The city trips season in Europe has already started. Autumn is the perfect season to discover Europe’s bigger cities. The crowds are gone and the autumn colours make the places more vibrant and cozier. If you haven’t yet chosen your city break destination this autumn, here are my picks for the best cities to visit in Europe this autumn and where to stay according to your budget.
This post has been updated on 30 August 2020. All event dates are for 2020. Some events might get cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check before you go and travel safely!Which are the best cities to visit in Europe this autumn? Find out here the answers + where to stay. Click To Tweet
What are the benefits of travelling in Europe in the off-peak season?
Here’s why you should leave the city trips for the autumn break:
- Places are less crowded. Besides, you are contributing to decreasing overtourism at popular destinations during high season.
- Hotel prices are more affordable.
- No or less queuing for attractions.
- Flights are cheaper.
Autumn is also the season to go off-the-beaten path in the big cities. We all know what the main attractions are, but how can you really experience the city? How can you taste the city? Where can you enjoy the autumn foliage? Here you will find the best tips about enjoying your city trip like a local, as well as cultural activities and special events this autumn.
Of course the places where you will stay do matter, so I am offering a selection of hotels for every budge for your city trip in Europe this autumn.
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. If you book your hotel using the links below immediately after you have visited my page, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost for you.
The Dutch capital is irresistibly beautiful in autumn when the trees hanging above the canals turn into gold and the streets start to shine after the morning rain. Snuggle up in one of the cozy wood-panelled cafes with a Herfstbok (special dark beer available only in the autumn) or with a warm apple-pie and chocolate milk. Or visit one of the city’s top museums. Don’t miss the Museum Night in Amsterdam, organized each first Saturday of November , when the museums are open till 2:00 am and there are lots of special activities. The cultural agenda of the city is bursting with festivals, performance and events in the autumn. In 2020 Museum Night is on 7 November.
Where to stay in Amsterdam?
Autumn, when the scorching temperatures turn mild, is the best time to visit the Eternal City. The crowds with tourists had already thinned down and you can actually enjoy the tourist attractions. Have a cappuccino early in the morning and breath the crisp fresh air, get seduced by the smell of roasted chestnuts and hurry to the vendor at the corner to buy a paper cone full of them. Savour the autumn with a wild mushrooms and white truffles risotto and a glass of wine. Remember, a city break is not only about museums and sightseeing it’s also about la dolce vita – enjoying life.
Recommended tours: Trastevere for Foodies (yep, a foodie tour); Explore a Local Market & Lean to Bake Pizza (one more foodie thing); Bike the Via Appia (get a bit active and enjoy the autumn foliage).
Where to stay in Rome?
Autumn in Paris is all about experiencing the city in a different way – don’t stick to the clichés and forget about the Louvre. Instead, walk on a carpet of golden leaves in one of Paris’ beautiful parks: Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardins du Tuileries, Park Monceau. Experience art differently by visiting the immersive art exhibition at L’Atelier des Lumières (showing Monet, Renoire… Chagall till 03/02/2021) or stay up the night for the Nuit Blanche (the first Saturday of October), when Paris doesn’t go to sleep but turns into a stage for contemporary artists and novel art forms.
Where to stay in Paris?
I wouldn’t go to Prague in summer but spare it for the autumn season, when the crowds are gone and the city is bathed into the soft autumn light. Get to the observation tower on Petřín Hill for the best views of the city in a sea of amber, gold, copper and red. Sip on a cup of mulled wine (svařák) when the chill starts to creep into town. In autumn, Prague is a must for all music lovers when a lot of music festivals are held in the city. See Prague in a different light during the Signal Light Festival held in October. The dates for the 2020 edition are 15-18 October.
Where to stay in Prague?
London in autumn is a treat for the eyes – take a walk along The Thames or in one of the many parks (Kew Gardens, Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Victoria Park) to admire the autumn foliage. When it’s misty (I have to be honest, London isn’t bathing in sunshine in the autumn), get on the Emirates Cable Car for obscure views of the city. A toffee apple in one hand, watch the fireworks on Bonfire night (5/11). In October, a whole month long, London celebrates food with the London Restaurant Festival (1-31/10).
Where to stay in London?
While drinking Guinness under the cords of whirlwind traditional Irish music is all year-round favorite in Dublin, autumn is the season to be there if you are an oyster fan. Crack the season open in Dublin’s famous Porterhouse pub with a platter of native oysters. Dublin is bursting with festivals in autumn – Dublin Fringe Festival (5-20/09), Dublin Theatre Festival (24/09-11/10), Culture Night (18/09) or the Bram Stocker Festival (30/10-02/11) where things can get really creepy.
Where to stay in Dublin?
The gardens of Rosenborg Castle are at their best with the autumn colours on. For more foliage, visit the Botanic Garden. The amusement park Tivoli also celebrates autumn with a Halloween theme between 09/10 and 01/11. When it gets chilly or rainy, visit one of the numerous museums in Copenhagen.
Where to stay in Copenhagen?
Antwerp is not your average autumn destination but give it a try and you won’t be disappointed. For the most beautiful autumn foliage, visit the Stadspark (City Park). Treat yourself a warm Belgian waffle (I leave the toppings choice to the street vendor) and if you are a foodie, Antwerp is the right place to be in the autumn. Smaakmeesters (Masters of taste) is the ultimate food festival held annually in October (03-04/10).
Where to stay in Antwerp?
Autumn is the time to visit Florence – the crowds are gone, and you can finally enjoy the city and its masterpieces. When you had enough of them, celebrate the grape harvest in style during the Carro Matto (26/09) when the young wine (vino novello) is welcomed in town. Indulge in the autumn flavours with porcini, truffles and extra virgin olive oil! Get to the other side of Arno (Otrarno) for the best autumn foliage – Boboli Gardens and Parco delle Cascine won’t disappoint you.
Where to stay in Florence?
Needless to say, Sofia is magical in the autumn colours and if you can’t have enough of them in the city, then Vitosha Mountain (the in-house mountain of the city) will overwhelm you. Sofia is all about cinema festivals in the autumn – do not miss Kinomania (held in November) and Sofia Biting Docs Film Festival (01-08/10). And when the weather gets chilly, as there could be some pretty cold days in the autumn, hide in one of the numerous quirky cafes in the city: The Little Things, Vila Rosiche, One More Bar, or the hipster ones where you can sniff also a certain dose of art: +tova, A:part:mental, Four Rooms Bar (I would say they are pretty creative with the bar names in Bulgaria).
Where to stay in Sofia?
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Which city are you visiting this autumn? Share below in the comments! Do you have questions about the places and the hotels above? Ask them below and I will gladly help you.