Now the summer has ended you might be feeling a bit jaded. Perhaps you miss your times on holiday or you weren’t able to get away as planned. Well, worry not because we have excellent suggestions on where to go once the leaves start turning. Travelling off-season can be better not just because of better prices but fewer crowds and events unique to the season.
Greece and its islands can remain relatively warm over Autumn, well into October. If you’re into the historic and archaeological aspects of this ancient country then the off-season is the perfect time to visit.
Whether visiting the Acropolis or the Parthenon in Athens crowds will be minuscule and guided tours far easier to obtain and enjoy. Not to mention that in Athens, as well as the rest of Greece, accommodation and tours will be much cheaper.
Crete is one of the most popular of the Greek islands to visit because of its diverse landscapes, all-year-round terrific food and particularly warmer weather in October.
Hydra is also an island worth visiting in colder months as its architecturally very beautiful. Here you can enjoy autumn time in a taverna, explore monasteries and on sunny days still hike on the island’s expansive trails.
Other Greek destinations to keep in mind:
The longest days in Iceland occur over the summer with high hotel prices and maddening crowds. Autumn into winter is actually one of the best times to visit. Not only can you enjoy better prices and fewer people but the crossover of seasons opens up a lot of activities.
Of course, one of the best experiences is the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. The phenomenon is actually most visible during October as during the summer the Midnight Sun makes seeing it impossible.
There are many options to see the Northern Lights whether by cruise boat, jeeps or a bus tour. The advantage of visiting this time of year is that all options are much cheaper.
And it’s not just at night where some of the best outings take place. There are similar jeeps tours into Highland regions and up to the mountains. There’s a few to choose from including Landmannalaugar, Valley of Thor and the Laugavegur trail.
Other Iceland attractions include:
- Snæfellsjökull National Park
- Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
- Viking World
Spain can be unbearably hot during the summer with temperatures in the mid to high 30’s. Although the more popular cities may be quieter the atmosphere will be calmer and still plenty warm.
With that in mind, many of the most popular cities in Spain can be just as alluring in Autumn months. These include Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and San Sebastian. With their architectural beauty and cultural importance, the dimming lights between September and December make each of them truly astounding.
While Haloween may important in Spain the true celebrations start on November 1st – Dia de Todos los Santos. Across many cities graveyards are decorated in order to celebrate and remember lost loved ones and in some cities, such as Grenada, there are big concerts and festivities.
But if it’s the beaches and sea you’re still craving then perhaps the ideal location is the Canary Islands. In Autumn the sea is still warm with open resorts at a great price. You can expect temperatures to hang around the mid 20’s all up to winter.
Further Spanish destinations include:
- La Rioja
Russia going into winter is truly stunning with autumn stained trees and brisk evening turning to eventual blankets of thick snow. Without bigger crowds in some of the more popular destinations, there’s something very romantic about Russia during the off-season.
Moscow is incredibly beautiful during the winter with yellow and red colours lining the streets filled with uniquely Russian buildings. Seeing the city by river cruise is a good way to see the sights in such a magnificent backdrop. If you bundle up some of the parks such as Sparrow Hills are truly breathtaking in autumn and winter.
St Petersburg gets cold around mid-October but is also quite the experience in winter with thick hats, coats and unmistakable Russian blankets of thick snow. If you are lucky enough to see the change of colours the palaces and parks such as Pavlovsk and Oranienbaum are spectacular.
Other Russian destinations include:
Although typically hot in Italy the ‘shoulder’ and ‘off’ season there can be incredibly appealing. Regardless of the weather, there is always incredible food, history and landscapes for you to enjoy.
In the fall many people travel to Tuscany to see the trees change colours and to welcome in some delicious food. Truffles, mushrooms and chestnuts come into season in October and there are a number of festivals and events in the region.
If you are interested in the countryside then areas along the Via Francigena are filled with ancient hamlets and amazing vistas while the Chianti region is covered in autumn-coloured vineyards. Top cities include Florence, Siena and Pisa, which will have fewer people and great prices.
Of course, other great cities benefit from the off-season. Venice, in particular, should be considered when travelling to Italy over autumn and winter. With such winding small streets and significant landmarks, the lack of people makes the canal-based city even more incredible.
Further Italian destinations include:
Slovenia is becoming more popular with tourists as each year passes and with good reason. Visiting in the autumn and winter can be the best time to visit not just because of the obvious price and smaller crowd benefits, but the old architecture, forests and lakes are stunning during this time.
The historic city of Ljublijana is a must-see with beautiful streets, bridges and quaint little bars and cafes dotted all over. The Old Town, in particular, is picturesque, nestled under the looming castle. For something different stroll around the bizarre Metelkova Mesto, a neighbourhood filled with murals, Gollum figurines and all sorts of strange art.
If you can see Bled, a resort town amidst the Julian Alps, during the Autumn then you should make a special effort. The lake is incredible in its sublimity and you can go up to the Mala Osojnica to see the incredible sight from above.
Maribor is another interesting city that can seem a bit rustic but brims in charm and authenticity. It is next to the Drava River that feeds the vineyards of the surrounding countryside, making delicious wine. If you are there for 11th November you can bring in winter by celebrating St Martin’s Day, a boozy day of fine wine.
Other spots in Slovenia include:
- Velika Planina
- Triglav National Park
We hope you have a wonderful winter escape and make the most of your journey. Of course, if you need a top of the line affordable rental car then look no further than SIXT. Click on the country below to find your SIXT station.