Europe in autumn is a magical time. This shoulder season sees less crowds and lower rates – so the perfect time to enjoy everything you would have in the summer, but at a less expense. There’s plenty of sunny days left to enjoy from September to November, with some cities still reaching mid-20-degrees.
If you’re looking for a city break during the autumn months, here’s our top 3 European destinations:
Autumn in London
The great thing about visiting London in autumn is the variety of both indoor and outdoor activities on offer. So if you wake up to glorious sunshine, you can grab a scarf and explore the greener side of the city. Or if the heavens happen to open, you can spend a day hopping from one world-famous museum to another, many of which are free – check our guide on Free Museums in London for our favourites.
Autumn in London is also great for the festival and food obsessed. There’s the Totally Thames festival throughout the month of September that lines up a cultural calendar of art installations, boating events, live performances and so much more. Then in October, food is the theme of your outings. The London Restaurant Festival rounds up 400 eateries across the capital, offering chef-hosted events, special menus and discounted dinners. Enjoy a special offer tipple or two during Cocktail Week. Then for dessert, you’ll find something sweet in Chocolate Week. Hungry?
For more details on why we think Autumn in London is a special time, check out our guide.
For Totally Thames Festival:
Red Tour, Stop: Tower of London
Autumn in Paris
Think of the romantic cityscape of Paris…now picture it painted in yellows, oranges and auburn colours. Simply stunning, and why we recommend visiting Paris in autumn.
You know it’s autumn in Paris when you see the locals slowly returning from their summer city escape. September’s la rentrée is almost considered a second new year and the city gets a second wind of energy and excitement. The new season’s cultural calendar kicks off, with plenty of performances, exhibitions and festivals across the city. There’s the Annual Autumn Festival offering theatre, dance, music and film. And the International Contemporary Art Fair showcasing the works of thousands. And if you’re looking for an indoor activity, in September entry to many world-famous museums is absolutely free.
A very special event in Paris during autumn is the annual Montmarte wine harvest. A five day arts and wine festival celebrating the years produce, in a tiny private vineyard perched on a hill. The locals come together and the nearby restaurants, markets, bookshops and theatres all get involved. It closes with an impressive display of fireworks.
If you still need a little convincing to visit Paris during this time, check out our Autumn in Paris guide for even more reasons.
Autumn in Budapest
Budapest was made for the autumn months for the thermal baths alone. With 15 public spas to choose from, we suggest you pack your swimmers. And November in Budapest is when the bath party really kicks off. Laser shows and bath discos in Széchenyi Baths go on into the night, a ‘Sparty’ if you will. Or if a daytime dip is more your thing, you’ll find both indoor and outdoor baths at the Gellért Baths. And there’s Lukács Baths, that has a long and distinguished heritage – in the 12th century, knights of the order of Saint John used the waters to cure the sick, and today you’ll find marble tablets in the courtyard from people wishing to express their gratitude for being cured here. For more bathing options, check out our guide on Thermal Baths in Budapest.
For Széchenyi Baths:
Red Tour, Stop: Heroes' Square
For Gellért Baths:
Red Tour, Stop: Great Market Hall
For Lukács Baths:
Blue Tour, Stop: Margaret Island
If you enjoy a good glass of wine, the Budapest International Wine Festival in September might tempt you to visit in autumn. Held in the atmospheric Buda Castle terraces, it’s a great opportunity to sample some award-winning Hungarian wines. And even if a tipple isn’t your thing, there’s a gastro promenade offering quality street food and local specialities to keep you busy. With concerts and children’s activities laid on too, it’s a great day out for the whole family.
Budapest International Wine Festival:
Blue Route, Stop: Castle / Funicular
So there you have our top 3 cities we recommend if you plan to visit Europe in autumn. A time when summer starts to fade but the energy for fun and festivities is high. And of course, if you hop on a Big Bus tour we’ll also take you to see the best sights and attractions these cities are famous for. Simply hop on, and leave the rest to us.