Eastern Europe weather varies by region and by country, especially when it comes to countries and cities that are further north or south in latitude.
Some cities, such as Ljubljana, experience plenty of rainfall, while others such as Moscow have snow cover for months on end, and places such as Dubrovnik enjoy above-freezing temperatures year-round. Temperatures and rainfall depend upon a variety of factors: geographic location of the country, proximity to bodies of water, inland position, and topographical features that affect the wind.
If you're planning to travel to Eastern Europe, you should make sure to get up-to-date weather forecasts for the specific city you'll be visiting. While you can generally rely on month-by-month average precipitation and temperature highs and lows, it's better to check within a week of travel.
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Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, a thriving 9th-century city featuring gorgeous architecture, diverse cultural experiences, and plenty of seasonal and yearly events. The summers in Prague are generally hot and winters quite cold, but there's always something going on in this Eastern European city. Make sure you check out the Prague Castle, Old Town Square, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Charles Bridge while you're in the city in the summer.
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The Lithuanian capital of Vilnius experiences moderately warm summers and cold winters, so it's no surprise that summer is the most popular season for travel to this southern Baltic city. If you do travel in the winter, temperatures can reach below -13 F (-25 C) in December, January, and February, so you'll want to be sure to pack the right gear like a shearling or heavy down coat, well-insulated gloves or mittens, and fur or insulated caps.
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St. Petersburg is Russia's second capital, and like its first capital of Moscow, the city experiences long cold winters during which its rivers freeze. The short warm-weather summer season is the favorite time to travel to St. Petersburg, but you can generally enjoy the sites and culture of this Russian city any time of the year.
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Dubrovnik rarely sees snow or freezing temperatures, but you can't expect beach-friendly weather year round. In the winter, you might not have to bundle up for New Years Eve festivities (of which there are many), but you won't necessarily want to spend New Years Day at the beach. Dubrovnik is known for the 16th-century walls that surround the city, and you can take a look out at the ocean from one of the many vantage points on them. Both the Church of St. Blaise and the Cathedral of the Assumption are popular destinations for Catholic tourists, and the Onofrio Fountain and Luza Square and the Stradun are popular destinations for tourists of all persuasions.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, but its weather varies drastically from the country's favorite coastal destination of Dubrovnik. Snow cover is typical for the latter half of winter, but spring, summer, and fall can offer good opportunities for outdoor adventure travel. Ban Jelačić Square, Dolac Market, and the Kaptol part of Zagreb's Upper Town are among the most popular destinations to discover in this Croatian city, so just because it lies inland don't overlook it as a good vacation spot.
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Krakow is the capital of Poland and it offers tourists a variety of Polish cultural traditions depending on what time of year and season they visit. Though winters are cold in Krakow, air from the Tatras Mountains warms the air during the day, making it a great destination year-round. This is good news for Christmas market-goers, who flock to Krakow for its incredible holiday displays.
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Ljubljana is one of Europe's rainiest cities, so prepare for wet weather when you travel to Slovenia's capital. It's also small enough of a city that you can navigate it on foot—though there are buses and trains that stop in the city. Winters are cold and wet, much like Seattle, Washington, but you can still expect a variety of seasonal events in this small city.
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Although you could technically consider Slovakia Central Europe, this Eastern European's capital of Bratislava is slightly warmer and drier than other parts of the country. While warm summers draw visitors in the greatest numbers, December's holiday celebrations have tourists braving the cold in Old Town to experience the traditional market and festivities.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Moscow can experience heatwaves during its warm summers, but it's winters are harsh and last from mid-October through late April most years. Be prepared for these extremes when you plan your trip to Moscow, but don't be dissuaded by below-freezing temperatures in winter—Moscow locals know how to enjoy their snow and ice!
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From April to September, you can generally count on good travel weather, though summer is Budapest's rainiest season. September is perhaps the best time to visit the city, with average highs reaching 76 F while lows remain above 56 degrees until the very end of the month. On the other side of the spectrum, January is the coldest month with average highs only reaching 32 F and lows dipping below 0 F. Still, that doesn't stop the city form hosting its Christmas market or celebrating New Year's Day.
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Expect warm summers, chilly winters, and pleasant spring and autumn weather in Warsaw, making it one of the best destinations no matter what time of year you're planning to visit Eastern Europe. Summer brings the best the Polish capital city has to offer, with the Juwenalia students' festival and the Wianki summer solstice festival both taking place throughout the season. In the winter, you can enjoy winter sports and Christmas markets as well as unique cultural traditions and hearty meals to survive the cold.