For most of Europe, the summer months are popular times for tourists to visit. With Europe’s temperate climate, travelers tend to want the weather to be warm enough to experience dining comfortably on the terrasse of a restaurant in a romantic, European city. In southern Europe, Portugal, Spain, the south of France, Italy, Greece and the Greek islands, tourists tend to find their beaches very attractive in the warmer summer months. Overall, for most travelers, vacations during these travel seasons are convenient, and predict ideal weather conditions; however, traveling during the off-season has some unique benefits.
Often, traveling one month before the peak season can give you a better travel experience and save you money without sacrificing comfort or luxury. For example, traveling to the Greek islands (Crete, Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, etc) in May allows you to enjoy pleasant weather, beautiful, quiet beaches, and interact peacefully with the locals. As additional benefits, your flight, lodging, and cuisine will likely cost less than if you would travel a month later in June.
If you are planning your travels with a tour operator or travel agent, they may offer discounts for you to travel during the off-season of the country you would like to visit. Travel companies, that specialize in European tours, also have less business during the off-season. Even if they do not offer discounts, flights and lodging will certainly be cheaper than during the height of the travel season.
With proper planning, traveling during the off-season opens many different avenues to explore. For travelers who enjoy interaction with the people and their culture, you will have more opportunities to find and talk to locals. Without the crowds of tourists around, people will have more time to enjoy the company of travelers. In preparation for your travels, you want to ensure that the sites you want to see are open, and that the weather will not be treacherous if you travel during the off-season.
Traveling during a country’s off-season will give you the best chance to interact with local culture and give you a truer experience to see what living in Europe is like.
-Melanie Friese; Assistant Travel Writer/Editor