For most people, autumn signifies the return to their usual routine after the summer vacation: work, college, housework drudgery. Without doubt, seldom do people think of traveling during the fall.
Still, autumn is a great period for travelling, particularly for last minute city breaks all around Europe: great climate conditions, away from crowds of tourists, and, maybe the most important factor, traveling out of season, which means you can sea and visit great sights and places on a budget.
Need some suggestions; Here are 10 cities to visit this autumn, without having to spend a small fortune.
This famous Croatian port, situated on the southern Adriatic coast, is usually considered the most picturesque city on the Dalmatian coast, often described as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.”
Dubrovnik’s imposing fortifications, rising directly from the water’s edge, and its massive medieval round tower dominating the city are even more impressive when dress with autumn colors. Temperatures are relatively high, and the only thing you will probably need is a jacket, while walking the city’s famous walls, narrow lanes and alleys. The city is indeed a historic treasure, especially the Old Town with its baroque churches and aristocratic palaces.
Last but not least, Dubrovnik is a rather economical destination. In fact, accommodation and food are even cheaper during the fall.
The word instantly brings mental pictures of cloudy weather, so if you plan on visiting this great metropolis, you should probably try it before the arrival of the fierce Russian winter. Furthermore, Moscow has changed from the melancholic heart of the Soviet Union to a vibrant destination, full of charming fall shaded parks, imposing sights, plenty of drinking and party animals.
The Kremlin and Red Square are simply stunning, especially in September, when the Fireworks Festival takes place. During the famous Moscow Day, the city blazes, full of fireworks, while the neighborhoods and squares come alive with numerous free concerts and shows.
Finally, in Moscow you can almost fulfil all your wishes and desires without worrying about draining your pockets. It is one of the most economical destinations in Europe, the whole year round.
Budapest, one of Europe’s most bewitching destinations, stretches along the banks of Danube, which, along with the Buda Castle, are designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites. As fall hues Budapest’s wonderful monuments and architectural treasures, nighttime cruises are indeed a one in a lifetime experience.
In addition, since Budapest is best explored on foot, the mild fall makes it ideal to wander around the streets and squares and then find refuge in a cozy café or in one of the city’s famous restaurants when temperatures finally become too low for you. Budapest’s numerous sights, museums and galleries will not fail your expectations.
As for your budget, Budapest’s most expensive season starts on early December, so if you can plan your visit during the fall, you will surely find some excellent bargains, both for your transportation and accommodation.
In the fall many restaurants offer goose and foie gras on their menus, especially in November, when Hungarians celebrate a local feast by eating goose dishes and drinking the season’s first wine.
Prague, Czech Republic
Visiting Prague during the autumn is an excellent option, and not just because hotel prices and flights are much cheaper. Covered in an enchanting, romantic auburn hue, Prague’s stunning buildings and imposing monuments are even more captivating – especially during the sunset and the night hours – and much less crowded.
Prague’s mild autumn weather is ideal for discovering the city’s hidden treasures, exploring Mala Strana, walking across the Charles Bridge and strolling through Kampa Island. The romantic canals, excellent cuisine and wines and its numerous complete the picture.
If you have already made up your mind, then plan your visit during one of Prague’s famous Wine Festivals, where you can enjoy excellent wine tastes, listen to some medieval music and snap some of the best selfies of your life.
Named Europe’s top city break destination for the year 2013, Lisbon offers its fortunate visitors great attractions and majestic views of the Rio Tajio and the Atlantic Ocean, wrapped up in excellent prices.
Contrary to the above mentioned cities, Lisbon still attracts lots of visitors during the autumn, mainly because temperatures remain in the twenties well into October.
In fact, most locals will tell you that the best time to visit Lisbon is from September to October, because the weather is quite warm (usually you can still go the beach), hotel prices are low and, while there are visitors, the city is less crowded than during the summer, offering you the opportunity to discover more about the city’s genuine character.
If you love ancient culture, art and history then Athens is an excellent option for this autumn. “But”, you may wonder, “visit Greece during the fall? What for?” First of all, unless you seek seclusion and loneliness, Greek islands and countryside are indeed not a good option during the fall. Athens, on the other hand, is.
There is so much to see and do there – awe inspiring monuments, museums, art galleries, theatres, ancient temples and, of course, excellent local cuisine and cosmopolitan nightlife. While finding accommodation in Greece during the summer can prove a living nightmare (for both your patience and your wallet), autumn offers visitors excellent hotel rates and multiple accommodation options, even you haven’t booked anything in advance.
Furthermore, temperatures seldom drop below 20 degrees C, thus allowing visitors to explore most of the city’s centre by foot, with nothing more than a small jacket. Flying with EasyJet or Ryanair will only cost you £40-£60 (unless you want a large luggage that is charged extra)
Vienna, the gemstone of central Europe, with its exceptional architecture, serene parks and lavish works of art is fantastic destination for your upcoming autumn city break. Most traveling agencies will tell you that September, October and early November are excellent months for visiting the city.
The weather is refreshingly mild, while hotels prices are often even 30% lower than during December or August. Imagine yourself visiting Vienna’s great royal residences, like the Schönbrunn Palace and the Hofburg Palace, surrounded by auburn hues, and strolling its picturesque streets and squares before hiding in a nice warm café or restaurant.
Furthermore, Vienna is a chocolate paradise – and chocolate is much more pleasing when the weather is chillier, especially the famous dark chocolate dessert “Sacher-Torte”.
Autumn is actually the best period for a quick and economical visit to the eternal city. Fall is the least popular period to visit Rome, basically because of the frequent rains and the relatively low temperatures. If that doesn’t bother you, then during the fall you will find the best possible hotel prices, in a city where rates are rather high the rest of the year. Hence, if budget have kept you away from this wonderful city, autumn allows you to overcome this obstacle.
Rome’s charms, interwoven with its prolific history and air of superiority, being for centuries a place of world dominance, lore of learning, and a metropolis of the arts, lose nothing of their beauty during the fall.
Being Poland’s beating heart, Krakow is crowded by millions of visitors every year, not only because of its rich culture and numerous attractions, but also because of its rather economical accommodation rates during most of the year, especially in autumn.
Flight tickets are much cheaper too before Christmas. In addition, Krakow is an ideal choice for a short city break, because you can easily explore it within 2 – 3 days. Autumn is an excellent time to visit the city, as golden hues of falling leaves enrich city’s inherent beauty.
Moreover, Polish food is even greater during the fall and low temperatures are bearable until early November, but don’t forget to bring with you jackets and sweaters for your late night strolls.
High season in Latvia ends at September and starts again with the New Year festivities. As fall begins, prices go down, and cultural events heat up. Autumn in Riga lasts longer than usual and is rather beautiful. Riga’s Gothic churches, medieval buildings and exquisite Art Nouveau seem even prettier during autumn.
During September and October warm sunny days and cool nights offer visitors the chance to enjoy the city’s attractions without fear of catching a cold, while visitors can also get warmed up in various countryside saunas. Autumn is also a time of harvest in the general region, and organic markets flood the city with a wide variety of fresh, local foods in restaurants. Sigulda, around 50 kilometres away from Riga, is a great destination in autumn, as the famous Gauja river valley is stunningly attired in its autumn colours.
Don’t worry about the transportation: car hires are extremely low up until late November.
Bruges often gives the impression of a city that has never really escaped its medieval past. And this strange characteristic is even more captivating when fall’s red and golden hues cover its stone bridges, pebble streets and serene river waters.
Bruges’s picturesque canals are actually part of a network that links the city all the way to the North Sea. If it is romance you seek in your autumn venture, then the “green canal” the “Groenerei” is by far the most romantic, lined with trees with golden leafs and stone walls conquered by creepers.
Do not forget to visit Bruges’ curbstone markets that still operate during the autumn and drink as much chocolate as you can in some the local coffee shops.
An archipelago and an autonomous region of Portugal, the Azores is a chain of small volcanic islands lying in the North Atlantic Ocean around 1,600 km west of mainland Portugal and are divided into three widely separated island groups.
The Azores are a mysterious blend of majestic vies, modern infrastructure and unusual attractions. With even less tourists during autumn, you will enjoy the opportunity to spend your day – or, even better, your night – soaking in natural warm pools, which are actually volcanic craters, and then, feeling more relaxed than you ever dreamed of, end up having a nice local meal and sipping wine in a cozy little restaurant. If you wonder about prices, then you shouldn’t – especially during the fall!
Hidden within an alpine valley along the homonymous river, Ljubljana is a truly wonderful city, especially during autumn, when the alpine slopes and valley resemble Van Gogh’s palette. Romantic, ideal for ramblers and surprisingly affordable, especially during the fall, Ljubljana is an excellent option.
Dominated by its imposing medieval fortress, dating from the 12th century, the old quarter of the city lies between the fortress and the river and it is ideal for couples that love romantic views over stone bridges, such as the Tromostovje (Triple Bridge), cobblestone streets, art galleries and museums.
Ljubljana’s countryside is equally fascinating, with lots of things to see and do, especially for photo addicts and hikers.
An Autumn City Break is Always a Good Idea
Someone said that “winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” This is a truly wonderful description – and a very accurate too. Hence, while autumn logically brings out thoughts of gloomy offices and piles of papers waiting on your office to torture you, there are ways to make this autumn more enjoyable than before.
A last minute city break during the fall is such a great idea, even if your budget is kind of… limited. The key lies in finding the right destination and planning your trip well. Those of you who have already tried it, need no nudge. Those of you who haven’t, pick one of the above destinations, find some nice company and give it a try. You won’t regret it.