Visit these 10 European cities
Traveling during the shoulder season in Europe can save money and provide warm weather or stunning foliage in many places.
Seville, Naxos, Sintra, Limassol, Giethoorn, Granada, Bordeaux, Hallstatt, Cinque Terre and Fussen are some of the best European cities to visit in the shoulder season.
These locations offer nice weather, smaller crowds, lower accommodation prices, and the opportunity to explore hidden gems without the rush of tourists.
Many travelers flock to Europe during the summer months (June to early September) when temperatures are high and the waters are warm. There are obvious advantages to enjoying a European summer, such as sandy beaches, blue waters and positive atmosphere, but there are also a lot of obstacles to face.
High prices due to high demand, tourist numbers and scorching heat can make many of Europe’s top destinations unpleasant during high season. That’s why traveling in the shoulder season (late September to November or late March to May) is the best time to go!
Not only do travelers often save money on accommodation by traveling during the shoulder season, but in many parts of Europe, they can still enjoy warm weather or (in fall) stunning foliage. It’s time to fall in love with shoulder season travel and book a trip to one of these quintessential European towns or cities.
Plaza de España, Seville, Spain
Seville (the capital of Andalusia) is best known as a summer travel destination in Europe, but it’s perfect for warm weather and walking the historic streets in fall and spring, too. Temperatures here are warm throughout October, and travelers are likely to get better accommodation rates when demand drops after September.
In addition, those continuing on to Morocco from southern Spain will enjoy North Africa’s more manageable temperatures in the fall, compared to the heat of summer.
- Average daytime high temperatures in October: 26°C
- Main attractions: Spain Square
Streets of Naxos, Greece
The Greek islands are packed with visitors during the summer months, but travelers may not realize that they can still enjoy a great island holiday well into October.
Consider choosing a lesser-known island like Naxos (compared to Santorini and Mykonos) to avoid contributing to the overtourism that occurs in this area.
- Average daytime high temperatures in October: 22°C
- Main attractions: Temple of Apollo Portara
Aerial view of the National Palace of Pena, Sintra, Portugal
The weekend resort town of Sintra is located at the foothills of the Sintra Mountains in Portugal, near Lisbon. It is one of the best cities in Europe to visit in the shoulder season. After the summer high season ends, the crowds disperse, and the weather remains sunny and warm throughout October.
Travelers can visit the Pena National Palace in Sintra and take great photos (without too many people in the background) during the shoulder season.
Sea caves in Cyprus with few tourists around
Whether you spend a day or ten days in Cyprus, it is one of the best places in Europe to visit during high season. Cyprus lies at the crossroads of Western Asia and Southeastern Europe in an ideal location in the Mediterranean. As such, if one considers it Europe, it is a great getaway to enjoy the beaches, sunshine and warmth of late autumn.
Temperatures are mild throughout October, but the streets and beaches of Limassol are full of locals, not tourists.
- Average daytime high temperatures in October: 28°C
- Main attractions: Marina Limassol
Canal in Giethoorn, Netherlands
This charming town in the Dutch province of Overijssel (one of the Netherlands’ 12 provinces) is a great choice for exploring the Netherlands during the shoulder season.
It’s beautiful in spring and fall, not too crowded and is often called the “Venice of the North” because of its many waterways.
- Average daytime high temperatures in October: 14°C
- Main attractions: Rent a boat and tour the canals
View of the Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Located in the Andalusia region of southern Spain, Granada is an idyllic retreat at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Temperatures get cool during the winter (around 6°C), but the summer heat keeps its welcome throughout the fall and arrives early in the spring.
October is the ideal time to visit Granada for fewer crowds and lower accommodation prices.
- Average daytime high temperatures in October: 23°C
- Main attractions: Alhambra Palace
Architecture in Bordeaux, France
The famous French city of Bordeaux is among the best cities in Europe to visit in the shoulder season. It is located in southwest France and is famous for its wine production.
Touring Bordeaux’s vineyards and wineries is more enjoyable during the shoulder season than in the summer because temperatures are a little cooler and the crowds disperse. Without the presence of tourists, this is the perfect time to discover hidden gems near Bordeaux.
- Average daytime high temperatures in October: 19°C
- Main attractions: Stock Exchange Square (the square)
The small electric ferry arrives at the pier in Hallstatt
The city of Hallstatt is located on the western shore of Lake Hallstatt in the beautiful Salzkammergut region of Austria. Located just over an hour from Salzburg and three hours from Vienna, this picturesque city in the mountains is perfect for a weekend away exploring Hallstatt.
It is quiet in the shoulder season, and the temperature remains comfortable if you wear a light jacket.
- Average daytime high temperatures in October: 15°C
- Main attractions: Hallstatt viewpoint (observation deck)
Cinque Terre, Italy
Pastel houses on the slopes of Cinque Terre, Italy
The Cinque Terre is overrun with tourists during the summer months, but come autumn or the bloom of spring, this area becomes a quiet seaside destination with plenty to offer.
Hiking the route between the five towns that make up this area is one of the must-do activities when visiting. Daytime temperatures remain warm throughout October even though the crowds have disappeared.
- Average daytime high temperatures in October: 20°C
- Main attractions: The ruins of the Doria Tower
Fussen, Bavaria, Germany
Fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany surrounded by lush forests.
Autumn colors in Bavaria are a perfect reason to visit the charming city of Füssen during the shoulder season.
After the summer tourism season ends, temperatures drop, the foliage turns reddish-brown, and the landscape surrounding Neuschwanstein Castle becomes even more magical than usual.
- Average daytime high temperatures in October: 14°C
- Main attractions: Neuschwanstein Castle