Travelling to a destination in the off-season can help you avoid the crowds and make the most of your trip. Skip the endless queues and head straight to the front of the line with an off-peak trip to one of these destinations:
There is plenty of happening in Barcelona during the spring, which you might not know about. Before the tourists arrive in force and Spanish weather reaches boiling point, the city gets warmed up with festivals, celebrations and events – Easter, known as Semana Santa in Spain, is a week-long affair and the best time to see Catalan traditions in full; the Barcelona Beer Festival runs every April and serves up ice-cold drinks for just €2; Saint George’s Day is just as big (if not bigger) in Spain than in the UK; and the famous three-day music festival Primavera Sound takes place every May.
Just be sure to bring a jumper: while the days are usually sunny and warm, the temperature drops to 10°C or below at night!
Most people prefer to visit Egypt in the spring or autumn to steer clear of the summer heat. However, summer actually offers some of the best snorkelling and diving in Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh, with clear waters, great visibility and an overload of marine life.
Goa’s monsoon season runs from June to September, but don’t let that deter you! Beyond the cooler temperatures and travel deals, Goa also comes to life in the rain – watch the water raging down the impressive Dudhsagar Falls, enjoy the best fishing of the year, and jump into one of the many Monsoon Festivals held in June. Don’t forget your raincoat!
In France, school and work starts again in September, leaving the streets clear and the waiters decidedly less grumpy. The weather is still lovely and sunny, especially down south, in Nice and the Cote d’Azur, and you’ll have plenty of room to spread out on the beach.
Autumn is also a great time to visit the normally packed Italian cities of Rome and Naples – the Mediterranean Sea stays pleasantly warm until the end of October, the queues for attractions such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Roman Forum are halved, and traditional delicacies such as truffles and wild mushrooms are in season.
Again, evenings do get chilly in this part of the world come autumn so pack some layers.
In summer, Venice can be sunny, beautiful, and incredibly crowded. But in the cooler months, the sinking city is no less romantic, and far less busy and bustling. Cuddle up on a gondola ride through the misty canals, grab a seat (and a glass of wine) along St Mark’s Square and enjoy some alone time under the iconic Rialto Bridge.
For something a bit faster paced, head to Portugal for a spot of winter surfing. The Algarve might be famous for its beautiful summer beaches, but the Atlantic swells are biggest and most consistent in winter, particularly down in the surfing hotspot of Faro. The water isn’t even that cold – grab a wetsuit and catch the best waves of your life.
No matter when you schedule in that much needed break, in spring, summer, autumn or winter, you’re sure to find an amazing destination with great value, rich local culture, and endless fun away from the crowds – just stay tuned to the Monarch website for the best destinations and deals year-round.