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One of the most popular travel trends these days is seeking out the ever elusive European summer. Sure, it’s hard to pass up wandering the canals of Venice with an Aperol spritz in hand, or sniffing your way through the Jardin des Tuileries in bloom. But that picture perfect image often comes at a price during peak season: tourists – and lots of them. Europe is more of a mindset than a destination, guaranteeing its visitors will be dazzled regardless of the season. Here are a few reasons to make the trip in fall, winter or spring:
Lines? No way Jose!
Most travellers planning to visit Europe have a long to-do list filled to the brim with famous landmarks, museums and other popular tourist destinations. But if you are visiting during high season, large crowds can quickly be discouraging and spoil the atmosphere. If, however, you travel during the off-season, you may manage to avoid the hour-long lines to see the Vatican or being swamped by tourists trying to get the same selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower. Italy is known for its large collection of tourist destinations from the Trevi Fountain, Statue of David, the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps and so much more. Consider joining Trafalgar’s guided vacation on its Wonders of Italy during the winter season, where you can indulge in the splendour of Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli's talents in their full glory through an exploration of Italy's alluring art, architecture and old-world charm – without sharing the experience with 1,000 other tourists.
Form genuine connections
Most tourists tend to spend what little vacation time they have gallivanting around during peak-season. Opting to travel during off-season leads to connecting with other travellers exploring off-the-beaten-path who are looking to meet the locals, providing deeper insight into your chosen destination and allowing more genuine relationships. Portugal is particularly perfect for off-season connection forging, with its friendly locals and fair prices. Let the thrill of the Fado Guitar guide you through Portugal's Manueline Lisbon to Baroque Oporto and the port wine Douro Valley on Trafalgar’s Wonders of Portugal vacation.
The colours of the season
Consider the stunning shades of cardinal red, burnt orange, marigold yellow and vibrant green that can be enjoyed during the fall season. With multiple destinations in full leaf ‘peeping’ season, it’s hard to pass up witnessing this unique spectacle. Lake Bled in Slovenia is a top destination to visit during autumn, as the rugged peaks surrounding the glassy waters turn vibrant with colour. The Scottish Highlands is another favourite destination with visitors coming from all over the world to hike through the mountainsides and enjoy the fantastic foliage before stopping at a local distillery to sample authentic Scotch whisky. Witnessing Europe in the full bloom of Spring should be at the top of any nature lover’s bucket list. Fly to France in April to enjoy the multitude of chateau’s bursting with wisteria vines hanging off the picturesque buildings on the Enchanting France guided holiday and enjoy every inch of its secret gardens.
The main reason many individuals travel is to experience a new culture. What better way to do so than by taking part in a local festival? Many European festivals start around the end of September when it isn’t as stifling hot throughout the cities. Particularly unique festivals tend to take place in the countryside or small towns and can range from wine and harvest festivals, to art and food events. This is a great way to enjoy a unique combination of culture and history with the locals and learn more about their language and way of life. But perhaps the most unique European winter experience is celebrating a European Christmas. Cologne, Germany is particularly popular, as the city is teeming with Christmas markets where the aroma of baked apples, cinnamon biscuits and mulled wine wafts through the alleyways. Other options include: Zagreb, Croatia, Dresden, Germany, Colmar, France and Vienna, Austria.
Get maximum value with savvy spending
Accommodations, flights and restaurants, oh my! Prices for travel tends to significantly decrease in Europe after the summer season. Vendors are desperate to continue to fill those seats and bring people to their business, making the off-season an ideal time for those looking to travel on a budget or those who just like to save a few bucks. This is an especially prime time to travel if you have a dream destination in mind that is often too expensive during high-season. Even better? Once you get there, your chances of being upgraded on flights and hotel rooms are even higher, as companies want to ensure you will remain a repeat customer time and time again.
This piece was brought to you by our friends over at Trafalgar. Does the appeal of travelling in the off-season have you ready to enjoy an effortless guided vacation? Click here to check-out Trafalgar’s 2018-19 Autumn, Winter and Spring program, and contact your travel advisor to book.