7 Places to Visit this Summer to Avoid the Crowds in Paris

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Fora Author Fora Travel

The Modern Travel Agency

Fora Travel

    Salzburg Austria

    Salzburg, Austria

    All eyes are on Paris this summer for the 2024 Olympics. And while we can never get enough of the City of Light, we’re eyeing a few alternative destinations for the warm-weather months ahead. Why? With the French capital — and, really, the whole country — gearing up for a massive summer, travelers from around the world will be descending on the destination in unprecedented amounts.

    In other words: if you’re not going to the Olympics, you might want to consider another European destination this summer so that you don’t end up in the throes of crowds. Luckily, there are plenty of great alternatives for a chic continental sojourn filled with good food, good wine, shopping and European flare. Here are a few options to consider.

    If you’re ready to plan your summer getaway to Europe, reach out to Fora to get started. Your Fora Advisor can recommend the best destination for your travel vibe, and unlock excellent hotel perks to boot.

    1. One&Only Portonovi, Montenegro

    One&Only Portonovi

    Image courtesy of One&Only Portonovi

    Nothing says European summer quite like the rocky shores of the Mediterranean. For a unique escape that you won’t see all over your Instagram feed, head to Montenegro. This lesser-known coastal gem is reminiscent of Croatia of years past, complete with idyllic natural beauty and lively seaside villages — with far fewer crowds compared to the rest of the Med. In between lounging on the beach (obligatory cocktail in hand), don’t miss a hike (or white-water raft ride) through the dramatic landscapes of Durmitor National Park.

    “Montenegro is one of Europe's hidden gems because of its stunning coastline, with crystal-clear waters and dramatic landscapes,” said Fora Advisor Arlette Diederiks.  “Add to this the picturesque towns of Kotor and Budva, ancient fortresses and Orthodox monasteries, and you have a [perfect] summer destination.”

    Where to stay: One&Only Portonovi, a chic luxury retreat on Boka Bay, is a celebration of its breathtaking natural environment and rich local heritage.

    Fora Perks at One&Only Portonovi: $100 food / beverage credit, breakfast daily, upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

    2. The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh


    Make like your cool, whiskey-drinking friends and head to the ever-energetic Scottish capital this summer. With its Gothic architecture and cobblestoned streets, Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most atmospheric urban centers. It’s also perfect for a summertime sojourn: walk the Royal Mile to explore medieval history, enjoy the city’s authentic pubs and check out the world’s largest art festival. Every August, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe transforms the city with thousands of performances (including plenty of bagpipes).

    “One of the best things about visiting Edinburgh is how it seamlessly blends its rich history with its buzzing modern vibe,” said Fora Advisor Sam Dwinell.

    Where to stay: A legendary hotel and landmark clock tower, the Balmoral Hotel is a regal and luxurious mainstay that is a true love letter to Scotland.

    “At the Balmoral, Brasserie Prince somehow flawlessly blends French Fare into the beating heart of Scotland,” Fora Advisor Bijoy Shah said. “My friend told me to make sure my dinner jacket had some room to grow, because I'd be satisfied in a most wondrous way.”

    Fora Perks at the Balmoral Hotel: $100 food / beverage credit, breakfast daily, upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

    3. La Gemma, Florence

    La Gemma

    La Gemma

    You can’t go wrong with a summer holiday to Europe’s Renaissance jewel. Spend your days soaking up history with visits to iconic landmarks such as the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery and the Ponte Vecchio. Or, live out your Dolce Vita dreams by strolling through the city’s labyrinthine streets, filled with artistic treasures, spritz-soaked cafés and serene gardens & parks. Plus, day trips to the surrounding hills of Tuscany — complete with plenty of Chianti — await. 

    “Florence is a walkable city with a charming historic center, and getting lost (in a good way) is part of the fun. You'll stumble upon hidden piazzas, enjoy delicious Tuscan cuisine and soak up the city's vibrant atmosphere,” said Fora Advisor Lindsay Vaughn.

    Where to stay: If you're planning on shopping in Firenze, don't miss La Gemma, a new boutique hotel that opened in 2023. It’s just a stone's throw from some of the city's best locations for retail therapy.

    “The most wonderful thing about La Gemma is how lush it feels, thanks to its design that incorporates rich greens, abundant plants and florals,” said Fora Advisor Lauren Ruehl.

    4. Rosewood Munich


    A trip to the vibrant Bavarian capital offers a bit of everything, and then some. We’re talking historic landmarks, epic natural beauty and a thriving summer scene. Visitors can explore world-class museums like the Alte Pinakothek and the Deutsches Museum, or relax in the English Garden, one of the largest urban parks in the world. Summer in Munich also means beer gardens, where visitors can enjoy traditional Bavarian brews and eat as much bratwurst as their heart desires. 

    “The jovial attitude in Munich is infectious,”Fora Advisor Nicole Canal said. “It's hard not to have a great time when you're there. Germany is such a forward-thinking country, and that can be felt too in Munich. Stop by a contemporary art museum or gallery and you'll see.”

    Where to stay: An elegant and upscale hotel in the heart of Munich, Rosewood Munich offers a blend of contemporary luxury and Bavarian charm.

    Fora Perks at the Rosewood Munich: $100 food / beverage credit, breakfast daily, upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

    5. Burgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa, Switzerland

     Burgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa

    Image courtesy of Burgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa

    Switzerland boasts a heavy dose of wanderlust, between its storybook villages, snow-capped peaks and vibrant cities. First, the Alps provide a dramatic backdrop for hiking, biking and mountaineering. Then, there’s the country's pristine lakes, such as Lake Geneva, Lake Lucerne and Lake Zurich, all of which offer amazing opportunities for boating and lakeside relaxation. And in cities like Zurich, Geneva and Lucerne, visitors can explore charming old towns, world-class museums and cultural scenes come summertime.

    "Switzerland is a hot summer alternative to the classic France trip,” Fora Advisor Stephanie Cavazuti said. “It's perfect for people who want to hike, bike, hit the spa and enjoy amazing food and cocktails."

    Where to stay: For a spa moment, we love Burgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa, a polished and ultra-immersive resort overlooking Lake Lucerne. 

    Fora Perks at the Burgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa: $100 food / beverage credit, breakfast daily, upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible

    6. Mandarin Oriental Costa Navarino, Greece

    Mandarin Oriental Costa Navarino

    Image courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Costa Navarino

    Whether you’re picturing its postcard-perfect coast, historic hilltop villages or buzzy beach clubs, you can never go wrong with a trip to Greece. While the islands — from Milos to Mykonos — are what everyone buzzes about, there’s plenty to be explored off-the-beaten path. We’re especially excited about the Peloponnese region, which is accessible directly from Athens via a three-hour drive.

    The Mandarin Oriental Costa Navarino opened in 2023 and boasts ‌classic Greek charm, along with active pursuits (water sports, rock climbing, golf, tennis and more).

    Plus, “cascading rooms with sea views offer some of the best sunsets on the Peloponnese coast!” said Fora Advisor Elizabeth Kaczka

    Where to stay: Snag a suite at the Mandarin Oriental, with ultra-sleek suites and a luxe beach club.

    Fora Perks at the Mandarin Oriental Costa Navarino: $100 food / beverage credit, breakfast daily, upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

    7. Rosewood Schloss Fuschl, Austria

    Salzburg Austria

    Salzburg, Austria

    If you’re dreaming of an unexpected European getaway this summer, Austria will deliver. Travelers have plenty to explore in the country’s stunning landscapes (including its crystal-clear lakes, such as Lake Wolfgangsee and Lake Hallstatt). But its urban centers — complete with cathedrals and lively markets — are just as worthwhile. Our eyes are on Salzburg this summer, with a buzzy new hotel beckoning. 

    “Austria is an excellent epicurean destination thanks to their palaces and opera houses, renowned coffee culture and famous dishes like Wienerschnitzel, Apfelstrudel and Sachertorte (a glossy dark chocolate cake with layers of sweet apricot jam),” said Fora Advisor Anna Ingoglia

    Where to stay: Opening this spring 2024, Rosewood Schloss Fuschl is a 15th-century castle that’s all about next-level wellness. 

    If you’re ready to plan your summer getaway to Europe, reach out to us to get started. Your Fora Advisor can recommend the best destination for your preferences, matchmake you to the perfect hotel and add A+ perks to your itinerary.

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