Some cities are made for weekend breaks; they strike the right balance with great hotels, plenty to see and do, and accessibility (if you’ve only got a day or two to explore, you want to be able to get to its best bits quickly and easily).
Autumn is a fantastic time to explore Europe’s most charming cities – it’s much less manic (and sweaty!) compared to the summer season, the weather is generally warm, and the falling leaves lend beauty to every street corner.
Here are five European cities which are perfect for an autumnal short break:
Berlin is the perfect place to kick off this round-up. It’s compact and transport is cheap – it also has some excellent boutique hotels. Make time for one of the free walking tours (the New Berlin tours are excellent) which cover city highlights such as Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall and the Brandenburg Gate.
In the evening head to Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain, two areas in the east of the city which have myriad cafes and bars; if you need a late-night snack on your way home, there’s always a currywurst stand to be found.
For those who aren’t quite ready to let go of the summer sun, the Croatian city of Dubrovnik still experiences temperature highs of up to 19°C in October. With 8 hours of sunshine a day, the beautiful, ancient city has plenty of places to explore and enjoy. Game of Thrones fans will be able to spot scenes from the series – parts of King’s Landing were filmed within the ancient city walls.
Sourced from titoy via Flickr
The unofficial Roman summer actually continues until early October, with the city’s selection of open-air concerts, dance and theatre performances continuing to play through September. Also held in mid-October is La Notte de Musei – an event wherein more than 90 museums and cultural spaces open their doors for free from 8pm to 2am for guests.
For food-lovers, the Taste of Rome festival offers the opportunity to sample food from some of the city’s best-loved culinary experts – and this being Italy, there’s no shortage of delicious wine to sup along the way.
Sourced from Robin Robokow via Flickr
Istanbul is a spectacle of a city. Split between Europe and Asia, it’s a culturally unique place built on the influences of dozens of different civilisations. With temperatures still reaching 19°C in October, autumn is the perfect season to explore the endlessly beautiful sites of Istanbul, including the Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern and the Blue Mosque.
Set by the sea, Istanbul is a historic port town, still popular with the cruise holidaymakers wanting to see the awe-inspiring city from the seas. Cruise1st operate a number of cruises which explore the beauty of Istanbul – check out the site here.
Renowned for its baroque architecture and contributions to classical music, Salzburg may not enjoy the warmth that cities like Dubrovnik or Rome can boast of in autumn, but it definitely makes up for it in historical charm. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthplace is one of the city’s most popular tourist sites alongside the historic city centre, which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1996.