When Is The Best Time to Travel to Europe

February 26, 2024

When is the best time to travel to Europe

As the founder of a travel advisory that specializes in France and England, I split my time between my home base in New York and Europe. I love any opportunity to be back on the European continent but depending on what country you plan to visit and what your trip priorities are, there can be pros and cons to anytime you decide to go.

The timing of your trip can make an impact on your activities and overall travel experience so this post should help you with your deciding factors before you go to book.

Seeing more of the world is such a rewarding experience and a wonderful way to make memories with yourself or with those whom you love to travel. This post will help you decide the best time of year to visit Europe that will be aligned with your destination of choice and your travel priorities.

When is the best time to travel to Europe

This post is in partnership with Expedia. Thank you so much for your support of the brands I love working with!

When Is The Best Time To Travel To Europe

There is no “best time” to travel to Europe. And depending on the experiences you’re after, your time to visit Europe depends on your budget, what you want to do, whether you’ve been before and who you are going with. 

Europe Travel Seasons

Peak Season

Peak season in Europe is largely considered June, July and August but destinations like Paris and Rome are often considered in peak season nearly year round these days. This means you’ll find more demand for hotel inventory, tours, dining reservations and more so booking in advance in peak season is crucial. 

For destinations like the French Alps peak season is going to be cold weather ski season so think December, January, February and March.

Peak season is considered the time of year that the location is most in demand.


You’re enjoying Europe in summer months and taking advantage of warm weather and for coastal destinations able to soak up the beach. 


Crowds, higher prices and less choice when it comes to various attractions, hotels and tours.

Sezane Striped Sweater

Shoulder Season

Similarly, shoulder season will vary country to country in Europe, but it typically means the period of time between a destination’s peak season and offseason. If a place’s peak season is summer and its offseason is considered winter, then the shoulder season would be spring and fall. For many European destinations shoulder season starts April. 

Shoulder season for certain destinations in Europe is generally still pretty in demand – particularly for locations like London (technically no longer part of the European Union following Brexit – but we are including it as part of the continent of Europe), Rome, Florence, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona and others. Especially those destinations that are popular for the Spring Break periods of time. 


Experience the change in season, benefit from a bit less crowding and have more choice when it comes to bookings.


Still expect crowds, weather may be not the best

Off Season

Off season is considered the least in-demand time to travel to a destination. There can be some major pros to traveling in off season if you’re not after the most ideal weather and you have flexibility in your travel schedule. 


Off season can be a great time to travel to Europe. You’ll encounter less crowds, more availability at in-demand restaurants and museums and better hotel and airfare pricing.

I personally love traveling to popular destinations like Paris in the off season, particularly in January, February. Yes, you experience cooler temperatures but you’re outside of tourist season so it can be a much more enjoyable way to enjoy the city as long as you’re willing to be bundled up.

Related: What to Pack for Paris In Winter


Cold weather, possibility of more rain and closures. 

Travel Essentials

How To Plan A Trip To Europe

Plan in advance

You will benefit from better selection and better prices when you plan in advance for a trip to Europe. Especially if you are going during peak season such as summer, going to seasonal attractions like the Christmas markets or Oktoberfest in Germany or planning to go skiing in the French or Swiss Alps. 

Track flights

Whenever I am planning travel to Europe, I head to the Expedia app for Expedia‘s Price Tracking feature for flights since I generally am willing to be flexible with my departure and arrival dates. Expedia‘s app uses historical data (analyzing the last 30 days) and predicted price trends (analyzing the next 60 days) for select flight routes, to determine the best time to book and it’ll serve you alerts via your mobile device when prices drop so you can jump on the best price. This can save you money that you can put towards your hotels or other key trip elements.

Expedia also offers Price Drop Protection. Price Drop Protection lets Expedia travelers get an automatic refund if the price of your flight becomes cheaper on Expedia after you book. This feature is available for a nominal fee, or it is free for Gold and Platinum tier One Key members on the Expedia app. One Key is free to join and comes with plenty of perks to make it worthwhile as it is Expedia Group’s Loyalty Program across Expedia, Hotels.com and Vrbo.

Consider using a travel agent

Working with a travel advisor can save you a lot of time spent researching. They can also often secure great perks when booking hotels and source wonderful tour guides and other trip elements you may not have considered otherwise.

Book accommodations

Need help with Hotels? Expedia can help you find the perfect hotel for your Europe destination based on what’s important to you and your budget and with whom you are traveling.

Or, if you’re more a fly by the seat of your pants kinda traveler, don’t miss great deals and properties featured on Hotels.com. I personally love the filtering capabilities so you can find properties that speak to your personal amenity preferences. For me that includes things like turndown service and bathtubs and on-property restaurants. I also love that Hotels.com allows you to easily compare properties you’re considering side by side. 

When is the best time to travel to Europe

Build an itinerary

In whatever format you feel comfortable, start to map out your days and what you plan to do on each. This will give you a sense of a schedule and see where you can start to add in various reservations and tours and other activities. 

Book tickets and reservations

Many of Europe’s best museums are best experienced when you have purchased a timed ticket in advance and you’ll want to do this in enough time so that the day you want to go isn’t sold out. This is particularly important for museums like the Louvre. 

Certain European destinations really love dinner reservations and don’t cater to walk-ins. This is particularly important for bookings in London and Paris and Rome but also other destinations. 

Purchase travel insurance

Things happen and in order to avoid added stress or anxiety on your trip, it is often recommended you purchase travel insurance to help reimburse for any unforeseen costs. This is particularly helpful on trips where you’re doing any sort of physical activity like skiing or hiking or anticipating seeing certain phenomenons controlled by Mother Nature such as the Northern Lights in Iceland. Be sure to read the policy carefully so you’re familiar with what is covered. 

Consider less in demand locations

If you’re looking to save some money but still travel to Europe, you’ll want to consider time of the year you’re booking but also lesser frequented destinations. For example, consider Eastern Europe countries like Croatia or Western Turkey. Or in winter, Northern Europe destinations like Norway or Sweden. 

When is the best time to travel to Europe

. . .

I don’t think there’s any wrong time to visit Europe, rather it comes down to your schedule, budget and personal preferences. 

Do you have any trips for travel to Europe? I’d love to hear them in the Comments below!

Heading to France or England? Book En Route to Rêverie with me and get customized recommendations based on your travel preferences to make your next trip the best one yet.


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comments +

  1. kristina says:

    Pretty sure London, England, UK is all considered part of Europe still, even post-Brexit. May want to edit post to say no longer part of the European Union (EU).

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