The top four European destinations to visit out of season
If you think winter trips have to involve going north to meet Santa, sticking on your skis or the chasing after the elusive northern lights, then think again. It may feel strange taking a flight to a typical summer destination during the colder months but that just means you’ll get to experience these places without the summer crowds. After all these popular locations have a lot going for them at all times of the year.
The list, truly, is endless; Europe is lucky enough to offer mixed bag of places to visit, from ancient cities bursting with so much culture you develop whiplash from all the head-turning, to secluded fine sand beaches that would make you think you’ve landed in the Indian Ocean.
If you fancy somewhere a little different this season then check out our top four picks below.
The Eternal City and capital to the culture-rich and foodie heaven home of pizza and pasta that is Italy. No, it wasn’t built in a day, this city has been building up its collection of art, architecture and culture for nearly 3,000 years – the city itself is a museum, every corner you turn there is something new and wondrous to stand and gape at. From the ancient ruins of the Colosseum to Michelangelo’s masterpiece on the Sistine Chapel to the baroque Trevi Fountain – Rome is awash with iconic sights that you feel you know so well from books and film but once you are there it evokes something entirely different in you.
There is simply so much to see, do and eat in his glorious city that one trip won’t be enough and there really is no bad time to visit, and there is a wide array of villas in Rome to choose from, have a look at a map of Rome to familiarise yourself with the area, and see if you can find somewhere centrally to stay so that you can get to the main tourist sites by foot.
This South West county in England offers up more than 400 miles of coastline – mostly rugged, some almost tropical, but all beautiful and ideal to explore at any time of the year. It is a popular spot during the summer, but can often be crowded and people flock to the beach. An out of season visit would be much more preferable if you want to enjoy the scenery and nature without the hustle and bustle. Get the wellies on, take the dog out (so much of the county caters for your four-legged pup) and get the blood pumping before returning to one of the many seaside spa hotels Cornwall has to offer.
In the likes of Headland Hotel, which sits at the head of surfer’s Fistral Beach, The Carlyon Bay Hotel or Bedruthan Hotel and Spa you’ll find a selection of eateries, fully kitted spas, cosy bars and lounges and perhaps even a cinema to cosy up in on those colder days. And who wouldn’t want to wake up to the sounds of the waves crashing against the shores while being cosy inside. Bliss!
Named the Emerald Isle for its breathtakingly beautiful scenery, this jewel of an island offers culturally thriving cities in contrast to vast landscapes, ancient sites and traditional villages, all with a warm welcome from its residents.
Of course, Dublin is a go to destination, and so it should be, with its riverside location, history of world-renowned authors including Oscar Wilde, museums, singers, shopping and vibrant nightlife. The capital of the Republic of Ireland also houses the 13th century Dublin Castle, St Patricks Cathedral, which dates back to 1191 and Guinness Storehouse.
For something a little different, try Killarney – a town in County Kerry in the southwest of the country. Sitting on the shores of the beautiful Lough Leane, you can explore the Killarney National Park as well as the grand 15th century Ross Castle.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the options available to you then get in touch with an Ireland specialist such as Overland Ireland who can help you plan your trip and can suggest things which you might enjoy during your visit.
With an average of 320 sunny days a year, Crete is not to be considered simply a summer-time destination. The largest of the Greek islands, Crete holds those sandy beaches and buzzing resorts that are pushed in the package holidays but, for those who haven’t visited, there’s a surprisingly large amount of history, culture and terrain to explore once you’re there.
For starters there’s Ideon Cave, which, according to Greek mythology, was the birthplace of Zeus; the Bronze Age Minoan Palace, Knossos, the island’s biggest attraction; and gorgeous Venetian harbours to enjoy some exquisite seafood at. Throw in a trip to the countryside to breathe in the gorgeous scents of the millions of olive trees dotted about, trek along the longest gorge in Europe, the Samaria Gorge or spend hours shopping for treats in Hania. There are large mountain ranges, luxurious lagoons, cosy caves and more – all waiting to be explored. Whether it’s a weekend break or a longer trip, you’re bound to have a great time in Crete.