The 12 Best European Holiday Towns to Visit this Fall

It may be hard to believe, but people who live in major European hubs like Rome, Paris, and Berlin spend lots of money to get away from their homes during the holidays, just like North Americans. The temperatures in Europe soar in August, and many businesses close their doors as workers seek breezes and cooler temperatures elsewhere. This leaves only the tourists in these larger cities, wondering where everyone went.

Instead of heading to Europe in August, when most of the city has left for summer vacation, travel across the Atlantic in September and October, and visit all the cities that European holidaymakers have recently vacated. These holiday destinations are hidden gems that have mostly been overlooked by North Americans — until now.

1. Ibiza

Ibiza is one of the Balearic Islands, but has come to have a life of its own as it grows in popularity with holidaymakers from around the world. Ibiza Town and San Antonio are the two most popular cities on the island, and both are full of bars and clubs that attract partygoers from all over the world.

If you’re there to party, you should plan on paying a steep entry fee, between $35-65 USD, depending on the DJ of the night. Avid EDM fans regularly flock to Ibiza and pay these exorbitant entry fees to hear artists like Deadmau5 and Paul Van Dyk play.

During the day, you can explore the natural wonders of the island, and purchase local arts and crafts from the many beachside vendors.

Aleksandrs Tihonovs / Getty Images

2. Cologne, Germany

If you’re European and looking for a cheaper place to host a bachelor or bachelorette party, Cologne is the current destination of choice. During the evening, it’s not uncommon to see roving parties moving through the city, hopping from bar to bar, and enjoying kölsch, the city’s famous beer.

If you’re not into the party scene, there’s still plenty to do. The city’s famous cathedral is a major draw, and you can walk the 509 steps to the very top and look over the city from above. Stroll through the Agnesviertel, and check out the local art scene, then end the night with some authentic Kölsch cuisine at one of the traditional restaurants of the city.

Matthias Haker Photography / Getty Images

3. Lecce, Italy

Judging by its nickname “the Florence of the South,” the charms of Lecce have not gone unnoticed. Lecce is a popular vacation destination for Italian families, who are drawn by the architecture (much of which dates back to ancient Rome), as well as the many cooking schools who teach appreciation of local ingredients and regional cooking techniques.

If you’re staying overnight, there are plenty of B&Bs in the city, which provide a much more personalized and pleasant experience than staying at a chain hotel. It’s easy to get here from the larger cities of Turin, Rome, Naples, and Milan by train or bus.

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