As the nights draw in and temperatures slide down through autumn and into winter, the beach resorts and coastal towns of Europe go into hibernation. Luckily, this is also when many of the continent’s most exciting cities come to life, as city parks flourish in auburn hues, and the charming architecture of magical old towns capture their best light under the moody luminescence of gothic lamp posts. With that image in mind, here are the European cities you need to visit this November.
Bologna, for the very best of Italian cuisine
Nothing warms the soul more on a chilly November night than a delicious plate of hearty, authentic grub. When said grub is in the food capital of Italy – the kind of title a town really has to earn – then the phrase comfort food takes on a whole new meaning. The people of this city (the Bolognese) have been putting food at the centre of their lives for well over a thousand years – there’s a good reason one of Italy’s most famous dishes is named after them. Today it is a haven for food lovers, with buzzing markets, cutting-edge restaurants, pasta-makers and adorable old nonnas still plying their trade on every corner. As an ancient university city the backdrop to your dining experience will almost always be a beautiful one, with medieval watchtowers, porticoes and red-tiled rooftops making this one of the country’s most elegant cities, especially in autumn.
Book your spot on our Gourmet Getaway to Bologna, where you’ll get a culinary tour of the city, see the sights and get the chance to take a pasta cooking class. You’ll also visit a Parmigiano Reggiano dairy in the Emilia Romagna countryside, a balsamic vinegar manufacturer in Modena and wine tasting, with plenty of cured ham, in Parma.
Barcelona, for artistic architecture and a cosmopolitan atmosphere
You might associate the Catalan capital with searing hot temperatures and a few too many tourists, but if those two features are putting you off a trip to this glorious Spanish city then why not visit in November? Tourist season is very much over by then, meaning cheaper prices as well as a calmer experience, but the weather remains pleasant, with sunny spells, mild temperatures and a sea still warm enough to swim in. But this isn’t just a holiday of convenience, the city’s famously brash architecture is a joy at this time of year. Bold colours brighten up the streets by day and, as darkness falls, the atmospheric alleys of the Gothic Quarter, as well as Gaudí’s great masterpiece La Sagrada Familia, take on a special kind of moody beauty.
Join us this November as we Discover the Artistic Side of Barcelona – this Mini Trip includes visits to La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and Passeig de Gracia, with plenty of free time to explore the city’s incredible food market, as well as the storied streets of the Gothic Quarter.
Istanbul, for bustling bazaars and arty neighbourhoods
Another city with pleasant weather and fewer crowds in November is this Turkish metropolis, which is probably too hot for a city break in summer. Picture the scene, you’re sat outside a cafe, in the shadow of a spectacular mosque or palace, with a coffee in hand and some Turkish Delight in your belly. You’re wondering whether to visit the Grand Bazaar or the Spice Market, or perhaps a stroll through the trendy neighbourhoods of Kuzguncuk and Kadikoy, where you can potter around antique shops and bookstores, and pick up some baklava for the ferry ride back to your hotel. Quite frankly there is so much to do in this place you could end up pondering outside that cafe all day. Gaze in awe at ancient architectural behemoths, soak in the atmosphere of cultural hotspots and explore the diversity of districts on both the European and Asian halves either side of the Bosporus.
Sold on a November jaunt to this glorious city? Let us do the planning and book your spot on our five-day Introduction to Istanbul, where we’ll cram in a whole host of sights, including the Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet Square and Topkapi Palace, as well a ferry ride on the Bosporus and time to explore markets and bazaars, sampling the many culinary delights of Turkey along the way.
Seville, for culture, cuisine and cathedrals
The capital of Andalusia in Southern Spain puts forward a decent case to be the most fascinating city in Europe. The region has seen countless civilisations come and go, including Roman, Islamic and Christian rule, and over centuries has sponged up the architecture, culture, traditions and cuisines of all who have passed through, culminating in a totally distinct Andalusian identity. Its old town is home to three different Unesco World Heritage Sites – the cathedral, the Royal Alcazar and Archivo de Indias – and combined with a beautiful blend of old and new architecture, makes for one of the most picturesque cities on the planet. Meanwhile as night draws in the vibrant culture of Seville comes to life. This is the home of flamenco, so no visit is complete without taking in a show, swiftly followed by some of the best tapas in Spain.
Book your spot on our Culture-Rich Adventure in Andalusia this November and we’ll take you to see the many sights of Seville, with an optional paella cooking class, flamenco show and guided bicycle tour, as well as excursions to the nearby cities of Cadiz and Jerez.
Malaga, for a trip through Spanish history
Ok so you may be realising that we love a visit to Spain in November, especially the warmer climates of the south, and especially the stunning region of Andalusia, also home to Malaga. You might associate the capital of the Costa del Sol with hordes of drunken tourists there to enjoy its many beaches and excellent nightlife, but that does a disservice to the city’s rich culture. This is the birthplace of Picasso, after all, never mind the ancient Arab fortress of Alcazaba, the beautifully preserved Roman theatre and the thriving art scene that call this city home. So with so much to explore, plus temperate weather, great food and no rowdy party tourists to spoil the setting, November is the perfect time to visit Malaga.
Book your spot on our trip to Malaga and Granada this November to see the city for yourself. We’ll show you the sights on a scenic walking tour of the city, as well as allowing you to explore on your own, or take an optional tour to the stunning gorge town of Ronda, before moving on to Granada.
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