Travelling through Europe in the off-season can be more rewarding than in the summer. For a start, it’s not as hot and stifling. There’s nothing worse than standing in the hot sun in a long queue waiting to enter an exhibit or must-see location. You also don’t want to get stuck in a crowded building packed with tour groups without airconditioning or breezeways.
Here are some other reasons to help make your case for an off-season holiday.
Airfares are cheaper in the off-season and less people travel, so the overall trip is not as crowded. If you’re prepared to take your time travelling, particularly between connections, you can really cut your airfare costs.
Accommodation is generally cheaper. You can also get free upgrades, as not all the hotel rooms are in use. If you’re staying in a hotel you’ll often get better service, as there are less guests, so the staff have time to look after you.
Locals tend to be friendlier too. They prefer the off season, as their cafes and local sites are not packed with tourists. You’re more likely to find a friendly local when there are fewer tourists around.
This also translates to dining and touring. Less tourists mean it’s generally easier to get a seat in a cafe or restaurant. You don’t have to queue as much to get into museums, galleries and the like. Meal and ticket prices are often off season too, so you can generally travel more cheaply.
It’s easier to take photos too, as you won’t be confronted with massive crowds between you and your target. You’ll get better quality images when you have time to frame the shot.
The downside is that sometimes a specific site is closed for renovation in the off-season. So you may need to check online before trekking a few hours to a remote village to view a rare artifact or ancient building. Arriving at your destination, only to find it’s covered with scaffold and shade cloth while undergoing renovations, could ruin your trip.
The weather can turn against you but have a plan for things to do on rainy days, even if it’s just sitting like a local in a cafe with a coffee while watching the world go by.