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What time of year is ideal for a trip?

I have found that I like to travel in April, May or September, October due to the fact the temperature is around 70-75 F duirng the day and 60-65 F in the evenings I find that these temperatures are ideal for walking during the day without getting to hot or sweaty and in the evenings a light fleece keeps you warm. I took the RS Greece tour in May and on top to the Acropolis at 10:30 am it was getting pretty warm and I asked the guide what was in like in July & August during the middle of the day, she said it was pretty brutal since she took two tours a day up to the Parthenon! I've been in Paris in July once and won't do that again, so I travel during the "shoulder seasons". What time of the year do you prefer to travel in Europe?

Posted by
2525 posts

The ideal time for a trip is when I am on a trip. I too prefer shoulder seasons for travel as to weather and crowds, but not all can travel then.

Posted by
5704 posts

The same as you, but also June. For hotter climates, such as Rome, Seville, Granada, etc., late October, early November has been much better weather. Late September in Rome was so hot we couldn't enjoy walking around the city on our first trip there. Last year we returned to Rome in late October and it was wonderful, comfortable temperatures. Early November in Andalusia was perfect too.

Posted by
276 posts

Depends on where I'm going really and also work restrictions. As a nurse summer time is coveted and getting more than one week isn't guaranteed. I'm going to Greece next September. After Labor Day I can get two weeks off and an extra day if I need it without issues plus September should be a beautiful month to go. I pick my destinations around weather probabilities and if I can get time to go. I look forward to retirement so I go where I want, when I want and for as long as I want.

Posted by
2092 posts

Due to my job being insanely busy during the summer months I really can't take more than a day off and that's actually fine, have thus been taking my 2 week trips to Europe in May. I went in mid-April this year and had to deal with lower temps than were ideal, have done mid-Sept and found that was pleasant, but May works perfectly on the most levels for me--predictably good weather, not horribly crowded.

Posted by
679 posts

I love going in the late fall. I live in Florida and enjoy the cooler temps and seeing the change of seasons. It is a real treat.

Posted by
1085 posts

I prefer September, for a few reasons. It's like delayed gratification, and I get to enjoy June through August at home. Usually in September I can go without a jacket or sweater, at least until night, and sandals are fine too. Students of all ages are back in school as well.

That said, sometimes the trip or the travel companions determine the time of year and I find myself away in May or June. It makes for a long wait if we travel in May of one year, and September the next.

I have been to Spain and Italy in July. It was blazing hot, but I was so happy to be there I coped. Again, time of trip determined by others. I was also in Paris in February once; we were frozen solid and didn't fall in love with Paris, as most do. I think I'd take the heat of summer over the kind of cold we had that February (well below normal temperatures)!

Posted by
315 posts

Darn, everyone is traveling in my favorite months. Travel in May this year prevented some of my cold season veggies from producing and I missed bulbs blooming. In September, the garden and yard need to be put to rest. I am thinking April and late October for 2018. Travel in July in France was very warm.

Posted by
81 posts

I have to travel in August right now because that is when my son goes to summer camp. In 4 years he's off to college and we can travel whenever we want. We got really lucky this year, we went to Paris/Brugge/Amsterdam for 2 weeks and it was high 60's/low 70's in the day every day...the weather was perfect! Last year we went to Germany/Austria, the first day was in the 90's and it was brutal, it cooled off after that. It's been so hard to pack for those 2 trips knowing there could be such a swing in the weather. It would be easier to just bring clothes for 1 season, and I feel in spring/fall/winter you can get away with less clothes than summer because you won't sweat through them.

Posted by
63 posts

In Scandinavia, the summertime (May through September) is delightful! I recommend the shoulder seasons south of there. I visited England and Wales once in late November; we had a good time, but the weather was dark, damp and chilly.

Garrison

Posted by
3807 posts

We usually do mid-Sept-ish to mid-Oct-ish, because of crowds and temps.

This year we went in April because I wanted to see the tulips in NL. And it was chilly most days! Well, cool, but one day I could have used a light pair of gloves! But by the time we got around to Paris, it felt like June.

Next year, will be Scotland in May. As much as I'd like to go mid-Sept, I'm planning Venice carnival for the year after, meaning we will travel in Feb, so I don't want to go in Sept the back over in Feb (well, I do, but we gotta space them out). Maybe after that we'll get back into our autumn mode. Well, you know, even last year, we travelled in May to Ontario, so I am making a liar out of myself. ;)

I'm def an autumn girl, but even then, Florence was very warm the 3rd week of Sept, and Nice - which we visited the 2nd week of Oct - felt like August temps at home! A few years back we went the first few weeks of Sept back to Italy and about half the time ended up back in our room during mid-afternoon to cool off. I can't imagine trying to visit the sights in those high temps - I guess if that was the only time I could go, I'd make the best of it. We are lucky that we can go whenever

Posted by
3369 posts

I prefer to travel in September, and we've been blessed most years with perfect weather. We did go to France in June one year and were happy to be in Paris for their June 21 (I think) Musical evening - lots of fun. I stopped in Paris one year on the way home from a work trip in April and it was lovely. We do try to miss the months when kids are on school break.

Posted by
4637 posts

It all depends where you go. Northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere, tropics, subtropics, mild zone, polar areas - all in different time of year. Monsoon areas - you don't want to be there in the monsoon season. Most people on this Forum go to Europe - usually Central. Ideal - May and September. Southern Europe - April, October. Northern Europe - July, August.

Posted by
2290 posts

It depends on where you go. I haven't been to Norway or Iceland but they are on my list for July. On the other hand one of my favorite destinations is southern Spain and there is no way I'd want to go there in July/August. Then there are local holidays/festivals to consider. Easter week in Seville is a huge deal - this may make it a best time, or a worst, depending on your interest. Same for Christmas festivals, octoberfest, local saint's days, bastille day in France...the presence of a big holiday can really affect a destination for better or worse.

In general, since I seem to prefer southern Europe (Spain, the south half of Italy, Greece...), I like to travel in shoulder season. Late May/early June has been a favorite - it's warm enough for the beach in places with beaches, pleasant for walking around, nice eating outside weather. October is similar, but my kids are in school in October so early June tends to be when we go. We were just in Sicily from late May to the middle of June and it was perfect.

Posted by
5308 posts

Also depends on any special events you may want to see -- I have done solar eclipse tours where the main event had specific timing (down to the second), and Christmas markets don't look good in May.

Because we're retired, with self-sufficient kids (and no grandchildren to watch grow) we can take advantage of flash airfare sales. Preference would be April-May and September-October, but this year we carried extra sweaters and visited Germany in March.

Posted by
139 posts

Reading this thread, I am now rethinking how I will pack for our GAS tour last week in September - first week in October. According to the weather link on the RS site the average highs are low -mid 60's that time of year and the average lows, low 50's maybe even high 40's. I was planning to bring jeans, long sleeve tops, sweaters/ fleece etc. do you think I should include more light weight clothing? Those of you who have traveled to Germany, Austria and Switzerland that time of year, what was the weather like? I realize that averages are just that but I am interested in hearing what the fluctuations may be. Thanks

Posted by
205 posts

A few years ago we went to Germany September 6 - 22. Day 1 in Berlin was quite warm, it might have been as high as 80. Then it turned cool and rainy. We had rain 13 out of the next 15 days and it was chilly. I hope you have better luck!

Posted by
5498 posts

Yes, "ideal" depends on your planned activities and country.

For example, for skiing trips, the week or two before Easter week has been a good time to visit Norway with March being better than April. While February is a better month for ski trips to central Europe.

For UK walking trips, May has been statistically dryer than summer months, with cooler but not cold temperatures. And May is hopefully ahead of midge season.

September was a good month for our German bike tour. Past the summer crush (and low season pricing) and before cooler weather.

For long outdoor activities, May and June are nice from a hours of daylight vs. September and October.

Posted by
29 posts

Traveled to Paris, Loire Valley and Nice last two weeks of Oct. It was perfect. Jacket weather in Paris and hardly any crowds. Loire was in the 50-60's and sunny after noon. Nice and the Riveria were in the mid 70's. We loved going in the fall. The gardens were beautiful with fall flowers and foliage. Flying out of Nice was so much less stress then Paris.

Posted by
924 posts

Although we will be taking our second fall trip soon in October and November, I have to say that I really loved traveling through December and January. Some of the time the weather was pleasant but at times it was also very cold. We were prepared for that. The lack of crowds (except for around New Year's) was great. Few lines at museums and activities and the restaurants weren't crowded. The only reason we are not doing so again is because a third person is traveling with us and doesn't want to go while it is cold, although it still could be if a cold front moves in.

Posted by
64 posts

I've been thinking of this as well. My initial thought was to go off-peak. If you travel in the shoulder season at some point do update and let us know how it goes.

Posted by
230 posts

Anytime! I think I've experienced every month in Europe except maybe January. It depends on where you're going and what you expect to get out of it. April in London was really cold and wet while December in Berlin was fine if you were dressed properly. I've found generally the weather is less predictable than the US. It's always good to have a backup plan. Too wet... go to a museum. Too hot... go see a movie. Etc. For me, even a bad weather day is better than staying at home.

Posted by
92 posts

I love to travel in January or February . My downfall is crowds. I love cold weather and snow is a bonus. It's great to wander around with no crowds and time to browse. There are cheaper flights, cheaper rooms and lots of quiet places to eat. On the downside, sightseeing places are sometimes operating on reduced hours or even closed and depending on where you are, it can get dark early. These are trade offs I gladly accept. I have been very lucky and never had flights cancelled because of weather. I love the quiet of winter travel.

Posted by
661 posts

I have to agree, going to Europe any time is ideal over staying home! (This made my morning)

Posted by
253 posts

We have kids in high school who we want to enjoy Europe with. We have gone the last 2 years over Thanksgiving break and will go again this year to London. The weather is not ideal, but hasn't been terrible for us. But, we get to go. Kids have time off, my work is a bit easier to get away, prices have been lower as it is not high season, and crowds are not an issue compared what you read about for high seasons. So as above noted, the best time is when you are there.

Posted by
214 posts

The weather is always excellent in museums and restaurants . . . .

Posted by
12099 posts

There are advantages going both peak season and off season, if there is still such a time period. If I did not have to take into consideration time constraints imposed by Schengen, the best time is from ca May 10 to the end of Sept, be it in central, western, north Europe, or east central. Between those two dates is the period I like being there most, ie, mainly in the summer. For England I would choose the six month period from April to October.

Posted by
13961 posts

February has become my favorite travel month for Spain and Italy. When temps go over 85F, I don't have the energy/stamina to enjoy outdoor sights. While there are lots of tourists even in winter, there aren't the huge crowds and long lines of high season and hotel prices are significantly lower.

I do find that weather is often the biggest factor in my trips - either choosing a destination depending on when I want to travel or choosing dates depending on where I want to go. Ireland was lovely in August and when I go to Scotland it will be in summer . . . maybe 2019.

Apropos RS Greece, I took the April 24 tour this year, and by the beginning of May the temps were reaching my discomfort level. On July 1 was about 108F in Athens. I wrote my tour guide hoping she was staying cool. She said she'd been in Delphi with a group and nearly fainted from the heat. The next day, she was recovering by relaxing by the sea on a day off.

Posted by
3136 posts

What time of the year do you prefer to travel in Europe?

October, November, December, mid Feb-mid April. I skip 6 weeks including January to mid February because most often, NYC is hit with snowstorms and I don't want to be stuck at the airport with winter storms.

Posted by
4 posts

Hello - this is a great thread. Yesterday I posted a trip report that covered the 14- day trip my wife and I took to London and Paris last summer. It was last few days of July through August 12th if memory serves, five nights in London followed by 8 in Paris. The Paris leg included a day-only side trip to Bruges. We had prepared for hot summer weather, with linen shirts and the like. With a few exceptions, it was more like late September weather! I mostly just layered a quality t-shirt under a button down, while my wife wore a light-weight denim jacket she had brought. I had a very casual blazer for the few times I felt like being a bit more "Parisien-dressy". I fully understand that you can't count on cool weather in July and August, but I think the lesson for us was a basic one - layers, layers, layers. Bring clothes that can be layered and maybe a light weight jacket that can be part of that. It was so crowded everywhere we went anyway that we plan to go in late fall next time. Then I think one good bomber jacket ought to do it!

Posted by
276 posts

Tuesday after Thanksgiving until around Dec 18th.
February 10th or so until mid March.

April/May.

Sept/Oct.

Very dependent to where I am traveling to.

Posted by
5008 posts

We have had best luck in September-October, although other factors often make the decision.

@Kathy, when we did GAS in September, it was the opposite of what we expected. It was cool and drizzly in Trier; warm and sunny in the mountains (nights are always cool in the mountains). You just can't tell. You can always buy more layers on the trip.

Posted by
484 posts

I agree with most as we have booked this year a trip in April and May (30 days) and another in Sept-Oct (30 days) all on our own. However, I would not have traded anything for our trip last year to Paris, the Rhone and into Provence during the sunflowers and lavender season. So I guess it depends. But it was not that hot that we were overheated. (Hate the heat while traveling).
I've been wondering about a Jan-Feb trip to a snowy country... (in younger days did the ski trips to France and Italy). But agree with the comment that it's always nice in the museums and restaurants.
Everyone wonders why I don't go to Africa or S. America... (lived in Asia, so that is off the list)... LOVE EUROPE!

Posted by
440 posts

Depends on where I am going, I dont mind heat as i have travelled around the Middle East during the summer.