5 Top Autumn weekend getaways in Europe
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With summer coming to an end, many of us think that our travels for the year must end too. Yet, this is no reason to put travelling on standby, as autumn can be the perfect time to explore Europe. With kids back at school and temperatures dropping, tourist hotspots are less crowded. This means airport commutes are less stressful, queues are shorter, attractions aren’t ram-packed, and fewer people are photobombing your holiday snaps – all pretty ideal! Yet, resorts won’t be completely shut down for the season, so you’ll still get some atmosphere and nightlife if you’re looking for it. For this reason, you’ll be able to find some great deals, because the top holiday locations still want you there. So, why not extend your summer or give yourself a nice break between summer and the festive season? Here is a selection of top weekend getaways in Europe: 1. Madrid, Spain With the summer heat often exceeding an unbearable 40°C, autumn is the perfect time to visit the Spanish capital for a weekend break, because the sun is still out in more pleasant temperatures. Although often overlooked by its coastal rivals, the city is full of attractions that appeal to everyone. Art lovers are spoiled for choice with the famous Golden Triangle (Museo del Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Museo Reina Sofía), just as history aficionados can enjoy a visit to the Royal Palace of Madrid or the ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod. Football fans can opt for a tour around the renowned Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Likewise, foodies can make the most of San Miguel market, tapas in La Latina or the famous churros from Chocolatería San Ginés, followed by a stroll in the Buen Retiro Park, to burn it all off. Then, not forgetting the shopaholics, who will love ambling down the iconic, shopping street of Gran Vía, or a mooch in the historic flea market, El Rastro, held every Sunday morning.
2. Lisbon, Portugal From one Iberian capital to another, Lisbon is famous for its contrasting traditional architecture and contemporary culture and cherishes 290 days of sunshine each year, with perfect mild temperatures through the autumn months. It also boasts distinguished hospitality, all down to the welcoming and helpful locals. Must-dos for history geeks include visits to Belém Tower, Jerónimos Monastery and São Jorge Castle, which provide a significant insight of times gone by. The city’s oldest quarter, Alfama, is ideal for those happy to get lost in a labyrinth of intimate back-streets, full of unique shops and funky cafes. Alternatively, you can cross this artisan district in an iconic Remodelado tram, if you don’t fancy putting your walking shoes on. Put them back on if you want to climb up the Cristo Rei, a statue of Christ which overlooks the city, or make the most of many walking tours available. For those craving a taste of the city’s nightlife, which doesn’t tend to come alive until gone midnight, the lively neighbourhood of Bairro Alto is the place to be.
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