Autumn travel guide: Four cheap European destinations to visit out of season

It is common knowledge that traveling outside school holidays will get you more for your money. This year in particular, hotel deals are everywhere – in London, some West End properties are collaborating with theaters for exclusive guest screenings. Tour operators are offering Q4 discounts, such as Abercrombie & Kent’s US$500 discount on bookings in Ireland, Croatia and Eastern Europe. Abercrombie’s product manager Liam Dunch also recommends Turkey in the fall, and not just for tourist-free sites when the weather is at its best. “Prices are going up there,” he says, “so 2022 is a good year to take advantage of that before it gets more expensive.”

Beyond “generating savings” in industry jargon, shoulder season showcases Europe at its best. With the drop in temperatures, daily life returns to the streets. Fall foliage showcases local color, produce is plentiful, and winemakers celebrate the harvest at festivals from Portugal to Greece. We have chosen four versatile flights with direct flights from Canada and direct benefits for travelers.

Where to go: Lisbon

Cityscape of Lisbon in Portugal.MAREK SLUSARCZYK/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

Why it’s worth the trip: Autumn is the easiest and windiest season for this waterfront capital, when restaurants, galleries and even nightclubs take over the cobbled streets. You can attend free jazz at Parque da Bela Vista every Sunday in September and the outdoor fado festival on September 23 and 24.

What weather to expect: Daytime temperatures hover in the low to mid-20s until November, when they dip into the high teens.

How much you can save: “Flight prices tend to drop for trips in mid-September to Europe and then again for trips from mid-October onwards,” says Casey Mead of G Adventures, the Toronto-based escorted tour operator. . Direct flights from Toronto or Montreal on Air Canada start at $366, round-trip, in October; $312 on Air Transat – down a third or more from summer. Dining is also reasonable – you can get a hearty breakfast for $5 and fine dining for $20. You’ll practically save money walking around town for two weeks.

Where to stay: Double rooms at the immaculate Hall Chiado start at $150. At AlmaLusa, in a historic villa set back from the Tagus, they start at $370, breakfast included.

Where to go: Athens

People visit a new section housing the remains of an ancient district of Athens under the Acropolis Museum in Athens on its opening day on June 21, 2019.LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images

Why it’s worth the trip: Come fall, you won’t have to compete for tables in the city’s most desirable areas, Monastiraki and Kolonaki. And if you haven’t had the chance to visit the Acropolis Museum, go now, for one of the most important collections of antiquities in Europe. Until January, two Panathenaic amphorae on loan from the Royal Ontario Museum are on display.

What weather to expect: You simply won’t enjoy the sunny walk around the Parthenon until September, when temperatures drop to around 20°C. They peak at the end of November, at around 15°C.

How much you can save: In late September, direct flights from Toronto start at $429 on Air Canada, about $100 less than in the summer. In October, you can fly direct on Air Transat from $410, round trip – one of the best deals the airline has to offer, although airline representative Marie-Eve Vallières is urging travelers to Book early to avoid last minute price increases.

Where to stay: It’s easy to stay on the cheap in Athens, but Urban Frame is more stylish than the rest, with balconies in most rooms and prices halving in October to $322 a night including breakfast. Live In Athens offers a collection of apartments for couples and families, starting around $100 a night in October and November.

Where to go: Barcelona, ​​Spain

The Barcelona Design Museum – which brings together collections of Catalan decorative arts, graphics, ceramics, textiles and fashion – is part of the Design Hub Barcelona, ​​​​the site of the main design organizations in the city.The New York Times

Why it’s worth the trip: It has the rich architectural heritage and the gastronomic culture of a great European capital, with the wild Costa Brava just a few minutes from the city. Ferries from the Barcelona city center terminal reach the Balearic Islands in six to eight hours. G Adventures offers a hiking program in Ibiza, designed for the cooler months.

What weather to expect: The average temperature in October is 21°C, dropping to 17°C in mid-November. In summer, it will reach 30°C almost every day.

How much you can save: You will pay a little more than half the price of a flight in autumn compared to summer. In October, that means $388 round trip from Toronto on Air Transat and $402 on Air Canada.

Where to stay: In November, “basic” rooms at the bustling Room Mate Carla in Barcelona’s art nouveau heart are down to $117 a night. In Poblenou, closer to the beach, prices at the Hoxton drop steadily from $375 in August to $295 in September, $270 in October and $243 in November.

Where to go: Rome

Cafes along Via delle Muratte, near the Trevi Fountain, in Rome on May 7.Francesco Lastrucci/New York Times News Service

Why it’s worth the trip: Autumn is when locals come out of hiding to enjoy the city, filling squares at night, making the passeggiata in front of Gianicolo Park. “If travelers are looking for a big city experience,” says Mead of G Adventures, “the weather is still great in Rome, the crowds are almost all gone, you’ll meet more local people to connect with and see better exhibits. of museums on display during the winter months.The Romaeuropa Festival, from mid-September to mid-November, offers live music, dance, opera and art throughout the city.

What weather to expect: For Romans, September still counts as summer, but the evenings are cooler and temperatures sit at a comfortable 22°C in October.

How much you can save: If you can fly before November, when routes from Canada begin to dry up, you’ll pay less than $425 round-trip with Air Canada and Air Transat (direct from Toronto only). This is down from $700 in August.

Where to stay: That’s the catch. Rome hotel rates drop in scorching August, followed by a spike in September. Prices balance out in October. At Hotel Navona, a super-friendly hostel surprisingly close to the Pantheon, you can get a double room with breakfast for $241. Monti Palace, on a pretty, vine-covered cobblestone lane a 10-minute walk from the Colosseum, is a step up in price and luxury. A double room including breakfast at the rooftop restaurant costs $290 a night.

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