Forever in pursuit of an endless summer, the best time to go to Europe – and beyond – is no longer confined to the window from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
With demand for travel to Europe exceeding inventory across top hotels, the answer to the question “when is the best time to go to Europe?” looks different post-pandemic. There will always be beauty in a trip to the Positano at summer’s peak. But the seasonality of perennial favorites – like the Amalfi Coast – is evolving across the luxury travel landscape. What was once considered “shoulder season” is now an extension of high season.
When is the best time to go to Europe?
The best time to go to Europe should be defined by what you’re looking to get out of your fully customized trip. Whether that be on a honeymoon, girls’ getaway, multi-generational celebration, or beyond, your “best time” may look different than even your closest friends’. If you’re the type of traveler who is willing to pay top dollar to visit Europe during the busiest summer months, then June, July, and August remain attractive. This time of year affords access to beach clubs at their most vibrant as well as the ability to enjoy nightlife in prime clubbing destinations like Mykonos and Ibiza.
If you’ve determined that your ideal time frame for a European vacation is peak season, then advance planning has never been more key.
If you’ve determined that your ideal time frame for a European vacation is peak season, then advance planning has never been more key. Working with a SmartFlyer travel advisor always means that you have prime access to limited availability – clearing space with the help of our valued hotel partners is one of our favorite magic tricks, after all – but the reality is that suites at top properties are often booked over twelve months in advance. We recommend getting started on planning your peak season itinerary approximately one year prior to departure.
What’s shoulder season?
If you’re the type of traveler who’s enamored by crisper nights, less crowded piazzas, and perhaps more favorable rates, consider traveling to Europe during April, May, September, and October. The nuances of what’s considered “shoulder season” in hospitality – the months quite literally shouldering peak and low seasons – vary by destination. Southern France, Spain, Croatia, and Greece are impacted by more temperature variation due to their location kissing the Mediterranean, whereas landlocked regions like Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary experience less temperature fluctuation.
So, which end of the shoulder season would be preferable for your trip? Determining the best time to go to Europe may depend on whether or not you envision being in or on the water. If you’re considering a trip to a Mediterranean destination where you plan to be in the sea, keep in mind that by September or October, you’re benefiting from the Mediterranean waters having been warmed for several months. Conversely, a dip in April, May, or even early June could be quite chilly!
What about airfare?
When we say that we’re a full-service agency, we mean it. In fact, SmartFlyer was founded in 1990 by Michael Holtz, the ultimate aviation expert. In the more than three decades since, we have expanded to cover clients’ needs across all aspects of their trip – transfers, touring, hotels – but air is where our love affair with the travel industry truly began. All of this to say, we are here to help you secure the most comfortable routing to your destination of choice, but this is most certainly a matter of knowing what options are available based on your getaway, alliance preferences, and seasonality.
Some examples? From June to August, United Airlines now operates a daily seasonal route to the Azores, an archipelago in Portugal. Three times a week, the airline will also now service the Canary Islands and Mallorca from its Newark hub. As Greece only continues to gain momentum with American travelers, Delta has recently created an interline agreement making it possible to reach Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Corfu, and more with one or two stops. Craving la belle France? La Compagnie offers seasonal summer service on its all-business-class fleet directly to Nice. Say “bonjour” to easy access to Cannes and St Tropez!
I’m ready to get planning, how do I take the plunge?
If you don’t have an existing relationship with a SmartFlyer travel advisor but would like to begin the process, we recommend checking out our Agent page. Here, you’ll find in-depth bios on 250+ SmartFlyer travel advisors, each with their own unique perspectives and specialties. If you’re ready to tackle the ubiquitous question of “when is the best time to go to Europe” then perhaps filtering by our Europe specialty is your best place to begin! And no matter where you end up deciding to experience your endless summer, rest assured that the guidance of a seasoned pro is your key to an exceptional experience from takeoff to touchdown.