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Best Time to Visit Europe | When to Go & Travel Tips

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If you’ve never been to Europe or just want your next visit to be perfect, you need to know the best time to visit Europe.

Arriving at the right time of year will guarantee better weather conditions for exploring sights and cities, cheaper prices and flights, and smaller crowds for a more enjoyable trip. 

See the best time to visit Europe for every trip goal in our travel guide below, along with reasons to plan your visit to the diverse, colorful, and welcoming countries of Europe. We’ll also show you the worst time to visit and share some tips to make the most of your trip! 

Why You Should Visit Europe

When you go to Europe, you get to experience the different cultures, foods, landscapes, architecture, and languages of its many countries.

With so much variety and diversity packed into a European trip, it’s one of the hottest destinations for international travelers. Here’s a quick look at what you can look forward to when you visit the beaches, mountains, plains, and valleys of Europe! 

World-Famous Landmarks and Architecture

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From Paris’ Eiffel Tower and London’s Buckingham Palace to the Roman Colosseum and Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia, many of the world’s most famous landmarks and historic architectural wonders are here in Europe.

An entire trip could easily be planned with the main goal of seeing the many landmarks, buildings, and monuments in Europe’s cities.

While photos can give you a hint as to how incredible some of these structures are in person, you’ll find that witnessing them up close is nothing short of mind-blowing. It’s one of the reasons so many people come to visit Europe each year!

Each country has a different blend of architectural styles to appreciate. And it’s amazing to see how different periods in history have styled the buildings and monuments erected during that time. 

Diverse Cultures and Cuisine


If traveling to one country is like eating a simple, delicious meal, then touring Europe is like enjoying a multi-course feast with different things to appreciate and enjoy within each course.

Europe’s many countries bring different cultural and historical roots, values, and tastes to the table. Each country you visit will feel like a separate leg of your journey as each one is so different – no worries about a European tour becoming a blur of similar destinations.  

Travelers embrace the welcoming vibes and good food in Italy, the air of class and sophistication in the streets and on the tables of France, and the deep historical roots and friendly faces in Greece.

You’ll have the chance to drink and dine on global cuisine that puts the pale imitations at home to shame. Try Belgian waffles, German beer, French champagne and soufflés, Italian wines, pastas, and pizza, Spanish paella and gazpacho, and more! 

Along the way, cultural beacons like famous art galleries, museums, concert halls, and theaters will guide you through the countries of Europe while appreciating each one’s historical influences on the arts.

From the Louvre to the Van Gogh Museum, you’ll have a first-row seat to some of the world’s greatest masterpieces on your European tour. 

The Beauty and Challenge of Different Languages


When you visit and tour the countries of Europe, you’ll be immersed in beautifully different languages along the way. A trip here is perfect for linguaphiles who love learning new languages!

Before you go, you’ll find yourself practicing simple phrases and questions in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Greek, and more. 

If you don’t plan on mastering any new languages for your European journey, you’ll still appreciate the many foreign tongues you’ll hear abroad. Hearing these diverse languages spoken by locals and multilingual travelers is a neat experience for any European traveler.

Learning to decipher and communicate with locals in different languages can be a challenge, especially for monolingual travelers. But the challenge is part of what makes a tour across Europe’s countries so much fun!

Gorgeous Landscapes and Terrain

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Europe is well known for its monuments and architectural wonders, but its natural beauty isn’t far off.

Here, you’ll have the chance to take in rugged mountain ranges (like the Swiss Alps, Italian Dolomites, and German Black Forest Mountains), tranquil Alpine lakes, sandy beaches, Norwegian fjords, the rolling hills and vineyards of Tuscany, Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher, dramatic coastlines, and countless islands.  

Outside of the bustling cities and manmade structures, there’s a natural beauty in Europe that must be seen to be believed.

The diversity of the landscapes you’ll find in Europe will be a focal point of your trip. As you see the different terrain and geographic features across the continent, you’ll better understand why a trip to Europe is a must for any nature lover. 

Overall Best Time to Visit Europe

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  • June-August is the best time to visit Europe
  • Best weather conditions for sightseeing and outdoor activities
  • Peak season for travel when Europe comes to life

The best time to visit Europe overall is during the summer from June to August. This is the period when you’ll find the best weather for getting out and exploring the cities, lying on beaches, or hiking trails.

The days are longest during the summer season, providing ample time for travelers to experience all this continent has to offer. It’s also the peak travel and tourism season for European countries, so expect company – a lot of it. 

June to August is truly the best time to plan a European vacation because the warmer temperatures make it possible to do just about any activity on your list.

Walk or bike the cities, sightseeing to check famous monuments and landmarks off your list, visit the beach, take a hike, eat and drink your way across a country, or get out on the water. Everything is available to you during the summers in Europe! 

Two things to know about visiting during the best overall time to go: 

  1. It gets very hot in summer, especially in southern Europe. July and August are the hottest months, but may be less busy than June with locals taking their own vacations. 
  2. Crowds of tourists will be thick everywhere you go since summer is the peak season. Be prepared for traffic jams, longer waits at restaurants, and try to book your hotels and travel tickets well in advance. 

Cheapest Time to Visit Europe

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  • Mid-October-March is generally the cheapest time to go
  • Avoid visiting during December, when rates spike
  • Expect cool/snowy weather and shorter days

The best time to visit Europe on a budget is generally from mid-October to March, which covers the late fall through the winter months.

With the exception of December (when tourists arrive in droves for the holidays and rates increase), this period will net you the lowest prices on flights and hotels across Europe.

Fewer travelers come to Europe during the late fall and winter because the weather is generally poor and not suitable for a lot of outdoor activities.

You can expect cool to cold weather in European countries during this time, with some regions experiencing mild temperatures and others becoming frigidly cold and snowy. There may be increased rainfall and the sun sets at this latitude by 5:00 p.m. in the winter. 

But if you can put the miserable weather aside, Europe in the late fall and winter can be great for a cheap visit. You’ll want to spend more time checking out museums, galleries, restaurants, and other indoor attractions during a visit at this time of year.

Least Busy Time to Visit Europe


  • April-May, September-November is the least busy time to go
  • Take advantage of smaller shoulder season crowds + lower prices
  • Nice weather conditions and longer days for activities and sightseeing

The best time to visit Europe without the huge crowds of the peak summer season is from April to May and September to November.

These periods are Europe’s shoulder seasons, just before and after the peak summer season. You’ll benefit with smaller crowds, lower prices, and milder weather conditions than the summer months. 

When you visit in the spring (April-May), you’ll see Europe’s Mediterranean countryside in full bloom – green and lush. Temperatures won’t yet be at their peak, making sightseeing and outdoor exploration much more comfortable.

But you could still run into peak-season pricing in some parts of Europe, including Greece, southern France, Italy, and Spain. 

If you visit in the fall (September-November), things will be drier and less expensive in Mediterranean Europe. Cold and snowy destinations (like the Alps), however, will finally be passable and free from snow for hiking.

The daylight hours aren’t as long as in the summer, but you’ll still have plenty of sunshine and daylight to pack your days full of activities during the early fall. Days get shorter, temperatures drop, and snow begins to fall at higher elevations once November approaches.

You’ll find fewer crowds at this time and lower prices on flights and hotels, but they’ll pick back up in December as the holidays approach. Try to plan your visit between September and November to avoid the bigger crowds and higher prices of December. 

Worst Time to Visit Europe

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  • December-March may be the worst time to visit Europe
  • Shorter days, colder temps, and increased crowds in Dec. 
  • Fewer crowds + lower prices in January-March

You’ve seen the best time to visit Europe – generally from June to August – as well as the cheapest (mid-October-March) and the least busy (April-May, September-November).

But what about the worst time to visit? December to March may be the worst time to go for a variety of reasons. From December to March, you can expect cold to frigid temperatures across Europe, depending on where you go.

Most of the continent is at a similar latitude to Canada, so conditions loosely mimic weather conditions there. At higher elevations, there will be snow and ice, resulting in closure for some trails and mountain passes.

Sightseeing is tough in cold conditions, and you’ll need to bundle up to get outside for any significant length of time.

As you’d expect, coastal fun and beach time is out the window during the winter, making many activities impossible until the spring brings warm weather back to the continent. 

The days are shortest during the winter, which throws another wrench into sightseeing plans that are part of any European tour. Expect the sun to set by 5:00 p.m. on the shortest days, so you’ll need to pack all your stops into a shorter daylight period if you visit in winter. 

Skip a winter visit in favor of a similarly uncrowded and less-expensive trip in the spring or fall time. You’ll get longer days, better weather, and more favorable conditions for sightseeing and spending time outdoors. 

More Things to Consider

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What else should you know to make the most of your European tour? Keep these travel tips in mind to have the best experience abroad.  

  • Plan an itinerary and stick to it. With so many countries, sights to see, and places to go throughout Europe, you need a solid plan and itinerary to make your visit go smoothly without chaos. You’re sure to come across regions that make you want to change your plans to stay a little longer, but it’s wise to create an itinerary and stick to it. You can always return to your favorite places on your next trip – and yes, there will be a next trip! 
  • Know the requirements for passports and visas. Currently, U.S. citizens don’t need a visa to enter 26 European Schengen countries, but will need a valid passport. That means you can visit Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland for up to 90 days without a visa. 
  • Study the languages for an easier visit. You don’t need to be fluent in the many languages spoken in Europe to enjoy your stay, but it’ll be a lot easier if you familiarize yourself with key words and phrases in a few different languages. Smartphones make it simple to translate and communicate in other languages, but nothing takes the place of knowing a few phrases by heart. Download a language-learning app or study the main languages of the countries you plan to visit before you go. 
  • Grab adaptors for electronics. In Europe, electronics and appliances run on 220V (while we run on 110V in North America). Your laptop, cellphone, and camera should be able to accommodate the higher voltage automatically, but you’ll need adaptors to actually plug your devices into European outlets. In most of Europe, sockets accept 2 round pins. Switzerland outlets take 3 round pins. In Ireland and Great Britain, outlets accept 3 rectangular pins. Prepare according to the countries you plan to visit so you won’t be left with dead devices on your trip! 
  • Prepare to eat dinner later than usual. In most European countries, you’ll find later mealtimes than you’re used to in America. Prepare to eat your evening meal later in the day – usually around 8:00 p.m. – to fully engage and connect with the local culture wherever you visit. In countries like Spain, you might find even later dinner times (dinner at 11:00 p.m. isn’t unheard of), so stay flexible and be ready to snack if you get hungry at your usual meal times. 
  • Figure out how you’ll be getting around. There are many ways to travel Europe for different budgets and trip goals, but it’s important that you have a travel plan in place early on. A little research will help you decide the best way to get around and move between the countries on your itinerary. Eurail train, FlixBus, budget airlines, rideshare services, ferries and boats, and renting a car are all options to make your way across Europe. Find the one that best fits your budget and needs to make your trip travel seamless! 

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Europe?

Nicola Forenza/Shutterstock

The continent of Europe is home to many countries, but the overall best time to visit Europe is between June and August.

This is the peak season for tourism because it has the best weather conditions, little rain, and long daylight hours for sightseeing and spending time outdoors. You’ll find Europe is fully alive and bustling at this time of year, which is perfect for a classic European tour.

The Cheapest Time to Visit

The best time to visit Europe on a budget is from mid-October to March, which is when you’ll find the lowest prices on flights and hotel rooms throughout the continent.

With the exception of December, when crowds arrive around the holidays, prices hit rock bottom during these chilly late fall and winter months.

It’s not ideal for sightseeing as the days are so much shorter, but you’ll still be able to squeeze plenty of sights in during the daylight hours if budget is your main concern. 

The Least Busy Time to Visit

The best time to visit Europe without the huge crowds of summertime is during the less-busy shoulder seasons in the spring (April-May) and fall (September-November).

Springtime may be better for mild temperatures and outdoor adventures, but higher elevations may still be cold and snowy at this time of year. Fall is great for moderate temperatures, longer daylight hours, and warmer conditions at higher elevations.

The Worst Time to Visit

Try to avoid visiting during December-March – especially in December – which may be the worst time to go. Cold temperatures, big crowds and higher prices around the holidays, short daylight hours, and limited outdoor activities make this period the least favorable for sightseeing.

Final Thoughts

Everyone should take a trip to Europe at least once. When you see the amazing diversity, taste the unique flavors, and witness the world-famous landmarks and landscapes with your own eyes, you’re sure to return for another visit.

When you’re planning your trip, keep the best time to visit Europe in mind – it can be the difference between an incredible stay you can’t wait to repeat or a lackluster trip that left you disappointed and a little poorer. Check out these helpful travel guides next to start planning your European itinerary! 

  • Where to Stay in Rome | Best Neighborhoods and Hotels
  • Where to Stay in Paris | Best Areas and Hotels
  • The Best Time to Visit Barcelona in 2022

When is the Best Time to Visit Europe? (Not when you think!)

After spending months traveling in Europe, between Lina and I, we have visited Europe during all of the seasons. The best time to visit Europe really depends on the season and your personal preference.

Collectively, we’ve visited Europe 10 times and have spent time in 16 European countries. We both love Europe and each time we visit, realize we will spend our lifetimes exploring new places on each visit.

The traveling year in Europe is divided into three seasons for travelers: peak season, shoulder season and off-season and each one of these varies depending on what region you plan to visit.

What might be high season for one country, can actually be shoulder or low season for another.

As you’ll quickly learn when you start planning your trip, each season varies from the other and offers its own pros and cons for travelers.

The best time to visit Europe will really come down to your own preference and the country you are visiting.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Europe (Travel Guide)

Table of Contents

Regional Breakdown

To breakdown the best time to visit Europe we have split the continent into 5 different regions including Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Central Europe.

Each region has its own best time to visit and even though you may be visiting Southern Europe in May or let’s say October because it’s the best time to visit, it does not mean it’s the best time to visit Eastern Europe.

Below we will highlight the different travel seasons based on high, low, and shoulder seasons hopefully giving you enough information on when is the best time for you to visit Europe to pick the best time for you.

Before we get into things we also want to highlight what it means when we say high season, shoulder season, or low season.

  • High Season: This is when things are the busiest and things cost the most. 
  • Shoulder Season: This is when tourism is just starting up again or it is slowing down. Things tend to be a little quieter and a little less expensive.
  • Low Season: This is when tourism is at its slowest, there are fewer visitors things may cost less but not all attractions may be open.

The Best Time To Visit Northern Europe

Northern Europe is a lot like most of Europe, it is extremely popular to visit during the Summer.

The weather is enjoyable, yes it can be hot and it will be extremely busy everywhere but travelers who visit during this time of the year can take advantage of the long daylight hours and the nice weather.

We love to visit Northern Europe in the shoulder season because the weather is a little cooler and there are fewer travelers. It is also the best time to enjoy many of the outdoor activities across Northern Europe.

Winter in Northern Europe can be very cold, so if you are visiting Northern Europe in the winter, be sure to pack extra warm clothing.

Many locations adjust their hours to the shortened daylight hours and a little may even close their doors until spring.

Northern Europe Quick Highlight:

Northern Europe includes the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Luxembourg.

  • High Season: June-August
  • Low Season: November-April
  • Shoulder Season: May, September-October

Average temperatures per season:

  • Summer (June-August): High 22°C, Low 13°C
  • Autumn (September-November): High 11°C, Low 6°C
  • Winter (December-February): High 1°C, Low: -4°C
  • Spring (March-May): High 11°C, Low 2°C

The Best Time To Visit Western Europe

Summer is Western Europe is when the weather is enjoyable, however it is extremely busy. We strongly suggest booking out everything in advance when traveling during high season in Western Europe.

Traveling during the shoulder season is a shake of the dice, you could have amazing weather, or it could be wet and miserable.

If you’re willing to take the chance on the weather, the crowds in Western Europe start to thin out during the shoulder season.

Expect to get great deals on accommodation and flights during the off-season in Western Europe. 

Many tourist attractions and shows close down over the winter months during the off-season in Western Europe.

Beyond the Christmas Markets in December, it is not the most popular time to visit but people do.

It is best to make sure if you have your heart set on something that you triple check if it is running or that it is open during this time of the year

Western Europe Quick Highlight:

Western Europe includes England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland and France.

  • High Season: Mid-June-August
  • Low Season: November-March
  • Shoulder Season: April-Early June & September-October

Average temperatures per season:

  • Summer (June-August): High 24°C, Low 14°C
  • Autumn (September-November): High 14°C, Low 7°C
  • Winter (December-February): High 5°C, Low 0°C
  • Spring (March-May): High 14°C, Low 5°C

The Best Time To Visit Central Europe

Central Europe is one of those places where they get a full range of the four seasons throughout the year. Not everywhere in Europe gets that.

Just like all the other places in Europe, the weather during the Summer is amazing making it a high season along with an added high season during the Christmas Market time of the year (middle of November- end of December).

Visiting Central Europe in the spring or fall will offer cooler weather in the early mornings and at night with the middle of the day being warm.

There will be fewer travelers in many of the popular cities during the shoulder season but expect wet or cool days.

During the winter months, the popular places in the summer flip from historic cities to mountainous ski villages.

Central Europe Quick Highlight:

Central Europe includes Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

  • High Season: June-August & End of November – December (Christmas Markets)
  •  Low Season: January-April
  • Shoulder Season: April-May & September to Early November

Average temperatures per season:

  • Summer (June-August): High 24°C, Low 14°C
  • Autumn (September-November): High 14°C, Low 7°C
  • Winter (December-February): High 5°C, Low 0°C
  • Spring (March-May): High 14°C, Low 5°C

The Best Time To Visit Eastern Europe

Visiting Eastern Europe in the summer is extremely popular, summers are nice, warm and many locals head out of town to the countryside to escape the extreme heat.

This makes even the most remote places busy besides the popular cities. 

Traveling during the spring or fall is a great option since this is the shoulder season. Many visitors take advantage of this time of the year but keep in mind spring comes late in Eastern Europe and Fall comes early.

In Wintertime the daylight hours are limited and many popular places adjust their times due to the lack of travelers but also to match when the sun goes down.

So be sure to check hours while visiting Eastern Europe during this time of the year. The weather can also be extremely unpredictable and cold during this time of the year, so make sure to pack warm clothing.

Eastern Europe Quick Highlight:

Eastern Europe includes Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia and Russia.

  • High Season: July-August & End November – December
  • Low Season: January-Early April
  • Shoulder Season: Mid April-Mid June & September – October

Average temperatures per season:

  • Summer (June-August): High 25°C, Low 14°C
  • Autumn (September-November): High 13°C, Low 5°C
  • Winter (December-February): High 0°C, Low:  -6°C
  • Spring (March-May): High 14°C, Low 4°C

The Best Time to visit Southern Europe

One magical thing about Southern Europe is that it’s a great place to visit year-round. The problem is that means it’s harder for a traveler to take advantage of the seasons since the weather is always nice.

Summer in Southern Europe is stunning and that means lots of locals and tourists enjoy the weather.

This means large crowds and long queues everywhere, we suggest taking the road less traveled and go find yourself a hidden spot.

Shoulder season in Southern Europe can be as popular or busier than summer because the weather is a bit more enjoyable, you don’t get that extreme heat during this time of the year.

We love visiting Southern Europe during the spring and fall. Southern Europe is bright green in the spring, it offers cooler mornings and cool nights.

During the fall it’s a bit dryer and is a great time to go hiking or enjoy the outdoors.

Wintertime in Southern Europe is amazing. Many big cities are quieter since locals and visitors head to the mountains for winter activities like skiing.

Southern Europe Quick Highlight:

Southern Europe includes Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.

  • High Season: Mid June – September
  • Low Season: October – March
  • Shoulder Season: April – Early June

Average temperatures per season:

  • Summer (June – August): High 30°C, Low 17°C
  • Autumn (September – November): High 20°C, Low 10°C
  • Winter (December – February): High 7°C, Low 0°C
  • Spring (March-May): High 18°C, Low 7°C

Seasonal Breakdown

Visiting Europe During the Summer

Budapest, Hungary

Visiting during the summer is one of the best times to visit Europe. This also makes it the peak season running from mid-June to late August.

With iconic monuments, sunny weather and long days all added together this time of year, it’s no wonder that travelers flock to Europe in the summer.

It goes without saying that you can expect large crowds of travelers and temperatures high enough to melt that scrumptious scoop of gelato right off the cone.  

Expect long lines, full restaurants, and photographs with lots of people in them. These things alone can make traveling during peak season unpleasant and at times, unenjoyable.

Summer calls to all types of travelers and it is not uncommon to see the entire spectrum walking down the street at one time, backpackers, families, students and couples alike.

With all of those travelers it can be hard to avoid the large crowds but here are our tips to help avoid large crowds in Europe during the summer peak season.

Europe Summer Travel Tips:

  • Allow for extra time while traveling during peak season
  • Head to the iconic places as early or late as you can each day. It makes for early or late days but it’s so worth it to enjoy a place without crowds.
  • Avoid the places that run summer promotions or deals. It’s great to save money but they are likely tourist traps and will be very crowded.
  • Make your plans far in advance for the best rates and availability. Last-minute bookings will cost you a fortune and probably end you outside the best areas.
  • Rent a car and spend the night in the cities that people normally just visit on a day trip. You’ll be shocked at how quiet the places become when the buses pull out around 5 pm each day.
  • See Europe by train with a Eurail pass. No long wait times at the airport and no overpriced taxi rides. The trains run, for the most part, city center to city center saving you time and money. Be sure to make reservations early if required for your chosen route to ensure a seat during peak season.
  • Buy snacks from the grocery store to make your own sandwiches and have a picnic outside, away from the crowds.

Need to book a car for your road trip adventure? We use Discover Car Hire for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.

Be Prepared for Summer Showers

Torgau, Germany

Do not forget your rain jacket and be ready for rain in Europe in the summer. We have had the most rain in three years of travel while traveling in Europe during the summer.

Don’t let the rain ruin your trip, just plan for it and wait it out. There were many times where we waited out the rain and it eventually passed into a beautiful sunny day.

Be Prepared for Crowds

Yes, there may be horrible crowds at some destinations but viewing iconic places during their ideal season cannot be rivaled by any other experience.

Peak season offers the best weather and longest days possible to maximize your sightseeing and vacation days during your travels. Perhaps summer is the best time to travel to Europe for your travels, you’ll just have to decide for yourself.

Hours of Daylight in Europe during Summer

10-14 hours depending on how far north you get.


Hot and Rainy

Essential Items to Pack

  • Rain Jacket
  • Umbrella
  • Waterproof shoes
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Short sleeve shirts
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle

Pack like a pro! Ultimate Europe Summer Packing List

Visiting Europe During the Shoulder Season

Paris, France

Shoulder season is typically from April to mid-June and September to early November. Shoulder season varies by destination through all of Europe and is a good choice if you have time during these periods.

The advantages come with decent weather, long-enough daylight and a dramatic decrease in crowds.

The only real gamble you have is the weather and your good days could easily equal your not so good days during shoulder season. If you’re flexible and have the time then this is the season for you.

Is traveling in Spring or Fall better?

You will have to consider your destination. Both weather and crowds are the same throughout Europe this time of year.

Europe is generally dark green in the springtime with lots of flowers however it can be wet and cold where in the fall plants start to brown up.

For outdoor lovers like us, the fall is the best time to discover places like the Alps since many hiking trails are covered with snow throughout late spring. In the fall you can also get crisp blue skies for some great photography.

Money Savings in Shoulder Season

No matter your budget, traveling during the shoulder season will be kinder on your wallet. You’ll find more deals and better availability than traveling in peak season.

The trade-off is sometimes cold hotel rooms, so pack something warm to sleep in and shortened restaurant hours.

Read reviews and check prices with our Hotel Search Engine, that gives you the best hotel deals found on the web. Our search engine pulls results from all of the major booking places, including Expedia, Hotels, Booking and more. All the options, all the deals, all in one place and just for you.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hours of daylight in Europe during Shoulder Season

10-11 hours


Prepare for a wide spectrum of weather with cool days that can peak hot and generally cold evenings and nights.

Essential Items to Pack

Pack for hot, cold and wet weather. Packing with layers of clothing is key to enjoying the shoulder season.

This includes long sleeve shirts and pants. Bring a rainproof jacket, bring only a few pairs of shorts, waterproof shoes and don’t forget an umbrella.

You’ll have to ask yourself, is shoulder season the best time to visit Europe for me after reading this information? That’s the best way to decide what you’re willing to compromise on.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Europe (Travel Guide)

Visiting Europe During the Winter

Connemara Peninsula, Ireland

If you’re traveling to Europe in the winter, enjoy having Europe to yourself. Traveling in Europe on off-season may be the best option for the traveler who does not want to deal with the large crowds or the high prices.

Winter in Europe lasts from November to late March, peaking in December before the holidays due to the Christmas Markets, and is the cheapest time to visit Europe.

Expect to spend less while traveling in the off-season as airfares are normally hundreds of dollars cheaper and with the crowds thinning out you will find many of those expensive hotels drop their prices too.

Keep in mind that many bed and breakfast places or small boutique hotels may be closed, those that still open will be empty and more comfortable than in the peak season. The same can be said for restaurants.

Many of the busy top tourist locations will be empty and you will enjoy taking your time in the museums without being pushed between rooms.

Winter travelers in Europe will be spoiled with walk-up service at shops and tourist sites, unlike traveling during the peak and shoulder seasons.

Although there is a risk that popular tourist-oriented parks, shows, and tours will be closed so make sure you check in advance.

Pompeii, Italy

It will get dark early and light later, so your days are shorter. The weather can be a gamble and maybe at times be downright miserable, cold, windy and drizzly.

Packing can be hard because of the different types of weather. Dress warmly for cold weather, since most iconic sites are outdoors.

Most hotels are not equipped with great heating systems so in the off-season it can be cold in many hotel rooms. Smaller towns can turn into ghost towns during offseason and maybe shut down to tourists.

This can lead to frustration so it is very important that you confirm all your plans ahead of time. The off-season can be the best time to travel to Europe for the right traveler and offer many rewarding experiences and a unique look at many iconic cities and sights.

Worth noting

While it will be cold and you’ll certainly have snow, the off-season can be the best time to visit Scandinavia for dog-sledding and Northern Lights viewing.

Hours of daylight during the Winter

8-7 hours


Cold and damp.

Essential Items to Pack

Pack for cold and wet. Wear layers of clothing, bring a rainproof jacket, gloves, a stocking hat, long johns, good socks, long sleeve shirts, a good jacket, pants, waterproof shoes and don’t forget an umbrella.

Related Article: Ultimate Guide to Eurail Pass Train Travel in Europe

First Visit to Europe Tips

Vianden, Luxembourg

Must-Visit Cities in Europe

Day trip tours you simply can not miss in Europe

You cannot go wrong with local guides and small group sizes or private tours that Viator offers. Click to see tours in Paris, London, Rome, Amsterdam, Prague, Berlin, Budapest, Barcelona, Venice, Florence, Vienna, Lisbon, Madrid, Dublin, Krakow, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Salzburg, and Helsinki.

Top Road Trip Routes in Europe

From the glamour and glitz of Paris to glorious grit of Berlin. Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. The arctic Fjords from Bergen to Trondheim.

The unexplored East: Bucharest, Transylvania, Budapest, Bratislava, and Vienna. To Portugal and Beyond. The Romantic Road in Germany.

Godly beaches and ancient highways in Greece. London to Edinburgh and the Highlands. Discover Cars offers great deals on rental cars. We spent three weeks exploring Germany with our rental car from Auto-Europe.

Tips for booking your flight

Book your ticket during shoulder or off-season, if you book your ticket in peak season you’re going to pay the most for your airplane ticket.

Even if your ticket is for traveling in the off-season. Also, if the seasons overlap peak-shoulder you will also pay more.

Search for Flights: Priceline or Skyscanner offers great deals to Europe.

Tips for booking your hotel in Europe

If you are traveling in peak season, absolutely book your hotel as far in advance as possible. Hotels fill up very quickly and if you wait too long, you may find yourself with only very basic or very expensive options available.

The farther out you can book, the better. Find Accommodation in Europe: Read reviews and check prices for hotels in (London, Paris, Rome, Crete, Barcelona, Prague, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Budapest, and Berlin.) 

Don’t want to plan anything

Why not book a full tour with G Adventures? G Adventures offers some of the best fully planned tours in Europe and all you have to do is book.

Take a European holiday and enjoy history, adventure, and food. Discover stunning Europe tour packages that will help you get the best fares ensuring a wonderful time while visiting the romantic Paris, ancient Greece or the serene Scandinavia.  

Is Europe Safe? 

While traveling in Europe this past summer it was evident that most European countries have their own worries and there were armed military guards at train stations and in city centers. Despite this, we never felt threatened.

Most traveler issues are petty crimes like pickpockets, bag snatchers, and opportunistic crimes. Just be aware of your surroundings, all of your items and you will be fine.

We find travel in Europe to be very safe overall and very enjoyable. Practically everywhere you travel is easy with modern amenities, restaurants, accommodation options and the ability to stock up at the grocery store and go it on your own if you like.

Transport is reliable and efficient, with well-maintained roads. You really can’t go wrong with a vacation to Europe, no matter how many days you have. We use Pacsafe bags since they are 100% pickpocket-proof. Never get pickpocket again! 

When is Your Best Time to Visit Europe?

Dinant, Belgium

We are lucky enough to have flexible jobs and lifestyles to pick when we discover Europe, others do not have that chance. You can easily travel to Europe 365 days a year and each season will offer different experiences and adventures.  

While we love to visit Europe in the summer, you cannot beat the weather, we openly admit the crowds are tough to deal with.

This makes early Fall, in our opinion, the best time to visit Europe. No matter when you decide to visit though, you’ll enjoy amazing sites and culture.

More on Europe:

  • 10 Cheapest Places to Travel in Europe
  • The Only Europe Packing List You Need (For Any Season!)
  • Train Travel in Europe: Ultimate Eurail Pass Guide
  • 15 Best Cities in Europe to Visit
  • Travel Insurance for Europe Vacation: Do You Need It?
  • Viking River Cruises in Europe: What to Expect
  • 10 Adventures for Your Europe Bucket List

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Travel Gear & Packing:
Check out our packing lists and travel gear guide to ensure you’re bringing the right items on your trip.

Find A Car Rental:We use Discover Cars to compare car prices, find deals and book rentals.

Book Your Hotel:
Compare prices and book with our custom-built hotel search engine. You should also check out our tips for finding cheap accommodation.

Find Vacation Rentals:
Search vacation rentals & apartments on VRBO for the best prices and options.

Protect Your Trip:Don’t forget your travel insurance! Protect your investment and yourself. Read Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

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Cologne in March, rest and weather in Cologne (Germany)

The spring warmth has descended to the ground with light steps. The rays of the sun peep out uncertainly from behind the clouds. Notes appeared in the bird voices, telling that spring is coming. Indefatigable streams ran across the land. All nature wakes up and comes to life. How you want to join this exciting process of awakening!

The best way to cheer up and throw off the winter shackles of sleep is to go on a pleasant journey. A good choice would be classical Europe, which is German Cologne.

Holidays in Cologne in March: pros and cons

A few reviews about holidays in Cologne in March once again convince us that it is still worth packing your bags and going on a wonderful and exciting journey. Cologne in March is very comfortable to visit, and among the main advantages of a trip in the first month of spring are:

  • Many sunny days.
  • This is one of the driest months of the year.
  • The air temperature almost never drops below zero, even at night.
  • Prices fall during the off-season.
  • There are still no crowds of tourists on the streets.

To make your trip go smoothly, note that:

  • Buying a KolnCard will save you a lot on public transport and museum visits.
  • The weather may bring more surprises in the form of cold weather.
  • Museums, exhibitions and other cultural institutions in Cologne are closed on Mondays and public holidays.
  • A walk on the deck of the river tram is still not recommended for tourists with small children – it is not warm enough for this.

Cologne for children

Weather in Cologne in March

The weather in March-April is the least rainy of the year in Cologne. Combined with the sun emboldened after the winter, this is the perfect time for walking in the fresh air and admiring the city.

At the beginning of March it begins to warm up gradually. There are more and more sunny days, and night frosts go into oblivion.

The temperature in Cologne in mid-March makes it quite possible to change a down jacket for a less warm jacket, which pleasantly facilitates walking along the city streets.

The same goes for shoes – light sneakers are much more conducive to long walks than heavy winter boots. The temperature in Cologne at the end of March is about +12°C, which is incredibly pleasing to the soul, especially if there is a clear sky in the sky, and the gentle spring sun illuminates the sidewalks.

Air temperature and precipitation

The temperature in Cologne in March corresponds to the classical understanding of early spring. The sun is shining outside, the birds are singing trills in the parks, the buds are beginning to swell on the branches, and the scent of awakening nature reigns in the air.

Due to the mild climate in Cologne, here you will not see the stale and icy snow that begins to melt in March days.

Spring begins to take the reins in its hands already in February – in Cologne it is the warmest month of winter, in contrast to our area. Therefore, in March, spring is already raging in full force, delighting the eyes with new landscapes. This city is a wonderful choice for those who want to go to the spring to meet.

Temperature in Cologne in March

The average daytime temperature in Cologne in March is about +10°C, while the nighttime temperature for this month is about +4°C.

If at the beginning of the month the average daily temperature is about +6°C, and at night it is -1°C, then by mid-March the situation changes slightly towards higher temperatures.

In the middle of the month, the thermometer already reaches about +9°С during the day and +1°С at night. By the end of March, these figures are already +12°C and +3°C, respectively, the time of day.

That is, for the whole month the air temperature increases approximately twice. First of all, this is due to the location of the city on the river, as well as the absence of deposits of snow and ice, which usually delay the temperature readings at the lower levels.


March is the third driest month of the year after April and February. The average rainfall this month is 32mm.

In March, don’t be afraid to get wet in the rain and feel free to leave your umbrellas, rubber boots and raincoats at home, making room for more interesting and useful things.

And the short hours of bad weather, if such have already fallen on your vacation, are worth spending in interesting institutions of the city, be it a museum, a cozy cafe or an exhibition.

Sunny, cloudy and cloudy days

In March, the number of sunny days increased significantly, there are usually about 12 of them in this month, which is 39% of the total. The same figure also applies to cloudy weather, which also rules Cologne in March for 39% of the month.

A 23% falls on cloudy weather. In addition, it rains for about two days in March, which is quite low compared to most cities in Germany. This allows you not to carefully study the weather forecasts for fear of getting wet in the pouring rain.

Sightseeing holidays

There are many Romanesque churches in Cologne, but the most popular attraction is the Cologne Cathedral, which adorns almost all tourist photos.

When exploring the spiritual treasures of the city in early March, start with St. Martin’s Church, considered one of the most beautiful. As for museums, in addition to the classic ones, it is worth visiting the three-story Chocolate Museum.

The building itself resembles a ship, and your children will love it as much as the interior decoration, filled with delicious aromas. On the spot, you can taste the delicacy and buy sweet gifts for yourself and your loved ones.

  • More about the Chocolate Museum in Cologne

By the way, you can get to this museum on a special “chocolate express” , which picks up passengers from the Cologne Cathedral every half an hour.

Cologne’s signature water is also known as cologne. To learn more interesting information about the creation of the world-famous perfume, we recommend visiting the Cologne Museum.

  • More about the Museum of Cologne

If you want to take a ride on the river bus in mid-March, you should take into account the presence of a rather cold breeze on the river. In this case, dress as warmly as possible or take seats inside the tram, and not on the deck – with children, that’s for sure.

At the end of March, a cable car connects both banks of the Rhine. It offers beautiful landscapes of the city that will delight both adults and children.

You should also take your pranksters to the local zoo and the indoor water park Aqualand . In the first one, they will see a variety of animals, and in the second, they will have fun on the slides and swim in the pools.

  • Things to do with children in Cologne
  • Children’s route around Cologne

Holidays, events and festivals

March in Cologne does not have many holidays. All attention and efforts are directed to approaching Easter . Whether this year’s celebration falls in March, April or May, March is already in full swing.

A week before it, the Germans decorate their homes with Easter bunnies, fake painted eggs and other symbols.

On the eve of the holiday, Palm Week is celebrated in Cologne , here it is called Palm Week.

Children in schools and kindergartens prepare bouquets from improvised palm branches and make paper doves. And then they distribute these crafts and branches from the bouquet to friends and relatives so that everything is fine with them all year and they do not get sick.

Good Friday is a public holiday in Cologne. All shops are closed. On this day, even those who did not fast during the fast are fasting. No one uses the opportunity to redo everything on an extra non-working day or have fun with friends. Everyone treats this day with deep respect.

A special favorite tradition among children is the search for eggs. On Easter Day, it is believed that rabbits come to everyone’s house and hide colored eggs, chocolates and other small gifts around the house.

Therefore, in the morning, children, armed with baskets, scour the house in search of these surprises from long-awaited guests.

In addition, local newspapers advertise which parks the rabbits visited this year. And already in the morning, a lot of local children rush to those places in search of sweet treasures. So read the newspapers of Cologne and go on a search for sweets with your little ones.

Holiday prices

Prices in Cologne in March are much nicer than in February, when the influx of tourists to the carnival inflate prices for almost everything. Airfare prices are falling by 20-30%.

Hotels also sell their rooms at regular prices, typical for the unpopular months of the year. This also affects the cost of travel. They also fall in price due to adequate prices for flights and accommodation by 15-20%.

  • Best hotels in Cologne

The only disadvantage of Cologne is the rather expensive food. It does not depend on the holidays and always makes you fork out a considerable amount.

Therefore, during the day it is worth trying to have a bite to eat in inexpensive cafes or street food points – there are high sanitary standards, therefore they do not pose a danger. And for dinner in a restaurant for two, you will have to pay at least 70 euros.

  • National cuisine of Germany: what to feed a child?

Cologne is a wonderful city to relax and have fun. A trip here with any group – family, couple or with friends – will leave only pleasant impressions. And in March, Cologne is already warm enough to take even the smallest tourists on a trip.

Also this city is good for spring break. There are so many interesting and unusual museums in Cologne that children will surely remember this trip. Therefore, stock up on warm clothes, comfortable shoes, good mood and come here in March.

Where to go in March – Tourmaline Travel Agency

Egypt, UAE, Thailand, India, Cuba, Jordan, Spain (Canaries)


Maldives, Seychelles, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Indonesia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka

Austria, Andorra, France, Finland, Italy, Germany

Shopping tours

Greece, UAE, Italy,

Excursion tours

Czech Republic, Italy, France, Germany, China, Japan, Great Britain, Spain

Holidays with children


Beach holidays

Holidays on the sea or ocean coast in March are a great way to prepare for the upcoming spring days and get a beautiful tan before the summer season.

On the ocean coast of India, in the state of Goa, the weather conditions in March begin to change slightly – and compared to the winter months, the air temperature gradually increases, and the air humidity also increases. The average air temperature is +31°C, water – +28°C. The spring months precede the monsoon season. Goa is good because it combines a beach holiday with a tempting excursion program: resort guests can see Buddhist temples and river backwaters with crocodiles.

March in Thailand opens up great opportunities for beach holidays on numerous islands and the southeast of the country; hot weather and warm sea will bring wonderful memories. On the islands of Phuket, Lantu (Lantau), Samet, Yaoyai, Krabi and Pipi (Phi Phi), there is practically no rain in March, and the air warms up to + 32 ° C, water – up to + 28 ° C, depending on the location of the island .

Combined tours are very popular in March, during which tourists get the opportunity to see the sights of Sri Lanka and soak up the luxurious beaches located on the Maldives. Hospitable Sri Lanka invites tourists to Sigiriya (Lion Rock), Polonnaruwa and Dambulla, to the ancient cave temple and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy, as well as to a dance show, an elephant breeding farm, the Royal Botanical Garden and the Spice Garden . A rich excursion program is diluted with rest in the paradise Maldives.

In March, in the resorts of Egypt – in Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh – because of the wind it may not be very comfortable when entering the water, and the air temperature does not rise above +25°C. However, the cost of tickets and hotel accommodation during this period is very low – and therefore attracts thousands of tourists to the resorts of Egypt. Despite the fact that the weather at the country’s beach resorts in March sometimes does not allow you to enjoy your vacation, the first spring month is perfect for traveling along the Nile and to the pyramids. Wandering around Giza and Luxor under the scorching sun is quite tiring, while in March the comfortable air temperature will make a trip to the Valley of the Dead and Thebes a real pleasure.

The warm comfortable temperature in the United Arab Emirates is set in the second half of March, when the air temperature warms up to +25°C, and the water – up to +20°C. In March, sales are held in the shopping centers of the UAE: due to favorable tax conditions in the Emirates, quality items from the world’s best manufacturers can be bought at much lower prices than in Europe. For families with children, it is better to choose coastal hotels in Dubai.

The paradise beaches of the Dominican Republic and the Canary Islands offer a luxurious vacation for those tourists who are ready to fly across the ocean. These places are attractive because good conditions for recreation are provided here not only on the territory of the hotel, but also far beyond its borders.

The island of Tenerife, located in the Canary Islands, with its numerous green valleys and gorges, slopes covered with “transparent” mountain forests, barren lava fields and excellent beaches, will give you a wonderful vacation and amazing memories. In addition, colorful carnivals are held on the island in March. The water temperature in Tenerife during this period is kept at +20-23°С, and the air warms up to +24°С. Showers are possible on the northern coast of the island.

In the south of Jordan, in the Gulf of Aqaba, due to the special microclimate in March, the weather conditions allow you to comfortably relax on the coast. The water temperature in the Red and Dead Seas does not fall below +21°C all year round. Cool weather will allow you to visit sights and memorable places that are inaccessible during the summer months due to the suffocating heat.


Fans of exotic holidays should go to Brazil, Chile or Mexico.

In March, you can combine the exotic with a beach holiday in China, where on the southern coast of Hainan Island the air warms up to +30°C during the day, and the water temperature during this period is about +25°C. The weather is conducive to a comfortable stay on the numerous beaches of the island.

Sightseeing and seaside holidays can be combined in Vietnam, where tourists can enjoy a wide variety of landscapes. It should be borne in mind that in the resorts of Vietnam in March, the weather can be quite unstable – and strong winds and short-term heavy rains are not ruled out. The most comfortable temperature of water and air during this period is typical for the south of the country and the Dalat resort.

In the Seychelles in March, the weather is hot and humid, which brings the northeast “monsoon Norde”. The average air temperature is about +29°С. However, it is worth remembering that during this period, short showers with thunderstorms, as well as cloudy days, are possible on the islands.

Rainfall is fairly common in Singapore in March. Despite this, the first month of spring is perfect for visiting the country due to the comfortable air temperature, which does not exceed +28°C.

March is considered the dry season in Cuba, but the weather changes frequently on the island, and even during this period heavy tropical showers are not ruled out. Strong winds are also possible, which, however, do not cause much discomfort.

Excursion programs

March is perfect for sightseeing and educational trips to Europe, where warm weather will make you feel the approach of spring. The absence of heat and crowds of tourists, the traditional companions of the summer season, will allow you to view all the sights with feeling and sense and feel the real atmosphere of medieval Europe, not spoiled by tourists. In Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece, it is sunny and warm in March, which makes city walks pleasant and memorable.

It is quite cool in Scandinavia in March – and the temperature hardly exceeds 0°C, so you should definitely take warm and waterproof clothes with you on a trip; in addition, strong winds are not ruled out. Evening temperatures in Sweden and Norway can drop below zero.

Alpine skiing

The skiing season in March in many resorts is gradually coming to an end. However, ski resorts located in Andorra, in the Dolomites in Italy, on the glaciers of Austria (Zell am See, Sölden, Kitzbühel, Mayrhofen) and France (Meribel, Tignes, Chamonix) are ready to receive skiers and snowboarders, as well as those who want to try their hand at winter sports for the first time.

Throughout March, suitable weather conditions for skiing and snowboarding remain in the ski centers of Finland (Vuokatti, Tahko) and Sweden (Ore).

In the Bukovel resort, located in the Ukrainian Carpathians, March is the final month of the season, so this period is characterized by small discounts on accommodation and equipment rental.


In March, when the winter cold is already retreating, it’s time to visit the most beautiful northern regions of Russia. In the Arkhangelsk region, ecological tours are organized in the steppes of reindeer herders, to the beauties of the Golubinsky Reserve, where you can see relic plants, a karst cave and all kinds of northern living creatures. You can also have a great rest in the most beautiful Karelia: rest on the shores of the frozen Lake Onega, snowmobiling and a trip to Kizhi will impress even sophisticated tourists. The beginning of spring allows you to enjoy the northern nature at a comfortable temperature.

With the onset of spring, short, 2-3 day trips around the Golden Ring or St. Petersburg become popular. Of course, it is much more pleasant to walk around St. Petersburg on a warm summer evening, but even in March you can afford to get out of the house for a couple of days, if you are lucky with the weather.

Holidays with children

Spring school holidays are ideal for educational and sightseeing holidays with children of school age and even toddlers. It will be interesting for schoolchildren to follow in the footsteps of medieval knights and visit ancient castles in Germany, France or the Czech Republic. The warm spring sun, coupled with a tour of the ancient Greek ruins in Athens, will give children wonderful memories of a wonderfully spent vacation.

If you want to go on an entertaining trip with your children, then you should pay attention to European amusement parks. A trip in March means, first of all, comfortable weather, as well as the absence of queues – which means it wins compared to traveling in the summer.