Many Americans are looking at European vacation options this year as the dollar is stronger than ever against the euro. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce there were more than 11.4million Americans who visited Europe in 2014. This number is expected to rise in 2015.

Furthermore, more than half of Americans visited Europe in summer. This means that there are always people in places like museums, attractions, and restaurants. In order to avoid the crowds and take advantage of milder temperatures, savvy tourists are choosing to plan their European vacations during either one of these two periods. “shoulder seasons.”

The shoulder seasons are from April to early June, and mid-September through November. They typically have lower prices, fewer tourists, and more comfortable temperatures. With fewer tourists comes better access to café culture, world-class museums and historical sites. Locals with less time can offer more recommendations and smaller tour groups allow for more relaxation.

The region is generally temperate in the shoulder seasons. However, the eastern and southern Mediterranean have the most sun, much like the warm climate of Southern California. You can still swim in the Mediterranean Sea in Greece, Croatia, and Ibiza even after October.

You don’t need a standard vacation to Europe. “If it’s Tuesday this must be Brussels”Experience the difference by taking a cruise on one Star ClippersThese tall ships are authentic. The ships can be unpacked once and then sail through the Mediterranean between April and November. They visit Europe’s most important cities as well as smaller ports that are not accessible to larger cruise ships.

The intimate yacht-like atmosphere and casual, friendly atmosphere onboard create an unforgettable experience. This is complemented by European cuisine and a relaxed pace.

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