Where Europeans Go on Vacation: Beat the Trends for a Better Holiday

Where Europeans Go on Vacation: Beat the Trends for a Better Holiday

When you live in Australia or New Zealand, any country in Europe is an exciting destination. They’re all so foreign and fascinating. Even Britain and Ireland, with their similar language and comparable culture, seem enchantingly unfamiliar.

But for those who live in Europe, it’s a little different. Proximity permits Europeans to be pickier when choosing their holiday destinations. A trip to Austria doesn’t cost so much when you live next door in Germany. And a weekend away in Portugal isn’t a ridiculous idea if you can drive there from Spain (instead of taking a 23-hour long-haul flight from Sydney).

So where do European go on vacation? And what can we learn from their travel trends?

Heading South for the Summer


Holidaymakers in Europe tend to travel south, seeking sunshine and sparkling beaches. Those in the northernmost countries flock to Germany. Millions migrate to France. And the greatest hotspot of them all is Spain, with its costas and alternative lifestyle making it a very popular destination indeed.

How can you take advantage of this trend?

•    If you’re happy to skip the surfing, swimming and sunbathing, travel to northern nations like Ireland (we have plenty of beautiful beaches here at home anyway).
• If you’d like some beach time on your itinerary, consider a less-crowded coastal destination like Croatia.
• If your heart is set on Spain or France, travel just before or after Europe’s holiday season (e.g. our ‘Magnifico’ Spain and Portugal Tour runs in May, June and September). 

The Christmas Exodus


Europeans love to leave during the festive season. In fact, the 22nd, 23rd and 26th of December are the busiest travel days of December in Europe. The snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes that seem so magical to us are commonplace for them, so they journey abroad to more summery places like Dubai, Bali, Miami and Bangkok.

How can you take advantage of this trend?

•    Travel to Europe at Christmastime! The cities are much quieter than usual, yet there’s plenty of holiday spirit and festive markets to enjoy. You may even get to experience a white Christmas.

Explore our Christmas tours to find an itinerary you’ll love.

Some Fun Facts


•    Around ¾ of Europeans stay less than 4 nights when they travel.

Can you imagine flying all the way to Italy and only staying 3 nights before you head back home? Neither can we! That’s why our Italian Grande Tour runs for 18 days – and we stay 5 nights in Tuscany alone!

•    New York is the most booked destination for Europeans travelling out of the continent.

When you’ve got all those ancient wonders in your backyard, it must be nice to get away to the modern hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. The stats of 2016 also suggest former territories are becoming increasingly popular destinations for Europeans (think French tourists in Pointe-à-Pitre and Dutch travellers in Cape Town).

•    Lots of Europeans have holidays at home.

Spaniards and Italians particularly like to go on vacation within their home country. And when you live in the same nation as Sicily or Andalusia, why wouldn’t you?

All these trends are interesting and can certainly help you plan a better holiday. But there’s one fact you don’t need any stats to prove: Europe is a wonderful place to visit, full stop. Even the locals agree.



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