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When is the best time to visit Europe?

Europe makes a good year-round destination. Overall, late March to early June, and September to November are the best times to visit, as you’ll avoid the busier summer period and see your money go further.

Northern Europe is generally warm and dry between May and September, while farther south, temperatures can reach 36°C (96°F) between July and August. Vibrant Easter celebrations across southern Europe create a particularly interesting time to visit, while a September or October trip will coincide with the grape harvest. Winter in northern Europe is cool and wet, while the south is mild, making it a good time to explore the cities.

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Our recommendations for when to visit Europe

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
France climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Italy climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Iceland climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Croatia climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Greece climate guide

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Ireland climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The UK climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Spain climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Portugal climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Russia climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Best time to visit

Best time to visit

Good time to visit

Good time to visit

Travel possible

Travel possible

Not recommended

Not recommended

Month-by-month guide to traveling in Europe

Gondolas at Sunset, Venice

Visiting Europe in January

The mild Mediterranean winter is a good time to visit the cities of Southern Europe. You’re rewarded with quieter streets and museums, better value for money and availability, and less waiting in line to enter popular attractions. Although temperatures are cooler, and some regional attractions may have limited opening hours, the sense of seeing a city at a more relaxed time more than compensates.

Events & Festivals

  • In Iceland, chances of seeing the northern lights are best between November and February, when the sun sets before 6pm and the nights are longest.
  • The Icelandic Þorrablót winter festival is celebrated from mid-January to mid-February. Þorrablót is an old pagan festival originally celebrated by Iceland’s early settlers over 1,000 years ago. Revived in the 1800s, it brings local people together to eat, drink, dance and sing traditional songs.
Traditional Mask, Venice

Visiting Europe in February

In February, much of Southern Europe gears up for a pre-Lent party with carnivals in many cities, such as Nice and Venice. Temperatures are still cool, and some attractions may be closed or have reduced opening hours, but many make exceptions for carnival time when they open for special events during the large-scale local festivities.

Events & Festivals

  • In Iceland, chances of seeing the northern lights are best between November and February, when the sun sets before 6pm and the nights are longest.
  • The Icelandic Þorrablót winter festival is celebrated from mid-January to mid-February. Þorrablót is an old pagan festival originally celebrated by Iceland’s early settlers over 1,000 years ago. Revived in the 1800s, it brings local people together to eat, drink, dance and sing traditional songs.
  • Europe’s largest carnival is held in Nice over two weeks in February, when the city erupts in a series of parades, dancing and flower battles.
  • Expect elaborate masks and costumes, masquerade balls and full-on revelry at the Carnival of Venice held in the two weeks before Lent.
The Dingle Peninsula

Visiting Europe in March

By March, temperatures are beginning to warm up in Southern Europe, though there may still be some rain. Depending on when Easter falls, you can find elaborate celebrations for Holy Week (the week before Easter) taking place. If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, 17th March sees parades and plenty of street parties for the national feast of Saint Patrick’s Day.

Events & Festivals

  • Holy Week is a time for religious processions across Spain and, to a lesser extent, in Portugal and Italy.
  • Saint Patrick’s Day on 17th March is the culmination of week-long celebrations in Dublin.
Bluebell flowers, Cotswolds

Visiting Europe in April

Spring blooms, warmer temperatures and generally blue skies arrive in Southern Europe in April, at a time when most hotels re-open and attractions switch to summer opening hours. Although Northern Europe is a little further behind, the weather is drier and warmer than earlier in the year, as the days become noticeably longer. You might also catch Holy Week celebrations across Southern Europe in the week before Easter.

Events & Festivals

  • If Holy Week falls in April, you’ll see religious processions in many Spanish cities, as well as in Portugal, and Italy and Greece.
  • The Istanbul Tulip Festival, running from April into May, pays homage to one of Turkey’s most cherished flowers.
  • Seville’s annual fair in the two weeks after Easter, brings carnival rides and dancing to the Spanish city.
Claude Monet's house and gardens at Giverny, Normandy

Visiting Europe in May

By May, Europe’s gardens are looking their best, bright blooms cascade from window boxes and the summer crowds are yet to arrive, in one of the best months to visit Europe. Southern Europe is pleasantly warm, making it a good time for exploring historic sites or cities, while Northern Europe, though cooler, has long days and generally settled weather.

Events & Festivals

  • The Chelsea Flower Show, the Royal Horticultural Society’s biggest event of the year, takes place in London in late May.
  • The Reykjavík Arts Festival takes place for three weeks each year in May or June. This is a major event in the capital that invites hundreds of artists from around the world to showcase their work.
  • Kirkjubæjarklaustur Chamber Music Festival takes place in the summer (month varies) in southern Iceland, on a magnificent lava-field landscape.
Mediterranean Sea, The French Riviera

Visiting Europe in June

Clear blue skies and rising temperatures see the beach towns of Southern Europe burst into action. It’s a good time to tour the Mediterranean, laze on a Greek island or explore major cities without the summer crowds. In Northern Europe, daylight stretches long into the evening, temperatures are pleasant and, ahead of schools breaking up, attractions are generally quieter.

Events & Festivals

  • The Reykjavík Arts Festival takes place for three weeks each year in May or June. This is a major event in the capital that invites hundreds of artists from around the world to showcase their work.
Lavender fields, Provence

Visiting Europe in July

Higher temperatures, long hours of sunshine and the school summer break signal July as the start of Europe’s busiest travel season, with larger numbers of visitors across Europe. The lavender fields in Provence are at their best, and beachgoers are rewarded with glorious sunshine. Many festivities and events take place, including concerts in historic buildings.

Events & Festivals

  • On 14th July, Bastille Day, the French national holiday is celebrated across the country with military parades, fireworks and concerts.
  • Open-air performances and concerts take place in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast, and in Sicily’s Greek theatres in Syracuse and Taormina.
  • The Palio, a historic horse race between the city’s contrade (districts), takes place in Siena on 2nd July.
Village in the Cotswolds

Visiting Europe in August

It’s holiday season in Europe, with many locals flocking to the beaches to escape the heat inland, particularly in the south. Much of France closes down for the month, and the Mediterranean beaches and cities can feel crowded. Northern Europe is quieter, and the fair weather and long days make it a good time to explore England, Scotland and Ireland.

Events & Festivals

  • The Palio, a historic horse race between the city’s contrade (districts), takes place in Siena on 16th August.
  • The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world's largest arts festival with comedy, dance and theatre performances held over three weeks in August.
  • Menningarnótt (Culture Night) is celebrated in Reykjavík in August. This is a major event, with roads closing for street performers and fireworks in the evening.
  • Fiskidagurinn Mikli (Great Fish Day) takes place on the first or second Saturday of August in the fishing village of Dalvík, in north Iceland. This is a big social event, with outdoor seafood buffets, and free fish soup offered in locals’ homes.
  • Síldarævintýri (Herring Adventure Music Festival) is hosted in the town of Siglufjörður, in north Iceland, over the early August public holiday. In the past, the festival has featured a broad range of Icelandic music, from folk singing to Sigur Rós.
Wine tasting, Santorini

Visiting Europe in September

As schools go back, temperatures decrease and the summer crowds dissipate, September proves a great time to visit Europe. The temperatures are still pleasant, the sea is at its warmest, and there are fewer people at major attractions and on the coast. It’s also harvest time, with food festivals and events celebrating the wine, cheese, truffles, oysters and olives of the region.

Events & Festivals

  • The Regata Storica takes place in Venice on the first Sunday in September, with gondola races, gondoliers in traditional dress and waterborne pageantry.
  • The grape harvest begins across Southern Europe toward the end of September, and some wineries invite visitors to see the process take place.
Street view in Trastevere, Rome

Visiting Europe in October

Cooler temperatures make October a good time to visit the cities and explore on foot. Seasonal foliage brings the countryside to life, and regional harvests and their associated festivals continue. While the south is pleasantly warm by day, nights are cooler. By the end of the month, Northern Europe is noticeably colder and wetter but can still see periods of warm, settled weather.

Events & Festivals

  • Held on the first Saturday in October, Nuit Blanche (White Night) is an all-night arts festival in Paris, where museums and galleries stay open, and street performances and art installations liven up public squares.
St Peters Statue at the Vatican, Rome

Visiting Europe in November

November is one of the quietest months of the year to travel to Europe. Many hotels and attractions close, and cooler temperatures lead to far fewer visitors on the streets. It’s also a time when you can benefit from better value on flights and hotel reservations. Major museums, galleries and historic sites are quieter, and you can photograph Europe’s landmarks at their most tranquil.

Events & Festivals

  • In Iceland, chances of seeing the northern lights are best between November and February, when the sun sets before 6pm and the nights are longest.
London during winter

Visiting Europe in December

Christmas dominates the European cultural calendar in December, as festive markets and lights brighten up the cities. Although rural areas are much quieter, the countryside under a dusting of frost or snow can look magical in the north. New Year’s celebrations are another good reason to visit, when you’ll experience street parties and fireworks in most major cities.

Events & Festivals

  • In the 13 days before Christmas in Iceland, troll-like Jólasveinar (‘Yule lads’) are said to visit children one-by-one in the days leading up to Christmas. Formerly, they tried to play tricks on people, but now they leave children small gifts. You might see the Jólasveinar projected onto buildings in Reykjavík, and they visit some hotels to leave small tokens for guests.
  • New Year’s Eve is the biggest party of the year in Iceland, when bonfires and fireworks are lit, and Icelanders gather to share the warmth and sing. Belief in elves (huldufólk) is widespread in the country and they’re said to be most active at New Year, so it’s common for Icelanders to reference them in songs at this time of year.
  • In Iceland, chances of seeing the northern lights are best between November and February, when the sun sets before 6pm and the nights are longest.
  • New Year’s Eve celebrations (Hogmanay in Scotland) see London, Paris and Edinburgh lit up with fireworks and festivities.

Europe trip ideas and travel guides