How to make the most of the weather in Europe

Whatever the season, the weather in Europe can differ dramatically.

The continent spans many different weather zones and landscapes, ranging from mountains and forests to sprawling beaches and bustling cities.

Generally, summer across Europe means hot temperatures and lots of sunshine, but of course this can’t be guaranteed, so make sure you pack an umbrella as well as your sun cream!

In some countries, when it gets too warm during the day, businesses tend to close up for a couple of hours during the hot weather. Locals flock to beaches and green spaces to seek relief from the high temperatures.

 Throughout the summer, there are plenty of activities going on, both inside and outside – from cycling to hiking, swimming to skiing – and to suit any budget, too!

You’ll also find festivals taking place across Europe, catering to all music tastes and interests.

It’s worth noting that during the peak season, in the months of June to August, certain places in Europe can get very busy with tourists (and therefore quite pricey), so it’s important to plan ahead, or to avoid if you don’t like being in big crowds.

Western Europe

Western Europe is made up of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Key facts:

  • Countries closer to the Mediterranean sea, such as France’s French Riviera, are famous for their pleasant summers, but major cities still tend to get quite hot.
  • Lots of businesses shut down for the European holidays over the peak season to escape the city heat
  • Despite the warm temperatures, some ski and snowboarding resorts in Belgium and Liechtenstein may stay open, depending on the level of snowfall
  • You’ll find urban beaches in cities such as Berlin and Vienna, which have been set up as a temporary attraction during the summer months, and are often free to visit. Amsterdam has a number of real beaches, both in the city and in surrounding areas
  • Most cities offer seasonal festivals, encompassing music, food and performing arts, such as Luxembourg’s ‘Summer in the City’

Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe consists of Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Key facts:

  •  Summers in Eastern Europe tend to be warm, with cities experiencing very hot temperatures – but these countries can also be prone to light summer showers
  •  Poland and Romania are well-known for their ski resorts, but as these shut down over the summer months, it’s the perfect time for exploring higher ground – without the crowds!
  • There are lots of beautiful places to hike across Eastern Europe, such as Krkonoše in the Czech Republic and the North Hungarian mountains
  • Countries such as Croatia and Bulgaria have fantastic coastlines, which are becoming more and more popular with tourists
  • As well as beaches, there are plenty of scenic lakes to visit, including Slovakia, which is rich in natural lakes, reservoirs and rivers

Southern Europe

Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey are all located in southern Europe.

Key facts:

  • Typically hotter than the rest of the continent, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Turkey tend to experience the warmest temperatures during the summer months
  • Heat waves are a common occurrence, especially in countries such as Cyprus, so take extra care during the peak sun intensity hours
  • Macedonia experiences three different climates: "Changed Mediterranean", "Mountainous" and "Mildly Continental; meaning that there may even be snowfall during the summer months
  • As well as being famous for their beaches, these countries also have plenty of lakes and mountainous areas to explore, such as Slovenia’s Lake Bled
  • There are plenty of historic sites to visit across Southern Europe, too – including the Neolithic temples at Ggantija, Gozo, located in the Maltese archipelago 

Northern Europe

Northern Europe is made up of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Republic of Ireland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Key facts:

  • Although you may find that these countries are generally less crowded than other areas of the continent from June to August, be prepared that there could be rain, wind…and even snow!
  • During the summer, the nights are longer. Finland, Norway and Sweden experience the ‘midnight sun’, whereby the sun remains visible during local midnight
  • Whilst the famous Northern Lights are best seen in winter in Northern Europe, you still might be able to catch a glimpse of this beautiful phenomenon in the early and late summers months – with Iceland being a popular destination for viewing
  • In Denmark, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, temperatures can be lower than the rest of the continent
  • There are plenty of national parks across Northern Europe, including the Baltic countries, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – where you may even spot free-roaming brown bears, wolves and lynx!

The above provides a brief guide on what to expect from Europe in the summer.   Whether you decide to experience a wide variety of climates across this amazing continent, or you prefer to stay in one place, you’re bound to have a fantastic experience and see some amazing sights.

To find out more about these countries, browse through the country profile pages here.