Weather Conditions in Europe
One of the most important aspects of planning any holiday is deciding when to go – but it isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Europe is one of the most favoured destinations for holiday makers. Surrounded by mountains, flora and fauna and with its history, tourism in Europe has seen a considerable spike thanks to hordes of visitors.
If you are on a holiday planning mode, then Europe should be on top of the list. The best time to visit Europe is during the summer months of June to September. This is the time when the sun is high, the beaches are warm and the weather is sunny. Temperatures are known to touch the higher side of the thirties and it is advisable to check the conditions before you head out. This is also the time when most of the countries boast of cultural events, galas and even end of season fashion sale. This is also an ideal time for hikes, road trips and adventure activities.
If you have planned for a winter vacation, keep in mind that there are possibilities of showers and snow. If seeing the Northern Lights is on your bucket list, then winter would be the perfect time for you to plan a trip.
However, before you book your Europe holiday, you should remember that not all the countries will have the same weather at the same time. If Southern Europe is warm, then the chances of Northern Europe having the same weather are minuscule. Finding the best time to visit Europe depends on many factors, including the weather, the cities you plan to visit and of course, your own personal preferences and holiday budget. With that in mind, we have broken down the year into three key travel seasons for Europe, outlining what you should expect from each of them.
The peak season runs from June to August. Many consider the summer months of June to August to be the best season to go to Europe. The weather is warmer, the days are longer and the sheer level of activity and buzz is higher – but keep in mind that travelling to Europe during the peak season comes with certain caveats.
First and foremost, expect to find crowds of other tourists wherever you go, but more so in popular cities like Paris, Rome, Barcelona and Amsterdam. This means longer waiting times – whether to get into popular tourist attractions or simply have a meal at a restaurant. Of course, it is easy to work around this by purchasing your tickets for key tourist attractions and monuments in advance (many have the option to buy priority passes online), and by making restaurant reservations a few weeks before you fly. By planning out your day and making sure that you visit tourist hotspots early in the morning or later in the evening, you can avoid the worst of it. Still, you will face throngs of tourists – and this can be an overwhelming experience for some.
In addition to the crowds, travelling during the peak seasons means that most aspects of your trip will be more expensive. Ensure that you book your flight tickets, hotels and rental cars well in advance, so that you avoid facing unnecessarily high fees or worse – options getting sold out altogether!
Having said that, Europe in the summer is absolutely beautiful – and for some key cities (especially beach destinations) summer really is the best time to travel to Europe. In addition, certain experiences such as celebrating Bastille Day in France or participating in the La Tomatina festival held in Spain, can only be experienced in the summertime. And if you’re travelling with children, they will certainly enjoy the hustle and bustle of peak season!
The months before and after peak season – April to June and September to November – are a smart choice. If you have a certain level of flexibility and you’re not planning around fixed dates such as school holidays, the months directly before or after the summertime can be the best time to go to Europe. You can enjoy good weather and long days without the crowds of tourists that come during the summer, allowing you to maximise your time in every city and have a more authentic experience.
In addition, you are likely to be able to do more with the same amount of money – flight tickets will be cheaper, hotel rooms will not only be more reasonably priced but also, more widely available in good neighbourhoods and many other expenses like car rental or city tours will be lower as well. The only down-side with travelling before or after peak seasons is the unpredictable weather, so make sure to pack for both warm and cool weather.
When it comes to choosing between visiting during Spring or Autumn, you must consider the places and cities that you plan to visit, to decide which is the best time to visit Europe for you and your travel companions. Again, certain experiences can only be had during certain seasons – such as the Tulip Festival in Amsterdam that takes place in spring or the iconic Oktoberfest in Munich that is a must-do in autumn.
The off-season runs from November to March and allows you to see a completely different side of Europe. If you are a solo traveller, budget-conscious adventurer or simply more flexible when it comes to timing your travel, the cold months of winter are definitely the best time to visit Europe. The months of November to March are the cheapest time to visit the continent. Besides, you will also have the opportunity to enjoy many tourist attractions and monuments thoroughly and in your own time, without being crowded and overwhelmed by other tourists at every turn. Having said that, it is important to note that many destinations that are buzzing during the summertime are often closed or lacklustre during the winter months – so make sure to plan your itinerary wisely.
While the days are shorter and the weather is dramatically cooler, winter in Europe is a very different experience. You will have the opportunity to see how the continent celebrates Christmas, which is one of the biggest holidays across Europe. Experiences like visiting Christmas markets, staying in ice hotels or enjoying skiing and other snow-based activities, can only be enjoyed during the wintertime – and are definitely a quintessential part of experiencing Europe. And if you’re looking to spy the Northern Lights, this is definitely the best time to visit Europe to maximise your chances. Just make sure you pack a trusty winter jacket and don’t forget your woollens, either!
It’s clear that Europe has a wide range of delightful activities and experiences to offer for every type of traveller, regardless of the season. To ensure that you maximise your time and your money – and see nothing but the very best of Europe – head over to your neighbourhood SOTC branch today. We will help you find the best Europe tour packages to make sure that you have the Europe trip of a lifetime!