Ever heard of shoulder season? Shoulder season is the time of year when travel is just perfect: nestled between the high and low travel seasons and boasting the best weather and the least amount of tourists. Since weather and attractions vary, the time during which shoulder season occurs changes per continent.
Today, we’re going to talk about Europe’s shoulder season — the best time to travel to Europe!
Shoulder Season in Europe
Europe has two shoulder seasons: Spring and Fall. Europe’s Spring shoulder season occurs from April-(mid)June. Europe’s Fall shoulder season occurs from September-October.
For anyone wanting to experience Europe’s beautiful countries, history, and climate on a budget (and far from other tourists), these are the best times to travel. Due to Europe’s geographic span, the best month in shoulder season to travel will vary. However, there are a few patterns you can expect:
Think warm, lovely days followed by pleasantly chilly evenings (unless you’re in Spain). Just pack a light summer jacket and a fedora (if you’re going to Milan!) and you won’t be too hot or too cold. The daylight is long so you have more time to sightsee — and you won’t have to worry about a deluge of other tourists ruining your photo of the Eiffel Tower. And best yet, your flights will be cheaper, leaving you more money for food and wine!
If you’re not sure which destination to choose, here are a few more details to help:
Spring Shoulder Season is best for…
- Dublin: Not as warm as mainland Europe, but a nice temperature nonetheless — go during Spring to enjoy beer gardens and pub culture second to none
- Italian beach resorts: A delight in May and June
- Mediterranean Europe: Blooming in Spring but parched in the Fall
- Plaza del Sol, Madrid: Go in April to avoid sunburn and swelling June crowds
Fall Shoulder Season is best for…
- Austrian Alps: Experience snow-capped hiking trails before it gets too cold
- Greek Islands: September is the perfect time to explore the history, food (I recommend the famous Greek yogurt salads!), and culture of Santorini, Ios, & Myokos while they’re tourist-free.
No Matter What Time You Go…
Don’t forget an umbrella. It rains in Europe a lot – most of the time in fact. On a budget note, remember to book your roundtrip tickets during shoulder season, not just your arrival tickets. The last thing you’ll want is to get sucked into high season departure tickets without realizing it. Are you ready to start the adventure?