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River Isar in Munich

3 years, 7 months ago

Best cities for Autumn breaks

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Poor autumn, known for leaf-blowers, relentless drizzle and an unhealthy obsession with decorating. Last time anybody said anything good about the midway between summer and winter it was way back in 1819. And ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ isn’t exactly out there in a ra-ra skirt, waving pom-poms and giving us an ‘A’ is it?

But really it’s not that much of a challenge to find quite a lot to like about the most undervalued of seasons. For a start it’s one of the best times to travel. Flights are less expensive, the crowds have thinned and a lot of places are spectacular in the last hurrah before winter hits. Cities are particularly good for a quick bit of autumn escapism and there isn’t a better time of year to try one you haven’t got round to yet. So if you’re ready to down the power tools and step away from the paint swatches, here are some urban options we like for the next couple of months.

Munich

Marienplatz in Autumn

Marienplatz, Munich

Before you throw up your hands in horror and scream ‘Oktoberfest’, let’s just be clear – the most famous and expensive beer festival in the world is done now and Germany’s third largest city is back to being its usual elegant, interesting and incredibly attractive self. There’s still plenty of beer and lovely beer gardens to drink it in (Munich has six major breweries and pretzels are a food group). The capital of Bavaria isn’t short on gorgeous autumn scenery. And the tourists are gone so you’ve room to really explore. Tempted? Have a look at HouseTrip’s Munich properties and live like a local for a little. Or at least until the winter crowds descend on Marienplatz and strip Dallmayer’s Deli bare for Christmas.

Madrid

Retiro Park, Madrid

Retiro Park, Madrid

One of our favourite European capitals and home to hundreds of intriguing HouseTrip properties, Madrid is another city that’s often forgotten after summer. Quite apart from the eternal pleasure of strolling round beautiful Buen Retiro park in peace or being able to find a seat for churros and hot chocolate on the Plaza Mayor, autumn in Madrid is the best time to see the city’s astonishing art collections. And discovering Guernica is really quite immense when you get up close is one of those moments you’re never going to forget.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Post-festival Edinburgh is when the city breathes a sigh of relief and gets back to the serious business of simply being fascinating in its own right. The tourists never really leave Scotland’s capital but they do thin out a bit at this time of year so that’s the time to be a tourist on your own terms. Explore the deliciously gory closes and wynds around the Old Town. Climb Calton Hill and see the view. Visit the Botanical Gardens for stunning autumn colour. Head to the New Town (Georgian’s considered new in Edinburgh) and indulge in the fine Scottish custom of rampant shopping followed by afternoon tea – or cocktails. And if you really want to immerse yourself in tradition take a look at our Edinburgh properties, some of them are as historic as the city itself.

Bratislava

Bratislava Castle at sunset

Bratislava Castle at sunset

With the long, hot summer over and the crowds gone, now’s the time to see why Bratislava’s known as one of the most charming cities in Europe. The enchanting Medieval Old Town is still lively and it never stops being fascinating whatever the season, but exploring in autumn is much more atmospheric and you get better tables in restaurants or outside on the pretty squares. Traditional markets are great for picking up early Christmas presents . Or visit the Polus City Centre mall for astonishing brand name bargains. Cute and pretty are local characteristics in Bratislava and our range of accommodation in the city fits perfectly.

Vienna

View of Vienna from Pallas Athene statue

View of Vienna from Pallas Athene statue

Just 60km from Bratislava, Vienna is definitely not for bargain shopping. It’s one of the most expensive cities in Europe. But the trick is to take little bits of opulence like Weiner Mélange in one of the historic Ringstrasse coffee shops, mix it with the general gorgeousness Vienna does for free and take advantage of Housetrip’s local rental prices. Autumn’s perfect for wandering the city’s endless parks and gardens, getting close to the world famous art collections and eating Sacher Torte at the slightest excuse. And you’ll know when it’s time to go home, because Vienna society traditionally orders hot chocolate only on the first really cold day of the year.

There you have it, autumn revised and in danger of becoming our favourite travel season … until winter.

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