Summer is here, the patios are open and our Canada Goose jackets have finally been pushed into the back of the closet for the season.
But, if you’re still hoping for a vacation before summer officially hits its high point, we’ve got a few Canadian options that will blow you away. However, the global experts at Lonely Planet have put together a list of the Best Places to Visit in Europe this year – and we’re not talking Paris or Rome – just in case you need to get across the pond.
Even for the seasoned travellers among us, there are a couple of less well-known destinations on the list. So there’s all the more reason to get over there and enjoy them now while they’re relatively anonymous.
10. Northern Dalmatia, Croatia
This coastal region is just about as picturesque as they come – but luckily for you, not everyone has found out about its charms yet. So you can enjoy the unspoiled islands, historic cities and ‘Master’s Road’ without throngs of tourists. Just be sure to visit Zadar’s Old Town and the nearby waterfalls.
9. Texel, Netherlands
Nature lovers, rejoice. This island in the West Frisian region of Holland has walking trails, an abundance of bird life, as well as sand dunes and beaches if you just want to kick back and relax. If you’re feeling more energetic you can kitesurf, cycle, or hike up the ‘High Mountain’ for a truly stunning view over the island.
8. East Coast Tenerife, Spain
Decorated with colourful villages, this Spanish island has charming beach towns and chic boutiques in spades. The weather is beautiful all year round and if you stick to this side of the island in sleepy towns like Granadilla de Abona, you’ll get the real feel that resort areas sorely lack.
7. Extremadura, Spain
Take a trip back to ancient times in a land of Roman ruins and medieval cities. And sample some of the country’s best food while you’re there (meat, cheese and repeat). This remote area of lakes, mountains and forests is home to Monfragüe and Cornalvo National Park as well as Guadelupe and Zafra; the little Seville.
6. Warwickshire, England
If the UK votes to leave in the Brexit referendum, Warwickshire and England will no longer be a part of Europe. So stop what you’re doing, book a flight to Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford Upon Avon, or one of these other great cities that aren’t London, and enjoy a vacation on ‘the continent’.
5. Lviv, Ukraine
With its stunning architecture, churches and market square, it isn’t hard to see why Lviv is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe. Visit the saunas, take a trip to the opera, or simply wander around the old town and soak up the culture in this (as yet) largely undiscovered gem.
4. Dordogne, France
Touted as one of France’s best kept secrets, this region of Aquitaine is filled to the brim with castles, beautiful old country houses and museums. The prehistoric caves of Lascaux may no longer be open to the public, but the stone villages of Monpazier, the enchanting Losse in Perigord and market in Sarlat-le Caneda will help make up for it.
3. Venice, Italy
Perhaps the most recognizable on the list, but no less beautiful, is Venice. For those who are yet to be beguiled by the romance of this European city, the gondolas, St Mark’s Square and the Basilica all await you eagerly – and promise a memorable and thoroughly photogenic vacation.
2. Aarhus, Denmark
Everyone knows Copenhagen, but far fewer will be familiar with Aarhus – the second largest city in Denmark. Located on the Jutland peninsula, this lively University City is known for its museums (Moesgard, Kunstmuseum), concerts and festivals, and will soon be home to the tallest building in the country – Lighthouse.
1. Peloponnese, Greece
If you’re looking for history with a stunningly scenic backdrop (and quite frankly, who isn’t?) head to this peninsula in the south of Greece and enjoy Lonely Planet’s top European pick. Visit the site of the first Olympic games, Elea Beach or the beautiful fishing villages of Gytheion – where Helen of Troy is said to have “launched a thousand ships.”