Europe’s ten most visited cities welcomed over 93 million visitors in 2015 (source: MasterCard 2015 Global Destination Cities Index).
Due to their popularity, there will be times when these cities are so busy that queueing times are long, prices are high, and you’ll wish you’d visited at some other time.
This post helps you to enjoy these glorious cities at their best by revealing:
1. When to visit in order to avoid the largest crowds
2. When to visit in order to get the best deals on flights and hotels
When To Visit London
1. London (19m visitors, 2015)
Europe’s most popular city, London received almost 19 million visitors in 2015. Peak times centre around Late Spring to Early Autumn, and again around Christmas.
To avoid the largest crowds, visit London at the following times:
Early Spring. Shouldering the Late Spring to Early Autumn peak, room occupancy will be lower, offering more opportunity to grab late room deals. London’s weather is never reliable, but you can expect to enjoy Spring blossoms and see the Royal Parks beginning to come alive.
Mid-Late Autumn. Probably the most beautiful time of year. The weather can be mild if a little chilly, with stunning autumn colours on display.
Post-Christmas. This is key bargain time. With January retail sales in full swing, room occupancy at its lowest and less demand for stage shows, you’ll be sure to get the best deals on rooms and flights.
When To Visit Paris
2. Paris (16m visitors, 2015)
Summer in Paris is rammed with tourists and many shops and restaurants especially in the neighbourhoods will close for Summer holiday in August.
May & Late September / Early October in Paris are probably the best times to visit as temperatures are mild but not too cold, and the crowds have died down.
If you want warm weather visit Paris from end of May to end of July. Prepare to deal with crowds and higher prices, but expect to enjoy sitting outside until late in the evening.
When To Visit Istanbul
3. Istanbul (12.5m visitors, 2015)
High season in Istanbul is Spring when the weather is mild, flowers are in bloom, and European beach resorts not yet busy.
Summer in Istanbul is warm with average temperatures reaching 24 degrees celsius. There are less crowds, less queues, and more bargains to be had on hotel rooms and flights.
When To Visit Barcelona
4. Barcelona (7.6m visitors, 2015)
Barcelona is best avoided in July and August when the city is busy, hot and humid.
The best time to visit the Basque capital to avoid the crowds is May or June.
The best time to get yourself a bargain on hotel rooms is September to December, but expect some rain from October onwards.
Early in the year (January to April) is quite chilly but the crowds are few and hotel bargains are widely available.
When To Visit Amsterdam
5. Amsterdam (7.4m visitors, 2015)
Amsterdam enjoys its tourism peak during the Summer months (June to August) when droves of visitors land on its liberal doorsteps. Summer weather tends to be good. Weather in Amsterdam is otherwise unpredictable and subject to its fair share of rain.
Amsterdam’s shoulder seasons are Spring and Autumn, when the largest crowds have gone and some room bargains are available.
Visit towards the end of April to see the city’s tulips in full bloom, as well as the chance to get yourself a bargain and avoid the crowds.
When To Visit Rome
6. Rome (7.4m visitors, 2015)
Rome experiences a surge in visitor numbers during the Summer months of June to August. Temperatures during this period range from 23 to 26 degrees celsius, queues are long, and hotels are both expensive and fully booked.
The shoulder months of May and September have a nice average temperatures of 21/22 degrees celsius and the city isn’t thronged with visitors. With room occupancy that little bit lower, good deals may be found and queues at main attractions will certainly be shorter than in Summer.
Autumn-Winter-Spring months, apart from Christmas, see a far quieter city with more hotel deals available and almost no other visitors to contend with. Rome tends to be quite dry most of the year except for December which experiences a jump in rainy days from less than 10 days per month on average to almost 20.
When To Visit Milan
7. Milan (7m visitors, 2015)
July and August won’t offer much comfort in Milan as the temperature gets hot and humid. August is traditionally the time when Italians head for the coast, so you are likely to find many amenities and stores closed up. June is busy with Men’s Fashion Week, Milano Food Festival and Milano Film Festival all taking place.
Women’s Fashion Week happens in April, so unless you are visiting to experience the event, you might want to avoid the city at this time as room occupancy will be high and less deals are on offer.
May, September and October are the best months to visit Milan. The weather is mild, the tourist numbers are lower, major events are avoided, the Milanese are home, and more flights and hotel deals are available.
When To Visit Vienna
8. Vienna (5.8m visitors, 2015)
Vienna receives most of its tourists during the Summer months when the weather is good, and close to Christmas for the famous Viennese Christmas Markets.
May and September are the best months to visit Vienna. Tourist numbers have not hit Summer peak, temperatures are moderate, and with room occupancy a little lower and more deals on offer.
When To Visit Prague
9. Prague (5.5m visitors, 2015)
Summer in Prague is warm. Winter is very cold and snowfall is highly probable, which adds to the city's romanticism.
The best times to avoid the crowds and grab a bargain are Spring and Autumn.
When To Visit Munich
10. Munich (4.86m visitors, 2015)
Munich is famous for the annual beer drinking festival, Oktoberfest, which takes place in September and October, and attracts a whopping 6 million visitors from around the world.
If you are visiting for Oktoberfest book accommodation around 12 months in advance to make sure you have somewhere to stay.
If you aren’t visiting the festival, the best time to visit Munich is Springtime (March to May) when you’ll avoid the Summer crowds, the freezing temperatures of December to February, and with less visitors in the city more hotel deals are on offer.
Share your favourite time of year to visit one of these amazing places by leaving a comment below.
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