If you're European dreaming this summer, think Greece. That's the word from Lonely Planet editors who have compiled a list of the best places to visit in Europe this year.
Lonely Planet's Best in Europe 2014 chose Greece because of its "luxury experiences at affordable prices," a company statement says. Prices are low because the country is hoping to bring back tourists after a deep financial crisis that began four years ago and spurred violent protests -- and lots of media coverage.
"You'll experience smaller crowds and emptier beaches," Lonely Planet said. It also urged travelers to patronize local businesses and hotels so money can be funneled back into the local economy.
Other reasons Greece makes sense: Ancient culture in Athens and mainland cities paired with easy access to gorgeous laid-back islands. Wine Enthusiast magazine chose the Aegean Islands as a wine destination to visit for 2014.
Other European destinations to visit this summer (in order) include:
--Southwest England, specifically such towns as
--Italy, including Rome, Venice and Florence but less-explored regions too
--Viking Denmark, in such places as Roskilde and the island of Funen, to learn history firsthand
--Outer Hebrides, Scotland, where cycling tours take you to prehistoric sites;
--Plzen, Czech Republic, dubbed a European Capital of Culture for 2015;