Had enough of rainy days and long, dark nights? Stop everything and book tickets for your fall getaway now. Bite into a juicy apple strudel in Vienna, dip your feet in the Mediterranean Sea or be moved to tears by world-famous paintings in St. Petersburg. Turns out, November can make you smile after all.
The capital of Austria will find a way to your heart – its history and famous café culture is one of a kind. Start your day with einspänner, espresso topped with whipped cream – the first sip will send shivers through your spine. The public transport system in Vienna is easy to understand, so take the U4 metro line to Schönbrunn Palace whose halls are adorned with intricate murals in gold. Buy tickets online in advance and explore the castle in the morning light, as it will be packed with visitors later in the day. Continue your architectural tour with St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a staple of the city’s landscape for almost a thousand years. To climb the South Tower you’ll need to take at least 300 steps, but the fantastic view will be worth the effort. There’s nothing wrong with cheating a little – visit the North Tower which has an elevator! Once you’ve seen the classics, stop by the Hundertwasser buildings; their colours and unusual shapes are totally Instagram worthy.
Naturally, Vienna takes pride in its former residents Beethoven and Mozart, but if you can’t get tickets to the opera, put on your headphones and explore Vienna’s graffiti culture. On another night, look into Jazzland – this tiny bar is located in a 500-year old wine cellar, and there’s live music and beer available every night. Ardent fans of the TV series Inspector Rex won’t pass up the opportunity to eat a ham roll, but for those interested in typical Austrian cuisine, we recommend Esterhazykeller, which was founded in 1683. Here’s what you should order: a schnitzel, apple strudel and some local wine.
Whatever you choose for dinner, don’t say no to a glass of wine – there are more than 700 wineries near Vienna. People also flock to the oldest square in the city – Hoher Mark – where the best sausages are available; look for Würstelstand. The whole world meets at the Naschmarkt market – you’ll have a hard time choosing between Lebanese salad, Italian pizzas and Vietnamese soups. Essentially, you can travel the globe through food here.
If you’re ready for some fun, visit the Falschermuseum – all works of art are fakes there, and they have fooled many in the world of art. We warned you that Vienna would steal your heart!
More than 300 days of sun in a year and the warmest winters in Europe – Malaga is the perfect choice for a holiday when the autumn blues arrive. Let’s begin with the principal attraction – the Alcazaba Fortress, which has been guarding Malaga since the 10th century. Afterwards, climb the hill to explore the Gibralfaro Castle that features a view of the whole city. The history lesson would be incomplete without a visit to the unfinished cathedral that only has one tower. That’s why it’s been nicknamed La Manquita or „The One-Armed Lady”.
When the sun gets a bit too hot, hide in the museum of the brilliant Malaga-born artist Pablo Picasso. Thanks to his family who has donated at least 250 works of art to the museum, you can see art that rarely leaves the city. And the museum is open every day! If you’re riding the art wave, visit the contemporary art centre CAC, where the entry is free of charge.
Later on, treat yourself to a nice meal. The snacks to try are pescado frito (fried fish) and salchichón de Malaga (cured sausage with a soft texture). The true taste of Malaga hides in espetos – grilled sardine skewers. Head to the beach, look for smoke and follow its trail. The usual cooking process is very simple – dig a hole in the sand, start a fire and grill the fish above the coal. Chase it down with tinto de verano, a mix of red wine and sparkling lemonade with a refreshing slice of lemon.
Look, it’s beach o’clock! There are 15 beaches in the city alone, and fantastic golden coasts beyond its limits. An hour’s ride can take you to the peaceful La Caleta in Nerja beach, which is not packed with tourists so you can lie in the sun undisturbed. As holidays are a calorie-free zone, say goodbye to Spain with the sinful churro cookies. Dip them in melted chocolate and close your eyes contentedly – that’s the true Malaga!
It’s no wonder St. Petersburg is called the cultural capital of Russia; art follows you on every step. Autumn is perfect for savouring culture at a leisurely pace, so get off at Admiralteyskaya metro station and head to Hermitage, the second largest museum in the world. To see all galleries, you’d need to walk 20 kilometres, as almost three million works of art are displayed there. The collection includes chef-d’oeuvres by Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Monet, Renoir and Rafael, which you simply must see with your own eyes.
Put an evening gown in your travel bag, as attending a performance of either Swan Lake or the Nutcracker in St. Petersburg is a must. For contemporary art lovers there’s the Etagi Loft Gallery, located in a bread factory: it features regular exhibitions, film showings, concerts and street food festivals. If you’re up for one more museum, go see the Fabergé eggs!
Countless canals wind through the city; it’s no wonder Goethe called St. Petersburg “Venice of the North”. Did you know there are more than 300 bridges in St. Petersburg, and 22 of those are drawbridges? From April to November, mind the lift schedules to avoid waiting on one side of the river while dreaming of your warm bed that’s on the other side. A friendly warning: the weather is as unpredictable as in Scotland, so pack some warm clothes and an umbrella. If you’re afraid of melting in the rain, hide in the metro tunnels with marble columns, shiny mosaics and elaborate paintings. But if you desire to see the famous Amber Room, make your way to the Catherine Palace. Do you recognize Rastrelli’s touch, which is also present in the palaces in Latvia of Jelgava and Rundale?
And now the best part of the trip – food! Write down the must-tries: stroganoff, borsch, varenyky and Olivier salad. For dinner with a panoramic view of the city, choose Gastronomika, while authentic traditional meals are to be had at Katyusha or Palkin. They say the best stroganoff in the city can be found at Literaturnoye Cafe, but the meatiest pelmeni – at Pelmenya. For a rather exotic meal, try Stolovaya №1, while the chebureki of Brynza are simply not to be missed. A puffy, oil-fried cheburek will warm you through and through in the cold November wind.
On the last day of your trip, buy postcards in the famous bookshop Dom Knigi and then pop into the Singer cafe on the upper floor – it has a view of Kazan Cathedral. Get a cup of coffee or tea and send a note to your family that you’ll need to visit St. Petersburg again.
As of October 1, there will be a new free e-visa available for St. Petersburg for which applicants of 53 countries will be able to apply for online. For more information, read here.