Lonely Planet has released its annual list of the best places to visit in Europe, and the European destinations they selected might surprise you. Rather than simply rhyming off your typical tourist hotspots—the Londons, Barcelonas and Parises of the world—they’ve dug deeper to give some truly unique recommendations. Here’s my take on their top ten, starting with #10 and working up to #1, with additional opinions and suggestions from travel bloggers and influencers to help you maximize your Europe trip. If you want even more options, here’s a route for flying to ten European capitals for just this summer.
Le Havre, France
Why: Starting off with a summer’s dream, we’re going to Le Havre, a small city in the Normandy region of northern France. As Lonely Planet says, Le Havre, “Will celebrate its 500th anniversary with a five-month-long, art- and music-filled fête,” this summer. There’s plenty to see in this historically-rich commune, with the unique blend of old and new architecture serving as a particular point of interest for Heather Cowper, as she explains in her weekend guide to Le Havre. “What Le Havre lost in its picturesque pre-war town, it has more than made up for in stunning modern architecture like Le Volcan, the Volcano shaped cultural centre by Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer.
We walked down the steps from the road to an open piazza below the level of the main town and through the library which was packed with families, teenagers and locals of all ages.” Sitting on the English Channel, Le Havre is close to both Paris and London, making it an easy weekend getaway destination.