Now is the best time to start planning for 2017: you still got plenty of time to buy tickets, find a perfect hotel and plan your vacation. Here are some of my recommendations for perfect places to visit each month!
January: Spain OR… Finland
Visiting cities in the middle of winter might not be the most pleasant experience so the best choice here is to go somewhere warm… like Spain! January is the time when Barcelona sees the least tourism so you can see all Gaudi’s magnificent architecture while the weather is warmer than anywhere else in Europe.
Or how about embracing the cold and going to one of the coldest places: Finland. You get a chance to see the magnificent aurora, visit Santa and the Moomin Village, ride a husky sled and you’re going to be alone, as not a lot of tourists like the idea of freezing. You can warm up fast in Finland though as they have some amazing hot saunas.
When everyone is having fun in the snow, Greece is in low season. You can expect less tourists visiting the famous attractions so if you’ve always wanted to see the Acropolis, now is probably the best time to do it! Some of the hotels of the Greek islands might be closed for the winter but the ones that are open offer great prices. As for the restaurants: only the ones frequented by the locals will be opened, which means better food for less money!
March: skiing in the Alps
As the skiing season comes to an end, the prices in ski resorts get lower. You can expect huge hotel discounts, free skipasses and great, sunny weather. Most resorts use snow cannons so don’t worry about the skiing conditions. My fave skiing region in Europe is South Tyrol which offers beautiful pistes for every level, along with great cuisine and wine!
Here’s a tip I got from a Florentine girl: April is the best month to visit Florence! The weather is great, the whole town is in bloom, the tourist have just started pouring in the city (though there’s still going to be a lot of people there, Florence is honestly the most popular place in Italy). Also, consider visiting other beautiful Italian cities, like Rome, Venice or Naples.
Croatia has experienced massive increase in the number of tourists recently but you can probably avoid some of them if you visit this country in May. I can’t guarantee it’ll be warm enough to swim but sunbathing is definitely an option. Other than that, you can go see the cities, which are just magnificent. As some of them were built by Venice (like Rovinj for example) you can experience the unique charm of Italian streets for half the Italian price.
If you visit Slovenia once, you will want to go back… It’s one of the most unique countries in Europe and you will just love it. I highly recommend visiting the Slovenian Alps but the coast is also awesome, just look how beautiful Piran is!
If you’re thinking about going to Poland, July is definitely the best time to do it. Poland can experience a lot of rain in spring and by July it’ll all be over so you can finally bask in the sun. Insider tip: skip the capital of Warsaw and go for the cities with history: Krakow, Wroclaw or Gdansk. Poland has also some of the best nature parks in Europe, including Tatra mountains – if you’re a nature lover, this country is definitely worth a visit.
If you’re a fan of Scandinavian design and landscapes but hate the cold, your best bet is August. The temperature in Norway rises almost to 20 C (54 ° F) so you get a chance to see the fjords, the wooden churches and the red houses without freezing. Just keep in mind that you probably won’t be the only person to realise that and all the tourist destinations will surely be crowded!
September: Sardinia (and other mediterranean islands)
When everyone heads back home from their holidays, you should head to the summer resorts and enjoy the great weather! It’s like summer but without the scorching heat and the hotels are much cheaper.
Autumn is the best, best, best time to visit Portugal. You can expect marvellous weather which even allows you to swim in the Altantic, but it’s not extremely hot like during the summer (oh, summers in Lisbon… TOO HOT). It’s the perfect time to swim, sunbathe, visit the cities or just relax. Porto, Lisbon or Algarve: everywhere is great.
A little known fact is that Scottish region of Perthshire is considered one of the most beautiful places in Europe to see the autumn leaves. Autumn is great time for a roadtrip around the land of lochs and castles, though you need to pack some windproof clothes!
December: Christmas Markets!
Colourful lights, gluhwein and the smell of pine: who doesn’t love Christmas markets? Plazas all around Europe transform into magical Christmas villages, it’s wonderful. My favourite Christmas market is in Vienna but the best one is in Zagreb (Croatia), Strasbourg and Colmar. Here’s a list of awesome Christmas markets you can visit in December!
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