Planning your summer getaway? Don't book anything until you've seen Lonely Planet's top 10 European holiday destinations for 2019.
The experts at the top travel website have visited remote coastlines, buzzing cities and off-the-beaten-track regions to keep us ahead of the travel curve. It's now released its Best in Europe 2019 list so we know what to book now for the best breaks this summer, from bear-stalked forests to vineyard-ringed towns.
The list features the top 10 destinations for holiday in Europe this summer, with High Tatras in Slovakia taking the top spot. Heralded for its 'mythical landscapes', it's described as 'wild and rugged' and highlights include bear spotting and stunning hiking opportunities.
Don't want to go too far? The UK’s northernmost point, the Shetland Islands, have also bagged a place on this year’s European hotlist, coming in at number six. Cut adrift in the North Sea, Shetland is left largely to the hardiest of adventurers. But those who make the journey to this enchanting archipelago, which can be reached by plane, or an overnight ferry from Aberdeen, will be rewarded with 'awesome coastal trails, wicked wildlife watching, and fabled fish and chip shops'.
Check out the top 10 European hotspots for this summer below.
1. High Tatras, Slovakia
A mythical landscape where 'snow willow blankets the ground and fearsome beasts patrol the forests.'
2. Madrid, Spain
The city’s nightlife, always among Europe’s best, 'just keeps improving' and 'an emphasis on sustainable living has led to wide-scale pedestrianisation, bicycle lanes and rental schemes, widened footpaths, and new emissions controls transforming the city'.
3. The Arctic Coast Way, Iceland
Wowing with the natural wonders for which Iceland is rightly famed – thunderous waterfalls, colossal glaciers, steaming fumaroles – and endless opportunities for snow sports, wildlife watching and wilderness adventures… the best of Iceland minus the crowds.
4. Hercegovina, Bosnia and Hercegovina
Potter around the streets of medieval Počitelj, explore the Vjetrenica karst wind tunnels, hike to the traditional mountain village of Lukomir, and take a trip along the CIRO cycling trail – all will provide a new perspective on this picture-perfect region.
5. Bari, Italy
Bari has 'a spring in its step…a reinvigorated old town sets the tone, the boarded-up shop fronts replaced by family-run eateries…cultural spaces are reopening, from the ornate Teatro Piccinni theatre to once-condemned heritage hotels like the Oriente.'
6. Shetland, Scotland
Adventurers to the UK’s northernmost point will be rewarded with 'awesome coastal trails' can 'spot otters and orcas from craggy headlands' and enjoy 'fabled fish and chip shops'.
7. Lyon, France
Set to become the new French darling of international visitors as it steps into the global spotlight hosting the finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in July. 'Beautiful', 'food-obsessed' and 'cultured', Lyon has also recently received a nod from the EU for its efforts to make tourism accessible and sustainable.
Walk around an entire country in a weekend thanks to the Liechtenstein Trail. Created as part of the celebrations marking 300 years since Liechtenstein became a sovereign nation, this scenic 75km hiking path 'twists over peak and pasture' through all 11 municipalities.
9. Vevey, Switzerland
Held just once every 20 years, Vevey will be popping more corks than ever as the three-week wine festival, Fête des Vignerons, comes to town in June. Visitors can line their stomachs at one of the Old Town’s myriad quality eateries, offering everything from 20-course tasting menus to cheap-and-cheerful fondue, before working off their food with a swim in the lake.
10. Istria, Croatia
Offering history (Pula’s imposing Roman Amphitheatre and Poreč’s Unesco-listed mosaics for starters), beaches, gourmet cycle tours during spring, music festivals in summer and truffle-hunting excursions come autumn, expanding European flight connections make this heart-shaped peninsula easier to reach than ever.
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