Home » Which are the Best Cities to Visit in Europe this Autumn and Where to Stay
best European city breaks autumn, brightly painted houses and boats in a harbour, Nyhaven in Copenhagen, Denmark

Which are the Best Cities to Visit in Europe this Autumn and Where to Stay

by Daniela

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 04 August 2019. All event dates are for 2019.

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Read more: Heading to Europe in the summer? Read my recommendations for less touristy summer destinations in Europe. Or planning to visit Europe in spring? I’ve got you covered with the best off-the-beaten path places to visit in spring.

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.

Read more: Need advice on how and what to pack for Europe in autumn? Read my complete packing guide for Europe in 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. 

a canal with a bridge and boats in the canal, Amsterdam the Nehterlands

Amsterdam

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.

Recommended tours: Jordaan Food  Walking Tours (for foodies); Candlelight Cruise (for ultimate romance seekers); Bike Like a Local in Amsterdam (for history geeks that are bike die-hards).

Where to stay in Amsterdam?

Ambassade Hotel – splurge into a bit of luxury into canal side houses turned into a hotel. The hotel has an amazing library bar.

Check prices and availability for Ambassade Hotel.

NS Schiller on Rembrandtplein – one of the iconic squares in Amsterdam. The famous Dutch TV talk show Late Night is recorded in the hotel’s bar.

Check prices and availability for NS Schiller.

Bastion Hotel Amsterdam Amstel – outside of the city centre, affordable prices, great breakfast and metro station just around the corner.

Check prices and availability for Bastion Hotel Amsterdam Amstel.

a bird eye view of a city with a round square and a monument in the middle, Rome seen from the Vatican's church

Rome

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?

The Inn at the Spanish Steps – a 5-star hotel offering amazing view to the iconic Spanish Steps.

Check prices and availability for The Inn at the Spanish Steps.

Hotel Cinquantatre – a small charming hotel at a prime location near Piazza Barberini and the metro station.

Check prices and availability for Hotel Cinquantatre.

Hotel Felice – a 2-star hotel near the Termi train station.

Check prices and availability for Hotel Felice.

close-up of trees with yellow leaves on them, water in the middle and a steal tower at the background, Paris Eifel Tower with autumn leaves

Paris

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 Van Gogh, Starry Night till 31/12/2019) 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.

Recommended tours: Street Art Tour (get off-the-beaten path); Paris’ Hidden Gems on a Bike (Paris beyond the usual); Wine Tasting (for French wine lovers(-to-be)).

Where to stay in Paris?

Hotel Balzac – do you want a magic view of Paris – this 5-star hotel with neoclassical decor located in the 8th arrondissement is just for you.

Check prices and availability for Hotel Balzac.

Hotel France Louvre – a 3-star elegantly furnished hotel in the historic Marais district.

Check prices and availability for Hotel France Louvre.

Hotel Le Petit Trianon – a simple and affordable hotel in the Latin Quarter.

Check prices and availability for Hotel Le Petit Trianon.

a river and a city at dusk with a bridge partly visible to the left, Prague in Czech Republic

Prague

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 each second weekend of October.

Recommended tours: Craft Beer Tour (for the beer lover); Ghosts & Legends Tour (to get you in the mood for Halloween); Medieval and Underground Tour (discover the invisible side of Prague).


Where to stay in Prague?

The Grand Mark Prague – a fabulous 5-star hotel with an amazing garden located in the central part of Prague.

Check prices and availability for The Grand Mark Prague.

Hotel Pod Věží – a boutique-style hotel located in the Lesser Town with a great location.

Check prices and availability for Hotel Pod Věží.

Hotel U Zlateho jelena – an adorable hotel located in the historical part of Prague.

Check prices and availability for Hotel U Zlateho jelena.

trees in a park with autumn foliage, Hyde Park in London UK

London

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). Museums will be open all night long for the Museums at Night Festival (31/10 – 02/11), showcasing their treasures in unexpected ways.

Recommended tours: Soho Food & Cocktail Tour (for the foodie that loves to sip on a cocktail); Jack the Ripper Tour (experience London’s dark side); Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour (for the ultimate music fan).

Where to stay in London?

Haymarket Hotel – an elegant 5-star hotel in the heart of the London’s theatre district with a swimming pool, just in case it’s raining in London.

Check prices and availability for Haymarket Hotel.

Thistle Barbican Shoreditch – affordable luxury with a swimming pool and a spa.

Check prices and availability for Thistle Barbican Shoreditch.

Lord Kensington Hotel – a simple hotel located in the stylish borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Check prices and availability for Lord Kensington Hotel.

a red painted bar with hanging flowers and people walking around, the Temple Bar in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin

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 (7-22/09), Dublin Theatre Festival (26/09-13/10), Culture Night (20/09) or the Bram Stocker Festival (25-28/10) where things can get really creepy.

Recommended tours: Local Food Tour (savour Dublin like a local); Ghost Bus Tour (get in the mood for Halloween); Irish Whiskey & Food Tour (you can’t miss whiskey on your visit to Dublin, can you…)

Where to stay in Dublin?

The Merrion Hotel – indulge in pure luxury in this stylish hotel with beautifully landscaped gardens in the centre of Dublin, there’s a swimming pool, just in case of bad weather.

Check prices and availability for The Merrion Hotel.

Kilronan House – a luxurious B&B next to the Iveagh Gardens for the best autumn foliage.

Check prices and availability for Kilronan House.

The Camden Hotel – a good value for money 2-star hotel in the heart of Dublin.

Check prices and availability for The Camden Hotel.

a bird eye view of a city with a church spire at the background, Copenhagen Denmark

Copenhagen

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 and pumpkin theme between 11/10 and 3/11. On 11/10 dive into a night of cultural and artsy events during Kulturnatten (Culture Night), when the city turns into a big stage. When it gets chilly or rainy, visit one of the numerous museums in Copenhagen.

Recommended tours: Culture Meets Food (for the cultural foodie); Hygge Tour (what is uh… hygge? – find out on this tour); Alternative Copenhagen (get off-the-beaten path).


Where to stay in Copenhagen?

Nimb Hotel – what can be more iconic in Copenhagen than Tivoli Gardens? Well this hotel offers ultimate luxury and is located IN the Gardens.

Check prices and availability for Nimb Hotel.

Absalon Hotel – a modern 4-star hotel in the Vesterbro district close to the Tivoli Gardens.

Check prices and availability for Absalon Hotel.

Wakeup Copenhagen – a simple hotel in central Copenhagen.

Check prices and availability for Wakeup Copenhagen.

a fountain with a male figure throwing a hand and buildings with flags on them at the background, Antwerp Belgium

Antwerp

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 (5-18/10).

Recommended tours: History & Food (for the foodie that’s also a history geek); Bike & History (time to get a bit active…).

Where to stay in Antwerp?

Cabosse, Suites & Spa – stay in the city centre in a suite with a balcony in a beautifully renovated mansion from 1856. Oh, did I mention that they also have a spa?

Check prices and availability for Cabosse, Suites & Spa.

HotelO Kathedral – this quirky design hotel situated in the heart of the historic centre of Antwerp features large murals of Rubens and open-plan bathrooms.

Check prices and availability for HotelO Kathedral.

Leonardo Hotel – a 3-star design hotel located in the famous Diamond District.

Check prices and availability for Leonardo Hotel.

Florence

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 (28/09) 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.

Recommended tours: Learn to Cook (for the active foodie); Chianti Tour (try the iconic Tuscan wine); Balloon Flight (for the romantic travller).

Where to stay in Florence?

Palazzo Ridolfi – always wanted to stay in a palace – this is your chance. Palazzo Ridolfi offers exceptionally decorated rooms with ultimate comfort.

Check prices and availability for Palazzo Ridolfi.

Hotel Orto de’ Medici – a lovely hotel with a charming garden, a total luxury in Florence, and of course some beautiful views of the city.

Check prices and availability for Hotel Orto de’ Medici.

Hotel Bologna – a simple 2-star hotel, a bit off the historical centre but still within a walking distance.

Check prices and availability for Hotel Bologna.

beautiful red building with Greek columns and fountains in front of it, the National Theatre building in Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia

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 (01-10/10). 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).

Recommended tours: Breakfast Tour (for early-bird foodies); History, Dinner & Folklore Show (for the dance lover that happens to love museums); Communist Tour (learn about the city’s communist past).

Read more: Travelling to Bulgaria? Read here everything you need to know if you visit Bulgaria for the first time.

Where to stay in Sofia?

InterContinental Sofia – this 5-star hotel is perhaps the poshest hotel in the city. Take a room with a view to the Cathedral.

Check prices and availability for InterContinental Sofia.

Sofia Residence Boutique Hotel – a stylish boutique hotel situated in a 1930s residential building.

Check prices and availability for Sofia Residence Boutique Hotel.

Hotel Central Point – although situated in the real heart of the city, this hotel is quite affordable.

Check prices and availability for Hotel Central Point.

 

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a few pictures of cities with overlay text: Best cities to visit in Europe in autumn and best hotels to stay in Europe in autumn
a few pictures of cities with overlay text: Best city breaks in Europe in fall and best hotels to stay in Europe in fall

 

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.

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1 comment

Juli 15th September 2018 - 6:58 pm

Great guide! Totally agree that Autumn is the best time to visit some of these cities, especially London and Paris. A great composed list that definitely inspired me to book my next trip.

Reply

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