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Travel Advisors on: Great Hotels for Fall Travel in Europe

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Relais Christine charms on the Left Bank of Paris

Courtesy of Relais Christine

Relais Christine charms on the Left Bank of Paris

Fall means fewer crowds, cooler weather, and good deals.

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Having the chance to bust out your best leather boots and don an artfully knotted scarf would be enough of an excuse to head to Europe in the fall. But we all know the reasons don’t stop there.

“Fall is one of the best times to visit Europe,” says Ensemble Travel Group advisor Avery Harris of Viking Travel. “The crowds are lighter, the cooler weather is a relief from hot summers, and you can find good deals during shoulder season.” 

There is nuance to deciding the “best” time to go. Many resort destinations, like the Amalfi Coast, are still beautiful in September (with high price points to match), but then it gets rainy in October. October is better for colder northern cities such as Berlin, Copenhagen, and London. And November is a great month for hotter southern capitals, like Rome, Barcelona, and Lisbon. 

We asked advisors which hotels they’d want to stay at as the leaves change colors. 

Croatia

Dubrovnik, a classic Mediterranean destination, is great for a sunny fall getaway, when the cruise ship crowds slow down and walking the walls of the Old Town is much more enjoyable. The Sun Gardens Dubrovnik is a fantastic property overlooking the Adriatic. Sun Gardens has three pools, a beach, and an adjacent marina.” 
Avery Harris, Viking Travel 

France

“To me, Paris always feels most special in the fall. It will get darker sooner in the evening, but I love how the Haussmannien architecture seems to glow at the end of a fall day, and of course, a lot of the monuments appear at their best when lit up at night. You’ll enjoy fewer lines at the museums and a more lively nightlife. Break out your cozy sweaters and check into the 28-room Esprit Saint Germain. The phrase ‘like checking into someone’s home’ is overused, but here, it is absolutely true. This boutique hotel on the Left Bank actually feels like you’re staying in your sophisticated Parisian friend’s private residence. Champagne and wine flows freely, with complimentary drinks at any time for hotel guests in the ‘living room’ lobby, which has a roaring fireplace to round out those fall vibes. There is a small sauna and steam room to warm up on a crisp night.” 
Shawn Kirschenman, Spike and Tie Travel 

Relais Christine, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is an absolutely charming property on the Left Bank in Paris. It’s popular with celebrities who want to stay under the radar. Even if you’re not a breakfast person, it is a must here—it’s truly spectacular. On the French Riviera, in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, La Mas de Pierre, a part of Relais & Châteaux, takes you to another world. It’s somewhat lesser known, and there are lovely rooms, beautiful gardens, and to-die-for food. The staff will take you into the walled city and back–all you have to do is ask!” 
Stephanie Turner, Brentwood Travel 

“The Royal-Riviera is a quiet hotel in the heart of the French Riviera between Nice and Monaco, with a casual chic atmosphere and breathtaking mountain, sea, and garden views. I love the heated swimming pool and private sandy beach. It’s only 25 miles from the international airport in Nice.” 
Nick Hammond, Exquisite Travel Group

“Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the harvest of fine food and wine in France. Michel Guérard has created a temple for food, wine, and wellness at Les Prés d’Eugénie, located in a small village in southwestern France. It captures the essence of French luxury, style, grace, and elegance. Michel has been a three-Michelin-star chef since 1977 (42 straight years!), and his late wife Christine was a gifted decorator. The 40 rooms in different buildings throughout the property are furnished with unique pieces from the Guérards’ private antique collection, and the buildings are surrounded by rose, herb, and water gardens. There is a world-class spa that uses the town’s natural springs in treatments. Don’t miss: a private cooking lesson at their beautiful cooking school; a picnic lunch in the gardens; and a tasting tour of Michel’s private wine cellar.

“I recommend combining it with a visit to the Huchet Beach House, owned by Les Prés d’Eugénie, 90 minutes away. It’s a wild property on the Atlantic coast, between sand dunes and the great Landes pine forest. It was built in 1858 by an aristocratic family who then owned most of the region. You spend the night in one of two lodges, with the service of a butler and private chef.” 
Chad Clark, Chad Clark Travel Ventures

Germany

“Oktoberfest is on many bucket lists, and Berlin is one of the hottest tourist cities in Europe. Fall is a great time to go—the beer gardens will be full, but that’s part of the fun. The Hotel Adlon Kempinski is directly across from the Brandenburg Gate, and it’s a really special property. It’s styled after the original Adlon, which was mostly destroyed during World War II.” 
Avery Harris, Viking Travel 

A view of the Brandenburg Gate at Hotel Adlon Kempinski in Berlin

Ireland

“In the fall, there is nothing like exploring Killarney National Park and warming up around the fireplace in your room after an adventurous day. The Killarney Park Hotel is my favorite hotel in all of Ireland. The Old-World elegance and the staff’s attention to detail are what bring me back, and the short walking distance to town and the national park are major selling points.” 
Nick Hammond, Exquisite Travel Group

Ireland is cooler, and it will rain, but the changing leaves and lack of tourist crowds make it a wonderful fall destination. There is an average of 21 days of rain, but across those 21 days, they only get about two inches, so it’s often a mist and almost always very light. The Muckross Park Hotel & Spa is in Killarney National Park in a 19th-century estate, only a few miles from the town of Killarney. The decor is cozy, and the world-renowned spa is worth a visit.” 
Avery Harris, Viking Travel 

Italy 

“Florence is my favorite city in the world, and I think Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1 is my favorite hotel there. It’s not a ‘five-star,’ but there are so many reasons to love it: The GM, Maria Rita Bellini, is the consummate host; no two rooms are the same; it’s housed in an ancient tower; and the location cannot be beat. The rooftop terrace has one of the best views in Florence, and I love having a glass of wine at sunset there. Every client I send to this property falls in love. 

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“On Lake Como, Grand Hotel Tremezzo is magnificent, and the rooms overlooking the lake make you just want to sit on your terrace and stare at the scenery. Valentina De Santis, the owner and GM, gives this hotel so much of its heart. She has been recognized over and over again for her talents.” 
Audrey Kennedy, On the Map Travel 

“Lake Maggiore, adjacent to the better-known Lake Como, is just as beautiful. Villa e Pallazzo Aminta sits at the foot of the Alps on a serene lake near the town of Stresa, easily accessible by train. Hiking in the mountains, relaxing at the spa, and taking in the scenic  lake views with a glass of wine makes for a rejuvenating fall vacation.” 
Avery Harris, Viking Travel 

Portugal

“In Portugal, it’s a tie between Six Senses Douro Valley, a spa-centric resort in the countryside, and the Yeatman in Porto, a city hotel. Both are very difficult to leave, with amazing spas and food.” Audrey Kennedy, On the Map Travel 

Slovenia

“Slovenia is charming for much of the year, but staying in Slovenia’s only island castle, the Relais & Châteaux Hotel Grad Otočec, is especially magical in the fall. This 700-year-old Gothic castle turned five-star hotel is located in the beautiful Doleniska region in the middle of the atmospheric Krka river. Start your day exploring the fairy-tale landscape on a morning bike ride through the surrounding forests and small villages, then enjoy gourmet candlelit dinners in front of the wood-burning fire at night. The hotel is not far from Ljubljana, where October is the start of a new university year so it’s an exciting time with lots of young people back and events to experience.” 
Shawn Kirschenman, Spike and Tie Travel 

Location, location, location: Relais & Chateaux's Hotel Grad Otočec

Spain

“Did you know you can stay inside the Alhambra complex? The Parador de Granada is a unique and romantic property situated inside one of Spain’s most significant landmarks. Staying here gives you the opportunity to explore the Alhambra’s free areas when the crowds are gone. Parador de Granada is the best of the 93 Spanish paradors [historic hotels owned and run by the Spanish government] and, therefore, the most requested booking. The hotel’s terrace overlooks the Generalife Gardens, and it’s a spectacular place to enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.”
Avery Harris, Viking Travel 

Switzerland 

“The Hotel D’Angleterre in Geneva has hosted celebrities and royalty since the 1870s, and it is located in the most ritzy part of Geneva, overlooking the giant Jet d’Eau fountain, with views of Mont Blanc [in France]. Take a water taxi across the lake to see the Flower Clock in the English Garden and the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre. Fall weather in September is ideal, with highs in the low 70s; in October, temperatures  drop to the upper 50s.” 
Avery Harris, Viking Travel 

United Kingdom 

The Beaumont is my favorite in London at the moment. Staff is so important, and Cannes Soerensen, the GM, really knows how to run a hotel and inspire his staff. Their American Bar is a great place for the perfect martini, and the rooms are gorgeous. It’s a magical hotel.” 
Audrey Kennedy, On the Map Travel 

The Rubens, part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, has been updated and upgraded. Plus, your ‘neighbor’ across from the hotel is the Queen herself, so it’s very convenient for those who want to take a tour of Buckingham Palace. The service is warm and friendly.” 
Stephanie Turner, Brentwood Travel 

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