Eastern Europe sprawls over a huge geographic area with multiple climates that range from Mediterranean to alpine to something that approaches arctic. In general, the tourist season runs from May through September, with the greatest influx of visitors occurring in July and August, especially in coastal areas, where the weather is sunny and dry almost every day. During these 2 months all sites, attractions, and special events operate at full throttle and charge top dollar. July and August are also when rooms are in shortest supply and when crowds can be overwhelming.
Travelers to Eastern Europe have more elbow room in May and June and from September until mid-October. The weather is more temperate and prices are lower than in the summer months, but some attractions, restaurants, and hotels may operate on reduced schedules during this time. Check ahead if something that is a must-see is open or closed.
During the winter months, tourism shifts to Eastern Europe's mountain ranges and metropolitan areas, leaving coastal areas deserted. In fact, many island and seaside attractions are closed altogether from November to April, and even if they aren't, visitors are few.
Eastern Europe's ski season lasts from December to mid-March (longer in Romania) and except for other snow sports enthusiasts, you won't run into many people outside ski resort areas if you're traveling in the mountains.
Eastern Europe's city dwellers tend to hunker down in winter, when the days can be short, cold, and gray and the nights long, colder, and silent. Concerts and theater productions are in full swing in big cities during the winter but they attract mostly locals, unlike the flamboyant outdoor music festivals that seem to go nonstop in the summer months and attract an international crowd.
Each Eastern European country covered in this guide has its own optimal "season."
Holidays, Celebrations & Events
Many of Eastern Europe's holidays and festivals correspond to religious holy days (Catholic and Orthodox) and to national commemorations.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.