Europe in August

Feb 25th, 2006, 05:41 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Europe in August

Does anyone have any advice on travelling to Europe in August. This is when my vacation is, so not much flexibility here. Was thinking of Northern Italy, or Spain, but concerned about what I've read about crowds, heat and lots of businesses being closed in August for the European's vaca.
Thanks for you help.
con8on8 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 06:02 AM
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Of those you mentioned, the only one I have experience with during August is Madrid. It's very hot during the day, but the morning and night are quite pleasant.

Still, there's a lot to be said for destinations like Scandinavia in August. Lots of light, usually not too hot, and not really crowded in general. I haven't been to the Baltic states, but I suspect those would be good too.

Amsterdam and London were pleasant during August as well, although that's not a given.
WillTravel is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 06:10 AM
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If your vacation is in August and you want to go to Europe - just go.

SOME restaurants will be closed but the overwhelming majority will be open. Don't give the businesses open/closed another thought.

Look at the Fodor's miniguides for te particular areas you are interested in.
Click on a city of interest, then click on "When to go". This will give you temperatures in August and whether air coditioning is widley available. Much of
Spain, except for areas like Barcelona, will be brutally hot for example. But, if you really want to see a particlar place, don't let temperatures stop you. Simply do your outdoor walks in the early morning and evenings while visitng musems and churches and air-condtioned restaurants during the mid-day.

Main sights in August will be crowed so do the research to find out the less crowded times of day to se the mega popular sights.

So, yes, August may not be the IDEAL time to visit some places but it is still a million times better than not going at all. Think of it like a perfect 7 course meal where one of the courses was a little over-cooked or the service was a litle off. It may not have been "perfect" but you stil treasure the memory years later.

BTW, I spent a week in Rome in August (average high was 95F) and had one of my best European vacations ever. I used many of the strategies I listed in the paragraphs above.

Best of luck and Welcome to Fodor's!
bardo1 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 06:21 AM
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You might think of countries of central Europe that still do not have as many August tourists as Italy or Spain. You could fly from America to somewhere like Frankfurt, Berlin, or anywhere else with low fares, arrive in the morning, take a dining car express train, and head east, from Berlin to Poland or from Frankfurt to the Czech Republic, Hungary, or Prague. From Berlin, if you like cities, then Wroclaw, Torun or Gdansk, but not Krakow and Warsaw, which are crowded. If lakes, the Mazurian region in north east Poland, and if hill walking the Tatras near Zakopane.

From Frankfurt if you like cities then anywhere but Bratislava, which is crowded: I think of Kosice, Budapest and Pecs. If you like lakes then east of Kosice, hill walking then the Tatras and north of Eger, fine old towns then Levoca and the Spiz region, or Ceske Budejovice and Baroque places nearby. Educated and young people speak English, and since tourists are fewer you are better looked after than in Italy and Spain.

If you will tell us what you like in Spain and Italy I can gladly look for something similar in central Europe, and tell you.

Ben Haines, London
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ben_haines_london is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 08:57 AM
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August is when I am free to travel. I have not noticed the negatives you are asking about. OK sure it was hot in Venice and there are lots of tourists, so what? It was still wonderful! I've not been to Spain, but Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, around Switzerland in summer time and did not find business closures to be an issue.
suze is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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I've been to Venice in May and the last few days of July. I definitly preferred May! It wasn't so much the crowds, it was the lack of locals. Most Italians get August off. Going down the Grand Canal at night in July wasn't the experience it was in May. It was so dark. All the locals had taken off for their vacations. And we were on Murano the very last day they were even making anything. And it was HOT. I mean 98 degrees hot with very little AC.

If I only had August to travel, I would stick a bit more north. We were in Ireland the week before in July and it was 65 degrees. You should go somewhere where they are having their nicest weather in August.
kelliebellie is offline  
Mar 14th, 2006, 11:36 AM
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JandaO is offline  
Mar 14th, 2006, 11:54 AM
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Hi, I travelled Central Europe the summer of 2003 while studying abroad. Part of my trip was early August. Some people will complain no matter what. I was there the summer of the heat wave, and it was hotter where I was than in Iraq. But I still loved every second of it (well, most seconds of it).

If you are a budget traveller, a lot of college dorms will be open as hostels. I would just go place to place and get sucked up by the vultures at the train stations. All the major stations in Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany will have hostel people offering their services, in English (in fact, when I asked one in Krakow if she spoke English, she said "we would have no business if we did not speak English").

As far as crowds, I suppose you will have that. I can't stand the attitude though that just because other people also want to see something you want to see it will ruin your experience. The only thing that will ruin your experience is having an arrogant attitude. If you are easy going you will have a great trip. If you have "musts" research ahead otherwise just do interesting things to you with correspondingly acceptable wait times.

As I said before this only applies to Eastern/Central Europe, but trust me, a sense of humor will take any budget traveller far. Oh, and if you want to be a budget traveller I suppose you should avoid the coasts.

Good luck .
lizzy911 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2006, 12:16 PM
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There are many places you can go in Northern Italy that will not be crowded in August, because the Italians will have left them to go on vacation themselves! But if you try to go to beach and lake destinations, and some of the more popular mountain destinations, you will also be in competition with a lot of Europeans as well as American familes for accommodations and a glimpse of the sights.

If you don't have a checklist of famous sites or towns to see, you can be very happy in places like Torino or Genoa -- and you could probably have and excellent vacation flying into Milan for a night or two, taking a train to Torino for a few nights, then renting a car and exploring the hills of Piemonte and Liguria. There are many B&Bs to accommodate you and you can find them on the internet.

You could drop of your car in Genoa, visit the town, and during weekdays, take the train or a boat to such pretty seaside places as Camogli or Santa Margherita Ligure (or Sestri Levante if you want a true beach town with a sandy swim).

With the exception of exploring the hills, you could do that entire trip by train (Milan-Torino-Genova plus beaches), or you could also do Milan-Torino-San Remo-Genova -- or when you got to San Remo, you could go west instead of east, and thereby see Nice and Marseilles before heading up to an empty Paris.

I actually like Paris in August outside the touristy areas. It's much quieter, and since I'm not a shopper or a gourmand, it doesn't bother me that only few good restaurants are open. The cafes never close.

nessundorma is offline  

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