- Off-season travel to popular tourist destinations allows for a more enjoyable experience without crowds, lower costs, and unique activities.
- New Zealand, Ireland, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Bali, Germany, Argentina, Austria, and Fiji are among the best off-season travel destinations.
- Each destination offers specific attractions and activities during their respective off-seasons, from hiking and skiing to exploring historical sites and relaxing on beaches.
Every little corner of the world has its hidden gems, popular destinations, and travel-hacking secrets that allow for great travel experiences. But travel enthusiasts will know that the best way to experience a new country or city is to visit in the off-season.
The most popular tourist destinations in the world experience an extreme peak season (most commonly the summer). But even the most touristy places like Paris or London offer perks in the off-season. The key is discovering which season of the year these destinations see a drop-off in tourists and what they offer to travelers who take advantage of their off-season.
If travelers are looking to avoid crowds, spend less money, and experience some of the coolest places in the world, this list helps narrow down the top ten best places in the world to travel to in the off-season and what to do there.
Doubtful Sound, South Island, New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the world’s best places to travel to in the off season; it’s a remarkable country that every traveler should visit at least once in life. Ever since The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was released in 2001, tourism in New Zealand has skyrocketed and has become every Lord of the Rings fan’s bucket list destination.
Besides famous filming locations, the North and South islands of New Zealand offer many incredible adventures for travelers, including the iconic Fiordland National Park, especially during the off-season and shoulder seasons. New Zealand’s winter runs from June to August which is their typical off-season. The temperatures are cooler and activities are much cheaper this time of year.
Guests can enjoy the Queenstown Winter Festival during the first week of July or take a cruise through Milford Sound for up to 60% off the normal price and ZERO crowds.
- Off-season in New Zealand: June-August and March-May
- Best off-season activities: Punakaiki, bungee jumping in Queenstown, Milford Sound cruise, thermal hot springs near Queenstown
- Key cities to visit: Queenstown, Wellington, Christchurch, Rotorua
Forty Foot in Sandycove, Dublin, Ireland
One of the most underrated off-season destinations to visit is Ireland. Ireland is rich in history, unbelievable landscapes, and friendly culture, but because of the cold weather, most travelers don’t think to visit during winter.
The best part about visiting Ireland during its off-season is experiencing the rolling highlands, stunning Cliffs of Moher, and the world’s best pubs completely crowd-free. Because of the rain and imminent fog, there are plenty of indoor activities in popular cities like Dublin or Galway that are otherwise packed during the summer months.
- Off-season in Ireland: December-February
- Best off-season activities: Hiking in Donegal, Temple Bar in Dublin, Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher
- Key cities to visit: Galway, Cork, Belfast, Dublin
Winter weather in Ireland is unpredictable and can disrupt plans. Visitors should pack accordingly and have backup dates for certain activities.
A view of Santorini in Greece
Greece is not usually the first place that comes to mind when thinking about vacation destinations without crowds. But during the country’s off-season (November-March), hotel and landmark prices drop significantly, and the cooler weather attracts the least amount of crowds.
While visitors may not get to experience boating around the islands or sunbathing on the sandy beaches the way they would in the summer, there are still plenty of amazing attractions and sights to see around Greece in the winter. There’s an endless amount of mountain climbing, hiking, shopping, dining, and archeological landmarks to take advantage of!
- Off-season in Greece: November-March
- Best off-season activities: Hiking Mt Lycabettus, Christmas in Anafiotika, Parthenon, Akrotiri, Acropolis of Athens, skiing in Arachova
- Key islands to visit: Crete, Athens, Santorini, Karpathos, Poros
An evening view of Split, Croatia at night along the Adriatic Sea, Europe
Those who are looking for a romantic winter getaway in Europe won’t have to look any further than Croatia. There is so much to see and do (and eat) in Croatia during the winter months without the long queues!
Dubrovnik is arguably the best place to visit in Croatia during their off-season. Dubrovnik showcases its fascinating history, incredible views of the Adriatic Sea, and delicious wine. Due to the low amount of tourists in the winter, Dubrovnik offers free city walking tours to give travelers a taste of authentic Croatian culture and hospitality.
- Off-season in Croatia: November-April
- Best off-season activities: Dubrovnik walking tour, Plitvice National Park hike, Advent in Zagreb, Dubrovnik wine tasting
- Key cities to visit: Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Plitvice Lakes, Zadar
The ancient Roman ruins of the Roman Forum, Rome, Italy
Off-season in Italy starts around November and this could not be a more perfect time to visit! Italy is a summer hotspot for tourists which can make visiting a little stressful and overwhelming when people are packed in front of the Trevi Fountain or waiting 3 hours in line at the Colosseum.
Cities like Florence and Venice receive little to no tourists during the winter but still offer incredible festivals, winter sports, and of course, remarkable homemade food.
- Off-season in Italy: November-February
- Best off-season activities: Skiing the Italian Alps, Tuscany hot springs, Vatican, Piazza Duomo
- Key cities to visit: Florence, Rome, Sicily, Amalfi Coast, Tuscany
To get the best flight deals and extremely low travel prices, it’s best to visit Italy during Christmas or New Years.
Pura Ulun Danu Brata Pura Bratan Temple in Bali, Indonesia, the temple on the lake in Bali
While Bali is considered a romantic, tropical getaway in the summertime, visiting Bali in its off-season definitely has its perks. For reduced airfare and lower prices on hotels, travelers should visit this beautiful Indonesian island from April-May and September-October. Bali is still lush in greenery and incredible tropical views all year round, but visitors may experience more rain during the off-season than usual.
Travelers can also experience certain parts of the island all to themselves and engage in relaxing activities without constant crowds. Walking along the beaches, temples, and rice fields with unobstructed views is the best way to experience Bali.
- Off-season in Bali: April-May and September-October
- Best off-season activities: Uluwatu Temple, Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Tegalalang Rice Terraces, Tanah Lot Temple
- Key cities to visit: Ubud, Canggu, Kuta, Denpasar
Aerial view of the Bavarian Neuschwanstein Castle against a scenic mountain landscape near Fussen, Bavaria, Germany
Home to some of the world’s most iconic castles, lush forests, and the most famous beer festival in the world, travelers should race to put Germany on their vacation bucket list. Germany’s off-season begins around October and lasts until March and April. But luckily, Germany comes alive during the fall and winter seasons.
Visitors can see the best of Germany from the Romantic Road- the 220-mile route from Würzburg to Füssen in southern Bavaria during the off-season. The Romantic Road showcases beautiful fall foliage, the stunning Bavarian Alps, and iconic castles like Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau with very low crowds. The winter months also bring the famous “Christkindlmarkt” or “Christmas markets” sprinkled throughout Germany, which are free to enter and an absolutely magical experience.
- Off-season in Germany: October-April
- Best off-season activities: Neuschwanstein Castle tour, The Black Forest, Dresden Stollen Festival, Christkindlmarkt, Oktoberfest
- Key cities to visit: Füssen, Munich, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Cologne, Trier, Dresden
Colorful buildings in Caminito, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The summer months, June to September, in North America are the winter months down in Argentina, which is the perfect time to visit. Travelers can enjoy beautiful cities like Buenos Aires or Córdoba and hike trails like El Chaltén without the sweltering summer heat and huge crowds.
Argentina’s winter months are also the perfect opportunity to go skiing at popular ski resorts like San Carlos de Bariloche, Cerro Castor, and even Patagonia at a fraction of the cost! Taking advantage of Argentina in the off-season is 100% worth it.
- Off-season in Argentina: June to August
- Best off-season activities: Backpacking in Patagonia, skiing, Fitz Roy, Iguazu Falls
- Key cities to visit: Buenos Aires, Bariloche, Córdoba, Mar del Plata
Hallstatt, Austria, a small town to visit during winter
The hills are alive with the sound of concerts in Vienna, skiing in the Austrian Alps, and sipping on Aperol Spritzes all throughout the off-season. Those who are looking for a picturesque, wintry getaway don’t have to look further than Austria to find it. Its off-season, November to March, allows for winter sports enthusiasts and concert-goers to enjoy the perfect winter vacation.
Travelers can enjoy skiing the Alps away from the crowds, drinks, and snacks at the après-ski bars, and afternoons spent at the spa. For those who don’t enjoy winter sports can stop by the capital city, Vienna to hear orchestral music and take in the architectural sights of the city.
- Off-season in Austria: November-March
- Best off-season activities: Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Concert, skiing in Ischgl, Vienna Opera Ball
- Key cities to visit: Vienna, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Innsbruck
Castaway Island, Fiji
Another tropical paradise that’s often visited in the summer is the beautiful country of Fiji. With its sunny and warm weather all year round, guests can still enjoy tropical activities during Fiji’s off-season. Plus, it’s much cheaper!
Travelers can explore the incredible coral reefs, walk along the white sandy beaches, interact with the locals, and ultimately experience the holiday of their dreams in Fiji without the large crowds
- Off-season in Fiji: November-April
- Best off-season activities: Snorkeling, Garden of the Sleeping Giant, Sigatoka River Safari
- Key cities to visit: Suva, Lautoka, Nadi