Posted on 09/10/2021

#Culture #Greece

Experience the joy of off-season travel at these 30 tourist destinations

These 30 travel destinations are overcrowded during high season, but if you go at the right time you can still experience them the way that they're meant to be seen.

These 30 tourist destinations attract millions of people per year, and during high seasons they can be an absolute nightmare. But there's a reason these locations get so crowded. Here are the world's most popular tourist spots that actually live up to their hype, and some tips about how to avoid the zillions of people also clambering for a selfie.

Santorini, Greece

The whole country of Greece could make the list thanks to its spectacular beaches, rich history, and its hordes of tourists. Santorini in particular is overrun between the end of July and the end of August with visitors from all over the globe hoping to get a glimpse of the island's sandy shores and unique architecture. If you're hoping to have the view to yourself, the best time to visit is in May, June, or September when the weather is still warm but the holidaymakers have left. - © jenifoto/123RF

Paris, France

With only 51 days of full sun per year, it's no wonder that this city is swamped with tourists during the summer and early fall. But beyond the tourist attractions, the City of Lights is popular for a reason. Its winding, café-lined streets and art galleries make it a paradise for lovers of culture.

It's true that Paris has absolutely no time for tourists, but there are ways to exploit this to your advantage. Visiting in October when the weather hasn't turned too cold and there's still some sunshine ensures you'll beat the heat and the hordes of unwanted guests. Skip the Eiffel Tower and head to Andre Citroen Park in the 15th arrondissement to take a ride in Paris' weather balloon. It's more fun, half the price, and with just as spectacular a view of the city. Stay off the beaten path and exercise your French. No matter your language level, the city will reward you for your efforts. - © nikonaft/123RF

Cinque Terre, Italy

These cliffside villages are a bucket list item for many, and it's easy to see why. Clinging to Italy's craggy coast, Cinque Terre's charming streets are jam-packed in the summer, making it hard to enjoy their wind-swept charm. But the season ends in the first week of September, meaning that if you're looking for unobstructed views with great weather, you don't have to wait very long. The weather is still warm until the end of October, and the tourists aren't as plentiful. - © jakobradlgruber/123RF

Disney World, United States

Disney World in Orlando, Florida is a playground for adults and children alike. It's this universal appeal that draws tourists in droves from around the world. If you're looking to have Space Mountain and the Tower of Terror to yourself, it's best to plan your visit in January or November. The key to a less chaotic visit to Disney is planning your visit far away from major US holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving, and staying away from school break times. - © blanscape/123RF

Bavaria, Germany

The state of Bavaria is a year-round tourist destination, particularly during ski season and Oktoberfest. There's a huge influx of visitors in summer, winter and fall, but Germany's Free State has plenty to offer in spring. After the harsh alpine winter, Bavaria comes alive with wildflowers, making it the most colorful time to visit. While it may not be warm enough to swim in the region's lakes, hiking is arguably at its best this time of year with plenty of flora and fauna waking up after a long winter's nap. - © jakobradlgruber/123RF

Yucatan, Mexico

Cancun, Tulum, and Chichen Itza are just some of the Yucatan's wonders, and unfortunately they all get overrun December through April. October and November are equally great times to visit, with May coming in a close second, ensuring that you'll be able to avoid the crowds and see all that this region has to offer. While you're at it, don't just stick to Playa del Carmen. Take a trip to Mahahual for a more relaxed atmosphere and beaches that are just as pleasant. - © milosk/123RF

Kauai, Hawaii

With the most beaches and the most relaxing scenery of all the Hawaiian islands, Kauai is absolutely full to bursting during the high season. Lucky for you, high season on Kauai actually occurs when the island's weather is at its worst. There's rarely bad weather on Kauai, but from January to May, constant sunshine is less reliable. Most tourists flock to the island when the weather is worse at home, but if you plan your trip accordingly you can see the island at its best, and avoid the massive crowds. Plan a trip sometime between mid-April and mid-June, or between September and mid-December. - © Malgorzata Litkowska/123RF

Cusco, Peru

Tourists often treat Cusco like a waystation on their journey to Machu Picchu, which means that it's usually full of visitors who aren't taking advantage of the city's wonders. This is bad news for them, but good news for you if you're interested in having this UNESCO World Heritage Site to yourself. Get up early and see the sights, and then be prepared to settle in for the evening. It's also a good idea to spend some days in Cusco getting acclimated to the high mountain air before heading on to Machu Picchu. The best times of the year to visit are May, late September and early November to avoid exorbitant hotel prices and big crowds. - © Pablo Borca/123RF

Cappadocia, Turkey

The remote beauty of Cappadocia's fairy chimneys is often spoiled by too many visitors. During the high season in spring, this fantastical region of Turkey is full of tourists, making it difficult to experience the beautiful landscape. Winter may bring snow and ice, but even in February visitors can expect sunny days and a ride on a colorful balloon. And with colder temperatures, expect to see a different side of the region than what people are used to. Prices drop and crowds shrink as the weather turns cold, but Cappadocia stays just as beautiful. - © Tananuphong Kummaru/123RF

Reykjavik, Iceland

For most visitors, the whole point of Iceland is its untouched beauty, so why waste time at the country's most-visited attractions? Summer is the best time to visit, as the sun almost never sets, but this also means it's the most popular. If you're looking to avoid other tourists during your stay, it's best to get as far away from Reykjavik as possible. Eastern Iceland is peppered with dramatic, remote landscapes that are exactly what Iceland is famous for. Skaftafell nature reserve is full of mountains, waterfalls, and glaciers for those looking to get off the beaten track. If you're looking for an alternative to the hectic Blue Lagoon, the Mývatn Nature Baths in the northern part of the country are smaller and provide a better view of the country's rugged terrain. - © javarman/123RF

Chefchaouen, Morocco

During the high season, Morocco's blue city is really, truly blue, and not just in color. Due to Morocco's intense summers, Chefchaouen is packed to the gills with tourists in spring and fall, bringing high prices and crowded attractions. But most of Morocco's sights never really get that cold during winter, so it's the perfect time to visit if you're looking to avoid the crowds. It might not be the sunniest month, but temperatures remain a steady 60° F (16° C) during the day. Not too shabby for a December getaway. - © bizoon/123RF

Lisbon and Porto, Portugal

An early fall visit to Portugal means you can tour this tiny coastal country in peace. The country's beauty, culture and cuisine are undeniable, but swarms of visitors make the trip much less enjoyable. But with most tourists visiting in the summer, September and October are the perfect in-between times to see this wonderful, diverse land. May is also a good time to visit before the summer rush starts. Explore Lisbon's labyrinthine streets and the vineyards of the Douro Valley in perfect temperatures. Save the sweating for the unwise tourists who didn't plan ahead. - © sean pavone/123rf

Barcelona, Spain

The incredible architecture of Spain's quirkiest city brings tourists from around the globe, but like Lisbon, Barcelona swelters in the summer, and with the crush of visitors it can become unbearable. The best time to visit is in October or the early spring, before and after the rush of tourists. Barcelona has also recently started to crack down on over-tourism, meaning that finding accomodation during the high season will soon become even more expensive and difficult to come by. Visiting during the off season while the weather is still mild will be a much more rewarding experience for everyone involved in your trip. - © Anuphan Sukhapinda/123RF

New York City, United States

Any New Yorker will tell you that autumn is the best season in this bustling city. Between September and November, prices, temperatures and humidity levels drop, allowing everyone to feel and look their best. If you want to avoid the swarm, skip Times Square. You aren't missing anything but a lot of giant advertisements, people in robot costumes, and overpriced restaurants. - © Elnur Amikishiyev/123RF

Venice, Italy

The undeniable beauty of Venice is marred by the constant flow of tourists during the spring and summer. But this sinking city is deserted from September to November, giving locals a slight reprieve. The weather is still quite warm in September, but it drops in November. However, the canals are empty, prices are slashed in half, and you'll have the city's best restaurants and sights all to yourself. You'll also get a chance to see how locals live in this enchanting place, and they may be happier to engage since the other tourists have cleared out. - © Sergey Borisov/123RF

Mount Fuji, Japan

The climb to the top of Mount Fuji is one of Japan's most popular tourist attractions, drawing crowds of up to 3.5 million visitors every year. Part of the fun of the hike is interacting with others, meaning that running into fellow hikers can make your trip more enjoyable. But too many people is too many. If you're looking for the right balance of socializing and solitude, try visiting in the first half of July. School holidays won't have started, and your path will be clear. - © shihina/123RF

Taormina, Italy

Known for its gorgeous beaches and as a hotspot for celebrity sightings, this Sicilian town is overrun in the summer. Also Sicilian summers are sweltering with temperatures reaching about 86° F (30° C) during the day. But in September and October, this tiny town gets back to its roots with cooler temperatures and fewer visitors. Planning your trip in early fall will give you both nice weather and a chance to see how real life is lived in this charming city filled with ancient ruins, far from the crowds. - © romasph/123RF

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Once the hidden gem of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik has exploded in the last decade. Between Game of Thrones fans and those looking for some culture, this Croatian city is invaded by tourists every summer. But a visit during the fall or mid-spring will ensure that you get your fill of this red-roofed delight. The weather is still pleasant but the tourists have left, meaning you'll get a taste of the real Croatia, far from the swarm of the summer. - © sorincolac/123RF

Yellowstone National Park, United States

Yellowstone National Park is a bucket list item for Americans and travelers from abroad alike, so it should come as no surprise that Old Faithful is constantly surrounded by a ring of onlookers all clambering for the same photo. As America's oldest national park, Yellowstone has been a family favorite for decades. But between traffic jams and crumbling infrastructure, the peaceful commune with nature can become a nightmare in seconds. Shoulder seasons, between April and May, and between September and November, ensure mild weather conditions and fewer tourists. - © dmark3/123RF

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is home to some of the most densely populated areas on Earth, meaning that if you're looking to visit this city you'll have a hard time avoiding others. Part of its allure is its hustle and bustle, but like in any big city, avoiding peak hours on public transit and eating lunch before and after the rush is the best way to avoid the crush of people sightseeing and getting to and from work. Traveling in September will also help you avoid lots of crowds, just make sure you research public holidays and avoid major festivals. - © Leung Cho Pan/123RF

Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Tourists from the coldest corners of Europe and elsewhere in Spain flock to Palma de Mallorca in July and August to get as much sun as they can before it's gone. But the largest of Spain's Balearic Islands has plenty to offer beyond beaches and nightlife. All of its wonders are best enjoyed during the months of May and September when the weather is still nice but the other tourists have left. - © romasph/123RF

Key West, United States

If you're looking for a view like this, you might have to do some planning. Between December and February, hotel prices in the Florida Keys skyrocket thanks to tourists from colder regions all having the same idea of spending winter in the sun. Also, September to November is hurricane season, meaning the unreliable weather makes it less than ideal. You'll find the best deals during this time, but March through May are the best times to visit. It's a random time to go, too far from any of the major holidays besides Easter, giving tourists the best combination of price and weather. - © fotomak/123RF

Taj Mahal, India

This incredible example of Mughal architecture is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and it fittingly attracts between seven and eight million visitors per year. If you don't want to get caught up in hundreds of thousands of them at once, plan your visit during the off season. The majority of the off season is simply too hot to be recommended, but April and September offer enough of a buffer between seasons to allow for a relatively pleasant visit. You'll be seeing this monumental mausoleum with about 20,000 other tourists, as opposed to 100,000. - © Nstanev/123RF

The Great Wall, China

As one of the only man-made structures that can be (sort of) seen from space, it's no wonder that the Great Wall of China gets slammed with visitors almost every single day of the year. But if you're willing to venture a little farther out, you'll be able to see this incredible feat of human engineering in a bit more peace. The sections in Jinshanling and Huanghuacheng are much quieter, albeit not as well-maintained. Jinshanling is partially restored, but the section of the wall at Huanghuacheng is still in a state of disrepair. Huanghuacheng is also the most challenging hike, but the lake views, impressive mountains, and of course its distinct lack of tourists make it worth a trip. - © drfoto/123RF

Dublin, Ireland

This gorgeous, historic city has a lot to offer tourists, but in recent years it's become absolutely full of visitors in the summer, causing a rise in prices for both food and accomodation. But Dublin is still worth visiting. You're more likely to find affordable accomodation in April, May, early June, and early October. Once there, it's best to skip the most touristy spots like Temple Bar if you're looking to avoid tons of other visitors. Find other local hideaways instead. - © Giancarlo Liguori/123rf

Phuket, Thailand

It's never truly cold in Phuket, but of course everyone wants to see this island during the driest, mildest season possible: between December and March. Thailand's largest island gets absolutely swamped this time of year, with every type of tourist from hard-partying backpackers to families lounging on the beach. To avoid the swarm, you're going to have to make some concessions, but not too many. Thailand is gorgeous no matter the weather, and a visit to Phuket at the end of October and beginning of November, or the end of February and beginning of March will give you enough of a buffer between the region's wettest and hottest months. You may not have as much sun as the high season, but you'll make up for it in rewarding experiences. - © Pipop Boosarakumwadi/123RF

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam's picturesque canals, charming bikes, and oddball architecture make it a favorite for tourists from around the globe. But the quirky capital of the Netherlands has exploded, playing host to 15.8 million tourists in 2017 alone, and visiting during peak season can be an absolute nightmare. The city itself isn't very big compared to other European capitals, and the swell of tourists is easily felt. Strategically planning a trip around the peak season of July and August can make your trip a lot more enjoyable, and the locals might be a bit more receptive to you hanging around their city. Try to go sometime in September, April or May when prices are lower and the city is less crowded. - © Volha Kavalenkava/123RF

Sydney, Australia

Due to its location in the Southern Hemisphere, Sydney's winter falls during Europe and America's summer, making fall and spring the best times to visit this incredibly tourist-friendly city. Sydney is absolutely worth visiting, and the weather is generally pretty temperate year-round. - © Hannah Jessup/123rf

Rome, Italy

While it's understandable that most visitors want to see Rome in its best light, visiting the Eternal City during Holy Week, Christmas, or during the summer can really put a damper on things. Rome is beautiful all year round, but tourists can expect that a visit in September or October will make the trip more enjoyable. Autumn sees the most rainfall out of all of Rome's seasons, but most of it occurs in November, leaving you to enjoy the sights high and dry and in peace. - © masterlu/123RF

Queenstown, New Zealand

This small city on New Zealand's South Island gets absolutely slammed with tourists for most of the year. Between ski season (June to October) and summer (December to March), accomodation is usually full, restaurants require a reservation, and attractions are busy with visitors. But April, May and November are ideal for those looking for a reprieve from the crowds, and the natural beauty of Queenstown is best enjoyed when there are fewer people to share it with. - © Rafael Ben-Ari/123RF