Each year, millions of American tourists choose European destinations for their annual vacation to experience the varied climate, culture, and gastronomy that the continent is famed for.
But, at what time of year do U.S. citizens like to travel? Do they head to Europe during the summer for sunshine and sandy beaches or do they prefer the winter months?
Whilst, thanks to the ever-increasing availability of transatlantic flights, Americans visit Europe throughout the year, some periods remain more popular than others.
Annual leave is generally taken to correspond with the academic calendar. American families make the most of spring, summer, and Christmas school and college breaks to go abroad.
As the seasons in America line up with the European year, the most common times to travel are:
- Spring break: March- April (depending on the date of Easter)
- Summer break: mid-June to late August/early September
U.S. citizens planning to spend holidays in Europe can do so without a visa, however, from the end of 2022, they’ll first need to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver for themselves and their families.
Where To Go in Europe During Spring Break?
After a long, cold winter, many Americans head to Europe during Spring break in search of warmer weather. In 2019, just under 1.4 million US citizens traveled to Europe in the month of April.
Although the exact dates vary year on year, depending on when Easter falls, many European destinations guarantee spring sunshine.
March and April are great months to visit Mediterranean countries, sightseers can enjoy pleasant temperatures and avoid the hottest summer months, perfect for exploring cities comfortably.
In addition, tourist hotspots are generally quieter in spring than during the summer, so the largest crowds can be avoided.
From March to May, Americans visiting the Netherlands can see the annual tulip bloom, particularly impressive at Keukenhof Gardens, whilst Barcelona is another popular spring break location.
How warm is Barcelona in April?
With an average daily temperature of 17ºC and 13 hours of daylight, April is an excellent time to see Barcelona.
The comfortable temperatures are ideal for exploring the most popular tourist attractions such as the Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell. The weather is also pleasant for walking by the beach and dining al fresco.
Traveling to Europe in Summer
The most popular time of the year to go on holiday is during summer. Generally, American schools break up mid to late June and return towards the end of August or early September.
For parents with children, this is the most convenient time to take a trip abroad and there are numerous family-friendly destinations in Europe. Summer is also generally a quieter period for many businesses and therefore a good time for employees to make the most of their annual leave.
Data shows that June and July are the most popular months for Americans to visit Europe, each month registering over 2 million U.S. arrivals in 2019.
There are many reasons to go to Europe in summer: favorable weather, extended hours of daylight and stunning beaches to name just a few.
Where to go on vacation in Europe in July?
Boasting 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and beautiful islands, Greece is an unmissable destination. Holidaymakers in Greece during summer can make the most of the child-friendly beaches of Naxos, traditional taverns in Mykonos which open late into the night, and the romantic island of Santorini.
Other top European destinations for Americans include France, Italy, and Germany.
Is December a Good Month to Visit Europe?
Whilst spring and summer are the most popular times of the year for Americans to travel, more people are going overseas for the festive season. In 2017, the U.S. recorded 6.4 million plane trips at Christmas, the highest number since 2004.
As well as getting the opportunity to experience different cultures and traditions, some Americans choose to go abroad out of peak times to enjoy inexpensive flights and less crowded cities.
There are some excellent places to visit in Europe in Winter, in fact, some destinations are at their best during the colder months.
Which European country is best at Christmas?
Lapland, in Finland, is the home of Santa Claus and is a magical place at Christmas time. With a chance to take a reindeer sleigh ride and meet Father Christmas himself, it’s perfect for a festive family getaway.
Keen skiers can find some of the best slopes in Austria, including the world-renowned Innsbruck. The tradition of aprés-ski at European ski resorts is an added attraction.
U.S. travelers with an approved ETIAS can visit all the countries mentioned above using the same visa waiver which is multiple-entry and valid for 3 years. Furthermore, the ETIAS application is fully online and the majority are approved within minutes.