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European National Holidays & Travel Restrictions

We are well on the way to approaching summer, with warm weather and bank holidays on the horizon (fingers crossed). However, when you don’t regularly travel on the continent, it’s easy to forget there are national holidays which are celebrated, which might lead to travel restrictions, closed roads etc.

Here are all the dates you need to keep an eye out for if you’re travelling across Europe this summer.

National Day Norway (Friday 17th May 2019)

Countries affected: Norway

What to expect: Traffic within towns and cities in the country will be at a standstill due to celebrations, although traffic is not restricted it is inadvisable because of road blockages.

Ascension Day (Thursday 30th May 2019)

Countries affected: Austria, Denmark, France, Luxemburg, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland

What to expect: All countries that recognise Ascension Day will also celebrate the event with a bank holiday weekend, thus resulting in additional traffic. Perhaps the busiest countries affected are France and Switzerland. Particularly affected areas include cities and holiday towns. The date usually coincides with many mountain roads being reopened after winter break, so if you’re up that way why not take the scenic route if it's safe to do so.

Republic Day (Sunday 2nd June 2019)

Countries affected: Italy

What to expect: The national holiday sees many businesses shut. Also, be advised that heavier HGVs may face restricted travel both by land and sea as many ferries may not be running. Check bookings prior to departure.

Swedish National Holiday (Thursday 6th June 2019)

Countries affected: Sweden

What to expect: This national holiday is expected to see additional levels of tourism, particularly in large cities and tourist towns. A nationwide closure of all government-owned liquor stores also means more road users are to be expected.

Whitsun (Sunday 9th June 2019)

Countries affected: Norway, Netherlands and Switzerland

What to expect: Though only celebrated in certain countries, Whitsun falls on a Europe wide bank holiday weekend, possibly causing traffic.

Portugal Day (Monday 10th June 2019)

Countries affected: Portugal

What to expect: Portugal Day is a nationwide celebration that sees tourism rise drastically within the country. Travel can be delayed and a number of roads are closed making inner city access difficult.

Whit Monday (Monday 10th June 2019)

Countries affected: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Luxemburg, Norway, Netherlands and Switzerland

What to expect: With most of Western Europe celebrating a long weekend to make the most of the Pentecostal celebration, severe delays and road restrictions are possible.

Corpus Christi (Thursday 20th June 2019)

Countries affected: Austria

What to expect: Most businesses are closed and traffic is expected to be heavier than usual.

Luxembourg National Holiday (Sunday 23rd June 2019)

Countries affected: Luxembourg

What to expect: The country virtually shuts down during this weekend. Festivities include public celebrations, street parties, fireworks and light processions. Traffic will be busier than usual and you will face road restrictions in built up areas.

Midsummer Day (Monday 24th June 2019)

Countries affected: Sweden

What to expect: Midsummer marks the start of the public sector's five week summer holiday and the start of the tourist season. The actual midsummer day is also a public holiday that is a greatly celebrated festival, thus roads are expected to be both closed and congested.

Saints Cyril and Methodius Day (Friday 5th July 2019)

Countries affected: Czech Republic

What to expect: Although a public holiday, it is mainly one of observation. It is unlikely that traffic will be busier.

Jan Hus Day (Saturday 6th July 2019)

Countries affected: Czech Republic

What to expect: Little is affected on Jan Hus Day, therefore traffic will remain as normal.

Flemish Community Holiday (Thursday 11th July 2019)

Countries affected: Belgium

What to expect: Many private employers do not issue a holiday, thus traffic should remain as usual.

Bastille Day (Sunday 14th July 2019)

Countries affected: France

What to expect: The nationwide bank holiday will see the majority of the country in shut down. Heavy traffic and restrictions should be expected.

Belgium National Day (Sunday 21st July 2019)

Countries affected: Belgium

What to expect: This holiday is a national celebration. Road closures and and large amounts of traffic are to be expected.

Switzerland National Day (Thursday 1st August 2019)

Countries affected: Switzerland

What to expect: This holiday is only observed in certain areas of the country, therefore traffic restrictions will vary by area. Please check your routes before departure.

Assumption Day (Thursday 15th August 2019)

Countries affected: Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy and Luxembourg and Portugal.

What to expect: Traffic will be heavier than usual, however many countries do not celebrate the day with a bank holiday. The level of celebrations will vary from country to country.

Always remember to plan ahead when you’re travelling over summer. Due to the time of year, roads will be busier than usual and space on ferries will be limited. If you know of any other events that are likely to make travel difficult in the coming months, please let us know

09 May 2019

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