Europe Travel Soars 34%! See Where Americans Are Headed!

Nice's fresh food market. Photo by Susan J. Young

Ready for a fantastic European vacation? If you’re thinking about travel to the continent this summer, what’s hot and what’s not for Europe travel?  Well, here’s insight and “intel” from Allianz Partners, gleaned from its annual review of the “Top 10 Summer European Destinations.”

After analyzing traveler bookings, the travel insurer reveals its top picks — the spots where Americans are headed on their summer vacation. These findings are based on vacations of five to eight days now booked between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2024. 

So, we’ve split the Europe travel results into two parts. Here below are the top spots that rank in sixth to 10th place. In our next blog, we’ll then focus on the top five spots.

(See photo above for a fresh produce market visit in number 10 of Allianz Partners’ top Europe travel destinations. Photo by Susan J. Young.)

Europe Travel: Sightseeing & Vacations to Consider

In turn, The Meandering Traveler also provides gleanings below about a few tidbits for what to see and do in some of these Europe travel hot spots. Plus, we’ve provided a sampling of vacations (cruises, tours and other travel) to consider this year in some of the destinations.

So, let’s get to it!  We’re counting down to the top spots. We’ll start with number 10 for Europe travel on the Allianz list and work our way up to number 1!

10. Nice, France

Fresh flowers market in Nice, France, the Number 10 destination on Allianz Partners' recent study of top European destinations for summer 2024 travel by Americans. Photo by Susan J. Young
(Fresh flowers market in Nice, France, the Number 10 destination on Allianz Partners’ recent study of top Europe travel destinations for Americans in summer 2024. Photo by Susan J. Young.)

For the first time since the survey began in 2015, the lovely beaches surrounding Nice, France, have helped propel the destination to the Number 10 slot. As the fifth largest city in France, Nice welcomes five million visitors a year. It’s the top city destination for travelers after Paris.

The Meandering Traveler journeyed to Nice last summer, and we found many friendly local residents working in our hotel, ground transportation companies and attractions.

In fact, more than 40 percent of Nice’s active population works directly or indirectly in tourism. And 40 percent of the Cote d’Azur’s visitors flow through Nice every year.

So, what else is there to know about Nice?

  • Nice is a sunny spot — with 300 days of sunshine each year.
  • It’s the second largest French cruise port after Marseilles.
  • Like green spaces? You’ll find 178 parks and gardens within Nice.
  • Travelers have a wide choice of accommodations in some 200 hotels and resorts.
  • Nice has a high concentration of museums with the “Musees de France” label.
  • It’s the first city in France to have a wine AOC within its boundaries.
  • Beach lovers will discover nearly five miles of beaches.

Luxury Small Ship Cruising

Dreaming of a luxurious, small-ship cruise, but prefer to travel in 2025? We’ve found a great option on an ultra-luxury small ship, particularly if you’re a Formula One racing fan. Scenic plans a seven-night “French & Italian Rivieras Plus Monaco Grand Prix” itinerary. Its 228-passenger, oceangoing Discovery Yacht will depart from Nice on May 20, 2025, with fares starting at $7,230 per person, double occupancy. Contact your personal travel planner for all the details.

9. Athens, Greece

Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Photo by Susan J. Young.
(The ancient Acropolis is a top site for travelers to explore in Athens, Greece. Photo by Susan J. Young.)

One of the world’s oldest cities, Athens, Greece, is considered the birthplace of western civilization’s democracy, arts, science and philosophy. Dating from the fifth century B.C., the Acropolis and its Parthenon are visible reminders of the splendor and power of ancient Athens.

Today’s travelers love to visit this and other archaeological sites, peruse ancient artifacts at the city’s archaeological museum, and explore other historic areas of this UNESCO World Heritage Site destination.

In addition, Athens bustles as a vibrant, contemporary urban city. Both the modern and ancient draws are a potent combination to attract American travelers.

While Athens fell two positions from its position in last year’s survey, it still ranks high — Number 9 on the Allianz study — as a highly desired destination for many American travelers.

Classical Greece

One of the best parts about visiting Athens is that the world of classical Greece is all around — a land of Sun Gods, ancient philosophers and legendary Olympians. One way to see it all is to head out on Globus’ eight-day “Classical Greece” escorted tour roundtrip from Athens.

Travelers will explore the Acropolis, of course. But they’ll also tour the sacred temples at Olympia, mountainside ruins at Delphi (don’t miss seeing the ancient stadium) and Meteor’s monastery-topped rock formations.

Tour goers can also dive deeply into Greek culture. For instance, you can learn the “sirtaki,” a Greek dance with lively steps made famous in “Zorba the Greek.”

“In addition, travelers can learn about Greek cuisine,” says Shelby Steudle, president, Pavlus Travel. “You’ll even have the opportunity to make a traditional tzatziki cucumber dip!”

Europe Travel Departures for Globus 

This fully escorted Globus vacation departs on multiple dates throughout this summer and early fall. While it’s heavily booked or sold out on some dates, others do thankfully have availability at press time. For instance, pricing for the September 16, 2024, departure begins at $2,339 per person, double occupancy.

If interested, or if you have questions, talk with your Pavlus Travel expert about this “Classical Greece” Globus tour. If you prefer to travel in 2025, that’s available as well.

8. Barcelona, Spain

Kudos to Barcelona, Spain, as the Catalan city ranked Number 8 on the Allianz Partners’ results. After being bumped from the Top 10 list last year, we’re happy to see the city back among the top spots.

One of the best ways to see many fabulous Barcelona sites is to take a walking tour. These also provide the “tales” that make the city special as a memory for travelers.

The Meandering Traveler thought readers might like to check out what’s available in that regard. So, check out this official Barcelona tourism page that lays out walking tours — everything from Gaudi tours to ghost tours.

Church of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Photo by Susan J. Young.
(Church of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Photo by Susan J. Young.)

Another resource is Virgin Voyages’ Guide to Barcelona. And speaking of Virgin Voyages, one of our previous blogs focused on this “adults only” cruise line and what it offers to guests.

Europe Travel: Sailings from Barcelona

As for vacations in Barcelona, why not visit the city for a few days and then hop aboard Virgin Voyages. It’s one of the many cruise lines offering Mediterranean sailings from this Spanish port. Best of all, it’s an adults-only cruise line.

In particular, we like the 2,770-passenger Scarlet Lady’s seven-night “French Daze and Ibiza Nights” itinerary. Sailing roundtrip from Barcelona, guests will enjoy time along the French Riviera — specifically, Marseille and Cannes, France — as well as at Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza in Spain’s Balearic Islands.

“Nine departures of this Virgin Voyages itinerary are offered this summer and early fall,” explains Pavlus’ Steudle. “So, contact us today so you can get ready for a fabulous summer 2024 vacation.”  Pricing for the line’s September 29, 2024, departure starts at $2,040 per person, double occupancy. 

Palma de Mallorca Draws

One port of call on that “French Daze and Ibiza Nights” itinerary is Palma de Mallorca. Some readers may feel they already know the destination, thanks to watching past episodes of the BritBox TV series, “The Mallorca Files.”

Other readers may have, alternatively, visited in person during a past land vacation or cruise ship port call. But whether you’re a repeat visitor or a first timer, Palma’s Old Town is absolutely delightful to explore.

Be sure to pop into the magnificent Mallorca Cathedral. Also, check out Old Town’s shops. It’s fun to browse and perhaps buy a Mallorcan basket as a lovely, authentic souvenir!

We’d also suggest savoring a tasty “ensaimada” pastry from a local bakery. Of course, it’s also fun to simply relax at a cafe in a picturesque plaza, order tapas and a cold drink, and enjoy “people watching.”

7. Reykjavik, Iceland

During the past three years, Iceland has soared in popularity with North American travelers. Arctic cruises, in particular, have been a big success for cruise lines. Not surprisingly, many have positioned ships in the region each summer.

Many voyages start, end or sail roundtrip from Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city. It’s a great place to start an Arctic or around-Iceland cruise.

Travelers will discover an energetic city that also has small-town friendliness. Museums, eco-experiences, a fabulous downtown fresh market and much more await.

Volcanic Terrain and Cute Puffins

Cute puffins abound in the Westman Islands of Iceland. Photo by Jason Leppert
(Cute puffins abound in the Westman Islands of Iceland, one stop on a cruise from Reykjavik. Photo by Jason Leppert.)

If you’re thinking of a vacation in Iceland, many expedition lines including Scenic, Silversea, Ponant and Seabourn offer sailings that begin or end in Reykjavik.

In fact, The Meandering Traveler took an Arctic voyage to Iceland and Greenland last year on Seabourn. We learned about Icelandic traditions, Viking heritage, firsthand tales of indigenous people within the Arctic region, and local cuisine.

“Top of mind for many prospective travelers too is the fabulous, pristine Arctic scenery with good potential for wildlife spotting,” says Steudle. Check out our previous blog about the cute puffins, for example.

A skilled personal travel planner can assist with answering reader questions and presenting good Iceland travel options — based on your individual travel style and personality, and with the best pricing.

6. Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Moving up two positions in this year’s Allianz Partners’ report is Amsterdam, the Netherlands. One top reason to visit? That’s the robust diversity in how travelers can visit this city and enjoy its attractions.

For instance, travelers can explore Amsterdam during an ocean cruise port call or when embarking on an ocean voyage from Amsterdam. They can also set sail on a luxury river cruise from the city.

Or consumers might choose to book an escorted tour, luxury resort stay or city-stay package. Bottom line? Just pick your passion in the way you like to travel!

Many cruise lines offers Amsterdam embarkations or port calls including Royal Caribbean International and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, just to name a few. Also, AmaWaterways sets sail on delightful seven-night “Best of Holland and Belgium” voyages in 2025. 

Another good option? That’s Tauck’s eight-day “Romantic Rhine: Amsterdam to Basel” river itinerary in 2024 and 2025. Fares for Tauck’s 2025 voyages start, for instance, at $5,890 per person, double occupancy. And the list goes on.

To assist readers in knowing what to see and do in the city, here are links to the Amsterdam visitor’s guide as well as the official Netherlands tourism guide. And if you’re seeking “what’s new” for food-and-beverage options in the city, check out this update.

Europe Travel: Parting Thoughts

So, in summary, five of the top 10 destinations for Europe travel by Americans this year as ranked by the Allianz Partners annual study are as follows: 

  • Nice, France (ranked 10th)
  • Athens, Greece (9)
  • Barcelona, Spain (8)
  • Reykjavik, Iceland (7)
  • Amsterdam, the Netherlands (6)

Check back here early next week as our Tuesday blog will showcase the top five destinations.  What’s number one? Well, stay tuned to The Meandering Traveler blog to find out!

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