*This post is a collaboration with Holiday Gems
Has anyone else been waiting with bated breath for summer to arrive? This has been the worst winter I can remember and spring seems to be a bit of a washout. So I'm giving up and praying for a good summer. I'm talking sunny evenings in the beer garden, long days breathing in sea breezes and sandy toes fresh from the beach. After a long winter post-Australia, I'm more than ready for a bit of good weather and with my move to Germany in just two weeks, I'm looking at all the amazing countries I'll have right on my doorstep just waiting to be explored.
When I was considering where to base myself, a big factor in this was still being able to travel frequently. One thing in particular that really appealed to me was having the whole of Europe as my playground. With a base in Germany, I would be able to easily enjoy short trips to a whole host of new countries. You may have read my post last week on my plans to visit Norway this summer. But in this post I want to talk about the countries that are my favourite holiday gems for a short-haul trip this summer.
Portugal is high on my list after spending several summers there for family holidays when I was growing up. It's a beautiful country with such gorgeous coastline. My parents have just come back from a trip to Porto and loved it! I'd love to one day convert a van into a camper and drive the coastline, camping on the beach all summer.
Now I remember going on holiday to Morocco around 10 years ago and really hating it. I just felt uncomfortable the whole time. But after seeing so many beautiful photos, I really want to give it another shot. I love the idea of popping off to Marrakesh for a long weekend, staying in one of those gorgeous riads and visiting the spice markets.
I've always loved Croatia, ever since I went to a music festival there around four years ago. But one this I regret is not having enough time to explore more of the country around the festival. I'd love to go there and hire a car so I can explore Krka National Park. It is a country for everyone, from the luxurious yachts owners, through The Games of Thrones fans visiting the original shooting locations and lively hen & stag parties in Split and on island Hvar to the very typical summer beach holidays in hundreds of hotels & apartments along the spectacular Adriatic coast.
One of my favourite summer holidays was to Malta several years ago. We had planned to go to Italy but found it crazy expensive. So when we found a deal to Malta, we snapped it up. It's such a beautiful and unique country, and tiny enough to explore the whole thing. With the crystal waters and weather of Italy and Greece, but a different charm altogether. Plus the food is amazing! Make sure to visit Gozo and Comino while you're there.
I absolutely loved Slovenia when I stayed with Big Berry at their luxury lifestyle camp a few years ago. The countryside and heritage is stunning, and a perfect place to road trip or explore during the summer. I loved visiting the vineyards and local producers, and it's a great place to really relax.
Do I really have to explain this one? Gorgeous little towns like something out of a fairy tale, incredible countryside and the best chocolate in the world? Sold.
I'm obsessed with all things Scandinavian lately, I think perhaps it's because this traveler is craving something completely different to the tropics and desert where she's spent the last few years. I love the idea of crisp clean mountain air, stunning vistas and lots of outdoor activities. Plus I've heard it's legal to wild camp anywhere in Sweden which just gives it bonus points.
Again, I'm sure you've all read my previous posts lusting over Iceland. Check them out here, here and here. We're talking Northern Lights, the Blue Lagoon and road tripping through this incredible landscape.
Another country I have wanted to go to for such a long time. From the crazy roads and tiny towns, to mountains and Dracula's castle - it sounds like something that belongs in a movie! I would love to road trip the country after seeing a friend's Insta posts from his trip a few months ago. Check out my post on European road trips here.
And last, but by no means least, the home of one of my absolute favourite European cities - Budapest. It was such an amazing city to travel solo the other summer and I found the combination of history, heritage and spas just perfect. I loved touring the ruin pubs and just really enjoyed the relaxed and old-timey vibe of the city.
There you go! My European holiday gems for anyone who is planning a summer getaway, or who just fancies a good dose of wanderlust on their lunch break. Planning a summer trip? Let me know if you're heading to any of the above destinations - I'd love any travel tips! Or, if you're heading to somewhere I've already been - let me know if I can help with any tips. Be smart when shopping for your holiday and think carefully about whether you would prefer a longer holiday or low deposit city breaks this summer - sometimes you can save a lot of money by looking at your options.
Read: The tips and tricks that always save me money when I travel.
What are your European holiday gems? Where are you planning a summer holiday? Do you prefer longer holidays or smaller city breaks?