Must List

Watch these movies to have a European summer from your couch

Spending a summer in Europe is a dream. For many, it may just not be possible this year. That's totally okay, even if you feel like everyone on your social media feed is in a European country rn. 

Luckily, a European summer vacation is more than physically *being* in Europe. Excuse the cliché, but summer traveling is also about prancing in colorful dresses, indulging in decadent foods, falling in love, capturing moments on film cameras, dancing with friends and embracing our most free-spirited selves—which are achievable summer activities no matter where you are. 

If you still feel like you're missing out, the European summer vacation vibes in these movies are *so* infectious that you won't even have to lift an inch off the ground to feel them. 

Monte Carlo


My personal favorite, Monte Carlo, offers elegance, female friendship, summer love, antics, *multiple* European destinations (including Monte Carlo and Paris) and visually stunning imagery. This film is ideal for vicariously vacationing. Also, who doesn't love a Selena Gomez movie? Even after starring in Monte Carlo, it is heartwarming that it seems Selena still has love for Paris. 

Leap Year

Rom-com connoisseurs and anyone yearning for a charming summer in Ireland should definitely give Leap Year a watch. It takes you on a tour through Ireland, with rolling green, majestic cliffs and witty romance aplenty. If romance tropes never falter at being irresistible to you, Leap Year is flawless. 

Spider-Man: Far From Home


Don't worry action movie fans, you have a European summer vacation movie recommendation, too. This movie includes Peter Parker's heroic endeavors plus some of his globetrotting ones. Stakes are generally higher in this film than in some of the ones on this list, but scenery, romance and adventure certainly aren't lacking. Also, it stars everyone's *fave* celebrity couple,Tom Holland and Zendaya. 

Letters to Juliet

This one is for the Fearless (more specifically the "Love Story") enthusiasts. This film is a lovely marriage of scenery and story. Set in Verona, it borrows its setting from Romeo and Juliet (a story practically synonymous with romance and passion), placing the film in the epicenter of love. Both the scenery and the story create a very particular aura of romance. Naturally, Letters to Juliet is *the* European summer movie for hopeless romantics. 

An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success


Looking for an adorable throwback *and* loving Olivia Rodrigo's new music? Definitely revisit this movie. It takes place in Paris—a classically enviable vacation destination—where Grace tries her hand at Parisian baking technique. If your fave part of travel is trying out all the foods, this one is worth the watch this summer.  

The Lizzie McGuire Movie

Is Rome your dream destination? If so, you'll love following along with Lizzie McGuire on her school trip in this movie. Her adventures are mischievious and exhilarating to an almost unrealistic extent, but that's just what makes it such a nostalgia-infused classic. That, and the last musical number.  


If you're looking for *even* more fantasy in your European summer vacation fantasy, look no further than Luca. This sentimental film has the perfect Italian setting as the backdrop for its story about family, friendship and acceptance. 

What a Girl Wants

Many people might picture a European summer vacation being in Greece, Italy or France, just to name a few, but an English summer can be just as enticing. London is one of the most beautiful and bustling cities in the world. While it may not be on your travel itinerary this summer, you can watch the bubbly What a Girl Wants to satisfy that London wanderlust. 

Mamma Mia! Mamma Mia! Here We go Again

For the grand finale, these two are the quintessential European summer films. (There's even a large chance that your idea of a European summer vacation was informed by these movies.) If you're looking to throw a themed watch party, check out these tips! Double feature, anyone?

From their audaciously perfect fashion to their timeless tunes, these movies are the most fantastically jovial representation of an idyllic summer in Greece. Beyond the glittery extravagance and summery excellence, the heart of these movies is in portraying women's relationships: what it means to be a mother, a daughter and a friend so true you could even call her a sister. 

Need some more movie recs? Check out these posts:
🌊 Greta Gerwig movies to watch in preparation for Barbie
🌊 Rom-coms your mom loved that you'll love, too
🌊 You *need* to watch these adorable movies for National Pet Day

Follow @girlslifemag on Instagram for more summer content!

Top image: @erinthumann
Slider image: @lexxhidalgo
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by Kayla Conroy | 7/11/2023