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Why Summer Is the Worst Time to Visit Europe (And How to Make It Work Anyway)

Why Summer Is the Worst Time to Visit Europe (And How to Make It Work Anyway)

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Are you planning a trip to Europe and are worried that summertime isn’t the right time? Keep scrolling to check out my top tips for visiting Europe during the summer!
This list of Europe travel tips for summer was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Hey there, fellow parents! If you’re like me and dream of whisking your family away to the enchanting lands of Europe, grab a seat.

Let’s have a real talk.

I’m a mom to two lively boys, and every summer, we pack our bags and head across the pond to explore Europe.

Now, you might think, “Summer in Europe? Sounds perfect!” But let me tell you, it’s not always the fairy tale it’s cracked up to be.

Image of two boys asleep on a ferry in Venice, Italy.
My kids crashed hard on a boat ride in Venice after melting in the heat. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

The Harsh Truth About European Summers

Summer in Europe can be tough, especially with kids in tow.

The heat can be intense, with temperatures soaring in places like Spain and Italy, making those charming city walks feel more like a trek across the Sahara.

And the crowds? Oh, the crowds.

Imagine trying to navigate through a sea of people at the Colosseum in Rome or the Louvre in Paris while keeping an eye on your kids.

Not exactly the relaxing vacation you had in mind, right?

But Here’s How We Make It Work Anyway

Despite the challenges, we’ve found ways to still have an incredible time and create lasting memories. We do this every summer.

Here are some tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way:

Embrace the Early Morning

This has become our golden rule. We wake up and head out early to beat both the heat and the crowds.

Image of two women walking down stairs in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
It’s worth waking up at 6 a.m. to get photos of the Eiffel Tower without random people in it. Photo credit: Rachael with Flytographer.

Exploring the streets of Paris or the ruins in Greece is much more enjoyable when you’re not elbow-to-elbow with hundreds of other tourists.

Plus, there’s something magical about having these places almost to ourselves.

Seek Shade and Water

We always look for activities that allow us to escape the midday sun.

Whether it’s visiting a museum in France, exploring ancient cathedrals in Spain, or even finding a shady park in England, we make sure to have a cool retreat.

Image of a dad and two boys walking along the coast in Cinque Terre, Italy
We hopped a train to Cinque Terre to beat the heat in Florence. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

And we never pass up the chance to jump into a beautiful European beach or pool!

Picnic Like a Pro

One of my favorite things about Europe is the incredible food markets.

Instead of dining out for every meal (which can be both pricey and challenging during peak hours), we grab fresh bread, cheese, fruits, and other goodies and have a picnic.

It’s cost-effective, fun, and lets us enjoy Europe’s culinary delights without the stress of waiting for a table.

Stay Flexible

If I’ve learned anything from traveling with kids, it’s that flexibility is key.

Sometimes, despite our best-laid plans, the boys just aren’t up for another historical site or museum. So, we adapt.

One evening in Paris, our kids just needed a few hours to unwind at a playground. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Finding a local playground or even taking a day trip to a less-crowded town nearby can turn a potentially frustrating day into one of our best memories.

Consider Smaller Cities and Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations

While it’s tempting to hit all the major cities and attractions, some of our most memorable experiences have been in less popular destinations.

Smaller cities and rural areas offer a more relaxed pace and an opportunity to experience local culture without the masses. Plus, they’re often more budget-friendly!

Hydrate and Rest

This might sound obvious, but keeping hydrated and making sure everyone gets enough rest is crucial.

Image of a man filling up a water bottle in Rome.
We love that Rome has free water fountains like this so we could refill out water bottles throughout the day. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

We carry water bottles everywhere and plan for downtime each day. Sometimes, just sitting at a café and watching the world go by is the perfect way to soak in Europe’s charm.

Take Advantage of Late European Dinners

Europeans often eat dinner much later than we’re used to, which works out perfectly for us.

We use the late afternoon for a rest back at our hotel or vacation rental, then head out for dinner when the temperatures start to cool down.

It’s a great way to live like the locals and enjoy the vibrant evening atmosphere.

Wrapping Up

So, yes, while summer might not be the ideal time to visit Europe for everyone, with a bit of planning, patience, and flexibility, it can still be an amazing adventure for your family.

Remember, it’s all about the memories you’re creating together. Those moments of laughter, wonder, and even the occasional meltdown, are what you’ll cherish long after you’ve returned home.

To all the adventurous parents out there considering a summer trip to Europe, go for it! Embrace the chaos, find joy in the unexpected, and know that you’re giving your kids the gift of the world. Happy travels!

Looking for more Europe travel resources? Check out How to Plan a Trip to Europe with Kids, 25 Helpful Tips for Traveling to Europe for the First Time, From Paris to Prague: 15 Best Weekend Trips in Europe You Can’t Miss, and Ultimate Europe Bucket List You’ll Want to Steal!

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