Fall, the season of rides through the countryside to delight in the changing colors of the leaves. But there are other great options for travelers in search of the best fall getaways. In fact, with summer behind us, fall is an ideal time for a city vacation to celebrate the change of seasons in a special way. Cities are much more pleasant to visit in the cooler weather and they also offer a “rain-proof” alternative. Here are our five recommendations for a weekend getaway to enjoy the fall in a different way.
THE BEST FALL CITYSCAPES
Yes, it’s a classic. But anyone who’s ever taken a walk through the Retiro park surrounded by falling leaves will certainly include it on their list of must-see fall cityscapes: the lake, the Palacio de Cristal (exhibition hall), the Casa de Vacas (cultural center), the Bosque del Recuerdo (memorial gardens) can all be visited walking, running, biking or skating through the park. Instagrammers will love how their photos come out under Madrid’s brilliant fall sunshine, not to mention the abundance of cultural activities (especially this year, the 400-year anniversary of Cervantes’ death, with dozens of activities scheduled): The marvels of daily life by Robert Doisneau at the Canal Foundation; Hitchcock, beyond suspense at the Telefonica Foundation; or the opera Norma performed at the Royal Theater.
Anytime is a good time to visit the Catalan capital. But fall is the best time to experience the city like the locals do, enjoying the mild, sunny climate without the crowds. Walk or bike to the city’s modernist monuments, visit its famous parks (Parc Güell, Tibidabo), take a hot-air balloon ride or watch the sunset from one of the city’ most impressive venues: the rooftop at the Barceló Raval Hotel.
Fall is perhaps one of the best times of the year to enjoy the colors of Seville: the brilliant colors of the fall landscape combined with the city’s characteristic whitewashed buildings. Fall is also a great time to take an evening tour of the Alcázar (palace), see the Hospital de la Caridad by candlelight, or stroll along the banks of the Guadalquivir river.
If you’re busy spending your summer vacation at the beach and you don’t like to travel in the dead of winter, fall is the perfect time to visit Prague. The mild temperatures, the light reflecting on the city’s domes (there’s a reason it’s known as the “golden city”) and the nearby wine festivals like the one at Karlsteijn Castle are are just a few of the reasons why Prague is one of the most romantic destinations for a fall getaway. So pack your bags and get your tickets for the Anthology shadow theater or Mozart’s famous Don Giovanni opera. And be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes to explore the city’s enchanting streets and parks and even its beautiful cemeteries. For panoramic views right out of the movies, there’s no better place to stay than the Occidental Praha Wilson to see the Opera House, the National Museum and Prague Castle.
Stunning Italy is always a sure bet. It never disappoints, and least of all in the fall. The proximity of Milan, its mild climate and the endless shopping in this international fashion hub make it all the more appealing for a fall getaway. From the Duomo to the Giardini Publicci there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this great Italian city. Plus, in the days leading up to the festivities to celebrate the city’s patron saint, Sant’Ambrogio, Milan is alive with lights, antique markets, food and music: the perfect prelude to the Christmas season.