When is the best time to travel to Europe? When & Where to Go

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Last Updated on 16th August 2018 by Sophie Nadeau

With each season comes new weather patterns, varying temperatures and a whole host of interesting things to see, do, and eat. Travelling to Europe is just as diverse as the continent is large; that is to say, there are plenty of options on offer! But when is the best time to travel to Europe? When should you personally go? Here’s your complete guide on when to visit the European continent, and where to go.

While any fellow fan of the continent would agree that Europe is always worth a visit, when you should plan your visit depends much on what you like, your favourite weather types and if you like to travel with fewer crowds around. After all, fewer tourists equal shorter queues…

When is the best time to visit Europe? Here's your complete guide on when to visiting Europe, a season by season guide to spending time in Europe

Europe in the Spring

The smell of sweet spring blossom fills the air and the promise of longer days is on the horizon. Visiting Europe in the spring is always a happy time to visit as cafés spill out onto the pavements and birdsong fills the air once more.

Top spring break destinations in Europe for spotting cherry blossom and eating great food include Paris (think plenty of spring blossom), Seville (the spring is a better time to visit this Spanish city if too much hot weather isn’t really your thing), Amsterdam (fewer crowds and all of the tulips), and Ljubljana (this Slovenian city offers plenty of parks and open-air cafés).

Visit Europe in the spring if you like: Cheaper airfares before peak season, fewer tourists, hotel discounts and the accommodation of your choice is almost certainly on offer, museums that are not overly crowded.

Read more: Best Spring Destinations in Europe.

cherry blossoms in saint cloud

Europe in the Summer

Hot summer heat and throngs of tourists flock to the European continent. Europe in the summer is the perfect opportunity to get off the beaten track a little and search for those hidden gems while everyone else is queuing up for any given iconic tourist attraction in a place. If you love sunny and warm weather, then you’re almost guaranteed to find it if you travel through most of Europe in the summer months.

Top summer destinations include Provence (this French region is filled with mountains, secret beaches, and vineyards to visit), Greek islands (perfect for soaking up summer sun and history simultaneously), and road trips through the UK (summer is quite literally the only time of the year where the UK gets great weather and it’s not raining!)

Visit Europe in the summer if you like: Beaches, long sunny days, amazing weather, if you don’t mind queuing to see some of the more iconic European attractions, open-air cafés, and a summer vibe. 

Read more: Best summer destinations in Europe!

the beach at la ciotat provence france

Europe in the Fall

Crisp mornings and plenty of fall foliage, there is perhaps no better time to visit Europe than in the fall. Fewer tourists, cheaper prices and finding that everything is still open are just a couple of reasons many people opt to see Europe during the autumnal months. Visiting most countries in the fall (with the exception of parts of France and Italy) will also ensure that you’re seeing the continent during the shoulder season, meaning fewer crowds and lower prices. In my personal opinion, the best time to travel to Europe is easily the fall!

Top fall destinations in Europe include Gdansk (in Northern Poland), Luxembourg (this gem of a country is filled with friendly locals, great food and oodles of castles), and Switzerland (travelling through one of the most expensive countries in Europe during the shoulder season will ensure you snap up some of the cheapest fares possible).

Visit Europe in the Autumn if you like: Fall foliage, fewer tourists, cheaper airfare and hotel prices- ie making your wallet happy in general, wine drinking (much of the previous season’s vines have been harvested and processed), and the Northern Lights if you head to countries like Sweden and Iceland. 

Read more: Best Fall Destinations in Europe.

gdansk, poland

Europe in the Winter

The promise of snow, cosy fires and plenty of mulled wine makes Europe the perfect winter destination for those wishing to experience Christmas markets, sparkling lights and all of the rich delicious food that’s available across the continent. If you’ve not already tried it, I also highly recommend sampling some mulled wine (also known as vin chaud or Glühwein). This spicy hot drink is the perfect winter warmer and a real speciality of the continent. If you’re looking for the best time to travel to Europe and you fancy a little magic along the way, then a European chill may well be for you!

Top winter destinations in Europe include the French Alps (perfect for all manner of snow sports and cheaper than the Swiss Alps), the German Christmas markets (the Bavarian style chalets are now famous throughout the world and find their origins in Germany), and Finland (original ‘home’ of Father Christmas and the actual home to plenty of reindeer!).

Visit Europe in the Winter if you like: skiing, cold weather, other snow sports, snow-capped mountains, Christmas markets, and so so so much more! If you’re planning to visit Europe in the winter months, then you can expect to have many places to yourself as there are fewer crowds in the winter months than at any other time of the year…

Where to see and find the very best Christmas lights in paris, France

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Best time to travel to Europe revealed! When is the best time to visit the European continent and where should you go? A complete guide on the time of year to see Europe.Best time to travel to Europe revealed! When is the best time to visit the European continent and where should you go? A complete guide on the time of year to see Europe!

About Author

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, Paris, pizza, and history, though not necessarily in that order. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she's not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming her weight in sweet food. Currently based in Paris after studies in London, she's spent most of her life living in the beautiful Devonian countryside in South West England!

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