Temperature profiles along east-west and north-south transects in Europe are presented for four time-slices covering the two most prominent warming phases of the last glacial-interglacial transition: Late Pleniglacial (LP), early Bøiling (BL), Younger Dryas (YD), and Preboreal (PB). These temperature profiles are based on two methods: 1) simulation experiments with an atmospheric general circulation model, 2) reconstructions based on terrestrial geological and palaeoecological data. The profiles have The Netherlands as intersection point (52°N, 5°E). During the cold phases (LP and YD), the simulated and reconstructed temperature gradients are very steep in a north-south direction, ranging in January from -25°C in northern Europe (56–60°N) to at least 5°C near the Mediterranean, and in July from 0°C to 20°C. The east-west profiles along 52°N for LP and YD show that temperatures in Eastern Europe were similar to the Atlantic coast (i.e. between ‒15°C and ‒25°C). During the warm phases (BL and PB), the temperature regimes resembled present-day thermal conditions, although steeper north-south and east-west temperature gradients were present during BL and PB. The model simulations suggest that continental Europe was a few degrees warmer during PB and BL than today in July under influence of the relatively high summer insolation. Considering the change of climate through time, the profiles show that in The Netherlands the warming during the two transitions (LP-BL, YD-PB) was relatively small compared to regions to the West and North, whereas in Eastern and Southern Europe the temperature increase is even smaller. This reflects the dominant influence of latitudinal movements of the North Atlantic polar front and associated sea-ice margin.