Autumn: The Best Time to “Fall” in Love with Europe

Find Out Why

Sponsored by Viking Cruises

For most people, especially those with kids, summer is the easiest time to sneak in a weeklong vacation. This means, of course, that attractions are at their most crowded, lines are long and prices are at their peak at many destinations.

You’ll still enjoy every moment of new experiences, but if you have the flexibility consider booking your European river cruise during the fall.

It’s hard not to love Europe any time of year, but here are few reasons that make the Fall even more spectacular for a Viking River Cruise.

Better Weather

Anyone who has worked in an office building knows that temperature preferences can vary greatly from one individual to another. So while many people actually prefer the heat of the summer months for strolling through picturesque Altstadts (Old Towns) or checking out ruins; other travelers can find the dog days too warm for comfortable sightseeing.

If that’s you, fall may be the perfect time to go river cruising. The weather at most European river cruise destinations is usually very pleasant during the fall months, with warm, sunny days and crisp evenings.

In fact, in many locations, fall is when you’ll find the best weather of the year.  Just remember to bring layers and a jacket for those times when the temperature may take a sudden dip, so that you can continue to explore the historic towns and villages along the river.

Enjoy Popular Events

Autumn is traditionally a very festive time of the year. In many areas, it was when people would come together to celebrate the bounty of their harvests and now it’s a popular time to throw festivals and big events.

One of the most popular? Munich’s Oktoberfest, which is also one of the largest festivals in the world. Can’t make Oktoberfest? Then, hopefully, you can get to Stuttgart’s Cannstatter Volksfest, which is a three-week festival held in late September and early October, that also famously revolves around local brews.

And two of the spectacular Rhine in Flames festivals are held in September. During this event, the sky above the Rhine River is set afire with mesmerizing fireworks.

Great Savings

As the temperatures drop, so do all kinds of travel fares. According to CruiseCritic, the highest cabin fares are mid-May to late-September. Fall isn’t just a great time to save on your river cruise cabin fare. This is also a time when many airlines try to entice travelers by lowering their fares.

And if you’re planning on staying a few nights before or after your cruise in a port city, you’re also likely to find better deals on pre- and post-cruise accommodations than you would in the summer. Another area where you can find savings? Souvenirs. Shops will often discount items that didn’t sell during the peak summer months in order to make room for new inventory.

The lowest prices? Late fall when the weather can be downright chilly. But there’s a big upside to traveling in late November through December — the cities are all dressed in their holiday finery, and you can shop for unique gifts at the many beautiful Christmas Markets you’ll encounter on your river journey.

Local and Authentic

Crowds and lines can be very intense at popular attractions along the Rhine and Danube Rivers during the summer months. But in the fall, you’ll find plenty of elbow room as you wander through gorgeous Altstadts or while visiting the many castles that can be found along the Danube and the Rhine Rivers.

And with fewer tourists to muck up your shots, you’ll be able to get better photographs of all of the attractions, plus a more authentic experience as you interact with shop owners and watch the locals grabbing their fresh bread from the market.

Pretty Scenery

Although Europe’s leaf shows aren’t quite as spectacular as those that can be found in New England, the Maple and hardwood trees still put on a very pretty show, which is enhanced by their beautiful reflection on the surface of the river. Bavaria is particularly beautiful in the autumn, as are the gardens of the Schonbrunn Palace in Austria.

No matter when you visit, you’ll be entranced by the beauty found along these European rivers.