Western and Southern Europe are among the world’s most visited regions, attracting hundreds of millions of tourists each year. While they are certainly breathtaking destinations, countries such as France, Italy, and Spain now seem permanently congested from the constant influx of visitors. We’ve all had a friend who has spent an entire day standing in line at the Eiffel Tower or dished out an outlandish amount of money to fly into Brussels. Chances are they traveled during the summer months, Europe’s peak season.
But we’re smart, budget minded trekkers, and we know how to slip in under the radar The rest of the year, especially late autumn and winter, is considered off-season. There is a decline both in international and residential travel throughout the region. So what does all this mean for the savvy traveler? Essentially, it means greater savings and a better experience when touring Europe’s cities and landmarks.
The Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
Vatican City and Italy have a similar pattern of tourism. In peak months, you may have to pick and choose where you’d like to visit and decide which landmarks to cross off of the itinerary. Some travel experts urge summer travelers to get to popular landmarks right when they open so as to beat the lines. If you’d like a more leisurely trip, visiting places such as the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and Vatican City is fairly stress-free in the winter months.
At popular museums like the Uffizi in Florence, there is a limit to the number of people that can be in the building at any given time. During peak season, the Uffizi can reach capacity almost instantly, leaving many tourists waiting outside for several hours. While this may occur at any time of the year, the wait is generally much shorter during off- season, allowing you more time to admire the masterpieces! A must on any tour of Florence, you can easily enjoy it from Rome as well, with a convenient high speed train tour from Rome to Florence. Plus, you get skip-the-line tickets bundled with it!
Sagrada Familia – Barcelona, Spain
If you’re thinking about taking a trip to Spain, visiting during the winter months might just be your ticket to a stress-free vacation. Perfectly situated on the coast, Barcelona offers the most all-inclusive Spain experience with its delectable culinary scene, sunny weather, and enchanting blend of a modern city with a variety of architectural styles, making it a great winter escape as the crowds funnel out for the holidays. As your wandering through its uncrowded avenues, your bound to notice the fascinating architecture styles brought to the city by none other than the Catalan Modernist himself, Gaudi.
To truly experience the spectacle that is Gaudi, you have to visit the La Sagrada Familia, the icon of Barcelona. Receiving over 3 million visitors each year, making the queue extensively long during summer, but in winter you can grab La Sagrada Familia Skip-the-Line Tickets to tour the entire complex, including the Towers, for just under USD 50.
Visiting Western and Southern Europe during the late autumn and winter months is a great way to get the most out of your time abroad. But how affordable is all of this sightseeing?
If you are looking to travel on a budget, a European vacation may be in your winter plans! While Europe is known as a glamorous destination that comes with a hefty price tag, it is significantly less expensive to travel to Europe during the off-peak time of year. You may see hundreds of dollars stripped from flight prices or the introduction of seasonal rates at certain resorts. Immediate price-cuts can be incredibly helpful when planning for a trip; however you may be missing out on even more savings. Keep your eyes peeled for discount codes, packaged deals, or offers for groups of travelers.
In the autumn and winter months the travel and service industry is willing to give you more for less. Take advantage of the affordability, short lines, and seasonal beauty of Europe. Pack your bags and book your flight because you’re about to have an amazing end-of-year getaway!