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Travel buzz

The ultimate off-season guide to Europe

Aug 02, 2021 by The Go Ahead Tours Team


When is the off-season travel season?

Off-season travel to Europe happens in the late-fall and winter, between October and March, as each country begins to quiet down from its peak tourism months. 

With fewer crowds, better prices, more moderate weather, and more authentic experiences, the off-season may just be the time to travel to Europe. And we haven’t even mentioned all the fabulous seasonal festivals, activities, and eats yet.

Here are the top things to do, eat, and enjoy during the off-season in Europe.

Why off-season travel?

Off-season travel to Europe has perks beyond simply saving money and skipping the crowds. The winter weather brings a whole new perspective to the local spots. From snowy streets in Copenhagen to the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower against the dark night sky, there are special moments that only cold-weather adventurers can find. Read 5 reasons to travel in the off-season.


What to do during off-season travel in Europe

There are so many things to do on your off-peak season visit to Europe—from the traditional tourist activities to the events that only happen once a year. These are the top off-season Europe travel activities.

  • Join the legendary Oktoberfest. Nothing compares to spending the day indulging in Bavarian delicacies and sipping steins of Munich’s notorious beer at the famed Oktoberfest in historic Germany. Don’t forget your Dirndls or Lederhosen!
  • Spend Halloween in Edinburgh. Spend an evening right before Halloween on a ghost tour of Edinburgh’s haunted Underground City. Then, on Halloween, you’ll get to stop by the legendary Samhuinn Fire Festival on the Royal Mile. This festival marks the Celtic New Year and the dramatic transition from summer to winter. You can celebrate with dancers, drummers, acrobats, and other performers on our Haunted Halloween Tour.
  • Experience the magic of Europe’s Christmas markets. Feel like you’re living inside a giant snow globe as you stroll through stalls of handmade crafts to find the best souvenirs from your trips to Germany, Switzerland, England, Austria, Belgium, and more.
  • Ring in the New Year in Rome. See how Italy’s locals welcome a new year with delicious food and colorful fireworks, and join in on the festivities yourself. There’s a reason they call Rome the Eternal City—because it really does come alive at the start of every new year.
  • Celebrate Carnival in Venice. Colorful costumes, elaborate masks, traditional music, and dancing—you’ll find it all in Venice for two weeks in early February. This Italian city bursts with merriment at this over-the-top event every year, and you can join in on our tour of Rome, Florence & Venice!
  • Party for St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. Can you think of a better time to visit Ireland than during St. Patrick’s Day week? Drop in on the Emerald Isle during one of the most festive times of year to explore its vibrant cities and breathtaking countryside. Don some green, grab a pint, and join the locals in Dublin for the city’s legendary St. Patrick’s Day parade.


What to eat and drink in the off-season

If you’re a foodie, the off-season is the best time to visit Europe. You’ll get to taste the classics, as well as delicious treats you won't find during the summer. These are your off-season Europe travel musts. 

  • Truffles in Tuscany. In October and November, Italy’s farms bare some of the most flavorful produce—including the famed truffles. Try truffle pasta dishes, truffle salads, sauces, and more! This season also brings chestnuts, grapes, mushrooms, eggplant, and pumpkin for you to try on tour of Italy
  • Hot glühwein in Vienna. There’s nothing like cozying up to a warm glass of this mulled wine as you stroll holiday markets on tour in Austria
  • Fresh olive oil in Crete. Head to a local olive oil farm on your tour of Greece, where you can dip fresh-baked bread into freshly made olive oil as you overlook the stunning autumn olive groves.
  • Warm appeltaart in Amsterdam. Stop inside a warm bakery on a cool day on tour in Amsterdam for an authentic Dutch apple pie. Believe us, you won’t regret it. 


Off-season Europe travel tips

No off-season guide to Europe would be complete without these final tips! Here’s how you can make the most of it. 

  • Visit the top sites. Places like the Colosseum in Rome or the Acropolis in Athens will always have visitors, but the wait time in the early spring will be much shorter than in the dead of summer. You’ll be able to linger longer, take better photos, and truly enjoy your time!
  • Spend time with the locals. Some of the most memorable travel moments are born from meeting remarkable locals. When there is less hustle and bustle, there is more time to spend making those real connections. And who knows—they may just point you to some memorable spots to visit.
  • Take in nature. Autumn in Eastern Europe is the perfect place for leaf-peepers. And don’t get us started on the kaleidoscope of colors in the rolling green valleys of Greece, Italy, Scotland, and Ireland! The greatest parts of off-peak season visits to Europe are the gorgeous views that come with the changing seasons! 

Have you taken an off-season trip to Europe with us? Share your photos on our Facebook page!

Off-season travelKnow before you go
About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

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