Of the world's seven continents, Europe is the second smallest. What it lacks in size, Europe makes up for in history, culture, architecture, cuisine, and a diversity of travel experiences that make it an utterly unforgettable travel destination. You have 39 countries to choose from, and exciting cities like Dublin, Paris, Rome, London, Barcelona, Prague, St. Petersburg, and Berlin. You can explore the Rhine Valley in Germany, the wine regions of France, the Iberian Peninsula, the British Isles, and Ancient Greece. You can hike through the Alps, bask in the sun on the beaches of the Black Sea, and visit famous tourist sights like the Eiffel Tower, Stonehenge and the Acropolis
You'll want to take your time in Europe, because each city, country, and region deserves your time. Europe is a learning experience, an adventure, a journey into days gone by. It's the stuff that dreams and fairytales are made of.
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From Canada, you can fly to anywhere in Europe, but you'll often land in a large hub—London, Paris, Frankfurt, etc.—and then transfer to a flight that will get you to your ultimate destination. Sometimes it's more economical to book an inexpensive flight or a charter to a larger hub, and then take a train onward to your destination. Charters are available spring through fall; they don't fly in the winter. High season for travel to Europe is generally July and August, and this is when flights are the most expensive, so book many months in advance. Flights tend to be the least expensive in the fall, so if you're not going for the beaches, this is a great time to go.
The European countries experience the four seasons of winter, spring, summer, and fall, but the seasonal changes are less pronounced in the continent's warm southern countries. The coldest city is of course a northern European city. It's Helsinki, Finland, with summer temperatures rarely climbing above 26 degrees Celsius. Athens, Greece, on the other hand, wins the distinction of being the continent's hottest city, often hitting 40 degrees in the summer. The rainiest parts of the continent are Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, and the countries of Belgium and the Netherlands. Lisbon, Portugal tops the list of the sunniest European cities, with Madrid, Spain a close second.
Summer is definitely when Europe is at its best; just as it's summer here in Canada, it's summer in most of the countries in Europe. Because school's out, the Europeans themselves are travelling right along with tourists from abroad, so expect crowds. The countries that are more southerly—Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Malta—are, of course, the continent's warmest countries, and they make great shoulder season (May/June and September/October) travel destinations. So, if you're not bound by the school calendar, this is the time to visit Europe. You'll encounter fewer tourists and the weather will still be lovely.