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Where to stay in Lonely Planet’s top 10 European destinations for summer (including a UK spot)

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Amy Swales
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Still stuck for a holiday destination?

Lonely Planet has released its guide to the top 10 European spots to visit this summer, combining buzzy destinations with overlooked gems and perennial favourites.

Including Greece, Croatia, France and one in our very own homeland, these are the hot tickets for a jaunt within Europe. And to make it extra easy for you, we asked Airbnb for its top recommendations in each destination, taking in beautiful country houses, sweeping sea views and cute island cabins.

Click through our gallery below for some travel inspo from the experts.

For more information on Lonely Planet's Best in Europe 2016, visit lonelyplanet.com and download the free e-book, Secret Europe 2016

Images: iStock

  • 10. Northern Dalmatia, Croatia

    An under-the-radar spot described by Lonely Planet as “rugged and wild,” the northern part of the coastal region of Dalmatia has plenty of culture as well as stunning natural sights, thanks to the imposing Velebit mountain range (a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve).

    The vibrant city of Zadar (pictured) is fast gaining popularity with travellers – as well as impressive mountains and sparkling seas, the city is said to have “a radical forward-looking attitude”, making it a must-visit.

  • Where to stay

    This studio apartment in Split is just 300 metres from the UNESCO-protected Diocletian’s Palace, built at the turn of the fourth century, and 500 metres from the sandy Bačvice Beach.

    From £26 a night

  • 9. Texel, The Netherlands

    The island of Texel is a favourite holiday spot with Dutch and German visitors but otherwise “remains relatively unknown”. Reached by ferry from Den Helder, the 25km-long, 9km-wide island boasts unspoilt dunes (part of Texel Dunes National Park), wildlife reserves, pine forests and deserted white-sand beaches.

    There are plenty of summer festivals and activities, from cruises to horse riding and skydiving, to keep you busy and local produce to keep you sated.

  • Where to stay

    Guests can camp in comfort close to the beach in this cabin and hire a bike to cycle round the island.

    From £72 a night

  • 8. East Coast, Tenerife

    As LP points out, “Tenerife may not be the first destination that springs to mind when you hear the words ‘hidden gem’.” But beyond the resorts there’s stunning scenery and the often-overlooked east coast.

    Abades is a “tranquil” fishing village overlooked by an “extraordinary” abandoned leper colony, while El Medano is home to the best natural beach on the island, dramatically split in two by a volcanic cone. But LP advises that a really rural getaway can be found in the Anaga mountains “where locals still stare at tourists and you need Spanish to order a beer”.

  • Where to stay

    With devastatingly beautiful views of the coastline, this apartment offers an alternative to the more touristy side of Tenerife.

    From £36 a night

  • 7. Extremadura, Spain

    Extremadura has always been one of the least-known regions of Spain, but has much to recommend it: Spain's “best Roman ruins” are found in the city of Mérida; medieval Trujillo and Cáceres resemble “Tuscan hill towns without the crowds”, while the Parque Nacional de Monfragüe is a must-visit for its dramatic natural gorge.

    For foodies, Extremadura also produces some of Spain’s celebrated cheeses and jamón, while Cáceres was Spain’s official gastronomic capital in 2015, resulting in a glut of new restaurants and tapas joints.

  • Where to stay

    Nestled in the Anaga Rural Park, this two-bedroom cottage boasts beautiful sunset views and no neighbours within a mile radius, leaving guests to enjoy the sounds of the birds.

    From £35 a night

  • 6. Warwickshire, England

    Stick to the homeland with a trip to Warwickshire for “bucolic hills, sublime castles, historic market towns and unhurried Heart-of-England rhythms”. Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare, commemorates the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death in 2016.

    Take in the atmospheric Kenilworth Castle, a joy to see at sunset, before chowing down in a Michelin-starred gastropub, The Cross. Of course, there’s also Warwick Castle, Regency architecture, parks and the Royal Pump Rooms of nearby Leamington Spa to keep you occupied.

  • Where to stay

    This 17th-century farmhouse is quintessentially English, adorned with wisteria and located is an old Saxon hamlet listed in the Domesday Book.

    From £25 per night

  • 5. Lviv, Ukraine

    LP points out that while Ukraine has had a turbulent time recently, there's been little direct effect on the west of the country and Lviv is a “wonderfully welcoming central European city”. It’s the festival capital of the region too, with 100 events this year celebrating everything from coffee to jazz to Ukrainian independence.

    There are tonnes of “architectural treasures” to absorb and LP reports that it’s a hot choice for summer thanks to favourable exchange rates, so get there before everyone else does.

  • Where to stay

    This classical Lviv apartment is just one minute away from the beautiful tree-lined Shevchenko Avenue and a five-minute walk from the main Rynok Square, which boasts architecture ranging from Renaissance to Modernism.

    From £28 per night

  • 4. Dordogne, France

    Dordogne is a Garden of Eden, full of chateaux, medieval towns and walnut groves. It’s a must for travelling gastronomes, with its village bistros, food markets and seasonal black truffles.

    As LP says, “For travellers following the increasingly hip ‘local produce, home-made’ mantra, this foodie region – sans the crowds of Provence and 100% au naturel – has never been so alluring.”

  • Where to stay

    This stone house hidden in a cosy glade encapsulates the simple charm of the Dordogne region.

    From £86 per night

  • 3. Venice, Italy

    OK, it’s super popular, but with good reason. And in 2016, there’s ever more reason to visit as the city commemorates the 500-year history of the Venetian ghetto – an island at its heart.

    “Like Venice itself, the ghetto turned its physical constraints into a virtue; in its cramped quarters Jewish culture and ideas thrived. Celebrate its extraordinary contribution to history at the Ducal Palace, host to a major new exhibition; explore the newly restored synagogues and Jewish Museum; or catch a showing of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice staged for the first time in the ghetto.”

  • Where to stay

    Just minutes away from the famous Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco, this terraced attic offers the perfect vantage point from which to explore the city.

    From £88 per night

  • 2. Aarhus, Denmark

    There’s more to Denmark than Copenhagen, and LP says Aarhus can also lay claim to plenty of “cool-cat neighbourhoods, head-turning architecture and culinary wizardry”. In 2017, its titles will include European Capital of Culture and European Region of Gastronomy, so now is a great time to visit ahead of the hordes.

    There are plenty of show-stopping museums (try ARoS and the re-housed Moesgaard) while events in the pipeline include Viking moots and music festivals. After a dose of culture, fill up at one of the Michelin-starred eateries finally gaining recognition.

  • Where to stay

    Of course you want stylish and cool. This apartment is in Trøjborg, an area very close to the water but which also enables you to get to the city centre in five minutes.

    From £32 per night

  • 1. The Peloponnese, Greece

    LP describes the peninsula as one of the “most diverse, vibrant regions” of Greece, but it’s often forgotten and thus, remains relatively affordable. Take in the sights, such as Olympia, Mycenae and Mystras, as well as the stone villages, teal seas and snow-capped mountains between.

    “2016 brings the chance to hike the Peloponnese’s new Menalon trail or take a tipple in the Nemean wine region, with its vintages gaining prominence around the globe. You can dive shipwrecks off the Navarino coast or visit the wild and remote Mani, home to ancient stone towers converted into boutique luxury lodgings. Beautiful Nafplio blends contemporary art with atmospheric architecture and classic town squares, ideal for a long, lazy lunch.”

    Sounds pretty good to us.

  • Where to stay

    This East-facing apartment has a huge terrace right on the beach (and sun umbrellas, sunbeds and a canoe are included).

    From £40 per night

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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.

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