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Matera Italy

How to Travel Europe Off Season

Posted on 26 Apr 2024

Thinking about experiencing new cultures, cuisines, and captivating landscapes? Travelling in Europe during off season ticks every box. For many, the peak summer months don’t align with your timeline, but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy this part of the world at any time of the calendar year. Let us walk you through how to start planning your European trip during the off season with ease, with the help of our previous experiences.

Table of Contents:

Summary of Travelling Europe Out of Peak Season

  • No two European countries are the same, but we wouldn’t want them to be
  • Planning your trip prior to departure may be the most time consuming element, but it’s necessary to form some kind of itinerary to help guide your route
  • To help you plan your travels in Europe, we have five things to arrange:
    • Decide your travel month
    • Think how long you have to travel in Europe
    • Find a broad route you want to follow - do you want to possibly combine two countries in one trip?
    • Book your flights and travel accommodation
    • Discover excursions and attractions you want to book
  • Sticking to this format of planning can not only help for the basis of your time travelling in Europe, but it can get you excited to seek new adventures.

5 Reasons Why You Should Travel Around Europe

Europe is a kaleidoscope of rich cultural heritage. Each is unique in their own way, why would we want them to be the same? The top reasons for travelling Europe off season include:

  • Historical landmarks cemented into place
  • Local delicacies to fill your stomach around each corner
  • Languages singing in sweet melodies
  • Easy public transport options make connecting multiple cities seamless
  • A calendar full of festivals to join in with, even if travelling to Europe in the off season

The question really should be, why haven't you toured Europe yet?

matera italy

5 Tips For Planning Your European Travel Off Season

Like many trips, planning is the most time consuming element. However, not preparing could be the difference between everything going smoothly, and missing out on certain attractions because you didn’t realise it was closed on that day. Having been to Europe many times ourselves, we’ve got a guide to help you decide which destinations to visit depending on which season. With the help of small-group tours, you can take a trip in Europe with an itinerary already planned, but still with the freedom to explore areas at your own pace.

Decide Your Travel Month

Out of peak European travel opens the possibility of your trip to more months in the year. Not only are you not confined to the busiest period most tourists book, you get to see each location through a new lens. Take a tour of Scotland, for example. In the summer you have the luck of longer daylight hours, but touring in the autumn unleashes the beautiful warming colours of the surrounding.

March / April / May - Spring months
June / July / August - Peak European summer months
September / October / November - Autumn months
December / January / February - Winter months

cairngorms, scotland

What is the Duration of Your Trip?

Are you seeking a two-week, all-inclusive package or maybe a short weekend city break? Travel in Europe can satisfy both. Deciding the length of your trip is important early on to help you set expectations of how much you can fit into your allotted time without feeling overwhelmed. All our dedicated European tours are split into:

3-4 Day European Tours
6-Day European Tours
13-Day European Tours

With well-connected countries, you could even think about combining multiple destinations into one trip. So you could tour Spain’s flamboyant cities, then seek out what a trip to Portugal can offer its guests. Just because you’re travelling out of peak season doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the flare and unique activities each country holds.

Set a Broad Route to Follow

For any travel in Europe we’d recommend setting a broad agenda to follow. This can help to ensure you see all the things you want to, while not feeling lost along the way. But don’t feel like you have to plan every minute of your day. We understand plans change, things can be weather dependent, so always have the mindset that your trip is flexible. This mindset is especially important for those solo travelling.

Our top tip would be to outline your non-negotiable landmarks or attractions you want to see while in the country. You can then work backwards to see how they can fit into your set time. For example, do you want to tour Italy and see the lakes, and combine that with a trip to Switzerland and compare? Or maybe food tours are more your thing? Whatever peaks your interest, there’s plenty of experiences waiting to happen.

One thing to remember here is that out of peak seasons may see less transportation offerings or less frequent departures.

Gruyeres Switzerland

Time to Book Flights and Accommodations

Moving your planning to the next stage, you need to consider flights and travel accommodations. While you travel in Europe, the wide variety of accommodations allows for people on all budgets to have a comfortable night. Whether you opt for a 5* luxury hotel, or something a little more cosy, as long as you have somewhere to rest your head after a long day travelling in Europe, you’ll be happy.

As you’re thinking about exploring Europe out of peak season, you may find flights are more reasonably priced, however they may be less frequent. This is a consideration you need to think about when booking your trip.

Book Excursions and Attractions

Booking your attractions or excursions prior to your departure may be beneficial on some occasions to:

  • Know that they’re open
  • Ensure they have space availability
  • Maybe get a discount / better entry price
  • Get you excited about your travels in Europe

While we’d still suggest being flexible while you travel in Europe, there’s no harm booking elements of your trip prior to arriving. Maybe you’ve seen a wine tour in Spain you’ve been wanting to try, or heard about all the UNESCO World Heritage sites you can tour. Your interests are what's made you excited to travel in Europe to start with, so ensure you reap the benefits of being in this part of the world.

Porto Portugal

Out of Peak Europe Travel FAQs

Will Attractions in Europe Be Open Out of Peak Season?

Whether the destination you want to visit in Europe is open may depend on how out of peak season you choose to visit, and what type of attraction it is. If you decide to tour in autumn months, due to cooler weather and less footfall, smaller attractions may be closed until May / June. However, if you take a trip in spring, as the warmer weather begins to rise, attractions may start to open the doors to visitors again before the rush of summer.

What Do I Pack to Travel Europe Out of Peak Season?

Prepare for everything. While the heights of summer can provide scorching temperatures, depending on the time of year, you may need to think about more layers. Comfortable footwear is also a necessity. With the amount of walking you may undertake to reach your chosen must-see destinations, you don’t want to be slowed down with shoes that rub your heels.

Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Europe?

Visiting Europe, you may need a visa depending on what country you’re travelling from. If you’re reaching Europe from the UK or USA, currently you don’t need a visa for any short term stays within the Schengen Area. As a tourist, this means you can stay for 90 days or less in a 180-day period. If in doubt, you can head to the GOV.UK website or travel.state.gov, which will be able to help advise you further.

Travel Europe With Fewer Crowds

Travelling in Europe’s off season still provides a wealth of opportunities for adventure, but our top consideration is safety. Our small-group tours provide a safe way to travel through multiple European destinations, while seeking the lesser-known tales from your guide. For more travel inspiration, be sure to sign up to our newsletter, where you can be one of the first to know about new tour dates and locations on offer.

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