• 1 August 2017

When is the best time to visit Europe weather-wise? Well… when is the best time to have a piece of chocolate or a leisurely nap? The answer is obvious. Always! The continent of Europe is a rather large place, it spans many different longitudes and weather zones.

Anytime is the best time to visit Europe. It all depends on where you’re going.

Below you can see the average temperatures of the different parts of Europe. We’ll also take a look at peak season (summer) VS low season (winter) VS shoulder season (spring & autumn). We’ll also give you some season travel tips for your European holiday.

Top Tip! As a general rule of thumb, summer in Europe equals perfect weather. But it also means lots of crowds (meaning long lines) and an exodus of locals. In terms of budget, it has high accommodation prices. Winter means freezing temperatures and short days. Your budget will be lower here, as you have affordable rates on just about everything. The downside? Lots of closed attractions. Spring and autumn are probably the best times to travel. Shoulder season has fewer crowds and better prices. The weather isn’t too hot or cold. Just right for a holiday of exploring!

Planning a trip to Europe in the next 12 months? Use this handy tool to look up the weather averages by destination.

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Beautiful colours of autumn in Eastern Europe

WESTERN EUROPE

WESTERN EUROPE

Where is it? Western Europe is Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands and Switzerland.

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

As stated before, summer throughout Europe is delightfully warm, but extremely busy. Paris is crammed to the hilt during June and August. Tourists folk flock here for summer sun, to stroll Parisian neighborhoods and visit attractions in good weather. Even though you’ll experience mostly sunny days, July is Paris’ rainiest month! Remember to pack a poncho or umbrella. Also keep in mind that Bastille Day takes place in July.

Off season is much quieter and less expensive. But not in cities like Berlin and Brussels. They are big international business centres, thus they are busy at this time of year. This means accommodation prices and flights will not be more affordable. Many tourist-oriented attractions and shows close down over the winter months. But some cities, like Vienna, show their best when the temperatures drop. This is a great time to see opera and listen to choirs! You could also visit exciting travelling exhibitions at big museums.

Alps in Austria over winter
Winter view of a lakeside village in the Austrian Alps.

EASTERN EUROPE

Eastern Europe comprises Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and Slovakia.

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

Eastern European summers are warm! Sometimes cities like Moscow even experience intense heatwaves. These heatwaves can drive the locals out of town. Make sure not to forget your sunblock!

Top tip! Carry a small travel umbrella to protect you against unexpected summer showers. Lightweight slacks and long summer dresses are your best bet. Shorts can limit your access to certain Orthodox cathedrals and religious attractions. Residents escape the heat by making use of their cities’ green spaces. Or they get-together at local watering holes.

Visiting Eastern Europe in wintertime? Be sure to make the most of the limited daylight hours. Certain sites remain open during this time of year, but tend to close when the sun goes down. Note – this is earlier than you think. But, most of the larger cities still cater to the sightseeing crowds. Not the small towns though, they go into hibernation mode in the coldest months. Be sure to check ahead of time – the attractions you want to see might not be open during your vacation.

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Beach season on the French Riviera!

SOUTHERN EUROPE

Southern Europe, where is it? Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, and Spain. Top tip: Croatia, Greece and Italy has the warmest weather in Europe year-round.

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

Summer in Southern Europe means lots of locals on holiday, and tourists! They all make their way here to enjoy the incredible climate. If you don’t enjoy big crowds or long queues, rather take the road less travelled. Find those hidden spots… For instance, the beaches along the Peloponnesian Peninsula, they are just as beautiful as those on the isles of Santorini. Perks? Not as overcrowded. Similarly, certain day-trip destinations are best enjoyed in the evening. Especially the day trips in Madrid and Florence. They are quieter because most of the day-trippers have already gotten back on the bus. You should try to sleep over and enjoy the local flavour after the sun goes down.

Top Tip! Shoulder season in Mediterranean Europe (France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece) can actually be busier and more expensive than summer. This is because the weather is a bit more temperate. Don’t bargain on less crowds and better prices during this time of year. Torn between going in spring or autumn? Southern Europe is generally greener in spring, and a bit dry in autumn. Hikers should go in autumn, as the best Alpine trails are still covered in snow in spring.

Winter in Southern Europe is actually a treat! Big cities like Madrid, Rome and Athens are uncomfortably hot during summer. This means many restaurant- and bar owners escape the heat to cooler climates. So, you can ski to your heart’s content throughout low season. And you’ll have your pick of awesome eateries, exhibitions and special events.

Beautiful, sunny weather in London, England
Beautiful, sunny weather in London, England

NORTHERN EUROPE

Where is it? Northern Europe consists of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Top tip: Finland, Sweden and Russia are some of the coldest countries of Europe – pack plenty of layers and waterproof boots!

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

Summer is the best time to visit Scandinavia, Britain and Ireland. It doesn’t get as crowded as Southern and Western Europe. Weather needs to be on your side when planning your Northern Europe trip. Scandinavia can get extremely cold! It’s best to plan your travels around their short tourist season. If you don’t like the cold, your trip should fall between mid-June to late August.

Winter in Northern Europe is very cold! But then again, these countries are prepared. They all have central heating and loads of indoor attractions. You can plan day trips to the museums and theatres. The warming meals and wintertime charm will also make for a cultural experience. Can you brave the cold and possibly a blizzard or two? If you can, you will be rewarded with the best winter travel experience in Northern Europe. You can experience the local feel without the touristy interruptions.

This is when Europe is at its most European!

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Outdoor ice rink in the middle of winter. Budapest, Hungary

This should give you a good idea of when to travel Europe – depending on the type of holiday you’re looking for. Just make sure you are prepared for anything. The weather in Europe is very unpredictable! But, half the fun of travelling is being surprised and caught a little off guard, isn’t it? Questions about the weather conditions in a particular country? Get in touch with our awesome client service department. They can make the unpredictable a little more bearable!

Questions & Comments


  1. you forgot to mention Canary Islands for year round fantastic weather!!

  2. I’m from Germany but I live in the far north so I basically have a Danish climate. Can you please put Northern Germany in the Northern Europe section?

  3. Really, UK trip is good to visit in between June-August season. June is the perfect time for you to go and see one of the legendary location Britain.

  4. Hi,
    – Does this say that Paris “clears out for much of July and August “,
    and that it
    is “crammed to the hilt during June and August ” ?
    ( My confusion regards August ) .

    I don’t see Romania in the groupings .

    Thanks,
    Michael

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hello Michael! Thank you for highlighting this. Typo on our end! June – August are the warmest weather in Paris and also the busiest. Even though the locals head out of town for the summer holidays, tourists from all over the world flock to Paris for a summer holiday. If you want to visit Paris in a less crowded time, rather head over in shoulder season – April to mid-June or September through to October. As for Romania, it’s not one of our travel destinations (yet, anyway!), but it falls in the Eastern Europe bracket. Weather and climate is similar to that of Hungary and Serbia.

  5. We are going to in 24 th December in franc, sees, Italy and Vatican. Please tell me the temperature

  6. My daughter and I are taking a 1 month trip to Europe Starting Sept 3rd, 2017 through Oct 1st, 2017. our 1st stop will be a week in London, 2nd week Paris, 3rd week Spain and last stop Italy. What will the weather be like in all these areas?

    Thanks!
    Carol

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hello Carol! The weather starts cooling down in September as autumn arrives. You will most probably have chilly evenings and early mornings in London, but warmer weather in Spain and Italy. Make sure you pack a variety of clothes. Also remember your poncho or umbrella. France is known to get rain in September/October.

  7. This is our first trip to Northern Europe and In terms of clothing & shoes what do we need to bring the whole month of September?

    • Expat Explore says:

      September is the start of autumn in Europe. The weather can be a bit cooler – especially early morning and at night. Make sure you have both cooler and warmer clothes packed. In terms of shoes the most important thing is that they are comfortable. On the Northern Explorer tour has quite a number of walking tours and of course you will explore in your own time. So, in short: Comfortable walking & and options in your suitcase that will work fine
      for warmer days and cold, rainy days.