- Sometimes the difference between popular destinations in the summer versus the off-season can be stark.
- Iceland sees a huge dip in tourists in the winter months and Bali’s beaches are virtually empty during the off-season.
Tourism levels vary greatly from season to season, and photos show just how big the difference is.
While there are a few cons to travelling during the off-season, the biggest difference is the number of people that you’ll be surrounded by on your trip, which is why some people actually prefer travelling during shoulder or off-season.
Here are some popular destinations that experience wildly different amounts of tourists based on the time of year you visit.
Coney Island in New York City is packed throughout the summer months.
In the winter, it gets hardly any visitors.
Venice, Italy, is a super popular destination in the summer.
Venice, Italy, sees so many tourists annually that they have tried to ban cruise ships and restrict visitor numbers.
The city gets 30 million visitors each year, most of which come between the months of June and August.
In the winter, it almost looks like a different place.
Venice is a magical experience in the cold months, as long as you’re prepared for the weather. While the temperature ranges from the low 30s to the mid-40s, the wind chill coming off the many canals the temperature can feel like it’s in the low 20s.
Visitors should also be aware of Venice’s high-water season, which usually lasts from autumn through early spring. The city has recently been experiencing its most severe flooding in 50 years, with water levels reaching just a little over 4 feet.
Iceland sees a big spike in tourists when the weather is warmer.
But popular areas in Iceland see a huge drop in visitors once winter arrives.
Iceland, aptly named, gets cold. Thanks to its extreme weather conditions it sees fewer tourists in the winter, though many claim that travelling to Iceland in the winter makes for a more unique experience. That is, if you can get on board with the fact that Iceland has very little daylight in the winter, and in December especially. The shortest day in December sees a maximum of five hours of light, total.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.
Not only are July and August the hottest months in the Grand Canyon, they’re also the rainiest and most crowded, seeing more than 1.5 million recreational visitors for July and August 2018.
Once winter hits, however, its crowds largely clear out.
Because the Grand Canyon sees fewer tourists in the winter, oftentimes accommodations and restaurants will be closed down during those off-season months.
The numbers of visitors in the winter months of 2018 dropped to 250,000 and below, from the millions of visitors it reached in the summer.
Moscow, Russia, has high numbers of tourists in the summer months, along with lots of events in big cities.
June and July are the most popular months for tourism in Russia. In the course of a year, Moscow has seen upwards of 17 million tourists, most of which come during the warm season. Numbers only seem to be growing annually.
Anyone who visits Moscow in the colder months needs to come prepared for the weather.
Last December, Moscow only got 6 minutes of sunlight – total.
Alaska is a very popular place to visit when the weather is nice.
But few people dare visit Alaska during the winter.
Once winter hits, much of Alaska goes dark, especially in the Northern areas. For example, the northernmost town of Barrow doesn’t see the sun for 67 days full days during the winter.
Whereas summer visitor counts to Alaska reach the millions, the numbers often drop to less than 300,000 in the winter.
December to April are the most popular months to visit the Dominican Republic.
Tourists often come to the Caribbean to escape winter. The Dominican Republic has over six million visitors every year, and it’s most crowded during holidays like Christmas and New Years.
In the off-season, tourism levels in the Dominican Republic drop.
The Caribbean’s hurricane months, which typically last from June to November, see the fewest tourists.
Santorini, Greece, is packed throughout the summer.
The exorbitant number of tourists in Santorini, Greece, has become a cause of concern for the Greek National Tourism Organisation, which worries that the city is overcrowded. They have already limited the number of cruise ship passengers who are allowed to visit.
The winter months see far fewer people.
Santorini has a much fewer crowds in the winter months, which makes it a great time to see popular tourist attractions in peace. During these months, the temperatures can drop to the high 40s in degrees Fahrenheit.
Most tourists like to visit Bali during the dry season.
Millions of people flock to Bali during the dry season, between May and September, when there are fewer chances for monsoons. In fact, the Badung Regency Tourism Office announced that 2018 exceeded their goals, with a 10.1% increase in the number of tourists passing through the airport. In 2018, 6,511,610 people travelled to Bali.
The wet season will be cheaper and emptier, but also, well, wet.
Visitor levels drop in Bali during the rainy season from November to March. Bali gets into the double digits in terms of rainy days during each of these months, so it’s often advised to visit Bali during the shoulder season, when there’s both less rain and people.
- Read more:
- It’s shoulder season – here’s what that means and why it’s the best time to travel
- The 32 most affordable winter vacation spots in the US
- Disappointing photos show what Venice looks like in real life
- Stunning photos of 27 places around the world that you should visit before they disappear forever
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.