As the heat of summer gives way to cool fall days, plans for weekend getaways begin to take form. And just in time! With the high season out of the way, crowds have all but vanished. No matter what piques your interest — culture, history, or tasty food and drink — this list has something for everyone.
- 1. Sip wine in Bordeaux
- 2. Travel through Lisbon by funicular
- 3. Dip into Budapest’s thermal baths
- 4. See the masters in Florence
- 5. Get cultured in Prague
- 6. Discover Edinburgh’s past
- 7. Explore Amsterdam by boat
- 8. Meet the locals in Gibraltar
- 9. Enjoy Berlin’s alternative vibe
- 10. Take it easy in Dubrovnik
- 11. Wander through Bruges
1. Sip wine in Bordeaux
Cruise along the River Garonne and soak in the city’s foliage as you sample two of the region’s finest wines. While you’re at it, enjoy panoramic views of the city’s waterfront and make sure to snap a picture of the famed 18th-century façades as you pass the Port de la Lune. Whether you’re an amateur enthusiast or well on your way to sommelier status, Bordeaux is the place to spend crisp fall days — and nights. Swirl, sniff, sip, repeat.
2. Travel through Lisbon by funicular
Lisbon is full of sweet treats, long nights, and a whole lot of heritage. But don’t take it from us. See the best of the city aboard a funicular and admire breathtaking view from the historical Elevador de Santa Justa — the only vertical funicular in Lisbon. After that, follow your nose. There’s probably Pastéis de Nata baking closeby.
3. Dip into Budapest’s thermal baths
Quirky and picturesque, Budapest is always a good idea. Take a dip in the world-famous, mineral-infused Széchenyi thermal baths to warm up before you head out to soak in the city’s famed Art Nouveau architecture. We suggest visiting the Gellert Spa Baths, the Museum of Applied Arts, and Gresham Palace.
4. See the masters in Florence
Romantic, enchanting, and totally irresistible: just a train ride away from Rome, appetites for culture and Italian food are at home in Florence. Marvel over masterpieces at the Uffizi Gallery by the likes of Botticelli and Caravaggio. Amidst all that culture, it might be easy to forget your appetite. Make sure to sample the rewards of the season’s harvest: full-bodied vino and Tuscan olive oil.
5. Get cultured in Prague
This historic city cools down nicely come fall and the crowds thin out. Head to Prague to enjoy hearty meals and warm trdelnik (cake on a spit) from street vendors. Explore narrow streets, the famed Charles Bridge, and more. As night falls, venture to St. George’s Basilica to listen to music by Dvořák, Vivaldi, Mozart, Brahms and more.
6. Discover Edinburgh’s past
Moody fall weather has no better backdrop than the smoky, Gothic buildings of Edinburgh. The perfect destination for a weekend away, a tour of Edinburgh Castle and Castle Rock is a must. After you see the main sites, spend your Saturday wandering through storied streets as you enjoy popping into local shops and of course — hearing the famed Scottish burr.
7. Explore Amsterdam by boat
One of the leafiest cities in Europe, Amsterdam in fall is truly magical. Discover the city’s winding canals: sail past the Skinny Bridge, Golden Bend, and illuminated merchant bridges on an evening cruise. Though small, Amsterdam has no shortage of food, art, culture, and fun.
8. Meet the locals in Gibraltar
Anchored in the Mediterranean, Gibraltar is a small peninsula with a lot of character. From rubbing elbows with cheeky locals (the Barbary macaques run wild) to exploring nature reserves, and going on dolphin watches, you’ll have a no shortage of fun things to do as the weather cools down.
9. Enjoy Berlin’s alternative vibe
Equal parts gritty and elegant, Berlin is full of contrasts. With something for everyone — and we mean everyone — foodies, music lovers, history buffs, party animals, art aficionados, and more will find exactly what they’re looking for in this cool city. Take the city by bike on a sights and highlights tour.
10. Take it easy in Dubrovnik
Best known as the Pearl of the Adriatic — and recently, the backdrop to Game of Thrones — Dubrovnik is home to Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. Pleasantly cool without being chilly, a fall visit is just the thing for pebble beach lounging minus the crowds.
11. Wander through Bruges
This fairytale city glows golden come fall. Just an hour from the hustle and bustle of Brussels, you’ll find yourself perfectly happy wandering Bruges’ cobblestoned streets. Take a world heritage tour and see the historical highlights as well as some of the city’s quieter neighborhoods. Afterward, let the spires of the city’s Gothic churches guide you past canals, lace shops, and the city’s countless museums.