July and August are the peak summer months for travel in Europe, but if you go on holiday at this time of year then you can also expect large crowds and higher prices in many of the top destinations throughout the continent.
However, wait until September arrives and you may well be able to enjoy these same top destinations minus the crowds, with slightly more affordable prices and with the same great weather.
So wait for the kids to go back to school and the holiday season to come to an end, then jet off to one of these top destinations without worrying about the crowds.
Dugi Otok, Croatia
Dugi Otok, meaning ‘long island’, is the largest of the Zadarian Islands, and one of the most popular for holidaymakers. During the peak season travellers flock to the east coast where towns like Sali fill up with people seeking sun and sand.
However, arrive in September and the island will be altogether more peaceful. You’ll have more of the attractions to yourself, but the weather will still be fantastic. Explore Telašcica, the nature park in the south of island, and enjoy some activities such as trekking, fishing and scuba diving without any crowds getting in the way.
The Greek Islands
The Greek Islands are hugely popular with tourists, so much so that in the summer they can become too crowded. On top of that, the peak summer months are also very hot, and you may prefer to visit in September when the days are still warm, but pleasantly so rather than overwhelming.
There are over 6,000 islands in total, 227 of which are inhabited, but you will probably want to head to one of the largest in the groups such as Crete. It gets very busy here in the summer months, but when you arrive in September you will be able to enjoy all the great beaches and historic ruins like Knossos without the crowds.
The Grande Champagne Vineyards, France
Located in Northeast France, the 30,000 hectares or so of vineyards attract many thousands of tourists each year, and people arrive here from all over the world tempted to explore the location where their favourite drink comes from.
But wait a bit longer and arrive in September and you’ll find that the crowds have reduced and you are able to explore the region in peace. Hire a bike and potter around the roads, exploring different vineyards as well as the Montagne de Reims National Park.
Other places to visit include Epernay with its miles and miles of tunnels and cellars where famous companies such as Moet de Chandon store their champagne. Also make sure you visit Hautvillers, a small village where Dom Perignon, the monk who came up with the process of making champagne, is buried in the church.
Prague is beautiful all year round, but it is too cold in winter and too hot in summer. Autumn is the best season here in terms of the weather, and you will also find that the crowds are far less overwhelming than in the summer months.
Enjoy the street performers on Charles Bridge, and check out other attractions such as Petrin Tower and the Old Jewish Cemetery. There is also a special treat in September as this is when the Shakespeare Festival is held at Prague Castle.