Every time I travel in the off-season, I find myself enjoying a cool and comfy tranquility (and not missing the heat and crowds that so often come with peak season). But even more than that, I enjoy catching Europe by surprise — at its candid best…just embracing life on its terms. When I travel away from the tourist season, Europe seems even more welcoming than normal.
Sure, traveling off-season means you spend less time in lines and you pay less for your flight. But, for me, the smart-season-reason to travel off-season is the chance to experience a more European Europe. In a nearly tourist-free Paris, I linger over my café au lait (with a cute little bird on the wicker chair next to me) and watch as locals parade by. I enjoy a theater and music scene designed for locals rather than tourists. I take my time at a château in the Loire Valley, with a big log on the fire and guards relaxed and happy to chat. I sit alone on a pebbly Riviera beach and step into the wonder of St. Peter's Basilica with none of the jostle. Bundle up and get convivial with Europe in the off-season and you'll understand why, for so many, that's a favorite time to travel.
While most of our travels will always be in the peak time, we're leading more tours in the off-season than ever — itineraries that make the most sense in the months of November through March — and offering them at great prices. And that's what we're highlighting in this month's Tour News. You can browse a slideshow of wonderful opportunities to travel in winter and early spring, take a stroll through Paris' hill-top neighborhood of Montmartre, get advice from other travelers about heading to Europe in the winter, and meet one of our fantastic Spain tour guides. And if you like the idea of experiencing the quieter side of Europe, check out our 2019 and 2020 winter escapes.
Some of my warmest European memories have been gained while wearing a sweater in the off-season. If you're dreaming of a European adventure…you don't need to wait until summer!