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Escape to the Mediterranean for warm (and cheap) winter vacations - Page 2

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on October 27, 2005. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Cyprus, destination, Erica Silverstein, Italy, Monaco, seasonality, vacation package.

Unlike some smaller destinations, Cyprus does not shut down for the winter. Low-season activities can include visiting archaeological sites, hiking, cycling, bird watching, attending cooking lessons, relaxing at spas, rock climbing, and wine tasting. Many towns also hold cultural festivals during the winter months.

You can often find discounts of up to 50 percent on hotel stays from November through March, as well as airfare reductions of up to 30 percent. When we did a search on Travelocity, the lowest price for a midweek round-trip flight in early February was $838 on British Airways. In late July, the lowest price on British Airways for a midweek trip was $1,233.

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These three regions are not the only destinations that generate some heat in the winter. Spain, Greece, and the island of Sicily in Italy often have mild temperatures during their off-seasons.

If you do decide to take advantage of low-season discounts, be sure to check in advance about winter closures of any attractions, restaurants, or shops you have your heart set on visiting. Even attractions that don't close completely often have distinct winter and summer hours. You also may want to consider buying travel insurance, especially if you're departing from a colder city where a snow storm or frigid temperatures could cause flight delays or cancellations.

No matter when you visit, museums are just as fascinating on a rainy day and regional cuisine tastes every bit as good when it's cool outside. Most travelers opt for the warmest temperatures on their European vacations, but if you prefer low prices and fewer crowds, it makes sense to consider a winter vacation. Just stick to the warmer spots along the Mediterranean, and you'll hardly notice that it's winter at all.

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