Summer holidays are seeing an increasing number of travellers shunning Europe’s most visited cities and beaches in favour of less crowded destinations.

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According to recent data from Chase Travel reported to Bloomberg, European cities that saw the biggest increase in tourists this summer include off-the-beaten-path destinations like Brussels, Munich, Zurich and Warsaw.

However, data based on cardholder spending shows that the busiest cities remain London, Paris and Rome.

Industry experts say this trend towards secondary cities is largely explained by soaring prices in Mediterranean hotspots such as the Amalfi Coast and record heat waves hitting the continent. According to data from Virtuoso, a group of luxury travel advisors, rampant inflation is pushing the average price of a luxury room in Europe to more than US$1,700 (about CAD$2,325) in 2023, nearly double the US$900 in 2019 (about CAD$1,230). These record prices are expected to rise another 9% this summer, according to Misty Belles, vice president of global public affairs at Virtuoso. This development, she says, will have an impact on where to visit.

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“We’re seeing a desire to go to places and destinations where the prices are not exorbitant,” M says.myself It’s beautiful and confirms Chase Travel’s findings.

If you can’t afford to go to Italy, France or other traditional destinations, Belgium is a better deal.

Misty Belles, VP of Global Communications, Virtuoso

A Google Hotels search reveals that five-star hotel rooms in Brussels are being offered for under $500 USD (about $684 CAD) during the first week of June, while in Paris prices are closer to $900 USD (about $1,230 CAD).

Mmyself Bells also said the heatwaves hitting Europe have travelers willing to try other destinations. Last year was the second-warmest year on record for the continent, and every month in 2024 brought a record to match that one. As the mercury rose to 47 degrees, ahIn contrast to the average temperature of 24°C in Sardinia last summer, the average temperature of 24°C in Zurich seemed very appealing.

And it doesn’t have to consider crowds.

Last summer in Europe, in addition to being incredibly hot, it was also incredibly crowded.

Misty Belles, VP of Global Communications, Virtuoso

This combination led to more people looking for destinations in Northern Europe, with the Netherlands up 33%, Austria up 31% and Germany up 26%.

“Don’t worry about Italy, everything will be fine,” M said.myself Beautiful. But other parts of Europe are also starting to attract significant numbers of travelers.

Amsterdam is one place where growth is causing concern: the city ranks fifth among Chase’s fastest-growing destinations, despite the government launching a “Stay Away” campaign to discourage mass tourism.

Rebecca Masri, Founder of Luxury Travel App Little EmperorsFor those who absolutely want to return to their old stomping grounds, despite the prices, weather and crowds, there’s a solution: go after Labor Day. After all, she says, Europe’s traditional summer season doesn’t seem to end in August anymore.

As she says, “peak season for countries like Italy and Greece is now September.”

Below is a list of the fastest growing summer destinations among European cities.

  • Brussels (73% growth compared to last year)
  • Munich (63%)
  • Zurich (59%)
  • Warsaw (55%)
  • Amsterdam (54%)
  • Vienna (53%)
  • Shannon, Ireland (53%)
  • Zagreb, Croatia (51%)
  • Prague (49%)
  • Budapest (48%)