The best shoulder season destinations to avoid the crowds

There are so many great reasons to experience certain destinations in the shoulder seasons – that sweet spot between a region’s peak season and off-season. Think fewer crowds and queues for major attractions, better-value flights and other travel, and a more authentic experience of the destination. We’ve put our heads together to share a few of our favourite places that can be just as good or even better outside of high season.

The best shoulder season destinations to avoid the crowds




‘La Serenissima’ is often very crowded in summer, and you’ll appreciate its architectural wonders and other charms much better in spring, autumn, and winter. The milder temperatures make for much more pleasant sightseeing and general ambling (perhaps the greatest joy of visiting Venice), and the occasional mist or fog makes the city even more atmospheric.



This magical Mediterranean island is a joy all year round, but in May and September, you can enjoy the fascinating historical sights, lovely beaches, and fantastic food and drink without the crowds. And even a visit during winter is an option – you’ll have gorgeous cultural sites such as the Mdina and the megalithic temples almost to yourselves.



Even though you have the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland in winter, very cold weather and shorter days mean its off-season lasts right through from September to May, and things get particularly quiet from January to May, so you’ll benefit from more affordable flights, car hire, and accommodation.


The Alps

Blissful walking and hiking trails and scenic railways thread through these peaks in countries, including France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and Slovenia. Mountain landscapes are busiest during mid-June to early September, but the weather can still be perfect for outdoor activities in May and late September, and in late spring you’ll see Alpine wildflowers and trees blooming, while September brings the grape harvest.



Many of Africa’s safari hotspots are worth considering in the low (rainy, lusher) ‘green season’ (broadly April to November, but varying a bit by country), rewarding you with more space and better availability, but still ensuring fantastic game viewing in places such as Botswana and Kenya. In Tanzania, you’re also likely to see more lion cubs and other babies during the off-peak months. 



The off-season months (roughly our summertime) coincide with the rainy season here as in much of the rest of Southeast Asia. But the actual weather can vary drastically, and if you’re ready for some relatively short-lived downpours, you can enjoy many of Thailand’s top attractions and beaches in peace. You’ll also enjoy some incredible savings on villas and other accommodation as well.


USA and Canada

November to April in North America is typically chilly and wet, but you can still enjoy all the major cultural venues and attractions in iconic cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Vancouver, and Toronto. And in the depths of winter, many of these destinations are snow-clad and even more enchanting than usual.



Heading ‘down under’ during the off-season (June to August) can reap rewards in terms of serious savings on flights, accommodation, and activities. The weather is still warm and sunny during these months in many places, including Far North Queensland, tropical home to the Great Barrier Reef and the ancient Daintree Forest with its crocodiles and cassowaries.

To book your low- or off-season holiday, call your Travel Counsellor today.

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