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Posts Tagged ‘Sibiu’

The 20 Best European Destinations To Visit In 2020 Revealed

Bruges

Colmar, France: New European Best Destination 2020

European Best Destinations

The city of Colmar, in France’s northern region of Alsace, has been voted the #1 European destination for 2020, chosen from 20 ‘must-see’  locations that made the finalists’ list of contenders for the coveted title organized by European Best Destinations (EBD).

For its 11th edition, the competition collected a record of more than 600,000 votes for the trendiest destinations in Europe, a list that will be promoted throughout the year to millions of travelers — and will be authorized to display the title “European Best Destination” in their marketing.

Colmar got the highest number of votes since the creation of the competition in 2009. (179,723 votes). The previous record was Porto in 2017 with 138,116 votes.

“Whether you look forward to a city break, a romantic getaway, a family or beach holiday, a cultural or gastronomic trip, alone or with friends, you will be spoilt for choice,” the organization promises.

Since 2009, European Best Destinations (EBD), has been promoting culture and tourism in Europe to millions of travelers, tourism professionals and the media. Working with the European Commission to promote sustainable tourism, EBD organizes some of the main tourism competitions in Europe, including Best European Christmas Markets, Best European Beaches, Most Romantic destinations and Best European Ski Resorts.

In partnership with over 300 tourism offices in Europe and the EDEN Network created by the European Commission, the European Best Destinations is, for the eighth year in a row, the most visited website dedicated to travel in Europe.

As a result of their selection, the various destinations get a significant boom of tourists — +17% in growth for Porto after its selection in 2017, + 13% for Bordeaux in 2015, + 25% for Zadar in 2016 — as well as extensive media coverage.

This is the list of the 20 trendiest European Best Destinations to visit in 2020: Athens (Greece), Berlin (Germany), Bydgoszcz (Poland), Cascais (Portugal), Colmar (France), Cork (Ireland), Héviz (Hungary), Madrid (Spain), Menorca (Spain), Namur (Belgium), Paris (France), Prague (Czech Republic), Rome (Italy), Reykjavik (Iceland), Rijeka (Croatia), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Rochefort Océan (France), Sibiu (Romania), Tbilisi (Georgia) and Vienna (Austria).

Here you can find the complete guide to plan your next vacation.

Colorful facades of timber-framed houses in Colmar, known as Petite Venise, in Alsace, France.

Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Colmar, France

First on the podium of best European destinations: a well-deserved award for Colmar, a destination known worldwide, that has it all: It’s the capital of Alsace wines and a leading wine-tourism destination. It’s also a perfect destination for romance, history buffs, foodies, music and culture lovers.

Colmar is known as the sunniest city in France, enjoying 300 sunny days a year. It is particularly magical at Christmas time. Around Colmar are the picturesque villages of Eguisheim, Riquewihr and Ribeauvillé. You can drive along the wine route and visit wineries or simply stroll among the vineyards.

Trendier than ever, Athens is a city in constant evolution

Best European Destinations

Athens, Greece

Trendier than ever, Athens is a city in constant evolution. Tradition meets modernity in museums and shops, restaurants and bars. Together with Rome, Athens is the cradle of our civilizations, an incredibly dynamic, lively, sparkling open-air museum.

With equal measures of grunge and grace, Athens effortlessly merges the past with the present. A city of paradoxes and great contrasts, in the country that first invented courtesy and generosity towards people who are far from their home, hospitality (xenia) reigns supreme.

An intellectual beacon of the ancient world with spectacular Mediterranean landscapes bathed in the famous light, Athens is a sophisticated cosmopolitan hub with many gastronomic offers, livelynightlife and a booming art scene.

An aerial picture shows the buildings of Old Tbilisi.

AFP via Getty Images

Tbilisi, Georgia

The Capital of Georgia is the ideal destination for culture, gastronomy, diversity and architecture lovers. 

Magnificent Haussmannian buildings mingle with structures dating from the Middle Ages. You can enjoy neo-classical, Soviet and extremely modern buildings — at the same time. “Be sure to climb to the top of Tbilisi and admire the Kartlis Deda statue, the protector of the city. This site offers an exceptional panorama of the Georgian capital, the Peace Bridge, the Metekhi Church, the thermal baths, the new theatre and the Mtatsminda Amusement Park for young and old,” EBD recommends.

Austria, Vienna, Graben, Street Scene.

LightRocket via Getty Images

Vienna, Austria

Along with ParisRomeBruges and Prague, it’s one of the European capitals of love. As one of the safest destinations in Europe, Vienna is also an ideal destination for families.

Vienna offers history with a capital H, gastronomy, wine, organic and local markets — as well as incredible architecture.

“Climb aboard one of the most beautiful big wheels in Europe and whistle Strauss’ Blue Danube,” advises EDB. “You can also make your marriage proposal or treat yourself to a guided tour of the Schönbrunn Palace and learn how to cook the famous ‘Strudel’.”

Cascais, Portugal.

Corbis via Getty Images

Cascais, Portugal

Cascais is one of the most beautiful and prestigious coastal destinations in Europe.

Located on the Lisbon Coast, Cascais is perfectly situated just two steps away from the capital city and other must-see locations such as Sintra (UNESCO Heritage Site), Ericeira (World Surfing Reserve) and Mafra (the Portuguese Versailles).

With its year-round mild climate, Cascais is known as the ‘Portuguese Riviera.’ “From pure leisure to business, golf, sun, sea and water sports, it simply has it all and offers a new definition of the concepts of eco- and activity based tourism,” according to EBD.

A street in Sibiu, Romania

European Best Destinations 2020

Sibiu (Transylvania), Romania

Which other destination can offer Bruges or Parisian-level culture and gastronomy, be as instagrammable as Prague or Santorini, as romantic as Rome or Venice? Look no further than Sibiu (in Transylvania).

There’s poetry and beauty on every street corner and eyes on every roof. This rich city, one of the most visited in Romania, represents 800 years of history in an unspoilt setting yet remains one of the most modern and dynamic cities in Europe.

A gastronomic tourism destination – the only city in Romania to be awarded three Michelin stars — Sibiu is a destination for history buffs, outdoor activities fans, photographers and hikers. 

A street in Namur.

European Best Destinations

Namur, Belgium

For foodies, instagrammers and those who love shopping, cocooning, culture, nature walks, evenings with friends or romantic city breaks, Namur is a must-visit.

A charming city with the Belgian surrealism of Brussels and the romanticism of Budapest or Bruges.

Among the most interesting destinations in Belgium, Namur is not just about relaxation and pampering. It also offers outdoor sports, paddling, hiking and other activities for young and old. “During your stay, do not forget to climb to the top of the Citadel and treat yourself to a romantic cruise on the Meuse,” recommends EBD. If you have some time left, don’t miss neighboring Dinant, where the river Meuse also flows. Both towns share the moniker “daughters of the Meuse.”

Rijeka, Croatia

European Best Destinations 2020

Rijeka, Croatia

One of the most fashionable cities in Europe, it’s at the top of the wish-list of travelers who have already toured major cities and are looking for something different.

Croatia’s third-largest city, it also was declared ‘European Capital of Culture’ in 2020. Rijeka is a destination for discerning travelers who don’t want to choose between beach and city, culture and nature, tradition and modernity. It has it all.

“Do not miss the Rijeka Carnival, one of the most beautiful in Europe,” EBD insists. Art lovers shouldn’t miss a visit to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Hévíz, Hungary

European Best Destinations

 Hévíz, Hungary

Relaxation and wellbeing are key words for travelers to Hévíz, a name that means “hot water” in Hungarian. The city has the world’s largest natural thermal lake surrounded by lush forests.

Located near Budapest and Vienna, Hévíz has been welcoming spa visitors since the 18th century. It’s probably the only spa destination where you can swim among white, pink and purple lilies, relax with thermal mud massages on a floating pavilion on the lake, row a canoe in the steamy warm water of the stream or have a winter swim in the 24°C thermal lake while large snowflakes fall around you.

This destination is ideal for families and lovers of outdoor sports (kayaking, golf, cycling, hiking) as well as gourmets.

Bydgoszcz, Poland

European Best Destinations

Bydgoszcz, Poland

One of the trendiest destinations in 2020 for those who like to think outside the box and want an unforgettable urban break.

The city has an incredible cathedral, considered one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in Europe with its unexpected explosion of colors inside. EBD recommends that you take “a walk along the photogenic Brda River or relax on the Mill Island or go paddling.”

Looking for another place to blow up your Instagram account? Visit the Museum of Soap and History of Dirt, which attracts visitors from all over the world.

Bydgoszcz offers trendy and traditional bars and restaurant as well as affordable hotels.

Cork, Ireland

European Best Destinations 2020

Cork, Ireland

A colorful, jazzy, sporty, culinarily innovative and traditional destination. In one word, Cork is very…Irish. 

More than merely a common city break, this is a holiday by the sea, hiking or biking with the children, great restaurants, wellness retreats, kayaking, windsurfing. The point: Cork has it all, from dramatic natural landscapes and mountains to river valleys and coastlines.

Cork city and county offer visitors history, heritage and landmarks, artisan food and drink and a strong cultural, musical and artistic vibe.

Rochefort Océan, France

European Best Destinations 2020

Rochefort Océan, France

The most family-friendly of the 2020 selections, Rochefort Océan, located in Charente-Maritim, is a favorite sustainable-tourism destination in Europe and has been selected and rewarded by the European Commission for its commitment to the environment.

On the French west coast, Rochefort Ocean combines history and heritage, nature and scenery. “Go bird watching, have a cruise around Fort Boyard, visit the former naval rope-making unit, enjoy the thermal baths,” invites EBD. “Or what about lazing or sunbathing in the typical and historical French seaside resort of Fouras? Or fishing or sailing or windsurfing in Port des Barques?”

With a 25 kilometer-long coastline and five beaches, Rochefort Océan is a dream destination for seaside holidays. On the other side of the estuary, the oyster farming Port-des-Barques is ideal for a walk to Ile Madame, the smallest of the four Charente Maritime islands.

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The best cities to visit in Eastern Europe

Balkans

contributed by Elisa of World in Paris

Brasov is a fairy-tale fortified city in the heart of Transylvania, in Romania. It is easy to walk, it has a beautiful architecture with Saxon influences and many nice cafes to stop for a caffeine break. We were lucky to find an apartment facing the main square so it was nice to see how the city wakes up.

If you want to get the most out of Brasov, we recommend doing the free city tour starting every day from the main square. It is a very entertaining tour which introduces visitors to the history of the city, some fun legends and its main sights like the black church and the white and black towers. In addition, guides are always happy to give some recommendations on good restaurants to explore the local cuisine so you are set for the day.

Brasov is also a good base for exploring other parts of Transylvania like the famous Bran castle or the mountains of Piatra Craiului.

Podgorica, Montenegro

Podgorica -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropePodgorica -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropePodgorica

contributed by Eric of Penguin and Pia

For the capital of a country, Podgorica, Montenegro doesn’t get too much credit. We think this should change! Podgorica does actually have things to do and this makes the city a place that we think is worth checking out for yourself. From traditional Balkan cuisine at restaurants like Pod Volat to visiting the museums and wandering the historic old town, the city has a rich history that is to be learned about and explored.

If you’re in Podgorica at night, the city centre is buzzing with activity. The bars, pubs, and restaurants open their patios in the warm air and let the night take its course. Whatever kind of fun you’re looking for, you’ll find it out on the town in Podgorica. Oh, and don’t forget about the things you can check out close to the city. Just a short drive away from Podgorica is the “Niagara Falls” of Montenegro – and you won’t want to miss checking out nature at its finest!

Ohrid, FYROM

Ohrid, FYROM -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeOhrid, FYROM -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeOhrid, FYROM

contributed by Kirstin of The Tinberry Travels

Lake Ohird is one of the most beautiful spots in the Balkans and sat on the water’s edge in the wonderful Ohrid City, FYROM. The biggest settlement in the region, Ohrid along with its neighbouring lake, is a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with ancient history, diverse and intricate architecture and plenty of natural beauty on top. Said to have once held 365 places of worship, one for every day of the year, the many churches or Ohrid are the city’s main drawn but there are plenty of things to do in Ohrid.

From boat trips or swimming in the beautiful clear waters to ancient amphitheatres and fortresses on the hill, Ohrid has a good variety of attractions and is fast becoming the new place to go in the Balkans. To get to Ohrid, a number of low cost airlines fly direct to the small Ohrid airport just outside the city or you can take a three hour drive from the FYROM ‘s capital of Skopje.

Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeVilnius -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeVilnius

contributed by Mary of A Mary Road

Vilnius Lithuania is not only another city in East Europe. If you are looking to explore this part of the world, Vilnius is worth a visit. It’s probably one of the cheapest places you can explore taking into account that it is the capital city. Vilnius is full of historical events and culture, the city is very open-minded and LGBTQA friendly.

Exploring around is very easy, you can either walk through the Old Town or hop on a bicycle (which is very affordable to rent for a day or more), to go further out. Vilnius has also a lot of park around, in Summer, you can sit by the park, watch the locals go through their daily life or simply visit a local market where fresh fruits are being sold. Going to the next city like Kaunas or to the neighbouring country is very easy too, and affordable. There are cheap flights in and out of Vilnius within Europe.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Plovdiv, Bulgaria -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropePlovdiv, Bulgaria -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropePlovdiv, Bulgaria

contributed by Stephanie of Sofia Adventures

While Plovdiv in central Bulgaria is an Eastern European city, it does’t feel like it. It’s a beautiful, classic town full of ancient Roman architecture, gorgeous Bulgarian Revival houses, and modern street art. If you’re looking for Red Tourism, head elsewhere, because this is Bulgaria’s elegant cultural center. In fact, it’s been named as the European Capital of Culture for 2019, highlighting it’s place as one of the oldest cities in Europe.

There is eight thousand years of history in this city, but there’s also tons of great modern amenities, like fantastic restaurants and fun cafes. You can spend a weekend or a week here, because there are so many things to see and do in Plovdiv that you won’t have time get bored. After checking out the main highlights of the city (I highly recommend the city’s free walking tour), head out to see some of the beautiful monasteries in the region.

Budva, Montenegro

Budva - best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeBudva - best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeOld Town of Budva in Montenegro

contributed by Michelle of Greedy Gourmet

Located on the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro, is a beautiful town called Budva. Even though some parts of this country are still suffering from the effects of the Cold War, Budva is a thriving tourist destination. Budva is only a 25-minute taxi ride from Tivat Airport, where you can easily hail a cab outside the building or rent a car to get around.

The city is known for its beaches, nightlife and restaurants but is also rich in history.   You can spend the day at the Rustovo Monastery or head up to the Citadel to catch some amazing views. Most tourists come for the beaches and there are plenty to visit, such as Mogren Beach, Royal Beach and Kamenova Beach.

You absolutely need to eat at Casa Mia, a lovely Italian restaurant. Casa Mia has its own farm, raising their own chickens, ducks, turkeys and goats which makes them a rare, sustainable restaurant. In addition, you should check out Dukley Beach Lounge. Located right on the water, the views are enough of a reason to visit this restaurant.

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeBudapest -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeBudapest

contributed by Suzanne of The Travelbunny

Budapest is the perfect European city to visit for a long weekend or city break. Full of charm, beautiful buildings, good food, coffee shops, art, history and quirk there’s a lot you can pack into a few days. The Danube runs through the centre of the city splitting it into two distinct districts; Buda and Pest. The 19th century Chain Bridge links hilly Buda’s castle district with flatter Pest. A funicular runs up Castle Hill to Old Town Buda where you’ll get fabulous views across the River Danube to the stunning Hungarian Parliament building. Fisherman’s Bastion, the 13th century Matthias Church and the famous Gellert thermal baths are all on the Buda side. Cross the Chain Bridge to explore Pest with its trendy ruin bars, ornate coffee shops, the food market and the grandeur of Heroes Square.

The city is good value for money as it’s not part of the Euro and still uses the Hungarian Forint. You can explore most of the city on foot or by using the metro which is easy to use and the oldest electrified underground railway system in Europe.

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeKotor, Montenegro -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeKotor, Montenegro

contributed by Kamila of My Wanderlust

Even before visiting Kotor I knew I’m gonna love it there. The pictures I’ve seen online looked just amazing and the place seemed too beautiful to be true. But it really does exist and is even more spectacular that I could imagine! By now I’ve been some 5 times there and Kotor for me is the most beautiful place in Europe.

The highlight of every visit is of course the climb to the St. John castle – it is exhausting to walk over a thousand stairs to the top but the view is definitely worth it! But there are so many more things to do there! I love wandering around Kotor Old Town, especially early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s not too crowded, I love walking along Kotor Bay to Dobrota and admire the stunning views and I love visiting small village of Perast that is just the prettiest. If you decided to visit Kotor I can only suggest to do it off season as the summer might be just too busy there!

BalkansBran CastleWroclaw, Poland

Wroclaw -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeWroclaw -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeWroclaw

contributed by Jessica of Longest Bus Rides

There are so many things to do in Wroclaw, Poland that it should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Europe. The historical part of the city is completely walkable, so no need to rent a car. If anything, rent a bicycle. And, it’s very accessible to English speakers, with much of the signage translated to English. It helps that the city was European Union City of the Year in 2014.

Known as the Venice of the North, there are lots of cute bridges (approximately 130, but not all of them are cute) and 12 islands. There is even an island with gardens and historical buildings—visit the Gothic Cathedral at night to see it lit up. St. Mary Magdalene Churchhas Penitent Bridge, a gangway connecting the towers high over the city.The view is fantastic, although its original purpose is sad–

The synagogue has a free museum regarding the Jewish history in the area. On the more humorous side, keep your eyes open for all the gnomes throughout the city. They are small, and it’s always a fun surprise to find one. There’s one right by the entrance to the ancient pub underneath City Hal

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana - city to travel in Eastern EuropeLjubljana - city to travel in Eastern EuropeLjubljana

contributed by Kylie of Our Overseas Adventures

Ljublijana is the largest city in Slovenia and one of the new cool capital cities of Eastern Europe. It’s a fabulous city to visit for a few days and it has a wonderful funky vibe. The beautiful Ljubljanica river runs through the centre of the old town and wandering along the riverbanks, popping into some of the great cafes lining the route is such a great way to pass the time. The city is often compared to Prague due to its architecture designed by the world famous Jože Plečnik.

Ljublijana is famous for its bridges, with the Dragon Bridge being the most notable landmark in Ljublijana. Choose one of the four iconic dragons positioned at both ends of the bridge to snap a selfie with! Towering over the city is the 900-year-old Ljubljana Castle, a must-see with some of the best views of the city. You can take a funicular railway to reach the castle, or walk up one of the paths if you want some exercise. Afterwards, head back down into the city and pick one of the many hip bars to relax with a drink and soak in the atmosphere of this gorgeous city.

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Veliko Tarnovo - places to visit in Eastern EuropeVeliko Tarnovo - places to visit in Eastern EuropeVeliko Tarnovo

contributed by Allison of Sofia Adventures

Veliko Tarnovo is one of the most beautiful cities in Bulgaria. As the former capital of Bulgaria, it’s chock full of history, which can be seen in the beautiful Tsaravets fortress, which used to be the seat of power hundreds of years ago. Today, Veliko Tarnovo is full of interesting monuments, delicious restaurants with gorgeous views over the Yantra River, old-fashioned houses built on a hillside, and cafés and bars where you can relax and enjoy a slower pace of life.

You shouldn’t miss Asen’s Monument, the Stambolov bridge, the fortress, the many interesting churches, and a side trip to the nearby village of Arbanasi. Be sure to eat at the original restaurant, Shtastliveca, which is now popular throughout several cities in Bulgaria. Shopska salad can’t be missed when visiting Bulgaria! Veliko Tarnovo is a great addition to Bulgaria itineraries that include larger cities like Plovdiv or Sofia, or as a side trip from Bucharest, or as its own city break!

Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb - best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeZagreb - best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeZagreb

contributed by Julianna of The Discoveries of

Zagreb was the city I never expected to fall in love with. A striking blend of centuries of history, cosmopolitan culture and a laid-back vibe – it was only ever going to end one way. What’s so special about Zagreb? The small walkable centre is packed with sights, both old and new, for your itinerary. The Neo-Gothic Cathedral dominates the skyline but surprises visitors with its modernist carvings inside. Equally enchanting is the much-talked about Museum of Broken Relationships, which is packed with the sometimes funny, sometimes sad relics of relationships that haven’t quite worked out.

Don’t miss the daily firing of the cannon in Lotrsčak Tower either – at 12pm sharp the warden fires a cannon (stuffed with paper) over the city. It’s not clear where the tradition came from, but it’s happened daily since 1877. Be warned, it is very loud! Lotrsčak Tower also happens to boast stellar views out over Zagreb, so it’s a win-win situation. Some people pass through Zagreb, seeing it as a stop on their way to the Plitvice Lakes, or as they zoom to Split and Dubrovnik further south. What a mistake – spend some time here and you’ll see that Zagreb is a small city with a lot to offer.

Sibiu, Romania

Sibiu -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeSibiu -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeSibiu city, Transylvania

contributed by Raluca of Whisper Wanderlust

Sibiu is one of the most beautiful, largest and most visited cities of Romania. It is located in Transylvania, approximately in the center of the country, making it easily accessible from any point. Being very close to the tallest and most spectacular mountains in the country, I recommend that along with Sibiu, go on a road trip on Transfagarasan, the most scenic road in the country.

Sibiu, thanks to its beauty, became the cultural capital of Europe 10 years ago when countless events took place in the city. Being the largest medieval ensemble in the country, it is a real pleasure to walk through the old center. The cobbled streets, the colorful houses that seem to have eyes on their roofs, the cheerful terraces and the architecture of the most important buildings will instantly conquer you. If you arrive in Sibiu, I recommend you to pass the Liars Bridge, admire the Council Tower, the Lutheran Evangelical cathedral or the Brukenthal Museum and go on a picnic at Dumbrava Sibiului.

Medulin, Croatia

Medulin -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeMedulin -best cities to visit in Eastern EuropeMedulin

contributed by LeAnne of Well Traveled Nebraskan

Medulin, Croatia is no longer just the sleepy fishing village it once was.  Today, you can find accommodations to fit all budgets along the incredibly stunning Istrian Coast.  Whether you are looking for a glitzy all inclusive resort to get away or to camp right along the beach, we loved Medulin’s various paces of life offered to all kinds of travelers.  There was just something about grabbing delicious grilled Croatian food right on the ocean while kicking back with some of the cheapest beer we’ve ever bought that made us fall in love with the area.

However, it was the Kemenjak National Park, just on the outskirts of town that gave us memories to last a lifetime.  Purchase a cheap snorkel set from any stand in town and then head to the park where you can swim in crystal clear waters and explore underwater caves.  For adventurous souls, join the cliff jumpers leaping from various levels of cliffs into the deep ocean below for an amazingly fun time!  And then for any history buffs, geek out at the actual dinosaur tracks, still imprinted in the rocks!

Medulin was the perfect balance of exploration with a touch of relaxation, which makes it a perfect destination for just about any type of traveler! 

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Summer In Europe: The 20 Safest Places For Travel And Tourism Post-Coronavirus, According To European Best Destinations

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City of Tbilisi, Best European Destination

#1: Tbilisi

Photo: Boris Stroujko, European Safest Destinations

With countries around Europe reducing coronavirus restrictions, opening borders and creating new ways to ensure safe travel for visitors, summer holidays to Europe are becoming a realistic possibility for relief-seeking travelers.

Along with creative concepts such as ‘air bridges,’ ‘travel bubbles’ and ‘holiday corridors’ between countries that have officially come out of the coronavirus crisis (and do not require quarantine for visitors), governments, international institutions and specialized tourism organizations are surging with new initiatives and protocols first to permit the resumption of cross-border vacation travel and then, in a few weeks, of international travel in time for the peak summer season.

Summer holidays to Europe could be back on next month via “air bridges,” reports The Sun.

MORE FROM FORBESEurope Summer Travel? The 10 Safest, Longest, Socially-Distancing European Beaches To Visit Post-LockdownBy Cecilia Rodriguez

“Many European countries are opening their borders and flights and hotels are also reopening now,” explains the European Best Destinations Organization (EBD) which falls under the European Commission’s EDEN Network (“European Destinations of Excellence”), working to promote sustainable tourism on the continent.

To help travelers who “after weeks of confinement want to travel to Europe but do not know where to travel and what safety measures are being taken in countries and regions,” EBD has unveiled a list of 20 destinations least affected by Covid-19 (defined as up to 600 times fewer Covid-19 cases).

These destinations benefit from proximity to hospitals and have a higher number of hospital beds per inhabitant than the majority of European countries, have implemented very specific protocols concerning hygiene in accommodations, restaurants and shops, and imposed measures such as the changing of air conditioning filters between each traveller stay, availability of masks and social distancing.

Before traveling to any of the beautiful places that made it to the list, EBD recommends:

  • Remain vigilant and do not forget the barrier gestures, social distancing, wearing masks when possible and necessary;
  • Avoid traveling if your health is poor;
  • People over 70, those overweight or who have respiratory problems should be particularly vigilant;
  • It is travelers’ responsibility to protect their most fragile loved ones and residents of host countries.

Modern Bridge in Tbilisi, Georgia

#1: Tbilisi

Photo: Vyaseleva Elena, European Best Destinations

Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia, one of the world’s least affected by coronavirus countries. Georgia reacted very quickly with measures that kept the epidemic at an extremely low level. There are up to 260 times fewer cases of Covid-19 in Georgia than in the most-affected European countries. 

The country is reopening its borders on July 1 and implementing health measures to protect travelers and its citizens for a safe and relaxing holiday.

Tbilisi is an open-minded destination, mixing past, present and future, culture and leisure. More trendy than ever, the city is an ideal destination for culture, gastronomy, diversity and architecture. “Wow” effect is guaranteed.

Magnificent Haussmannian buildings mingle with architecture dating from the Middle Ages, neo-classical, Soviet and extremely modern.  

Georgia has more hospital beds per thousand inhabitants than Sweden and Denmark, and Tbilisi is up to five times safer (criminality rate) than Paris or London.

The city has a large offer of tourist apartments, much sought after by travelers now, as well as small, boutique hotels and guesthouses.

“Need an additional argument? A stay in a 5-star hotel or in a private villa in Tbilisi will cost you up to four times less than in the same hotel of the same group in another European capital,” informs EBD.

Blue sea in Corfu, Greece

#2: Corfu

Photo: Marcin Krzyzak, European Best Destinations

2. Corfu, Greece

“This paradisiacal Greek island is a perfect destination to recharge your batteries after this stressful period,” writes EBD.

Greece is one of the European countries least affected by coronavirus (up to 50 times fewer people infected than in the most affected European countries). The Greek healthcare system has never been overloaded during this health crisis. Moreover, the country has more hospital beds per capita than many European countries.

Corfu combines relaxation, sun and nature.

Reopening to travelers on July 1.

Blue sea panoramic, Cavtat, Croatia

#3: Cavtat

European Best Destinations

Popular with celebrities, families, lovers and fans of gastronomy, culture, nature and water sports, Cavtat is the destination.

Croatia is among the European countries least affected by coronavirus with up to 20 times fewer infected people per million inhabitants than in other European countries.

Croatia is also one of the European countries with the highest number of hospital beds per inhabitant. The hospital in Dubrovnik is a 20-minute drive from Cavtat while the airport is only 10 minutes away.

 Cavtat has a large selection of private villas, tourist apartments and small family hotels (selected as travelers’ favorites this summer). In addition, Croatia has implemented hygienic and sanitary measures in larger hotels.

Reopening to travelers on July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Azores Islands, Portugal

#4: Azores Islands, Portugal

Photo: RavenEye, European Best Destinations

If Portugal was less affected by coronavirus, the Azores Islands — like Portugal’s Algarve region — were even further spared.

The Azores, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, is an archipelago of nine islands showing off nature in its purest state and one of the largest whale sanctuaries.

“A perfect destination if you need to reconnect with nature,” writes EBD. “If you like hiking, flora and fauna, dolphin- and whale-watching, tasting local products, living real experiences, the Azores are perfect for a holiday.”

The Azores have an ample offer of  private villas, tourist apartments and small family hotels.  

Reopening to travelers on July 1. No quarantine requested. 

The pier in Preveza, Greece

#5: Preveza

European Best Destinations

Sun, countless beaches (including one of the longest in Europe), Mediterranean cuisine, a yacht-filled marina, Preveza appears fifth on the list of Europe’s safest vacation spots.

Situated at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf, with the Ionian Sea at the other side, Preveza is “an island on the mainland” in Epiruswill, northwestern Greece.

Greece is one of the European countries least affected by coronavirus (up to 50 times fewer infected people than in the most affected European countries). Sanitary measures were taken early to welcome travelers to Preveza (four meters between beach umbrellas, air conditioning filters changed between each stay in hotel rooms that are constantly disinfected).

Preveza is surrounded by three hospitals (one of them at a university) and is located just 10 minutes by car from Aktion Airport. Greece has more hospital beds per capita than the United Kingdom or Canada.

Reopening to travelers from July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Flowers in a beach in Alentejo, Portugal

#6: The Alentejo

Photo: Vitaly Fedotov, European Best Destinations

Portugal has been relatively spared from coronavirus with up to 40 times fewer people infected than anywhere else in Europe. Some regions such as the Alentejo have been almost ‘Covid-19 free’ so far with only one death linked to coronavirus.

The Alentejo, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in southern Portugal and 1 1/2 hours by car from Lisbon, attracts travelers in search of simplicity in an unspoiled nature.

“Don’t miss a visit to Evora, share a wine tasting (they are among the most famous ones in Europe) and treat yourself to a road trip along the coast from Comporta to Odeceixe,” advises EBD.

Reopening to travelers on July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Pier Panoramic in Batumi, Georgia

#7: Batumi

Photo: Grisha Bruev, European Best Destinations

7. Batumi, Adjara, Georgia

Georgia is by far one of the countries least affected by coronavirus. The country reacted very quickly with measures that kept the epidemic at an extremely low level. There are up to 260 times fewer cases of Covid-19 in Georgia than in the most-affected European countries.

Batumi, located on the coast of the Black Sea, at the foot of the Caucasus in southwestern Georgia, is the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara and the second-largest city in the country.

Nicknamed “Las Vegas of the Black Sea,” Batumi, according to EBD “is a splendid mix of beautiful scenery, vibrant culture and legendary hospitality. This beautiful city invites you to experience the contrast of historic ancient sites as well as its modern lifestyle.”

Not only one of the safest destinations in Europe for coronavirus, Batumi is one of the most secure, with a crime rate up to five times lower than most European capitals.

“The Adjara region has breathtaking diversity: the sea with long beaches, high mountains, cultural monuments, monasteries, arch bridges, beautiful lakes and authentic villages. Here, you will taste local wines and undiscovered cuisine, feel the power of ecotourism, become a guest of open-hearted hosts. Their mountains, that stand close to the sky will make you feel in harmony with nature.

Batumi is also perfect in autumn: Temperatures in September and October are very pleasant.” 

Batumi has more than 30 hospitals, including university hospitals, which have not been overcrowded since the start of the health crisis.

Reopening to travelersfrom July 1. No quarantine requested.

Panoramic view of Zagreb, Croatia

#8: Zagreb, Croatia

European Best Destinations

Zagreb is among the favorite places to visit on EBD’s lists: a “travelers’ favorite destination” in Croatia, a “must-see destination for a city break,” the starting point for a road trip in Croatia, “a romantic destination” throughout the year, and a destination recognized for its Christmas market.

With a rich history dating from Roman times, it is the capital and the largest city in the country, located in the northwest along the Sava river, at the foot of the southern slopes of Medvednica Mountain. 

Croatia has been rather spared from coronavirus, with up to 20 times fewer infected people than in any other European country. Well-equipped in healthcare, it also has more hospital beds per inhabitant than most European countries.

“Come enjoy its thousands of terraces in summer, read the newspaper or watch a football match (the Croats are passionate about football), visit its many beautiful parks, architectural wonders and historical monuments. It’s very Instagrammable, too,” says EBD.

Reopening to travelers on July 1. No quarantine requested. 

The blue sea and a beach in The Algarve, Portugal

#9: The Algarve

European Best Destinations

Portugal is one of the countries least affected by coronavirus, with up to 40 times fewer infected people than the other European countries. Some regions have been almost entirely spared, including the Algarve and the Alentejo for example, and some of the most popular destinations for travelers, such as Lagos, have not recorded any coronavirus deaths.

The Algarve is the southernmost region of continental Portugal and particularly appreciated by families. Sandy long stretches of beaches framed by golden cliffs, small coves sheltered by the rocks, the ocean in every shade of blue and mostly calm and warm.

In the mountains, people maintain traditions they love to share and towns and cities each have their own special charm: Silves preserves traces of its Arab past; Lagos from the time of the discoveries; Tavira is a showcase for traditional architecture; and Faro, the gateway to the region, has a beautiful historic center.

Unlike other tourist destinations in Europe, 60% of Algarve tourist accommodations consist of private villas with swimming pools, apartments, guesthouses or small hotels. A “Safe and Clean” label to give travelers a guarantee of sanitary and cleanliness standards has been instituted by tourist officials for larger Portuguese hotels.

Portuguese officials reacted quickly and the country’s large clothing industry was able to produce masks early and even export them abroad. “With its hundreds of kilometers of beaches, Portugal is a perfect destination for the summer,” advises EBD.

Reopening to travellers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Colorful street in Sibiu, Romania

#10: Sibiu, Romania

Photo: Balate Dorin, European Best Destinations

10. Sibiu, Romania

Sibiu is a beautiful, historical city in Transylvania, northwest of Bucharest, the capital of Romania.

Straddling the Cibin River and nicknamed The City with Eyes, Sibiu is a well-known tourist destination for both domestic and foreign visitors.

Known for its culture, history, gastronomy, diverse architecture (including its iconic houses with eyes that gave the city its nickname) and its natural wonders,  the city has become a coveted tourist destination.

In 2004, the historical center became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2007, it was designated the European Capital of Culture. A year later, it was ranked “Europe’s 8th-most idyllic place to live” by Forbes. In 2019, it was named the European Region of Gastronomy. And in 2020, it was designated “Europe’s sixth-best tourist destination” by EBD.

Sibiu has developed many green spaces in the city but also soft mobility, leisure spaces and parks, and is regarded as one of the Europe’s destinations with the best quality of life.

Along with other regions including Portugal’s Azores Islands, Sibiu follows strict policies to fight global warming and to protect the environment.

It’s also committed to sustainable tourism development based on respect for nature and human beings.

There were 15 times fewer Covid-19 cases in Romania than in the most affected European countries. Some destinations like Sibiu County have had no deaths linked to the pandemic.

Romania has more available hospital beds per inhabitant than Belgium, Switzerland or the Netherlands.

Reopening to travelers July 1.

Panoramic view in coastal Kotor, Montenegrp

#11: Kotor, Montenegro

European Best Destinations

11. Kotor, Montenegro

Secluded in the Gulf of Kotor, this coastal town in Montenegro is defined by EBD as “one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe for travelers in love, for foodies, for nature lovers and a haven of peace for nature, trekking, walking or cycling.”

The old Mediterranean port of Kotor is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period in what’s considered one of the most indented parts of the Adriatic Sea. Some have called it the southernmost fjord in Europe, but it’s a submerged river canyon.

Together with the nearly overhanging limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovćen, Kotor and its surrounding area form an impressive landscape.

Kotor has seen a recent increase in tourists attracted by the natural environment of the Gulf and by the old town. Kotor is part of the World Heritage Site dubbed the Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor and the fortified city is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list as part of Venetian Works of Defense between the 15th and 17th centuries.

While there have been very few cases of coronavirus in Montenegro (60 times fewer than in the most-affected countries), Kotor has remained a green zone during the crisis with no case of coronavirus detected.

Montenegro has more available hospital beds per capita than Norway, Ireland and Canada.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested.  

Panoramic view of Rijeka, coastal city in Croatia

#12: Rijeka, Croatia

European Best Destinations

12. Rijeka, Croatia

The principal seaport and the third-largest city in Croatia after Zagreb and Split, it’s located in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea.

Historically, because of its strategic position and deep-water port, the city was fiercely contested, especially among Italy, Hungary and Croatia, changing hands many times over the centuries.

Selected as the European capital of culture and named among the Best European Destinations 2020 by EBD, Rijeka is a perfect destination for a safe European trip. It likely will be one of the top destinations this summer. “Croatians love the coffee terraces and the many beaches with crystal clear waters around Rijeka.”

Croatia has been spared the worst of the coronavirus, with up to 20 times fewer infected people than in any other European country. Well-equipped in healthcare, it also has more hospital beds per inhabitant than most European countries.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Colorful Plaza in Warsaw, Poland

#13: Warsaw

Photo: Roman Babakin, European Best Destinations

13. Warsaw, Poland

“Warsaw is one of the most incredible cities in Europe,” writes EBD.

Its history is that of a people capable of facing any situation, of recovering and moving forward. Facing coronavirus, the Polish message has always been very clear: “Warsaw survived two world wars. We will get through this one, too. See you very soon !” 

The capital and largest city of Poland, Warsaw is an alpha-global city, a major international tourist destination, a significant cultural, political and economic hub with a historical Old Town designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“Warsaw is very rich and human, as are many Polish cities; its people show great respect for traditions but also for the youth, with trendy cafes and bars, open-air concerts in summer, ephemeral shops, incredible museums, an old town renovated after the Second World War and many places to discover for lovers of classical music and Chopin, in particular,” reads EBD’s recommendation.

Poland is one of the European countries least affected by coronavirus, along with Portugal and Greece. There are up to 20 times less contamination than in the most-affected countries of Western Europe. No hospital has ever been overwhelmed and Poland has more hospital beds per inhabitant than the Netherlands or Switzerland.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Panoramic view of Viena, Austria

#14: Vienna

European Best Destinations

14. Vienna, Austria

Vienna is visited by history buffs, lovers and families looking for a safe and peaceful destination throughout the year.

“Vienna is often selected for this reason, which is not only a feeling but a reality: The rate of criminal offenses is three times lower in this capital than in any other European capitals,” according to EBD.

With many parks and environmentally-friendly means of transport, Vienna is one of the cities with the best quality of life in Europe. It’s a good compromise for city breakers and nature lovers.

Austria has been less affected than other European countries, with up to 10 times fewer infected people. 

You’d rather take your time and not hurry to book your holiday right now? No problem. Discover Vienna at Christmas: Its Christmas markets are ranked among the best Christmas markets in Europe.

Reopening to travelers from July 1. Before that date, a health certificate is required on entry, stating that the traveller is not infected.

Beautiful scene of lake and mountains in Bohini, Slovenia

#15: Bohinj, Slovenia

Photo: Tomas Kodydek, European Best Destinations

15. Bohinj, Slovenia

Recognized by the European Commission as one of the best sustainable tourism destinations in EuropeBohinj is a haven of peace for lovers of nature, outdoor sports, trekking, local products, crafts and real experiences.

Located in a basin in the Julian Alps in the Upper Carniola region of northwestern  Slovenia, it’s known as one of the “green paradises of Europe” and the green lung of Slovenia (a highly nature-oriented country).

Slovenia has been little affected by coronavirus (10 times less contaminated than the most-affected countries) and it has more hospital beds per inhabitant than the majority of European countries. 

Bohinj is only 40 minutes from Ljubljana’s airport and hospitals.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Panoramic View of Malta

#16: Malta

European Best Destinations

Tourism on the island of Malta represents 15% of the nation’s gross domestic product.

In addition to the turquoise water of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta has a rich history and culture heritage.

“Discover the treasures and riches of one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe,” EBD writes. “Lay your beach towel on Riviera Bay Beach or on one of the many other beaches in Malta. If you really want to distance yourself from the crowd this summer you can also book your stay in Gozo. The island is smaller than the main island and ideal for nature lovers, hikers or scuba divers.”

 There have been up to 55 times fewer cases of coronavirus in Malta than in the most-affected European countries. Malta has more hospital beds per resident than Finland, Ireland or the United Kingdom and its hospitals haven’t been overcrowded and can accommodate travelers, if necessary. 

Hotels reopen on June 1, while the tourist season restarts on July 1st.

Panoramic view of Gdansk, Poland

#17: Gdansk, Poland

European Best Destinations

Poland is one of the most fashionable European countries and Gdansk, located on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay on the Baltic Sea, is one its tourist pearls. This coastal city also bears the pretty nickname of “Pearl of the Baltic.”

With its 1,000-year-old historic district, the city is a rare beauty. Once you know this, all you have to do is ask yourself: “’Is it worth a city break?’ The answer is ‘yes!’” writes EBD.

Poland was 20 times less affected than other European countries, and has more hospital beds per inhabitant than the majority. Moreover, sanitary measures have been implemented to welcome travelers in hotels, restaurants and shops.

You can also visit Gdansk during the winter holidays: The Gdansk Christmas Market is ranked among the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Panoramic View of Vilnius, Lithuania

#18: Vilnius, Lithuania

European Best Destinatios

18. Vilnius, Lithuania

Located in southeastern Lithuania, Vilnius is the capital and the largest city in the country. The architecture of its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Before World War II, Vilnius was one of the largest Jewish centers in Europe, which led to its nickname as “the Jerusalem of Lithuania.”  

Vilnius is a perfect destination for families, lovers or solo travelers, according to EBD, which has found it to be “twice as safe as most European capitals.”

“Vilnius has many faces: It’s labyrinthine old town, its sleek business district, its elegant center, its many open squares and parks, its historic suburbs – all of which blend together in harmonious sense of unity – it just feels right whichever way you look at it.”

The renowned Old Town is nestled in a picturesque valley between the Vilnia and Neris rivers, next to the fort, which was guarded by Vilnius castle in the past.

Not daring to travel yet? Think about Vilnius at Christmas. Its Christmas market is one of the most beautiful in Europe and its Christmas tree is ranked first place of the most beautiful Christmas trees in Europe.

With 20 times fewer people infected by coronavirus than in the most-affected European countries, Lithuania also has a high average of hospital beds per inhabitant. (Only Germany and Austria do better in Europe).

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Colorful houses in Riga, Latvia

#19: Riga, capital of Latvia

Photo: Ross Helen, European Best Destinations

19. Riga, Latvia

The biggest metropolis in the Baltic, Riga blends timeless tradition and cutting-edge modernity. “A Nordic blonde with a fiery heart,” Riga has 800-years of turbulent history, from German knights to Swedish kings and Soviet commissars, who have left their footprints in the cultural heritage of the city.

Today, Latvia’s capital is an exciting European metropolis at the crossroads of eastern and northern Europe.

“With the Daugava River and the Gulf of Riga, the city has always lived in close cooperation with nature,” explains EBD. “Riga has many public parks, forests, squares, lakes, city canals, hills, islands and beaches.”

With 50 times fewer infected people than in some European countries, Latvia is one of the destinations least affected by this pandemic. Their hospitals have not been overwhelmed due to the coronavirus.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested. 

Brown bear and cubs among flowers in Wild Taiga

#20: Wild Taiga

Photo: Sergey Uryadnikov, European Best Destinations

The ultimate escape: In the heart of Finland’s eastern Kainuu nature reserve, Wild Taiga with its woods, untouched land, clear lakes and rapids is an invitation to authentic natural experiences and a rare opportunity to hike in unspoiled nature, watch and photograph wild life and enjoy cultural activities.

Wild Taiga, awarded the “EDEN” label by the European Commission, is the perfect destination for sustainable tourism. “There‘s so much to do: walking, canoeing, swimming in a lake, watching birds, flowers, but also bears in their natural environment. Wild Taiga is the best gift you can treat yourself and your children,” writes EBD.

With 15 times fewer Covid-19 cases than in some European countries, Finland is one of the destinations least affected by this pandemic.

Reopening to travelers July 1. No quarantine requested.

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