Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean are among the trendiest hotspots to visit currently, but travelling in the shoulder seasons is one of our top secrets. Here are our recommended destinations and insider tips on why travelling off-peak is the way to go…
Exotic Morocco has enticed travellers for centuries. The bustling medinas of Fez and Marrakesh, the blue-washed buildings of Chefchaouen, the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and camel rides in the Saharan desert are just some of the reasons to visit. If you’re a shopper, go prepared. Buy gorgeous handmade rugs and carpets, ceramics, baskets, lanterns and of course, mint tea and spices to enjoy at home.
Best time to go: The mountain regions are lush and green in the springtime from March to May and the Autumn months of September and October are also particularly pleasant.
Greece is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations – and for good reason. Dazzling turquoise waters, sunny weather, a rich history and ancient ruins, a well-established tourist industry and of course, Greek food. Opa!
Best time to go: Shoulder season, from March to early June, and September to November, are a great time to avoid the summer crowds.
The only city that can boast of being located on two continents – Europe and Asia – Istanbul has been a melting pot of cultures for thousands of years. Enjoy a river cruise on the Bosphorus, visit the fairy-tale ‘Cotton Castles’ of Pamukkale and go hot air ballooning over the surreal landscape of Cappadocia.
Best time to go: Like many of its neighbours, Turkey has hot summers and cold winters. Spring and autumn, April to May, and from September to mid-November respectively, are ideal times to visit.
With cosmopolitan cities, sleepy villages, dramatic Mediterranean coastlines, and great wine and food (hello paella), you’ll fall in love with the Spanish lifestyle.
Best time to go: Spring (March to May) or during Autumn (September to November).
Kraków, Prague and Budapest
This trio of Eastern European cities are probably one of Europe’s greatest treasures. Although the secret is definitely out, they still aren’t as popular as the better known Western European hotspots.
Medieval villages, UNESCO World Heritage old town centres such as Kraków, Renaissance castles and cobbled streets are scenes straight out of a storybook. Even better, they are much more rand-friendly than most of Europe.
Best time to go: Winter is a magical time, especially for South Africans. Brave the cold for the thrill of snow-covered buildings and the famous Christmas markets.
Listed on Condé Nast Traveller’s places to visit in 2018 list, Jordan remains a safe and stable destination to explore this ancient corner of the world. Head to UNESCO World Heritage site Petra to discover the rich history that dates back as far as the 4th century BC. Dramatic mountain ranges, gorges and nearly forgotten temples and tombs hidden in the rocks will bring out your inner Lara Croft.
Best time to go: Shoulder season from September to November and March to June for the best, temperate weather.
A must on any history lover and serious traveller’s bucket list, Egypt is open to welcoming tourists and this year saw a surge in the number of travellers visiting this ancient land.
Best time to go: November to February as it’s not too hot.
From the sunny beaches of the Algarve to the romantic city of Porto, Portugal offers a diverse mix of attractions. Built over seven hills, Lisbon boasts Art Nouveau architecture, rooftop bars, the quaint Alfama quarter and its famous Pasteis de Nata (custard tarts).
Best time to go: Shoulder season, such as May and September, as there are fewer tourists, the sun is shining and the beaches aren’t too busy.
We hope we’ve convinced you that off-peak is a great time to travel. Can’t decide which one to choose? Consider an Insight Vacations guided holiday combining some of these favourites and make the most of your time in these fascinating corners of the globe.
Book your Insight Vacations trip with us and rest assured that your holiday price will remain fixed, despite the fluctuating rand. Insight Vacations guided holidays are priced in South African rand, unlike many others’ which are priced in US dollars, giving you added peace of mind.