While the choice is tough when it comes to great summer vacation destinations in Europe, these places are definitely on the top of the list of the best to visit on a summer vacation in Europe.

Alentejo, Portugal

When it comes to summer destinations in Portugal, the Algarve is usually the first thing that comes to mind, however if you want to get away from the crowd, Alentejo offers many quieter beaches. Running along the coast from Lisbon to the Algarve, Alentejo covers a vast expanse of the Atlantic coastline with some fantastic surf and quiet villages like Comporta and Porto das Barcas. It’s also a major wine producing region, offering some juicy fresh reds, which are the perfect accompaniment to delicious local dishes.

Formentera, Balearic Islands

A short ferry ride from the world-famous party island Ibiza, Formentera is completely more laid-back and simpler than its neighbors. The scenery, however, is just like picture-perfect, complete with turquoise water and white sand beaches dotted with palm trees and a bustling beach bar. Life on this Balearic island exists at a completely different pace and offers guests the opportunity to experience the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle. idn play

Lake Bled, Slovenia

If you’re looking for a place that offers more than just sunbathing, Slovenia’s Lake Bled is worth checking out. Surrounded by the Julian Alps and Karavanke mountains, this emerald lake and its surroundings offer mountain biking, water sports and hiking with epic views; including a medieval castle perched on a small island in a lake.

Sète, France

Located on the edge of the Mediterranean in Southern France, Sète is a historic city with a strong local identity and culture. Once described as ‘Venice of the Languedoc’ by French writer and original Sète Paul Valéry, the old port seems certain in time. But the arrival of the World Music Festival and the Convenanza festival have made the city a top destination for music lovers in Europe.

Stoupa, Greece

Located on the southwest coast of the Mani Peninsula in the Peloponnese, Stoupa is relatively well preserved as far as Greek seaside towns go. Steeped in history, the area sees charming medieval villages and fishing harbors, as well as the nearby peaks of Profitis Ilias on Mount Taygetos, which surrounds it. Considered relatively remote by Athenian standards, this area is far from being a package holiday on Mykonos or Kos.

The Azores, Portugal

Not quite mainland Europe, the Azores are an archipelago located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and belong to Portugal.  The volcanic landscape is home to UNESCO World Heritage-listed tea plantations and vineyards, while its natural gardens are some of Portugal’s best.

Hvar, Croatia

Over the last ten years or so, Croatia has been Europe’s best holiday destination, known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife. The island of Hvar has made a name for itself as a premier party destination for the rich and glamorous, with the town of Hvar itself full of exclusive nightclubs and beach bars. Venture further north on the island, and you’ll find calmer beaches and more peaceful views.

Bornholm, Denmark

If a summer vacation on the Baltic Sea might sound a little strange at first, ask a Danish about the island of Bornholm, and you’ll quickly find out why it is so popular. Officially the sunniest place in Denmark, the island is known for its fine sandy beaches; Napoleon reportedly used sand from Bornholm for his hourglass, and many smokehouses offer freshly smoked mackerel and herring.