Travel in winter for great deals and avoid the crowds at the same time
The holiday season is upon us and many people are heading off for their annual two weeks’ holiday. Many are also thinking ahead to the autumn and planning a short break away in September or October when the children are back at school but the weather conditions in many European cities can be ideal. Prices are, however now very high for many destinations and availability in most cities is now very limited. Those who can think a little further ahead to the period from November to March will certainly find a very different situation, as long as they avoid the school holiday periods when demand is aways high. I’ll take a look here at two Italian cities where it’s worth looking ahead to the winter months for the best value breaks.
Rome is a popular short break destination at any time of year but is always particularly popular in September/October and also from April to June. However, hotel prices tend to drop dramatically between November and March and some excellent deals can be found. Regular flights to Rome operate from a number of UK regional airports throughout the winter months, including Birmingham and Manchester and prices are still very attractive on many dates.
One big advantage of visiting Rome in the off season is that you will find that the main tourist sights are much quieter. The queues to get into the Vatican Museums will certainly be much shorter and you may even get to see the Sistine Chapel without feeling like a sardine in a can! In the peak season the queues to visit the Colosseum can also stretch for a very long way, but if you choose the right time of year to visit you can benefit from shorter queues and an altogether more pleasurable experience. Likewise, you may well be able to wander around the remarkable Roman ruins of the Forum in peace during the quiet season.
Anyone who has visited Florence at peak season will realise that the compact city centre can become very crowded with tourists of every nationality. Consequently it can prove to be quite a challenge to visit some of Florence’s “must-see” attractions. Queues for entry to the Uffizi Gallery build up from early morning and a visit to the Duomo will inevitably take far longer if you are shuffling along at a snail’s pace following the crowd. At a quieter time of year it is surely easier to appreciate Florence’s majestic buildings. Florence doesn’t enjoy a particularly warm climate but the weather is always likely to be a little milder than in the UK, making it an attractive destination at any time of year. Between November and March some superb value 4* city breaks are available to excellent central hotels such as the Laurus al Duomo and the Berchielli.