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Offseason Perks

Buzz Poole
03/06/2012 - 00:00

Popular destinations gain notoriety for an array of factors: significant historical landmarks, awe-inspiring natural beauty, hot beds of cultural importance. Whether we’re talking cities or isolated regions, these destinations attract more visitors depending on the time of year. The reasons for this are obvious. You can’t ski the Swiss Alps in the summer and you don’t want to swim in the Mediterranean in February. Unless walks in the rain are your thing, you probably want to avoid cities with mildly predictable rainy seasons, like Tokyo in July or August.

But there is a downside to visiting places when they are at their supposed peaks – everyone else is there, too. Lines are longer, reservations to restaurants are harder to get, prices for rooms skyrocket, traffic is a nightmare, the list goes on an on.

These thoughts are bouncing around my mind this week as I’m kicking around Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Have I gone swimming? No. Has the weather been near perfect? Yes? Are there crowds? No.

In the summer would I have been able to stay at the wonderful Hotel Antiche Mura? No. Have I had to wait to eat at amazing restaurants like De Gemma in Amalfi, or Inn Bufalito and the Michelin starred Il Buco in Sorrento? No! In the summer, traveling along the sinewy, stunningly beautiful coastal road that connects these towns can be a traffic-choked crawl. The beaches are crowded to the point of discomfort and if you are lucky enough to find a hotel room it comes at a premium. That said, it is more than understandable why people put up with these inconveniences. Among the crowds, those magical travel-related moments still happen, no matter if you are in Italy in the summer or New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

But there is a lot to be said for exploring places in the offseason, connecting with and appreciating their charms on a more intimate level. The sites and flavors still abound, you just get to experience them at a different pace.

What are your favorite places to visit in the offseason?

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