Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Seasonal Guide to Travelling in Europe

As an international traveler, planning a trip to Europe can be intimidating at first. International flights can be expensive and once you’re there, with everything is so close together, you won’t settle for visiting a single city. The challenge deciphering the best deals and fastest connections between destinations has plagued travelers for years but the travel industry has finally caught on and new services like GoEuro are endeavoring to make planning a breeze.

The next hurdle is choosing the best time of year to go. Simultaneously securing the best airfare deals and the best weather can seem impossible so here’s a helpful guide to enjoying Europe throughout the seasons.

As flights hit rock bottom prices from November 1 to about mid-March and tourists seeking warmer skies flock to more tropical destinations, winter is the most underrated time of year for European travel. With the colder climate deterring many, queues are shorter, crowds thinned and hotel rates suddenly affordable. Avoid the tourists and prices by checking out Europe’s biggest cities during the winter “off season.” Try one of London’s free museums or soak in some culture in their lauded West End theater district. In the market for some holiday spirit? Check out Strasbourg’s centuries old Christmas Markets for some delicious mulled wine and a taste of yuletide cheer!

Warsaw christmas market
Warsaw Christmas Market by Piero Damiani

As the spring thaws the streets of Europe, the cost of accommodation and transportation awakening from their winter slumbers, slowly begin to creep up to their yearly summer highs. April and May are great months to travel, as prices, queues and heat don’t peak until July/August. The savvy traveller can enjoy the best of both worlds. Check out Amsterdam’s tulip festival for a real taste of the European Spring.
Tulips by Alexandre Dulaunoy
The atmosphere across Europe can be euphoric as locals shed their winter skins and bare all in the Summer heat. With a thousand reasons to travel in the summer, the biggest cities are extremely crowded and pricey. Take this opportunity to see some less traditional European cities where you won’t fear that with every step you could be entering the frame of someone’s photo. Alternatively, check out some of the continent’s famous beaches.
Nice, France
Nice, France by Anastasia Sotiropulos

Much like May, September can be a magical time of year to travel to Europe. The beautiful weather endures past the largest crowds and steepest prices and with the tourist season winding down, you may just find yourself strolling down Paris’ Rue Rivoli feeling like a local or savouring a delicious beer at  Munich’s not-to-be-missed Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest by Oscar Quiroz

Depending on your budget and travel style, it’s possible to enjoy Europe all year. Once you’re there, whether you prefer to travel by plane, train, bus or car, it’s easy to get around. Take advantage!

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