Weather in Europe
Stretching from Iceland to Istanbul, it is not surprising that the weather in Europe varies wildly. The continent is in the northern hemisphere and the warmer months are over the summer (May, June, July and August) while the colder winter months in Europe are December, January and February.
In Northern Europe, the climate of Scandinavia and the Baltic state, including Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia and Latvia is known for its harsh winters. Temperatures can reach -16°F (-27°C) and daylight hours are severely reduced; cities in the far north such as Tromso have a subarctic climate, and there is no daylight from late November to mid-January. The best time to visit Scandinavia is in the summer (June to August), when the weather is warm and dry. Popular tourist destinations like Stockholm have as much as 18 hours of daylight in late June. The weather in Russia is extremely varied due to the country’s immense size, ranging from sub-Arctic Siberia and the northern regions to the pleasant Mediterranean climate of the Crimea. Major tourist cities like Moscow and St Petersburg have a humid continental climate, with severely cold winters and hot, humid summers.
The weather in Western Europe also experiences drastic changes from season to season, though not as extreme as it lies further south. Countries such as Germany, Poland, Hungary, Belarus and northern France and Spain have brisk winters with regular snowfall and average temperatures of 38°F (3°C) in winter and 67°F (19°C) in the summer. While the weather in the UK has similar temperature swings, snow is rare and winters in England are full of rain and fog. The best time to visit France, England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany is in late summer (August and September) when the weather is warm and there is little rainfall. Major cities in the UK and Ireland, such as Edinburgh, London, Cardiff and Dublin, come alive with numerous festivals and summer events over July and August.
Further south the temperatures are much more constant, and countries on the Mediterranean coast have much milder conditions. The weather in Italy, Greece, Portugal and Southern France and Spain is warm and sunny, with rainfall in the spring and autumn. The best time to visit the Mediterranean coast is in the spring (May and June) and autumn (September and October) when the water is warm for swimming. The Baltic States, including Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Albania and the Ukraine, have a more temperate climate with an annual rainfall of 22-28 inches (55-70cm) and temperatures ranging from 42°F (6°C) in winter to 75°F (24°C) in summer.
For detailed climate and weather information on destinations in Europe, please select a country below.