Summer is a vibrant, lively time to enjoy the outdoors of Europe! As it’s the height of travel season you will want to plan ahead, but you’ll have long beautiful days to enjoy outdoor activities, festivals and music. Take a look below to see our recommended regions and tours during the summer season.
France engages all your senses in the summer. Colorful displays of sunflowers and fragrant lavender fill the meadows in the south. You can cool down at beautiful beaches along the coastline, and a stroll through the countryside will take you through lovely, shady forests. Delicious melons are available across the whole country and provide refreshing flavors after the heat of a long day. The Champagne Route will take you through gorgeous French villages in July, and music and color – not to mention flavor – abound in the Metz Mirabelle Plum festival at the end of August. For lovers of the arts, the spectacular open air performance of “Les Nuits de Lauzert” in August offers an impressive sample of musical, theatrical, and other artistic talents in a medieval city, and hot air balloons take to the skies over several days in the “Championnat de France de Montgolfières.”
Summer brings a lovely climate to this otherwise cool country. With temperatures at an average 64°F (18°C) in July, it’s the perfect time to indulge in Belgium’s delicious food and drink outside and enjoy the country’s beauty. You can sample a Belgian beer in an outdoor restaurant or admire the beautiful architecture as you take an afternoon stroll through its quaint city streets. Bordered by different countries on all sides, you can top your waffles with seasonal fruits from many different regions, or enjoy an ice cream with Nutella (possibly Europe’s favourite topping!) as you go cycling in Belgium and explore the history of Bruges, Ghent, or Antwerp. Ghent has a lively festival in mid-July, with music, markets, and fireworks, and in early August the Brussels Summer Festival will offer a range of concerts and street performers. July 21st is Belgian Independence Day, so there’ll be parades and fireworks across the country.
It may be best known for its mountains and winter sports, but summer is the perfect time to visit Austria. With the warmer weather, the alps and meadows burst into green. There are over 300 lakes and at this time of year more than half are perfect for a dip – and even if you’re not a swimmer, the gorgeous blue water surrounded by stunning mountains and meadows is the ideal place to sample a glass of the wines made from the Gruner Veltliner grape that grows so well here. It’s the perfect season for all outdoor activities, including cycling, boating, watersports, playing golf in any of the 140 courses, or – if the cold is still for you – there are plenty of places to ski in the summer. It’s also the season of festivals, especially celebrations of Austrian-born masters Mozart, Hayden, and Strauss. There’s Vienna Festival in May and June, the Danube Island Festival in late June, and the international Bregenz Festival in July and August, all celebrating arts and music with great flare.
Summer is the perfect time to explore Holland. The crowds of spring have left, but there’s still plenty of holiday-makers and action. Music and culture come into their own, with a festival nearly every weekend in the major cities, especially Amsterdam. The De Parade is a lively display of cabaret and comedy, Rotterdam’s North Sea Jazz festival is well worth making the time for, and the International Fireworks Festival in Scheveningen draws big crowds every year. Tulip season may have ended, but flowers are still in abundance. The working botanical garden Hortus Botanicus in Leiden is perfect for avid gardeners, and in June there are a range of Open Garden Days in Amsterdam. Summer brings some of the best food festivals, including the Taste of Amsterdam and the Dutch Raw Food and Lifestyle Festival. The famous cheese market at Alkmaar is also open throughout the summer. And for those very hot days, there are a range of city beaches or small, lovely coastal towns dotted in the dunes before the North Sea.