If it already seems like your summer holiday was a distant memory, now is the perfect time to start planning your next get-away
Autumn is an ideal time to take a mini break or long weekend and make the most of the last few rays of sunshine. European city breaks across Spain and Germany are only a short plane journey from Birmingham, or if you’d rather a break slightly further afield, the Middle East has some great options. If you’d like to stay close to home, Edinburgh and Belfast are worth considering for a UK break.
SUN, SEA & SANGRIA IN SPAIN
Madrid – The summer heat in Madrid is intense, so a stay in autumn is more comfortable. Locals and tourists alike flock to the city’s public parks to enjoy the year-round sunny days. You can’t miss Retiro Park, a massive former royal garden that now has a boating lake and fountains. Foodies will revel in the La Latina neighbourhood which is famous for its tapas bars, so plan to sample plates of patatas bravas and gambas al ajillo from as many as you can.
Palma – Mallorca is fondly termed ‘the star of the Mediterranean’. Palma, its capital, with its pavement cafes, boulevards and grand architecture is the jewel in the crown. Palma is a fabulous place for shopping with its many boutiques and shopping streets of Placa Mayor, Placa Mercat and Placa Cort. It is also provides a great base for exploring the rest of the island.
CULTURE, ARTS & BEER IN GERMANY
Munich – Although best known for Oktoberfest, the Bavarian capital shouldn’t be ruled out as a city break destination worthy of a visit during the rest of the year too. Known as the ‘city of art and beer’, Munich boasts six major breweries – so enjoy a top tankard whenever you fancy.
Berlin – Since the fall of the wall, Berlin has fast become a cultural and creative centre of Europe. Autumn is a great time to visit thanks to the city’s many beautiful gardens and parks. If you’re visiting closer to Christmas, the Berliner Weihnachtszeit is one of the most famous festive markets with local gifts and delicacies.
SCENERY, HISTORY & WHISKY IN THE UK
Edinburgh – Scotland’s capital is perched atop Castle Rock and wrapped in rocky hills. The city is brimming with things to do and sights to visit. Head to Holyrood and venture up Arthur’s Seat before enjoying the view from Edinburgh Castle and whetting your whisky whistle on one of the city’s famous distillery tours. If you’re willing to push the boat out book into the Balmoral for the night, Edinburgh’s luxury railway hotel, and dine in the Michelin-star restaurant.
Belfast – Named the best place to visit in 2018 by Lonely Planet, Belfast has undergone an incredible transformation in recent years. Voyage into the past at the Titanic Belfast and learn all about one of the world’s most iconic ships. If you want to venture a little out of the city, the Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a geological marvel.
BEACHES, REEFS & SPICES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Marsa Alam – One of Egypt’s popular Red Sea destinations, offering miles of white sands, shimmering beaches and colour reefs. A perfect destination for divers, Marsa Alam has some of Egypt’s most unspoiled reefs with Elphinstone Reef being the best of the lot. Look out for reef sharks, giant turtles and spinner dolphins, as well as other marine wildlife galore.
Dubai – Old Dubai is charming, especially the preserved narrow streets of Al Bastakiya, now known as the Al Fahidi Historical District. Near here is Dubai Creek, a vibrant area where the city began, full of street art, local cafes and colourful bazaars. If you’re visiting for the first time take in the view from the Burj Khalifa’s 124th floor observation deck or visit the beautiful Jumeirah mosque.