The shoulder season is the transitory period between peak and off-season. You may also recognize this period as “autumn.” And there are many cool locations you can visit in the shoulder seasons! The big summer crowds have moved away, leaving more space for you. So here are Skycop’s recommended autumn holiday locations in Europe!
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago close to Africa and it never really gets cold. It doesn’t really have beaches, so it has to rely on other, less seasonal attractions. At this point, Madeira is one of those shoulder season vacation spots you visit for the physical activities – kayaking, mounting biking, riding downhill in a traditional wicker toboggan. If you want something less hair-raising, try going for a walk in the capital of Funchal and marvel at the painted doors, or visit the Laurissilva Forest (listed by UNESCO) and spot some birds.
Students of all kinds often crowd Iceland, so when school starts in autumn, the prices at the hotels are nearly halved. Start in Reykjavik and expand from there. Pack some warmer clothes and explore the natural environments that are straight out of a sci-fi epic. See if the thermal baths are less crowded. Hunt for Northern Lights. Watch the people herd sheep back home. East some Þorramatur and wash it down with some potato schnapps like a true Viking.
Of the Balearic islands, Menorca isn’t the prime passing-out-drunk-on-the-beach location (like Mallorca), the most popular spot with people who love partying too much (like Ibiza) or unknown to anyone (like Formentera). The shoulder season is a good time to visit it. Most of the tourists are gone, the weather is mild (between 21 and 27 degrees Celsius these days). Visit the Moorish architecture in the capital of Ciutadella, try your luck in the beaches (all of them are hidden in coves) or try out the local cuisine.
The great thing about going to Florence in October (or later) is that it’s relatively free from tourists! They will return for Christmas, sure, but for now, you’re in for a treat. You can enjoy the art in the Uffizi without rubbing elbows with a dozen others and explore Palazzo Pitti in relative peace. You will probably appreciate the other attractions as well, like restaurants and festivals.
Shoulder season is a great time to visit Vienna, as the deluge of tourists starts receding. But if you want something less mainstream, you can head to the Wachau valley. It’s famous with wine lowers around the world, who visit it to test its produce. You can also check out the famous local monasteries, castles and ruins. There’s a reason why the location is a UNESCO site! There’s even the spot where they held Richard the Lionheart!
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople (at least, it has been that way since the renaming in 1930), and it’s entering both the shoulder season and a temperate season. Me, I’d make a beeline to Hagia Sophia to visit Gli, the world-famous Hagia Sophia cat. You may instead see the other landmarks, like the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Market and the Blue Mosque. They may not have their own celebrity cats, but people of Istanbul are crazy about felines, so you’re bound to pet a few along the way. Oh, and I guess you could try the outside dining experiences, enjoy the novelty of crossing the Bosphorus or go on tour to some Black Sea village.
Why not visit Edinburgh when the colder weather sweeps away the tourist crowds? Edinburgh Castle is no less impressive! The Edinburgh Zoo is supposedly the most visited paid attraction in the city, so this one will definitely benefit from this being the shoulder season. And if you want to get out of town, hike to Arthur’s Seat – an extinct volcano in the Holyrood Park that has inspired poets! You can also take the Harry Potter tour through the city or ride the Jacobite train that inspired J. K. Rowling (not a poet).
So you see, shoulder season is no reason to seek a shoulder to cry on! Try out one of these autumnal locations. And if the airline snubs you, don’t be afraid. Claim delayed, canceled or overbooked flight compensation with Skycop! The compensations go up to €600, which you’ll really appreciate once Christmas-New Year’s season rolls in.