When to Travel to Europe

When it comes to planning a trip to Europe, it’s important to understand that the time of year you choose to go is almost as important as the locations you choose to visit. Europe’s seasons are much more defined than those down under, so it’s vital to take the weather into account when planning your trip. As well as this, doing some thorough research as to what festivals and events are occurring during your chosen travel time will do wonders in helping you decide and take the plunge to booking a flight!

 

We’ve put together our ideas for the best months to plan your next trip to Europe, depending on whether you’re after summer fun or a winter adventure.

 

Questions to ask before you start planning

1. What countries in Europe interest you?

Have you always dreamed of visiting Paris? Are you a history buff wanting to explore Austria and Germany? Or maybe lying on a beach in Spain is more your style? Narrow your dream destinations down to four or five locations, and then start planning from there.

 

2. How important to you is the weather?

If it’s rainy, cold and a little drizzly, will this ruin your trip, or will you instead see it as the perfect excuse to explore museums, cafes and art galleries? If sunshine is a total MUST on your list, then you’ll need to factor this into your planning – both for the time of year and where to visit.

 
 

3. Can you deal with crowds?

If you’re the kind of person who gets frustrated with large crowds, and waiting in queues drives you up the wall, then it may be best to avoid travelling to Europe in peak periods. Certain tourist hot spots can get seriously busy at popular times. It might also mean that winter is a better time to travel to Europe, as the cold can put some people off.

 
 

4. What’s your budget?

Along with popular times of the year come premium prices, where you can pay even double or triple the low season price for hotels and hostels. Choosing to travel in Europe on a pre-organised tour can be a good option if you’re worried about the cost exceeding your budget, as the majority of the costs are paid upfront and how much extra you spend is up to you.

 

Travelling Europe in summer

 
 

Which countries should I visit?

July is considered to be the peak of the European summer. If a beautiful European ‘beach holiday’ vibe for your sightseeing tour is what you’re after, then southern countries like Spain, Italy, Croatia, Portugal and Sicily will be good choices for you.

 

What special events are occurring at this time?

July is often the month where many European music festivals are held, such as WOMAD in the UK, the Running of the Bulls in Spain, Bastille Day in France, the Tour de France, and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

 

A quick tip for travelling in July

The month of July also coincides with many school holidays or mid-year breaks around the world, and so is an extremely popular time of year to travel to Europe. This means that beaches, alpine villages, planes and hotels will most likely be pretty busy (not to mention potentially more expensive). With this in mind, make sure you can afford to travel at this time, and budget correctly to ensure you don’t overspend.

 

If you’re worried about the crowds, try to time your visit to be more around end of May/start of June, as the weather is likely to be warming up, and there will be less chaos caused by school holiday periods.

 

And remember, summer in Europe can reach high temperatures just like here in Australia, so when you’re out in the sun and exploring the sights, drink plenty of water and never forget to slip, slop, slap.

 

Travelling Europe in autumn

 
 

Which countries should I visit?

September is considered the ‘shoulder season’ in Europe, and is a pretty ideal time to visit most destinations. The lower temperatures mean smaller crowds, and all you’ll need is a light jacket to stay comfortable. Why not head to France, Bavaria, Sicily or Ireland?

 

What special events are occurring at this time?

The Rome Film Festival in Italy begins at the end of September, as well as Oktoberfest (which contrary to its name, actually begins in September). In the Netherlands you’ll find the Amsterdam Fringe Festival, and the Galway Oyster Festival in Ireland (if that’s your thing, of course!).

 

A quick tip for travelling in autumn

Autumn in Europe can mean highly unpredictable weather. When packing, remember to bring clothes for a variety of different temperatures – layering is always the best way, so bring t-shirts and jeans, as well as thermals and jackets!

 

Travelling Europe in winter

 
 

Which countries should I visit?

A winter trip is the perfect time to really indulge in the glorious Christmas feel of many European towns and villages. You could experience Christmas in the Slovenian Alps, travel by train through Switzerland, visit medieval towns in Germany, or explore the Christmas markets of Prague and Vienna.

 

What special events are occurring at this time?

The most important event of all – Christmas! The Christmas markets that take place in many towns and cities are an absolute highlight, where you can sample traditional treats, purchase festive wares, and just enjoy the magical atmosphere of a cold Christmas. Some of our favourite markets include Rothenburg, Vienna, Prague, Nurnberg, Salzburg, and Innsbruck.

 

Our quick tip for travelling in December

Our best tip for travelling at this time of year is that it’s probably going to be very, very cold! Invest in a great coat and some solid boots so you’re prepared for any kind of weather (especially snow).

 

Also take note that if you’re staying in a smaller town or village, it’s likely to be almost entirely shut on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – although many eateries and shops in the larger cities will simply have reduced opening hours.

 

Travelling Europe in spring

 
 

Which countries should I visit?

During the spring months in Europe the more southern countries tend to warm up much more quickly than their northern counterparts, so if you’re looking for a warmer climate Italy, Portugal, Spain, or Croatia would suit. If you’re looking for a cooler climate, opt instead for Germany, Switzerland, Holland or the Scandinavian countries.

 

What special events are occurring at this time?

The Keukenhof Flower Festival in Holland is a fantastic event held in April and May each year. 

 

A quick tip for travelling in spring

Just like during autumn, spring in Europe can run the gamut from freezing cold to warm in Europe. Layers will also be your best friend during this time, however keep in mind that the earlier in the year you travel, the more likely it is that you’ll need full winter gear.

 

Travelling Europe no matter the season

The best time to travel the world is now! Kickstart your journey with Albatross Tours today. We offer a variety of tours in each of the months listed above so you can experience Europe in the time you want! Check out our beautiful European brochures with full tour details by checking out this page here.

 
 
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Julia Austin

Julia Austin is the Marketing Executive at Albatross Tours