It’s safe to say that tourism in 2020 hasn’t gone exactly as planned. While your summer holidays may have been ruined by the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s not too late for an autumn getaway. As restrictions are lifted and life slowly returns to normal, here are five stunning destinations to visit this autumn.
With its exquisite Renaissance architecture and rich artistic history, Florence has a strong claim to being Europe’s most beautiful city. But beauty comes at a price, and many tourists find Florence almost impossible to navigate in the summer due to the sheer number of visitors it attracts. Each year, 16 million tourists descend on Florence, and the city’s narrow and winding streets simply can’t cope.
Visiting Florence in the autumn allows you to soak in its beauty and history at your own pace, without being jostled by thousands of other holidaymakers. Florence takes on a far more serene feel in the off season, as the 350,000 locals reclaim their city from the tourists. The heat of summer may be gone, but the climate remains pleasant with the average daytime temperature somewhere in the mid-twenties.
Autumn visitors can enjoy all the galleries, museums and restaurants that Florence is famous for, without having to queue for hours or book weeks in advance. Best of all, both flights and accommodation are significantly cheaper after the summer season has ended. Those willing to shop around can easily find hotel rooms for less than £50 a night, and several of the budget airlines offer flights for a similar price.
With the Edinburgh Festival cancelled for the first time in its 70-year history, Scotland’s capital has lost a huge chunk of its annual tourism revenue. Your visit would be much appreciated, but this is no act of charity. Edinburgh is the jewel of the United Kingdom, and well worth a visit under any circumstances.
From ancient castles to buzzing bars, Edinburgh is an intoxicating collision of the old and the new. With the summer crowds gone, autumn visitors can stroll around Edinburgh’s enchanting cobbled streets at their leisure, or climb Arthur’s Seat for a bird’s eye view of the entire city.
As well as the city itself, the surrounding area offers plenty of must-see destinations. Loch Ness and Stirling Castle are both within easy reach, and the vibrant hustle and bustle of Glasgow is just an hour away by train.
Flights to Edinburgh are cheap, but you should also consider travelling by rail. A cross country train journey to Edinburgh is an experience in itself, offering stunning views of both the English and the Scottish countryside. “Staycations” look set to be the norm for the foreseeable future, and Edinburgh can hold its own against any international holiday destination.
Denmark’s capital gets significantly quieter in the autumn, allowing you to explore its many wonders at your own pace. Autumn is art season in Copenhagen as museums and galleries respond to the colder weather by launching their new selection of attractions and exhibitions. From the National Museum of Denmark to the Copenhagen Contemporary art centre, visitors can enjoy historical artefacts and modern installations to suit any taste.
Autumn in Denmark is also peak season for hygge, a word used by locals to describe a feeling of cosiness and contentment. A coffee and a cake in a warm cafe is a popular way to achieve hygge, and the perfect end to a day of cultural exploration. Flights are cheap at this time of the year, with many return journeys for under £100.
Ireland is one of the few countries in the world to mark Halloween with a full bank holiday of celebrations, so fans of all things spooky should consider a trip to Dublin in late October. Known by its Gaelic name of Samhain, Dublin’s Haloween celebrations are legendary. For the entire weekend, its streets are filled with dance, music and some of the most extravagant costumes you’ll ever see.
As it is so close to the UK, flights to Dublin are extremely cheap. Accommodation is a bit pricier, as you would expect from a capital city, but Dublin’s many hostels offer an affordable alternative to hotels.
Poland’s capital is a great destination at any time of the year, but it really comes into its own in Autumn. A stroll through Royal Lazienki Park surrounded by autumn foliage is one of the most magical experiences Europe has to offer.
Visitors in November can also gain admission to three of the city’s royal palaces absolutely free. Flights to Warsaw are cheap and plentiful, and hotel and hostel rooms for less than £30 per night are common.