Autumn is the perfect time of year to explore some of Europe’s most beautiful places without the hustle, bustle and cost that summer brings.
With golden colours and crisp blue skies, you are just a short flight away from some of the most stunning architecture, delicious cuisine and cultural delights that Europe has to offer.
There are so many to choose from, you could be forgiven if you are not sure where to go. If you need some inspiration, take a look at our top ten destinations for a short break in Autumn.
Immerse yourself in this culturally rich capital city and enjoy the beautiful, bright and slightly cooler weather with a drink at one of many pavement cafes. You can also take a walk in the former gardens of the Royal Palace at the Retiro, Madrid’s main park.
October also brings with it Madrid’s autumn festival – Festival de Otoño. Starting in the first week and lasting a whole month, it is one of the country’s top music festivals bringing together dance, music and theatre companies from all over the world.
Covered with ancient forests soaked in colourful shades, Southern Germany is always an amazing sight in autumn. It is also a far more relaxed time than the busy summer. Travel along the famous Romantic Road through medieval towns such as Dinkelsbühl and Rothenburg ob der Tauber with stunning views along the way.
Autumn sees the European ‘Green Capital of the Year’ 2016 transform into beautiful hues of orange and red. You could take a stroll in Tivoli Park, one of Slovenia’s largest and most beautiful green spaces, enjoy the pretty embankment along the Ljubljanica river, admire the eye-catching Art Nouveau architecture, or see the city in all its glory from its sublime Castle. The Slovenian capital certainly lives up to its reputation as a city of culture.
You do not need to be hiker to enjoy the majestic Alpine mountains in Switzerland. Carpeted in colour, they are a sight to see from any direction; however you are travelling. If you do fancy a walk, the Chemin du Gruyère trail (mouthwateringly known as the ‘chocolate and cheese trail’) takes three to four hours – a tasty pilgrimage to the home of its famous namesake cheese.
One of Poland’s oldest cities, Krakow is perfect for history lovers but offers much more too. In addition to its landmark architecture and the medieval charm of the historic old town, it’s also known for its shopping and top quality cuisine. Well known for the Krakow Chocolate Factory, you can try a hot chocolate flavoured with amaretto and cinnamon for the perfect tipple to keep warm on a fresh autumn day.
The Loire Valley
Autumn is the perfect time to visit this romantic region, as the bustling roads clear and the vine leaves turn golden brown and a fiery burnt orange. You can also see the grapes being harvested in the fields, and of course enjoy the fruits of such labours with a glass of fine wine.
The Hungarian capital straddles the Danube river and brings together culture, history and nature. Visit the Castle Quarter in ancient Buda or take in the Art Nouveau architecture in Pest. Alternatively, you can enjoy a leisurely river cruise up the Danube, or visit the natural hot springs found in the city and in the historic spa buildings.
Roughly an hour’s drive from Riga, the capital of Latvia, this steep-sided river valley is covered in rich woodland that is a magnificent sight in autumn. We recommend taking a cable car from the town of Sigulda to see spectacular views of the famous Turaida Castle.
Austria’s capital is a beautiful city that can take you from its famous buildings, such as the Gothic St Stephen’s Cathedral and Vienna State Opera House, to the beautiful gardens of Burggarten (at one time a Royal Garden) and the Vienna Woods – a tram ride away from the city centre. Travel a little later and in November you can enjoy the age-old tradition of the Christmas markets.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
This majestic lake in the Julian Alps is one of the most picturesque in the world. Overlooked by a fairy tale castle on top of a rocky hill, and surrounded by forested mountains, as the leaves start to turn it looks simply magical.
Travel insurance cover for your trip
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Enjoy your travels, wherever you go this autumn.