The perfect time for your individual European travel experience of course depends on your interests. Speaking generally, the winter months are December, January and February and summer stretches from June to August. However, in Southern Europe, the beach season may begin as early as May and last until October, while in the Northern half, winter may extend from October to April. These classifications, however do not necessarily indicate what temperatures visitors can expect. There can be extensive heat waves in Finland or Sweden for examples and winters in Iceland actually aren’t colder than they are in Germany or Belgium. Read more on weather matters here.
While the weather certainly plays an important role when making travel plans, other issues factor in as well. For example, many people in France go on vacation in August and in Germany, the country with the most travel-active population, school summer break is in July and August. At those times, many popular destinations particularly in Southern Europe can be very well booked and prices rise accordingly. Other popular travel times are Easter and May, which usually have several bank holidays that people use to take short trips.
If you’re interested in outdoor experiences such as hiking, you may want to pick travel dates in April or May, when the weather often is nice enough but not too warm and there aren’t too many people travelling yet. Also, this is a good time to enjoy nature waking up after the winter months.
For city trips, fall is often a good time to travel. Generally, for all travel that isn’t going to the beach areas, the shoulder seasons are travel times that should be preferred. If you don’t mind the winter cold, January and February might be an excellent choice, as hotels often will get creative to fill their rooms then and offer deep discounts. However, a number of attractions in urban areas may have limited opening times in those months.
In the end, what you have to do in order to find the best time to travel to Europe is define for yourself what aspects of travel are most important to you. How much do you mind rainy or cold weather? How much do large crowds bother you? Does your travel budget allow for high-priced accommodation? Based on your answers to these questions, you will be able to determine easily what the best time to travel Europe is for you – which is, after all, a very individual decision to make.
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