August really is peak of peaks across the Mediterranean countries, and so if you are going to some of the popular spots – particularly on the coast – be prepared for crowds. It will also be searingly hot for inland sightseeing, hiking or cycling, although more mountainous regions, such as Spain’s Picos de Europa and Sierra Nevada, will be refreshingly cool.
December to mid January may seem like an idyllically festive time to be in Lapland – but with the sun nudging above the horizon for just a few twilit hours each day, you’ll be limited as to how much you can actually do. February and March are still snowy – but with much longer days. You’re also more likely to spot the Northern Lights around the equinox (21st March).
Don’t go to the Pyrenees in April for spring hiking – many paths are inaccessible due to avalanche risk or existing snow; ‘spring’ hiking in the mountain means during June.
November-March tends to be cold and wet in much of Italy and France– apart from the mountains, when this is the time for winter sports. Italy's historic cities can also be moodily atmospheric – especially a twilit Venice without the crowds.
Foodies will love October in Scotland. Seafood is superb from lobster to langoustines, monkfish to mussels. And the game is on, with wild duck, grouse and pheasant very much 'flight to fork'.
Midwinter can be pleasant in southern Spain and Italy – on a sunny day temperatures can be in the low 20s, and rain is rare. Even in Montenegro, weather can be ideal for hiking right up until November.
Don’t assume southern Europe is all hot and sunny in winter, though. Inland climates are continental, with snowfall common in central Spain and Turkey.