While many people fixate on the summer holidays, there's a lot to be said for getting away at other times of the year when destinations are less busy. I think autumn is the ideal season to choose if you're thinking of going on a city break.
Why, I hear you ask? Well, aside from fewer crowds, you can often enjoy excellent weather in the autumn and if you're heading somewhere in northern Europe, it won't be too cold yet either. Of course, you can always travel south to get a little more sunshine before winter sets in back in the UK.
Another reason why booking a holiday in the autumn is such a great idea is that it means you've got something to look forward to after the summer break is over - delaying the onset of those winter blues just a few weeks longer.
If this has got you thinking about where you can jet off to over the coming months, check out my suggestions below.
I reckon this is the perfect time to visit some of northern Europe's top cities, before snow and ice coats the ground and temperatures really plummet. Here are just a couple of places that are on my wish list.
Photo Credit: Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Cathedral by archer10 (Dennis), on Flickr Venice
is at its most crowded during the summer, so travelling a little later in the year is an excellent way to avoid the crowds. What's more, the weather in Venice is usually drier in September and October than it is in the spring and early summer, while average temperatures are in the low 20s to mid-teens for the most part.
By avoiding the winter months you'll miss the worst of the fog that can shroud Venice's most famous landmarks - like St Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace and the Rialto Bridge - making it tough to get a real sense of the city's grandeur.
Photo Credit: Bordeaux grand theatre by maofiozo, on Flickr
Bordeaux probably isn't the first French city you think of when you decide to go on a city break, but I think it makes a great alternative to Paris - especially in the autumn. The temperatures here are still in the high teens throughout September and October and, although there's the risk of rain and snow in these months, there's also a lot of sunshine.
If you love history, Bordeaux is the place for you, with the whole city a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are more than 300 listed buildings in its centre, so you've certainly got a lot to see. Of course, Bordeaux is more famous for its wine and I think any city break here should include a tour of one of the local vineyards.
If you're not quite ready to let go of the summer yet and want to eke out a few more days in the sun, check out my suggestions for a city break in the sun.
Photo Credit: Sagrat Cor and Tibidabo Amusement Park Barcelona by Oh-Barcelona.com, on Flickr
For me, Barcelona has it all - plenty of art, history and culture coupled with outstanding beaches and wonderful shopping opportunities. Of course, in the autumn it is still basking in glorious sunshine and a very pleasant temperature, making it a real delight to explore. It can, however, be a little wet but given that there are so many indoor attractions in the city you won't struggle to while away a rainy day.
Rain or not, I'd definitely make time to see the amazing Sagrada Familia - Antoni Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece - and pay a visit to the Tibidabo Amusement Park for a few spills and thrills on its many rides.
Photo Credit: Almudaina Palace by Matt Taylor, on Flickr
My final option is Palma in Majorca, one of the Balearic Islands. This is where I'd head to for a relaxing city break that combines time exploring historical attractions with a day or two on the beach. There are some lovely coves and beaches near the city that are perfect for getting a bit of a tan before the winter sets in.
It can be rainy in October, though, so I'd spend time discovering the likes of the Almudaina Palace, Bellver Castle and the Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Feature Image: Autumn in Amsterdam by geezaweezer, on Flickr