I’ve had this suspicion for awhile, and after our October trip to Spain, France and Italy I’m almost convinced it’s true that Autumn is the best time to travel to Europe. Traveling during shoulder season is the easiest way to avoid many of the nuisances that plague visitors to Europe.
Still, if you travel during fall you may run into off-season related issues. Weather can be unpredictable and attractions closed. There IS a reason so many people visit Europe in the summer but is it really the best time to travel to Europe?
So here are my arguments, pro and con, on why fall may be the best time to travel to Europe!
PRO: Crisp Pretty Weather
Autumn in Europe can be just beautiful, with warm golden light and clear crisp skies. The foliage is lit up in brilliant yellows and oranges. You can wear light jackets and cute scarves and it’s not freezing at night just yet. It’s the perfect weather for strolling around pedestrian friendly cities like Florence or Rome (where winter comes just a little bit later).
CON: Cold, Rainy Weather
On the flip side, fall weather can just as easily turn dark damp and cold. It rains more in the fall, and if you’re someone who gets rained on quite often (ahem), this can be a bummer. My impression of Prague is still dismal, in part due to the cold, damp November weather that surrounded it.
PRO: Less Crowds
This is probably the biggest plus for me. Visiting popular parts of Europe during the summer sometimes feels like visiting Disneyland: sweaty, crowded and with lines that defy belief. If you’re planning to Eurail, seats book up fast. In the fall, the crowds start to thin out and cities start to look like, well cities, again instead of theme-park rides. After a year spent living in London I determined that Fall is absolutely the best time to sightsee without losing your mind.
CON: Closures and Construction
On the flip side, because there are fewer tourists, many local businesses use the off-season to do their own improvements. Many attractions have shorter hours or may not even run at all. In Genoa, in October we wasted a whole morning trying to take a scenic boat ride before realizing they’d stopped running September 30. Total bummer.
PRO: Possible Deals
Because it’s not as popular, fall is rife for finding some great discounts on travel in Europe. Flights are cheaper (particularly if you travel over Thanksgiving- I have a lot of opinions about that). You can score great deals, even on a fancy hotel like the Kempinski Corvinus Budapest (Budapest is one of the prettiest cities to visit in the fall). It won’t make Europe cheap, but it’s certainly just a little more affordable.
What do you think, is fall the best time to travel to Europe?
This post was written by me, brought to you by Kempinski.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means that if you click and purchase something through these links, Steph and I make a commission at no extra cost to you.