If you think of Iceland, you will quickly think that it is always icy and cold there. Especially when you see that this country is situated near the polar circle. This assumption is partly correct. In the winter, it is mostly cool, snow falls regularly and you can therefore speak of serious winter conditions. However, there is a 'but' and that is that it is not as cold as you would think. Because Iceland is surrounded by relatively warm ocean water, the cold is tempered. This also applies to the summer. Then the water has a cooling effect, because the water temperatures are relatively low.
Ireland covers a large part of the island of the same name, which is largely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Its location west of the United Kingdom means that Ireland falls into the westerly supply of depressions and rainfall areas. The temperate maritime climate that determines Ireland's weather is heavily influenced by the relatively warm Gulf Stream or North Atlantic Drift. The seawater ensures that it rarely gets seriously cold during the winter months but that temperatures are actually tempered during the summer months. This results in summers where summer temperatures are not so easily reached and tropical temperatures (30 degrees or above) are the exception. Most people do not visit Ireland for a sun holiday, but to experience the history, culture and nature of this fascinating holiday destination.
Italy, the country shaped like a boot, is located in the south of Europe and is largely surrounded by sea. The north side of Italy is mountainous. Here are the Alps, with Mont Blanc, located partly in France and partly in Italy, as the highest mountain. The Apennines are another mountain range. This branch of the Alps forms the backbone of the peninsula and also determines the weather in large parts of Italy. The western side of the Apennines has a warm Mediterranean climate, while the eastern side has a warm maritime climate. Within the Apennines, you will find more moderate climate types. In the north, where the Alps lie, the temperate continental climate changes at higher altitudes to a cool continental climate and finally to a high mountain climate as soon as you get above 2000-2500 metres above sea level.
The Republic of Latvia belongs to the Baltic States, which are located in north-eastern Europe. Latvia's climate lies on the border of a temperate continental climate (Dfb) and the temperate maritime climate (Cfb). The influence of the Baltic Sea, on which Latvia is situated, is certainly present. The regular influx of very cool air from the east in the winter or very warm air in the summer means that Latvia can experience the capriciousness that is a distinctive feature of a continental climate.
Lesotho is a relatively small country in the southern part of Africa, entirely surrounded by the country of South Africa. The country lies entirely above an altitude of 1400 metres above sea level and has a mix of high plains and mountains. Due to its altitude, Lesotho has a less warm climate than you would expect based on its topography. Many people therefore experience the weather in Lesotho as very pleasant. In the winter it is cooler, but rarely too cold. In the summer months it is warm, but rarely too hot. Because Lesotho is in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are opposite to our seasons.
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a European dwarf state. Liechtenstein is located in the Alps, between Switzerland and Austria. The country lies in the Rhine valley. The Rhine forms the natural western border with Switzerland. The lowest point in the country is Ruffeller Riet, which is 430 metres above sea level. The Grauspitz, with an altitude of 2599 metres, is the highest point in the country. Due to its location in the mountains, there is a continental climate with a high mountain climate on the mountain peaks. The winters are rather cool and in the mountains cold. Summers can be pleasant, but can sometimes be quite extreme. In July and August, the temperature can rise above thirty degrees, but in extreme cases it can also stay around ten degrees. On average, 22 to 25 degrees is pleasant in the Rhine Valley during the period from June to August.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a small country in western Europe. Because of its proximity to the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean beyond, Luxembourg has a temperate maritime climate with continental characteristics. Although Luxembourg is not very big in terms of surface area, there are some differences in the average weather. The north of the country, with an average annual precipitation of up to about 1,200 millimetres, is wetter than the south, where the amount of precipitation is often limited to about 800 to 900 millimetres per calendar year. This is because Atlantic disturbances are better able to reach the north of Luxembourg.
The Republic of North Macedonia is a country located centrally in the Balkan region. It is landlocked, but has several lakes, such as Lake Ohrid, which is quite popular with tourists. A large part of northern Macedonia consists of mountainous areas including the Šar Mountains. The river Vardar is an important lifeline for the country. Therefore, a reasonable part of the population lives in the Vardar Valley. The mountains provide a wide variety of climatic types. In the valley, the cold steppe climate prevails, while in the mountains there is mainly a temperate continental climate. Throughout the country, the weather can be quite extreme. Think of heavy frost in winter in the higher regions or extreme heat in summer in the valley. There, temperatures of around forty degrees Celsius can occur. In the capital Skopje it can therefore sometimes be unpleasantly hot in the middle of summer.
In the Balkans lies the relatively small country of Montenegro, which is about two-thirds smaller than the Netherlands in terms of land area. Montenegro is situated on the Adriatic Sea, where it has approximately 294 kilometres of coastline. There are various beaches along the coast. The more than twelve kilometres long sandy beach Velika Plaža is the longest beach of the country and can be found in the southwest of Montenegro. Behind the relatively narrow coastal strip the landscape of Montenegro consists mainly of karst areas. Many areas are on average around one thousand metres above sea level, but there are also peaks within the Dinaric Alps that reach two thousand metres.
The Republic of Mozambique is a country located in the south-eastern part of the continent of Africa. Mozambique is popular with tourists because the country is relatively safe, has beautiful beaches and the vast landscapes are perfect for a safari. Some travel organisations offer Mozambique in combination with neighbouring South Africa. Mozambique mainly has to deal with a tropical monsoon climate. In the western half, there are fairly large areas with a warm steppe climate or the warmer C-type climates.
The Republic of Namibia is an increasingly popular holiday destination in the south of Africa. The relatively dry climate in combination with the topographical location ensures that several biomes can be defined within Namibia: desert, sand desert, dry steppe, grass savannah and wetland. The largest part of Namibia consists of desert landscape. The Namib Desert, which runs along the coast, is the best example of this.
The name Netherlands is based on the flat landscape that dominates this small country. The Netherlands is located in north-western Europe. The weather is therefore partly determined by the influences of the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It creates a temperate maritime climate with moderate grey winters and changeable summers in which there is room for warm and tropical days, but also the chance of cooler rainy days. Typical for the Dutch weather is that there can be regular and strong to very strong winds at the coastal areas. Particularly in the autumn and winter, the wind can become stormy or there can be storms.
The Kingdom of Norway is the most western part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Characteristic for Norway is the enormous coastline. Because of the many fjords and coves this coastline counts more than 25 thousand kilometres. If you include the coasts of all the islands, you would even end up with about 100,000 kilometres. The landscape of Northern Norway consists of highlands mixed with mountainous areas and lowlands in the east and southeast. The western side of Norway is wet due to the rainfall from the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, the western parts of the country have a temperate maritime climate, which locally changes into a cool maritime climate at higher altitudes. In the south-east, the temperate continental climate is common. Locally, this is also called the Baltic climate. Norway's interior has a cool continental climate, also referred to as a subarctic climate. At higher altitudes, a tundra climate is predominant. The north of Norway consists mainly of tundra.
When travelling to Poland, you will have to deal with a continental climate. Basically, it resembles the weather in the Netherlands, however, it is on average drier and there are more sharp edges to the seasons. This means that the winter months are more wintry than in the Netherlands and the summer months have more contrasts. The best time to travel to Poland is in summer. As late spring can be quite pleasant and early autumn has enough warm days, you can consider the period mid-May to mid-September as the best time to travel to Poland. Daytime temperatures in summer are around the comfortable values of 22 to 27 degrees Celsius.
Portugal is the most south-westerly country in Europe. Portugal is not located on the Mediterranean Sea like the other countries in the southern strip of Europe. Portugal is situated on the Atlantic Ocean. The air temperatures are as you would expect them to be in a warm or temperate Mediterranean climate. What you notice is that the seawater is cooler than that of the Mediterranean Sea and that Portugal has less to do with the heat that you can experience in summer in neighbouring Spain.
Its location in Eastern Europe means that Romania has to deal with a continental climate, which ensures cold winters and warm summers. The best time to travel to Romania is from May to September. This is the period with the greatest chance of spring-like or summer temperatures and a reasonable amount of sunshine. Romania is not a very wet destination anyway, so the precipitation is hardly a determining factor when determining the best time to travel. In fact, during what we consider to be the best time to travel to Romania, there is the most precipitation. May, June and July are in many places the wettest months of the year. However, the amounts are so limited that they are still not outright wet months.
If you know that Russia is the largest country in the world, you will realise that it is not so easy to determine the best travel time for the whole of Russia. In a country of such dimensions, different climates are found. Russia has a stark climate with many extremes. In winter months it is cool (west) to very cold (Siberia) while in summer it is cool (polar region) to very hot (inland). Average values that apply to Russia's climate are really averages. Upward and downward fluctuations are possible. In the winter months you always have to reckon with extreme weather conditions. Even in the more temperate regions it can freeze quite hard, which means that all kinds of risks increase rapidly. In addition to the direct danger to health (freezing), the risk of car and other equipment breaking down due to the low temperatures is also very real. In spring and autumn, you should bear in mind that the transition from winter to summer and vice versa is not as gradual as we are used to in the Netherlands. Within a few weeks, there can be temperature differences of tens of degrees.
When travelling to Serbia, the climate is on the border between a temperate maritime climate and a more continental type of climate. Winters are on the cool side, while summers are pleasantly warm. The weather varies a little depending on the season. The winters are distinctly greyer and gloomier than the other seasons, while the sunniest months have the highest precipitation levels as they are mostly affected by heavy rain and thunderstorms.
Slovakia, located centrally in Europe, consists largely of hilly landscapes and mountains. Only in the west you will find lower lying flat areas. The climate in Slovakia is continental. The only exception is the higher mountain areas, where the climate changes to a tundra climate at higher altitudes. A characteristic of the weather in Slovakia is that it can be erratic. In the summer months, the temperature can be as high as 16 degrees one day, while a week later the thermometers shoot up to 35 degrees or even higher. The same capriciousness can be found in the winter. Milder periods can alternate with periods of moderate to severe frost giving the country a serious winter character. Late spring and early autumn are often the best months to travel to destinations with a continental climate like Slovakia.
The Republic of Slovenia is a country located in the central part of Europe. The state was created when Yugoslavia fell apart in 1991. Slovenia lies on the Adriatic Sea, where it has a relatively short coastline. It measures only 47 kilometres. The coastal area is fairly flat and has a temperate Mediterranean climate. Inland, it is mostly mountainous, with lower lying areas behind it. The temperate continental climate prevails here with an alpine climate in the higher places. Since the rain comes mainly from the Gulf of Genoa, the western part of Slovenia is significantly wetter than the east, which is sheltered behind the mountainous areas. The Karavanke and Julian Alps receive the most precipitation, which in winter often takes the form of snow.
The southernmost country on the African continent is aptly named South Africa. Its location between 22 and 34 degrees south latitude ensures quite a large diversity of weather that you can expect there. A large part of South Africa consists of a plateau that lies about a thousand to two thousand metres above sea level. This tempers the temperatures somewhat. The coastal areas, in turn, have to deal with a relatively cool sea current. That is why you find penguins, seals and whales in the wild here. They are perfectly happy with South Africa's climate.