22 Best Europe destinations in August for 2021

You might expect that every city in Europe is overrun by tourists in August, but that's not actually true. Many of Europe's cities are very crowded in August, but some others, including Paris, are actually somewhat empty because so many locals and businesses are out of town and closed.

Below is our list of the 22 best places to consider for a Europe trip in the month of August. You can expect pleasant weather in almost all of them, as well as sizable crowds in most. If this is your first trip to Europe then it would be a shame to skip a city like London or Paris just because of other tourists. You'll also find some lesser known cities on the list, and hopefully you can put together a great Europe itinerary of your own. Generally speaking it's better to avoid Europe's beaches in August because nearly all of them are at maximum crowds and prices this month.

Looking to avoid the hot places? Check out our best cool places around the world to escape the summer heat

Important August 2021 Holidays in Europe

  • August 15 – Assumption Day in France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain etc. (major public holiday)
  • August 30 – Summer bank holiday in the UK (except Scotland, which is on August 2)

It's important to note that huge numbers of Europeans have all of August off work, and they mostly leave the cities and head to beaches (in Europe and beyond) and the countrysides.

Best destinations during COVID-19

As we all know, there is a global pandemic going on still in early 2021. Many countries are still closed to outsiders, but a surprising number are still open for visitors.

>>>Best destinations for Americans and Canadians during COVID

22 Best destinations in Europe in August

Rome, Italy

  • August avg high: 84F/29C
  • August avg low: 65F/18C
  • August avg precip: 1.3″/3.3cm

August is a tricky month to visit Rome because it's very warm and rather crowded, but also because so many Italians take most or all of the month off. This means that there are virtually no business travelers to compete with at nicer hotels, but still a lot of other tourists. Rome is so interesting that it's still worth visiting in August, even if it is a bit crowded.

If you have more time you might also consider visiting Sorrento, which is a bit south of Naples, and the perfect base to visit that city as well as Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. Most visitors will instead head north to Florence on their way to Venice. All of this is explained in much greater detail on our article about the best Italy itineraries.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €51 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €56 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €21 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Rome
>>>Rome prices and travel tips

Florence, Italy

  • August avg high: 87F/31C
  • August avg low: 63F/17C
  • August avg precip: 3.0″/7.5cm

If this is your first trip to Europe and you are considering Italy, then the August heat should not be enough to discourage you to visit. This city, along with Rome and Venice, is one of Europe's highlights, and the crowds are worth the trouble, unless you can move your whole trip.

You can obviously expect it to be quite warm in Florence in August. Most hotels will have air conditioning, but some of the cheapest places may not. Florence has a dense city center, which means that at least you'll be able to walk in some shade most of the day. You might also consider a day trip to Pisa, Siena, or the Cinque Terre from here.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €56 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €89 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €12 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Florence
>>>Florence prices and travel tips

Venice, Italy

  • August avg high: 81F/27C
  • August avg low: 63F/17C
  • August avg precip: 3.3″/8.3cm

Venice doesn't get quite as hot as the other Italian cities, partly because it's on a lagoon, but it does get humid as a result. Venice is an amazing city that everyone should see at least once in their life, but it's also incredibly popular so it's very crowded almost all year round.

The best way to visit Venice is to book a hotel on the main island for only one or two nights, as you'll get fed up with the crowds after that. The main island is pleasantly empty in the early mornings and in the evenings when the day-trip crowds aren't here, so those are the best times for sightseeing.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €85 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €135 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €32 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Venice
>>>Venice prices and travel tips

Paris, France

  • August avg high: 77F/25C
  • August avg low: 62F/17C
  • August avg precip: 1.8″/4.5cm

You might assume that Paris would be splitting at the seams with so many tourists in August, but it's actually a fairly quiet month. Half the local office workers and many others take the whole month off, and there are virtually no business travelers, so Paris kind of empties out. The middle of the month is almost like a ghost town, with a big public holiday closing most offices and other businesses for some time.

All of the main attractions are open in August in Paris, so it's actually a very good time to come. This city is so far north that it rarely gets very warm, so the weather is usually good as well. Hotel room rates are lower than the rest of the summer, so you might be able to afford more than you are expecting.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €58 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €84 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €10 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Paris
>>>Paris prices and travel tips

Interlaken, Switzerland

  • August avg high: 74F/23C
  • August avg low: 55F/13C
  • August avg precip: 5.7″/14.3cm

Most people seem to know that Switzerland is the most beautiful country in Europe for scenery, but most people don't know where to go. This is why I wrote an article called where to go in Switzerland on a short visit. Obviously August is one of the warmer months, but Interlaken is at the base of the Alps, and this means it usually gets some rain storms in summer. Still, they rarely last long.

The top attractions here are the cable car up to the Schilthorn observation deck and the train up to Jungfraujoch, which is the highest train station in Europe. There is snow in both places all year round, which can be fun in August. If you want to visit a second place in Switzerland to admire the unusual beauty, Lucerne is your best bet.

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  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €204 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €14 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Interlaken
>>>Interlaken prices and travel tips

London, England

  • August avg high: 71F/22C
  • August avg low: 56F/13C
  • August avg precip: 2.1″/5.3cm

You'll be battling some pretty big crowds if you visit London in August, but it's still worth it if you are considering coming to Europe at all this month. This is one of the warmer months, of course, so at least you'll have nice weather and plenty of daylight to work with. The Thames now has many sidewalk cafes and pubs to enjoy in the warm months, which aren't nearly as nice the rest of the year.

While London will be very crowded in August, if you get outside of the main tourist spots it really won't feel too bad. This city is also filled with many excellent public parks and open spaces, so it's really not too difficult to escape the masses when you want to. This is also a good month to explore elsewhere in Britain. Here are some of the best England, Scotland, and Wales itinerary ideas.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €103 for two people
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  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €15 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for London
>>>London prices and travel tips

Edinburgh, Scotland

  • August avg high: 66F/19C
  • August avg low: 51F/11C
  • August avg precip: 2.1″/5.8cm

The August weather in Britain's second most interesting city is quite nice so it seem like this might be an ideal time to visit. The tricky part is the Edinburgh is famously home to dozens of big festivals every August, most notably the Edinburgh Fringe. As a result, hotel and hostel prices pretty much double or triple, and booking early is critical.

If you aren't fond of crowds then give Edinburgh a miss in August and come any other month. But those festivals are crowded for a good reason, and tens of thousands make a pilgrimage to Edinburgh every August to be a part of it all. As long as you are aware of the situation, the answer for you should be obvious.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €128 for two people
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>>>Check hotel deals for Edinburgh
>>>Edinburgh prices and travel tips

Dublin, Ireland

  • August avg high: 65F/18C
  • August avg low: 52F/11C
  • August avg precip: 2.8″/7.0cm

Some other travel experts might disagree with this, but I'm one of many people who find Dublin to be a bit of a dud compared to other European capitals. It's pleasant enough for a couple days, but really the thing to do in Ireland is to rent a car or take the trains to tour the countryside. This island is filled with historic little towns and gorgeous lush, green, scenery.

Give yourself at least a week and choose at least 3 different places to stay, if not more. Dublin is a good transit hub and place to spend a day or two, but it will be the little country pubs and castles that you'll remember most after your Ireland tour.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €105 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €135 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €16 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Dublin
>>>Dublin prices and travel tips

Lisbon, Portugal

  • August avg high: 82F/28C
  • August avg low: 65F/18C
  • August avg precip: 0.3″/0.8cm

Even though Barcelona and Madrid are really too hot and crowded to enjoy in August, Lisbon is still pleasant and very worthwhile. Its isolated location unfortunately keeps many people from discovering this gorgeous city. And with the winds from the Atlantic, the summer temperatures are fairly mild.

If you want to mix some beach in with your city visit, you'll find half of Britain packed into the hotels and flats in the Algarve, which is the southern coast of Portugal. The beaches are nice for Europe, but a disappointment for people from other areas. It's probably more interesting to head north to Porto instead.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €52 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €73 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €17 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Lisbon
>>>Lisbon prices and travel tips

Berlin, Germany

  • August avg high: 74F/23C
  • August avg low: 57F/14C
  • August avg precip: 2.3″/5.8cm

The winters in Berlin are pretty miserable, so this is definitely one of Europe's capitals that is best to visit in the summer, if possible. Sure, it'll be crowded with other tourists, but this is a huge city with plenty of open spaces so it never feels to crazy.

A cruise on the River Spree is a fine way to get oriented to Berlin, since so much of the city was founded along the river. The hotels in the former East are still cheaper than those in the former West, and the area is generally more interesting as well.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €62 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €63 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €11 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Berlin
>>>Berlin prices and travel tips

Salzburg, Austria

  • August avg high: 76F/24C
  • August avg low: 56F/13C
  • August avg precip: 5.9″/14.8cm

The hills around Salzburg are alive with the sound of music, and August is one of the nicer months to visit in spite of the crowds. The Salzburg Festival is a large classical music event that runs from late July through August, so hotels can be full if you don't book well in advance.

Since Salzburg is at the base of the Alps, it will get some rainfall in the summer months, although it usually doesn't last long. Most of all you are going to want to spend some time in the lovely historic center, and also get out of town to enjoy the Sound of Music scenery, not to mention the castle on the top of the hill overlooking the town.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €84 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €119 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €22 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Salzburg
>>>Salzburg prices and travel tips

Vienna, Austria

  • August avg high: 78F/26C
  • August avg low: 60F/16C
  • August avg precip: 2.3″/5.8cm

If you are coming to Salzburg (above), then it would be a shame not to visit Austria's capital as well. Vienna is one of Europe's grand cities, with wonderful buildings all through the city center. This city is known around the world for its culture of dance, opera, and orchestras, which mostly take August off for the top performers.

The warm weather will make sitting in Vienna's sidewalk cafes even nicer than during the rest of the year. The two main palaces are also something to see for yourself at least once, and the huge grounds of the Schönbrunn Palace on the edge of town are especially nice in summer.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €57 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €61 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €18 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Vienna
>>>Vienna prices and travel tips

Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • August avg high: 70F/21C
  • August avg low: 55F/13C
  • August avg precip: 2.4″/6.0cm

With its location not far from London, Amsterdam is not exactly known for sunny and warm weather. August is obviously one of the better months for temperatures, so it's worth a visit even if you'll be fighting some crowds along the way.

One of Amsterdam's claims to fame is that there are only a few major streets in the entire city center. This makes it the bicycle capital of the world by some measures, and also means that strolling around the historic 17th Century center is more pleasant than most other cities of this size.

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  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €105 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €24 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Amsterdam
>>>Amsterdam prices and travel tips

Bruges, Belgium

  • August avg high: 68F/20C
  • August avg low: 59F/15C
  • August avg precip: 1.5″/3.8cm

If Amsterdam sounds like it might be too crowded for you in August, then Bruges can be a fine alternative. It was also built in the glory days of the 17th Century and is almost perfectly preserved, so the cities do look quite a bit alike and both are gorgeous.

Bruges, on the other hand, is much smaller and even mellower than Amsterdam, so it's a good place to relax for a few days on a long and hectic tour around Europe. Hotel rates are actually cheaper here than in Brussels and Amsterdam as well, so you can afford more than you might expect, even in August. If you are looking for something similar with even smaller crowds you might go to Ghent instead. It's halfway between Brussels and Bruges, so it's fast to reach as well.

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  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €99 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €21 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Bruges
>>>Bruges prices and travel tips

Copenhagen, Denmark

  • August avg high: 68F/20C
  • August avg low: 55F/13C
  • August avg precip: 2.2″/5.5cm

Denmark's capital is so far north that it really only has about three decent weather months each year, and August is one of them. This is a gorgeous city that would be overrun with tourists if it wasn't so expensive and so far out of the way. Copenhagen really is stunning and worthwhile, and thanks to some low-cost airlines it's cheap to reach as well.

Hotel prices in Copenhagen are quite expensive, but quality is high so it's worth a bit of a splurge. The prices of food and drinks are also famously high, but you can keep costs down by doing a bit of self-catering and buying some alcohol to drink on the street, like the locals do.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €138 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €169 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €31 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Copenhagen
>>>Copenhagen prices and travel tips

Stockholm, Sweden

  • August avg high: 69F/21C
  • August avg low: 55F/13C
  • August avg precip: 2.6″/6.5cm

Stockholm is like Copenhagen (see above) in many ways, but the cities actually look very different from each other and it's worth visiting both of them if you can pull it off. The August weather is actually pleasant, which will make strolling over Stockholm's hundreds of bridges even nicer, since the city is built on a series of islands in a harbor.

Also similar to Copenhagen, things here are expensive, but there are now pretty cheap flights to get here, whether you start in North America or from somewhere else in Europe. Be prepared to gasp when you notice how good looking most of the locals are. It's another reason to enjoy summer days and evenings here, and people watching is free.

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  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €104 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €12 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Stockholm
>>>Stockholm prices and travel tips

Bergen, Norway

  • August avg high: 66F/19C
  • August avg low: 54F/12C
  • August avg precip: 4.1″/10.3cm

While Switzerland probably has Europe's most dramatic scenery with its various Alpine towns and peaks, Norway might come in second place. The fjords that line the western coast are beautiful and also very peaceful, partly because there are so few other people around.

Bergen is Norway's second city, but it's the gateway to the fjords and it's more interesting than Oslo in general. You can take any number of bus or boat tours to the nearby fjord areas, or if you have time you can do the Hurtigruten, which is a cross between a ferry, a mail ship, and a cruise liner.

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  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €179 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €52 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Bergen
>>>Bergen prices and travel tips

Krakow, Poland

  • August avg high: 75F/24C
  • August avg low: 59F/15C
  • August avg precip: 3.2″/8.0cm

If those Nordic destinations mentioned just above make you wish there were some cheaper options on this list, you've just found what we consider Europe's best travel bargain. Krakow is a lovely and historic city with plenty to see, and also prices that continue to be shockingly low in many cases.

The August weather will make the visit even nicer, especially as Krakow has a huge park that surrounds what is left of the historic center. Hotels and food prices here are so low that this is an ideal place to linger on a longer trip, as you prepare yourself for more expensive cities where you'll have to move quick.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €38 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €62 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €11 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Krakow
>>>Krakow prices and travel tips

Prague, Czech Republic

  • August avg high: 76F/24C
  • August avg low: 57F/14C
  • August avg precip: 2.8″/7.0cm

Prague is famously crowded all year long, and in August it can feel like a theme park. Still, if you are looking for places to go in August, it's better to join the crowds and experience this place rather than skipping it and wondering what the fuss is all about. Hotel prices aren't cheap, but food and drinks are quite reasonable if you follow the locals rather than the other tourists.

Most people who visit the Czech Republic just go straight to Prague and then leave the country again, but there is more to see here. With 2 or 3 more days in you should consider a side trip to the wonderful small town of Cesky Krumlov, which is 3 hours away on a scenic bus ride or train. It's gorgeous, and quite a bit cheaper than Prague.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €40 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €56 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €13 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Prague
>>>Prague prices and travel tips

Budapest, Hungary

  • August avg high: 79F/26C
  • August avg low: 59F/15C
  • August avg precip: 1.9″/4.8cm

A similar but less crowded version of Prague to consider is Budapest. Its location a bit farther from other major western European cities has helped keep crowd sizes a bit smaller, which is another reason you should add it to your trip. You can visit one of the city's famous hot spring baths, which are unique to Budapest in this part of Europe.

Budapest is another grand capital that is extremely impressive in person. Most of the high-end tourism industry is found on both sides along the river, so savvy travelers book a hotel and eat at restaurants a bit inland on the Pest side in order to get the best value. Check out at least one of the famous ‘ruin pubs' for something you won't see anywhere else.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €50 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €66 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €8 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Budapest
>>>Budapest prices and travel tips

Reykjavik, Iceland

  • August avg high: 55F/13C
  • August avg low: 46F/8C
  • August avg precip: 2.4″/6.0cm

If you haven't been to Iceland at all before, it's best to minimize your time in Reykjavik itself. The city is small and rather dull, at least compared to other European capitals. But the main reason is that the rest of the island is absolutely beautiful in all sorts of unusual ways.

If you have a week it's best to rent a car and drive it all the way around the Ring Road, which is still mostly empty even in August. Iceland has become quite expensive again, so planning ahead is critical. You can still visit Iceland on a reasonable budget with these tips. Food and accommodation are on the pricey side, but it's worth it.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €155 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €241 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €50 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Reykjavik
>>>Reykjavik prices and travel tips

Istanbul, Turkey

  • August avg high: 83F/28C
  • August avg low: 66F/19C
  • August avg precip: 0.9″/2.3cm

Istanbul sounds like it should be in the desert, but it's really surrounded by water and the August temperatures are very pleasant. Thanks to a struggling economy, all of Turkey has become quite cheap for foreign visitors as of 2019, including nicer hotels in Istanbul.

This huge city is very good value, but it's worth knowing that everywhere else in Turkey is even cheaper. If you have at least a week to spend in Turkey, head to Cappadocia after a few days in Istanbul, and then to Antalya for a couple days after that. It's all very exotic and very good value at the moment.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €23 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €34 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €7 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Istanbul
>>>Istanbul prices and travel tips

69 Responses to “22 Best Europe destinations in August for 2021”

Tom says:

What a ridiculous article. By Europe, you basically just mean western Europe and have ignored half the continent…



    Thanks for the helpful comment. Actually, I’ve been to nearly every country in Europe and many of them multiple times, as well as living in Europe off and on for the last ten years. The list above contains the destinations that have good weather in August AND have many interesting sights. If you’d prefer to read an article that also included Chișinău and Minsk, it would have to be about 10 times longer to finally get to those. Like it or not, the western part of Europe has nearly all of the interesting sights, mostly because the eastern part was purposely isolated for most of the last century. -Roger

Lindsey says:

Thanks for the article. I am interested in going to France in August, and I am glad to hear that Paris is not too crowded then. Any comment about the crowds in Provence and Nice around that time? I would like to visit Paris and a few other cities while I am in France in August, but I would like to avoid wading through a sea of people. Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated!



    You are correct that Paris is strangely quiet during August, and it’s wonderful. The middle weekend of the month is a major national holiday, so even those who hadn’t left their offices for the whole month will tend to leave. Traffic is light and even the queues at major attractions are shorter than you’d expect. All of that is because nearly all Parisians who can afford it will head to a beach or a country home. Nice is packed as a result, and it’s the most crowded time of year there. Provence will be crowded in some areas, but you might not notice. Basically, it’s the office workers and even some shop workers who mostly take August off to leave the city for the beaches and countryside. I’m sure you’ll find many great choices where you won’t have to feel like you are at a theme park. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Evelyn says:

Thank you for the article! My husband and I are planning a week in Europe in August for our 10-year anniversary, and we are trying to figure out the best places to go. We’ve already been to Italy, but it’s my favorite place in the world and I’d like to include it for at least a couple days. We were hoping for the Amalfi Coast, but it sounds way overcrowded in August. We’d like to do Paris/other not-too-crowded places in France or a few days and Italy for the rest. We’ve already been to Rome, Florence, and Venice. Anywhere else in Italy you would recommend that won’t be too crowded in August and we can include with France? Thank you!!



    It sounds like it’s going to be a great trip, but the timing is a bit unfortunate in August, as you mentioned. Any beach area in France or Italy will be packed in August and the hotels will be charging prices that are close to double what you’d pay in June or September. And as I think I mention in the article, Paris itself is pleasantly quiet in August, and especially in the middle of the month. It’s really wonderful to visit then.

    I’m sure you could find some wonderful options in France as long as you avoid the beach areas. French people also flock to the small country towns and villages in August, but it won’t be like the beach areas because there are only so many hotel rooms and guest houses and holiday rentals in the small towns, so they can’t really get overloaded in the same way. It’s been too long since I’ve been to some of those smaller country towns in France to be able to recommend one, though I think you’ll be able to find some good options, even in the wine regions. As long as you can find accommodation at what seems like a fair price, I think you’ll be fine.

    As for Italy it’s really the same story in that the cities empty out a bit in August and it’s the beach areas and the lakes and such that get full. One option that might work is Sorrento, which is the gateway to the Amalfi Coast. I’m sure it’ll be fairly crowded there, but there are no actual beaches even though it’s on the coast. It’s a lovely town that is probably my favorite in Italy, and it’s even a bit nicer because more people there speak English compared to even the famous tourist cities. You’d have to check for accommodation and see what the rates are like. In the towns of Amalfi or Positano you’d probably have to pay €300 per night for even a basic hotel room, and that same room is probably €150 per night in June or September. If you stayed in Sorrento you could take little day trips to the Amalfi Coast and Naples and Pompeii and the Isle of Capri.

    And to be honest, even though those beach areas are crowded in August, it’s not like being in Disneyland. Two Augusts ago I visited Deauville in Normany, which isn’t far from Paris. It was annoying that the hotels were so unusually expensive and that finding a table at a restaurant wasn’t too easy, but it was kind of fun that it was full of life like that. So on an anniversary you might even splurge and hit the beach anyway, as long as you can find a hotel at a price you like. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Kish says:

Thank you for writing this!
We are looking to travel out of Germany in the 1st 2 weeks of August. We are looking for the following…beach (not so rocky) with a scenic town or city. But most important with weather under 85F. I thought about Denmark but it seems too expensive. what options from you list would be the best?



    I’m glad you found this useful. This is a tricky question, which I guess is why you are asking. I checked every beach area that is popular in Europe in August and the average high temperature in August is right around 85F in all of them. Denmark is indeed very expensive and if they have any nice beaches (I’m not sure they do), they would be mobbed in August.

    The only two areas I can think of that might work are in Normandy around the Deauville area, and just across the channel in Brighton, England. Being as far north as they are, and with the exposure to the wind and Gulf Stream, the high temperatures at both are around 75F on a typical August day. Deauville has some beautiful sandy beaches and the Brighton beaches are also nicer than you might expect. Both towns are quite nice as well. I think Deauville is more crowded in August than Brighton is because half of the French people leave the cities and head to the beaches that month. I was in Deauville two summers ago in August to attend the horse races and it was lovely, if a bit crowded. If you look for a hotel fairly soon you could probably find something that isn’t too expensive, and there are many good Airbnb rentals there as well.

    Brighton is a larger city that is only an hour away from London by train, so it gets quite crowded whenever it’s sunny and warm, but nearly all English people now fly to Spain or Greece for warmer temperatures, so it won’t be too crowded. I hope this is helpful and I’m happy to answer other questions if you have them. -Roger

Zafar says:

I am planning to travel to Europe with my wife and 2 kids (5 and 8 years old) in July 2018
I would like to stay in London 3 nights on arrival and prior to departure by the end of the third week 3 nights more, between the three weeks I would like to go to Paris,Interlaken , Zurich, and Barcelona .. what r your recommendation, I have been to London before also, or do you recommend another country also….



    That sounds like a good trip. As you may have read, I highly recommend spending 3 nights in pretty much any city you visit, and it sounds like you’ll have enough time. You can take the Eurostar train from London to Paris. As for Switzerland you might have a look at my main article on where to go on a short visit to Switzerland. The Interlaken area is amazing and Lucerne is another area to consider. Unless you have something specific to see in Zurich I would skip it or maybe just spend a day there. It’s nice, but it’s extremely expensive (especially hotels) and the sights there are pretty forgettable, especially compared to the excellent scenery in the Alps. If you want to spend a day or two in a Swiss city you might consider Bern, the capital, instead.

    If you want to visit Barcelona you’d probably want to fly from Zurich (or Geneva) because the train would take too long and be too expensive. You might instead consider switching Barcelona to a city that you could reach by train from Switzerland, and that includes Italy because Milan is only a 3-hour train ride through the gorgeous Alps from Interlaken. I wouldn’t stay in Milan, but you can get to any of the main Italy tourist cities by fast trains from there. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Elaine says:

We would like to take an express train from Zurich 6/12 to Interlaken. Any suggestions where I buy them on the internet? Any discounts? 3 adults, 2 students (18 yrs old) Also from Interlaken to Innsbruck and ending Kitzbuhel. Then I’ll rent a car to tour Austria. Then need a train 6/18 from Kitzbuhel to Zurich. Thanks for your assistance! Kindest regards, Elaine

Kris says:

We’re considering a short visit (4-5 days) to Italy. I’m looking for suggestions where to find a cooking class somewhere in the countryside. Casual, not formal. A relaxed and causal day would be the most enjoyable.



    I’ve not done a cooking class in Italy, but I will try to help. First off, if you book a cooking class online through a booking service you’ll be paying a large commission in the process. Tuscany is the most famous culinary region in Italy so that’s where I’d look, and there are many smaller towns and hill towns that are fairly close to Florence. Here’s one example of a one-day cooking class at a villa not far from Florence. The price seems reasonable, but I bet you could get something similar even cheaper if you look around more.

    You might also check message boards such as Lonely Planet or even Tripadvisor and see if anyone recommends a small company over there. I’m sure there are many and I’m sure the price ranges from reasonable to outrageous, and unfortunately the highest price ones are the easiest to find online. Best of luck. -Roger

LA says:

I have less than a month to prepare for our family’s first Europe trip from June 24-June 9, 2018. Need help with our itinerary (15days). We are trying to get approval to start our trip from New York. Anyway, we are coming from Japan which is 13hrs from US. Is it possible to go to London, Amsterdam, France, Italy and go to best places in each? Can you help our family of four (me, my husband, 16yr old daughter and 11 year old son) do our itinerary? What about hotels and how to get to each places? Please help! THANK YOU!



    If you have 15 days I would recommend visiting 5 cities, or perhaps 6 if you rush and one of them is small like Venice. The fastest trip that would work for what you have in mind is 3 days in London and then the Eurostar train to Paris. Three days in Paris and then the high-speed train to Amsterdam. Spend 3 days in Amsterdam and then fly to Venice and stay there for about 24 hours. Then take a train to Florence for 2 nights and finally a train to Rome for 3 nights. That would be efficient and it’s enough time in each city, but you’d also feel like you were rushing around a lot. Another option would be to save Amsterdam for a future trip and fly from Paris to Venice, so you can add those 3 extra days to the places you prefer.

    As for hotels I have articles on recommended hotels for each city that are linked from my pages about each city such as this one for London and this for Paris. You’ll see an article with recommended hotels on each of those pages. It’s really hard to recommend specific hotels because availability is hard to predict and prices can go up and down, but at least in those articles you will see the neighborhoods that I recommend that are easy access to the sights. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Leanne says:

Hi Roger,

My husband, 2 teens (18) and I are planning a Western European holiday in late July/early August. We have 6 nights in London, Eurostar to 3 nights in Paris (we’ve been before), train to 5 nights in Barcelona. We will have 8 or 9 nights left before we have to fly back to London to fly home to Vancouver. Originally, we were going to follow Barcelona with Grenada 2 nights (bu train), Seville 4 nights (by train) and Nerja 3 nights (rental car from Seville) before flying back to London from Malaga for our return to Vancouver. BUT… from reading your and others’ travel advice, we are seriously thinking Andalusia may be better left for another trip in April, May or September! Any advice on where to spend our 9 days after Barca? Wondering about San Sebastian/Bilbao (cooler, good beaches, less busy?) or perhaps Lisbon (although flights from Portugal to London seem a lot more expensive than from Spain). We were hoping to have some beach time in the vaycay but as you say, southern beaches are too packed and maybe not as nice as we North Americans are used to. We’d like to choose somewhere that’ll be easy to fly back to London from. Help and thank you!



    This is a tricky call. The thing is that in July and August all of the beach areas (including in the north of Spain) will be pretty much packed, but even the towns a bit inland won’t be overly crowded. Also, it’s true that the beaches of France and Italy and even many Greek islands are disappointing compared to beaches in North America, but Spain and Portugal actually have many long and wide and sandy beaches that can handle the crowds they draw. I have spent time in Torremolinos and it has sandy beaches that go on and on, although I’ve also seen photos of other nearby towns that just have a few sandy beaches mixed in between coves or rocky areas. Long story short, I think your original plan might still work as long as you find a beach area that can handle summer crowds. Most of Europe has “beach clubs” where you can rent a chair and a towel for maybe €10 per day per person (higher in some places of course), and those are all over that part of Spain. In those beach clubs the crowds are only as many as the chairs they have, so they aren’t too bad at all.

    Portugal could be a good alternative though, as the culture is a bit different from Spain (and English is more widely spoken). One challenge is that the train service between Spain and Portugal is pretty terrible (an overnight train from Madrid to Lisbon) so driving or flying is better unless you don’t mind the bus.

    I haven’t been to San Sebastian though I’ve heard quite a bit about it. I think it’s also pretty popular in summer, but it might also be a good choice because I’m sure the airport is nothing like the huge and busy Malaga Airport that brings most people in during summer. If you went into France from Barcelona you’ll find the beaches to be at least as crowded and you’ll be some of the only English speakers around, for better or worse. Spain is better value and most of the beaches are nicer as well. I’m not sure how much help this is, but I’m happy to answer other questions if you have them. -Roger

Jerry says:

I appreciate your effort. I must say that your shared information is very useful for me as well as other readers. I also enjoyed myself while I was visiting this kind of places. I hope you will have a joyful time there.

Josh says:

Hi, Am planing on taking a vacation in August, 2018 to Europe with my girlfriend. It will be our first time of traveling to Europe which country would you recommend I could visit? I really dislike when the temperature is way too humid. Please advice




    The only area in Europe that gets pretty humid in summer is along the Mediterranean, but even then it’s not nearly as humid as southeast Asia or tropical islands. In general for a first-time trip I recommend Italy or France or Britain because they are packed with excellent sights and quite easy to get around in for first-timers. Of those three, Italy will be quite warm and at least somewhat humid in August, so you might want to save that one for a future trip another time of the year.

    With that in mind I think I’d recommend starting with London and Paris. Both of those are pretty mild in summer and almost never humid at all. You could fly into one and out of the other, going between them on the Eurostar train. Or it might be cheaper to fly in and out of the same city and doing a round-trip journey on the Eurostar. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Flora Robbins says:

Looking to book a last minute trip to Europe for my family (spouse, son 18 and daughter 14) WE can do 7 days in mid july or 7 days in August. They are not big fans of the heat unless their is heavy air conditioning in the hotel rooms. any recommendations



    London is almost never hot and Paris is usually pretty mild in summer as well. That said, these days air conditioning is pretty much standard in any larger hotel in Europe, and in most smaller ones as well. You just have to be careful of small family-run hotels in places that are only warm for a couple months a year, such as Prague or Krakow.

    Overall I think a London and Paris trip could be ideal, especially in August because Paris is not very crowded that month due to half the city’s population being out of town on their own vacation. And you can take the Eurostar train between them in a bit over two hours. Seven days for those two cities is pretty much perfect. You could also do Venice, Florence, and Rome in 7 days, although there it will be pretty warm and you’ll want to check hotel reviews to make sure places have A/C. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Chrystanyaa says:

Good morning & thank you so much for freely providing all these tips & recommendations! It is very generous of you & much appreciated.I have waited too long to plan a short getaway. I’m a history & archaeology buff who detests the beach 🙁 I couldn’t decide if I should return to Greece or Italy or give Sicily a try – heard they have fantastic Greek ruins. Either way, Ithink I waited too long, $$$ have increased & places will be packed.



    I’m happy to try to help. I’ve yet to make it to Sicily, but I do know you are right about there being abundant ruins there. Another one to consider is Turkey. At the moment tourism is way down and prices are as well, even though it’s not dangerous. I lived in a town called Kas near Antalya for over a year and it was one of many places where the town is literally built on and around ruins. And then of course there is Ephesus. You could also head to Cappadocia for a few days that you’ll never forget. It’s something to think about. Let me know if you have any questions. -Roger

Stephanie says:

Good morning,
I am so glad to find you. I have a months to plan a trip to Wiripe for my family of 4 for my daughters graduation gift. We have never been. Initially we thought Italy. A mix of Rome and Amalfi since we have 8 days however I’m finding challenges with availability and budget. She is hoping for a mix of culture , city and beauty ideally coastline. Can you suggest a few alternative options? Maybe combining 2 countries omg train to get between? Or maybe suggestions to make Italy work in terms of budget that I haven’t explored? Thank you so much.



    I’m glad you found me as well. If you are going in August then I can see the challenge. The majority of Italian office workers and others like to take August off and head to the beaches and lakes, but Italy doesn’t have abundant sandy beaches the way Spain or even France does. Amalfi is obviously one of the prime areas so every hotel within walking distance of one of its sandy beaches is going to be booked up at a very high rate. Rome, on the other hand, shouldn’t be too expensive because there is almost no business travel because so many offices are closed. For foreign tourists the Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre are the most popular beach areas, but both are insanely crowded in August and the beaches are pretty small.

    In fact, every good beach area in or near Europe is going to be packed all August. That said, there are many places with better beaches than Italy that will be cheaper as well. If Rome is at the top of your list you could still fly there and spend 3 or maybe 4 days (I wouldn’t recommend longer than that) and then fly from there to a beach area anywhere else in Europe. Again, they will all be quite crowded, so there are no secret beaches that are really nice and surprisingly affordable and uncrowded. You could fly to Santorini or one of the other Greek Islands to get some interesting culture along with nice beaches and a relaxed atmosphere (and reasonable prices). Or you could fly to Malaga, Spain and choose one of the beaches that are part of the Costa del Sol area, or to the southern coast of Portugal which is known as the Algarve for something similar.

    If you choose Rome then there are no good options you can reach by train from there. You might find a beach down in Sicily or elsewhere on the southern coast of Italy, but I haven’t been to those and they don’t get many foreign tourists so there might also be a language barrier. Croatia is just across the sea from Italy, but you have to take long ferry rides to get there and flying is much faster and often cheaper anyway.

    Or you could do your first 4 days in Paris and then take a train down to Barcelona, which has nice beaches, and Valencia, which also has nice beaches, or a flight down to Malaga? Hopefully this at least gives you an idea. I’m happy to help with more information if you need it. -Roger

Kelly says:

Thank you so much for the article. My husband, who is working in Kuwait, just told me tonight that he has a week off in August and wants to meet somewhere in Europe. I’m still undecided, but am thinking that we could score a good deal on a Parisian apartment through airbnb



    That sounds like a great idea. Paris is wonderfully non-crowded in August, even though nearly all restaurants and attractions are fully open. The weekend in the middle of the month is a major holiday and the city is close to empty then, so I’d think that finding an airbnb would be easier than usual. Even if you hadn’t suggested Paris yourself I would have, so best of luck on that. -Roger

Pearl says:

Dear Roger,

Thank you very much for the article and subsequent advice in all the comments to the others. Its precious since we are planning our first trip to Europe around mid August. We are travelling with a friends family and between 4 adults we have 3 children (toddlers) who are 3.5 years old.
Could you please suggest kid friendly and interesting places to visit in August for around 10 to 12 days max.
I was thinking along the lines of Amsterdam, Brussels, Belgium, Denmark or Spain & Portugal or Vienna, Prague, Budapest types.
Could you please suggest the most feasible options considering that we travel from Kuwait with kids.



    If you have 10 to 12 days I would plan to visit 3 or maybe 4 cities. With the little ones along it might be best just to do 3, and I feel that 3 days in each city is ideal in most cases. The good news is that Europe tends to be quite kid-friendly in general and public transportation and restaurants and such are well designed for families.

    As for where to go you might have a look at an article I wrote with 9 best first-time Europe itineraries. You’ll find groups of cities on that list that are easy to reach from each other so they make efficient holidays. In August I would probably avoid Spain and Portugal, especially if you are tired of the Kuwait heat that time of year.

    Actually, I think Paris should be one of the first European cities that almost anyone visits, and it’s particularly good in August because it’s refreshingly uncrowded because most of the office workers are gone the whole month. You could do Paris and Brussels/Bruges and Amsterdam in 10 to 12 days. Or you could do London to Paris to Amsterdam, which is another classic.

    Vienna, Prague, and Budapest would also be very nice and it would be more affordable than the other options. On the other hand, those train rides will be a bit longer and the kids may not be crazy about that. I hope this helps you at least get some ideas for what you want to do. I’m happy to help more if you need it. -Roger

Nasr says:

I’m planning to go to Europe for 11 days. I wish to spend 6 days in Madrid and Barcelona.
Could you advice me where to go for the last 5 days?
I’m from Africa.



    I’ll give you some suggestions, but it would help to know what else you are interested in. Doing 3 days in Madrid and 3 days in Barcelona is fantastic because they are both large cities that are quite different from each other. If you want to stay in Spain you could also spend a day in Toledo (even as a day trip from Madrid) and two days each in Seville and Granada. The best and most popular beach area is around Malaga on the south coast.

    Or after 6 days in Spain you might want to go to Lisbon. Portugal is surprisingly different from Spain and Lisbon is a lovely city that offers very good value. You can take an overnight train from Madrid or just fly. You could spend 2 or 3 days there and then head south into the Algarve region on the south coast for your remaining 2 or 3 days. Or you could go from Barcelona into France and head up to Paris or anywhere else by train. Let me know more what you are looking for and I’ll try to give you better suggestions. -Roger

june says:

Hi Roger,
My family and I were thinking about going to Croatia or Greece at the end of July
I know Croatia or Greece wasn’t mentioned, but was wondering if you think this would be fun for our young adult kids (18, 20) my husband is climbing Mt. Elbrus(Russia) in July, and he is going to meet us some where in Europe afterward.



    Yes, both Croatia and Greece would be great fun for the young adults and the whole family. The only thing that complicates matters a bit is that all of coastal Croatia and all major Greek islands will be packed with northern Europeans all through July and August. Most European office workers get either all of July or all of August off work and those places are very popular as places to spend most or all of that month. That said, one reason they are popular is that they are still quite affordable compared to, say, the Mediterranean coast of France.

    Neither of those countries is lined with sand, although there definitely are beaches here and there. In other words, when choosing where to stay you can’t assume that there are lovely beaches in every town even if it’s a summer resort on the coast. Book your accommodations early and I’m sure you’ll have a great time. In Croatia you’ll find many more short-term apartments (called sobas) than hotels and they are usually better value. Let me know if you have any questions. -Roger

Fredelaine says:

Hi Roger

Thank you for the informative article.

I am heading to the Szigets Festival in August, taking place in Budapest.

Do you have any recommendations of where I should travel to thereafter?
I was looking at Rome or Athens but have ruled that out due the likelihood that it may be over crowded.
I would prefer somewhere with white sandy beaches but I guess my options are limited due to traveling in August.

Any opinions on Bucharest?



    The main challenge with traveling around Hungary and the neighboring countries is the train service is still very slow, so it takes 7 to 12 hours to get to “neighboring” cities that would take about 3 or 4 hours if they had fast train service like in Germany or France. Actually, in the month of August it’s really the beaches and beach cities that get overcrowded. In fact, since so many office workers have the whole month of August off, the non-coastal cities tend to empty out a bit. Paris, for example, is wonderfully non-crowded in most of August. There are definitely quite a few tourists visiting, but since so many offices are closed it means fewer people overall and public transport is less crowded etc.

    All of that said, you can get from Budapest to Prague in about 6.5 hours by train, and Prague is another great city that I actually prefer to Budapest in some ways. Prague is also pretty crowded in August, but it would still be enjoyable and better than going to some obscure place that gets few visitors. From Prague it’s pretty fast to reach Berlin, Salzburg, Vienna, and/or Cesky Krumlov by train or bus, so those are others to consider.

    Bucharest is one of the very few cities on this site that I haven’t reached yet, partly because trains are so slow. From Budapest to Bucharest it takes about 15 hours by train so you’d want to fly. And if you are flying you might as well go somewhere better. I know many people who’ve been to Bucharest and even a few who live there, and it seems to get “mixed” reviews and not many raves. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Paul says:

Thanks for the article! Been reading through your blog and some threads here and learned a lot of usual info. Appreciate all the insight.

If you don’t mind, I was hoping to get your opinion on a couple travel options my wife and I are considering for August-September. We really enjoy beautiful outdoors, especially having easy access to that from a great city. We likely won’t have a car (but maybe a scooter) so walkability is important. Ideally a place where there’s a good amount to do, and reasonable amounts to do outside of the city (or town) we stay.

We really like the mountains, beaches, parks, nice looking cities and streets and exploring them on foot, great food and culture (but not necessarily museums). We’ll obviously see some of the more cliche sites but also more authentic and local experiences too, which the extended stay should give us some time for. 

Right now we’re torn between Vienna and Ljubljana. Was curious about your thoughts on these. If you favor one over the other based on the things we like to do. And also the tourism factor during those times. We do want to stick to one place for about 2 months, rather than moving around a ton. We’ll still be working a bit (remotely) which is why being able to maximize a variety of things to do, without having to go long distances is ideal. But at the very end we could take a few days to explore a bit further (i.e. Salzburg from Vienna, Venice from Ljubljana, etc.).




    I’m always happy to hear that people find this useful. Based on the things you’re interested in, I’d say Ljubljana is the clear choice over Vienna. And especially for a longer stay like that, Ljubljana is likely to be quite a bit cheaper than Vienna. In my opinion, Ljubljana is a charming small city that I was tempted to stay for a long time in myself. It’s got a decent amount of green space in the city center, and a nice meandering river in its core. Vienna is much more of a concrete jungle in its center and there isn’t much green space until you get out into the suburbs. And for what it’s worth, the nightlife and bar scene in Vienna feels very stodgy to me, as the city is very much oriented towards high culture with opera and waltzing and all that. Ljubljana feels much younger and more lively to me.

    Also going for Ljubljana is that Slovenia is known for scenery with Lake Bled and the Karst Plateau nearby. You’ve also got Croatia and its lovely coast close enough for short visits. Vienna is really an amazing place to visit the palaces and see the grand architecture of a major capital, but to me it doesn’t seem like a fun place to base yourself for two months. I hope this helps. -Roger

Paul says:

Awesome, this is super helpful and really appreciate all your insight. We were leaning in that direction so good to hear. Looks like Ljubljana it is!


Jennifer says:

Hi Roger,

Love your articles, all super helpful! I am a student planning a 3 week solo trip to Central/Eastern Europe. Landing in Barcelona (2 nights), and leaving from London (thinking maybe 4 days?). I plan on flying to either Munich or Vienna from Barcelona.

I prefer authentic experiences, walking around on foot, nature scenery. I’m on a pretty small budget so I’m looking for more cheaper cities in Central/Eastern Europe. So far, these are the possibilities: Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow, Prague. Ljubljana seems amazing, but it seems a little out of the way; is it worth going to? As well, I saw you recommend Cesky Krumlov and I’m very interested. I know I probably can’t make all of these cities, especially because of my budget and I like taking my time and not feeling rushed, but I was hoping you could help me narrow down options or give other options.

I also love the small-town feels so I don’t want it to just be big cities. I’m not a fan of crowds or very hot weather, but I know it can’t be helped in August.

I really appreciate the help,
thank you!



    Thank you. With a 3-week trip where 6 days are spent in Barcelona and London, you’ve obviously got 15 days or so left. I highly recommend spending 3 nights in each city to get the best experience without spending too much of your time on trains and in train stations. So I’d choose 5 cities in the central/eastern area and spend 3 nights in each of them.

    Since your budget is low you might consider saving Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna for a future trip. All of those are great, but they cost close to double per day compared to cities like Krakow and Budapest. Berlin is really fun and also a bit cheaper than Munich and Vienna, so that could be a good taste of Germany if you want one. One unfortunate challenge about those cheaper cities in the east is that the trains between them are fairly slow compared to the ones in Germany and Austria. In fact, in some cases the bus service is just as fast and more frequent, as well as cheaper.

    If you want to experience the best of the east on a budget I’d highly recommend Prague, Krakow, and Budapest as the core. Cesky Krumlov is also really wonderful because it’s a small and very photogenic town, which is a nice contrast to those large cities. And it’s wonderfully cheap as well. I’d recommend those 4 cities and then one more to help you find the most efficient route with flights in and out. The flights from Barcelona and into London from some of these cities will be quite cheap if you buy far enough in advance.

    Krakow is really great and you’d like it a lot because there is a lot of green space in the historic center, but it’s pretty far out of the way so it would require a long journey in and out. It might be worth it to save that for another trip and do Vienna instead. For example, you could fly from Barcelona to Budapest and then go to Vienna then Cesky Krumlov then to Prague and then to Berlin for a cheap flight back to London. Ljubljana is really lovely, but I’d probably save it for another trip because the trains getting in and out are slow and it’s sort of remote. I hope this gives you some ideas to consider. I’m happy to help more as your trip is coming together. -Roger

Suellen says:

Hi Roger,
Thank you so much for your insightful articles. I plan on traveling this August or January with my son and daughter ages 19 and 21. We originally planned to travel (leaving today) for 10 days and going to the Lombardy region of Italy. My mother passed away unexpectedly 2 weeks ago and we just weren’t up to traveling at this time. I cancelled the trip and we now have flight vouchers that must be used within a year. I was thinking we should travel either this August (as I already have time off from work) or in January (as my daughter has the month off from college). But then I realized that August is very hot in Europe and January is cold. We do not care for the beach or swimming although we love the sea. We prefer hiking, exploring, history, and beautiful vistas. My daughter loves the city and mountains while my son loves history and less crowded areas. I love ruins and hiking in beautiful places. We will have 10 days in Europe. We prefer to stay away from stifling heat or humidity as they are not conducive to hiking or exploring outdoors. And if we go in January, we prefer it be warm enough to spend a lot of time outdoors. Also, I prefer that we do not have extensive travel times between areas as we only have 10 days. If there is an area where we could have a home base or two and explore from there, that would simplify things. I do not mind renting a car. I am hoping to make this trip as stress free and easy as possible while still meeting everyone’s interests.
Thank you so much! I appreciate your help in our trip planning.



    Sorry to hear about your loss. As for August vs. January, I’d definitely recommend August. Actually, most of Europe is far enough north that Augusts are warm, though not sweltering. Really it’s Spain and Italy where Augusts can be uncomfortable most days. In fact, Paris and London tend to have mild summers where high temperatures in the 70s and 80s (F) are typical. Also, the days are long in August and quite short in January, so you can see much more in summer.

    Speaking of August, it can be a great time to visit Paris since most office workers leave for the whole month. Especially around the middle of August (a big national holiday), Paris feels remarkably uncrowded even though nearly all restaurants and such are still open. Those on vacation there tend to go to beaches, so as long as you avoid the popular beach areas you won’t be in terrible crowds.

    You could do London, Paris, and Amsterdam in about 10 days and take trains between them. Or you could spend 4 days or so in Paris and the rest of the time exploring other places in France? I hope this gives you an idea or to to consider. I’m happy to help if you have other questions. -Roger

Fred-Earl says:

Hi Roger
I too have found this site and you comments very helpful. I am planning a trip with my wife and ten year old son, and his two teenage cousins and aunt and uncle. We want to start by flying in to Paris, showing them Eurodisney, and then go to Berlin, and from there to eastern europe. I thought to go to warsaw, prague, cesky krumlow,vienna, belgrade, bucharest, zagreb and istanbul.



    I’m glad you found this site and I’ll be happy to help if I can. I’ve been to almost all of those cities and I think some are more interesting than others. For example, I find Krakow to be far more interesting than Warsaw, and it’s a bit cheaper and easier to reach as well. Belgrade and Zagreb are also lacking in thrills a bit so I’d probably choose other cities. I actually lived for more than four months in Serbia and I don’t think it really stands up as a great destination, as nice as the people are. I’d skip Zagreb and perhaps make a stop at the amazing Plitvice Falls National Park on your way to Split, and then head to Sarajevo instead of Belgrade.

    I still haven’t made it to Bucharest and that’s mostly because it’s so remote and hard to reach. You can fly in from a few large airports in the region, but ground transportation takes at least 10 hours each way. I’d save that for another trip and spend more time along the coast instead.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions. -Roger

Fred-Earl says:

Should we start in Paris and end in Istanbul, or the other way around? Do you recommend going to Berlin at all, given the route we’ve got in mind, or is Berlin too out of the way? The only must is Paris EuroDisney. We want to travel between cities (cheap, middle-to eastern Europe), travel down or up between to cities that are next to each other easy to reach with reasonable train rides between each other. Is Sofia an option?

We have bee to Krakow, and I agree. If we want to visit Poland again, and Warsaw is too out of the way, do you have recommendations? Poznan?

Is Salzburg an option, I know Vienna is also very busy and expensive. Do you have recommendations for Romania, and for Hungary – have been to Budapest.

We are thinking of 21 Days, including one day travel into Europe and one out.

PS we are thinking of going between 14 June to 9 July



    I’ll try to take your questions in order. I have a strong preference in starting in the more expensive area and ending in the cheaper areas, and also of starting with your must-dos like Disneyland Paris. A big part of it is psychological. In Paris you’ll probably be paying €10 to €12 for a tasty lunch at a typical restaurant, and in, say, Cesky Krumlov you’ll be paying around €3 to €4 for a hearty lunch. I prefer to get the sticker shock out of the way and then see things getting cheaper, especially since the other way around can be traumatic.

    I’ve been to Sofia a few times and it’s another capital (like Belgrade or Zagreb) that is pleasant, cheap, and mostly forgettable. I’m sure you’d actually enjoy any or all of those, but they aren’t anywhere the same league as Krakow or Budapest or Prague. Warsaw is also pretty dull compared to top cities. There is one district where the old buildings were rebuilt to look like they did before the city was flattened in WWII, but the rest of the city is post-war Soviet-style drabness. I haven’t been to Poznan though I have been to Wroclaw and it has a charming town center, though not worth going far out of your way to reach.

    I love Salzburg and highly encourage you to go. Vienna is not too expensive or busy, but it is a bit stodgy and formal for my tastes. I’ve only been to Budapest in Hungary, though I have heard good things about several of the smaller cities and they should be cheaper as well. As mentioned, I haven’t made it to Romania at all due to how long it takes to get in and out, but I know many people who live there and have visited. Most people don’t find Bucharest to be very charming, and Brasov, Sighişoara, and Timişoara get high marks since they have more old architecture. Once you fly into Bucharest the trains within the country aren’t too slow from what I hear. Still, I’d probably spend more time in Czechia and Hungary in the smaller towns because everything is so much closer together.

    Oh, and Berlin is fantastic and also good value. The trains going in and out are fast and the flights tend to be fairly cheap so I’d try to include it. Let me know if you have any other specific questions. -Roger

Fred-Earl says:

Hi Roger

I have the following travel plan, what do you think? I need to cut it down to seven cities, as you recommend not doing more in the 21 days we have, including travel from South Africa to Europe. I have a list of the following cities, and could you help me narrow it down. I’m looking at cities where easy to travel from one to the other, perhaps with Eurail, and that provide variety.
Paris, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, Ljubljana, Pecs, Sarajevo, Cesky Krumlow, Istanbul
Are they easily connected, which should I leave out for a next trip?

We will be a mix of people, from a 10 year old, a tween, a teenager, forty somethings and senior citizens.Earl

Fred-Earl says:

Hi Roger sorry I am working this out as I go along, I am looking for the best value cities, once we have visited Paris and Berlin. So far I have Paris, Berlin, Prague, Istanbul, Interlaken. Should I skip Salzburg (I read elsewhere you say it is expensive). Then the choice between Split, Sarajevo, Cesky Krumlov and Ljubljana. Also, which cities can be done with two nights, if is comes to a squeeze. Earl



    I’ll skip your other question and just focus on this one. As for which cities cost how much per day you might have a look at our Europe 3-star traveler Index, which lists typical daily costs in 56 different cities including almost all of the ones we are discussing. One thing you’ll notice is that Interlaken is actually quite a bit more expensive than Salzburg, although it’s worth a short splurge because the Alpine views there are the best in Europe. You could enjoy Interlaken in two nights though, as long as you take an early train from Paris to get there. That would help keep costs down. On the other hand, Salzburg would fit much more easily into an efficient route, and you can see Switzerland another time.

    One challenge that you have is that Paris and Berlin are about 9 hours apart by train and you don’t have any good stops you could do in between. As a result, the train fare would be quite high and it would be much faster and cheaper to just fly. So I’d start in Paris and then fly to Berlin. After Berlin you can take a train to Prague and then a train or bus to Cesky Krumlov and then a shuttle van (it’s the cheapest and best way) to Salzburg. Then you can take a train to Ljubljana. You could then fly from Ljubljana to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines to your last stop. The trains in that area are very slow and don’t run frequently so flying will be far better and obviously faster as well.

    As for the cities that can be enjoyed in two nights, I’d say Cesky Krumlov and Ljubljana could work in two nights. You could even then take a train from Ljubljana to Split and then fly from Split to Istanbul. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Fred-Earl says:

Hi Roger I now have the following cities in mind: Paris, Interlaken, Prague, Ljubljana, Split and Istanbul. If I had to choose between Cesky Krumlov and Salzburg, what would you recommend?



    It’s hard to choose so I will give you a bit more info. Cesky Krumlov is a small and extremely photogenic town that was left alone for decades and restored not long ago so it has a lot of charm. It’s also quite cheap so if you are worried about your budget it’s the better choice. Salzburg is a really lovely small city at the base of the Alps that is very proud of being Mozart’s birthplace and the setting for the Sound of Music movie. I really love both places and I think Salzburg is a bit more memorable, but also quite a bit more expensive. It could be nice going to a small town like Cesky Krumlov in between the larger cities. I hope that helps. -Roger

gourav singla says:

hii Roger. very nice to see all the reply done by you. now I want to go to Europe for 12 to 14 days and we are 1 couple and time will be either go to 21 august so that come back till 5 sept or go to 15 sept and come back to 30 sept. so kindly let me know according to weather,which time will be suitable and which country will be suitable and as I saw your all info so i would like to go Jungfrau for snowfall in swiiss and rest other countries in options are ( London,paris,amsterdam,spain,france,itally) and as you said fro paris to London is eurotrain go so if i have Schengen visa then as there will be requirement of UK visa so do you think that uk visa i will easily get. and m from india.



    I’ve you’ve got 12 to 14 days I recommend choosing 4 or 5 destinations. If you want to visit Interlaken and Jungfraujoch then allow 2 or 3 nights for that and you have 3 to 4 additional cities. I strongly encourage people to stay 3 nights in almost any place they visit in Europe because if you spend every other day in transit then you don’t get to see as much except for the trains themselves.

    August is quite warm in Spain and Italy so September is a better choice for those, but August is nicer in London, Paris, and Amsterdam because they are so far north.

    I’m not sure how complicated it is to get a UK visa from India. Obviously, thousands of people get them probably every day, but whether it’s worth the paperwork or fee I can’t tell you. I’d definitely include Paris, especially as it’s fairly close to Interlaken, so you’ve got 2 or 3 choices left. London is amazing and it’s about two hours from Paris on the Eurostar train, and Amsterdam is also an excellent choice as it’s only a bit over 3 hours from Paris on a high-speed train. If you’ve only got 12 days I’d recommend doing those four stops, as long as the UK visa is easy enough to get.

    I’d probably save Spain for a future trip, although you could visit Barcelona in a bit over 6 hours on the train from Paris, or you could fly.

    Another popular option would be to fly into Paris for 3 nights and then take a train to Interlaken for 3 nights and then take a train to Venice for 1 or 2 nights and then a train to Florence for 2 or 3 nights and then a train to Rome for 3 nights. Those are all Schengen countries so you could save the UK for another trip. That is probably your best option overall and I’d probably do that in September rather than August if I had a choice because the crowds will be smaller and the weather should be nicer in Italy in particular. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Fred-Earl says:

Hi Roger

Can you please advise on which is the cheapest mode of travel between the following cities(nights in brackets): Berlin(3), Paris(4), Interlaken(2), Prague(3), Salzburg(3), Split(2) and Istanbul(3). Also, are four nights(including a visit to Disneyworld) too many for Paris, and would you rather extend the stay in another city?



    The cheapest mode of travel between most of those cities will be long-distance buses, but in most cases the trains will be twice as fast and more comfortable and just a better experience all around. If you buy the train tickets at least a month or so in advance they will be pretty cheap as well.

    I think 4 nights in Paris is perfect if you are going to spend one full day at Disneyland there, leaving 2 full days in Paris itself plus your arrival and departure days.

    If you land in Paris you can start there and then take trains to Interlaken, which will be faster than flying from Paris to Zurich and then taking trains from there. From Interlaken to Berlin it will be best to take a train to Zurich and then fly to Berlin. You can then take a train from Berlin to Prague and then a train to Salzburg. From Salzburg to Split it’s best to fly because the train would take almost a full day and cost a lot more, and buses would be slower than trains. From Split to Istanbul it’s also best to fly.

    Those flights should be quite cheap as long as you buy early enough. On the low-cost airlines the tickets start out cheap and then get more expensive as more seats are sold. Have a great trip. -Roger

Fred-Earl says:

Hi Roger

Before I start I would like to thank you for the sound advice and detailed responses; you have really helped me take some ideas and put them in a workable plan.

When I send the last itinerary, I left out Ljubljana in:- Berlin(3), Paris(4), Interlaken(2), Prague(3), Salzburg(3), Ljubljana (3), Split(2) and Istanbul(3), making it 8 cities, for which I would need 24 nights.

The more I read you blog, the more I think I should leave out Interlaken, as it is expensive, and not worth all the trouble for two nights. Can you please recommend which city on my list can also offer rich nature and scenic areas, if I skip Interlaken.

Thus with two extra nights, should I visit Ljubljana, or add the two nights to 2 other cities, maybe add onw night to Slip and to another? Or should I go to Ljubljana for 2 nights?



    I’m glad I can help. Adding Ljubljana back in definitely makes it easier to reach Split by train (or possibly bus because the bus service in Croatia is better and more frequent than the train service).

    Saving Switzerland for another trip is probably wise. Interlaken is quite amazing, but it’s extremely expensive and a bit out of your way. So you could fly from Paris to Berlin and it would be fast and cheap, and then get all the way to Split by train (or bus). And I do like the idea of including a “nature” stop in between these cities for a breath of fresh air. You could either spend those extra two days in Slovenia and do day trips to Lake Bled and the Karst hills, or you could go from Ljubljana to Plitvice Falls National Park for two days on your way to Split. Plitvice Falls is one of Europe’s most photogenic spots (Google is and you’ll see what I mean) and it’s an interesting place that is also quite affordable and on the way to Split. Either of those would be good choices.

    Or you could spend a bit more time in Split. The city center of Split is a proper city, but if you go only a bit outside of the center it’s a nice beach area and there are some islands nearby that are easily reached by frequent ferry departures. That gives you a few options. Have a great trip. -Roger

Fred-Earl says:

Hi Roger

For these nature attractions you mention, are two nights in Ljubljana and three nights in split sufficient, or should I stay three nights in Ljubljana and two in split?

Fred-Earl says:

PS I have my itinerary finalised, three nights for each city, four nights for Paris, but Ljubljana and Split for 5 nights in total I’m struggling to work out; which one for three and which for two nights.



    I really like both cities and they are very different from each other. I’d spend 3 nights in Split and 2 nights in Ljubljana though. Ljubljana will remind you a bit of a smaller version of some other places earlier in the trip, while Split will feel totally different. -Roger

Roshni says:

Hey Roger,
Thank you so much for that article.I am planning to take a solo trip to around somewhere nice in europe. I am currently in the Netherlands and anything budget friendly but also involving sight seeing and outdoor activities is highly appreciated. I would also love to go to paris. But I think I can only have a week off this time and maybe 3 weeks around October. Could you recommend something for a week in August.

Thank you again.



    My favorite “budget friendly” destinations close to the Netherlands are Berlin and Prague. The train from Amsterdam to Berlin takes about 6 hours and then it’s another 4.5 hours by train to Prague. If you went to both of those cities it would probably be better and cheaper (and certainly faster) to fly back to Amsterdam. Berlin is noticeably cheaper than the big cities in western Germany and the Benelux area, and Prague is even a bit cheaper. Hotels in Prague can be pricey, but if you are willing to stay just a bit out of the center you can get something for a good price.

    An even cheaper option that would also be very nice would be to fly from Amsterdam to Krakow and spend 3 or 4 days there. It’s a fantastic city and still surprisingly cheap, including hotels. After that you could take a train to Warsaw or even Wroclaw for a few days and then fly home from there. The trains (and buses) within Poland are pretty efficient, but unfortunately the international trains from there are pretty slow. Poland would also be less crowded in August than Berlin and Prague, which both are so popular that they can feel crowded in summer months. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Fred-Earl says:

Hi Roger
So we have a travel plan and i would like to know: can we take the train from Paris to Berlin (overnight)?, and will it be much more expensive than flying.
Also, now that we have the travel plan, and we want to travel in June 2020, where do I start with the planning?Earl



    Yes, you can take an overnight train from Paris to Berlin, leaving around 7pm and arriving 12 hours later with one change of train in Mannheim from about 9pm to 11pm. I’m not sure of the price, especially since it depends mostly on your choice of seat or bed. In a regular upright seat, those overnight trains are usually cheap. A “couchette” (bunk) in a 6-person cabin is more expensive, and actual beds in 2-person or 4-person cabins with little bathrooms are even more expensive. You’ll have to check fares on bahn.com. Also, I’m someone who doesn’t sleep well on trains so I’m not a fan, but other people do okay.

    If your trip isn’t until next June, you’ve obviously got plenty of time to figure things out. I’ll be happy to help you along the way. Just let me know. -Roger

Fred-Earl says:

Evening Roger
Thanks to you I now have a solid travel plan, but given the trip is next june and around the corne, what are the next steps in planning my trip? I am thinking of accomodation, transport, meals, attractions etc. Your valued advice will be most welcome and appreciated. Earl



    Sorry about that. I thought I had answered this but it must have disappeared.

    For a trip in June I would probably be ready to buy my plane tickets in December or January. These days the fares seem to be lowest about 6 months out. You might want to do a fare-tracker on your main flights that alerts you when the fare drops. If you are buying plane tickets within Europe I’d want to book those by March or so. On the low-cost carriers the fares start out low and then go up as more seats are sold. So really buy those as early as possible. For train tickets it’s basically the same, but usually they only go on sale about 3 to 4 months out, and you can usually get the lowest fares as long as you buy at least 2 months out.

    Of course, all of the above assumes that you have figured out your route and the best way to get between places. I can help you with that if you are unsure.

    As for hotels I usually like to book them as early as is practical. They are almost always free to cancel within a certain period, so there isn’t much risk. Sometimes you can save a little by booking hotels with no free cancellation, and it’s up to you if you want to do that. I’ve traveled (and lived) all over Europe and these days there tends to be popular and affordable hotels in every city, and those tend to sell out first. Some hotel owners prefer to keep rates low so they are sold out two months in advance, and those are often some of the best hotels. You can trust hotel reviews on TripAdvisor and Hotels.com as long as you ignore hotels with, say, 50 or fewer reviews because it’s too easy to get a small number of fake reviews, but if I hotel has 500 reviews and almost all of them are good, you can trust them.

    Personally, I prefer to book a smaller room in a central location compared to a larger room in the suburbs. You can experience a LOT more of a city if you stay in the middle of things rather than if you have to take a 30-minute bus or tram ride to get to the main square.

    As for meals, I generally just wing it and look for places once I get there. You don’t have to make reservations in almost any restaurant, and there will always be great options available if you just show up. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Fred-Earl says:

Morning Roger

Please could you get back to me when you have a chance


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