What if there were a way for you to guarantee a one on one with your friend ‘Mona’ in Paris? Or an up close and personal with your friend ‘David’ in Florence? An opportunity to stay in some of the best hotels and eat at some of the best restaurants, but all without paying a premium price? I have the solution: Welcome to Lucy Loves Travel’s winter collection.
Travelling better is also about understanding when it is best to travel. If you have the luxury of not being constricted by specific vacation times, perhaps it’s time to indulge in luxury travel at more reasonable prices. Why is it that ‘out of season’ has been so ‘out of favour’? Isn’t it time to think outside the box, or in this case, outside the season? In Victorian times, the winter months were peak season, as the Vitamin-D-deprived English would escape to the south for some winter sun. There they would line the beaches of Nice on the Promenade des Anglais, or wander through Florence with their ‘Baedeker’ in hand.
Europe for and by the locals; authentic Europe. That is what most want to experience. And there is no better way to achieve this than by travelling at a time when the cities are ‘taken back’ by the locals. When cities once more empty out, the cruise ships are back in the Caribbean and you can get a table at the best restaurant in town. Enjoy guided tours whose routes are dictated by more than where the most shade is. Tours where a quick photo of a famous monument is no longer an oxymoron. Fewer people, temperate climates, a slower pace and a general feeling of relaxation; these are but a few of the reasons to travel in what has traditionally been known as the ‘off-season’
There has been a lot of press about the explosion of mass tourism and this is largely to do with people going to see things at exactly the same time of the day as well as in the same weeks and same months. The cruising market has exploded in recent years and cruise ship passengers, for instance, are constrained by the ship’s itinerary, which often sees them in cities early and leaving the city by mid-afternoon. This is because port fees are expensive and cruise ships have to get to their next destination, thereby requiring passengers to be back on board by 5 or 6pm. For precisely this reason, it is often better to visit a city’s most famous monuments in the afternoon, or, even better, to visit when the cruise ships are not in town at all.
Alternatively, perhaps you have only ever seen Europe in the summer and haven’t yet tasted a glass of vin chaud in Paris, mulled wine in London, or a gluhwein in Switzerland? Perhaps it’s time to pick up a few gifts at the German Christmas markets? What about trying Thanksgiving a different way; a true holiday as you won’t be the one doing the cooking.
Either way, I invite you to Europe’s best-kept secret: winter travel. I invite you to travel with fewer other tourists; to travel how you used to travel, when travelling was a treat in every sense. Come on an exclusive tour, focused on quality service without the quantities of people. Come and travel better with Lucy Loves Travel.
(All photos in this article were taken in winter, between November and February)