The prime window to explore the world's most sought-after tourist destinations is undoubtedly during the off-season. Why, you ask? Well, picture this: strolling through iconic cities without the overwhelming crowds, savoring hidden gems without queues, and immersing yourself in local culture without the tourist hustle. It seems unimaginable right? Well, think again!
We asked our expert travel advisors what cities they would advise their clients to visit during the off-season and why? Here is what they said:
1. Florence, Italy
Traveling to Florence in the off-season presents an opportunity to discover the city's timeless beauty and cultural riches with a unique perspective. During these quieter months, you can explore renowned art galleries and museums, like the Uffizi and Accademia, at your own pace without the usual crowds.
The historic streets, adorned with architectural marvels, beckon for leisurely strolls, allowing you to appreciate Florence's rich history and romantic ambiance without the hustle and bustle.
Advice from our advisors on traveling to Florence, Italy, during the off-season:
If you are planning a city-centric itinerary, the best time to visit, in my opinion, is during the off-season. The city and its surrounding areas will still be busy with the everyday hustle and every day, but you won't have the feeling of being around hundreds of other tourists. - GTN Advisor Carol McKee of McKee Travel.
2. Athens, Greece
The cooler temperatures make sightseeing and outdoor activities more comfortable, allowing you to fully appreciate the ancient wonders of Athens, including the Parthenon and the Acropolis. An added bonus to traveling to Greece in the off-season is easily accessible travel to the Greek islands. During this time, you can expect the ports and ferries to be less crowded, with fewer lines and more of a chance at a guaranteed spot.
Advice from our advisors on traveling to Athens, Greece, during the off-season:
I really enjoyed visiting Greece from late October to early November. But once it’s November, it’s better to visit the mainland, such as Athens. Some of the smaller towns on the islands close up shop on November 1 for the winter. - GTN Advisor Caryn Connolly of Balanced Exploration LLC.
3. Valletta, Malta
Malta enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild winters. While it may not be beach weather, the temperatures during the off-season are comfortable for outdoor exploration and sightseeing without the scorching summer heat. The tiny capital city of Valletta is known for its museums, palaces, and grand churches, Exploring these historical sites is more enjoyable without the crowds, allowing you to take your time and
Visiting during the off-season gives you the opportunity to attend the city's Christmas markets, New Year's Eve celebrations, or Carnival festivities, offering a glimpse into local traditions and customs.
Advice from our advisors on traveling to Valletta, Malta, during the off-season:
If your concern is weather-related, I am happy to share that the weather in Malta is beautiful year-round, and the best part is that there is truly something there for everyone! - GTN Advisor Kim Este Campbell of Beste Travel.
4. Rome, Italy
Rome is consistently one of the most visited cities in the world, resulting in long lines and crowded attractions during peak tourist months. In the off-season, you can explore iconic historical sites like the Colosseum, Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel with fewer tourists, allowing for a more immersive and peaceful experience.
Advice from our advisors on visiting Rome, Italy, during the off-season:
Italy in winter is my favorite time to visit, and I have done so several times. No crowds, no heat, lower prices, half-empty visitor museums, and friendlier locals, just to name a few reasons. - GTN Advisor Carol McKee of Mckee Travel.
5. Nassau, The Bahamas
The Bahamas can get crowded during the winter months, particularly around the holiday season. Visiting during the off-season allows you to avoid the crowds and enjoy more private beach time. The off-season coincides with warmer ocean temperatures, making it an ideal time for water activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming. Marine life is active, and you can enjoy clear, turquoise waters without the chill of winter.
Advice from our advisors on visiting Nassau, The Bahamas, during the off-season:
In my opinon, Nassau offers a little something for everyone no matter what time of the year you choose to visit! The only thing I would watch is traveling during hurricane season, other than that, there are plenty of off season times to choose from! - GTN Communications Specialist, Emily Kessler.
6. Siena, Italy
Siena is known for its its historic center, stunning cathedral, and lively piazzas. This city has stunning Gothic architecture, medieval streets, and renowned museums like the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. During the off-season, you can immerse yourself in local events, exhibitions, and performances to gain a deeper understanding of Sienese heritage.
Advice from our advisors on visiting Siena, Italy, during the off-season:
My favorite city in Italy is Siena; visiting during the off-season is especially good for this location because all of the city attractions are still available to sightsee and tour. - GTN Advisor Carol McKee of McKee Travel.
7. The Galapagos Islands
The Galápagos Islands limit the number of visitors allowed at any given time to protect the delicate ecosystem and wildlife. During the off-season, there are even fewer tourists, which means you'll have a more exclusive and less crowded experience, specifically in Santa Cruz, the island's main tourist and port hub.
The Galapagos Islands can be a particularly interesting destination to visit during the off-season due to the nature of the wildlife species that inhabit the islands. During this time, visitors may witness specific behaviors, such as breeding and nesting, that are less common during the peak season. If you are an avid photographer, the softer lighting and reduced glare during the off-season can enhance your photography and provide excellent opportunities to capture the islands' natural beauty and wildlife.
Advice on The Galapagos Islands during the off-season:
I just recently returned from the Galapagos Islands during their "off-season," and I loved how secluded the islands felt during different tours and hikes. I was also able to snorkel & swim in the water and it felt just as warm as Cape Cod in the peak heat of summer! - GTN's Marketing Coordinator, Mac Cochrane
8. Cay Caulker, Belize
While the off-season coincides with the wet season in Belize, Caye Caulker's tropical climate means that even during this time, you can still expect plenty of sunshine and pleasant temperatures. Accommodation and tour availability is generally more flexible during the off-season, allowing you to book last-minute excursions or secure your preferred accommodations without hassle.
The wet season can be an excellent time for wildlife enthusiasts, as many animals are more active during this period. You might spot various bird species, reptiles, and marine life.
Advice from our advisors on visiting Cay Caulker, Belize, during the off-season:
I went to Belize in October when it was “rainy season." We ended up being on tours that were supposed to be group tours, and they were private because no one else was there. Snorkeling the 2nd largest barrier reef with only you, your husband, a guide, and no one else for miles was incredible. Created many magical experiences. It barely rained, and the crowds were nonexistent. - GTN Advisor Sarah Key of The Keys To Travel.
9. Male, The Maldives
While the off-season coincides with the monsoon season, it doesn't mean constant rain. Clients can still enjoy plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures. With fewer tourists around, you can have pristine white-sand beaches and turquoise waters practically to yourself.
Advice from our advisors on visiting The Maldives, during the off-season:
The islands are fantastic year-round, even during the rainy season, and you can get some incredible deals in the off-season. It's the most luxurious and stunning place I have ever been and everyone loves a spectacular overwater villa. - GTN Advisor Jessica Ladipo of Trips To Cherish.