22 Best Europe destinations in August for 2018

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.

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.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €50 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €55 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €21 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Rome
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €76 for two people
  • 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
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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
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €112 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €15 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for London
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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 pilgramage 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
  • Good 4-star hotels in August from €158 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in August from €34 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Edinburgh
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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
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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
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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.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €82 for two people
  • 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.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €84 for two people
  • 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
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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.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €73 for two people
  • 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.

  • Good 3-star hotels in August from €137 for two people
  • 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
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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 even 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

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. Things here were becoming quite expensive as of 2013 or so, but the currency has lost much of its value and it's now firmly back on the bargain list.

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
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21 Responses to “22 Best Europe destinations in August for 2018”

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


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