Europe is one of the most popular destinations in the world, and for good reason. The continent offers an abundance of history and culture, along with natural beauty and food that makes your taste buds sing.
When you’re planning a trip to Europe, though, there are many factors to consider before deciding on the best time to visit.
When you think of Europe, you might conjure up images of cobblestone streets, castles perched atop craggy cliffs, gothic churches and cafes serving pastries.
That’s because many of the most famous destinations in Europe are built on centuries-old history and culture. But what if you want to experience something different? Maybe it’s time for a new cultural perspective on this old world.
The good news is that there are plenty of unique spots throughout Europe with alluring histories and cultures—from the the castles of Bavaria, or the busy modern cities of Rome, London or Paris, to the rolling hills of Spain or Portugal.
Summer vs Winter in Europe
The summer season is the best time to travel to Europe, because the days are longer and the weather is warm! You’ll have with the longer days which means more time to explore during your trip. And it also means that you’ll have plenty of time for outdoor activities like hiking or swimming in lakes, and enjoying those al-fresco drinks as the sun sets.
Of course, the summer is fantastic in Europe. But it can get uncomfortably hot, especially around the Mediterranean. And yes, there are mosquitos which are obviously a detractor.
Winter is also an excellent time to visit Europe because there are fewer crowds, especially in popular cities such as Paris or Barcelona. But that’s not to say that the winter is a bad time to visit… In fact, there are often great things to see and do even in the winter, such as museums, indoor markets and cultural events.
If you want to see Europe for less, consider travelling in the winter as prices will be much lower, especially for accommodation.
Skiing in Europe
Another great thing about the winter in Europe is… Skiing. If you like to ski or snowboard, you’ll find that Europe is very affordable compared to North America, with week long ski deals (including lift passes) available for under $200 per person (yes really – take a look at SnowTrex for example – click the banner below). Although the sky is the limit and you can easily pay upwards of $1000 per person.
Skiing is a popular activity in Europe, and ski resorts open their slopes in December and often stay open through March or April. There are many ski resorts in France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Andorra and Germany.
Should you travel to Europe in the Spring or Fall?
The shoulder seasons, spring and fall, offer moderate temperatures with colorful scenery and special events. If you’re planning a trip to Europe in the spring or fall, look for deals on hotels and flights to save money on your trip.
If you’ve always wanted to visit somewhere like Venice, Dubrovnik or Barcelona, then you’ll find that these places are at their best in the spring and Fall. Less tourists, cooler weather, but still enough sunshine to enjoy their charms.
Some of the most popular events happen during spring attracting tourists from all over the world. For example Paris Fashion Week (March-May), Easter Egg Hunting in Munich (late March/early April) and Carnival in Venice (February-March).
In Fall, you’ll be able to head to Oktoberfest in Germany (normally the end of September), the Christmas markets of Austria, Germany and France start popping up in mid/late November.
When is peak season in Europe?
If you’re looking to avoid crowds and high prices, avoid travelling to Europe between late July and early September. This is high season, when schools break up and most of Europe heads to the beach and the travel hot spots. Prices can rapidly skyrocket, if you can find anywhere to stay. Popular destinations like the Greek Islands, Spanish costas and Mediterranean resorts will likely be packed full of British, Germans and other Europeans making the most of the summer season.
If you want to avoid crowds at all costs and can plan your trip accordingly, it may be worth going off-season, which means traveling during the shoulder season (October through May). The weather will still be mild enough for walking around, but there won’t be many people around for you to bump into. The tradeoff here is that many of Europe’s museums will either have shorter hours or close completely through this period; however, this can work in your favor if you’d like more time alone in Europe’s big cities without having hordes of other tourists crowding them out!
That said… Cities like Paris and London don’t really have an off season – they’re always crazy busy!
Hiking or camping in Europe
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, hiking or camping are great ways to enjoy the cooler weather in Europe. You can explore mountains, forests and beaches before they get crowded with tourists.
There are plentiful campsites in Europe, which are usually well equipped, well maintained and located in convenient areas. If you don’t want to drag your tent half way across the world, you can grab an affordable tent from somewhere like Decthlon, or hire a camper van.
Popular hiking and camping spots in Europe include Scotland, the north coast of Spain, Croatia and the Balkans, most of France and Germany, and… well, everywhere really.
Does it matter when you travel to Europe?
No matter when you travel there is always something worth seeing in Europe from ancient ruins to modern architecture. Europe is obviously a popular place to visit, and to be honest, there is no right time to go. You might have the time of your life in a rainy Berlin, and you might find the beaches of Ibiza too hectic in mid-summer.
For one thing, it’s a great place to visit any time of year: if you love the sun and warmth of summer, then head for countries like Spain and Greece during July or August. On the other hand, if you enjoy cooler temperatures and beautiful fall foliage, then September to November, or March to May is an ideal time to visit Europe.
If you want to experience both types of weather on your trip but don’t have time for two separate visits (or if one country doesn’t do it for you), consider visiting multiple regions within a single country at different times of year! This can allow travelers who aren’t quite ready for winter weather yet stay warm by heading south while also giving those who want snow days something new in their future itinerary!
There’s no bad time to go to Europe.
There is no bad time to travel to Europe.
The conventional wisdom has always been that the best time to visit Europe is from June through early September, but this can be expensive and very crowded. If you’re a budget traveler or just don’t want to deal with crowds, there are plenty of good options for less-crowded travel throughout the year (and even in winter). If you have more money than usual, consider visiting during shoulder season—the period between peak tourist season and low season—or traveling during a holiday weekend (New Year’s Eve or Christmas) when prices skyrocket due to demand.
There’s also no bad way to approach your trip: whether you’re looking for a long vacation or just two weeks away from home working remotely from your laptop, we have some great routes that will help you find what works best!
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