Traveling during the shoulder season – spring & fall – has a lot of perks. First of all, the prices are typically lower than during the high season. And, since many people can only get vacation days during summer, fall is when you won’t find way too many travelers roaming the streets of the cities you visit.
>>read here about the things I like about fall
The downside of this, though, is that the closer to winter, the fewer activities are available. Technically fall in Europe starts in September and ends in November. By end of October, some activities may be unavailable – think of tour boats in the Adriatic Sea or maybe a historical site in Hungary – but that doesn’t mean you don’t have things to do.
November is the month of fall foliage. Unfortunately, the window when the best fall foliage can be photographed is getting smaller each year and it’s harder and harder to predict. For Central – Eastern Europe anytime in November you can find a place where fall foliage is amazing.
Tradition has it that from August 6 the seasons start to change. That’s when the grapes start to ripen. By mid to end September, you can engage in grape picking activities.
It may not come as a surprise that we love traveling during fall. And since we also love planning at least a bit in advance, here is info on some fall destinations, just in case you are looking for places to visit.
Budapest , Hungary
Our favorite city – ok, we have more than one favorite city, but Budapest is certainly special to us – is amazing during any season. It’s at its busiest during the Christmas Markets (December) and summer.
Fall is when you can find affordable accommodation, not bump into too many travelers on Vaci utca and take amazing photos of the foliage.
Don’t miss a walk in the City Park, located behind Heroes Square. And while you are here, you may want to check out the Botanical Garden and Zoo located nearby.
You can find affordable flights to the city quite easily, as long as you have some flexibility in choosing the dates. It is also a major rail hub so if you are already in Europe, you can consider a train ride.
Our beloved Transylvania encompasses amazing cities and rural areas. Cluj Napoca and Alba Iulia are only two of the major cities you can add to the list when you plan your trip here.
This is also where you can find Sighisoara, one of the most well preserved medieval citadel in Europe., while Sibiu and Brasov are also lovely and interesting cities to check out.
The entire area is dotted with amazing hiking / walking opportunities, trails and unspoiled landscape.
Cluj Napoca is the place to fly into if you prefer WizzAir, whereas flying into the capital of Romania, Bucharest, opens up other possibilities. You can take a scenic train ride to Brasov and then just choose which cities you want to explore.
The hustle and bustle of Rome, especially during the high season, can make anyone agitated. So why not wait a bit and plan your trip in late fall? You will still benefit from the lovely weather but avoid the surge of tourists.
Rome is literally an open-air museum so, map in hand, just plan to walk around. Then decide what you want to visit. We’ve visited Colosseum and the Forum, which pretty much ate up an entire day.
The recently renovated Fontana di Trevi is waiting for more money to be thrown in it for wishes of coming back.
Rome is served by two airports and plenty of airlines, including low-cost carriers. Plan ahead to benefit from the lower fares.
Read more about Rome:
>> Rome: Dealing with Fiumicino Airport
Ah, the lovely London, with its stubborn weather…yeah, that’s probably the only hit and miss for this city: you never know what the weather has in store for you. So pack your water proof gear just to be on the safe side.
London is huge, magnificent and amazing. Our 5 days trip barely scratched the surface when it came to visiting the capital of UK. At the time of our visit, only London Eye offered the possibility to see the city from above – and although considered a tourist trap we loved it! – but nowadays the Shard is what everyone wants to check out.
Camera and map in hand, just plot your walk in the parks and from site to site. Luckily many museums can be visited for free.
London is served by five airports, receiving flights from all over the world. EasyJet, Ryanair and WizzAir, among other low-cost carriers, all serve London.
Prague, Czech Rep.
The capital of Czech Rep. has been on our radar for a good while but with no decent connection from where we live – unless we take a long train ride via Budapest – we have kept postponing a trip.
While Prague is well-known for the Christmas Market, if you don’t like the cold – or the crowds – just plan your trip in fall. Yes, the air is starting to be crisp by November, so pack accordingly.
The Astronomical Clock and Charles Bridge are two of the most famous places to visit and photograph.
Prague is served by a variety and airlines but also has amazing train connections with Western Europe. Another option is to fly into Vienna and then take the train to Prague.
Other places to visit during fall
Europe is filled with amazing places to visit and it is really hard to choose only a handful of them to write about. You should also include these cities on your fall explorations: Dubrovnik (Croatia), Lisbon (Portugal), Edinburgh (Scotland), Florence (Italy), Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Salzburg (Austria).