Nine Streets, Amsterdam

Why you’ll love visiting Europe in the low season

Want to avoid swarms of tourists on your next trip to Europe? Well, the easiest way to do it is to travel off-peak.

Go when others don’t and you can have a truly authentic experience. Shorter queues, relaxed vibes and great value deals. What’s not to love?

Have a blast in London

In London, fireworks aren’t just reserved for New Year’s Eve. Plan an off-peak trip in November and enjoy a feast for the eyes on Bonfire Night.

The origins of this celebration stretch back to 5 November 1605. This was when Guy Fawkes conspired to blow up the Houses of Parliament. He didn’t succeed but his thwarted Gunpowder Plot lives on in infamy.

London fireworks
London fireworks

On that night every year, Londoners attend huge bonfires to mark the event. Complete with Guy Fawkes effigies, merriment and fireworks, this is a truly British occasion. Wherever you decide to join the fun, you’ll have a blast this Bonfire Night in London. A winter break is also the perfect time to do some of the many quirky activities London has to offer, lots of them are indoors too which is perfect if the weather isn’t playing ball.

Amsterdam, the shoppers’ delight

The perfect mix of old world charm and contemporary cool, Amsterdam is ideal for shopaholics.

Your first stop should be the Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes). This warren of 17th century streets is smack bang in the middle of the canal district.

During the summer, it’s thronged with tourists. Visit Amsterdam in the low season and you get more space to take in the sights. And the shopping.

Nine Streets, Amsterdam
Nine Streets, Amsterdam

There in December? This is a dreamy place to cross gifts off your Christmas list.

Mendo is the ultimate coffee table book shop, with titles on Korea, wallpaper, fermentation and more… Another must-visit for book lovers is Boekie Woekie. Ranging from the sublime to the silly, all of these publications are made by artists.

For fashion lovers, it’s all about vintage in Amsterdam. For wearable pieces full of personality, try Episode. Meanwhile, Laura Dols has Mad Men-esque glamour.

If you’re not quite sure what you want, drop into Hutspot. Minimal clothes, chic jewellery and extremely Instagrammable homewares.

New Year, New Vous?

January. It’s a real love-it-or-hate-it month. Why risk starting 2020 on a negative note? Plan an off-peak gourmet trip to Paris and indulge in the City of Lights.

Imagine everyone else starting spartan diets in the New Year. Then picture yourself tucking into a perfectly flaky croissant in the boulangerie of your dreams. We know where we’d rather be.

With less competition from other tourists, this is also the perfect time for securing a booking in a Michelin-starred restaurant. And if you want to go full Parisian, take a wine appreciation course.

To get in the mood for your trip, check out the Americans In Paris episode of This American Life. Lots of laugh out loud moments and a few (very unusual) tips from David Sedaris. If you are looking for other romantic cities in Europe, we’ve made it easy for you.

Swap sunburn for spectacular vistas

Lots of European cities have very cold winters. Luckily Rome escapes the blizzards and enjoys a fairly mild climate in the low season.

This is in stark contrast to the soaring summer temperatures in the Eternal City. No amount of gelato can cool you down when a heatwave strikes. However, wandering around Rome in February is a breeze.

Rome is one of the best cities on earth to walk around. It’s ancient city centre is a feast for the eyes. Early spring temperatures make this even more appealing.

Janiculum Hill, Rome
Janiculum Hill, Rome

If your trip takes in Valentines Day, there’s plenty of opportunities for romance. A picnic on Janiculum Hill taking in gorgeous city views can win over even the most cynical of people.

On your marks, get set, SPAIN

Looking for a bucket list sporting achievement? Then tick one off while having the getaway of a lifetime. The Barcelona Marathon is on Sunday, 15 March. Make every 26.2 miles of this road race unforgettable as you take in some of the city’s most impressive architecture.

Park Guell in Barcelona,
Park Guell in Barcelona

Maybe running a marathon doesn’t fill you with joy… We don’t blame you! If you’re more of a spectator, then use your off-peak trip to visit landmark soccer stadiums without the crowds. The home turf of FC Barcelona in Camp Nou should be your first port of call.

Festival fever

Just because it’s low season, doesn’t mean things wind down in Ireland. This is the perfect time to get your share of the craic with vibrant festivals. And even though we love it, there’s more to Irish festivities than St Patrick’s Day.

Lifelong stargazer? Mixing astronomy with ancient storytelling, the Mayo Dark Sky Festival in November will leave you spellbound. And if you’re a music lover, you can start 2020 on a musical note with Trad Fest.


Ready for your European adventure this winter? Find great value flight deals.