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 »

    Tuscany

    Tuscany conjures images of superb Renaissance art and landscapes famous for rolling hills, olive groves, and cypress trees. The many pleasures of Tuscany include tasting wine in Chianti and simply relaxing in the piazzas of medieval towns. Whatever you... Read more

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    Cinque Terre »

    Cinque Terre
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    Crete »

    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 you're after palatial villas, rose-laden belvederes, hanging wisteria and bougainvillea, lanterns casting a glow over lakeshore restaurants, and majestic Alpine vistas, then Lake Como is for you. Though summer crowds threaten to diminish the lake's... Read more

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    Iceland »

    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 »

    Provence

    Provence's azure skies, brilliant sunlight, and windswept landscapes have inspired artists like Cézanne and Van Gogh, as well as countless travelers. Medieval villages perch on hilltops between rolling vineyards, fragrant lavender fields, and craggy mountains... 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. 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 ride away... 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 »

    İzmir

    At first glance, Turkey’s third-largest city (formerly known as Smyrna) may seem modern and harsh—even the beautiful setting, between the Gulf of İzmir and the mountains, doesn’t soften some of the starkness of industrial districts and sprawling concrete... Read more

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    Marbella »

    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 come with a large 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)... Read more

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