Europe boasts a wide range of options for travelers, and it has its pros and cons depending on the country and the season you decide to visit. From the beautiful fjords and cascades of Norway to the vibrant and colorful charm in the sizzling heat of Portugal’s Algarve, there is something for everyone.
While choice is certainly in abundance, it is always advised to study what is on offer around Europe, depending on the season. Flights and travel insurance can be cheaper depending on the time of year, but as many festivals and tourist hotspots are dead in winter months, avoid disappointment by researching what is on prior to making a choice to visit a particular country.
Europe’s Climate Differs From Country to Country
While a visit to the South of France or Sicily on most days in July will more than likely result in a sunny day, the same cannot be said for a hike around Scotland or a jaunt around the Finnish coast. Northern Europe tends to be cooler and more unpredictable in the summer but is always particularly cold in the winter. Expect the chance of snow and heavy rain if visiting the likes of Ireland, Britain, and Germany between November and February.
Spain, Greece, and other southern European countries will always offer more stability in the warmer months, and they are also pretty mild in the winter.
The Busiest Time of the Year
July and August are generally the peak months in Europe, and those who travel in the summer months will have the most chance of encountering big crowds. For tourists heading to the warmer climates and beaches of Iberia, France, Italy, and Greece, expect high demand for hotels and accommodations.
In winter, the same can be said for the ski resorts of Andorra, the Alps, and Austria. Val Thorens, for example, will definitely attract a wide range of visitors from all over Europe and beyond. Some resorts tend to be more popular than others, but there are many which are aimed directly at the 18-30 age bracket or are more suitable for older couples and professionals aiming to find a more relaxing atmosphere.
Those traveling with family would be more suited for resorts such as Alpe d’Huez, which prides itself on its wider appeal to visitors of all ages.
For many areas in Europe, the summer sun is essentially the key season for tourism. As a result, expect price hikes in everything from food and drink, to cab fares and entry fees, to clubs and shows. Costs generally vary from country to country or region to region, but there is always a difference in what you can expect to pay from off-season to peak season.
Visiting these areas prior to the summer months will get you better value for your money and generally cheaper airfares and accommodation. Things are even cheaper in the winter months, but you will find that there may not be a lot going on in some parts. There is certainly value for money in visiting many places in the off-season, and the Canary Islands, which are located just off the west coast of Africa but are controlled by Spain, offer excellent weather in the winter months.
Summer in Europe, like in the United States and other nations, is festival season. Music events like Glastonbury in England, Fete de la Musique in France, and Primavera Sound in Portugal and Spain are top attractions featuring the best acts in music. Parades and cultural events are also big this time of the year and are spread throughout the continent.
In the spring, Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations attract almost three times the size of the population of Dublin, while other religious festivals in Italy and Spain are common. Winter is generally the season for Christmas markets, with Berlin and Bath in England being two of the most famous. Autumn’s Oktoberfest in Munich is perhaps the best known and most celebrated of the fall season.
Wherever and whenever you decide to travel abroad will determine what is happening in Europe. Factoring in overall cost, the weather, and how vibrant your destination will be can give you a better understanding of what best works for you. The idea of an ideal vacation differs from person to person, but the level of choice available to those infected with wanderlust in Europe is luckily in abundance. From the beautiful sandy beaches of the Costa Del Sol to the ancient, rolling green hills of Kerry, there is something for everyone.