There are multiple reasons to spend a week on Europe’s sunny shores. It’s got it all – medieval streets, bright blue waters, and more than a handful of national parks to show off about. Whether you’re drawn to the small towns or the coast – or both, we wouldn’t blame you – there’s a beautiful village or a dreamy mountain drive for you. To help you whittle down the best of the best, we’ve picked out the most beautiful places in Europe. Read on to find out where you’ve got to go…
The Amalfi Coast is made up of so many pocket-sized seaside towns that it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. And while Italy’s west coast has plenty to brag about, including Pisa, Rome, and Pompeii – it’s the Amalfi coastline you’ll see splashed across magazine covers. Sorrento specialises in postcard perfect architecture, from the gelato bars and winding lanes of the old town, to pastel coloured houses clinging to cliff edges. Plus, Italy always excels when it comes romantic destinations, and the Amalfi Coast is one of the most scenic spots for couples in the whole of the boot.
If you fancy an alternative to spending all day on the beach, check out Pamukkale in Turkey. It’s another UNESCO World Heritage Site, full of mini limestone pools that cascade down a mountain. Think Budapest’s thermal spas – the temperature is toasty, and the mineral-filled waters are rumoured to have special healing powers. Pamukkale is also on the same site as the remains of a Greek-Roman spa city named Hierapolis, so you’re taking a dip into history even if you don’t go for a swim.
Aphrodite’s Rock, Cyprus
There are plenty of famous rock formations around the world – like the Adršpach-Teplice Rocks in the Czech Republic – but Aphrodite’s Rock in Cyprus is without a doubt one of the most romantic. Near the village of Pissouri, it’s said to be the birthplace of the Greek goddess of love, which really draws in the crowds. In fact, rumour has it if you swim around the rock three times, you’ll find true love. But if you’ve already met The One, the crystal clear waters are more than worth a paddle or snorkelling expedition. And, you’ll find it easy to spend endless hours soaking up the rays on the golden beach.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
You’ll find Lake Bled on almost every list of beautiful destinations in Europe. Winters on the continent might be all about ski resorts and the snow-capped Alps, but summers belong to the towns in Europe surrounded by coastlines and lakes. And the turquoise waters of Slovenia’s Lake Bled really are made for summer days. Spend long, lazy afternoons in the surrounding resorts, eating the famous Bled Cream Cake, or head up into the forest for mountain biking down trails fit for both newbies and experts. And at the centre of it all is Bled Island, home to a church that floats in the centre of the lake. Traditional Slovenian wooden boats, known as plentas, carry tourists to the shores of the Assumption of Mary church, where views across the water are definitely something to write postcards home about.