SD › Best Time to Visit Europe
Updated: February 29, 2024
- Where to Go in Europe – My favorite places for first timers
- Amalfi Coast – Where to Stay
- Amsterdam – Where to Stay
- Barcelona – Where to Stay
- Berlin – Where to Stay
- Dublin – Where to Stay
- Lisbon – Where to Stay
- London – Where to Stay
- Madrid – Where to Stay
- Mykonos – Where to Stay
- Paris – Where to Stay
- Prague – Where to Stay
- Rome – Where to Stay
- Santorini – Where to Stay
When is the Best Time to Visit Europe?
The best time to visit Europe depends on your interests and desired destinations, but generally, the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) offer mild weather, fewer crowds, and more affordable accommodations compared to the peak summer months (July and August).
My personal preference is to visit the cities (London, Paris, Rome, Madrid) in April, May, and October, and visit the islands and beach destinations in June and September. I definitely try to avoid the big cities during July and August. Though busy, I find the Greek islands more forgiving during peak season travel (it’s hard not to have fun there when the sun is shining).
• My Favorites: The 15 Best Places to Visit in Europe
- Best Time to Visit Europe for Good Weather: The best time for good weather can vary quite a bit in Europe. In many places, particularly the northern countries like Iceland, Sweden, and Norway, July and August bring the best weather of the year, with high temperatures typically hovering around 20 to 22°C. In much of continental Europe, you can generally expect pleasant weather from mid-May through mid-September, with the highest temperatures in July and August, ranging from the low 20s to the low 30s, depending on your exact location, with eastern countries generally experiencing more heat. Summer is hot in the Mediterranean, so if you want to avoid the heat but still enjoy fairly mild weather, go in April/May or mid-September through late October. Italy, in particular, is at its best in the late spring and early Fall – whether it’s Venice, Milan, or Florence in the north, or the jaw-dropping Amalfi Coast or stunning Matera in the south.
- Best Time to Visit Europe for Beaches: The best time to visit Europe for good beach weather is during the summer months, from June to August. During this period, the Mediterranean coastlines of countries like Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Portugal, and Croatia experience warm sea temperatures, sunny days, and minimal rainfall, making it an ideal time for beach vacations and water activities. The beaches of Greece (my favorites in Europe) are at their best from late May to early October.
- Best Time to Visit Europe for Skiing: For skiing enthusiasts, the best time to visit Europe is during the winter months (December to March), when popular ski destinations like the French Alps, Swiss Alps, Italian Dolomites, and Austrian resorts offer excellent snow conditions.
- Best Time for Backpacking: Most backpackers head to Europe between May and September, with peak time in July and August. This time will bring the best weather, the possibility for taking a refreshing dip in a lake, stream, or the sea, and there won’t be a need to pack heavy winter clothing. You’ll also meet a lot of other backpackers along the way, which can be good or bad depending on your perspective. The hostels will all be open too. The downside is that trails can be crowded, hostel prices higher, and you’ll probably have to do laundry more often due to sweaty clothing. In just about every Europe destination, to enjoy more mild weather and fewer crowds, you may want to go toward the end of the busy period in September. If you plan to tackle both northern and southern locales, head north first and then explore the more southern, Mediterranean destinations after the extreme heat of summer has dissipated.
- Best Time for Visiting Historic Sites: Europe is filled with historic sites, archaeological ruins, and magnificent castles; many that are on practically every travelers’ bucket list. That means if you hope to experience them without bumping elbows with countless other tourists, it’s important to plan ahead, especially when it comes to the most popular attractions, like the Roman Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower, Stonehenge, and the Acropolis in Athens. Peak visitor time is in July and August, and in many places, the heat can make visiting sites an uncomfortable experience, particularly in Eastern and Mediterranean Europe. For destinations in the north and west, the best time to go for decent weather and thinner crowds is just before and after peak season, in either May/June or mid- to late-September. In the east, aiming for around mid-April or mid-September may be ideal, while Mediterranean countries may best be visited in April or from mid-September through October. No matter where you go, planning to arrive early (at least 10 minutes before opening) or toward the end of the day, is usually the better bet for avoiding the biggest crowds.
- Best Time for a Honeymoon: For a romantic honeymoon, consider visiting Europe during the shoulder seasons (April to June and September to October), when the weather is mild, the landscapes are beautiful, and the atmosphere is more intimate than during the peak summer months.
Europe Travel Seasons
Europe spans over 50 countries, with diverse geography and climates that range from the sunny Mediterranean to the Arctic. That said, its nations generally share similar travel seasons, with only a few exceptions as noted.
- High Season (June through August): June through August is generally the high season in Europe, although in Italy, depending on your destination, August may bring low season benefits like fewer crowds and low rates as most Italians go on holiday this month and temperatures in the major cities can be too hot to bear. In most places, however, the entire summer season is the busy tourist season, with the biggest crowds, the highest accommodation rates, and the highest temperatures of the year. You will have the chance to take advantage of long days, with the sun not setting until 9:30 or 10 p.m., and even later the farther north you go. Expect mild, pleasant temperatures in the north, and searing heat in the southern/Mediterranean regions.
- Shoulder Season (May, September and October): Shoulder season can be the best time to visit many, if not most, destinations in Europe. Crowds are smaller, rates are often lower and a light jacket or sweater is usually all you need to be comfortable as the weather is mild too. Of course, there are exceptions – the further north you go the chillier it will be, and the further south, the warmer it’s likely to be. The lines at attractions will be longer than they will in the winter, with more visitors catching on to the ideal times to go, but the wait will be much shorter compared to those long ques in the summer.
- Low Season (November through April): Winter is generally low season, but depending on your exact destination, it can stretch from late autumn through mid-spring. In the north, while you’ll have to deal with freezing temperatures and snow, on clear nights you may have the opportunity to catch the aurora borealis. If you want to enjoy mild temperatures without the hordes of tourists, head to one of the Mediterranean countries. No matter where you go, other than ski resorts, there will be few crowds and usually plenty of accommodation bargains and low airfare too. If you have your heart set on visiting particular attractions, be sure to check to see if they’ll be open as some will shut down in winter, or have limited hours.
Europe Weather by Month: North, West, East and Mediterranean
For the purpose of this article, we’ve broken down the weather in Europe into Northern, Western, Eastern and Mediterranean. In each of those regions, specific numbers are derived from centralized locations: In Northern Europe weather is based on Oslo, Norway; in Western, Brussels, Belgium; in Eastern, Budapest, Hungary; in Mediterranean Europe, Athens, Greece.
Europe Weather in January
- Northern Europe Weather in January: In much of northern Europe, January is the coldest month of the year. Depending on your specific destination, you can expect snow, or at a minimum, near or below freezing temperatures as well as short, dark days. In some places, such as Reykjavik, Iceland, the northernmost capital in the world, there is only a few hours of daylight this time of year. Further south, Stockholm, Sweden gets a little over five hours of daylight in early January. Temperatures in the north generally average highs that are just below freezing, with lows dipping well below to around -7°C. If you plan to visit this month, you’ll need your warm winter gear, including a coat, hat, scarf, sweater, gloves and thermal underwear. (Average Max Temperature: 1°C. Average Precipitation: 50mm.)
- Western Europe Weather in January: As with elsewhere in Europe, January is the coldest month in the western region with average temperatures hovering around 3°C, though temps only dip below freezing occasionally, with lows averaging 1°C. There is an average of 70mm of precipitation, more often falling as rain than snow. January also means more darkness than daylight with just 8 hours early in the month, as the sun makes its appearance around 8:45 a.m. and sets at 4:47 p.m. Expect some grey, gloomy weather, though it won’t be near as cold as the Scandinavian countries. You will need warm clothing, including sweaters and long-sleeved shirts, a winter coat and warm, waterproof boots. Bring along thermal underwear, gloves and a warm hat for those extra chilly days, especially if you plan to arrive earlier in the month. (Average Max Temperature: 5°C. Average Precipitation: 70mm.)
- Eastern Europe Weather in January: January is the coldest month of the year in Eastern Europe as it is throughout much of the continent. You can expect freezing temperatures, though the chance of rain, snow and other forms of precipitation is fairly low with just 40mm over 11 days. The average high is just 1°C, though that’s not much different from the average low temperature this month at -3°C. You’re likely to need a warm winter coat, warm boots, a good hat, gloves and a scarf – wool clothing and thermals are especially good for warding off the chill. This is one of the cloudiest months of the year, with cloud cover about 90% of the time, but the good news is that the least number of tourists arrive in January, so if you can handle the cold, grey weather, sightseeing will be more enjoyable than at most other times. (Average Max Temperature: 1°C. Average Precipitation: 40mm.)
- Mediterranean Europe Weather in January: While Mediterranean destinations can be a great way to enjoy a more mild climate in the winter, don’t expect temperatures that you’d get in the tropics, or any kind of summer-like weather. Still, it’s unlikely to be miserably cold, with daytime highs averaging 13°C and lows at 7°C. Depending on your exact location, you may even enjoy a few especially pleasant days with temperatures rising to 16°C or 17°C. The islands, and the coast of central and southern Greece generally enjoy the most mild temperatures, with snow quite possible in the mountainous areas. Early in the month you’ll see quite a few grey days and a decent chance of rain, but from mid- to late-January there are nearly all overcast days and a greater chance of precipitation, with 57mm falling over 9 days, most coming in the latter half of the month. It’s unlikely that your trip will be ruined by constant downpour, but scattered storms are likely. Be prepared by bringing a portable umbrella and a rain poncho. When it comes to clothing, a mix of short- and long-sleeve shirts, long pants, a sweater and medium-weight jacket should be more than sufficient. (Average Max Temperature: 13°C. Average Precipitation: 57mm.)
Europe Weather in February
- Northern Europe Weather in February: Temperatures gradually begin to increase in northern Europe this month, with an average high of 2°C, though the low remains a chilly -7°C. There’s quite a bit more daylight, however with 8 hours in Stockholm and Oslo, and 7 in Reykjavik. As with last month, plan to bundle up well to ward off the chill. Cotton and wool are always best, and they will help your body regulate itself better under all those layers when you need to stay warm. You’ll likely need sunglasses too, with the sun coming up more often and an average of just 40mm of precipitation falling over 11 days. (Average Max Temperature: 2°C. Average Precipitation: 40mm.)
- Western Europe Weather in February: February is very similar to January, though things are beginning to warm. Here, you can expect average temperatures around 3°C, increasing to 5°C on warmer afternoons. Skies are often grey, and sunlight is still at a premium. Pack as you would for last month, planning to dress in layers, and bringing that winter clothing, like thermals, a warm coat and the like. With an average amount of 50mm of precipitation, rain is a little less likely, but it does fall over 18 days, so you’ll still probably need waterproof gear as well. (Average Max Temperature: 5°C. Average Precipitation: 50mm.)
- Eastern Europe Weather in February: While the average high creeps up a few degrees to 4°C this month, February isn’t much different than January, though there’s even less of a chance for precipitation with just 30mm on average falling over 7 days. As you would for last month, pack for winter weather, including items like thermals, a warm coat, sweaters, a hat, gloves, scarves and the like. There will be slightly more daylight hours now, and a greater chance for sunshine with an average of three hours a day, so sunglasses may be needed too. (Average Max Temperature: 13°C. Average Precipitation: 80mm.)
- Mediterranean Europe Weather in February: February in the Mediterranean region is also quite cool, in fact the average temperature in Athens, Greece hasn’t changed at all, at 10°C, though the average high creeps up a degree to 14°C. Still, it’s much warmer than many other areas of Europe, making it fairly enjoyable to visit, and you’ll have far fewer crowds to contend with either. The bad news is that many island and coastal resorts will be closed, but with sea temperatures averaging on 15°C, you probably won’t be wanting to take a dip in the water anyway – instead, enjoy the mild weather by exploring the many historic sites. Bring your sunglasses, as there is an average of six hours of sunshine each day in February, and just 47mm of precipitation over 7 days this month. (Average Max Temperature: 14°C. Average Precipitation: 47mm.)
Europe Weather in March
- Northern Europe Weather in March: Temperatures continue to climb in March, and with the average high temperature now 6°C, the ice begins to thaw in areas that have been frozen over during the winter. In most major northern European cities, the days are much longer too, with sunrise at 7:15 a.m. and sunset at 5:44 p.m. in Oslo. By the end of the month there is likely to be very little in the way of snow in lowland areas. You’ll still need to pack that winter clothing, but the later in the month you plan to be here, the better the chances that you’ll need a few lighter items too. Remember the weather in March could be anything from well below freezing to pleasantly comfortable and sunny, but it really depends on how far north you go, and if you plan to be near the coast or in the mountains. (Average Max Temperature: 2°C. Average Precipitation: 60mm.)
- Western Europe Weather in March: Although March ushers spring in, it will still feel like winter earlier in the month, but the weather is noticeably warming. The average temperature has increased two degrees to 7°C, and it may get as warm as 10°C. Sometimes the weather is all over the place, in fact, you could even experience all four seasons in the same week, but as the month moves forward, there is more sun and more daylight too. By March 31st, partially thanks to Daylight Savings Time, there is nearly 13 hours of daylight for taking advantage of outdoor activities. Be prepared for whatever hits by bringing warm clothing, including a rain jacket, and dressing in layers, though the later in March you arrive, the more likely you are to need your sunglasses. (Average Max Temperature: 10°C. Average Precipitation: 80mm.)
- Eastern Europe Weather in March: March brings noticeably warmer weather, marking the official start of spring. Temperatures are rapidly rising now, with pleasant afternoons reaching 10°C and lows now about freezing at an average of 2°C. Earlier in the month you may still get a snow flurry or two, but the second half of March can be a particularly lovely time to be in Eastern Europe, with winter’s chill fading, yet few other tourists to interrupt the views. Prepare for cold nights, as well as sunny comfortable days and a few cooler ones. The weather this time of year can vary significantly from one day to the next, so bring along lighter long-sleeve shirts and sweaters as well as a heavier jacket just in case. The chance of precipitation slightly increases to 40mm, but you can always pick up an umbrella there if you find you really need one. (Average Max Temperature: 10°C. Average Precipitation: 40mm.)
- Mediterranean Europe Weather in March: March brings wonderful, spring weather to the Mediterranean, with the average high temperature rising several degrees to a balmy 17°C, and in places like Crete it occasionally reaches 20°C or even higher. Along with spring-like temperatures, this month sees a significant increase in the amount of sunshine and precipitation decreases to 41mm over just 8 days, which is most likely earlier in March. The downside is the sea is still far too cold for a swim, as it still hovers around 15°C this time of year. This is the time of year to plan to dress in layers, as it can be cool one minute and feel hot the next. Bring t-shirts and jeans, as well as a couple of sweaters and a light jacket. You may even want to bring a dress or a pair of shorts, just in case. (Average Max Temperature: 17°C. Average Precipitation: 41mm.)
Europe Weather in April
- Northern Europe Weather in April: While things are definitely warming, the first half of April is typically similar to March. The average temperature in Oslo has climbed 3 degrees to 5°C, and on nice afternoons it may reach 9°C. There are no worries when it comes to a shortage of daylight, on April 1st there is nearly 11 hours of daylight to enjoy, and by the end of the month the sun rises at 5:17 a.m. and doesn’t set until 9:12 p.m. It’s all about layering now, with long pants, both short-and long-sleeve shirts, a sweater and a winter coat. With just 40mm of precipitation falling in April, you’re unlikely to have to deal with much more than light rain, or light snow in the higher elevation areas. (Average Max Temperature: 9°C. Average Precipitation: 40mm.)
- Western Europe Weather in April: Now it should really be starting to feel like spring, with warmer temperatures reaching as high as 13°C, and a few more dry spells than last month with 60mm of precipitation on average. Still, bring a portable umbrella, or buy one when you arrive as you are likely to need it at some point. The big news is that there is a lot more sun and fewer gloomy days – the sun rises at 6:18 a.m. and doesn’t set until 9:02 p.m. on April 30. You will need your sunglasses, but now you can leave that heavy coat behind, instead, packing perhaps a fleece jacket and a few sweaters. (Average Max Temperature: 12°C. Average Precipitation: 38mm.)
- Eastern Europe Weather in April: Spring is now in full swing, so you can expect many pleasant days, though the number of tourists arriving starts to increase. The month starts out on the chillier side, but on average, the high temperature climbs significantly – five degrees to 15°C in April. The average rainfall in April is very similar to last month with 40mm falling over 13 days. Prepare for mostly mild days, and cold nights that may get as low as 6°C, as well as occasional light rain. Pack a variety of pieces that can be mixed and matched, and layered easily for the changing weather. You’ll probably want to do a lot of walking, to enjoy those spring blooms and other sights, so be sure to bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes too. (Average Max Temperature: 15°C. Average Precipitation: 40mm.)
- Mediterranean Europe Weather in April: Temperatures are increasing even more now, with the average high now 20°C., similar to summer in many northern European countries. It’s drier too with just 31mm of precipitation over six days. It’s definitely time to pack those t-shirts, dresses and shorts, but the sea is too cold for swimming. If you’ll have access to a pool, bringing your bathing suit is still a good idea now but you’ll also need a warm sweater or two, and long pants for evenings. All in all, April is generally a great month for comfortable walking temperatures and fewer crowds. (Average Max Temperature: 20°C. Average Precipitation: 31mm.)
Europe Weather in May
- Northern Europe Weather in May: It’s officially spring weather in northern Europe now. In fact, this is one of the best months to visit anywhere in the region with frequent mild temperatures and thinner crowds. The average high in Oslo is now 16°C, with the low well above freezing at 7°C. May is all about layers too – pack a mix of clothing for both pleasantly warm and cool days. In many places in Northern Europe, it’s smart to bring a sweater or fleece jacket even during the warmest months of the year. A wind-proof jacket can be a good idea too, especially if you’re planning on lots of outdoor adventures. (Average Max Temperature: 16°C. Average Precipitation: 59mm.)
- Western Europe Weather in May: Like much of the continent, May is a wonderful time to be in Western Europe, with noticeably warmer, more frequent pleasant weather. Average highs increase by four degrees to 17°C and most days hover around 13°C. It’s unlikely to feel what most would call “hot,” however, and evenings are still cool with low temps averaging 8°C. Focus on bringing clothing for warmer weather like short-sleeve shirts and shorts or a dress, but toss in a light rain jacket as precipitation is likely with 70mm this month, along with a sweater for cooler evenings and those occasional chillier days. (Average Max Temperature: 17°C. Average Precipitation: 70mm.)
- Eastern Europe Weather in May: May is known for its mild temperatures that are ideal for sightseeing, with highs now climbing to 21°C, another six degrees higher than last month. The downside is that this is one of the rainier months of the year, and the farther the month progresses, the higher the chance for rain. Precipitation nearly doubles now to 70mm which falls over 14 days, mostly during the latter half of May. You’ll need a good mix of clothing, while keeping in mind the high probability for rain. Bring a light, hooded rain jacket and a portable umbrella, along with items that can be layered, such as both long- and short-sleeve shirts, a lightweight sweater, and a pair of shorts or a dress for warmer days. If you’re coming from a warm climate, it will feel a bit cool, while those who live in more northern areas may think it’s quite summer-like. (Average Max Temperature: 21°C. Average Precipitation: 70mm.)
- Mediterranean Europe Weather in May: One of the best times of the year to visit the Mediterranean countries is May. Spring is in full gear, and in some places it will feel more like summer, with the average high now 25°C and occasionally climbing to nearly 30°C. There is little in the way of rain, with only an average of 23mm falling on just four days this month. Bring a mix of clothing for both cooler and warmer days, though you’re more likely to need lightweight items. Long pants and short-sleeve shirts will likely suffice most of the time, though you may want to bring shorts, a dress, and a couple of sweaters too. If you plan to go later in the month, you may even find the sea warm enough for swimming, as it generally reaches 20°C to 22°C by late May, so be sure to bring a bathing suit too. (Average Max Temperature: 25°C. Average Precipitation: 23mm.)
Europe Weather in June
- Northern Europe Weather in June: Now that June is here, you can expect long days with only a few hours of darkness, especially in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, with sunrise before 4 a.m. and sunset at 11 p.m. – in Iceland it’s even more extreme, with the sun rising at 2:55 a.m. and setting around midnight on summer solstice. That means you should bring an eye mask to help you sleep, along with clothing for cool, warm, and rainy weather. When it’s cloudy and rainy, it will feel pretty chilly, but once the sun comes out, it’ll be warm. There’s 80mm of precipitation this month, and the temperature, on average, gets as warm as 20°C and as cool as 11°C. (Average Max Temperature: 20°C. Average Precipitation: 80mm.)
- Western Europe Weather in June: With the arrival of summer, you can expect mostly pleasantly warm temperatures, with average afternoon highs of 19°C, but light rain is fairly common, interspersed among sunshine. June is really a mixed bag with cool evenings and low temperatures dipping to 11°C and 90mm of precipitation, so plan accordingly by bringing a rain jacket and a sweater, as well as lightweight clothing such as short-sleeve shirts, shorts or a dress. With over 16 hours of daylight this month you’ll have plenty of time for those outdoor activities. (Average Max Temperature: 19°C. Average Precipitation: 90mm.)
- Eastern Europe Weather in June: June in Eastern Europe means summer weather, in fact it can get rather warm with average afternoon highs now reaching 24°C. Temperatures above 32°C are not unheard of, though they’re most likely to occur during the latter half of the month. There is still a good chance for rain, with 60mm falling over 12 days, helping to cool things off a bit. The longer days, with sunrise at 4:46 a.m. and sunset at 8:44 p.m. on summer solstice, combined with fewer clouds, make it one of the sunniest months of the year, along with July, with 14 hours of sunshine on average each day. Plan to bring a light hooded rain jacket or an umbrella for sudden downpours, as well as lightweight clothing for sightseeing during the day. You may need a sweater for evenings spent outside as it can get cool after dark, dipping as low as 14°C at night. (Average Max Temperature: 24°C. Average Precipitation: 60mm.)
- Mediterranean Europe Weather in June: Summer has officially arrived to the Mediterranean, and odds are, it’s going to feel hot, with high temperatures increasing five degrees to an average of 30°C, though it can get much hotter than that. June in this region sees warm, sunny weather, lots of tourists and higher rates. There is little, if any rain, with only 11mm of precipitation on one day in June. Bring your summer clothing now, including sun protection like sunscreen and a hat as well as a bathing suit. Along with a pair of open-toed shoes like flip flops for the beach, you’ll need comfortable, closed shoes for exploring the sights, as roads are often unpaved and rocky. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation: 11mm.)
Europe Weather in July
- Northern Europe Weather in July: July brings the warmest weather of the year in most places in northern Europe, though it probably won’t be what most people consider hot. In Oslo, highs can reach 22°C, and evenings may be as cool as 13°C. Plan to bring short-sleeve shirts and shorts or a dress for warm days, along with a couple of sweaters or sweatshirts and long pants for those cooler evenings. A windproof, waterproof jacket to keep you protected from wind and rain, just in case, is a good idea too. (Average Max Temperature: 22°C. Average Precipitation: 70mm.)
- Western Europe Weather in July: Along with August, July is the hottest month of the year in the western region of Europe, though temperatures generally don’t get much warmer than 22°C, so if you’re coming from a warm climate it may feel relatively cool. In certain areas, the humidity can be brutal, however, which means it can feel a lot hotter than what the thermometer reads. This is the time for your summer clothing, but you may need a sweatshirt or sweater for evenings which can get down to 13°C. There is less precipitation now than there was in June, but with 70mm over 17 days, you’re still likely to need that rain jacket. (Average Max Temperature: 22°C. Average Precipitation: 70mm.)
- Eastern Europe Weather in July: Summer is in full swing now, with high temperatures creeping up two degrees to 26°C. This is the hottest month of the year in many Eastern European countries, and temperatures may reach as high as the upper 30s, and there isn’t much rain to cool things down, just only 40mm of precipitation falling over 12 days in July. Bring lots of summery, lightweight clothing along with sun protection, and just a couple of items for cooler evenings like a sweater or light jacket.(Average Max Temperature: 26°C. Average Precipitation: 40mm.)
- Mediterranean Europe Weather in July: The Mediterranean countries tend to reach their highest temperatures in July, with the average highs in the mid-30s in most areas, though mountainous regions and places like northern Greece will be more pleasant, averaging in the upper 20s and low 30s. Rain is practically non-existent with only 6mm of precipitation over one day in July. Those hot temperatures and constant sun make ideal conditions for going to the beach, in fact, you might find yourself spending a lot of time in your bathing suit. Bring shorts, skirts, dresses, tank tops and the like, along with plenty of sun protection. (Average Max Temperature: 33°C. Average Precipitation: 6mm.)
Europe Weather in August
- Northern Europe Weather in August: August is the next warmest month, and is usually quite similar to July, which is why the most visitors to northern Europe tend to arrive in July and August. Pack as you would for last month, with a mix of clothing for both cool and warm weather. The average high dips slightly this month to 20°C, and the low drops a degree to 12°C. It’s a little rainier, with 90mm of precipitation falling over 17 days, so that windproof, waterproof jacket is likely to come in handy. (Average Max Temperature: 20°C. Average Precipitation: 90mm.)
- Western Europe Weather in August: August is similar to July, with the high and low the same – 22°C and 13°C respectively, though there is less precipitation with just 50mm falling over 16 days. Expect lots of sun, spread among a few cloudy grey days, as well as high humidity. Although there’s no doubt its summer, it’s unlikely to feel scorching hot here, and you can usually count on at least a bit of mist or rain to cool things off. Pack your summer gear including t-shirts and shorts or skirts, though you’ll still need a few warmer items for those cooler nights, like long pants and a sweater, light jacket or sweatshirt. (Average Max Temperature: 22°C. Average Precipitation: 50mm.)
- Eastern Europe Weather in August: August is just as hot and humid as July, with the highest average temperatures of the year at 26°C, and many days well over that. August also experiences some of the sunniest days of the year, with an average of 13 hours of sunshine, though there is usually more precipitation. Some 70mm falls over 10 days, which means that while you’re less likely to be caught in the rain, when it does come in may be in downpours. Pack as you would for July, bringing sunscreen and plenty of summery clothing along with a sweater or sweatshirt for cooler evenings.
(Average Max Temperature: 26°C. Average Precipitation: 70mm.)
- Mediterranean Europe Weather in August: August is similar to July, although it may even be slightly hotter with the average high temperature now 34°C. It won’t cool down much in the evening, as even the lows are a relatively warm 24°C, on average. The good news is that the humidity levels drop to the lowest of the year at 50%, making those extremely hot temperatures a little more bearable. Pack as you would for last month, bringing lots of sun protection and lightweight clothing. (Average Max Temperature: 34°C. Average Precipitation: 6mm.)
Europe Weather in September
- Northern Europe Weather in September: With September marking the official start to fall, days are starting to get shorter and temperatures are dropping, though not significantly. Even by September’s end, there is still around nine hours of daylight. The biggest difference is the average high temperature, which has now dropped four degrees to 16°C, and it can get as cool as 7°C. While you’ll still need a few items of clothing for warm weather, you may want to concentrate more on things like sweatshirts, sweatshirts, long sleeves and pants. There isn’t as much precipitation as there was in August, with 70 mm this month, but a rain jacket is still a good idea. (Average Max Temperature: 16°C. Average Precipitation: 70mm.)
- Western Europe Weather in September: Fall is in the air, with temperatures noticeably dipping and rain slightly increasing to 60mm in September, though in many areas this month is often ideal, with tourist crowds thinning and plenty of lovely, sunny days in between the occasional cloudy, wet ones. Bring a mix of clothing for both warmer and cooler days, including a rain jacket, and plan to dress in layers, as often times mornings are crisp or misty, while afternoons bring the sun. Be aware that it can rain with temperatures around 17°C one day and be sunny and practically hot the next. The average high is now 19°C, dipping three degrees from last month, while lows can get as cool as 11°C, and days are gradually getting shorter too, with sunrise at 7:41 a.m. and sunset at 7:22 p.m. by September’s end. (Average Max Temperature: 19°C. Average precipitation: 60mm.)
- Eastern Europe Weather in September: September is one of the best times of the year to be in Eastern Europe, with summer crowds beginning to thin, and warm, but not too hot days and plenty of sunshine. Temperatures noticeably cool with the arrival of autumn, with the average high dropping four degrees to a very pleasant 22°C. Throughout the month you can expect comfortable weather for sightseeing during the day and early evenings, with lows dropping to around 12°C late at night. September also sees an average of 70mm of precipitation, but the chance for rain on any given day is the lowest of the year, and when it does arrive it’s usually not enough to interrupt outdoor activities. The mild weather makes it easy to pack when you visit this month, bring short-sleeve shirts, long pants like light jeans or khakis, as well as a light sweater or jacket for evenings. (Average Max Temperature: 22°C. Average Precipitation: 70mm.)
- Mediterranean Europe Weather in September: September ushers in much more pleasant weather, and can be another one of the best times to be in the Mediterranean. The average high temperature drops five degrees to 29°C, with the summer heat finally cooling as autumn approaches. As the sea has had all summer to warm, it’s often ideal for swimming this month and may remain that way through early October. Your summer clothing will still suffice, though you may want a light sweater or jacket in case the wind picks up or on cooler evenings. There is still little need to worry about rain, with 14mm falling over three days in September. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C. Average Precipitation: 14mm.)
Europe Weather in October
- Northern Europe Weather in October: Autumn has officially arrived, and fall colors are typically at their peak in early October in most areas. The weather is likely to be crisp and cool, though in some places it may be downright cold, while rain, sleet or even snow could put a damper on outdoor activities. But there are positives too, like mutton and crab in season in places like Norway, which means you can indulge while sitting next to a roaring fire as a storm rages outside. The average temperature is now just 7°C and highs generally don’t get much about 10°C. 90mm of precipitation falls over 16 days, so you’ll definitely need a rain jacket and clothing for cool and/or cold weather. (Average Max Temperature: 10°C. Average Precipitation: 90mm.)
- Western Europe Weather in October: October weather in Western Europe is unpredictable and inconsistent. Earlier in the month frequently brings wonderful fall weather along with colorful foliage, though it can be nice and sunny one moment and grey and rainy the next. On some days, it may feel warm enough to enjoy dining at an outdoor café, while others may feel like winter is on the way. The high temperature averages 15°C, while lows may get down to 8°C, and precipitation is on the increase with 70mm falling over 19 days in October. The amount of daylight decreases significantly by month’s end, further, with the sun rising at 7:32 a.m. dipping below the horizon at about 5:18 p.m. (Average Max Temperature: 15°C. Average Precipitation: 70mm.)
- Eastern Europe Weather in October: October is a time when you’ll want to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, especially as the month progresses. You’re likely to enjoy at least a few crisp, sunny days as well as an array of brilliant fall color earlier in the month, but be prepared to dress in layers – the onset of cooler weather can lead to heavy fog in some places. You’re likely to need a waterproof jacket and a sweater as well as shoes you don’t mind getting wet. On a pleasant afternoon temperatures may reach 16°C, but it’s likely to get chilly at night with lows down to 7°C.
(Average Max Temperature: 13°C. Average Precipitation: 80mm.)
- Mediterranean Europe Weather in October: Fall has arrived, and the weather will be noticeably cooler. The average high temperature drops another five degrees to 24°C and nights can be as cool as 16°C, though most of the time it’s going to be sunny and warm, with many areas enjoying an “Indian summer.” Precipitation picks up quite a bit to 53mm falling over five days, most during the latter part of October. Bring a mix of clothing, including both short- and long-sleeve shirts, as well as shorts and long pants, and a sweater or light jacket for evenings. (Average Max Temperature: 24°C. Average Precipitation: 53mm.)
Europe Weather in November
- Northern Europe Weather in November: Winter weather is here, with temperatures plummeting to a low of -1°C and high temperatures which only an average of 4°C, while days are much shorter too, with just six-and-a-half hours of daylight by the month’s end in Oslo, and only a little over five farther north in Reykjavik. There is no need for warm weather clothing, plan to bundle up and bring that thermal underwear along with rain or snow gear. The average precipitation is 70mm, and it may be in the form of rain or snow, depending on where you are. (Average Max Temperature: 4°C. Average Precipitation: 70mm.)
- Western Europe Weather in November: November weather in Western Europe usually means wet and grey, with the average high only reaching 9°C and lows of 4°C. While the average precipitation doesn’t increase all that much from last month in most areas, it falls over 20 days, and combined with less daylight, around eight hours by November’s end, it is likely to be dark and dreary a lot of the time. You could still experience a few sunny days with fairly pleasant temperatures, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, it can occasionally dip well below freezing. That means you’ll need to be prepared for both extremes, planning to dress in layers and bringing along a warm, waterproof jacket. (Average Max Temperature: 9°C. Average Precipitation: 70mm.)
- Eastern Europe Weather in November: By November, the cold has arrived, though the tourist crowds have dissipated and you’ll often find lower accommodation rates and airfare by traveling to Eastern Europe this month. During the day, the mercury usually doesn’t rise much above 7°, and at night the average temperature is just 2°C, which means odds, are, it will be frosty. Be sure to pack cold-weather gear like a heavy coat, gloves, a hat and scarf, and warm shoes and socks and prepare for some precipitation, with 60mm falling over 13 days in November – in the form of snow in more mountainous, higher elevation areas, and rain elsewhere. Most of the time, it will be grey and cloudy. (Average Max Temperature: 7°C. Average Precipitation: 60mm.)
- Mediterranean Europe Weather in November: November often brings a mixed bag, with a number of pleasantly warm, sunny days, and temperatures often hovering around 18°C to 20°C. In between, expect more overcast skies and a greater chance of precipitation, with an average of four hours of sunshine a day and increased rainfall, with 58mm over 8 days. There are far fewer tourists in November, which also means many places have shut down for the winter, though the ones that remain open typically offer lower accommodation rates. Bring a variety of clothing, including items for both warmer and cool days, and you may want to have a rain jacket too. (Average Max Temperature: 19°C. Average Precipitation: 58mm.)
Europe Weather in December
- Northern Europe Weather in December: Northern Europe is a fabulous place to be if you’re hoping to enjoy a winter wonderland experience in December. The average temperature in many places is now below freezing, at -3°C, and high temps usually don’t climb above freezing either, averaging -1°C. It’s definitely time to dress for the cold. Think wool, lots of wool, and thermal base layers as well as warm gloves, a good hat, scarf and winter boots. If you’re going to be in mountainous areas, or in the far north, you may need some extra winter gear too. (Average Max Temperature: -1°C. Average Precipitation: 50mm.)
- Western Europe Weather in December: You’ll need your warm winter coat for a visit to Western Europe in December. Earlier in the month the precipitation that falls is usually in the form of rain, but by mid-month it may be replaced by snow in some places. Either way, expect it to be cold, wet and cloudy, with highs reaching just 6°C and lows hovering just above freezing at an average of around 3°C. You’re unlikely to need thermal underwear, but plan to dress in layers, and bring a pair of gloves, a warm hat and a scarf along with that winter coat. Waterproof boots may be a good idea too, with 70mm of precipitation falling over 21 days this month. (Average Max Temperature: 6°C. Average precipitation: 70mm.)
- Eastern Europe Weather in December: Temperatures throughout much of Europe are some of the coldest they’ll be all year, other than January. Most Eastern European cities experience typical continental weather in December, with temperatures dipping below freezing, making snow possible, though there isn’t as much precipitation, with 40mm falling over 12 days this month. When it does snow, unless you’re in the mountains, it’s usually light – just enough to add a sparkle to the landscape. While there will be plenty of cloudy days, you’ll probably enjoy a few gorgeous, albeit chilly, days with brilliant blue skies and sunshine too. There’s no need to worry about bringing warm weather clothing now, think sweaters, jeans, wool, scarves, gloves, warm boots and a warm coat. (Average Max Temperature: 13°C. Average Precipitation: 80mm.)
- Mediterranean Europe Weather in December: December brings some of the coldest temperatures of the year, though compared to northern areas, it’s going to be rather mild in the Mediterranean region. The average high temperature is 15°C, and it doesn’t get much colder than 9°C, which means the weather is still relatively decent for wandering the streets and enjoying the sights, just not warm enough for lounging on the beaches. Rainfall increases significantly to 98mm over 11 days now, and that precipitation is likely to come in the form of light snow in the higher elevation areas where it can sometimes dip below freezing. This time of year, bring clothing for cooler weather and rain, including a rain jacket, long pants, sweaters and long-sleeve shirts. (Average Max Temperature: 15°C. Average Precipitation: 98mm.)
Europe Events and Festivals
Europe in January
- New Year’s Day – January 1 is a public holiday throughout Europe. While New Year’s Eve is celebrated in a big way throughout much of the continent, on this day, you’ll find that many places, including restaurants, shops, museums and historic sites are closed, although there are usually at least a few eateries open for lunch and dinner. Lots of major cities will feature parades, like Paris’ New Year’s Day Grand Parade on the Champs-Elysees.
- Ephiphany – Epiphany is celebrated in many places throughout Europe annually on January 6. Families and communities gather together to celebrate, and for some, the day is even more important than Christmas. This is the main event of the holiday season in Italy, when Italians exchange gifts as the final day of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” In Spain and Germany, it’s known as “Three Kings Day.” In Finland, the holiday is called loppiainen, a name that dates back to the 17th century. This is when Christmas trees are traditionally taken out of Finnish homes. Depending on your destination, you may find that many places are closed.
- Winter Sales – Winter sales begin in January throughout much of Europe. While there are no set dates, this is a great time for shopping enthusiasts seeking big bargains on all sorts of items at everything from independent boutiques and mom-and-pop shops to outlets and shopping malls.
- Up Helly Aa, Shetland Islands, Scotland – One of the most spectacular and the largest of all Europe’s fire festivals, the Up Helly Aa is hosted on the last Tuesday in January every year in Lerwick, the main port of the Shetland Islands in Scotland. It celebrates the region’s Viking heritage with a torch-lit procession and traditional music before culminating with more than 1000 costumed “guizers,” who each take the name of a figure in Norse legend, throwing burning torches into a traditional Viking longship.
- Bruges Snow and Ice Festival, Belgium – If you visit Bruges, Belgium during the first week of January, you can catch the last days of the Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival. This stunning spectacle features 40 artists who make incredible creations from some 300 tons of ice and 400 tons of snowflakes.
Europe in February
- Venice Carnival, Italy – Carnival is one of the biggest festivals in all of Italy, and in Europe, and there is no place that does it bigger or better than Venice. It takes place during the period before Lent, which usually falls in February but can fall anywhere from late January through early April. Many of the events such as the elaborate masquerade balls require an invitation and come at a steep price, but there are plenty of others that are free and open to the public, including street performances, concerts and the candlelit parade of boats, part of the “grand finale,” where hundreds of gondolas float down the main canal.
- Patras Festival, Greece – The Patras Carnival in Greece is also among Europe’s largest, and its festivities begin in January and run through February. It includes parades, balls, street music, dances, treasure hunts and more.
- Valentine’s Day – Valentine’s Day, February 14, is a newer holiday in some places like Denmark, which only started celebrating in the 1990s. In most places in Europe, it’s not a big event, but celebrated by exchanging cards and giving gifts like flowers and chocolates. Many restaurants offer Valentine’s specials to attract couples as well. France tends to go all out, with some three-quarters of the French celebrating the day, which means you’ll find many romantic events, dinners and the like to attend, particularly in Paris.
- Fete du Citron/Lemon Festival, Menton, France – The Lemon Festival is held in the scenic coastal town of Menton on the French Riviera, beginning in mid-February and running through early March. The event includes parades, with all sorts of floats featuring citrus fruit creations along the promenade, along with musicians and other spectacular displays, while evening processions are followed with fireworks over the bay. There are also a wide range of traditional products inspired by lemons for sale, like honey, jams and jellies, perfumes, soaps, liqueurs and more.
Europe in March
- Taste of Florence Food Festival, Florence, Italy – If you want to experience the best of Italy’s food culture, plan to attend this festival which features some 300 stands that serve food from across the country over 3 days in mid-March.
- Las Fallas, Valencia, Spain – This massive event takes over much of Valencia for five full days and nights, March 15 through March 19 every year, with parades and pageants, culminating with a huge fireworks display. The fireworks are stuffed inside hundreds of elaborate paper maché creations that are set on fire, bursting across the city.
- Saint Patrick’s Day – While Saint Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday, it’s celebrated throughout much of Europe, but the biggest and best, of course, is hosted in Dublin. The capital city puts on a massive four-day festival, with the main event, the parade, taking place on March 17th. It features all types of fantastical creations and exciting performances that include local and national bands, bands from the U.S. and beyond. The Irish Craft Beer & Whiskey Village is open throughout the festival and showcases beer, whiskey, artisan food and entertainment, including live music.
- Starkbierzeit, Munich, Germany – March in Munich offers the chance to attend festivities similar to Oktoberfest, but without the big crowds and higher prices. Starzbierzeit translates to “Strong Beer Time,” and takes place throughout much of the month. It includes, of course, lots of beer, as well as singing to drinking songs and dancing on tables in a celebration of Bavarian culture.
Europe in April
- Holy Week and Easter – Holy Week is celebrated from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, sometimes falling in late March, but most often in April. Throughout Europe, there are many festivities for Easter, in the squares, streets, and stores. For the non-religious, it means things like candy and the Easter Bunny, while for the religious it’s a time for church services and rituals. Each diverse culture celebrates the holiday in its own way – in some places there may be Easter markets and parades to attend, with some of the biggest festivities in Italy, Spain, France and Portugal.
- Feria de Abril/April Fair, Seville, Spain – In mid-April, Seville hosts one of the largest and most elaborate festivals in Spain’s Andalucia region. It includes people wearing traditional Andalucian dress, a horse and carriage parade, music, street dancing and lots of food and drink.
- Tulip Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands – One of Europe’s most popular spring festivals, the Tulip Festival is hosted throughout the month of April, and features over a half-million colorful, and sometimes rare, tulips that can be viewed in the gardens of museums, private homes and a number of city institutions.
- The Nuremberg Spring Festival, Germany – This annual festival held on the banks of Dutzendteich in Nuremberg, Germany is hosted for 2 weeks in April. It features theme park attractions as well as traditional music, food and drink.
- Budapest Spring Festival, Hungary – Hosted for 3 weeks in April, this festival offers an impressive program that includes dance, world music, jazz, classical, opera and more, as well as a circus, theatre and the visual arts.
Europe in May
- Labour Day/International Workers’ Day – Labour Day, also known as International Workers’ Day or May Day, is a holiday throughout Europe with the exception of the U.K. and the Netherlands. Celebrations vary depending on the country you’re in – in Croatia people come together to enjoy barbecuing together, in Italy you might find free concerts, and there are fairs hosted throughout Hungary. Political rallies and protests are also common in many major cities throughout the continent.
- Cannes Film Festival, France – The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most celebrated and glamorous of all film festivals around the world. It’s a time when tens of thousands of filmmakers and fans, including numerous big-name celebrities come to promote their creations and/or catch previews of new films of all genres.
- Constitution Day, Oslo, Norway – Held annually on May 17th, Constitution Day celebrates Norway’s independence from Denmark with parades, traditional costume, folk music, and a host of other entertainment.
- Athens Jazz Festival, Athens, Greece – Every year, the city of Athens hosts one of the best jazz festivals in all of Europe over five days in late May. The event features European as well as international artists and entrance is free.
Europe in June
- Karneval der Kulturen, Berlin, Germany – This four-day urban festival typically takes place around the first weekend in June, bringing nearly a million visitors and thousands of participants to celebrate diversity and freedom. It includes dance, live music, parades and a variety of street festivals.
- Isle of Wight Festival, Newport, England – This music festival takes place over 4 days in mid-June at Seaclose Park in Newport, England. It features big-name rock and indie acts as well as rising stars.
- Istanbul Music Festival, Turkey – Istanbul hosts its big music festival, often ranked among the top music festivals in the world, throughout most of the month of June every year. Some 600 local and international artists perform, including big names in classical, opera and ballet.
- Bordeaux Wine Festival, Bordeaux, France – One of the world’s best wine producing regions holds one of the world’s best annual wine festivals in mid-June. It offers the opportunity to taste the diversity of wines from the Bordeaux and Aquitaine regions, as well as to tour vineyards, attend wine workshops, and watch magic shows and fireworks.
- Sonar Festival – Founded in Barcelona, the Sonar Festival is the biggest electronic and advanced music festival in Europe. It’s held annually over 3 days in mid-June.
Europe in July
- Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland – This long-running festival began in 1967 and is hosted either in Montreux or on the banks of Lake Geneva. One of Europe’s major music events, and the second largest jazz festival in the world, it includes concerts and DJ sets.
- Wimbledon, London, England – In July, London hosts Wimbledon, the oldest and arguably the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
- Running of the Bulls/San Fermin, Pamplona, Spain – The most famous and most controversial festival in Spain is held annually July 6 to 14. The actual running of the bulls, which you can watch from a safe distance, occurs on the second day of the festival, July 7.
- Bastille Day, Paris, France – Bastille Day, July 14, is celebrated throughout France, but Paris hosts the most elaborate festivities with parades, fireworks, and a wide array of parties that go on until the wee hours of the night.
Europe in August
- Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland – This 3-week festival features a unique collection of known and unknown artists. It includes comedy, theater, dance, musicals, operas, exhibitions and much more.
- Tuscan Sun Festival, Cortona, Italy – This popular arts festival features renowned artists and musicians over nine days starting the first weekend in August. It includes music and art as well as cooking demonstrations and plenty of food and wine, including locally-made items and fine Tuscan wines.
- Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary – The biggest annual rock festival in Budapest is hosted from August 8 to 15, featuring some of the biggest international music artists in the world.
- Running of the Bulls San Sebastian De Los Reyes, Madrid, Spain – The second most famous bull-run in Spain is held during the last week of August in Madrid. Participants wear red and white, and spill as much sangria as they drink while trying their luck outrunning the massive creatures.
- Festa de Sant Roc, Barcelona, Spain – Festa de Sant Roc is the oldest festival in Barcelona, celebrated annually for more than four centuries. It’s focused around the Placa Nova, and takes place in mid-August. Catalan traditions are featured, including lots of dancing, sea shanty singing groups, street games, parades and fireworks.
Europe in September
- Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany – Oktoberfest actually begins in September and runs for 16 to 18 days, depending on the year. Some six million people from across the globe come to join the Germans who drink loads of beer, eat tons of sausage and enjoy raucous drinking as well as a range of attractions like games and amusement rides.
- Regata Storica di Venezia, Venice, Italy – This historic Regatta is one of the most spectacular events in Venice, and the most important event on the rowing calendar. It highlights the city’s reliance on boating and waterways and takes place on the first Sunday of September each year. It’s made up of four different races and involves many different types of boats, including the gondola, which race a course along the Grand Canal, and is accompanied with lots of food, drink and music.
- Amsterdam Fringe Festival, Netherlands – This event held annually during the first half of September, hosts a wide range of productions by cutting-edge local and international artists, as well as producers, at over 25 venues across the city, including theater, musical theater, art, comedy and dance.
- Festes de la Merce, Barcelona, Spain – This festival is the biggest to honor the patron saint of Barcelona, Our Lady of Merce (La Merc). The four-day event is typically held around the first weekend of fall, and includes free music concerts, parades, a harbor swimming race, a run and Catalan dances.
- Galway Oyster Festival, Galway, Ireland – The oldest oyster festival in the world celebrates oysters and other bounties from the city in the beautiful Irish city of Galway around the start of the autumn season. It’s not only a time for indulging in oysters and a few too many beers, but there are cook-offs, culinary demos and the famous oyster shucking championships.
Europe in October
- Festival of Lights, Berlin Germany – Held for 10 days in mid-October, the Berlin Festival of Lights illuminates the city’s most famous historical monuments and landmarks, like the Berlin Cathedral and Brandenburg Gate via light projections and video art. The festival also includes a variety of art and music events.
- Eurochocolate, Perugia, Italy – Eurochocolate is one of the biggest chocolate festivals in Europe and is hosted for 10 days in mid-October. This is an opportunity for tasting chocolate from around the world as well as participating in cooking classes, viewing elaborate chocolate-sculpting displays, sipping wine and taking in all sorts of performances.
- Amsterdam Music Festival and Dance Event, Netherlands – The Amsterdam Music Festival is part of the annual Amsterdam Dance Event conference, which takes place over 4 days in mid-October. The experience celebrates some of the biggest names in electronic music, and typically includes over 2,000 world-class acts from around the world.
- Halloween – Halloween is celebrated throughout much of Europe, but it isn’t as lavish as it is in the U.S. In most places there is no trick-or treating, instead there are parties, costume contests and other events. As Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, many of the biggest and best festivities can be enjoyed in Ireland. The Spirit of Meath Halloween Festival includes events at various venues across the county that can be enjoyed throughout much of October and into early November.
Europe in November
- Bonfire Night, London, England – Annually on November 5, London’s skies light up to celebrate Bonfire Night, a tradition that dates back to the early 17th-century, when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the House of Parliament. Today, it’s all about fireworks.
- The Rome Jazz Festival, Italy – This jazz festival is one of the most popular November events in Rome, hosted throughout the second half of November. It includes performances from Italian as well as international musicians that take place in the Auditorium Parco della Musica.
- Sinterklaas Parade, Amsterdam, Netherlands – The arrival of Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus, who is known to Dutch children as Sinterklaas, launches the Christmas season in mid-November. He arrives on a ship into Amsterdam from his home in Spain, bringing presents and treats for the children.
- Weihnachtsmarkt, Koblenz, Germany – In many places around Europe, the Christmas markets and festivals begin, including the Koblenz Weihnachtsmarket which takes place in Old Town Koblenz. It runs through just a few days before Christmas and includes some 100 decorated stalls that sell an impressive array of traditional German cuisine and beverages, and all sorts of goods, including handcrafted toys. There are a variety of concerts and other performances throughout the festival as well.
Europe in December
- Lyon Festival of Lights, Lyon, France – Lyon hosts its popular Festival of Lights over four days in mid-December. There are impressive lighting displays throughout the city to honor Mary, the mother of Jesus. Tradition dictates that every house in Lyon places candles along the outside of windows, which produces an incredible effect throughout the streets. These days, there is lots of high-tech lighting used as well.
- Christmas Markets – There are Christmas markets in many locations throughout Europe in December. Some of the best can be found in Dresden and Hamburg, Germany; Innsbruck and Vienna, Austria; Birmingham, England; Brussels, Belgium; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Bologna, Italy; Copenhagen, Denmark and Trondheim, Norway.
- Christmas Eve/Christmas Day – For many Europeans, the main event of the holiday season is Christmas Eve, celebrated with Midnight Mass and a big feast. Others focus more on Christmas Day and gift-giving. On Christmas Day, December 25, nearly all attractions will be closed, and most restaurants, though in some cities you may still find quite a few eateries open.
- New Year’s Eve – December 31st, New Year’s Eve, is celebrated with fireworks and parties across Europe, many lasting well into the night. No matter where you are, you’re likely to find a fun event to attend. Some of the best New Year’s Eve festivities can be enjoyed in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Edinburgh, Rome, Lisbon and Prague, although celebrations can be found in many small towns and other major cities throughout the continent.