Top 4 European city breaks for autumn
As the summer crowds depart and hot, balmy days make way for the colourful cityscapes and cooler temperatures of autumn, there’s no better time to head to Europe for an out of season getaway. In October and November, many of the continent’s most iconic cities are at their best, and with less traffic to contend with and a more laid-back feel than during the spring and summer, it’s a great opportunity to spend a days enjoying the lap of European luxury without the usual stress.
Following the recent news surrounding Thomas Cook, the idea of booking another getaway so soon might seem daunting – but the good news is, since the EU regulation 261 was passed back in 2004, passengers have been protected against severe flight disruption and long delays, cancellations and missed connections will all be compensated – and companies such as Flightright can help. You can check on their website if you are entitled to receive a compensation for your delayed flight. The Flightright team will support you through the whole process and will even go to court for you if necessary.
So, with no need to stress and every reason to get booking your next luxury getaway, we’ve rounded up four of the best European cities to visit this autumn. Get set for a few days of opulence, with a good dose of culture, history and great food to boot – because these four places have got it all.
A city renowned for its plentiful tulips during the spring months, Amsterdam is equally as beautiful during the autumn. The city is at its best in October and November, as the leaves of the trees lining its famous canals begin to slowly turn shades of red, yellow and orange. At this time of year, the photo opportunities are on another level, and with some warm designer attire and some comfortable shoes, you’ll be all set for a few magical days of discovery.
Amsterdam offers plenty of indoor sights to see, with a plethora of art galleries and museums offering shelter from the cooler weather. The Van Gogh Museum, the Amsterdam Royal Palace and Anne Frank House are all worth a visit.
Where to stay:
Set in the heart of Amsterdam, the lavish Kimpton de Witt features 274 guest rooms including 15 rooms in original Renaissance-era buildings, as well as free WiFi and free use of VanMoof bikes (subject to availability). A great base from which to explore the sights of the city, Basilica of St. Nicholas is just 450 yards away while Royal Palace Amsterdam is 550 yards from the property.
A city known for its buzzing summer atmosphere, autumn is the time Barcelona really comes to life. With a packed calendar of events and exhibitions to enjoy, you can find something of interest in the arts and culture world practically every weekend. Add to that the iconic Sagrada Familia cathedral, Antoni Gaudi’s photogenic Casa Batllo and the heaving Mercado de la Boqueria – all without their usual summer queues – and there’s a lot to love about autumn in Barcelona.
In the run up to Christmas, don’t miss the fairy-tale market huddled around the Cathedral.
Where to stay:
The Mandarin Oriental Barcelona is set on the city’s fashionable Passeig de Gràcia, within a 5 minutes’ walk of Antoni Gaudi’s iconic Casa Batlló and La Pedrera – sights you won’t want to miss. The hotel features a spa, rooftop pool, indoor pool, fitness centre, wonderful city views, and 24-hour room service, with a range of decadent dining options that are just perfect for foodies.
The hotel’s head chef is the world-famous Carme Ruscalleda, the only woman that holds 7 Michelin stars. You will find Moments restaurant, which offers innovative Catalan cuisine, and Blanc restaurant, which provides an all-day dining experience, while the Mimosa garden offers al fresco dining with a difference.
Perhaps Belgium’s most charming city, Bruges easily outshines the business capital of Brussells, and in the autumn, it holds all the more appeal. With crowds now much sparser, Bruges takes on a cosy, wintry feel, with hotels and restaurants lighting their log fires to draw visitors indoors. The Groeningemuseum features a different dazzling exhibition each autumn, while the festive Christmas market, starting in late November, brings the historic city centre alive with its glowing, with low-lit stalls. To really get into the Christmas spirit, have a go on the nearby ice rink or shop at the stalls for artisan arts and crafts – and don’t miss the pop-up bars serving up mulled wine, Glühwein and jenever gin.
Where to stay:
The Dukes’ Palace Brugge – a superior five-star hotel located in a unique 15th-century former ducal residence in Bruges – makes for an opulent base whilst staying in the city. Located only 300 yards from the Markt, rooms in the main castle feature high ceilings and beautiful decor. Bar Dukes serves coffee or cocktails in a casual setting with comfortable armchairs, while restaurant Dukes offers refined Belgian cuisine which showcases seasonal ingredients.
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Beguinage is a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
The historic city of Budapest has been enjoying a welcome slice of the limelight in recent years, but once the summer months are over, the pace slows down again and footfall returns to normal. It’s a great time to enjoy the city at a relaxed pace, and as the parks take on an autumnal hue, Budapest begins to buzz with musical dance and theatre performances, al fresco ice skating and quaint Christmas market stalls. As you can see, this is a repeated pattern across Europe at this time of year – but what really makes this particular city stand up is its historic thermal baths, which are the perfect place to warm up after a chilling day of exploring the sights.
Where to stay:
It doesn’t get much better than the Parisi Udvar Hotel Budapest. Taking you back in time through the passage of a Paris courtyard, this luxury hotel revives the Art Nouveau shopping arcade into a palatial hotel. Its 110 rooms and suites are decorated in Art Nouveau style with a fusion of gothic and Moorish-inspired details. Upgrade to the Paris Residence to enjoy 291 square meters of space, along with breath-taking views of the city below.