If when the heat hits we feel like fleeing, in Europe there is no shortage of options to find a cooler and more appetizing destination. In case the beaches and mountains of the Iberian Peninsula are not enough, a solution is to take a flight, not very long, and head for countries like Scotland, Iceland, Norway, Germany, Denmark or Ireland, where temperatures are much lower no matter how much it is summer.
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If you don’t want to go far, you also have a few options in Spain to escape the heat in summer, but if you feel like going a step further, we suggest six destinations in Europe where you’ll have to bundle up even in June, July or August. If you want to take a long trip of at least ten days, take a look at places like Scotland or Iceland. If you only have one weekend, then you can focus on cities like Copenhagen or Dublin. And if what you want is something in between, you can spend a few days discovering places like the Norwegian fjords or the German Black Forest.
Scotland, intensely green
Scotland deserves a good trip of at least 10 days – the more, the better. The ideal plan is to arrive at one of its main airports, in Glasgow or Edinburgh, and explore the rest of the country by car. We are going to see mountains, infinite meadows, cliffs, lakes and the occasional castle that will surely take us to a movie or series that we have in our memories. In addition to its main cities, one of its essential stops is the mythical Isle of Skye, but we must also include places like Elian Donan Castle and Loch Ness on our route, as well as cities like Stirling and Inverness. For history lovers, or at least the most movie buffs, the monument to William Wallace, who led the Scottish troops against the English occupation and starred in the film Braveheart, should not be missing from your plans either.
Iceland: volcanoes, waterfalls and hot springs
Iceland is another of those destinations to which you will have to take a coat even if it is summer, and without having to change hemispheres. It seems that it is far away, but it will only take you a little over 4 hours by plane and the landscapes and the weather will change radically. As in Scotland, the best option is to travel the country by car and at your own pace, alternating lakes, geysers, hot springs, endless meadows, waterfalls and landscapes drawn by extreme nature. Reykjavík, its capital, is an interesting city to visit, but possibly in your mind you have priorities such as the Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss or Svartifoss waterfalls, lakes such as Viti, Kleifarvatn or Mývatn, in which there are also thermal baths thanks to the activity subsurface volcanic. If you want to repeat in winter, keep in mind that Iceland is one of the best destinations in the world to see the Northern Lights.
The Norwegian fjords, where the sea and the land embrace
It is not uncommon to resort to a cruise or an organized trip to discover the Norway of the fjords, but it is also perfectly possible to explore it on our own if that is what we prefer. Bergen can be a good starting point and from there we will go along the narrow Norwegian roads avoiding fjord after fjord to the north, crossing this spectacular territory shaped by successive glaciations. What fjords to see? It is not an easy question because there are many and they all have many arms, but some of the most renowned are those of Sognefjord, Nærøyfjord and Geirangerfjord, the latter two declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. It is highly recommended to do some activity from the water, either by boat or kayak, in order to be truly aware of the immensity of these formations into which the sea enters.
The Black Forest, Germany
Germany has many corners to which we can travel in search of cool temperatures, but the Black Forest can be perfect if we also go in search of green. The lushness of its nature and the charm of its villages with their traditional architecture welcome us in a region that lies between France and Switzerland. From Baden-Baden, in the north, to Freiburg im Breisgau, in the south, we will leave behind forests, lakes such as Titisee and Schluchsee, vineyards, as well as towns such as Sasbachwalden, Triberg, Gengenbach and Schiltach through which we can walk surrounded by half-timbered houses and flower-filled balconies. Of course, the city of Freiburg itself also deserves part of our time, with its cathedral and lively university atmosphere.
Copenhagen, beyond its little mermaid
Copenhagen is perfect for a weekend and much more, but even if it’s just for a brief getaway, the chill is guaranteed. If it is your first time in the Danish capital, you will have to go to see its little mermaid, the 1913 bronze sculpture that makes the city so famous, but in your agenda you must not forget to include the port of Nyhavn, the Amalienborg palace, the Rosenborg castle or the Frederiks Kirke church. To do something different, take a walk through the free city of Christiania, a self-governing neighborhood that is home to about a thousand residents who live in a communal and anarchist way. And don’t forget to try something as typical as smørrebrød, a good slice of black bread with butter and different cold ingredients to suit the consumer.
Dublin, with atmosphere in every corner
Dublin is the capital of Ireland and is easy to get to from several Spanish cities. A weekend will leave you wanting more, but it can be a very good option to lower the temperature a bit while we enjoy the atmosphere of its streets. Although Temple Bar is one of its best-known pubs, its center is actually full of many other pubs where you can enjoy its gastronomy, its local beers and live music, such as The Church Café. You should not miss Trinity College, which is a symbol of Dublin thanks also to its spectacular library, Kilmainham jail or the EPIC museum dedicated to Irish emigration.