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How To Beat the Summer Crowds in Europe

If there’s one thing many of us have noticed, it’s how crowded popular attractions have become. That’s why it pays to give the month of October a second look: the crowds are thinner than in September, top attractions are more accessible, and you can enjoy more room to breathe and relax.

How To Beat the Summer Crowds in Europe

With the pandemic in the rearview mirror, everyone is making up for lost time. If there’s one thing many of us have noticed, it’s how crowded popular attractions have become. Want to see the Louvre or the Uffizi Gallery? Brace yourself for a nice long wait in line—even if you reserved a spot in advance. That’s why it pays to give the month of October a second look: the crowds are thinner than in September, top attractions are more accessible, and you can enjoy more room to breathe and relax. Plus, as weather trends continue to heat up, the peak travel months of July and August make for hot and steamy walking weather—not exactly the ideal conditions for spending time on the trail. As a result, October hits the sweet spot for European walking adventures—it’s the perfect time to enjoy the spectacular scenery in vibrant fall colors with fewer crowds. That’s why we like to say—October is the new September!

Look Out September… Here Comes October!

Autumn in Italy

  • Italy: Pompeii, Capri & the Amalfi Coast Guided Tour: The cliffs and seaside villages of the Amalfi coast make for wonderful walking—and October is the perfect time to experience the region in all its autumnal splendor. The temperatures are ideal for outdoor adventures, and local shops and restaurants are bursting with freshly harvested produce. Autumn has become such a popular time for this walking adventure, we recently added an additional October departure!
  • Italy: Matera, Otranto & the Puglia Coast Guided Tour: The turquoise shores of Puglia are stunning to behold—with crystal-clear water, white sand beaches, and iconic architecture. This southern Italian region gets steamy in the summer months—but is cool and pleasant in October. Walk along the spectacular shoreline and take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic. Enliven your senses during olive oil and wine tastings—and pick up some culinary tips during a delightful demonstration of local mozzarella cheese making techniques.
  • Italy: Sicily Guided Tour: Always vibrant, the autumn season somehow makes the colors of Sicily pop even more. Although October temperatures are still quite warm, the cooling of the summer heat makes for perfect walking weather to explore the slopes of Mount Etna, the Oasi Nature Reserve, the archeological treasures of Syracuse—and beyond.
  • Italy: Tuscany & Umbria Guided Tour: If you love fine cuisine, October is the perfect time to visit Tuscany and Umbria! Restaurants are buzzing with fresh local ingredients—including truffles prized for their iconic flavor. The grape harvest is in full swing—and you’ll sample many delightful vintages as you explore the bustling vineyards of these splendid regions.
  • Italy: Genoa & the Cinque Terre Self-Guided Tour: Walking the picturesque cliffs of Cinque Terre is delightfully comfortable in the cooler October weather. Here, you’ll find fine dining opportunities featuring local flavors of the harvest. On this self-guided adventure, you’ll have the flexibility to walk as much or as little as you like—and an included train pass gives you the freedom to explore this iconic region in depth.

Adriatic and Ionian Shores

  • Greece: Athens, Delphi & Meteora Guided Tour: Even in October, Greece can be quite warm, making this the perfect time to hike the Grecian landscape in comfort. Explore dramatic caves and ancient temples—walking through groves of walnut and olive. Take a cog rail trip through dramatic canyons and climb the steps to the lofty monasteries at Meteora.
  • Croatia: Brač, Korčula & Mljet National Park Guided Tour: If you’re looking for a quieter time to visit Croatia’s spectacular Dalmatian Islands, October is it! The temperatures are mild, and most of the summer crowds have thinned out. Plus, our local friends will be celebrating the harvest—bringing a festive atmosphere to the home-hosted meals you’ll experience along the way.

October on the Iberian Peninsula

  • Spain: Balearic Islands, Mallorca & Deià Guided Tour: The subtropical climate of Mallorca is ideal for October adventures—and the Balearic Sea is perfect for autumn swimming. Here, you’ll walk along the stunning azure coast and into the foothills of the Tramontana Mountains—enjoying fresh seafood, delightful local vintages, and the vibrant fruits of the harvest along the way.
  • Portugal: Minho & the Douro Valley Guided Tour: Explore the festive harvest season along the Douro River—where the riverbanks are clad in dazzling fall colors. With shades varying from deep purple to bright yellow and every russet hue in between, this is a magical time to explore the Douro Valley in all its fall finery.
  • Portugal: Sintra & Rota Vicentina Self-Guided Tour: Walk from city to shore on this diverse self-guided tour of southern Portugal. The October climate is perfect for walking—and the summer crowds have thinned out. Discover historic city centers, walk along the rugged coast, and explore the fall colors of the Portuguese landscape.

The British Isles in Autumn

  • England: The Cotswolds Self-Guided Tour: October is a wonderful time to visit England’s Cotswolds region at your own pace. With the summer tourists gone, the region turns back to the hum of daily life—and the cooler temperatures are perfect for walking. The colors of autumn are a wonderful complement to the sandstone manors and thatched cottages—and when the sunlight hits it just right, the landscape simply comes to life.
  • England: The Cornwall Coast Self-Guided Tour: Enjoy walking the Cornwall coast during its quieter moments—after the throngs of summer tourists have ebbed. The weather here at the southernmost tip of England is still mild and comfortable in October—perfect weather for walking! On this self-guided tour, you have the flexibility to explore at your own pace.

Fall Foliage in France

  • France: Normandy & Brittany Guided Tour: If you’re looking to explore the splendid beaches of Normandy without all the tourists, October is the perfect time! Walk along the historic sands of Omaha beach, discovering the American Cemetery with a local guide. Climb the incredible staircase at Mont St. Michel—and gaze upon the spectacular fall colors along the northern coast of France.
  • France: Provence & St. Rémy Self-Guided Tour: October in Provence is a splendid cacophony of flavors—including fresh, ripe olives, fragrant lavender, and savory roasted chestnuts. You’ll find comfortable walking temperatures—as well as outdoor markets bursting with colors of the harvest. On this self-guided adventure, you have the freedom to explore at your own pace—and local support when you need it.

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