Cold mornings, check. Historic architecture, check. French pastries and Italian pasta, check.
What’s missing? The crowds…
The offseason is the best time to visit Europe and pretend it is your own private playground. Whilst the famous cities of London and Paris never really loose the crowds, here are a few trade-offs I am sure you will fall in love that are (nearly) free from selfie stick attacks and queues long enough to be a flight time during the offseason.
Trade in Anything for Iceland
I am literally off the plane from Iceland and after my little travel rant last week I am excited to say that I did stand in Awe and have my ‘Holy Crap’ moment here!
The northern lights hid the whole time but seeing the country covered in snow, the incredible New Year celebrations, trekking glaciers, hunting waterfalls and snorkelling between two continents are some of the best travel moments you can have.
Trade in Venice for Cinque Terre
It’s no secret, I have a little love affair going on with Venice when the tourists leave, but Cinque Terre might have just taken the crown. The five villages that make up this rugged, colourful and nature filled destination on the Northern coast of Italy were practically empty in winter. An Italy top destination without any crowds? You bet! Read More: Cinque Terre
Trade in London for Edinburgh
A lot of people think the capital city of the UK is where it is at for New Year Eve… Wrong!
The Scottish capital of Edinburgh is pretty magical over the festive season, with its markets and old world charm over Christmas right through to its very unique festival celebration. Hogmanay, the unique New Years celebration stats on the 30th December and runs through to the 1st January. It’s three days of events, Vikings, fireworks and celebration – found out more information here.
(Ok, this one might not escape the crowds but trust me, the Scottish countryside will be tourist free to explore after the festivities!)
Trade in Amsterdam for Ljubljana
If you have a thing for Canals, coffee and quirky capital cities then skip out on Amsterdam this year and head to Ljubljana before everyone else does. Since I visited two years ago Slovenia has garnered a heap of online attention but trust me, Europe’s cutest capital city with its snow-covered mountains nearby is the ideal winter escape.Read More: Ljubljana
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Trade in Prague for Kutna Hora
I love Prague, but head an hour out-of-town and you can find the cobbled streets, grand architecture and the unique ‘Bone Church’ without anyone getting in your way.
Kutna Hora is an easy day trip out of the city, but book in for a few days and soak up the Bohemia beauty in the off-season without the need for a selfie stick battle on Charles Bridge.
Trade in Krakow for Gdansk
I have gotta admit, Krakow didn’t do much for me. It was snowy, charming and a drunk stag man threw up on my shoe… Fun times! Gdansk on the other hand, winner.
This pretty much empty city in Poland brings the treats, from the colourful architecture to the dirt cheap eats. You even have a beach resort (yep, Poland has one!) down the road in Sopot if you fancy some freezing cold sunbathing this winter.
Trade in Dubrovnik for Korcula
Dubrovnik, I wish I could say I had seen you but I mainly saw the back of someone’s head. The famous city is one hell of a tourist magnet but didn’t seem to have the space to fit everyone in. Korcula on the other hand, a bus and ferry ride away is an Island that stole my heart.
The clear waters of the Med, the buildings with their fading stonework, the laid back feel and awesome sunsets completely washed away the constant queues of its famous cousin across the water.
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Trade in Paris for Mont Saint Michel
The city of Romance is never known for being quiet no matter what time of year it is, but this Abbey Island enjoys its most peaceful time to visit during the winter months. The former converted Prison in Normandy receives over three million visitors a year so hitting it up outside of the summer means the small narrow streets and little creperies are much easier explored without having to shove your way to the perfect vantage point.Read More: Northern France
Brittany Ferries are also running a bargain £24pp offer between Northern France and the UK over the coming months.
Trade in Edinburgh for Luxembourg
I swear Luxembourg does not get the attention it deserves. I used to think of it as a sterile, business, financial haven but the ramparts, vistas and a multi-level split of the old town had me heading back for two February visits.
If they ever need a new location for a Harry Potter shoot then this needs to make the cut. It isn’t the cheapest place to visit in Europe for sure, but heading here before summer kicks in should save you a fair bit of dollar.Read More: Luxembourg City
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