European Destinations Tourists Should Head To In 2026 For Solar Eclipse Views

If you were lucky enough to witness the Great American Eclipse in 2024, you're likely still reveling in the magic of witnessing totality in person. For many viewers across the United States, it was the first time they had ever experienced a total eclipse. Alas, there won't be another chance in the country until August 23, 2044. Twenty years is a long time to wait to enjoy the epic astronomical occurrence again, especially if you've developed a newfound passion for amateur astrology.

If you're willing to travel, the wait time until you can experience the eerie darkness of totality will be significantly less, as they take place somewhere in the world every few years. The next total solar eclipse will occur on August 12, 2026, and pass over Greenland and Iceland before entering northern Spain. For Europe, it will be the first eclipse in 27 years, and, to the delight of astronomers worldwide, it will also coincide with the yearly Perseid Meteor Shower.  Astro-tourism is one of the fastest-growing travel trends, and the last total solar eclipse was one of America's busiest travel days in years. If you're interested in joining the throngs of eclipse chasers who wish to visit the line of totality in 2026, it's a good idea to start planning your trip as soon as possible.

Greenland and Iceland

Viewing the 2026 eclipse may prove tricky because there's a good chance of cloud cover in many coastal areas in the path of totality. You'll have to plan carefully if you want to be able to see the fabulous ring of fire. Planning an entire trip around viewing an eclipse is generally risky because inclement weather is always possible. Wherever you choose to travel for the viewing, ensure that your itinerary is jam-packed with other fun things to do so that you aren't devastated if you wake up to a dense cloud cover on August 12.

Greenland is a remote and off-the-beaten-path destination that falls within the path of totality. The conditions are expected to be best off the coast around the Scoresby Sund. Nord Station, a military and research outpost, is a good viewing spot on land.

Iceland is an incredible destination with gorgeous scenery and lively cities and towns, and the eclipse is bound to make a 2026 trip to the island nation extra special. The path of totality will move across the western part of the country, so the Westfjords, the Reykjanes peninsula, and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula are ideal spots. As a bonus, travelers may extend their trips to see the Northern Lights in Iceland. Aurora season usually begins in September, and 2026 is projected to be an excellent year for viewing.

Spain and Portugal

Portugal is a fantastic place to visit, with affordable prices, delicious food, and beautiful coastlines. However, the eclipse will pass over a small part of the country. Totality will only occur in the northeastern part of Portugal near Bragança and will last less than one minute.

The eclipse will pass through a massive chunk of Spain, a popular tourist destination and the second most-visited country by foreign tourists on the planet. It's sure to be a popular spot for the eclipse, so you'll want to make your plans well in advance. The city of Valladolid is close to the center line of totality and has beautiful hotels and historical and cultural attractions to enjoy during your trip. Travelers who wish to be immersed in nature should consider viewing the eclipse from one of Spain's nature preserves, like Barranco del Río Dulce Natural Park, with its rugged rock formations, forests, and waterfalls.

Islands off the coast of Spain, including Ibiza and Mallorca, will also fall within totality. The duration will be shorter in Ibiza, but the west coast of the island still makes an excellent spot to base yourself, especially for those eager to experience Ibiza's iconic nightlife. Mallorca is located on the center line of totality. If the skies are clear, you'll be able to see a unique sunset eclipse, as totality will occur just when the sun begins to dip below the horizon out at sea.

Embark on an eclipse cruise

Imagine yourself aboard the deck of a luxurious cruise ship, the ocean breeze tickling your hair as you gaze up at the moon slowly blocking out the sun. There's no doubt that a cruise ship is one of the most incredible and unique ways to view a total solar eclipse, and several cruise companies are already catching on after witnessing the eclipse craze that took over the United States during the spring of 2024. 

Eclipse cruises are an excellent choice because they can change course towards destinations with better viewing conditions. Cunard, a luxury cruise line from the United Kingdom, has already announced that three ships from their fleet, including the Queen Anne, Queen Victoria, and Queen Mary 2, will be within the line of totality during the 2026 eclipse. Each ship will embark on a slightly different route, offering travelers the option of sailing from Italy to Spain, England to France and Spain, and Norway to Iceland. For luxury travelers, it will undoubtedly be one of the top ways to view the eclipse on August 12, 2026.

TravelQuest International is offering exclusive spots aboard the National Geographic Endurance expedition ship. The 12-day cruise will depart from Denmark and venture through Iceland and remote regions of Greenland, where the eclipse will be visible in totality. Holland America has announced that plans are underway, but the details have yet to be announced. Other cruise lines are expected to follow suit as the eclipse date approaches.