By Jessica Russo
Let's get this straight: there's no bad time to visit Europe. While the term "off-season" carries an unappealing stigma, we urge you to look beyond the words and see the beauty of this quieter, less crowded time. The months of November - April hold some of the most magical moments in Europe. Think: idyllic snowy landscapes, Christmas markets, foliage, and cozy pubs. Here's why we think the "off-season" is an awesome season.
This one speaks for itself. Less crowds means shorter lines, better photos, and more room to just breathe. Imagine trying to take a photo in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa with every other tourist in the world. Now, think about what it might be like in the off-season. Helloooo, Instagram.
Aside from the photos, there's also something so intimate and special about visiting iconic world landmarks without herds of other people asking you to take their pictures. For an extra peaceful experience, always try to arrive at popular sites as early as possible!
Chilly, but cozy
Winter in Europe is an excuse to warm up inside crowded pubs and meet some locals. During the late fall and early spring, however, it might just be warm enough to get away with a light jacket. Let's be real - no one wants to be huffing, puffing, and dripping with sweat as they explore a city. A chilly day is the perfect day to get lost in the streets of European hot-spots. And if it is cold, take breaks from sightseeing in cozy bars and coffee shops, or stroll around fascinating museums!
Less people generally means less expensive (woot woot!). Think about simple supply and demand. In tourist areas, many shops and restaurants jack up their prices during the summer months, when visitors run their businesses amok. During the off-season, however, owners may bring things back to local pricing. In short, you're usually in for better deals.
There's nothing like seeing locals in their natural habitats. After all, who wants to travel all the way to another country just to be surrounded by other tourists? During the off-season, you'll have the special experience of immersing yourself in a culture's day-to-day lifestyle. Shop at local markets, cozy up in family-run restaurants, and people watch at quaint cafes. Hey, you might even get mistaken for a native!
Snow and ski slopes
Sure, bright beaches may be beautiful, but there is something so idyllic about a light blanket of powdery snow in Paris, or a soft landscape of snow-capped mountain in the Alps. Trust us on this one - Europe is just as pretty in the winter.
We're not talkin' about a cheesy "winter wonderland" at your local mall. We're talkin' about charming, old-world Christmas markets in the vibrant squares of Europe's most beautiful cities! With warm, freshly made treats available, you'll have no problem strolling around all night. These European Christmas markets are immersive experiences of music, glistening lights, handmade decorations, and holiday cheer.
Our favorite markets are in:
- Strasbourg, France
- Colmar, France
- Vienna, Austria
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Munich, Germany
- Florence, Italy
- Nuremberg, Germany