Summer is well and truly over, but that hardly means the time for travel has passed. It’s true that summer is the most popular time of year to travel—but that also makes it the most expensive. In fact, many of the cheapest cities in Europe are at their best in the off-season.
Experienced globetrotters prefer to travel September through May, knowing that autumn ushers in an altogether calmer, less frenetic ambience that lasts through late spring. Off-season travel generally translates to more temperate weather, fewer tourists, cheaper flights and accommodations, and a generally more authentic experience.
With that in mind, Hipmunk analyzed a year of bookings to identify cities across the globe where travel savings are at peak percentage-off in October or November. Here are some of the European destinations that made the list.
Compared to the highest summer fares, flights to Brussels are 63 percent cheaper in November—as low as $824, making it the cheapest European city on Hipmunk’s list. If you visit the last week of November, you’ll catch the city’s Winter Wonders festival, a holiday fairyland set up in and around the town center. From November 24 to December 31, you can ride Ferris wheels, skating rinks, giant Christmas trees, light shows, and holiday treats. The brisk weather will only add to the coziness of the season.
A flight to Moscow in November might cost $755—less than half of what it would cost at peak times—putting Russia’s capital city in second place in the ranking of cheapest European cities. If the goal is to outrun winter, Russia is not the place. But if snow and temps in the 20s (that’s Fahrenheit) aren’t instant deal-breakers, a Russian winter is an unforgettable experience. And, as hotels are at their cheapest during winter, a trip to Russia isn’t likely to get more affordable than this.
Fortunately, most of Russia’s magnificent attractions can be enjoyed indoors. St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Moscow Kremlin (the official residence of the Russian president), and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts are just a few of the historic places worth visiting.
Flying into Dublin in October will cost about the same as it would to fly into Moscow—$755, give or take. Not quite a 50 percent reduction of the peak price, Ireland ranks just below Moscow, as the third cheapest city in Europe. October weather in Ireland is ideal for taking in the beauty of the changing seasons, with temperatures ranging from about 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Walk through Glasnevin Cemetery—where famous writers and musicians like John O’Leary and Peadar Kearney are buried. Then, take a tour of the Glasnevin Cemetery Museum—the world’s first cemetery museum. You can even trace your genealogy to find out if you have Irish blood!
October is the season of Samhain (the pagan celebration that evolved into Halloween in many countries). If you visit at the end of October, you can explore the Bram Stoker Festival (the Dracula author was born in a suburb of the city), the spooky Macnas Parade, and see local fireworks (get details from the Dublin City Council).
Hovering just under $1,000, flights to Berlin in November are more than 40 percent cheaper than peak-priced flights to Germany’s capital city. The temperature will likely be between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so a jacket or coat is a wise precaution, but you’ll still be able to enjoy Berlin’s cityscape from an outdoor vantage point—while walking the Berlin Wall, for example.
But if taking in the broad range of the city’s architecture (from the historical to the postmodern) in a temperature-controlled environment sounds more appealing, the seat of German Parliament, the Reichstag, will serve. The roof is constructed entirely of glass, so it allows for an unparalleled, panoramic view of the city. Entry to the roof is free, but advanced registration is required.
Explore more of the cheapest cities in Europe (and the rest of the world) right here.