Where to Go

5 European Destinations For Off-Season Travel

Enjoy the best of autumn while abroad

The Vacationeer
Autumn in Paris, France includes fall foliage along the Seine River and the Eiffel Tower

Autumn is a perfect time to take the European vacation of your dreams. Many popular destinations are quieter and cooler from September to November than during the peak summer season. Enjoy the seasonal sights, sounds and tastes without the hustle and bustle of other tourists. Here are five off-season travel destinations in Europe to make the most of your fall break.


Fall foliage hiking trail in Ireland 

Consider an open-air fall getaway in Ireland. Rolling green countryside transforms into autumnal colors, and the temperature rarely drops below freezing. Fall on the Emerald Isle is perfect for outdoor adventures, from surfing to local walking festivals, such as the Ballyhoura Walking Festival. Or visit the Killarney National Park for some classic leaf-peeping, and keep your eyes peeled for native Irish red deer along the way. After a day outdoors, cozy up at a traditional Irish pub and warm up with a pint of Guinness.

Stay: Make Conrad Dublin your home base while traveling Ireland during the off-season.

Venice, Italy

A sunny evening view of the Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, Italy 

Enjoy the timeless charm of Venice, Italy, without competing with crowds of tourists by visiting the Floating City in the fall. Attractions like Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Square empty after August. However, festival season starts around this time, so be sure to join the festivities at events by sampling wine at Festa del Mosto or watching the gondola races of Regata Storica. Plus, savor local autumnal flavors, such as pumpkin, crabs and mulled red wine.

Stay: Book a room at Hilton Molina Stucky Venice for unparalleled views and easy access to St. Mark’s Square. 

Lisbon, Portugal

Umbrellas for beachgoers at Carcavelos Beach near Lisbon, Portugal, with a view of the ocean 

Experience a European summer without the heat waves by visiting Portugal in the fall. Portugal tends to stay warm during the day and cool off in the evening. Relax at the beach or carve some waves at Carcavelos Beach near Lisbon; autumn is the best time for big waves in warm waters. Wine grapes ripen in September and October, so check out local wineries for tastings. The weather and fall colors also make exploring popular attractions even more picturesque. Check out St. George Castle for stunning city views, especially when decked out in fall colors.

Stay: Check out The Emerald House Lisbon, Curio Collection by Hilton, and stay just steps from Lisbon’s art and history.

Paris, France

View of Eiffel Tower in autumn in Paris, France 

Experience the magic of Paris year-round. As Parisians and tourists return to school and work, off-season travelers can enjoy golden leaves and crisp evenings in the City of Lights. Leaves begin changing color toward the end of September, so bring a camera to parks — such as Jardin des Tuileries — or wander down the banks of the Seine River for picture-perfect shots of fall foliage. Explore the Catacombs under the city for a spookier walk and learn about this underground ossuary. Paris in the fall also means festivals, including the Autumn Festival for art-lovers and the Montmarte Grape Harvest Festival for oenophiles.

Stay: For an enviable rooftop view of the Eiffel Tower, check out Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero.

Stockholm, Sweden

Verdant green northern lights (or aurora borealis) over Abisko, Sweden 

See Stockholm, Sweden, like a local in the autumn, once the summer crowds have dispersed. Crunch through fall leaves at Kungliga Djurgården for beautiful walking trails, greenhouses and the Vasa Museum. Afterward, experience fika, the Swedish, cozier version of a coffee break, at a bakery like Fabrique Stenugnsbageri. Sports fans can attend the annual Stockholm Open and watch tennis champs compete in October. For a truly unforgettable experience, plan an excursion to the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko and see the Northern Lights dance across the sky almost every evening from October to March.

Stay: Leave your bags at Hilton Stockholm Slussen before stretching your legs and exploring Stockholm’s Old Town.

Read “The Ultimate Urban Travel Bucket List” for more unforgettable international destinations.

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The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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