Top 5 European destinations for the best beach vacations
The top European vacations are packed for the summer – but you can still find peace and privacy in easyJet’s pick of top European destinations to travel in September and October.
When the European summer reaches scorching temperatures, tourists hit Europe’s top cities and seaside towns in heaving throngs. Shops, restaurants and beach bars across Europe reach energetic vibes in summer months – although you might not get a secluded spot or a table reservation. But your European holiday shouldn't be hectic.
You can are still find romance and peace in many top European destinations, particularly in the months after school starts back. Flight and accommodation prices also tend to be cheaper in the months of September and October, making it an ideal period for travellers on a budget or those who just want a cheap European weekend getaway or short city break.
Whether you picture yourself on a beachside European holiday, a European city break or a cheap weekend away, here easyJet lists the five best European destinations in 2016 where you can still find a tranquil European vacation.
From beaches to mountains in Palma, Majorca (Mallorca)
As the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, Mallorca is one of Europe’s summer hotspots for its beachside resorts, pumping nightlife, variety of activities and warm Mediterranean climate. The international airport in the island’s capital Palma is one of Spain’s busiest, if that’s any indication, although flights to Mallorca are affordable.
But the tourist rush is short-lived; when school holidays end Mallorca switches back to village mode and offers visitors a glimpse into the tranquil Spanish lifestyle of seafood, sun and aquamarine vistas. Mallorca is bursting with small coves, private bays or white-sandy beaches to explore. Spend you days between sun-worshipping and sampling Mallorcan delicacies such as calderata de langosta (lobster stew), the delicate pastry ensaimada or sobrassada, a sweet-spicy red sausage spread for toast.
Aside from beach lounging and partying, visitors can find plenty of ways to delve into Mallorca’s remote coastlines and lush interior: there are caves with underground lakes, wineries to sample, secluded rural hotels and cabins dotting the island, hiking paths and a historical trove of remnants from the island’s Roman to Byzantine to Moorish rule.
Check flights to Mallorca: Calo des moro, a secluded beach located on Mallorca, Spain.
A rural island retreat at Corfu Island, Greece
Corfu is one of the greenest Greek islands thanks to a landscape carpeted with olive trees, besides being renown for crystal-water beaches and a vibrant night vibe. Despite being a hotspot on the tourist roadmap for many years, Corfu still retains its rural and sleepy island charm, hidden away on Greece’s uppermost northwest coast far from the country’s touristic hub. You can generally find cheaps flights to Corfu.
You can find water sports, paragliding and booze cruises to fill your day, with the island’s bars and clubs taking revellers into the early hours of the morning. Holiday resorts and beach bars dot the island’s coastal patches, but visitors can still escape from the modern world driving through the island’s lush interior in search of pristine beaches away from crowds. During the summer and autumn months, join Corfiot villagers celebrating panegýria (religious festivals) with fairs, music and local stalls, where everyone is invited to join; just look for the posters pinned to olive trees.
Besides swimming in the warm, shallow waters of the Ionian Sea, Corfu captures visitors with its Byzantine castles, fortifications and mythical legends. The island’s capital, Corfu (city), is a rare example of a Greek castle city (Kastropolis) and a UNESCO World Heritage site. According to myth, the island is named after the beautiful nymph Korkyra as a gift from her lover Poseidon.
Beaches and ancient mysteries in Olbia, Sardinia
Fly to Olbia to hit Sardinia’s renowned ‘Costa Smeralda’, where visitors can rub shoulders with celebrities who are drawn to the 20km of white sandy coastline, golf clubs, private jet services, luxury yachts and exclusive hotels.
Yet Olbia still retains its slow-paced vibe but not without a dynamic tourism scene of cultural sites, galleries, museums and ruins from Phoenician to Roman to Middle Ages settlements. It is also the ideal jumping point to explore the nearby Maddalenda islands, a zone dedicated to beach-hopping and diving tours.
Sardinia also holds the mysterious ‘Giant’s Tombs’, the name given to the hundreds of giant community burial chambers found over the island, including one at Coddu Vecchiu next to Olbia with its towering slabs of stone, the highest more than 100 feet tall. Surrounded by theories of their existence and energy, these imposing monuments have led several researchers to argue Sardinia is the site of lost Atlantis.
Fly to Olbia: Beaches and secluded swimming coves dot the island of Sardinia and surrounding islands.
Eat just-caught seafood on the beaches of Malaga
Eating seafood just hauled from the Mediterranean makes Malaga a vacation hotspot no matter which time of year you visit, although you can find cheap flights to Malaga after the summer. Unlike some other Spanish beach towns, Malaga does not wind down after summer, with festivals, lively locals and the Costa del Sol climate to keep it going. You can head out any night to find residents congregating in city squares and young people hitting one of the many bars or clubs in the city.
There is plenty to do in Malaga, including the Picasso and Carmen Thyssen museums, but it’s really just a place to unwind and enjoy the outdoor Mediterranean life and stretches of sandy beaches. You’ll also find plenty of chic boutiques, trendy cafes and restaurants with sun-drenched terraces, alongside winding lanes dotted with traditional Spanish tapas bars in the city’s heart.
At the end of every day, couples and families wander promenades alongside the water to watch the sun set, with their biggest decision being where to enjoy a plate of fried fish or grilled sardines, a regional specialty, washed down with the local sweet wine.
Check flights to Malaga: Eat fresh seafood in a beach restaurant in Malaga, Spain.
From beaches to hiking a volcano in Catania
This Sicilian retreat basks between the contrasting blues of the Ionian Sea and the towering bulk of Mount Etna, an active volcano that is a magnet for fascinated tourists. Find a cheap flight to Catania to spend lazy days sunbathing on one of Sicily's many postcard beaches while gazing at the lush green landscapes that have spawned around the volcano’s surroundings.
Catania gets particularly hot during the peak summer months, making travel in September, October and November the ideal time to visit. With even winter months averaging temperatures of around 25–30 degrees Celsius, Catania is a truly year-round, European beach destination.
Catania is a miracle city, surviving a history of volcano eruptions, earthquakes and war bombing. Yet remarkably visitors are greeted with a rich legacy of crumbling Roman ruins, glorious piazzas and palazzos and a plethora of restored Baroque buildings.
But Catania’s real delight is its world-famous cuisine and street food, including the dish ‘Pasta alla Norma’, created to honour the work of famous Catanian opera composer Vincenzo Bellini, and the tasty stuffed rice balls known as arancini. In between sampling Sicilian delicacies, you can explore Catania’s sophisticated shopping streets, vibrant café culture and artisanal market held every Sunday.
Fly to Catania: Sicily is a paradise of private beaches.
Contributed by easyJet.
You can fly with easyJet to all of these destinations from Amsterdam.
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