Travelling in low season is a brilliant way to experience somewhere when it’s a bit quieter. It can be a completely different experience to that of a high season holiday but both are brilliant in their own way, it just depends what you’re looking for.
Low season is generally classed as anything outside July and August, give or take a few weeks either side.
Enjoying a low season holiday is certainly a lot quieter – the campsites aren’t quite as busy, the roads are less hectic and there’s overall, a more laid back feel in the air. Low season is a brilliant time for a city break! I travelled to Lake Garda in October last year and it was a great time of year to explore Verona, Venice and Milan. There was still plenty of life and a great atmosphere, plus lovely weather (most of the time)!
When campsites get quieter though, things change. Opening hours are shortened, activities are fewer, or stop altogether, and there’s fewer people around.
To make the most of your low season holiday here’s our list of essential things to know before you go.
- Take layers – depending on when and where you travel, the weather could be quite cool. I travelled to Berny Rivière in October 2014 and it was beautiful autumnal weather but with a definite chill in the air. I’d recommend taking a thin fleece – it was perfect for going under a jacket on chilly days and at night getting cosy in bed.
- Restaurant & shop hours vary – the opening hours of shops and restaurants on the campsites vary. A lot of sites will reduce their hours and there may be days that the restaurant won’t open at all. While we try and keep on top of this, a lot of campsites will change hours depending on demand. If you’re driving to site, we’d recommend taking some food and drink for your first night so you don’t get caught short.
- Activities onsite may be limited – as the season winds down for some sites, the activities may stop all together and for some they may just provide them at weekends. A lot of the sites that are open later in the year, particularly October, have plenty to see in the surrounding area. Exploring a city such as Paris, Venice or Rome outside of the main tourist season is more enjoyable than in the height of summer with millions of other people!
- Take warm bedding – you can still book linen from Canvas for late season holidays but you may want to take an extra blanket or fleecy pj’s. Pillows and blankets are supplied with all accommodation. In mobiles and lodges there is heating but it may not heat up quite as much you would like, particularly in the bedrooms.
- Opening hours in the local area may be limited – a lot of shops, restaurants and cafes close in the afternoon. This is fairly common in Europe and also happens during high season but during low season if you’re taking a relaxed approach to the holiday, 2:30pm can come around before you’ve realised. When we visited Pierrefonds last year, we made it into a crêperie in the nick of time. Most eating places will close after lunch around 2:30pm and re-open for dinner around 5pm. In some villages on certain days of the week, shops won’t open at all.
Take a look at our campsite finder to find your perfect low season holiday.