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Winter in Southern Europe: Learn Why Road Scholar Yancey P. Explores in the Off-Season

Dr. Yancey P. is no stranger to Road Scholar’s Winter in Southern Europe learning adventures. Yancey has embarked on over a dozen of these programs scattered across the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and already has plans to go back for more in 2025!

“It’s an additional opportunity to travel while the weather is cooler,” Yancey explained. “I’m fortunate to be able to take programs in October and in the spring, and this allows me to take some in the winter as well!”

Plaza de España in Seville, Spain

The Winter in Southern Europe programs are just what their name implies — these learning adventures average at least a week in length during the winter months in Italy, France, Portugal, Greece and Spain. They offer an incredible value, as traveling to Europe during the off-season typically means lower costs, milder winter weather and fewer crowds at Europe’s iconic sites.

Yancey especially appreciates this value and its benefits. “I can walk three to four miles daily and still appreciate the history and architecture around me. When the temperature creeps into the 80’s, the experience is no longer enjoyable. I also appreciate staying in one hotel for a week. It’s relaxing, and it gives me an opportunity to become more familiar with the area and the people who actually live there.”

Madeira, Portugal

Though she’s embarked on many Winter in Southern Europe adventures, Yancey does have some standout memories. “One of my favorites was the island of Madeira, in Portugal,” she said. “I particularly like the range of climates on one small island. Because it’s a volcanic island, they can grow apples at the top and at sea level they can grow bananas and passionfruit and all kinds of other things. So as you go up the volcano there are different climates, which I find very fascinating.” Yancey also has vivid memories of Cascais, a former fishing village turned royal residence and port in Portugal. “Cascais is one of my favorite places of anywhere I’ve ever been.”

Yancey is also quite familiar with other Road Scholar learning adventures outside of the Winter in Southern Europe collection. “I enjoyed studying art in Spain,” she said. “I really liked the focus, we saw fabulous museums and had great lectures. The experts who presented the lectures were then the people who took us to the museums, so all the connections were very clear.” However, there’s no denying that there’s something about the Winter in Southern Europe programs that keeps her coming back, with her next one planned for Greece.

Athens, Greece

“The fact that we begin and end in Athens was attractive to me because I’m then enrolled in another trip that begins in Athens and ends in Istanbul,” Yancey said, explaining her frequent habit of stringing several learning adventures together back-to-back. “The hardest part about traveling is the transatlantic flights. Because you’re in one location for a week on Winter in Southern Europe programs, they’re very easy to combine and then you get to see so many different things.”

That leaves lots of opportunities for learning, which Yancey is more than ready to continue doing. “Traveling is a high priority for me, and I really enjoy it.”


Learn more about our Winter in Southern Europe collection and find a program that’s right for you!