Where and when to travel to Europe

Dazzling tulip displays, vibrant summer festivals and magical Christmas markets, Europe is a dream to travel to at any time of the year. With every season offering its own delights, it’s best to time your European holiday to the things you want to see most. To help start planning your holiday to Europe, we’ve put together some of the highlights you can experience throughout the year, making your holiday one to remember. 

March - May

Europe’s river cruising season begins from late March and is a stunning time of the year to holiday in Europe’s delightful towns and charming countryside. For garden lovers, spring sees the beautiful blooming flowers as they emerge from their winter sleep. Head to the famous Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands, claimed to be the world’s largest flower park and admire over 7 million flowers in full bloom, including more than 800 varieties of tulips. April to May is also perfect weather to cruise Portugal’s Douro River. Get comfortable on the Sun Deck and admire the steep hillside vineyards and picturesque scenery as you cruise through the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For history lovers, journey through France along the Seine River in time for Anzac Day. Pay your respects at the Somme battlefields and walk the historic Normandy beaches, the site of the D-Day landings.

June - August

Summer in Europe is a blissful time to stroll along the cobblestone streets, sip a cool drink in an outdoor café and watch the locals go about their day. Summer also marks festival season, with many street performances and live music acts popping up across the towns and cities. Head to France in July for Bastille Day for spectacular firework displays, military parades and outdoor concerts. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Salzburg comes alive with the sound of music, opera and theatre during its summer Salzburg Festival, whilst watch for your favourite cyclists during the annual Tour de France cycling race throughout July. Prefer to relax with a glass of wine? From May, Bordeaux’s vineyards are in peak season. Stroll through the rolling vineyards whilst admiring the picturesque views of the valleys, and of course enjoy a tasting of some of the region’s most prestigious wines in grand estates.

September - October

What better time to travel to Europe than in the brilliance of autumn, where the trees put on a dazzling display of golden, burnt orange and crimson leaves. Enjoy a 32km guided e-bike ride through the vineyards and under the cover of the shady boughs of colourful trees from Dürnstein to Melk as you follow the snaking Danube River. With temperatures beginning to cool, this is also the perfect time to feast on hearty French stews and spicy Hungarian Goulash served with crusty bread, accompanied with a full-bodied red wine or refreshing beer. To experience Germany’s Bavarian culture, what better time to visit than during Oktoberfest – the world’s largest folk festival held in Munich. Put on your lederhosen and sample the beers in the iconic beer halls, whilst dining on crispy pork knuckle with sweet red cabbage sauerkraut.

November - December

Europe in the lead-up to Christmas transforms into a glittering kaleidoscope of activity as markets spring to life in every town. Rug up and enjoy a hot mug of Glühwein, or sample delicious gingerbread and freshly roasted chestnuts as you shop for the prefect handmade decoration to add to our tree at home. Or, why not choose to spend Christmas in Europe and enjoy the seasonal traditions, twinkling lights, snow-dusted churches and medieval palaces.


Start planning your European cruise

Join us on one of our European River Cruises for an all-inclusive journey taking you down some of the world's most famous waterways. Order your free First Time Wonders River Cruising Guide today and you'll also receive our 2020 European River Cruise brochure, so you can start planning your next adventure with Scenic.
First Time Guide & Europe 2020