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Is it possible to escape the crowds within the school holidays?

(23 Posts)
Flimp Mon 12-Feb-18 17:56:30

I'm dying for some sun, but the thought of dealing with packed flights/hotels/pools/beaches/restaurants makes me feel a bit stressed.

Is there a way of gaining some personal space somehow, or do we just have to suck it up until our youngest has left school (in 2028 shock sad ) ??

Please tell me there's some way, some HOW, of doing it?

BrimFire Mon 12-Feb-18 22:25:15

In my experience you just do the opposite of everyone else. So in August do the city breaks - cheap mid week flights and a hotel. Anywhere in Italy is good because the locals decamp for the first 2 weeks of August. Obviously it's boiling ( puts off the young families too) but find somewhere with a pool and you're laughing.
Beach holidays do in October. The Med is still warm ( better than May half term when it's still warming up).
Most families find Easter is the best holiday. Cheaper than summer to go long haul and cheaper to ski and you get 2 weeks.

BrimFire Mon 12-Feb-18 22:46:34

Christmas is way too busy too do anything and May half term clashes with every bank holiday event, air show, sporting event the UK has.

minipie Mon 12-Feb-18 23:01:09

Hire a villa with own pool in the middle of nowhere, if budget allows. Self cater and don't go to the tourist hotspots.

Choose relatively unknown countries (eg Slovenia) rather than Italy, Spain.

Choose harder to get to locations - eg a Greek island that is only accessed by overnight ferry.

Fly mid week.

specialsubject Tue 13-Feb-18 12:59:43

pick a hotel with no pool, just the beach. Many prefer grubby water surrounded by crowded sun loungers.

if the beach is a bit of a walk (say 10 minutes) you'll probably have it to yourself even in August. Even more so if no facilities.

flight is only a few hours.

Brighteyes27 Tue 13-Feb-18 20:55:51

If your stuck with school hols as most of us are the airports will still be fairly busy in summer but you can still self cater in a private villa quiet area or quieter resorts to get away from the masses the atmosphere is often more relaxing laid back and more cosmopolitan if you chose a d I y holiday.
Slovenia sounds like it may work for you. We often go to the Algarve and self cater in quieter areas well away from the masses on the plane many of whom will be hold up in Albuferia. We usually fly at the end of August from Scotland on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday when flights are less busy than Fridays and Saturdays.

EveryDayIsLikeMonday Tue 13-Feb-18 21:20:26

Try small, village resorts in Greece. They'll be busy, but not packed with Brits grin.

Brighteyes27 Wed 14-Feb-18 08:20:27

Yes or maybe Austria Switzerland or Sweden.

BarbaraofSevillle Wed 14-Feb-18 09:17:42

Try to go as late as possible in August. A lot of northern European schools have gone back, and it's a bit less expensive/crowded.

Another suggestion might be Gozo. You can rent a farmhouse and as it's such a tiny island, beach etc is never far away.

Flimp Thu 15-Feb-18 20:32:44

oh wow, thank you for all your suggestions!

We did Barcelona once at half term but were hampered by a knee injury which prevented us walking anywhere. Should definitely try again.

I'll look at all your other suggestions too.

Helipad Fri 16-Feb-18 23:04:15

I agree with Barbara, go as late in August as possible. We went to Umbria in Italy two years ago. We had booked a small cottage which was one of the three cottages in site and had a share of a pool (with amazing views across the valley) and the owners also had alpacas grin.

Our DS were 4 and 7 at the time and we had a great time. So may ancient hilltop towns to explore and we really liked Perugia. Umbria is like Tuscany but half the price and a lot less people. We didn't have to queue anywhere which was just fabulous. Even Assissi was relatively crowd free.

phoenix1973 Fri 16-Feb-18 23:09:13

I'd love to do a villa but its over 1k more than ai plus food and drink.
Budget doesnt allow. However when i work ft I'll get villa even if i pay it all myself.
Hate the crowds at ai hotels but sucking it up for now......there are worse problems to have.

somewhereovertherain Sat 17-Feb-18 07:07:17

Only once made the mistake going to Spain during the holidays but then hire a car and you can still find empty beaches.

For me short haul - France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Italy. The Baltic, Switzerland Plenty of good weather and things to do away from the usual bollocks of a brits abroad holiday.

Out of season then Portugal, the Canaries, Malta, Balerics all come into their own.

Or as I prefer now more long haul options. Had a cracking couple of weeks in Barbados nice and quiet even though one of their busier times of the year.

somewhereovertherain Sat 17-Feb-18 07:09:08

Except for Longhaul I’ve never paid more than a couple of Grand for a family of four (total).

Life will have gone to shit if we ever end up AI

frenchfancy Sat 17-Feb-18 14:54:22

Head to the South Vendee in late August. Rent somewhere with its own pool. The French rarely Holiday in the last week of the school holidays as they are getting ready for "La Rentrée" so you get quietier beaches etc. Traffic round here is minimal but the sun shines smile

crispinquent Sat 17-Feb-18 15:02:03

Great thread!

sportyfool Sat 17-Feb-18 15:11:25

We are going to a private villa .. I don't want to share stuff with strangers on holiday . We are near the town and beach but a traditional Spanish resort rather than overly popular one .

bakingaddict Sat 17-Feb-18 15:11:50

If you can bear the flight S.E. Asia is a good bet. In Malaysia and Singapore main school holidays are December and around Chinese New Year. We went to Langkawi in August a few years ago and the pool was mostly empty except early morning and early evening. Most Asian/Chinese people don't like to get tanned, my MIL starts putting up a parasol even when it's 23C in the UK so you'll have your choice of pool side loungers for most of the day

swimster01 Wed 21-Feb-18 18:11:13

Long haul to avoid the crowds IMO

PenguinsandPandas Wed 21-Feb-18 18:24:51

The emptiest place we have been in summer was Lapland - sunlight almost 24 hours but max of about 20C, beautiful empty beaches, more reindeer on the roads than cars and stayed at a place could see brown bears in the wild called Arola Bears. Flew into Oulu via Helsinki.

Everywhere else we've been has been busy. AI tends to be very busy. Very few flights aren't fully booked.

juneau Wed 21-Feb-18 18:33:00

Yup - all good points above. Think of all the popular summer destinations you can and their corresponding airports and then avoid like the plague! Also discount cities like Amsterdam, Paris, Florence, Rome - which are full of tourists and all the sights are very busy.

Alpine countries are good, northern Europe is pretty good, Scandinavia is good, the less touristy parts of Britain are good (we had a fabulous week in Northumberland last August), and yes small countries like Montenegro, Slovenia are good - no one has heard of them and they're definitely off the beaten track.

rogue8 Sat 24-Feb-18 11:49:15

Europe don’t have May Half term since they all break up in June anyway and it’s definitely hot in Southern Europe. Luxury hotels, resorts and accommodation are more affordable and crowd free compared to July/August.

namechangedtoday15 Sat 24-Feb-18 22:48:18

Agree to going off the beaten track. We had a lovely holiday in Italy in August, but had 2 or 3 stops, mainly in Emilia Romagna region, staying in Airbnbs or agritourismo places. Those are lovely, usually just 2 or 3 family suites with the owners preparing breakfast (and sometimes dinner) but they'll usually recommend restaurants etc that locals would frequent rather than tourists.

This year we're going to Crete but again, slightly off the beaten track, little family run hotel (booked direct with hotel and made sure it wasn't in any of the UK tour operator brochures!).

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