The term ‘snowbird’ usually describes a habitual Globetrotter that flies south to avoid the winter chill. They get to know the local people, pick out their own favourite spots, and look forward to synching with the local rhythms of their chosen sunny escape. For most North Americans, this means Florida, Arizona, or even Mexico.
Europeans however have long flocked to sunny seaside destinations like Spain or Portugal, and like their North American counterparts, often return year after year. Visiting Europe in winter may not sound so enticing compared to the action-packed summer. But a long stay in the cooler months can also be a much more immersive, authentic way to experience the ‘real’ Europe.
Long-stay vacations are an ideal way to snowbird. These are bookings that typically last three weeks or longer, use apartments for accommodations, include airfare, and may include other extras like excursions or local destination representative assistance.
Here are some top reasons to choose a long-stay program in Europe this winter:
1. Smaller crowds
During the winter months, visitors to seaside towns and off-season resorts will enjoy crowd-free retreats. Forget the line-ups at museums, crowded beaches, and the frantic rush of tourists everywhere. Instead, enjoy leisurely strolls at a slower place along popular promenades like the northern coastline of Malta. The village of Bugibba forms part of a cluster of villages together with Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay, sharing a seaside promenade stretching from 3.5 kilometers. Less people also means less traffic, making it far easier to get around. Rent a car and enjoy the freedom to explore the Algarve, Southern Spain, or Malta your way! If renting your own car is not your thing, try a jeep tour in the Algarve with an experienced guide ensuring you don’t miss the local landmarks and wildlife (didn’t think you’d ever be on safari in Europe, did you?).
2. Milder temperatures
Tired of life below freezing? During the cooler seasons, temperatures in Southern Europe rarely dip below double digits Celsius (or 50 degrees Fahrenheit). Active travellers will definitely appreciate the cooler temperatures. For example, golfers or sports enthusiasts might enjoy the cool January sun in Costa del Sol. Walking, hiking, and biking are all popular winter options as well. Most hotels and resorts will have complimentary bike rentals available to guests. Some regions like western Algarve are known to have high winds at times, ideal for surfing, parasailing or kitesurfing.
3. Great value
Travelling in the winter months means lower airfares and hotel rates. Off-season rates are significantly lower than peak season rates in European cities, meaning great value and a wide variety of flight connections. Globetrotters on long-stay programs enjoy particularly good rates, allowing them to visit these culturally diverse regions at a fraction of the usual summer cost.
4. Live like a local
Whether you are a sun lover, sports enthusiast, history buff, or just need a bit of an escape from the long winter, a long-stay program is the perfect getaway to experience local life with all the advantages of still being a tourist.
This post was written by Reesa Avelino, Product Manager, Europe