It’s summer! Many of you are travelling already and many others are planning for a memorable summer vacation. Europe welcomes visitors throughout the year giving them a chance to choose the time that best suits their busy schedules. While many fortunate families get to cherry-pick when to travel, most families are not so fortunate and so find themselves with no choice but to travel in what is known as the “peak season.”
In travel-industry jargon, the year is divided into three seasons: peak season (roughly mid-June through August), shoulder season (April through mid-June and September through October), and off-season (November through March).
Each one has its pros and cons, but in this article we’ll be focusing on the peak season since we’re living it.
For all of you beach lovers, nightlife seekers, and/or families with school kids on vacation, here are some tips that Rick Steves, the famous European travel expert, shares for you to fully enjoy your annual break:
1) Arrange your trip with crowd control in mind.
Try to find out the dates on which your destination is most crowded and leave it for the last half of your vacation when it gets less crowded. You can start your vacation by travelling to the other destination that you have on your itinerary. Go to the busy places as early or late in peak season as you can.
2) Seek out places with no promotional budgets.
Try to choose wisely because at the end of the day, if a nice Greek beach is what you want, you can go to the highly promoted isles of Santorini or you could save a ton of money and enjoy the sun kissed white sand of the beaches of Greece’s Peloponnesian Peninsula. The Europe away from the train tracks is less expensive and feels more peaceful and relaxed.
3) Spend the night.
Break the rule that most tourists follow and avoid spending the night in those big cities and their 5 star hotels. Instead, spend the night in the very same places that you visited during the daytime to enjoy the peacefulness and calmness of these destinations. These small towns lack big hotels but are filled with cozy family owned hotels that guarantee a warm and welcoming stay with lower rates.
4) Prepare for intense heat.
It’s getting hotter every year and Europe is no exception- particularly in the south. So prepare for the heat.
5) Don’t discount July and August.
Although tourism in Europe peaks in July and August, there are exceptions. For example, Paris is relatively empty in July and August but packed full in June (conventions) and September (trade shows).
In much of Europe (especially Italy and France), cities are partially shut down in July and August, for what is known as beach breaks. Europe’s mass holidays shouldn’t negatively affect you if you choose to join the locals and hit the French Riviera beach.
Some places are best experienced in peak season. Travel in the peak season in countries such as Scandinavia, Britain, and Ireland, which rarely have the horrible crowds of other destinations, can be very enjoyable. So bottom line is: It’s all about timing! 🙂