• 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

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 theaters. 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.

  8. Hi I’m going on your Europe 12 days tour in May of next yr can you tell me what the weather will be like .and any good tips on what to pack.thanks

  9. I’m planning a trip to southern Europe and I’m trying to figure out the best month for me between November or February, can you please recommend the best month and what clothes to tak

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hello Ana, it really depends on what experience you are looking for. In December you can experiences a European Christmas with snow, lights, mulled wine and Christmas markets, while in November the weather can be a bit warmer and city streets quiet (and the cost of travelling lower). I’ve asked our team to get in touch with you with more detail!

  10. We are going to Venice Rome and Milan in the last week of October can you please let us know the weather at that time?

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hello Teresita, Italy can still be nice and warm in October, especially Venice. But early mornings and evenings can cool down quite a bit. Be sure to pack for warmer and cooler weather!

  11. Looking at your 10 day tour Europe highlights end Oct 18. Will we see lovely snow scenery? The autumn looks pretty but still want to see snow covered alps. Best time to come?

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hello Lynda! Autumn will be nearing its end in most of Europe in October month, but you’ll definitely see snow-capped alps in Switzerland. About 2 years ago we experienced a particularly cold and winter and encountered snow in Germany early October. But it’s never guaranteed and depends largely on the seasons of the particular year. If you really want to see snow, we recommend you take a Christmas and New Year trip with us – Find our more here>> https://expatexplore.com/multitour_pages/europe-christmas-new-year-tours/

  12. Hi, I am going on the Europe Escape tour that starts on Nov. 13th. What should I expect the weather to be like while on this tour? Thanks in advance!

  13. Hi!
    We’re planning a European tour this Feb. 26, 2018 to March 15, 2018.. does it mean that we can experience winter and spring? Or just winter? Thanks..

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hello Tracy! It will depend on what area in Europe you plan to travel to. Some areas in Europe, especially the southern countries, experience spring earlier than other countries. In Spain, for instance, you can enjoy warmer weather and spring festivals in March. Even though the weather can still be cool (but not cold), it can be some of the best months to visit. Find out more here: https://www.tripsavvy.com/march-in-spain-weather-and-events-1644265 Someone from our sales team will be in contact with you to answer any questions you might have.

  14. Hi. We are planning to go on a European tour in the middle of July for 2 weeks. We intend to go to London, Paris, Italy, Croatia and Greece. Can you please advise what the weather will be like during that period? Thanks.

    • Expat Explore says:

      London will be High 22°C and Low 13°C, temperate days but pack a light jersey in case. In Paris you can expect High 24°C and Low 14°C. Your true summer heat will be in Italy, Croatia and Greece! You can expect some very hot days – High 30°C and Low 17°C. Here’s a helpful article with some packing tips for your summer vacation >> https://expatexplore.com/blog/warm-weather-travel-pack/

  15. Hi, my husband and I will be going for our honeymoon trip in eastern Europe countries which cover czech republic, austria, slovokia, hungary, poland from 16th feb 2018 – 28th feb 2018.
    May I know the how is the weather and what kind of attire should be bring?
    is it rainy season too? Please advise. Thanks.

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hi Kaini! Congratulations and what an exciting trip for a honeymoon :) You will be in Eastern Europe during winter so you can expect a High of 0°C and Low of -6°C. In short, you will need to snuggle up. Here is an article on a few packing tips >>https://expatexplore.com/blog/packing-tips-for-cold-weather-travel/

  16. Is it suitable for a europe tour in feb for my one yearboy

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hi Shweta, unfortunately our minimum age is 10-years – our tours involve a lot of walking so it will be difficult with a very small child.