Best Places to Visit in Europe for Outdoor Activities

From the iconic Alps that connect the mountainous heart of the European continent to ever-popular coastal destinations like Italy's Cinque Terre, Fodor's travelers recommend these destinations to experience the best of Europe's great outdoors. Whether you're thinking of a summer hiking vacation or a winter ski trip, this list will help you find the best places to savor your favorite outdoor activities all year long.

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    Eastern Alps »

    Eastern Alps

    The whole Eastern Alps region is dramatic countryside, with breathtaking scenery and great winter sports equal to those in Switzerland. Here majestic peaks, many well over 9,750 feet, soar above slow-moving glaciers that give way to sweeping Alpine meadows... Read more

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    The Dolomites »

    The Dolomites

    The Dolomites, the inimitable craggy peaks Le Corbusier called "the most beautiful work of architecture ever seen," are never so arresting as at dusk, when the last rays of sun create a pink hue that languishes into purple—locals call this magnificent... Read more

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    Tuscany »


    Midway down the Italian peninsula, Tuscany (Toscana in Italian) is distinguished by rolling hills, snowcapped mountains, dramatic cypress trees, and miles of coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea—which all adds up to gorgeous views at practically every turn... Read more

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    Cinque Terre »

    Cinque Terre
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    Crete »


    To Greeks, Crete is the Megalonissi (Great Island), a hub of spectacular ancient art and architecture. Fabled as the land of King Minos, it is a unique world where civilization is counted by the millennium. From every point of view travelers discover landscapes... Read more

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    Lake Como »

    Lake Como

    If your idea of nirvana is palatial villas, rose-laden belvederes, hanging wisteria and bougainvillea, lanterns casting a glow over lakeshore restaurants, and majestic Alpine vistas, then proceed immediately to Lake Como. Though summer crowds threaten... Read more

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    Iceland »


    Iceland is one of the most dramatic natural spectacles on the planet. It is a land of dazzling white glaciers and black sands, blue hot springs, rugged lava fields, and green, green valleys. This North Atlantic island offers insight into the ferocious... Read more

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    The Southwest »

    The Southwest

    Ever since Killarney was first "discovered" by William Thackeray and Sir Walter Scott, visitors have been searching for superlatives to describe the deep blue lakes, dark green forests, and purple mountainsides of this romantic region. Perhaps it was no... Read more

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    Provence »


    As you approach Provence there's a magical moment when you finally leave the north behind: cypresses and red-tile roofs appear; you hear the screech of cicadas and breathe the scent of wild thyme and lavender. Along the highway, oleanders bloom against... Read more

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    The Bavarian Alps »

    The Bavarian Alps

    Fir-clad mountains, rocky peaks, lederhosen, and geranium-covered houses: the Bavarian Alps come closest to what many of us envision as "Germany." Quaint towns full of frescoed half-timber houses covered in snow pop up among the mountain peaks and shimmering... Read more

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    Lyon and the Alps »

    Lyon and the Alps

    Lyon and the Alps are as alike as chocolate and broccoli. Lyon is fast, congested, and saturated with culture (and smog). In the bustling city—often called the gateway to the Alps—it's hard to believe that those pristine peaks are only an hour's train... Read more

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    The Lake District »

    The Lake District

    "Let nature be your teacher." Wordsworth's ideal comes true in this popular region of jagged mountains, waterfalls, wooded valleys, and stone-built villages. No mountains in Britain give a greater impression of majesty; deeper and bluer lakes can be found... Read more

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    İzmir »


    Izmir may not have immediate appeal, but if you take a few days to explore, you'll come to appreciate the diverse architecture, fascinating ruins, and interesting museums that give this coastal Turkish city its edge. Despite the rapid growth of the past... Read more

    Don't Miss

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    Marbella »


    Thanks to its year-round mild climate and a spectacular natural backdrop, Marbella has been a playground for the rich and famous since the 1950s, when wealthy Europeans first put Marbella on the map as a high-end tourist destination. Grand hotels, luxury... Read more

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    Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta »

    Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta

    Northwest Italy's Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta regions yield a big dose of mountain splendor, bourgeois refinement, culinary achievement, and scenic beauty. Two of Europe's most famous peaks—Monte Bianco (aka Mont Blanc) and Monte Cervino (the Matterhorn)—straddle... Read more

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