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10 Cities Will Be Slammed as European Travel Expected to Grow 55% This Summer

And one city will be particularly crowded this summer.

Travelers crossing “the pond” for their vacations will find Europe crowded and expensive this summer. Travelers returned to Europe in the Summer of 2022, and the travel insurer Allianz estimates that visitor numbers will grow a further 55% over last year during the period between the U.S. Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays.

The largest cohort of travelers—fully one quarter—were bound for London, the most popular destination in the survey. London was followed in popularity by Paris, Dublin, Rome, and Reykjavik. Also in the top ten: Edinburgh, Athens, Amsterdam, Lisbon, and Milan.

Eighty-three percent of respondents to’s 2023 State of Travel Survey expressed interest in traveling to Europe this summer. And 50% of respondents said they were interested in staying in a hotel during their travels.

The surge in travelers in 2022 laid strain on Europe’s travel infrastructure. Particularly hard hit were airports in London and Amsterdam, which struggled to adequately staff to accommodate passenger throughput, causing waits of several hours. Frustrations soared as travelers missed flights and had to cancel trips after no alternatives were available.

This summer, Europe has had a year to recover from the surge that created a logjam during the peak summer season. The U.S. government’s COVID-19 testing requirement for inbound travelers has also since been lifted, streamlining check-in processes for return flights from Europe.

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Travelers who haven’t yet made arrangements for their summer vacations may find Europe travel more expensive than in years past. Going notes in their State of Travel Survey that airfares may remain relatively low, but demand spikes may drive higher rates for accommodations, tours, and activities—if they’re not already fully committed.

David Hotz, Vice President of Operations at the travel assistance firm Cranky Concierge, notes, “We’ve seen incredible demand for hotels in Europe this summer, and prices have continued to climb to levels we haven’t seen previously. Just this week we quoted a client $450 per night for a midweek stay at a Holiday Inn in Amsterdam.”

American Express Global Business Travel also forecasted a significant increase in hotel rates in Europe in 2023, citing staffing shortages, strong demand, and inflation among the driving factors.

Cities that were projected to have the highest hotel rate increases included Paris, Stockholm, and Dublin, with average rate increases ranging from 8-10%. London, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt were also expected to clock healthy gains in average hotel rates this year, for both business and leisure travelers.

Henry Harteveldt, President of Atmosphere Research Group, cautioned that travelers could ultimately be more price-sensitive than hotel revenue managers are forecasting. “European hotel managers need to be careful about pushing rates too high. Americans love to visit Europe during the summer, but inflation and higher costs for everyday items are leaving their wallets thinner.” Harteveldt goes on to note that in an April 2023 survey conducted by Atmosphere, 47% of travelers said they are spending less on travel overall in 2023 because of the higher overall cost of living.

The European Travel Commission (ETC) also forecasted strong demand for European vacations in 2023, with nearly half of all destinations on the continent anticipating a return to more than 80% of 2019 volumes. The report also points to wider reopening of the Asia-Pacific market for outbound travel is a volume driver, although it anticipates that inbound travel from China will recover more slowly.

The ETC further estimated that high pricing in major destinations in western and northern Europe drove interest in traditionally lower-priced destinations including Turkey, Luxembourg, Serbia, Greece, and Portugal, driving volumes in those countries to near 2019 levels. Travelers were especially interested in Turkey because of the Turkish lira’s favorable exchange rate, giving the country forecasted traveler numbers virtually in line with pre-pandemic peaks.

Bargain-seeking travelers to Europe this summer should consider lesser-visited parts of the continent, particularly outside major cities with top tourism attractions. Major embarkation ports for ocean and river cruises may also be particularly crowded, including Rome, Lisbon, Barcelona, and Amsterdam.

Travelers looking for better buys can also consider travel during the shoulder seasons of late spring and early fall, particularly in the Mediterranean, where fine weather often lasts through November before winter chills begin to set in.

jpsartre3207 May 9, 2023

I agree with Margot.  Digital nomads and die-broke baby boomers have ruined any shoulder season that many have existed.  I slaved my whole life to save for travel as a senior.  Now everything is so expensive ALL year round, I'll have to pare back.  Join the 21st century with your info, Fodors.


Please stop touting the shoulder months as the route to escape crowds. It is not true. Different countries with different climates have different holiday and vacation times; aka they travel during your 'shoulder months'. Also the EU is well attuned to digital nomads and the myth of improved prices during 'off season'. No such thing exists. Add to that many EU countries take their holidays during the summer months, x one month long, adds to the confusion as well as open hotels, restaurants, and tourist spots. In summary, there is no longer a shoulder month and those fall and spring months are often the ideal vacation months for other countries.