Europe’s red-hot summer: 3 interesting destinations to consider for a cooler holiday

Category: News

This summer has seen scorching heatwaves affect many European nations, especially those along the Mediterranean coast. 

Sky News reports that temperatures in popular tourist destinations for travelling Brits – like Spain, Italy, and Greece – have regularly been in the high 30s and low 40s. 

The summer of 2023 has seen existing temperature records shattered and wildfires break out across many Mediterranean countries – potentially ruling them out as a holiday option for your summer getaway. 

However, Europe does have plenty of alternative options for those seeking a cooler climate. Here are three countries to consider for your summer break that have been largely unaffected by the European heatwave. 

1. Escape to Scandinavia and the cooler Norwegian climate 

We’ve previously mentioned in our marathon article some of the fascinating travel opportunities the Norwegian summertime offers, such as the Midnight Sun festivities in Tromsø. 

Between May and July each year, the city basks in near-constant sunlight, which can be an unusual experience for tourists. Tromsø comes to life with a range of traditional activities during the day, before the city’s Arctic Cathedral hosts late-night folk music concerts from around 11 pm. 

Norway might not be an obvious choice for a summer getaway, usually inspiring thoughts of snowy landscapes, reindeer, and the Northern Lights. 

Yet, the country has plenty to offer during the summertime, especially for those looking for temperatures closer to the low to mid-20s. 

The country’s capital city, Oslo, is a vibrant metropolis with an active nightlife and plenty of cultural landmarks to visit. The city is a foodies’ paradise and home to multiple Michelin-starred restaurants – presenting an opportunity to try refined Scandinavian cuisine. 

Further afield, restaurant Iris is situated on the Salmon’s Eye, a spherical metallic structure in the middle of the Hardangerfjord in western Norway. It is a unique dining experience only accessible by boat. 

Norway’s majestic fjords are a wonderful sight in the summer months. 

A visit to the colourful harbour of Bergen could allow you to take them in while also:

  • Riding the historic tramline to the hilly peak that overlooks the city
  • Hiking the nearby and breathtaking Trolltunga, or “Troll’s Tongue”
  • Visiting the many glaciers and outdoor spas in the surrounding area.

If you’re looking for a cooler summer vacation that still allows you to take in the great outdoors, a visit to the Land of the Vikings might be the answer. 

Read more: 5 exciting summer holiday destinations to satisfy your inner adventurer

2. Consider a hop over the channel to Belgium

Sometimes overlooked for its louder and perhaps more provocative cousin, the Netherlands, Belgium is home to lively European cities full of culture and history. 

For music lovers, the country hosts many exciting outdoor festivals over the summer months. 

Unfortunately, you’ll have missed the most famous of these, July’s Tomorrowland, which combines concert, light show, and art piece to incredible effect. However, there are plenty of others, such as Pukkelpop and W-Festival, which take place in late August.

When you think of Belgium, you might think of beer, and the country is host to many great traditional taverns. It also hosts the annual Belgian Beer Weekend festival, which takes place in Brussels in the first week of September.

Brussels is home to a wide range of cultural and historical attractions including:

  • The Grand Palace
  • Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
  • The iconic Atomium
  • The model city, known as “Mini-Europe”
  • The Comics Art Museum, featuring the works of famous Belgian graphic artists such as Tin Tin’s Hergé and Asterix’s René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. 

For fans of the Colin Farrell film “In Bruges”, a short train journey allows you to visit the city’s cobble streets and winding canals. It is one of two fairytale-like cities on your journey towards the Belgian coastline – the other being Ghent.

The medieval landmarks of the two Unesco-listed cities are likely to delight any history lover, while the city’s various cafes, patisseries, and chocolatiers will satisfy the food lovers among you.

3. Enjoy a Baltic seaside adventure along the coastline of Estonia

If you’re still looking for a seaside holiday this summer but don’t fancy dealing with the sweltering Mediterranean climate, then a trip to the Baltics and the Estonian coastline might be a solution. 

The country’s capital city, Tallinn, is located on the shoreline with its historic harbour and old town overlooking the Baltic Sea. The city was a traditional northern trading port for many old European powers and so is home to some gorgeous medieval architecture and historic landmarks. 

But, if you’re looking for a summertime seaside adventure, why not head to the resort town of Pärnu? It’s a popular destination thanks to its traditional wooden villas, Swiss-style chalets, and large sandy beaches. 

The coastline is home to many Estonian cafes and fresh fish restaurants. There are also several surf schools for the more adventurous.

Another option is to hop on a boat to the island of Saaremaa. It’s home to dense pine forests, juniper bushes, and ancient lighthouses, as well as long stretches of sandy coastline perfect for summertime holidaymakers. 

The island is also home to some traditional Estonian breweries and a few rustic spas. 

A trip to Estonia this summer could allow you to enjoy the beach getaway you have in mind while enjoying some slightly cooler temperatures.