September doesn’t just signal the start of a new school year (can we get a ‘hallelujah!’ from the mums and dads?) but also the beginning of autumn; one of our favourite times to holiday. For fall foliage and plenty more besides, these five cities are hard to beat if you’re planning a last minute cruise holiday or mini break.
AUTUMN IN STOCKHOLM
Stockholm’s scenery is unique; built across 14 islands in Lake Mälaren, with over a third of its area covered in parks and public gardens. The city is known as one of cruising’s most amazing port approaches but its attraction doesn’t end when you step off the ship. With 29 parks and over 4000 nature reserves, Stockholm is synonymous with outdoor living. The weather remains warm until well into September, so get outside and make the most of it, before heading indoors to experience cosiness on a whole new level.
Scandinavians do cosy cafes no like no other, so finding one with plenty of sheepskin rugs and candlelight isn’t hard. Curl up with a heart mug of glogg and a kanelbulle; a spiced cinnamon bun so special, it has its own national day on October 4th.
AUTUMN IN ROME
Most people visit the Eternal City at the height of summer, but stifling temperatures can make sightseeing those ancient attractions hard work. Delay your visit until autumn and you’ll find that, as well as far fewer tourists in the city, the locals are also back at work after their own summer holidays, leaving the streets much quieter and queues for the likes of the Colosseum, St Peter’s Basilica and the Trevi Fountain much shorter.
Autumn also brings sagre food festivals across the city, giving you an opportunity to sample those amazing Italian specialities of pasta, truffles, chestnuts, olive oil, wine and cheese. Bring your fat pants – we’re bulking up for winter!
AUTUMN IN BRUGES
The chocolate box city of Bruges is a mini break favourite but you needn’t wait until Christmas to experience its medieval charm. There’s something amazing about wrapping up, tucking into warm waffles, ducking into coffee shops and sitting beneath the heaters outside Belgian beer bars.
The gothic castles and courts of the Market Square look like an oil painting under the autumn light, and as the city starts to get dark earlier you’ll have the opportunity to see its canals lit up too.
AUTUMN IN PARIS
If we could only give you one reason why Paris is better in the autumn, it would be hot chocolate. Not just any, but the rich velvety ‘African’ version served in the belle époque salon of Angelina. The hot chocolate here is so thick, it clings to the cup, and the counter top is crammed with cakes, tarts and croissants. There’s little wonder Audrey Hepburn was often spotted warming her cockles here during her winters in the city.
Angelina is just steps away from the Louvre and autumn visits here mean shorter queues and more time to appreciate the artworks. The same can be said for the city’s other attractions, including the usually manic Arc de Triomphe and the Gardens of Versailles, which somehow manage to look even more glorious with a tinge of gold amongst the green.
The end of October sees the city host its annual ‘Nuit Blanche’ event, with hundreds of galleries, museums and city buildings open all night, free of charge.
AUTUMN IN NEW YORK
Fall in New York is fantastic. Washington Square Park is filled with eager new NYU students and locals making the most of the last few warm days. In Central Park, the rowing boats may have left the lake but they have been replaced with the reflection of fiery foliage in the water, and the steely city looks even more amazing soaring above the scarlet, amber, green and gold of the trees.
It’s a case of go big or go home when it comes to Halloween in America, and the entire city gets involved. The Village Halloween Parade is the world’s largest ‘Hallow’s Eve’ procession and those who turn up in costume are welcome to join in. Be warned though, New Yorker’s go all-out with their costumes, so you’ll need to up your game if you plan on competing for the best in show. With hundreds of puppets, over 50 live bands, dancers and street performers, it’s an all-night affair!