Our 50th wedding anniversary is 4 years from now and I am doing some pre-planning and hope to surprise my bride with a long trip to Europe (one month). I would like to know what period might be best to visit Europe when there are less crowds and when prices are reasonable but when weather is good. I'm think September or mid September to mid October. Does that sound reasonable?
Sounds reasonable (I'm biased - those are my favorite months to travel) and the weather's treated me well so far
Four years to plan your 50th. WOW!! I think September to October is perfect. I've also traveled to Europe (France and Italy) in May several times snd have always had excellent weather. This year I had near-perfect weather in Belgium and The Netherlands during the last 2 weeks of April. But the only constant about weather is that it changes. :) Never any guarantees. The old saying is true: there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.
Larry, what a delightful plan/surprise. I prefer Sept. May offers similar weather/crowds, but there are lots of European school groups traveling, which can be a pain, if you are sharing a hotel floor with them. The best dates depend on where you are going. For UK/Ireland, I'd probably go May/early June or beginning of Sept, returning before you get much into into October. Warmer areas are pleasant well into October.
I was in Germany in October and the weather was glorious. The trees are changing colors and it's fantastic.
Our preferred time is the Fall - mid Sep through Oct. Our next trip will be the last week of Sept to the end of Oct. Days are getting shorter and there would be a small advantage of working from the north to the south. Into Paris or London and come home from Rome.
Most of my Europe travel has been Sept/Oct...leaning more towards mid-late Sept, all of Oct....a great time of year to travel there ...I like the weather that time of year, not too hot, not too cold...I think you'll do fine
In general, early autumn is a great time to be in Europe. But just as in North America, it depends on where in "Europe" you had in mind. The weather isn't "bad" anywhere at that time, but the days are getting shorter, and the farther north you go, the cooler the weather (which is good or bad, depending on what you like). A coworker hates traveling when she needs jackets and sweaters, and when she went to London and Paris in September, she was unhappy; however, most find the weather in these cities very nice at that time.
If you go with Fall, bear in mind your intinerary--it should start in the north and head south to take best advantage of the weather. What a fabulous gift!
Another vote for mid to late September to mid to late October. I've been during those times a few times and the weather was definitely nice (some rain one of the times but not the whole time we were there). I've also been to Italy in January and it's so darn cold there! But, I live in California so if the weather is below 50 I'm too cold. ;) What a great gift you're giving!
Thanks for all the great replies. Now to save enough money :-).
I can imagine that Larry and his wife would want to celebrate their actual anniversary with their family present, which probably isn't possible unless the entire family goes to Europe as well. :)
Yep, we "children" like to be around to help celebrate that anniversary! My parents celebrated their 50th twice too. They had a party at home where all their friends could come. Then the just the family went up to Door county to enjoy some time together. My dad's dream was to have his grandchildren who were spread out across the country have a vacation together and get to know each other. But we would have been behind a month in Europe if they'd wanted it. I want to second the idea of September. I go the first couple of weeks. The days are still longish and most of the kids are back in school. The Scots go back around the first week in September. I think the English go a little earlier, but it may be just days different. Have a great trip and have fun planning.
Larry, sounds like a great trip you are planning. You can't go wrong with Sept/Oct time frame. I lived in Germany for 5 years and when ever I go back, I always plan for the 2nd week of Sept to 2nd week of Oct. Last time I was there for 18 days and got one day of light rain. Crowds are not as bad, temps are milder. Planning is so much fun as well. ENJOY!
mid-September to mid-October is a good time, though days are leaning on the shorter side on higher latitudes. You can also go for April, but not for the Alps then.
When you go depends more on where you want to go. Paris has many expos in September and the hotel prices and availability reflect the high demand. Italy and Spain are not as hot or as crowded in October as in September. England is probably nicer in early September than in October. I don't know if hotel prices really drop until late October, but again, depends on where. Mid-April to early June is nice too - as long as you avoid Easter week.
I would add my voice to the others and suggest sometime in the September through mid-October time fram. I lived in Europe for several years, + have travelled heavily in Europe on extended business trips + at various times with Eurrail pass. In Sept/Oct weather can still be beautiful but not hot as mid-summer; crowds are less, and I feel Europe is more "authentic" - (in summer many Europeans are on holiday, esp. August, but by September it is back to the regular routine). Also, prices are better. (I'm going with my family to Europe for 45 days (a little over 6 weeks) -- later this summer. We are going Aug 18 - October 3. I would have preferred to have started in September - mid-October -- but it was too much school for our kids to miss, so we had to compromise! But that shows how much I believe Sept/Oct is a great time to travel!) You might consider going to fewer destinations and making day trips -- more relaxing. That is what our family plans. Good luck to you and hope all goes well when you go!!
My favorite new toy for weather is Weatherbase. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and choose your vacation month under Vacation Finder. Then click your way through to the places you are considering. You will be able to see temps in Fahrenheit and rainfall in inches. They are averages, of course, but the website is very easy to use and will give you a good general idea of what to expect when. I like the graph feature available only when you click to a specific city. It graphs the temp or whatever over the year. You can see the little graph icon at the far right of each line of data. Use your browser back arrow to choose another country and city.
For me it's May or September in most of Europe(e.g. France, Germany) , April or October further south (e.g. Italy), but July/August for the far north Baltic Sea area. Those times are good for my style of travel - a lot of outdoor walking and sight seeing. If relaxing on a beach is in your plans, you probably want to pick warmer months. If you want to snow-ski, visit in February or early March (early season skiing can be unreliable).
I think Brad nailed it.