Many would argue that autumn's the best time to travel – besides the season's stunning colour palette, you no longer have to contend with the massive summer crowds, and the dipping temperature means putting on all the fashionable layers. After a day of enjoying lively local festivals and snapping selfies against the backdrop of golden-leafed trees, you can retreat to your warm holiday rental for a movie and a midnight snack. From filling your bladder with cider in Normandy to taking the kids to Copenhagen's Tivoli Park, here are the best city break choices for when the seasons are a-changin'.
Watch the leaves change colour in Ljubljana
With attractive bridges like Dragon Bridge and Triple Bridge, the Ljubljanica river is a charming element of the Slovene capital's cityscape all year round. Imagine, then, how much lovelier the riverside is in autumn, when you can sit in one of the waterfront cafes and get both your people-watching and leaf-spotting fix at once. Another spot for appreciating the changing colours of the leaves is Tivoli Park, Ljubljana's largest green space. The park is dotted with fountains, flower beds and landscaped walking paths, and there's an outdoor photography gallery along the Jakopic Promenade. You can then walk or take the funicular up to the hilltop Ljubljana Castle for panoramic views of the city in all its autumnal glory.
Foodies and music buffs will enjoy Oslo breaks in autumn
Oslo might be more popular for those looking to see the fabled northern lights, but visitors arriving in autumn won't be disappointed by the sunset-coloured hues on display as the weather turns. And if sampling local fare is always high on your agenda, you'll definitely enjoy wining and dining on your Oslo holiday, as seasonal ingredients like apples, mushrooms, lobster and lamb make for heartier and more flavourful dishes. Music fans might want to schedule an Oslo city break in September, when festivals like GranittRock and the Oslo Opera Festival offer tons of gigs and concerts to attend between your leaf-watching escapades. Meanwhile, the Oslo World Music Festival takes place at the end of October.
Go on a Copenhagen getaway to admire the autumn colours
Copenhagen has plenty of parks and gardens, so it's no surprise that the Danish capital offers one of the best city breaks in October, especially for families. Late October is autumn break for students, and many attractions and museums typically hold programmes catering to kids. Tivoli Gardens, the world's second-oldest amusement park, put up spectacular displays for Halloween, with a plethora of bright orange jack-o'-lanterns complementing the glorious golden shades of the trees and foliage. The landscaped features of Vestre Cemetery, the largest of its kind in Denmark, is popular for pleasant strolls throughout the year, but visiting around Halloween season gives your foliage-spotting adventures that extra spooky vibe.
Don't say no to a delicious autumn break in Normandy
If doing nothing but eating, drinking and being merry is your idea of the perfect getaway, you might want to book a Normandy city break in October and November. A lip-smacking buffet of food festivals takes place in this Northern France destination in autumn. Take your pick from holiday rentals in Orne, Eure and Calvados for free-flowing cider during the Fete de la Pomme et du Cidre. Or if you want to stuff yourself silly with shrimp and scallop, stay in Calvados during seafood festivals like Fete de la Coquille St Jacques. Fetes du Hareng, a herring festival, also takes place in the Seine-Maritime area in November. Oh, and don't forget the stunning spectacle of fiery red, orange and yellow hues all across the French countryside.
Learn about local culture at Barcelona's festivals
There's much more to a Barcelona city break in September and October than admiring the autumn colours. For instance, expect plenty of cultural events on Catalonia's National Day, celebrated on 11 September. Visit in late September and you'll catch Festes de la Merce, a week-long celebration in honour of the city's patron saint. Plenty of smaller festivals coincide with Festes de la Merce but if you miss all the fun, you might still catch other autumnal festivals focused on jazz, cinema or multimedia art. Instead of Halloween, the Catalan region celebrates La Castanyada – the day to gorge on roasted chestnuts, sweet potatoes and marzipan treats called panellets.