Europe Will Be More Crowded Than Ever This Summer

If you want to visit countries like Greece and Italy, you better get to planning

crowds of people at shipwreck beach in Zakynthos, Greek Islands
Vying for a good spot on the sand in Greece is going to be tough this summer.
Getty Images

If you were planning European travel this year and haven’t yet made your arrangements, you’d better get to it. Hopper recently released their Consumer Travel Index for the first quarter of 2023, and according to the findings, 56% of U.S. travelers are searching for international trips this year, which is up from a mere 10% in 2022. Of those international searches, 34% of them are for European cities. 

Similar findings came through in Going’s State of Travel in 2023 report. Of the people they polled, 60% said they planned to take more international trips in 2023 than last year, and about 33% said they already booked an international trip for this year.

This is a good thing for European countries that suffered from a loss of tourism during the pandemic. But because American demand is so high for an overseas vacation, it means that the high season isn’t just in summer anymore. Those who used to enjoy lower prices and fewer crowds come fall likely won’t get to relish in the same perks this year. (The same was honestly true last year when this writer found that Paris and Amsterdam were still packed in mid-October.) They’ll also be up against higher flight prices.

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A Hopper spokesperson told CNN that international flights are currently averaging $876 for a roundtrip ticket, which is 35% more than the same time last year. And Europe-bound flights are averaging $801 roundtrip, 27% more from the same time in 2022. 

The good news is that “transatlantic flight volume is now 10% higher than it was pre-pandemic and poised to grow further in 2023,” according to Going founder Scott Keyes, so you shouldn’t let the prospect of a more crowded Europe completely squash your hopes of visiting the continent this year. And while countries like Greece, Italy and Portugal will continue to see surges, it might be the year to consider under-the-radar destinations like Slovenia, Georgia and Romania if you want more moderate crowds and prices.


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