The February mini-heatwave we've enjoyed this week may have disappeared (and with it a very confusing time for our wardrobes) but all that sunshine and vitamin D got us dreaming about summer holidays. We've put our heads together and come up with a list of the top spots for a bit of culture or some adventure in Europe - all within a hop-skip-and-jump four-hour flight. We thought it was only fair to share it with you so that you could stop daydreaming, start planning and begin retrieving all of your summer clothes from the wardrobe… again. Read on for some European summer break inspiration...
Firmly back on the tourist map after a couple of years in the cold, Turkey has heaps to see and do, whether on a Big Short Break or a longer trip...
Stray off the beaten path and explore the ancient sites of Western Turkey. Begin by exploring Izmir's 16th century bazaar before visiting Hellenistic and Ancient Egyptian towns, biblical villages and the battlefields of Gallipoli.
Navigate Istanbul's Spice Bazaar, getting under the skin of the food scene on both sides of the Bosphorus - European and Asian - and tucking into Turkish delights at market stall tastings.
Explore a side of the city that most visitors never get to see by heading onto the roof of the Grand Bazaar (a la Bond film Skyfall) and enjoying traditional Turkish tea with an art collector.
There's much more to Sweden than winter wonderland breaks in Lapland (although they're great). Come summer, the land of the midnight sun is all about good clean outdoor fun, getting back to nature and enjoying endless hours of sunshine and adventure.
A city surrounded by forests is always a good shout for a short break if you ask us. Spend your days exploring the city by bike, or sailing and kayaking around the archipelago before getting out into the woods on a midnight sun safari - keep your eyes peeled for moose, deer, foxes and even wild boars.
Once the snow melts, Swedish Lapland becomes a playground for seekers of outdoorsy fun. By day, zipline and canoe your way around the wilds of northern Sweden, picking up wilderness skills along the way. By night, camp out in a bear spotting hide with a Sami (the indigenous people of Lapland) guide.
A dreamy destination for summer family frolicks, Portugal has it all. There's culture, coastline and even pre-history to explore.
Get your hands dirty learning to make delicious pastel de natas (Portuguese custard tarts) before getting out of the city and exploring Sintra, where well-to-do Portuguese of old went to kick back during the long summer months.
Portugal's southern coast is full of soaring cliff faces and caves, and plenty of open-air fun to keep the whole family entertained, including horse riding, surfing, cheese-making and even Portuguese tile-making classes.
Head inland and the Alentejo region is perfect for back-to-basics fun. It gets pretty hot come August, but it's a great spot for some pre-historic exploring, learning to make traditional pottery and stargazing during May half term.
Slightly off the beaten path, the Azores archipelago is full of summer adrenaline-fuelled adventures. From canyoning and fishing to exploring by ATV and canoes, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, it makes the perfect combo with a few days of culture in Lisbon.
Thinking of your own European exploration this summer? Get in touch with the team today.