We all suffer from a little sun deprivation in the winter months. The short, dark days really start to take their toll and we often find that’s when we’re most desperate to jump on a plane for a little sun.
It’s so easy to want to jet off somewhere super warm (preferably in the southern hemisphere) BUT there are so many beautiful locations right on our doorstep. Whilst vitamin D does a huge amount for our mental and physical health, we find an off-peak getaway (to any location) can be amazing for our mind and body too!
Despite wanting to be able to travel non-stop, we both have jobs to hold down and so off-peak weekend breaks have become very appealing to us. It has allowed us to fulfil our travel desires whilst not using up too much of our valuable annual leave.
Here are 10 off-peak travel destinations that we love, and they’re only a short flight away!
1. Lisbon, Portugal
Possibly our favourite city in the whole world… Lisbon is the perfect location for a weekend break and the weather can be very kind (even in the winter months)!
Easily accessible from countries across Europe, there’s plenty to do in this Portuguese city. From admiring the brightly coloured buildings, to a boat trip along the river Tagus – the food, culture and people all make this a desirable place to visit.
2. Edinburgh, Scotland
Now, the UK is not known for its glorious sunshine and dry weather, but it certainly knows how to showcase the British/Scottish culture, beautiful buildings and lush countryside.
You may not get crystal blue skies or scorching temperatures however the sights in Edinburgh definitely make up for this. Spend a few days exploring the city including the incredible Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile and Arthur’s Seat. All of these will show you why Edinburgh is one of the most popular destinations in the UK!
Don’t forget to try some of the infamous Scottish cuisine!
3. Madrid, Spain
Madrid is the perfect destination for those interested in a bit of culture. The city will allow you to experience the Spanish way of life, enjoy delicious food and wines and hopefully experience a little of that mediterranean sun that we all know and love!
We are certainly due another trip to Madrid as we haven’t been since 2015!
4. Peak District, England
If you’re on a tighter budget and want to stay a little closer to home, then definitely look into venturing somewhere in your home country.
We love walking and enjoying the fresh air, so the Peak District is the perfect weekend getaway for us. Surrounded by lush countryside, English history and cosy pubs – what’s not to love!
5. Berlin, Germany
For those wanting the hustle and bustle of a city, whilst immersing yourself in culture and history, then Berlin is the place for you. This city has it all, from the poignant history of the Berlin wall to the amazing architecture of the Reichstag.
The city has tons of bars, restaurants, and even clubs for those night owls – so there is certainly something for everyone.
6. Dublin, Ireland
We LOVE Ireland and can’t wait to explore a little more of the South but for now we’ll stick to shouting about how great Dublin is!
This small capital city carries quite the reputation in terms of history, good beer and live music! We recommend you spend the weekend exploring Trinity College, tasting a pint of delicious Guinness and enjoying some live music in Temple Bar.
If you’re lucky, there might even be a gig or game on at the Aviva Stadium – so be sure to check this out too!
7. Porto, Portugal
Porto is the second place in Portugal we’ve been fortunate enough to visit and it did not disappoint. Despite the not so dry weather that we experienced in November, Porto is full of life! There’s plenty to do and would easily fill a weekend (or more…).
We especially loved enjoying a local glass of wine and some tapas by the riverside!
8. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Beautiful Amsterdam, one of our favourite European destinations! It’s so easily accessible and oh so welcoming. I don’t know anyone who’s been to Amsterdam that hasn’t loved it!
Tuck into some dutch cheese and wine before (or after) a cycle round Vondelpark. Wander through the red light district or take a boat down the canals – there’s so much to do, see and experience in Amsterdam!
9. Kotor, Montenegro
Montenegro was the main stop on our Balkans trip last October, and we are so glad it was! We explored a little of the coast, Kotor bay and the surrounding areas, before heading inland to Lake Skadar.
Whilst this is probably a little much for a weekend break, three or four days in Kotor is sure to leave you wanting more!
Kotor is situated on Kotor Bay, slightly inland from Montenegro’s beautiful coastline. There are plenty of walks, waterside restaurants and swimming spots along the lake. We visited in October and the weather was still lovely – blue skies and highs of 26… the perfect off-peak destination some would say!
10. Albanian Riviera, Albania
Until last year, we’d never even really considered Albania as a travel destination for us. We didn’t know much about the country, including where it even was! But my oh my, this ‘hidden gem’ really surprised us. The stunning coastline of Albania, that sits adjacent to Greece, is simply incredible.
After spending a few days along the Albanian Riviera, we can’t understand why there isn’t more hype about this beautiful country. The crystal clear waters and empty beaches made this place even more magical.
We can’t wait to go back and explore more of the inland areas as I imagine they are equally as incredible!
Have you spent a weekend exploring Europe in the off-peak season?
If so, we’d love to hear where you went and any tips you might have!
Adios for now,
Char & Mar x