It's time to get sorted with earlybird flight and travel deals - and booking deadlines looming - writes STEPHEN SCOURFIELD
There are lots of reasons to plan now for Europe during its spring, summer and autumn of 2020.
Food and wine. Culture and history. Big cities and green mountains. Cycling and walking. Different style and fashions; different attitudes to life. Joie de vivre — the joy of living we find in parts of Europe.
And just about every part of Europe is just one flight connection away.
Europe isn’t that big. Yet while it covers just 2 per cent of the planet’s land surface, there are 44 countries in Europe, according to the United Nations.
But it is big enough, for landforms and sea influences to add to dramatic climatic differences, of course.
From Helsinki, the most northerly capital on mainland Europe (Reykjavic edges it out when you count Iceland), to Athens is 3400km (the same as Dunsborough to Kununurra).
But for most of the European continent, the classic “summer season” is from June to mid-September. The peak months are July and August.
But let’s just think that through.
- Advantage, as it pretty much empties out. In others, like the south of France, it can be very busy. Parisians, the French, and pretty much the rest of Europe traditionally pour south down the Autoroute du Soleil freeway in summer.
- Temperatures in Europe have hit record highs this northern summer, even hitting more than 46C in southern France. A study just published shows that the number of days of extreme heat in Europe is increasing, and the number of days of extreme cold are decreasing. The research in the American Geophysical Union journal Geophysical Research Letters reveals that European summers have become hotter overall. The number of extremely hot summer days has tripled since 1950. And the study finds parts of Europe are warming faster than climate models project. “Even at this regional scale over Europe, we can see that these trends are much larger than what we would expect from natural variability,” says Ruth Lorenz, lead author of the new study and a climate scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.
- Peak season still tends to command peak prices. For me, all this leads not only to shoulder seasons (spring in April and May and autumn in late September and October), but even being “out of season”. There are quirks to climate, too, of course — for example, spring arrives early in southern Italy, with temperatures usually in the mid-20s in April and May in Puglia.
Read the full story, and more, at thewest.com.au
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