Planning a winter getaway? Don’t book anything until you’ve read this guide
Guest blog by Sarah McCann
Travelling to Europe in November is the best of both worlds, not only will you get to see famous destinations without hordes of tourists, you won’t have to endure hot, humid weather. Many destinations in Europe are not yet in the heart of winter come November, so you can still enjoy a spot of sunshine also knowing that costs are cheaper as you’re travelling during low season. Check out MyBaggage.com’s guide to the 15 European destinations that need to be on your to-do list.
Forget the crowds and warm Greek summers, the best time to see Athens is in November. Mild temperatures with highs of up to 18 degrees will make sightseeing pleasant and bearable. There will be no ques to worry about and you’ll be able to spend your time taking in the Acropolis, exploring museums and taking in the sights of the city. Make sure to try some baklava, take in a street art sightseeing tour and explore the many open flea markets in Athens to bag yourself a bargain.
The warm summers in Madrid can make visiting unbearable, so November offers the perfect excuse to enjoy the Spanish Capital. The perfect city for any art buff, spend your time exploring an area dubbed the golden triangle, where some of the most impressive museums are located. When you’re not soaking in a Picasso, tuck into churros and warm hot chocolate for brunch, enjoy tapas and paella for dinner and be sure to hit the thriving nightlife scene.
Naples is often overlooked as an Italian destination; however, it has plenty to offer, even in the month of November. This is low season so you can expect lower prices, fewer crowds and comfortable mild weather, perfect for exploring.
There is so much to see and do in Naples from exploring the archaeological treasure of Pompei or Herculaneum to tucking into a slice of pizza in the city where it was born. There are also plenty of castles, churches, piazzas and ancient catacombs.
Give the summer crowds a miss and explore Lisbon in November. Enjoy roasted chestnuts, visit one of the best food markets in the neighbourhood of Mouraria and treat yourself to a well-deserved coffee and pastry break, enjoying the best Portuguese tarts the country has to offer.
Expect mild weather with highs of 18 degrees, but always prepare for rain or colder days and make sure to wear layers and bring an umbrella.
The Canary Islands
Maybe you’re after some much-needed winter sun? Look no further than the Canary Islands. A favourite amongst holidaymakers for decades, these seven islands each other a unique experience for any tourist. With guaranteed sunshine and highs of 23 degrees, good food, culture and plenty of sights to explore this is a firm favourite for anyone looking for a European break in November. Each island has its own individual draw, we’ve outlined what makes each so special below.
A popular island with tourists, Lanzarote has resorts and self-catering options. A volcanic island that offers great opportunities for anyone wishing to explore volcanoes, relax on its pristine beaches or go on a camel trek in its national park. Expect whitewashed houses, cobbled streets and culture.
Choose Gran Canaria if you want to relax by the beach. This island boasts 60km of beaches, so you’ll have plenty to choose from. Check out the sand dunes, reward yourself with some rest and relaxation at one of the many spas or explore the national park in the west of the island.
Beating Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura has over 150km of beaches. It is a windsurfers paradise and the island also offer many other watersport activities. Beaches are the main draw, so if you want to spend your trip catching some rays and soaking up the winter sun then this is the place for you.
If golf is your thing, then Tenerife is the island for you! Boasting eight golf courses and guaranteed sunshine it makes for the perfect golf destination in November. For nature enthusiasts, you can enjoy whale watching or challenge yourself to a walk in the Tiede national park with Spain’s highest mountain. Accommodation is a mix of resorts and self-catering options.
A smaller island that is less developed tourist wise, La Palma is known for being a national starlight reserve. The island is a stargazer’s paradise, no trip to La Palma would be complete with a tour to the Muchachos Observatories, located 2,420m above sea level, it offers unrivalled views of the night sky. This island also offers black sandy beaches, a quaint capital city and offshore diving. Unlike the main four islands, you are more likely to rent a holiday home or stay in a bed and breakfast, as there are few resorts.
This magical island is a world biosphere reserve. Boasting ancient laurel forests and the pre-Hispanic whistling language of Silbo. La Gomera is an island that just keeps on giving. Like La Palma, there are few resorts, expect to look for a holiday home or smaller run hotels.
The little island of El Hierro is 100% sustainable making it an eco-travellers dream destination. The island offers everyone free wifi so you’ll never be cut off. This is the smallest of the Canary Islands but offers plenty of sun, sea and sand. Explore the rich biosphere at its national parks, have a go at diving and marvel at the underwater marine life and just sit back and relax and let island life take over.
November is the best month to visit Istanbul just before the winter weather arrives. This is the low season and you will enjoy fewer crowds, cheaper prices and pleasant temperatures with highs of 21 degrees and an average temperature of 15. Spend your days wandering through the Grand Bazar, exploring the city’s museums and visiting the famous Hagia Sophia. After all, that walking treat yourself to a traditional Turkish bath and then hit the town and take in the many restaurants and bars that this city has to offer.
Move over Amsterdam, Ljubljana is the quirky capital city in Europe that you need to visit this year. Named Europe’s greenest city, Ljubljana offers canals, coffee shops, castles, winter markets and plenty of culture and history.
If you are into good cuisine, you will be spoilt for choice. Indulge at Restaurant Strelec or Gostilna Na Grudo, located in the castle. Both offer authentic Slovenian cuisine with breathtaking views of the city. If you want to enjoy a glass of red, there is a growing wine culture, with local craft breweries and a brewer’s union. It’s rumoured that the Italians come to Ljubljana for foodie tours, which is a seal of approval.
Visiting in November means the weather will be chilly with an average temperature of 9 degrees. But there truly is nothing more magical than taking in the sight of snowy mountain backdrops whilst exploring the city’s Christmas markets with a hot chocolate in hand. If you fancy a day trip out of the city Lake Bled is the best bet, this exquisite alpine lake is overlooked by an island church complete with castle fit for a fairytale.
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
Visiting the Bay of Kotor during the summer months means hordes of tourists, warm humid weather and high prices. If you really want to discover this fantastic location, check it out during low season in November, not only will you have the luxury of exploring most of the sights yourself you will benefit from cheap costs and perfect weather for exploring with highs of 17 degrees.
Spend your holiday exploring the old town, hiking to the viewpoint above the city or exploring the coast and views of the Adriatic Sea. If you want to take in some history Kotor offers old city barracks and plenty of cobbled passageways to while away time getting lost in. If you fancy getting out of the city there are plenty of attractions close by, such as a stunning Roman Villa from 2AD in Risan, featuring complete mosaics and Our Lady of the Rocks, which is a 15th-century island church located in Perast.