, go for a cruise around the bay of Kotor. You’ll feel like you’re in Lord of the Rings – massive imposing mountains surround you on every side as you cruise along water as smooth and clear as glass, and at night the town of Kotor lights up the mountainside and reflects in the water like starlight.

Lauterbrunnen

SONY DSC

This is about as beautiful as the Alps get. Drive for less than two hours from Basel airport, and you’ll find yourself in Lauterbrunnen, a trough valley that’s made up of gargantuan sheer rock faces, jagged peaks, lush green alpine meadows, and over 70 huge thundering waterfalls. It’s like nowhere else on earth – just keep an eye out for the BASE jumpers!

The Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are as terrifying as they are beautiful – ominously black and absolutely massive (they reach over 200 metres at some points), they dominate around 5 miles of County Clare’s rugged coastline. If you get them on a good day, it’s glorious. But even if you get them on a bad day – and let’s be fair, that can easily happen in the west of Ireland – you get to see them at their most intimidating. When the Atlantic is smashing at them angrily, the wind is howling, and the sky is dark, you’ll feel like you’re in Game of Thrones.

Dee Murray

Dee Murray

Dee Murray has a very simple travel MO... Go to great places; do awesome stuff; eat delicious food; then come home and write about it all.

14 Comments

  • neil anderson

    Malta Amazing

    6th January 2016 at 6:37 pm
  • Louise Oppermann

    How to get to Santorini with RyanAir please?

    6th January 2016 at 10:26 pm
    • Dee Murray
      Dee Murray

      We fly from Athens to Santorini Louise, so we recommend combining a trip to the Acropolis with the perfect island holiday! It’s a brilliant way to see two great places in one holiday.

      7th January 2016 at 1:18 pm
  • Patricia Mckechnie

    Everyone is talking about Berlin ….. So we’ve booked for late August.

    9th January 2016 at 6:53 pm
  • Chris

    Lauterbrunnen,
    If you say it’s the most beautiful place in the Alps…….. I believe you.
    But when you say “It’s a two hour drive to get there……… I ask ” From where ” ?. Is it from Geneva ? Is it from Innsbruck ?

    11th January 2016 at 8:56 pm
    • Dee Murray
      Dee Murray

      Chris, you make an excellent point – in my enthusiasm to tell you about Lauterbrunnen I forgot to tell you how to get there! It’s two hours from Basel, and I’ve edited the article. Thank you 🙂

      12th January 2016 at 8:36 am
    • Pete

      Yes Lauterbrunnen IS the most beautiful valley in the alps and whats-more its surrounded by some fantastic mountains The Monch, Eiger, Youngfrou and first First. You will have heard of surrounding towns and villages, Interlaken, Wengen, Murren, Grindelwald, and the lakes of Thun and Brienz ether side of Interlaken. Its a fantastic area and access to all these is so easy using the Swiss mountain rail network and cable carls. Interlaken makes the best base for this area.

      26th February 2016 at 2:25 pm
  • Stuart

    Azores are amazing! But how do you get there from Dublin?

    14th January 2016 at 12:17 am
    • Dee Murray
      Dee Murray

      Hey Stuart. I actually went through London this time, but next time I go (and I am definitely going again!) I think I will go through Lisbon or Porto and combine it with a city break – a night or two in a gorgeous Portuguese city before I hit the islands 🙂

      It’s worth the trek, I promise.

      14th January 2016 at 9:00 am
  • Ben M Greene

    The only direct flight to Santorini from Dublin was with a company called XL Air which subsequently went into receivership.
    It would be great if Ryan Air could put on a Summer service to Santorini direct. I would say it would be pre booked Summer on Summer. I never enjoyed a Holiday as much as Santorini. It is a breathtaking destination with a very relaxed atmosphere
    and extremely friendly people.
    Wishing Ryan Air continued success in all their future ventures

    26th February 2016 at 4:22 pm
  • mick

    Lovely views must sort a holiday

    26th February 2016 at 5:00 pm
  • Angela Seager

    I definitely agree with Oia, Santorini…I’m currently here now and let me tell you it’s not just a summer destination, it’s just as amazing in February. Fantastic weather, spectacular views and chilled locals. A great destination…I was in Athens for two weeks and decided to take the Blue Star Ferries rather than Ryanair’s flight (which incidentally was only €10 single fare or €15 return in February) and although it took 8 hours, there were 4 stops, Paros, Naxos, Chios then Santorini.

    26th February 2016 at 5:22 pm
  • Sami Menkar

    Trolltunga, Norway

    26th December 2016 at 8:13 pm
  • Georgina

    Formentera is the most beautiful island on earth. It is paradise!

    27th December 2016 at 9:48 am

Leave a Comment