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When is the Best Time to Visit Europe?

August 11, 2021

 

Europe is the most popular continent in the world for tourists as it offers a little bit of everything. With over 44 countries located in Europe, exploring a variety of engaging cultures, beautiful landscapes, and historical sites is easy to do. However, when is the best time to go to Europe?

There’s really no bad time to visit Europe. In fact, the best time to travel to Europe depends entirely on personal preference. There are pros and cons to each time of year.

For most people, the best time to travel Europe is between June and September, which covers the European summer. Tourism explodes during this period because great weather is practically guaranteed.

Of course, some travelers cannot take the heat of a Mediterranean summer, or maybe keeping costs down is a priority, which means this may not be the best time of year to travel to Europe for them.

It largely depends on your goals and priorities.

Either way, Europe is such a special place because every season has something to offer.

What is the Best Month to Travel to Europe?

For most people, traveling as close to summer without hitting July and August are the best times to travel to Europe.

Between June and September, traveling to Europe at the end of this period offers the ideal compromise between good weather, lower costs, and smaller crowds.

Some would argue that a European spring and autumn are the best times to travel, but this depends on the area of Europe one plans to visit.

The Mediterranean and Balkan regions tend to offer some of the most spectacular scenery throughout the spring and autumn months. In contrast, Northern Europe tends to lurch between gorgeous weather to perpetual gloom from day to day.

Should You Avoid Visiting in July and August?

Some travelers mistakenly discount the possibility of traveling throughout July and August, but there are some advantages to it.

Residing in popular day trip locations, such as Toledo in Spain and Pisa in Italy, can offer a quiet, serene atmosphere in the evenings. Also, visiting the major capitals of Europe during summer can be a great idea.

For example, Paris tends to empty during July and August as people head off to the countryside. The same goes for London, England, Berlin, Germany, and Madrid, Spain.

These quieter locations may come with some great deals on accommodation during the summer months, so it is wise to completely avoid writing off summer travel.

When is the Best Time of Year to Travel to Europe?

Truthfully, every part of the continent offers a “best month to visit Europe.” Despite being the smallest continent in the world, there is a tremendous amount of variation across the continent. This leaves a huge amount of choice.

For example, many visitors to Europe prefer to avoid places like Italy and Spain in August due to the searing temperatures.

On the other hand, visiting Scandinavia and the UK during August is undoubtedly the best time to visit because it’s the one time of year travelers can rely on the weather.

When planning any trip to Europe, consider making a list of places to visit and plan a schedule around that.

Europe Travelling Tips for Each Season

Determining the best month to travel to Europe depends largely on where you want to go. Every season has something to offer. As a result, Never discount any part of the year when it comes to planning a trip to Europe.

In this section, we examine the best months to visit Europe and the top destinations for visitors throughout the year.

Shoulder Seasons

Visiting Europe in spring or autumn? These are the months of April through to mid-June and September/October.

This is the best time to visit Europe for many people because travelers get to enjoy the benefits of peak and off-season travel in one. Great weather, long daylight hours, and smaller crowds are just some of the advantages of shoulder season travel.

Here are some top tips for where to travel in Europe throughout the shoulder seasons:

  • Destination Variance – Remember that shoulder season will see varying temperatures across different parts of Europe. Shoulder season in Italy, Spain, and Greece will still be hot and bring larger crowds, whereas Northern Europe tends to be quieter.
  • Hiking – Some of the best hiking opportunities appear during the shoulder seasons. The Alps, for example, should be visited during early fall to avoid the crowds and chaotic weather patterns.
  • The Best Colors – Shoulder seasons bring out the best colors in Europe. From tulips in the Netherlands to gorgeous autumn colors in the Loire Valley, France, shoulder season is the best time to enjoy an explosion of color.
  • Pack Light – While rainfall is lower in much of Europe, cold snaps are not unheard of. Pack light, but always keep a small windbreaker/raincoat within easy reach.
  • Farmer’s Markets – Food and drink lovers should visit during the shoulder seasons. From famous farmer’s markets in Bucharest, Romania, to the wine festivals of Tuscany, Italy, this is the best time to visit Europe.

Top Destinations for the European Shoulder Season

  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Tuscany, Italy
  • Bruges, Belgium
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Lesvos, Greece
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Zdiar, Slovakia
  • Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Bucharest, Romania

Summer

Summer sees millions of visitors descending upon the continent. As discussed earlier, never discount the potential for visiting Europe in summer. There are lots of things to see, and the weather is excellent.

The European summer tends to range from the second half of June to the beginning of September.

Here’s what you need to know about traveling Europe throughout the summer months:

  • Book in Advance – Prices peak in all popular destinations throughout the summer. Shopping around and booking in advance is key to keeping costs down.
  • Temperature Tolerance – Travelers who are unable to handle the hottest temperatures should avoid Southern Europe. Thousands of elderly people die annually from high temperatures.
  • Check Out Northern Europe – Scandinavia, the UK, and Ireland are all great places to visit during the summer. It’s typically the only time of year visitors can guarantee sunshine in these regions.
  • Keep Crowd Control in Mind – Places like Florence, Italy, Salzburg, Austria, and Dubrovnik, Croatia are hellishly packed during the day but can be quieter during the evening hours. Planning trips with crowd control in mind is key to avoiding the hordes of tourists.
  • Visit the Big Cities – Traditionally, the major cities of Europe tend to get quieter during the summer season. If avoiding the crowds is a priority, consider a summer trip to Paris or Rome.

Top Destinations for the European Summer Season

  • Bern, Switzerland
  • Kotor, Montenegro
  • Ischia, Italy
  • Riga, Latvia
  • Seville, Spain
  • Bergen, Norway
  • Helsinki, Finland
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Reykjavik, Iceland

Winter

Figuring out when is the best time to travel to Europe is never easy. While most travelers tend to avoid the colder European winters, there is always something magical about this time of year.

Most people classify the European winter as ranging from November to March, but there are regional variations.

In the runup to Christmas, Europe has a huge amount to offer. Follow these tips for a winter trip across the continent:

  • Pack for the Weather – Avoid getting caught out by underestimating how low temperatures can go, particularly if visiting Eastern Europe. Layering clothing is a great idea.
  • Get Great Deals on Accommodation – Shop around during winter. With many towns going quiet, accommodation providers often lower their prices to attract a limited clientele. Get even bigger deals by holing up for a month or two in a favorite destination.
  • Visit Southern Europe – Travelers who skipped Southern Europe during summer have a perfect opportunity to visit these legendary tourist destinations without the immense crowds.
  • Plan for Less Daylight – Daylight hours are much shorter during the winter. Plan any excursions around these limited hours of daylight.
  • Be Prepared for Closures – Many attractions close down between November and March or operate reduced opening hours. Research before planning any visits.

Top Destinations for the European Winter Season

  • Krakow, Poland
  • Munich, Germany
  • Tallinn, Estonia
  • St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Venice, Italy
  • Bath, England
  • Strasbourg, France

Conclusion

Deciding on the best time to visit Europe is less about selecting the right month and more about figuring out the right places to go. Ultimately, decide on where to visit and what you want to experience, then plan the travel dates accordingly.

Europe truly has something to offer everyone.

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