Cheaper hotels and fewer crowds make fall the best time to visit resorts in France, Italy and Spain.
The South of France, the Amalfi Coast of Italy and Spain’s Costa del Sol are a few of the seaside European destinations known as the summertime haunts of well-heeled travelers. From June through September, prices for a night’s stay in a hotel are sky high, and jockeying for reservations at popular restaurants is something of a full-time sport.
Come October, however, these places are significantly more affordable but equally desirable. And they stay that way through much of November; some are even suited to visiting during winter.
Value, flexibility and a more relaxed time are in store for travelers who visit these upscale destinations in the fall, says Shawna Huffman Owen, an owner of Huffman Travel, a travel consultancy in Chicago.
“Hotels drop prices by as much as 50 percent, and instead of making dinner reservations a month in advance, as you would have to do in July or August, you have the flexibility of deciding in the afternoon where you want to eat that night,” she says.
Worry not, water lovers. Owen says that boating and taking a dip in the ocean are possible through October, when temperatures are still mild and days are sunny. And the slightly cooler climate thereafter is a time to take advantage of other attractions.
In Monaco, for example, culture is in full swing from November through March, says Arnaud Bertrand, who is in charge of business development for the Americas for the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, which has a casino, a 10,000-square-foot spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant, Blue Bay.
Travelers can enjoy the ballet and opera and book the resort’s three-night package, which begins in October with rates starting at 197 euros ($220) a night, compared with 760 euros ($850) for the same room during the peak of summer.
On the Amalfi Coast, Monastero Santa Rosa, an upscale 20-room cliff-top property set in a 17th-century monastery, is making wellness the focus this fall with the three-night Health and Hike package. Included are a guided hike with a picnic lunch, a body wrap treatment at its spa and a cooking lesson with the hotel’s chef, Christoph Bob, on how to prepare health-conscious Italian dishes. The price is 2,300 euros for two.
Meanwhile, on the Tuscan Coast, children get priority at Hotel Il Pellicano with the Kids Time offer — nightly rates start at 409 euros, and a second room is 50 percent off. The deal includes breakfast, free meals for children under 6, half off meals for children between 7 and 12, unlimited minibar and snacks (alcoholic drinks excluded), milk and cookies at bedtime and an in-room family movie.
Finally, in Spain, Finca Cortesin, on the Costa del Sol, has a two-night Hike & Bike package available from Oct. 10 to March 22. It includes accommodations in a suite, breakfast and guided hiking or mountain biking through the mountains of Andalusia; prices from 1,100 euros. The hotel also has gastronomy- and golf-themed packages.