Europe by Season: Where to Go and When

Monday, August 3

Where To Go & When - Traveling in Europe by Season Factoring in weather, the amount of other tourists, and cost, here's a quick guide on where to go in Europe based on the time of year you can visit.   Hi! I'm Margo from The Overseas Escape. For the past two years my hubby and I have lived in Germany and used the opportunity (by way to RyanAir and Airbnb!) to experience some of the best sights in Europe. From prost-ing at Oktoberfest to sailing in the Greek Isles, we love being active, eating well, and good ole house wine. Now, we're on to our next big adventure - backpacking through Southeast Asia! On my blog I share travel stories, tips, and photography. Blogging is my outlet and I love it, especially because it's allowed me to meet truly lovely people like Katie! 

SPRING

Bright blooms and brisk mornings mark the onset of favorable weather throughout Europe. Expect near ideal traveling conditions by mid-May, coupled with lingering budget-friendly low season prices. 

Highlights:

For BLOOMS go to one of the world's largest tulip festivals in Lesse, Netherlands. Still shoulder season for Venice and Paris weather will be fair and the cities will be yours to enjoy (without the swarms of other tourists). The Amalfi Coast comes to life with flowers and vibrant blue water. It's also the perfect time of the year for boating, hiking and exploring nearby Capri. May is the sunniest time of the year in Bergen, Norway. Surrounded by 7 hills and 7 fjords, Bergen easily makes the UNESCO heritage list with a spectacular harbor and timber-clad houses. Lisbon, Portugal offers travelers sunshine, culture and an endless list of things to do, eat and explore. Be sure to check out Quinta de Regaliera in Sintra. Famous among honeymooners (and everyone else too, for that matter), SantoriniGreece is wonderfully mild and still peaceful in late April. Be sure to watch the sunset in Oia like I did!

Also Visit: 

Barcelona Spain, London England, Amsterdam Netherlands, Dublin Ireland, Bergen Norway, Seville Spain, Cinque Terre Italy

Celebrate:

St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Queen's Day in Amsterdam, Le Feria de Abril in Sevilla
Santorini - The Overseas Escape-1Cinque Terre Aug 2014 -14- Margo Paige - The Overseas EscapeFeria-9- Margo Paige - The Overseas EscapeParis January 2015-26- Margo Paige - The Overseas EscapeLisbon - The Overseas Escape-1

SUMMER

The peak tourist season throughout Europe (most European schools pause for summer break on July 15), avoid the big cities and head for off-the-beaten-path destinations in search of genuine interaction with locals and beautiful landscapes. If possible, avoid travel in August as you'll face either long lines or complete closures with many Europeans taking the entire month off!

Highlights:

Every week in July and August is Yacht Week in Croatia. Cruise through the beautiful Croatian islands with your pals and 50 other yachts for a week long party. Summer is the perfect time to explore, so head to the mountains! Visit beautiful Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland for its charming European village nestled in the shadow of the Swiss Alps.  Head to Surf Camp in Portugal! Lavender season in Provence, France is in full bloom by late June. Explore the region by car to truly enjoy the rolling purple fields, UNESCO villages, and famous gastronomy. Take a road trip through western Ireland, passing the charming towns of Dingle and Kenmare and the rocky coast of the Wild Atlantic Way, which is unlike any other.

Also Visit:

Oxford England, Hallstatt Austria, Annecy France, Lucerne Switzerland, San Sebastian Spain, Berlin Germany, Menton France, Copenhagen Denmark

Celebrate:

Bordeaux Wine Festival, Wimbledon, Yacht Week in Croatia, Tour de France, La Tomatina in Spain, Fringe Festival in Edinburgh
 

here's why you need to drop everything and go to lauterbrunnen, switzerland ��

A photo posted by Margo (@margo.paige) on

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FALL

My favorite time of year for traveling in Europe - shoot for September to enjoy the wine harvest and booming festival season. The crowds have passed, yet the weather can still be ideal for touring and outdoor activities.

Highlights:

Nothing beats joining the fun of Oktoberfest in Munich. Remember your dirndl and lederhosen! Stop by Cinderella's famous Neuschwanstein Castle afterwards for a true taste of Bavaria. Barcelona and nearby Montserrat make for an amazingly scenic autumn getaway. Be sure to tour the famous La Sagrada Familia during your visit.  Autumn leaves in Prague make the city unbelievably romantic and beautiful.  Still not ready to bid farewell to the beach? Book it to Corfu, Greece to savor the remaining sunshine and feta.  Nerja, Spain on the Costa Del Sol is a favorite among Spanish vacationers and should be for you too! White washed buildings and beautiful beaches, the lingering sun still heats up this gorgeous coastline. 

Also Visit: 

Santorini Greece, Prague Czech Republic, Rome Italy, Barcelona Spain, Annecy France, Mosel Valley Germany, Colmar France

Celebrate:

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival in Germany, Concurs de Castells in Spain, Oktoberfest in Munich  Nerja (Original)-8- Margo Paige - The Overseas EscapeFrueling_Stuttgart-1Montserrat November 2014-23- Margo Paige - The Overseas EscapeNeuschwanstein Oct 2013-20- Margo Paige - The Overseas EscapeAnnecy Aug 2014-16- Margo Paige - The Overseas Escape

WINTER

Winter is the ideal time to get a true taste of European culture - whether in a museum, tucked into a cozy cafe, or embracing a piping hot mug of gluwein (mulled wine) at one of the many Christmas Markets across the continent, settle in and experience that tangible charm that we all love so much. 

Highlights:

London, with it's famous broadway productions, museums, and pubs, the city is perfect for a winter visit. Be sure to stop by The Shard for a glass (or three) of wine, high above the city! Sip hot mulled wine in the closest thing to the North Pole at one of Europe's beautiful Christmas markets. My favorites are: Strasbourg, France, Heidelberg, GermanyVienna, Austria or Bruges, Belgium. Hit the slopes in Garmisch, Germany or Chamonix, France.  For the party-lovers, Carnivale in Venice, Italy is unlike any other celebration in Europe. An added bonus: the city is almost totally yours if you get there early.  Budapest, Hungry. A city of spas, relaxing in the steam baths is the perfect way to warm up mid-winter.

Also Visit:

Salzburg Austria, Innsbruck Austria, Chamonix France, Rothenburg ob der Tauber Germany, Budapest Hungary, Tenerife Spain, The Black Forest (HinterzartenGermany

Celebrate:

Iceland Airwaves, San Miniato Truffle Fair in Italy, Christmas Markets throughout Europe, Salzburg Music Festival  Venice 2014-6- Margo Paige - The Overseas EscapeChristmas Markets 2014-25- Margo Paige - The Overseas EscapeBest of Prague (Post)-1- Margo Paige - The Overseas EscapeHinterzarten January 2015-28- Margo Paige - The Overseas Escape

Off to Sweden

Friday, July 31


Kevin and I are just landing in Sweden today. 

Sweden is special to me for so many reasons. 
My dad's family came from Sweden, and he grew up in a little Swedish town in Northern California. This meant Swedish services at church, Swedish meatballs at Christmas, and letters back and forth between family in Sweden. My dad lives in Sweden for some time, and his stories of working the farm always captivated us! 

As a child, being Swedish was such a part of who I was. 

In both kindergarten and second grade, our Swedish cousins came to live with us for a year, so I grew up with Swedish older "brothers" who made us laugh and took care of us! I did my 4th grade country report on Sweden, and was obsessed with the American girl doll Kirsten (who was from Sweden!). My parents house is littered with Dahla Horses (the little red wooden Swedish horses), Carl Larsson prints (like the one above), and maps of Sweden! {all just "subtle" tributes to our heritage, haha!}. And Christmas…don't even get me started…so.much.swedish.food! 

I traveled to Sweden for the first time when I was 14, and was so wonder-filled. It was milking cows on my cousins farm, hiking the forests to pick lingonberries, swimming in the never-ending lakes of cold water, and pitter pattering down the cobblestones of Gamla-Stan (Stockholm's old town). It was lazy summer crawfish dinners, having fika (coffee) and eating ostakaka (cheese cake) all while sharing our lives. It was the relationships that made me so filled to the brim! 

I've been back to Sweden since that first trip, and cannot wait to return today! We have no plans (our cousins have literally planned our entire trip…bless their heart!!) Of course we'll stay with my family in Stockholm, then travel to the heartland of my family's home in central southern Sweden, and then hopefully pop over to the west coast for a day or two!!

 I love the simplify of Swedish style, and am sure to be inspired!! I hope you'll follow along on our adventure in my homeland:) Happy weekend!! xoxo 

Top 4 Things to do in Jacmel, Haiti

Wednesday, July 29

 As I mentioned numerous times, Haiti has little in the way of tourist infrastructure. But that doesn't mean there aren't incredible places to visit! Jacmel, only two hours away from Port-au-Prince is a must see! It has everything you could want….a charming historic old town, beautiful beaches, hiking and swimming! Here are the top 5 things to do in Jacmel!

1. Stroll the Old Town 

Hundreds of year ago, this was a bustling, successful, colorful waterfront port transporting coffee to the world! Today, it is a sleepy waterfront town selling all sorts of artisan goods...everything from baskets to artwork! If you plan on going, pick up a guidebook of Haiti, and do the walking tour of Jacmel! It will take you to waterfront, the old square and market place, and to hotel Florita. See more pictures and read more about it here. 

2. Lay out at the Beach and Swim in the Ocean
Haiti is, after all, an island in the Caribbean!! Therefore, it's bound to have beautiful beaches:) There are a few beaches to visit in the Jacmel area, but the one we loved most was Timouillage Beach. Long stretches of sand, palm trees, beautiful water…and the best part, no people!! Katharine and I spent the whole day there and only a few other souls were anywhere to be found! See more pictures here. 

3. Bassin Bleu

If you like hiking and swimming combined, don't miss Bassin Bleu. Basson Bleu is a series of 3 swimming pools cascading down the mountain by way of 3 waterfalls. The top swimming hole and waterfall is the most beautiful, where you can jump off rocks and into the deep blue waters! To read more about it and see our pictures, click here. 

4. Eat and Relax at Cyvadier Resort 
Cyvadier is the most wonderful gem in all of Jacmel. If you travel to Jacmel, stay here! The grounds are absolutely gorgeous, the food delicious, and the view INCREDIBLE! Cyvadier is located in a sweet little cove overlooking a beach, and is such a refuge after spending all day around town! Even if you don't stay here, make the trip to eat a meal here…yum yum!! To see more pictures and read more, click here.

Hope this is helpful:) xoxo