‘If you like explorin’ new cities and prefer to do it after the madness of the summer crowds have died down, autumn is likely your favourite time of year to take a break…’
This Fall, I’m off to Texas where the sun is hot, the roads are quiet, and the children have all gone back to school, but there are plenty of beautiful city breaks that are equally perfect for a spot of autumn unwinding…’
If you’re not fussed about going to a sunny destination, then Venice is fabulous during the shoulder months. Once most of the crowds have dispersed and life has returned to normal, it’s a breathtaking city to explore. Whilst Venice can be extremely chilly during the autumn and winter, the peace and quiet more than makes up for what the weather lacks. Just the thought of being able to grab a seat in St Mark’s Square and take in the atmosphere and surroundings without the constant babble of tourists and the presence of *quite* so many birds, can transform this space into something even more magical than usual. The narrow alleyways and bridges are also much easier to navigate and prices are way cheaper than during the summer.
If you’re looking for a longer break and the warmth of the sun, NOLA is a fantastic pick for a relaxing break. The French Quarter is lively year-round with tourists and locals alike and there’s always something to see. Walking through the pretty streets surrounding Jackson Square and stopping for coffee and beignets at Cafe De Monde, to indulge in a spot of people watching, is a lovely way to spend a lazy morning. Talking a leisurely stroll and then lunch while spotting beautiful paddle steamers down by the Mississippi River makes a pleasant afternoon, and an evening spent bar-hopping in Bourbon Street rounds off a perfect day in the Crescent City. If you like sports, check out NFL games at the incredible Mercedes Super-Dome, or take a drive across the Ponchartrain on the world’s longest bridge spanning over a body of water. The longer of the two bridges crossing the lake is almost 24 miles long and crossing is quite the experience. Not so much when you’re the driver, but it’s great as a passenger….!
This Andalucian gem is one of my favourite Spanish cities, as it seems to constantly exude romance and charm. Whilst it can be a nightmare to drive through in the height of summer, it returns to its regular relaxed pace once the bulk of the tourists have gone home. I love wandering around the streets with nowhere in particular to be, spending time in the gardens and fountain in Plaza de Espana, or taking in the city skyline from the top of the Giralda Bell Tower. There are plenty of pavement carves and bars to enjoy a cold cerveza or cortado beneath the orange trees after a long day’s sightseeing.
Germany’s second largest city is very walkable, with beautiful buildings, lots of shopping, and a river just calling out to be floated along. I spent a very happy few days in Hamburg, casually lounging around in the square by the Rathaus; taking boat trips on the Elbe to look at Millionaire’s Row; and grabbing coffee by the water and watching the ships come and go at Germany’s busiest seat port. If you’re a fan of football, Hamburg stadium does a great tour of their facilities and there’s a lovely restaurant on site that overlooks the pitch. The city also boasts the nation’s oldest Stock Exchange and its second oldest bank. For ‘nightlife’ (if that’s what the kids are calling it these days…), you can spend an evening or two on the historic Reeperbhan, which is an area of the city possibly famous for all the wrong reasons. Or right…depending on your point of view.
OK, so you won’t necessarily be basking in the heat in Norway in autumn, but you can’t fail to be impressed by this beautiful – and very walkable – city. Oslo is the most populated city in the Scandinavian country and is the cultural and economic centre. It has a great balance of new and exciting architecture (such as the Opera House) and historical buildings, like Stortinget (the Parliament) and City Hall. Sitting close to the Oslo Fjord, the city has many pretty neighbourhoods and some fantastic sights. The Nobel Peace Prize museum is a highlight, and takes visitors through a guided tour of the history of the Prize and its winners and contributors, and up north of the city, in the Vestre Aker area, you can take in incredible views by climbing to the worrying heights of Holmenkollen Ski Jump. Taking a quick boat trip over to the peaceful island of Bygdoy allows visitors to explore Norway’s maritime history, as well as the murkier political history and the reign of Vidkun Quisling and his pro-Nazi government during World War 11.
This Northern English city is one of my favourite places in the UK. It has the friendliest people and there’s always some new event to experience or a new attraction to visit. Apart from being famous for ship building and The Beatles, of course, it has some truly world class museums and galleries, and I would seriously urge everyone to pay it a visit. Liverpool has fabulous public transport links and is very easy to navigate on foot. The Liverpool Museum never disappoints (no matter how many times you go) and eating and drinking at Albert Dock when the sun goes down and the lights come on is always a treat. The city has great options for food and drink and Chinatown is a must for lovers of dim sum and authentic Chinese cuisine. Liverpool also has the best public art in the form of their incredibly colourful and fun SuperLambBananas. And, yes, in case you were wondering if they really could be massive bananas with face like lambs…they are. They might just be the most smile–inducing creatures I’ve ever seen.
What are you favourite destinations for a spring break?