Five Destinations Perfect for Off-Season Travel

Five Destinations Perfect for Off-Season Travel

are plenty of places that warrant travelling in peak
season; the gingerbread houses of Cologne’s
Christmas Markets
aren’t year-round, the dancing Aurora
Borealis display only takes place over Greenland
between November and January and the great migration across the

Masai Mara
occurs just once a year. Still, off-season travel
shouldn’t be overlooked.

Savvy travellers pay attention: locals are likely to be more
engaging when they’re not battling with an influx of patrons,
hotels and flights are positively purse-friendly (compared to peak
prices, you’re practically saving money) and you won’t have to
worry about being shoulder-to-shoulder shuffling for a space to
scoff your ice-cream on the steps of an Italian seaside town.
Frankly, too many people can spoil experiences. These are the
destinations that are best visited during off-season.



The Portuguese
coastal city
with pretty, distinctive mosaic tiles was one of
the most popular destinations this summer for a weekend fling.
Visitor numbers soared as quickly as the temperatures. But as soon
as the leaves start changing, the crowds start departing and
cobbled streets become pleasantly clear. Visiting in the quieter
months ensures the wait outside Café Santiage for a filthy francesinha is minutes,
while tables at Nabos da Pùcara (order traditional tripas à
moda) are occupied predominantly by a local crowd. Rosa et Al
always has rooms. Aside from the fortified wine that gives Porto
its fame, a flurry of galleries, year-round festivals and art
exhibitions means that even with the occasional rain shower, the
city’s interior is just as pretty. For creative culture, seek out
Serralves Museum for cutting-edge
contemporary art and gallery-cum-fashion-store, The Gallery Wrong Weather, a
contemporary wonderland devoted to the visual arts.



Often hailed as Malta’s best-kept secret, like Chinese whispers
this tiny Maltese
has found its way into the ears of one-too-many
travellers and in the height of the summer can feel a little
claustrophobic. Take advantage of the 300 days of sun and discover
neolithic temples, Calypso’s Cave (legend tells us this is where
Odyssey was seduced by the sea nymph Calypso) and the underwater
tunnels brimming with marine life. In the emptier spring or autumn
months, you’ll have the treasured sights almost all to yourself.
Seek out the craggy coves and virgin beaches, scramble over the
rocks to reach Ghajn Barrani (just beyond the villages of
Marsalforn and Xlendi) or catch local fishermen at Dahlet Oorot, an
intimate beach where a line of Skittles-coloured boats bob up and
down on the gin-clear water. Travellers who have become accustomed
to long table waits in the height of summer smugly snag a table at
Ta’French in the quieter months. Order platefuls of seafood pasta
brimming with lobster bisque and red prawns – the house



The jewel in India’s crown, hopeless romantics will be drawn to
Udaipur’s sparkling Lake Palace – but the real
3. Rajasthan
can be discovered in
where tradition and modernity fuse in an enchanting
combination. Test your taste buds and embark on a street-food tour,
starting off in Jawahar Circle. Enter beneath the ornate carvings
of Patrika Gate to find food vendors jostling for space next to
spice and tech merchants. Seek out a portion of pav bhaji – most
Rajasthani dishes are bread based and this hearty, mashed vegetable
curry is no exception. Wash it down with a makhaniya lassi, a
nutty, buttermilk yoghurt drink that’ll satisfy the sweetest tooth.
Finish off roaming in Rajasthan with an overnight stop in Agra for
a sunrise expedition to the world’s most elaborate declaration of
love. Wander the lush and verdant grounds of the pearly-white Taj
Mahal as the gates first open; you’ll be treated to an exotic
birdsong performance and utter tranquillity before the crowds

New Orleans

United States

Sure, everyone should experience Mardi Gras in the Big Easy, but
if you don’t fancy making hotel reservations a year in advance or
swigging bourbon from tacky necklaces with shot glasses attached to
them, then
is the ideal time to visit.
New Orleans
‘s melting pot of cultures is best explored through
its diverse cuisine. Slurp $1 oysters in the French Market, head to
Neyow’s Creole Café for mac ‘n’ cheese and collard
greens and Avery’s on Tulane for a bowl of po’boys filled
with fried oysters, crayfish and gumbo. Ignore the countless people
that tell you to check out Bourbon Street and follow the local
crowd to Frenchmen Street. Bars blare out live music every night of
the week and the cocktails are made with neat spirits rather than
sugary syrup. Try the Gin Punch at Cane and Table where the crowd
is eclectic and there’s not a bachelorette party in sight. The
morning after the night before should be spent nursing a Bloody
Mary piled high with celery, olives, spicy beans and bacon shavings
at La Petite Grocery.

Cinque Terre


The pressure of “over-tourism
has meant that the hiking trails that snake between the five tiny
fishing villages have placed a limit on the amount of amblers it
welcomes. Italy’s
most sought-after destination
quietens downs during shoulder
season making leisurely strolls (known as “passeggiates”) and
vigorous (plan-free) hikes possible. Refuel in Riomaggiore, where
you’ll find generously laden brochettes of shrimp, calamari and
anchovies on offer by the water. Once you’ve had your share of
seafood, head to La Cantina del Macellaio. The former
butcher centres its menu around meatier fare; order the white
rabbit ragout and pecorino fondue. Wander across to Alberto Gelateria for a honey ice cream topped with
basil and olive oil – it’s some of the best gelato in Italy. Out of
the five villages, Monterosso is the only one with its own stretch
of beach peppered with those iconic striped umbrellas. Visiting in
May coincides with the annual lemon festivals, where roadside lemon
stalls are elaborately decorated and limoncello is passed around

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