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Best Time to Visit Europe

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Europe, one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit continues to be a go-to travel destination all year round. 

The European Continent offers such diversity of experiences, it’s not surprising deciding on the best time to visit Europe can be challenging.

You may be planning to visit only one destination – maybe you’ve chosen to try house sitting in Europe, or, you’d like to tour all or part of the continent – when is the best month to visit Europe?

Couple sitting on a park bench with an old town in the background. The best time to visit Europe is when the weather is mild and the skies are clear, spring and autumn.

Enjoy beautiful towns like Menton in the South of France in spring, perhaps the best time of year to visit Europe.

Finding The Best Cheap Flights to Europe

For many travellers visiting Europe, the cost is a significant decider. Depending on what month you choose to visit Europe; airfares can vary wildly. 

You may have a date in mind or, maybe you’re not picky about when or even which places in Europe to visit. Signing up for fare alerts on sites like JustFly to find the best fares and last-minute price drops can save a huge amount on airfares.

You might be surprised at some of the fantastic European travel deals which pop up. Some might even guide you towards a destination you had not thought of before.

Looking down on the old town and river of Passau, spring is perhaps the best time for a European river cruise.

A birds-eye view of Passau, a favourite port for European river cruises.

Train Travel in Europe

We also recommend looking at sites such as The Man in Seat 61 for tips on getting the best train ticket deals in Europe.

Train travel in Europe can be a very cost-effective and enjoyable way to travel around Europe, or experience multiple countries in one trip.

With great travel deals in mind, let’s look at the best time to visit Europe. 

The Best Season to Visit Europe

While there’s no wrong time to visit Europe, there’s certainly a season to suit your personal preferences. The seasons in Europe are the same for each country throughout the Continent, but not quite in the same way. 

a motor yacht sailing past a hillside of old greek homes on Symi island. Spring on Symi is the best time to visit europe for honeymoon.

A small boat charter around the Greek Islands is a very cost-effective way to see beautiful villages such as Symi Island.

Countries in the south of Europe such as Greece, Spain, and Portugal experience warmer weather and milder winters. Countries in the north experience much colder winters – which make them perfect skiing or snowy festive destinations.

Let’s take a closer look at the seasons in Europe.

Spring in Europe 

Spring in Europe takes place between March and May.

The weather in Europe in March starts warming up. Flowers come into bloom offering stunning, colourful landscapes.

Animals also begin to emerge from hibernation and commence migrations – a wonderful time for wildlife enthusiasts to visit Europe. Many don’t know Europe has some of the world’s best wildlife destinations.

One of the best times to visit Europe is Spring for wildlife sightings like the migratory flamingos in the Algarve in southern Portugal

Migratory flamingos on the Ria Formosa in the Algarve in southern Portugal

No matter where you decide to visit in Europe, spring is a wonderful time of year. Especially for travellers looking to explore the great outdoors, the temperature in Europe in May is perfect.

Spring is excellent for hiking nearly anywhere in Europe and also for coastal destinations in southern countries such as Valencia in Spain. Or, a tour of  Croatia where late spring offers beautiful weather without the summer crowds is a very affordable and beautiful warm weather escape. 

Spring in Europe is the perfect time to visit coastal destinations such as Dubrovnik in Croatia

Relax on the beach in Dubrovnik, explore medieval cities and beautiful coastlines in Croatia. One of the best countries to visit in Eastern Europe.

We are great advocates of shoulder season travel in Europe, especially spring. Spring is a great time to tour the entire continent or settle in to explore just one country. Enjoy an early summer in Southern Europe or welcome the return of the sun in Northern Europe.

Late spring is a lovely time to visit countries such as Norway. It is a time when locals head outside after a long winter to embrace the sun and celebrate unique rituals such as “Utepsils” – the ritual of the first beer drunk alfresco for the season. 

Snow capped mountain behind a fjord in Norway, spring may be the best season to visit Europe.

Spring is the perfect time for a cruise through Norway’s fjords.

It is also an excellent time for taking a cruise through Norway’s spectacular fjords or a river cruise down some of Europe’s most scenic rivers

Spring delivers lovely warm weather without the unbearable heat of mid-summer. Perfect weather for sightseeing and outdoor activity. Early to mid-spring will also see fewer crowds at popular tourist attractions than the peak summer months. 

Europe in spring is beautiful time as flowers are all in bloom such as tulips in northern Europe

Spring is the best time to visit Europe if you want to see the colourful blooms of flowers.

Summer in Europe

Summer in Europe is between June and August and is also peak season in Europe.

Perfect for travellers looking to spend long days sunbathing on pristine beaches and soaking up Europe’s unique summer vibe.

It is also an excellent season for hiking and sightseeing in northern countries where summers tend not to be as hot as in the south.

Beach beds and shades inviting you to spend summer in Europe.

Relax on an organised beach in the Algarve, Portugal. A popular beach destination to spend the summer in Europe.

Consider island hopping in Greece, summer in Germany, or a summer holiday in Sardinia. Or, a great value for money summer on the Black Sea in the quaint village of Sozopol in Bulgaria.

Summer is when you can experience the Festival of the White Nights in St Petersburg Russia or enjoy hiking in the colder climates of Romania’s pristine Transylvania mountains.

Red flowers and greek table settings on a greek island. If you are looking to be sun drenched then summer may be your best season to visit Europe.

A typical outdoor restaurant setting you will find on a Greek Island.  Getting a table during the peak summer season in Europe can be difficult. We find early or late summer or even the shoulder seasons the best time to visit the Greek islands.

However, remember, summer is peak season in Europe so expect some popular tourist destinations to be very crowded and some to be unbearably hot.

It is also one of the most expensive times to visit Europe as accommodation is at a premium and flights can be costly. Another good reason to set fare alerts to find the best deals if you plan on travelling at this time of year. 

Český Krumlov is one of the most beautiful villages in Czech Republic

Český Krumlov is one of the most beautiful villages in the Czech Republic but can be very busy in the peak summer months with day tourists.

Autumn in Europe

Autumn takes place between September and November in Europe.

Autumn in Europe is an incredibly beautiful time of year when the leaves turn brilliant shades of red and orange. The weather in Europe in October is particularly pleasant for travel.

It’s the perfect weather for exploring charming villages such as Liguria in Italy, France’s Pyrenees, or southern Spain’s White Villages. Or, see first hand the fascinating architecture in Europe’s cities such as in Porto Portugal or Turkey’s mysterious and exotic Istanbul

The weather in October in Europe is ideal for sightseeing.

Europe in September is a gorgeous time of year. It is still warm enough for the beach in southern Europe and the weather and crowds are cooling pleasantly in the north.

Fall is also the harvest time in Europe which presents many fabulous opportunities to experience harvest festivals and for food travellers to savour regional specialities and the incredible wines Europe is famous for.

A glass of white wine on a ledge next to the ocean.

Early autumn is a lovely time to visit the Dalmatian islands in Croatia. Korcula island is famous for its white wine and autumn is a great time to experience the harvest season.

Autumn is also an opportune season to visit countries further north before the severe cold of winter arrives. Taking a trip to Russia, Iceland or Finland can be a unique experience during this time of year.

It’s also important to note that the Northern Lights can be seen as early as September in countries that are a part of the Arctic Circle.

If you’re in search of spectacular photographic opportunities, from the possibility of the Northern Lights to an endless display of fall colours – autumn is a great time to visit Europe. 

August may be the best month to visit Europe where you will see traditional boats like these silhouetted by autumn leaves.

A traditional Pletna boat on the banks of Lake Bled in Slovenia in autumn.

Winter in Europe

Winter takes place between December and February.

While much of Europe transforms into a magical wonderland full of festive activities during the winter, Northern Europe steals the limelight in the colder months.

Visitors turn their attention to snow-dusted Christmas markets and snow sports such as skiing and sledding.

2 huskies lying in the snow, for some winter is the best time to visit Europe.

Explore a glacier, hike a snowy peak, skiing and snowboarding, or festive shopping at Europe’s most magical Christmas markets. Winter in Europe is filled with excitement and festivities.

Christmas markets at night.

The Christmas markets in Ghent make it a great winter European destination.

If you happen to be in Europe during the winter months, there is no shortage of magical Christmas markets scattered throughout the continent. December is also a great time to take a Christmas market river cruise to experience the best Christmas markets in Europe.

Early and late winter, either side of Christmas and New Year are also good times to snag some great travel deals.

Best Time for Skiing in Europe

The peak season for snowboarding and skiing in Europe is February to March. However, resorts usually start to open their slopes early November and stay open until around mid-April. In far northern countries such as Finland, ski resorts will stay open as late as June.

If you’re looking for some of the cheapest ski trips, then look around the period just after Christmas. January is when you’ll often find the best ski deals, but make sure to avoid New Year’s Eve, Christmas Day, and February, when schools are on holiday. 

Cheapest skiing in Europe is Bulgaria with views like this of snow covered trees and deep snow.

Bulgaria offers some of the best and cheapest skiing in Europe

Best Time to Visit Beaches in Europe

The summer season in Europe is by far the best time of year to be spending time on the beaches. However, a beach holiday in southern Europe in late spring or early autumn is a fabulous idea.

The weather can be remarkably warm, beaches are less crowded and travel and accommodation rates more reasonable.

Palm trees and crystal clear blue water make France's beaches a great choice for summer in Europe.

The French Riviera in early autumn is still warm enough for the beach but without the maddening crowds and peak season rates.

You can find some of the world’s best beaches in countries like Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Spain, and France. Although, don’t discount northern countries such as Latvia in the Baltic States for a delightful beach getaway with a difference.

Opt for the traditional beach holiday or try something different such as a snorkelling tour in Iceland. You might be surprised at the variety of beach holidays available in Europe.

A beach full of sun beds and shades leading down to blue clear water, a perfect spot to spend summer in Europe.

The Greek Islands for that ultimate European summer vacation.

Most Festive Time in Europe

The most festive time to visit Europe would have to be in the winter months. The best markets in Europe are of course the Christmas markets, which seem to get more and more extravagant every year are in full swing.

The fairytale atmosphere with twinkling lights and the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg around every corner can’t be matched anywhere in the world.

Crowds making their way past a carousel at Christmas markets.

Germany, Austria and Prague are home to some of the best Christmas markets in the world. A festive atmosphere, cosy treats and Christmas joy seems to infect every city, town, and neighbourhood during this time of year.

Street stalls at the Dusseldorf Christmas markets perhaps the best Christmas markets in Germany.

Enjoy mulled wine and giant sausages at the Dusseldorf Christmas markets.

If you’re looking for slightly different festive activities to participate in, then consider the Tour de France. Taking place during the first three weeks of  July, ” Le Tour” brings a festive atmosphere to the French countryside and neighbouring countries.

The Tour de France coincides nicely with summer so is an excellent opportunity to combine the excitement of the world’s greatest bike race with a beach getaway or a sightseeing cruise down the Saône River

Summer is also the time for Europe’s best music festivals and food festivals such as Belgium’s food truck festival in Ghent each summer. 

people walking past food vendors at the Ghent Food Truck Festival the best festival for foodies in Europe.

Waffles, beer and twice fried chips make the Ghent Food Truck Festival a foodies delight.

Best Time to Visit Europe for a Honeymoon

If you’re planning a honeymoon, then the best time to go to Europe for a honeymoon is anytime. Europe is a remarkably romantic continent. It all depends on the type of honeymoon holiday you’d like to have. 

Love locks on a bridge with the Eiffel tower in the background. Read on to find out the best time to visit Europe for honeymoon.

Paris is, of course, the most romantic place in Europe for a honeymoon.

We recommend visiting during the shoulder seasons, as you’ll enjoy mild weather, fewer crowds, and discounted prices throughout the continent. However, cosying up with your significant other next to a warm fireplace while the snow falls outside is also a perfect winter honeymoon in Europe.

A honeymoon road trip is a great way to make the most of Europe’s fantastic summertime sightseeing opportunities. Rent a car in Croatia, and take a romantic road trip along the Adriatic coast.

2 horses and carriage on the street.

Slow the pace and enjoy a traditional horse-drawn carriage ride.

Of course, Paris, France, one of the most romantic cities in the world is the honeymoon destination of choice for so many newlyweds.

Although, we recommend avoiding the peak summer months for your romantic Paris sojourn. The same for Europe’s other romantic cities such as Vienna, Rome, or Venice.

Gondolas tied up in Vencice, summer is not the best time to visit Venice due to the heat and crowds.

The Gondola is the most romantic form of transport for the new couple.

Where to Stay in Europe

Knowing the best countries to visit in Europe, and the best season to visit, these are some of the best places to stay in some of the most popular countries in Europe.

Accommodation in France

When looking for accommodation in France, look no further than their sweeping coastline on the French Riviera for hotels with some of the best views in the world.

Tiara Miramar Beach Hotel and Spa

Tiara Miramar Beach Hotel and Spa is located in Théoule-Sur-Mer and offers incredible facilities as well as spectacular ocean views. They have an outdoor heated pool, a private beach, as well as a fitness centre.

The on-site restaurant is located right on the beach so expect your croissants served fresh while you enjoy an oceanic sea-breeze. The Tiara Miramar Spa is free for guests of the hotel and contains a steam bath, as well as a sauna. You can book a massage and various other treatments at an extra cost.

The Tiara Miramar Beach Hotel and Spa is one of the best places to relax and rejuvenate during your time in Europe.

Check availability and rates for Tiara Miramar Beach Hotel and Spa

Accommodation in Spain

Spain is a destination that comes to mind almost instantly to anyone looking for the perfect summer getaway in Europe.

Iberostar Grand Portals Nous

The adults-only Iberostar Grand Portals Nous is another ocean-side beauty on the island of Mallorca that features an outdoor pool, access to the beachfront, and in house spa. It seems beachfront hotels in Europe don’t skimp on the luxuries, but that’s why we love them.

All rooms are air-conditioned, (which you’ll be very thankful for in the summer months) and the hotel provides a certified butler service – ensuring you are waited upon hand and foot.

The spa contains seven different treatment rooms, all heated with geothermal energy. There is also an on-site gym that’s open 24 hours a day, so you’ll have no excuses to let your exercise regime slip on your European getaway.

There’s a wide selection of dining options just a 10-minute walk from the hotel, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

Check availability and rates for Iberostar Grand Portals Nous

Accommodation in Italy

Whether it’s a romantic getaway, shopping holiday, or an island-hopping indulgence you’re after, Italy offers some spectacular accommodation that’s sure to tick boxes.

Aerial view of Florence, Italy the perfect destination for Spring in Europe.

Fancy a week in Florence, wine, pasta and maybe a cooking course?

Continentale – Lungarno Collection

Continentale – Lungarno Collection is a gorgeous hotel with a modern interior right in the heart of Florence. The traditional stone architecture of the exterior has been beautifully preserved, encompassing the stunning aesthetic of the hotel.

The hotel’s outside terrace has a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the River Arno. We advise spending at least one sunset on the rooftop as the views are breathtaking.

There is also an on-site spa, so consider indulging in a treatment for ultimate relaxation.

The hotel is located just a few minutes walk from the iconic bridge Ponte Vecchio, so it’s easy to visit this iconic attraction during your time in Italy.

Check availability and rates for Continentale – Lungarno Collection

Accommodation in Turkey

If you’re ready to dive headfirst into a cultural scene that will leave you mesmerised, then Turkey might be the perfect European destination for you.

Turkey is a country with many hidden travel gems, like Trabzon Manzara.

Zorlu Grand Hotel Trabzon

The Zorlu Grand Hotel Trabzon is a 5-star hotel that mixes traditional architecture with modern influences situated on the Black Sea coast of northeastern Turkey. It contains a luxury indoor pool and a restaurant specialising in the best local dishes. 

Indulge yourself in a variety of traditional Turkish treatments or make use of the on-site fitness centre. This hotel is sure to exceed your expectations and take your ideas of luxury to the next level.

Check availability and rates for Zorlu Grand Hotel Trabzon

Accommodation in Austria

Austria has a fairytale atmosphere that keeps travellers coming back again and again. Whether it’s a stop along your European itinerary or a final destination, be sure to visit this gorgeous country at some point during your travels.

blue green lake surrounded by snow capped mountains, tirol berge Austria.

Tirol Berge, Austria

A-ROSA Kitzbühel

Magnificent views of the Tyrolean Alps surround A-ROSA Kitzbühel. A gorgeous hotel in any season, snow covers the grounds in winter, creating the typical winter wonderland the region is famous for. During the summer months, the rolling green lawns provide stunning views for its guests.

The spa facilities combine a fitness centre, saunas, treatment rooms, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool as well as a Turkish bath and an Arab bath. There are also personal trainers available for those who are looking to tone up during their Austrian holiday.
There are two on-site restaurants with views over the spectacular 9-hole golf course.

The surrounding mountains offer a wide variety of activities dependant on the season including hiking, climbing, paragliding, skiing and snowboarding.

Check availability and rates for A-ROSA Kitzbühel

Final Thoughts on When to Visit Europe

Now that you know when the best time for you to visit Europe is, you can start planning the ultimate European trip.

Remember, no matter where in Europe you decide to visit, travel insurance is the most important travel purchase you will make.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Get a Free Quote From World Nomads Travel Insurance.

 

Whether you decide to brave the cold to experience Europe’s magical winter or soak up the summer sun on a beach-hopping tour of southern Europe, few places in the world are as beautiful and diverse as Europe.

When is the best time to travel to Europe? Here's a season by season guide on when to visit Europe to suit your travel preference with tips on what to do in Europe by season. #europe #travel #traveltip #europetravel

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