“So, when is the best time to travel to Europe?” The honest answer – anytime is a good time to travel. If you can get the time off, just go! There are pros and cons to any travel season so as long as you know what to expect, you’ll be fine. Plus, Europe is not a tropical destination so there is no monsoon/hurricane/typhoon season to consider.
Not the answer you were expecting? Here are some terms to get acquainted with so that you can know what to expect during each of Europe’s travel season:
Peak Season / High Season ($$$)
In Europe, this season is during the warm spring/summer days and nights of April through September. If you are traveling during this time of year, expect some great weather, awesome party vibes, and higher prices. This is the busiest (and most expensive) travel season for a couple of reasons:
- Reason #1: It’s the most convenient time to travel (due to school holidays, events of interest, etc.)
- Reason #2: This time of year is when you will experience the best weather
If you are looking to be amongst the hustle and bustle, this is a great time to travel; just be warned the rates are more expensive.
- Pro Travel Tip #1: Availability fills up fast this time of year so be sure to book early to get first dibs on travel dates. Also, there are usually “book early” deals, so procrastinating can literally cost you.
Off Season / Low Season ($)
Europe’s off-season is during the autumn, winter, or early spring months of November through February. This is a less busy (and less expensive) time to travel due to a couple of factors:
- Reason #1: Weather conditions aren’t optimum
- Reason #2: Taking time off to travel isn’t as convenient or may overlap with some national holidays that are traditionally spent with family (like Thanksgiving)
If you are looking for a more local experience or to save a bit of cash, this is a great time to travel. More locals will be out and about and there will be less crowds (meaning shorter lines) so you will get a more authentic experience. Plus, many regions may have holiday markets that are a must-see, but be warned – you may encounter some inclement weather and some attractions may be closed during this season.
- Pro Travel Tip #1: Plan your vacation time over a holiday to take advantage of bonus holiday days off and weekends that won’t count against your yearly total. For example, opting to take vacation over Thanksgiving next year will give you about 6 extra vacation days that won’t count against your total paid time off. That’s an extra work week+ off!
The Shoulder Season ($$)
Everyone loves the exception to the rule and in travel, this is called the “shoulder season”. Europe’s shoulder season occurs in the months of October and March. The shoulder season is the exception for a couple of reasons:
- Reason #1: This is the magical transition time right before the off season turns to peak season and vice versa when you get the best of both worlds – not amazing weather but not bad weather either. Not huge crowds but enough people out and about for you social butterflies. Not expensive peak-season rates but not off-season rates either
- Reason #2: This isn’t the most ideal time to travel as students are starting to go back to school or are in the month leading up to a holiday break
If you are looking to save a bit of cash and aren’t too concerned with breezier weather, this is a great season to travel. Expect lighter crowds and lower fares.
- Pro Travel Tip #1: This magical vacation time takes a bit of research and patience to master. Be flexible with your travel dates so that you can quickly take advantage of the great deals that normally pop up during this time of year due to lighter demand in the market.