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When to go

Europe has a high season in summer and another in winter. Crowding is the main difficulty in the warmest months of June, July and particularly August. In some countries, such as France and Italy, many shops and restaurants close in August while locals take their own holidays, meaning that some cities can feel rather dead.

Global warming has meant a later start to the skiing season; often, decent snowfalls aren’t recorded until January (or even February). December is always busy in locations such as Paris, Prague and any Austrian or German city with a quaint Christmas market. Easter is another busy time.

You can find bargains by visiting traditionally ‘summer’ destinations such as Greece in winter, but be aware that public transport might be less frequent. In some northern locations such as Scotland and Scandinavia, it might not run at all as heavy snow and ice mean services are seasonal.

For all the above reasons, by far the best months to travel in Europe are May, June and September.