Ah, it's finally *FALL*!! Autumn is not only the best time for apple cider, hay rides, and flannel here in the States, it's also the best time to visit Europe! Smaller crowds, better weather, and different tourism options are all reasons you should be booking flights to Europe in September and October!
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Visiting Europe in September and October
When is the best time to visit Europe?
"When is the best time to visit Europe?" is one of the questions I'm asked most frequently by people eager to jump "across the pond!" My answer is 100% always:
"If you can, visit in the Fall. The later in October you go, the better!!"
And now I'm finally memorializing it into a full blog post!
For many people, summer is the best time to travel, and I completely understand - kids out of school, often slower loads at work, and (at least we tend to say), better weather. But, if you can swing it, I highly recommend waiting a bit and traveling in the Fall.
There are so many benefits to visiting Europe when it's not peak season. Spring is great too, but rain is more frequent, and especially in the North, you're more likely to have some pesky clouds lingering to cool things off and bring a dreary look to your pictures!
Want to know why you should visit Europe in Autumn? Here. We. Go!
Smaller crowds in Europe in Fall
September and October are "shoulder season" in Europe, meaning that the tourism is slumping off, but isn't quite yet the dead of winter. Unless you're hitting Germany's Octoberfest, visiting Europe during shoulder season means significantly smaller crowds (oh, friends, I've been in August).
Along with those much, much, much smaller crowds come so many benefits, beyond just generally being able to hear yourself think! Shorter wait times, occasionally cheaper prices (though this hasn't been hugely the case in my experience), more accessible experiences, and, my personal favorite, more friendly and relaxed staff, who aren't just drowning in tourists. Who doesn't want to be alone in a gallery at the Louvre? I literally had that experience during a night opening last October. I was even able to take a picture of Mona Lisa without getting shoved, trampled, pushed, kicked, or yelled at!
What's the weather like in Europe in Fall?
Am I allowed to say perfect? The average temperature in Paris in September is 71/55 with only 7 days of rain. Can you ask for more than that? A crisp breeze, sunny clear skies, and very little chance of needing that umbrella! I'm not really sure you could ask for more! Definitely warm enough to be comfortable walking around, but cool enough that you might need a jacket and you won't be suffering in the sweltering heat. Even if you do have to wait in an outdoor line, heck, it might even be nice to be outside and you won't be chugging water like a Freshman at a frat party. Nice weather adds a boost to your experience and also removes one of the major complaints/difficulties that people have during summer!
What is there to do in Europe in Fall?
So many things! We'll get into specific countries a bit more below, but one of the best parts of visiting Europe in fall is that the sights haven't closed down, so you can essentially see any non-seasonally dependent thing you could have seen in the height of summer!
Best European Countries to Visit in the Fall
Visiting Scotland in September
Oh Scotland. With those crisp temperatures, falling leaves, and the rustle of the ubiquitous fairies, Autumn is a magical and mystical time to visit Scotland. When we visited in September/October we didn't have to contend with crowds at all. The most crowded place we visited was Edinburgh Castle (obviously) and we didn't really even have to wait in any meaningful line to get int. Whip out those Barbour coats, and head "up the Highlands!"
Visiting Paris in October
"Paris in spring" is definitely a commonly repeated trope, but Paris in Fall is perfection. It's the ideal weather for enjoying one of those phenomenal 3 hour lunches out on the terrace, and the city's stunning parks are certainly seen to best advantage accompanied by the leaves crunching under foot! Be sure to explore the oh-so-spooky Pere Lachaise, the city's most famous cemetery and final resting place of its most well-known residents!
For more on visiting Paris in Fall, check out:
Visiting Italy in September
For some reason, I find people are surprised when I'm pushing visiting Italy in the Fall. I suppose it's because when people think of Italy, they think of baking under that Tuscan sun or tanning on the Mediterranean. The reality of most tourists' visits to Rome is baking in line to get into the Roman Forum, and if you visit in Fall, you can avoid that! Think blouses, flats, and no lines - that'll get you in the mood for a Roman holiday!
For more on visiting Italy, check out:
Visiting the UK in Autumn
Sipping pints in a cozy pub, next to a roaring fire, with a murder mystery novel? Is it only me that has that on my daily to do list when I'm in England? Enjoying London or the English countryside is hard when it's packed full of tourists, and Fall is the perfect time to get the best of both worlds!
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