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10 Best European Destinations to Escape the Heat of Summer

While many people look forward to the sizzling heat of summer, if you aren’t one of them, you might want to consider a vacation that allows you to escape those searing temperatures. Those with Europe on their mind will find some incredibly cool destinations. These places not only offer more pleasant temperatures but beautiful scenery and all sorts of things to see and do.

Greenland Nuuk Greenland
Credit: Nuuk Greenland by Commons.wikimedia.org

Greenland

With the world getting increasingly smaller and travelers checking off destinations on their must-visit list, Greenland has finally popped up on the radar of many. Iceland’s western neighbor boasts the lowest population density in the world as well as the chance to experience the midnight sun, dogsled through frozen tundra, and watch the Northern Lights. And, of course, you won’t have to worry about the heat at all here, with the average temperatures in July only reaching the mid-40s. Plus, you’ll get the benefit of dramatic scenery that includes mountains, glaciers, and fjords without the crowds. While Greenland used to be difficult to access, today, you can catch a flight there from Reykjavik, Iceland, or Copenhagen, Denmark.

Iceland Ice wwimming in Reykjavik, Iceland
Credit: Ice wwimming in Reykjavik, Iceland by Visit Reykjavik

Iceland

With a name like “Iceland,” you know there won’t be any suffering through the heat here. Warm summer days can reach as high as the mid-70s, though average temps are in the 50s. Enjoy the highlights of the country in comfort, including standing in awe as Strokkur Geyser erupts, being mesmerized by powerful waterfalls and their rainbow-filled mists, strolling jet-black sand beaches, cruising a maze of floating icebergs, and soaking in the healing waters of the Blue Lagoon. Just a few of the other options include walking atop a glacier, whale watching, and Icelandic horse riding.

Norway Munkebu Mountain in Lofoten, Norway
Credit: Munkebu Mountain in Lofoten, Norway by © Juliengrondin - Dreamstime.com

Norway

Norway is a bucket list destination where you’ll be able to marvel at its spectacular natural beauty without wiping sweat off your brow. It’s often near perfect, with summer temperatures in the mid-70s and little humidity in the air. Come and experience places like Trolltunga, with its breathtakingly scenic cliffs. Also known as the “troll’s tongue,” it was formed during the ice age when glacial water froze a chunk of the mountain, causing it to break off and leave a thin protruding ledge that hovers above the lake below. The four-hour trek to get there bring big rewards that include a photo opportunity of a lifetime.

Ireland Clifden, Ireland
Credit: Clifden, Ireland by © Irimaxim | Dreamstime.com

Ireland

No matter where you are in Ireland, odds are, you’re unlikely to have to deal with unbearable heat with average summer temperature throughout most of the country in the 60s. Northern Ireland boasts lots of attractions like the legendary Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge which links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrick-a-Rede and is nearly 100 feet above the striking emerald-colored water and jagged rocks below. If you’re brave enough to look down, you just might see a dolphin or even a basking shark that frequents the waters of the North Sea. Just 40 minutes outside of Dublin is Wicklow National Park with miles and miles of scenic trails for hiking the soaring mountains and passing glistening lakes and tranquil streams. In the summer when the heather is in bloom, you’ll marvel at the purple and maroon across the hills and fields of bog cotton.

The Scottish Highlands Scottish HIghlands Lighthouse Cottage, Skye, Scotland
Credit: Scottish HIghlands Lighthouse Cottage, Skye, Scotland by Airbnb.com

The Scottish Highlands

The jaw-droppingly stunning Scottish Highlands is a sparsely populated wilderness region with scenery that includes heather-covered mountains, countless sparkling lakes, cascading falls and even beautiful beaches. Although summer is the warmest time of the year, temperatures rarely get higher than in the mid-60s. In this area, you’ll find endless opportunities for hiking, fishing and exploring castles, as well as the chance to search for the legendary Loch Ness monster.

Faroe Islands the village of Saksun, Streymoy, Faroe Islands
Credit: the village of Saksun, Streymoy, Faroe Islands by Bigstock.com

Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands are a hot destination in Europe but don’t expect temps to be too hot. As more and more people look to get off the beaten travel path, airfare has decreased while an increasing number of travelers are discovering the delights of the archipelago. Mykines, the most westerly and most beautiful of the Faroe Islands, feels like a journey back in time with its village filled with small, grass-roofed houses. This wild, remote island surrounded by high cliffs is also one of the best for bird watching, particularly puffins, found here by the thousands. Summertime brings 22 hours of sunlight to enjoy it all, including the islands’ food festivals and outdoor concerts.

The Azores View from Miradouro da Boca do Inferno, Azores, Portugal
Credit: View from Miradouro da Boca do Inferno, Azores, Portugal by © Dieniti | Dreamstime.com

The Azores

The beautiful nine volcanic islands that make up The Azores dotted across the mid-Atlantic are quite pleasant in the summer, with average temperatures in the mid-70s. They’re also now more accessible than ever, thanks to Delta Airline’s direct service from New York City. This is a hiker’s paradise, allowing you to take advantage of the pleasant climate, walking the trails that range from gentle strolls along coastal paths and crater lakes to more challenging adventures like the hike to the peak of volcanic Mount Pico. There are underground caves, some of which house tranquil pools and waterfalls, to explore too.

Copenhagen, Denmark Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark
Credit: Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark by © David Beaulieu | Dreamstime.com

Copenhagen, Denmark

High temperatures in Copenhagen at summer’s peak average is just 63 degrees. You can enjoy an idyllic refuge at Tivoli Gardens, where concerts draw crowds to its open-air stage that sits adjacent to a rose-filled garden. Explore the Danish Riviera, just north of the city, enjoying the pristine beaches and fun holiday atmosphere, along with a wealth of museums and castles. The island of Funen, also near Copenhagen, was the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen and is home to colorful public gardens, castles and manor houses, while Aarhus, situated along the coast next to fjords, forests and Viking rune stones, hosts an Old Town that displays traditional Danish architecture from the 16th to 19th century.

Stockholm Archipelago Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden
Credit: Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden by bigstock.com

Stockholm Archipelago

The Stockholm Archipelago is one of the most remarkable regions of Sweden, yet it’s still a well-kept secret. Made up of over 30,000 islands, islets, and skerries, of which only about 1,000 are inhabited, it offers a unique and cool summer escape with average temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s. It can be reached from central Stockholm via historic white boats, some of which date back over a century and are still steam-powered yet well-preserved. Visitors can go on a day trip or stay overnight.

Finland Aerial view of Taiga Forest in Finland
Credit: Aerial view of Taiga Forest in Finland by © Jarmo Piironen - Dreamstime.com

Finland

Finland enjoys some rather comfortable temps in the summer, averaging in the low 60s, and it offers some fabulous places for hiking, biking and kayaking, like its newest national park, Hossa. It also hosts 4,000-year-old pictographs painted in blood and ochre by the country’s early Stone Age settlers.

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