By Alice Tegg, Editorial Team

Europe is home to some of the most exciting cities in the world, and autumn is the best time to see them – mild weather, no crowds and off-peak prices make the shoulder season a dream. Whether you’re a foodie, a history buff, art obsessed or a loved-up couple, we’ve rounded up the best city breaks in Europe for every traveller. 

1  Michelin meals in Bruges

the i-escape blog / Autumn city breaks in Europe for every type of traveller / Bruges

Known internationally for its waffles, chocolate and beer, Belgium already has somewhat of a reputation in the food world. But its prettiest city is set to change perceptions and put the country on the map for its fine dining instead, with those in the know already claiming it to be biting the heels of giants like London and Paris. For its size, Bruges has one of the highest concentrations of Michelin-Starred and recommended restaurants in Europe, plus countless more emerging eateries and chefs being eyed as the next best in the scene. Book in to Zet’joe, a shining light in the gourmet sphere, and let Chef Geert Van Hecke show you why he has received more than 4 stars in his career.

Where to stay in Bruges

  • Chic and quirky Hotel Marcel delivers modern style in the UNESCO-listed centre, with Bruges’ best delicacies only a short walk away. Rooms from £87 per night. 

2  Uncover art in Venice

the i-escape blog / Autumn city breaks in Europe for every type of traveller / Art installation in Venice

Coming as no great surprise, Venice truly is one of the best cities in the world for art lovers, and there’s no better time than when the Biennale is on. Every even year (the Architecture Biennale is held every odd year) the world’s biggest art festival opens its doors; an unbeatable opportunity to unearth up-and-coming talent, with fresh faces being exhibited shoulder-to-shoulder with the masters in the main curation, as well as in ‘unofficial’ shows hosted by galleries and venues all over town. Running until the end of November, a trip to Venice in the autumn is prime time to experience the city and all its festivities, minus the chaotic summer crowds.

Where to stay in Venice

  • Despite its super central location near the Grand Canal, Novecento Boutique Hotel is a peaceful pad where you’ll be welcomed in like one of the family. Rooms from £129 per night. 
  • Or if you’ve absorbed enough art for the day, escape the city for the charm of Casa Burano, on the picture-perfect namesake island just a short waterbus ride from Venice. Rooms from £113 per night.


3  Life’s a beach in Dubrovnik

the i-escape blog / Autumn city breaks in Europe for every type of traveller / Dubrovnik beach

A jewel on Croatia’s Adriatic coast, Dubrovnik provides one of the best beach city breaks in Europe; that sweet southern European sun shines late into the year here and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches. Sneak through an unassuming doorway in the Old Town’s limestone limits to discover Buza Bar (pictured), perfect for tanning on a slab, cooling off in crystal clear waters and rounding off the day with a chilled drink and the best sunset views the city can offer. Or head to one of the neighbouring islands, like Lokrum, to discover hidden bays with less of a buzz.

Where to stay in Dubrovnik

  • Situated just off the Stradun, the Dubrovnik Boutique Apartments (for 2-4) are stylish self-catering suites ideal for those who want to do Dubrovnik on their own terms. Apartments from £122 per night. 
  • For couples after a romantic hideaway, St Joseph’s is an all-rounder with breakfast included as well as self-catering facilities, dressed in shabby-chic decor. Suites from £213 per night. 


4  Save the pennies in Prague

the i-escape blog / Autumn city breaks in Europe for every type of traveller / Prague

For a cheap city break in November, consider Czechia’s colourful capital Prague, with all the cultural delights of well-travelled inland cities, like Zurich and Vienna, at prices that won’t make you clutch at your pearls. Word has spread about the ridiculously cheap price of a pint (the annual influx of stag-dos is the clear sign of this), comfortably coming in at under 2€, but beyond this there is a fairytale city to explore. Gothic and baroque architecture lining cobbled streets, a cafe culture to rival that of Paris, and world-class beer on tap around every corner are the perfect accompaniment for the cosy season (plus most of the stags will be married by then).

Where to stay in Prague

  • A four-star stay for an unbelievable price, Hotel Neruda, with it’s sophisticated old-meets-new design, will have you living the life of luxury even on the tightest of budgets. Rooms from £54 per night.
  • Offering a classic hotel experience, The Icon Hotel suits a traveller looking for bang for their buck, with in-house spa facilities and a location in the heart of the Nove Mesto. Rooms from £65 per night.


5  Time-travel in Istanbul

the i-escape blog / Autumn city breaks in Europe for every type of traveller / Istanbul

The geographical meeting point of east and west, Istanbul has changed hands over time between the Greeks, Romans, Venetians and Ottomans, all of whom stamped their mark through architecture, art and religious influence. An impressive amount of ancient monuments still stand, making this a dream city break for fans of history. Visit Byzantine churches adorned with Roman mosaics that eventually evolved into Ottoman mosques. Hagia Sofia is the most famous example of this; an active place of worship for Muslims in Istanbul, with walls still displaying ancient Christian imagery, it is a must-see of the city.

Where to stay in Istanbul

  • Ultra-modern lofts with views across the sprawling metropolis below, Witt Istanbul Suites take slick city living to a new level. Ideal for a couple who want to be in the thick of it. Suites from £109 per night. 
  • Istanbul Place Apartments (for 4-7) are perfect for groups looking for a trendy self-catering spot in a hip and historic neighbourhood, with exceptional views of the city. Apartments from £114 per night. 


6  Get ahead of the curve in Valletta

the i-escape blog / Autumn city breaks in Europe for every type of traveller / Valletta

Tiny Malta has always had a rich history of trading and sea-faring; now the capital of Valletta is starting to make waves in the weekend city break scene. With fantastic food at better-than-expected prices, a stunning setting inside a Baroque fort, and the Mediterranean on three sides, this is the epitome of a hidden gem. Plus, as Europe’s southern-most capital, you can expect to top up your tan throughout October and well into November.

Where to stay in Valletta

  • Dotted around the city you’ll find Valletta Vintage (for 2-8), self-catering apartments designed to the highest standard. Showcasing modern art and bags of style, these are contemporary boltholes in an otherwise medieval town. Apartments from £60 per night.


7  Go green in Amsterdam

No, I don’t mean that kind of green. We all need to be travelling more eco-consciously, and Amsterdam is the ideal destination for those looking to minimise their footprint and still get abroad. Simple to get to by train from London and many other major cities in western Europe, and with all the hotspots accessible by foot or bike from the centre, it has never been easier to experience the Dutch capital with a guilt-free conscience. And what better way to take in the golden hues of tree-lined canals in October than by pedal power?

Where to stay in Amsterdam

  • Located in a central district known for its museums, with bikes available for exploring further reaches of the city, JL No76 is a contemporary hotel that has thought of everything. Rooms from £103 per night. 
  • A cool collection of unique rooms gives Hotel Roemer a smart edge. This is a great option for new parents travelling with baby for the first time, who’ll enjoy the extra courtyard space and babysitting service. Rooms from £102 per night. 


8  Dance till dawn in Seville

the i-escape blog / Autumn city breaks in Europe for every type of traveller / Flamenco in Seville

Romantic city breaks in Europe typically conjure up images of lamp-lit strolls in Paris, and it’s a classic for a reason. But for something a little juicier why not head to Spain’s most seductive city, Seville? Early harvest of the iconic oranges begins in November, so autumn is a perfect time to see the trees bowing with delicious citrus bounty. Once the sun sets, Seville comes alive. Share the best tapas in the country with your significant other, then head to a traditional flamenco bar, like the renowned La Carboneria or small-but-spirited Quitapesares, to dance into the early hours like the Sevillanos.

Where to stay in Seville

  • You can see in the evening from the rooftop pool at Hospes Las Casas del Rey de Baeza, which has a suitably laid-back style situated in Seville’s Old Town. Rooms from £132 per night.
  • For those who’d rather save their money for bottomless patatas bravas, Hotel Sacristia de Santa Ana provides a budget-friendly break without scrimping on style or setting. Rooms from £43 per night.  

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