With summer fading into a distant memory and the crisp leaves of Autumn already starting to fall, some of us are already dreaming of a far off winter sunshine timeshare break – perhaps after Christmas?
But if you can’t get away during the festivities, Autumn is the ideal time to take a city break instead. Temperatures are cool enough to explore and tourist levels have eased up too, and if you’re lucky with the weather you’ll have warmish sunny days for people-watching from pavement cafes, and crisp, cosy nights to go bistro-exploring.
If you’re looking for inspiration, then here are our top ten city picks for a romantic autumn weekend.
After a hot, sleepy summer (when a lot of residents leave because of the heat), the city comes alive come the Autumn, with plenty of dance, music, film and theatre acts flooding the city. There’s also the Montmartre Wine Harvest to enjoy, while museums often open late into the night to showcase special exhibits and events. There are also the evergreen classic must-visits, to love – the Musée D’Orsay and the Louvre, or whiling away an evening relaxing on a river cruise and taking in the glittering Eiffel Tower (wrap up though!)
It may not be the warmest, but magical Vienna comes to life over the festive season, with the Christmas Markets open in mid-November. Enjoy the smells of roasted chestnuts and gingerbread, then admire the stalls and bag some gifts for under the tree. December also sees the start ‘ball season’ when hundreds of glamorous balls take place across the city.
What better place to start your Christmas shopping than in NYC? Wander the giant department store of Macy’s, then head to trendy SoHo to pick up some unique gifts. Take a romantic stroll through Central Park, before testing your ice-skating skills at the Rockefeller Centre and then hopping on the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty.
Sun lovers should head to balmy Florence, which often enjoys pleasant temperatures of 20 degrees during the Autumn months. Wander around and admire the Renaissance architecture, before stopping in the vibrant piazzas and tempting boutiques.
Head to the Hungarian capital for a relaxing cruise down the River Danube, or to head to the Castle Quarter in ancient Buda. You could also book in a world-class performance of opera or ballet, or soak away your troubles with a trip to one of the city’s thermal baths.
Visit Iceland and prepare to be amazed by the breath-taking glaciers, volcanoes and mud pools. Visiting here between September and April may even give you the chance to take in the famous Northern Lights, while more active travellers may also want to try white-water rafting or mountain biking (although check your insurance policy to avoid taking any risks!)
Built across 14 islands, put aside plenty of time to explore the ancient area of Gamla Stan with its winding streets, old buildings and Royal Palace, or take a trip to the museums of Skansen and Moderna Museet. You can also dig out the sequins and enjoy the new ABBA: The Museum, which pays tribute to the city’s most famous export.
Take a stroll through the English Garden – Munich’s largest park – where you can hire a boat, admire the wooded paths and get away from it all. Munich isn’t the first city break that springs to mind but there’s a lot more to this city than you’d imagine.
You won’t be able to squeeze LV into a weekend but if it’s sun you’re after, it’ll be worth the flight! Party all night in one of the world’s biggest playgrounds, test your luck at famous casinos such as the Bellagio, and then cap it all with a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. There are also some spectacular shows year-round, with singers, opera, magicians, hypnotists, dancers and variety acts to take your pick from. Winter temperatures are nothing short of fabulous, the climate is dry (great if you’re prone to winter bronchitis) and chances are the sky will be blue for your entire visit.
Sun worshippers will love the sun and semi-sizzling temperatures of Granada, which hit 22 in October. A must-visit here is Alhambra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which showcases intricately decorated palaces, beautiful gardens and stunning views out to the city, a perfect example of Moorish beauty.
It’s also worth wandering the winding streets of the city’s ancient Arabic quarter, before catching a dance performance at the Casa del Arte Flamenco, the style of music this city is famous for. Side note: order an alcoholic drink in one of the many bars, and often you’ll get one or two tapas on the side, for free.