The 11 Best-Ever Off-Season Travel Destinations

The 11 Best-Ever Off-Season Travel Destinations

Travel Lindsay TigarAug 24

Want to see more of the world—and it’s countless wonders and views—but can’t afford it? Good news: you definitely can, if you go on the off-season.

January: Sao Miguel Island, Portugal

Lagoa do Fogo on Sao MIguel islandOneOfTheseDays83/Shutterstock

Even seasoned travelers are surprised to learn about the Azores, a collection of mountainous islands in the Atlantic, a mere two hours away from Lisbon, Portugal. Inma Gregori, travel blogger, suggests making the trek to San Miguel, the largest island, during the winter season, where you might experience more rainfall but less foot traffic. “We traveled there last January and were blown away by its otherworldly landscapes and lack of tourists. A rain jacket is enough to keep you dry and if it gets chilly, you just need to jump into one of the many thermal baths of the island,” she shares. Find out 12 more European islands you never thought to visit—but totally should.

January: Andalusia, Spain

Seville, Spain Old Quarter Skyline.ESB Professional/Shutterstock

While seeing the larger metros of Spain, including Madrid and Barcelona, is definitely a must, there’s a certain charm about visiting the smaller towns and regions that define the culture of the country. Gregorio suggests a road trip during the wintertime through Andalusia in the southern part of the country, where you can venture through Granada, Sevilla, Ronda, Tarifa, and more. “Once the crowds are gone, the prices get back to normal, and the heat ceases, it’s the perfect time to visit the beautiful, lively and full of history Southern part of Spain,” she shares. Find out the 13 underrated European cities worthy of a detour.

January: Tonga

Nuku'alofa, Tonga. Rugged shores of Nuku'alofa, Tonga.emperorcosar/Shutterstock

Made up of more than 170 islands, this Polynesian kingdom in the South Pacific is one of the least discovered areas of the world. Though many of the islands feature sandy beaches and resorts, equally as many are left uninhibited and wild. If you visit during their peak season—July through October—you might have the opportunity to snorkel with humpback whales, but you’ll have to battle the crowds for the GoPro shot. January is a smarter time to visit since you’ll have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world all to yourself, Lauren Juliff, travel writer, says. “I’ve been to 80+ countries, and even in the offseason, Tonga is one of the most spectacular countries I’ve visited,” Juliff said. Plus, prices are lower than in high season, you can book a room at the best accommodations in the country, and you’ll often find yourself on a gorgeous beach without a single person in sight. “The lack of tourists also makes it far easier to meet the locals and learn about what’s like to live on a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean,” she says.

February: Malta

night view of Valletta with the St. Pauls Cathedral and Charmelite Church at the twilightollirg/Shutterstock

Nestled between Sicily, Italy and the North African coast is the small archipelago of Malta. Known for a rich history that’s ripe with historic sites and plenty of breathtaking coasts, it’s smart to visit this region of the globe during the winter, Gregorio says. Though you might experience storms and strong winds, you will also have the place to yourself. “Once the Christmas holidays are over, the main avenues in La Valletta are less crowded, but still really picturesque. You can’t go wrong with this extremely affordable destination out of season,” she shares.

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The 11 Best-Ever Off-Season Travel Destinations

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