Europe is a relatively tight and cosy continent. Whether you want to explore your neck of the woods, or are planning a short getaway, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Most people tend to travel during the warm months and forget how beautiful it all is during autumn and winter.
Autumn and winter escapades aren’t only (for the most part) considerably cheaper, but in most places, you have the added benefit of also having the place almost to yourself. Let’s call it, the perks of off-season travel. My favourite kind of travelling, to be honest. Before, it was due to the fact that I was working in the tourism industry. High season was always a big no-no when it came to taking time off. But after a while, if you’re not very picky when it comes to weather, travelling off-season can be extremely rewarding. And sometimes, you get lucky and the get the best of both worlds! Nice weather and no lines.
That being said, if you are considering heading to a European destination for a short getaway before the festive season starts or already planning on going away but not sure where, continue reading to find out in no particular order, the…
Best European Cities to Visit in November
Vienna is a synonym for elegance, history and Sachertorte (the famous chocolate cake)! No matter the season you’ll be able to admire the stunning architecture, visit the myriad of museums and let’s not forget, attend one of the many opera shows available. If you are a student under 25, don’t forget to bring your student card along as you may get discounts on many local attractions. Oh, and did I mention that the visits to the neo-gothic breath-taking New Town hall are free of charge? Yes, they are! Don’t forget to check our walking itinerary of central Vienna and our experience eating Wiener Schnitzels close to the Danube, in case you need some inspiration on what to do while in Vienna. And last but not least, in November the Christmas Markets open their doors but is not yet the main season, so you’ll avoid the hype crowds. One more reason why Vienna is one of the best European cities to visit in November.
Denmark is one of my all-time favourite countries. I love the culture, the style, the creativity of the people, the design, basically everything. Because of my love for this Nordic country, I have been blessed with countless chances of living and visiting throughout the years, including a year in Århus, the second biggest city in Denmark. And after all these years I have to say, Copenhagen is always stunning, but prettiest in autumn. The changing leaves, the chill morning air burning your cheeks, strolling to your favourite cafés in one of the many hip neighbourhoods, or grabbing a cup of Glögg on the go. But if you are staying a bit longer than just a short getaway, day trips from Copenhagen to any of the neighbouring cities and attractions may be a nice idea. And if you stop by Denmark in July, you should also check out the Oldest Viking Moot in Europe in Moesgård right outside Århus.
As I was talking to a friend a while ago, we came to the conclussion that visiting Helsinki has to be an incredible experience. She named it the “no-season season” of Helsinki. November is that time of the year when nothing major happens (other than my birthday, of course!). Most festivals are long over, main events are getting into hibernation mode and the excitement of Christmas is slowly starting to build up. But November is just there.
Lower (than usual) prices, less visitors and still no snow in sight (most of the times) makes Helsinki a great city to visit in November.
If you decide to visit the Spanish capital at some point, make it the end of October or November. Not only will the city be much less crowded than it’d be during the summer months, but the weather will be considerably milder, thus allowing for an even more enjoyable experience. And if you happen to be around on the 31st of October, you should make sure to check out one of the many local representations of “El Don Juán Tenorio”. A ghost story by the romantic period author José Zorrilla that will be represented every year on this night.
Another highlight of travelling to Madrid in autumn is the possibility of enjoying the traditional “Chocolate con Churros” (hot thick cocoa with fried-dough pastries) without having to wait for hours to be served or to enjoy one of the many of the cities wonderful museums without having to book weeks in advance.
And as the weather will still be relatively nice, don’t hesitate to check one of the heaps of rooftop bars available in the Spanish capital, among many other things that you can do in Madrid. You can check some suggestions on where to stay and how to move around while in Madrid for extra inspiration. And if you’re a fan of smoothies and healthy delicious breakfast, you should definitely check Rawcoco Green Bar out.
Trento is one of those places people don’t seem to have noticed just yet. Strategically placed in the Alto-Adige region in the North of Italy, Trento has been historically known as the gateway to Europe.
Full of history, this city was coveted and fought for by many throughout the centuries. However, its prime location isn’t the only highlight here. Its close proximity to many popular destinations makes it the perfect home base to explore the Trentino region. With hikes, castles, lakes and many more wonderful things to do close by (and reachable by public transit), this Italian city is a must in your off-season Italy itinerary. Less busy than more popular destinations, especially during the off-season, means less queuing, affordable accommodation and food options and, less busy locals.
The first German representative on this list of best European cities to visit in November can’t be other than Berlin. This buzzing creative city is a haven for international startups, creatives, freelancers and curious people of all walks of life alike.
With a myriad of cafes, museums, theatres, amazing food and all other imaginable things to do available, it just had to be on this list. The weather may not be the warmest around autumn but the changing colours and the bouncy people on the streets of the German capital will make for an exceptionally memorable experience.
People-watching here we come! And don’t forget your camera as this city is a photographer’s dream come true, with all sorts of cute corners, photogenic cafés, and impressive graffiti.
The second city in Germany to make this list is of course, Munich. With Oktoberfest alsoready over and Christmas markets still a few weeks to go, between the ned of October and November is a great time to visit the Bavarian capital.
The weather may be a bit unstable but there are plenty of things you can do in Munich that don’t require to stay outside. Castles, museums, beer halls, theatres and opera houses. Munich is a cultural hub worth exploring outside the peak summer and “Wiesn” seasons.
And as the colder months approach, why not go searching the best Glühwein in town to warm yourself up?
Prague, Czech Republic
Last, but not least, Prague. One of the most popular destinations in this list of the best European cities to visit in November. Super easy to reach from any other European city, it is beloved by absinth fans and foodies alike.
This gothic city is a pleasure to walk around. In spite of the masses of people that visit Prague every day, it’s still far from overwhelming if you keep away from the most touristy areas at peak times. If you visit Prague in November, you can’t leave without a stroll around the old town, a tour of the Town hall, a Trdelník (a rolled dough cake that you can order with a filling of ice cream or as I prefer it, sugar and cinnamon), trying some local beer and of course the Absitherie.
If you’re in for a cute entertaining experience, make sure to stop by the Vytopna Railway Restaurant, where your drinks come to you on a model train. However, Prague is not nearly as cheap as it used to be, but still more affordable than other major European capitals. And definitely still an off-season travel gem.
These top off-season travel destinations in Europe are just a few of the many wonderful places you can visit for a short autumn getaway. They are quirky and have a very strong character, which makes them stand out above the rest. If you do go visit one (or all) of them, don’t be shy to talk to the locals, they are super friendly and know the best places to go to!
I hope this list of the best European cities to visit in November was useful and inspired you to take a short trip somewhere. And if you are planning an offseason trip to Europe outside November, you can check this list of Best Offseason European Destinations for some inspiration.