August is definitely holiday month in Europe, leaving those of us without a few weeks to take off thoroughly miserable, scrolling through Facebook and feeling jealous of everyone having a great time. And the patronising “well, you have had your fun,” only adds to the annoyance.
For those with a few days off in autumn who unsure of where to head, here is a bit of inspiration in the form of four great cities which I spent time in last September. (Oh, those were the days….)
Paris: In autumn, the city wakes from its lazy summer, leaves turn orange making the parks, (Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin des Plantes, Parc des Buttes Chaumont) even more spectacle than normal. The two hour waits to get up the Tour Eiffel or Arc de Triumph vanish, leaving longer to explore the city, and meaning it no longer takes a whole day to see a few sights. If it gets a bit cold, you are in the city with a never ending supply of cafés hot chocolate (with baileys) and Nutella crepes. Autumn is also when a lot of the festivals (Ile de France, Comic Con) start; as well as theatre shows and art exhibitions, marking the return of the true Parisians.
Edinburgh: The tree lined streets are now adding a splash of colour to an already vibrant city. The Fringe festival may be over, but be sure to check the International Storytelling Festival, theRiding of the Marches, and the always amazing line up of shows at the theatre. It is the perfect time to embrace the outdoors, through a round of golf, walking the Royal Mile through the Old Town and seeing the castle and Holyrood Palace, and hiking up through the park to Arthur’s Seat.
Istanbul: Known for sizzling summers, everything feels a bit more manageable come September. Walking through Gülhane Park, among the golden tinted trees is a beautiful way to start any day, or actually spend a whole day. It is also a great city just for walking around, I tended to cover around ten miles a day, which was a lot more manageable in the cooler weather. Be sure to give enough time in both the modern and older side of the city; lots of people tend to stick on the side they are staying on. And check out the Grand Bazaar, less tourists than in the summer, and the hawkers are more willing to bargain.
Belgrade: This city is great because of the range of the events that take place throughout the year.In autumn the Book Festival and BEMUS music event are great drawing points to a city which is constantly overlooked by tourists in summer, let alone autumn. There is a great blend of talent on display on the streets, from actors murals on the walls, vintage streets art, and the beautiful buildings. Visiting this city is also a great chance to learn about the often overlooked, brutal history during the 1990’s, whilst taking a hike through the Old Town, before enjoying plates of grilled meat in a local restaurant.