Masaxlokk village, Malta
Autumn is one of the most beautiful months and there are plenty of sights to be seen across the globe with falling leaves and golden trees.
Dublin in Autumn is particularly special with its many parks and impressive green spaces allowing any visitor to truly relax into a slower pace of live.
Whether you want to stay in the UK or head a little further afield, Reigo Eljas, Country Director for lastminute.com, has decided the top three places to go next month.
Budapest, Dublin and Malta – where to stay, eat and visit revealed by an expert who truly knows his stuff!
The Ha’penny Bridge built in 1816 over the River Liffey, Dublin
Like all Western European city breaks in October, you have to take your chances with the weather. Good news – Dublin is fun come rain or shine. This pretty city isn’t huge, but it packs in the good times with its famous pub scene, historic buildings, live music and, of course, frothing pints of the black stuff. And remember, they love the craic here, so every tourist spot and attraction has its own unique nickname – like “The Dead Zoo” for the Natural History Museum.
What to eat
It’s a coastal city, so be sure to get stuck into the Dublin Bay Prawns (Scampi) and whatever else is catch of the day. The cockles and mussels are also worth a try, as immortalised in the song (and unofficial city anthem) “Molly Malone”. Molly even has a statue – cheekily dubbed by locals as the “tart with a cart.”
You should also try classic Irish dishes like Colcannon, Irish Stew and Soda Bread.
While you’ll no doubt have woken up with Irish Breakfast Tea (stronger than its English counterpart) there’s a real cafe culture scene here and it’s worth picking up some locally roasted coffee.
Next stop should be a tour (complete with sampling) of the Guinness Storehouse® – if it’s a nice day, the views from the rooftop bar are something else. To get the best price, book your tour online. If spirits are more your thing, then the Jameson Distillery also does tours and tastings.
What to see and do
The Dublin Pass is well worth getting if you want to cram in some sightseeing across the city, as it’s more cost effective over three days. If you don’t get a pass, we do recommend you do a walking tour – there’s free ones as well as bespoke tours around the city. The city boasts some fantastic buildings steeped in history, such as Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Jail and Trinity College (especially the library).
Of course, you don’t need a chill in the air to pop into a pub, and the Temple Bar area is a great place to start (The Temple Bar pub is probably the most famous). But the oldest pub in Dublin – and a claim on Ireland’s most ancient boozer – is the Brazen Head.
From £139pp, enjoy a 2 night stay at the 4* Grand Canal Hotel on a room only basis. Price includes flights departing 16th October from London Stansted.
From £99pp, stay at the 3* Harcourt Hotel on a room only basis for 2 nights. Price includes return flights departing 8th October from London Stansted.
Szechenyi Spa Baths, Budapest
You might just fall in love with this city in October. As Budapest is perched above hot springs, a trip to the Szechenyi Spa Baths is a must – and is also still fairly warm at this time of year. But be sure to bring your camera, as it’s been named one of the prettiest urban landscapes in the world by UNESCO and the changing Autumn colours of the trees are certainly Instagram-worthy. Get yourself up Gellert Hill for the best city views.
What to eat
Good news, it’s harvest time in Hungary so this is the perfect time to sample fresh local produce. Time your trip with the Chimney Cake Festival (9th-11th October) to go one step further. This is a tribute to the traditional sweet treats you’re bound to see people walking around and enjoying on the go. Talking of traditional, you’ll find that Pest’s oldest restaurant, Százéves Étterem, will make you think you’re attending the opening night.
They also take great pride in their coffee, so pop into one of the artisan shops and refuel ready for walking over Budapest’s nine bridges. Well, perhaps not all nine, but you’ll definitely want to pause for photos on the Chain Bridge.
The “Ruin Pubs” are the ‘in’ thing here – you’ll find drinking dens in all sorts of unusual buildings. Take a tour – it’s really good fun and an excuse to call a pub crawl ‘cultural’.
What to see and do
As mentioned, visiting a spa should be top of your list. The city has around 80 geothermal springs and you can even visit the spas at night for a perfect end to the day, even at this time of year. And talking of water, you’ve got to take a trip down the Danube by boat. There are romantic cruises by night and you can dine as you glide.
Then walk – or take the funicular – up to Buda Castle. Once you’ve wandered around the grounds, go down to the cellar below where you can do wine tastings of the local tipple. Fisherman’s Bastion is a great place to get those city-view shots.
Váci Street (Váci utca) is the Budapest equivalent to Oxford Street if you’re looking to shop the big brands. You can also find plenty of independent stores down the side streets in the vicinity.
From just £99pp, stay at the 4* NH Budapest City for 2 nights on a room only basis. Price includes flights departing 30th October from London Stansted.
From £109pp, stay for 2 nights at the 4* Mercure Budapest Buda Hotel, with breakfast included. Price includes flights from London Stansted departing 16th October.
Golden Bay beach, Malta
First things first, you can still visit the beach! Yes, even in October it’s still warm enough to take a dip. Għajn Tuffieħa and Golden Bay beaches are the most popular relaxation spots, while swimming in the picture-perfect Blue Lagoon off the coast of Comino is also a must. Malta was under British rule until 1964, so they still drive on the left and English remains one of the official languages (along with Maltese), making it a bit of a home from home in the Mediterranean.
What to eat
Seafood is a good place to begin. For the freshest fish visit the village of Masaxlokk on a Sunday – home to the island’s biggest fish market. There’s also a huge Italian influence here so you’ll get plenty of pizza and pasta. Stuffat tal-fenek, a rabbit stew, is the national dish here – so give it a try. Cafe del Mar is a great option as it’s a combination of restaurant and lounge bar – with superb views of the sea. Hugo’s Lounge is similar and the hottest fusion restaurant on the island. If you fancy a night out, then Paceville is party central. There’s a strip of bars and clubs, along with proper pubs, so perfect your go-to karaoke number…
What to see and do
It’s the perfect time for hiking and Gozo boasts some fantastic hiking trails and nature walks. While you’re out walking visit their version of Stonehenge – the Megalithic Temples of Malta. Malta is also famed for its diving and there’s plenty of diving schools to take you out and see the sea life and wrecks. You’ll also have no problem finding a historic church to pay a visit to in Malta – there are 359 of them.
Enjoy a 4 night stay at the 4* Be Hotel Malta in St Julians from £289pp, on a bed & breakfast basis. Price includes flights departing 8th October from London Luton.
From £279pp, spend 4 nights at the 4* Seashells Resort At Suncrest in St Paul’s Bay on a bed & breakfast basis. Price includes flights from London Gatwick departing 16th October.
Or, spend half term at the 4* Sunny Coast Resort & Spa with a 5 night stay from just £489pp, on a bed & breakfast basis. Includes return flights departing 24th October from London Heathrow.