When is the "best" time to go?

The best time depends on what you are looking for in a European vacation. It could be the least expensive time, or the time with the best weather, or the time when the place is less crowded. Remember, least expensive often correlates to least desirable (weather less than ideal) and best weather often correlates to most crowded.

To get an idea about the "best" time to go to the destination of your dreams, contact me to provide guidance customized to what you are looking for in a European vacation.

Meanwhile, here is a short list of the best times to go various places. If a place you fancy isn’t on the list, let me know and I’ll tell you the best times for that place.

  • Europe – November & December – Europe is usually deserted at Christmas and Thanksgiving. Hotel rooms go for a song (well, at least cheaper than usual), and, especially in Paris, there are amazing sales at trendy boutiques ordinarily out of reach.
  • Europe– cheapest airfares and fly-hotel packages are available from November 1 to mid to late March. There are also fewest tourists in the way of having a great time there. But you need to check with me before you finalize your plans; many tourist attractions close or have reduced hours during part of the winter. If there is a place you especially want to visit, you don’t want it to be closed when you arrive.
  • Mediterranean Europe (Italy, Greece, etc) – the climatic regime is winter wet, summer dry so the best time to go there is in the spring and fall (April-May and September-October). Spring is especially beautiful because the winter rains make the hills lush and green and covered with wildflowers in bloom. Plus, the locals are still around, and the tourists haven’t arrived in droves yet.
  • Southern France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey - The months of May, June, September and October are the best months to enjoy the rural areas of these countries. The weather is generally good (not too hot), the locals are in town, and the summer crowds have either not arrived, or have returned home.
  • Spain – May-June and September-October are the best times to visit central Spain (Madrid, Toledo, etc.): it's not really crowded yet and the weather isn't sweltering (as it gets in July & August which is when and where Europe's highest temperatures occur).
  • Bavaria - Oktoberfest in Munich occurs from the last 2 weeks in Sept. thru the first weekend in October. (Yes, I know that it makes no sense that the Oktoberfest mostly isn't in October. That's why, if you want to experience the Oktoberfest I would never send you to Munich later in October; you'd miss it!)
  • Scandinavia - Summer has the best weather and long days for sightseeing. But if you go in August, many of the natives will be elsewhere having their own vacations.
  • Amsterdam – The first Saturday in September is the Bloemencorso (flower festival).
  • Britain – May is the very best month to be there: gardens are in bloom, and there not so many tourists.
  • Scotland - The most popular time is August and September—when the Edinburgh International Festival is in full swing—but it is also the busiest time and the prices are at their highest. Many people like to travel in the "shoulder" season - May, June and October when things are a wee bit quieter and the value is better. You shouldn't discount traveling in the winter months either; Scotland has some beautifully sunny and crisp days during the winter.
  • London, Paris, Rome, & Florence are best visited in off-season, from September through May, in order to avoid tourist crowds, higher prices, and the heat of summer.

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