Portugal has long been a popular tourist destination, and for good reason. With its warm climate and fantastic beaches, this is a country that has almost everything you could want for a holiday. There are numerous theme parks to choose from for family holidays, child friendly resorts and affordable living costs. Despite their challenging economic situation, Portugal remains one of the top European holiday destinations.
Croatia is one of the most beautiful countries along the Eastern Mediterranean coastline. During summer the weather here is fantastic, just what you would expect from a country in this area. This has some of the most unique and awe-inspiring views in Europe. Many of Croatia's coastal towns and cities have an intriguing history and still retain many remains of Roman and Venetian Times.
Listed in the Lonely Planet top 10 for 2013, Slovakia is a country with a rapidly growing reputation in the tourism world and a personal favourite of mine. With beautiful cities such as Bratislava, Kosice and Trencin, along with terrain perfectly suited to Adventure activities like rafting or mountain climbing, there is much to do and see here. There is plenty to satisfy the historical enthusiasts too with countless medieval castles scattered throughout the country and plenty of World War 2 monuments also.
I have often been critical of my own country recently and despite my recent expressions of doubt over "The Gathering", it does result in many festivals and activities to make Ireland one of the must see destinations this summer. If you are going to visit, you should definitely get outside Dublin and experience "real" Ireland, places like Cork, Killarney and Galway offer so much culturally. The west coast offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, the Burren and Ring of Kerry are a must see!
One of the Cultural and Historical Giants in Europe, Italy has so much to offer for a holiday. From ancient Roman ruins, to renaissance art and architecture, combine that with the warm Mediterranean climate and you are on to a winner. Cities like Rome, Florence and Venice could keep you occupied for days on end and the scenery of places like Tuscany will enthral you. Aside from this there is the food, which is recognised world-wide and enough of a reason on its own to come to Italy. For these reasons and more, Italy tops my list of European destinations to visit this summer.