Good destinations for shoulder season travel in Europe

good shoulder season destination europe taormina

After spending time travelling Europe in peak season and shoulder seasons, we thought we would share our thoughts on some of the best shoulder season destinations to visit! When we mention shoulder seasons, we refer to either side of the peak tourist travel periods, typically July and August (you could include the end of June in this as well). Whilst this ‘summer peak’ is a desirable time to have a holiday due to the weather, crowds can be busy, prices high, and sometimes the weather can be extreme in certain locations. The best shoulder season months for Europe travel are typically late spring (May/June) and early Autumn (September), when temperatures are still quite reasonable and crowds are lower. Continue reading for a list of some good Europe shoulder season destinations.

Where to visit outside of peak season in Europe – Shoulder seasons:

Lisbon – Portugal:

The capital of Portugal holds a special place in our heart. This city is vibrant in both summer months and cooler months. With temperatures often in the low-mid 20s, this offers the perfect weather to explore the city during the day. Whilst perhaps not ‘beach weather’ to hit the Algarve down south, these temperatures are excellent to visit the old town (don’t miss our favourite area, the Alfama), try the amazing cuisine (the Pastel De Nata is a must!) and do day trips to fairy-tale locations like Sintra. Whilst Portugal is always one of our top recommendations regardless of the time of year, it’s a great option for shoulder seasons.

See more recommendations for Lisbon here!

Kas – Turkey:

Turkey is a cultural melting pot, a country with vibrant cities, amazing food, and so many varied experiences. During the peak of summer, Turkey can reach high 30s and even high 40s down south on the coast. We wisely changed our trip around to head to Turkey during September and were greeted with amazing weather! One of our top picks to visit during September is the idyllic riviera town of Kas, located a few hours west of Antalya. During our stay we had weather in the high 20s/low 30s, the water was warm, the crowds were minimal and our overall experience was excellent. Other destinations like Cappadocia and Istanbul will also be less busy and better weather during these shoulder seasons.

Take a look at our stay in the wonderful Kas here!

Sicily – Italy:

The southern island of Italy offers some of best food in the country, great beaches, cute old towns and lots of bright Sicilian colours. We visited late September and had weather in the low 20s (weather peak summer can easily reach high 30s). We visited the popular and picturesque Taormina, located an hour north of Catania. The crowds were still busy, but not excessive (unless a cruise ship was docking in a nearby town). If you are looking to prolong your summer a little more, Sicily may offer you a perfect destination!

See some of our highlights and recommendations from our stay in Taormina – Sicily!

Andalucía – Spain

The Andalucían region in Spain’s south is home some of the country’s best cities, including Seville and our favourite, Granada! These inland cities are perfect to explore and eat your way around during the pleasant shoulder season months. We visited in May and had good weather and bright sunshine every day. The peak summer months can be come unbearably hot, with temperatures often high 30s and above 40, forcing many locals to flee to the coast.

If you are heading to Andalucía, don’t miss Granada. See our highlights here!

Puglia – Italy:

The ‘underrated’ south east coast of Italy is a paradise, and one of our favourite places in Europe! We rate it as a perfect shoulder season destination to avoid the crowds of Italians who visit here during the ‘Europe holidays’. Particularly, the crowds increase significantly from July to August. We visited in June and had mid-high 20s most days, spending days on the picturesque beaches. Whilst we haven’t visited during peak summer months, we believe some of the temperatures may become quite hot! A note of caution however, we would advise visiting close to summer (e.g. June/September) if you’re wanting better weather, and ‘offseason’ in beach towns can sometimes be less dependable for ‘beach weather’. If you’re planning on visiting in peak summer, don’t stress.. Puglia is still a great summer destination with less crowds than other Italian beach locations like the Amalfi Coast.

See our highlights and recommendations from the beautiful Puglia!

Prague – Czech Republic:

A big city like Prague is buzzing all year round! Heading here in a shoulder season will give you a little less crowds, and a still offer the best of Prague.. the stunning old architecture. Whilst summer offers a great ‘outdoor vibe’ with beer gardens, pop-up bars and more, it can get quite hot. We found cities like Prague are not designed well for extreme heat, and it’s much easier to throw on a coat than try to cool down without aircon or a beach/river to jump in.

Take a look at moments from our visit to one of our favourite big cities in Europe, Prague!


*Yes, we know Morocco isn’t Europe, however it’s very close and a common addition to a Europe trip.

We visited in May and had excellent weather, with mostly sunshine and moderate temperatures. The peak of summer can reach high 30s (and more), without much respite from the heat in inland destinations like Marrakech or Fez. Morocco forms the perfect shoulder season destination to add onto your European travels.

Take a look at some great moments from our Moroccan adventures here!

Paris – France

The famous city of Paris is a magnet for visitors at all times of the year. However, we believe visiting outside of the peak tourist seasons will offer you a better chance to see the main attractions, and avoid the heat. Whilst shoulder seasons will likely be a little colder, Paris is a great city for walking in milder temperatures.. plus you can join the Parisians by looking suave in fashionable winter clothing. Don’t expect no tourists, as Paris is busy all times of the year, however a visit during shoulder season may help you have a little less chaos. If you do visit in May/September.. or even cooler months, don’t forget a coat!

See some moments from our visit to Paris!

Lake Bled – Slovenia

The beautiful Lake Bled sits in the mountains, and is an untouched paradise. We loved our stay so much we are looking to return in the future. We visited in Spring, having mild temperatures, perfect for hiking and activities. We also had a day warm enough for a swim in the lake. Autumn is also supposed to be stunning with the foliage changing colour, creating stunning scenery. Lake Bled is definitely a good option for shoulder season travel!

Take a look at our Lake Bled highlights here!

Do you have any great shoulder season destinations you think we shoulder consider? Comment them below!

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WANT TO SEE MORE food recommendations & TRAVEL MEMORIES?

See some highlights and recommendations from our travels in Italy!

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