Top 4 Autumn City Breaks

Travel restrictions are being relaxed around the world, so dust off your passport and head out on an autumn city break.

Florence, Italy

One of the most culturally rich cities in the world, autumn is the perfect time of year to visit Florence, before the temperature drops but after the large summer tourist crowds have departed. The birthplace of the Renaissance, there are many breathtaking locations in the city, one of the most famous of which is the Galleria degli Uffizi, home to a stunning collection of priceless paintings.

For those with an interest in fashion, Florence is the perfect city to stock up on your autumn and winter wardrobes. The world-famous fashion brands Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo are headquartered in the city. There are also plenty of affordable boutique shops in the city.

Most restrictions in Italy have been lifted with the introduction of the COVID-19 “Green Pass”, allowing you to explore Florence in ease and comfort.

Porto, Portugal

A thriving city on the banks of the River Douro, Porto is overshadowed by Lisbon’s capital, but should not be overlooked as a destination in its own right. The city is steeped in history, and because of this, its centre was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1996. Modern Porto also has several iconic buildings, among the most impressive of these buildings being the Casa da Música, an architecturally cutting-edge music hall.

The Douro Valley is the home of port, a fortified red wine, and there are several guided tours of the vineyards that surround the city where you can see how it is produced, and of course sample it. If you want to go on a more active tour when in the city, try Porto Running Tours. On the running tour, a local guide takes you on a whistlestop tour of the main sights. The tours cater for all ages and fitness levels.

The combination of one of the lowest COVID-19 rates in Europe, and few travel restrictions for tourists means that now is the perfect time to head to Porto.

San Sebastián, Spain

San Sebastián is a foodie’s paradise. The city is second only to Kyoto in terms of Michelin stars per square meter. Three restaurants in the San Sebastián area have three Michelin stars: Akelarre, Arzak and Martín Berasategui.

Not only is the quality of the food in the city excellent, but there is also a great variety. Being located by the sea, the city has some wonderful seafood restaurants. Some local seafood dishes are bacalao pil-pil (cod fried in olive oil) and marmitako (a tuna stew).

The city’s pintxo (Basque tapas) bars serve a brilliant array of products sourced from the local area. There are few better ways to spend an evening than wandering through the old quarter of the city and popping into pinxto bars.

The natural scenery in San Sebastián is also beautiful. If you are brave enough to take on the autumn waters, take a dip into the sea at the city’s fabulous golden beaches.

Fully vaccinated travellers are permitted entry into Spain regardless of purpose and exempt from COVID-19 testing. The vaccine must be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization (WHO).

San Diego, United States

The US recently lifted travel restrictions for vaccinated international visitors, and San Diego should be at the top of your list of places to visit. The southern California city has one of the best climates in the world. Year-long sunny weather in the low 20°Cs, means that you are guaranteed a dose of vitamin D when you visit.

The city’s great weather is maybe a reason why its residents are known for having such a laid-back attitude. Visiting the city, it doesn’t feel like you are in the United States’ (US) 8th largest city. Rather, it has the relaxed feel of a collection of villages.

If you want an adrenaline rush, then try out one of the city’s favourite pastimes, surfing. There are plenty of surf beaches in San Diego, meaning there is the perfect wave for any skill level. For more relaxed activities, head to Balboa Park. The park has 17 museums, sumptuous gardens and is the home of the city’s world-renowned zoo.

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