5 European Cities to Visit during the Fall
Leah Walker August 19, 2014

Fall is my favorite time of the year. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve lived with endless sweltering Texas summers, robbing me of months of sweater weather. Actually, my fondness for fall is much more than my love of cashmere cardigans. I love the trees turning from green to gold, followed by the crunch of the brown leaves under my boots. Strawberries give way to squash in the market, and pumpkin-flavored everything infiltrates menus from Starbucks to Michelin-starred restaurants. Come September, kids are back in school and many of the tourists have disappeared, making fall travel ideal, especially in Europe.

Normally I keep my travel plans pretty close to the vest. As I’ve said before, I never know what will come up or fall through. I will say that through the end of 2014, I have the bulk of my travel organized, and Europe is playing a staring role. I’m revisiting some of my favorite cities and adding a few new destinations. I have some time gaps that need to be filled, but sometimes flying by the seat of my pants is also exciting. In any event, here are five of the European cities I’m coveting for fall travel.

Munich, Germany

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Nothing screams fall like Oktoberfest in Munich. The massive German celebration is #68 on my To-Do List. How could I not want to experience the festival tents, steins of beer, parades, music, lederhosen, dirndls, and Bavarian food? As you may recall, in February I spent 24 hours in Munich before setting off on my winter Best of the Alps ski trip. The short time wasn’t enough to sample everything the city offers, but it was long enough for me to determine that I would return. It seems there is no better time to revisit than late September for Oktoberfest.

Florence, Italy

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It’s been just about three years since I visited Florence. The city is like an open-air museum and is one of my favorite places to tackle by foot. Although I spent three nights in Florence, there’s still plenty I’ve yet to see. For instance, can you believe I didn’t visit the Uffizi Gallery or walk inside of the Duomo? All the culture and history aside, I must admit that I have an ulterior motive for visiting Florence in the fall. You see, October is the height of truffle season, and I’m obsessed with these high-dollar fungi. I can’t imagine a better place to get my truffle fix than in Italy.

Bruges, Belgium


I’ve yet to visit Belgium, but the country is pretty famous for three of my favorite things—waffles, chocolate, and diamonds. That alone has me intrigued. Bruges, with its medieval architecture, looks like a page ripped from a Brothers Grimm fairytale. Known as the ‘Venice of the north,’ the canals running through the city are begging to be photographed, while the cobblestone lanes surely deserve more than a day to explore. Yes, methinks I need some Bruges in my fall travel schedule.

Edinburgh, Scotland

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The first European city I ever visited was Edinburgh. I, along with my mother, embarked on a two-week summer trip to the UK, where we somehow navigated the thick Scottish accent, the obscenely crowded British Museum, Gatwick Airport parking, and haggis. It’s said that you always remember your first, and I can certainly agree when it comes to Edinburgh. Old Town, New Town, the castle, the literary past, along with the fun pub culture, I really loved the city. It’s about time I returned.

Bordeaux, France

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In January, I took a weekend trip to Bordeaux and it was magnificent. The town itself is quite interesting, but honestly, it’s what’s outside the city limits that beckons me back. The world’s most famous wine growing region was barren in the winter, and most of the châteaux were closed. I was fortunate to have Dominique Garcia, the owner of Les Sommelier et Les Vingerons and former head sommelier at Mouton Rothschild, organize a few exceptional tours and tastings. However, my Bordeaux thirst was not quenched, pardon the pun. Fall in Bordeaux means harvest season, and I’m dying to taste the fruits of the year’s labor.

What do you think of this list? Any other places I should be considering?

Photo Credits: EdinburghBruges, Featured Photo

Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Luxe Beat Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet.


  1. Awesome suggestions, Leah! Still have yet to visit a few of these and have actually only visited one—Edinburgh—in the fall. Would love to get over to Europe more often outside of summer and spring!

    1. Most of my European travel has come in the winter, but I love cold weather. Spring is another great time, but summer I can take or leave, mostly because of the crowds. I do hope you get to give Europe a shot during the fall or winter.

  2. Great suggestions, Leah. Three of our favourite cities listed. And we’re now keen to visit Bordeaux and Bruges. May we suggest Seville and even Madrid? Summer’s just too hot in these two cities, but come Autumn, they’re a more appealing prospect.

  3. Fall is a great time to visit Europe! Being a Florida native it’s a real treat to go somewhere where there are seasonal changes. I must admit that I’ve never visited Bordeaux or Bruges but each of the cities look exquisite. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Since you’re a Flordian, you know exactly what it’s like dealing with the hot, sticky weather. Growing up in the Panhandle of Texas I had four distinct seasons. I miss that so much. I can certainly say that Bordeaux is worth the trip, especially if you’re a wine lover. Bruges…well, hopefully I’ll let you know.

  4. Nice list… but the British Museum and Gatwick are in London, not Edinburgh :)

    PS ~ The Scott Monument and the Nelson Monument in Edinburgh are climbable and provide great views of the city. The Nelson Monument also drops a visible ball in sync with the One O’Clock gun at the Castle. Great spots!

    1. Thank you for the great tips on Edinburgh. I’ll make sure to climb both monuments when I return. Also, I wrote that my mother and I took a trip to the UK. There we successfully navigated the British Museum and Gatwick. I wasn’t implying they were in Edinburgh, but rather the UK.

  5. I’d add Lisbon. Tourists are gone, the weather isn’t too cold yet but already makes you wear cozy clothes and there’s the sweet smell of the chestnuts that vendors are roasting in the streets.

  6. The only one of your choices I haven’t visited is Bordeaux – but I would recommend the city of Málaga in Andalucía as a great place to visit during the autumn.

    Málaga has improved enormously over the past ten years and now boasts famous museums (including the Picasso), markets, street art, monuments, an amazing new port area and quality restaurants to visit. The tapas scene is amazing, the people friendly and welcoming – and this week it is our annual Fería when more than one million people enjoy one great big party in the city.

  7. Hmm, I’d go back to Bruges in the fall. I have a feeling it would be gorgeous and well, super romantic. Perfect for long walks, one of my favorite thing to do in cities. As for other places, do I really need to remind you of Krakow? 😉

  8. although it the midst of a 71-day European adventure that will lead my deep into autumn…… I will unfortunately visit none of these cities…. :-( I guess I’ll need to make another trip back across the pond someday to visit the three I have yet to experience… seems like a good call..

    stay visiting the old world, Craig

  9. I would be happy to visit any of these places this fall, although I have to admit that California is pretty nice at this time of year, too. :) I hope to make it to Edinburgh and/or Munich next summer. I went to Bruges a few years ago and loved it!

  10. I love fall, too, and love traveling in the fall somewhere where it actually gets a bit blustery. Don’t have much fall weather here in San Diego. :) I’d love to go to Oktoberfest in Munich someday!

  11. Oh, gosh! Where do I start? Personally I want to return to Italy (I’m missing it), and venture in to eastern Europe as I haven’t seen much of it. Somehow the gloominess of fall makes me even more eager. I’ve got too many suggestions.. Switzerland in general, Berlin, Ghent, Paris, Avignon, Barcelona, Algarve region in Portugal, Malta (for a nice winter break!)… and I could go on. Only thing I wouldn’t do in fall is Scandinavia, as I personally enjoyed Copenhagen much better in springtime than fall :)

  12. As a frequent visitor to Brugge, I have to say it tops my list. It really is like stepping into a fairy tale of sorts. Although not a big city and most can be seen in a couple of days I could wander the streets and alleys forever.

  13. Do no forget Warsaw, Poland, especially its Old Town , still artsy and hip , sort of Montparnasse of Eastern Europe. My hometown and a city that was built from ashes. Its Old Town section is a meticulous replica recreated from documents and photos before Hitler’s Nazi leveled it to the ground. Having lived 40 years in States still find it very seductive spot on the map.

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