Peak Season Is
The Best Season To Visit Europe
Peak season Europe, also known as high season or summer travel season, is the most popular time to travel throughout Europe.
The accepted peak season travel months are June, July, and August, roughly between US Memorial Day and Labor Day, with random weeks in May or September, depending on the year.
This is Europe’s money-making season.
Witness the crowds, the higher prices, and the large number of European group tours - all more abundant in the summer travel season.
Europe is spit-shined and dressed to the nines with an eye toward the tourist Dollar. And the tourist Yen. And the tourist [name your own currency here].
Attractions are fully staffed, with some of the outdoor scaffolding removed.
Museums and attractions are full. Restaurants are fuller.
There’s excitement in the air during peak season Europe, as tourists from throughout the world jostle to see the wonders of centuries of Continental history, culture, art, and archi-tecture.
They come in droves, with lines for entering even mundane attractions as long as those at Disney World.
Hotels are full, making it difficult [if not impossible] to negotiate any sort of discounted rate.
Airports and airlines are tedious with more luggage, fuller planes, and [much] higher fares.
The summer travel season is the most crowded and the most expensive season to travel in Europe.
But before you decide against summer travel in Europe, consider the longer daylight hours, giving you more time to see what you came to see.
And summer evenings, when the best weather in Europe is mild and inviting, to be out and about with the locals.
Sightseeing is at its best in peak season Europe with attractions open, refurbished, and welcoming. Many have flexible schedules, with longer hours - into the evening - to accommodate tourists.
Crowds are unavoidable. But there are ways to escape them.
With the milder weather, getting away from traveling crowds in peak season Europe is as easy as a short walk away from main tourist areas.
- Detour just a few streets over from popular attractions, and the crowds disappear.
- Go early – or late – to visit the sights, and most of the tourists are gone.
- Leave the cities to explore towns, villages, and rural areas. You’ll also leave the tourists behind.
- Spend the night in areas visited mostly by day-trippers. Evenings and mornings will be yours alone to explore and savor the sights.
Negotiating Peak Travel Season
Traveling in peak season Europe requires flexibility and timing.
With higher numbers of tourists planning summer travel in Europe, it’s common to find tours, hotels, and car rentals booked up. You can’t wait until a few weeks out to start looking for reservations.
Escorted vacations can be booked up to a year in advance, so check with tour companies that offer European group tours to your destination, as soon as you know where you want to go.
Tour companies often offer discounts or early booking specials for the next year’s tours.
Check the next season offerings between November and February for 'early bird' specials, that can result in $100 - $300 off per person.
If you find a deal you like, act quickly. Once the 'purchase by' dates have passed, few deals will be offered, and full price will reign.
For independent travel, planning for peak season travel in Europe is an exercise in competitiveness.
Start checking airfares around six months out, but don’t expect a reasonable price until about 90 days before your travel date.
Airlines optimis-tically think passengers [their intended customers] will pay the inflated prices they offer early.
But if you grit your teeth and don’t give in to your panic, their panic - starting 60-90 days out - will be your reward.
With empty seats to fill, most airlines begin the discounting process on international airfares around the 90-day mark. By this time they've begun to assess early bookings and start to get serious about filling seats.
When checking for airfares with either a 'brick and mortar' independent travel agent, or scouting your own deals with online travel agents, always compare airlines, rates, and dates, to find the best deal.
Secure your hotels early as well, especially if you want a specific hotel
or hope to stay in a high-tourist area.
Contact hotels directly for the best price. Booking early - directly with the hotel - is your best chance to lock in a discounted rate, before there are many reservations on the books.
Holiday peak season [Christmas, New Years, etc.] have their own set
Plan your air travel for non-business travel days, usually Tuesday through Thursday. Look for late morning or early afternoon flights, while business travelers are conducting their business.
Never travel just before or just after a Holiday – like the Wednesday before or the Sunday after Thanksgiving - when everyone else is traveling.
Once you choose your airline, learn its policy for cancelled or delayed flights.
Get phone numbers to reach your airline’s reservation system, so in the event of a delay you can reach them without standing in Holiday travel lines at airport ticket counters.
And always, always, have a back-up plan.
Choosing A Peak Season Europe Destination
Research your destination in advance, and you’ll find that many Europeans take their own vacations in the summer travel season, usually in July or August.
And while you may find an occasional business closed, you’ll also find local traffic is lighter, native museum goers and sightseers are gone, and the popular restaurants are available.
Europe’s northern countries have mild weather in summer, with a latitude equal to that of the northeastern United States and Canada.
The British Isles are comfortable, having many more days of sunshine and good weather in the summer travel season, than they do in the rest of the year.
Belgium, The Netherlands, and Scandinavia may have the best weather in Europe during their summers.
In fact, the farther north in Europe the country is, the more important peak season can be as the best season to travel there.
Countries in southern Europe [think near the Mediterranean] will be hot. Really hot!
But there are charming towns and small villages everywhere, with beaches to cool your heels.
Costa del Sol...the Greek Isles...the South of France....
The common element in each: water, water, everywhere.
In and around these coastal resort areas, you'll find indigenous sites full of history and local charm - often overlooked in other travel seasons.
Outdoor activities are the rule. Alfresco dining is what to do for the in crowd. And the tourist crowd.
Sun, sand, and unparalleled scenic beauty. Is it any wonder these are the places Europeans go for their summer Europe travel?
During peak season Europe, wherever you travel on the Continent, both natives and tourists are out enjoying themselves. People watching is at its best.
When is the best season to visit Europe? Most travelers, tour companies, and even Europeans say - without hesitation - it’s peak season!
For more information on how to choose the best season to travel to Europe, check out the following pages:
Traveling in Low Season finds a different side of Europe. Toss your weather concerns aside and discover the Continent's true soul.
Traveling in Shoulder Season is the best of all worlds. The crowds are gone, the prices down, and the weather’s fine. Learn how to take advan-tage of Europe’s finest travel season.
Return From Peak Season Travel To When To Travel Europe
Travel Tip: Discounts are hard to come by for peak season travel. As a rule, there are no 'late breaking deals'. Book early for the best prices. Avoid reservation centers, if possible. The further out you book – directly with the company when they show low occupancy – the more likely you are to save money.
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