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Entrance of the Park Guell, Gaudi's masterpiece overlooking Barcelona @meets.com

Spin out the summer: getaways for sun seekers

Summer is technically over but it isn’t quite time to cozy up under a blanket by the fire just yet with autumn being our favorite season to head out on sunny yet cheap adventures. Even better news? No need to leave Europe to make the best of a week-end getaway, a short low-cost flight heading south will do the trick.

If a culturally vibrant city may appear idyllic to a traveler, one may only wish for an hidden creek with no social interaction needed so for all the diverse explorers out there, we’ve rounded up 4 beautiful yet budget-friendly destinations for a week-end getaway bound to be to your liking.

Being romantic in Venice

The city of gondolas is an absolute beauty and yet every traveler’s worst nightmare during peak holiday periods. Infamous hot spot for lovers and pretty much anyone food or culture-savyy, Venice is a city for all seasons but will best be enjoyed in September/October when the heat and the crowd take to its heels making wandering around not only bearable but also loveable. (Almost) deserted paved streets, crispy air and lovely breeze bring out all the romantic and peaceful atmosphere lacking during the summer months.

Wearing your lightest short-sleeved top, enjoy a dark coffee on the Piazza San Marco in the morning light without the yelling of street vendors, have a calorie-fest at a terraced cafe off calzones or lasagnas without the pressure of having to free the space asap or treat yourself with a gelato from one of Venice’s mouth-watering ice-creams spots without having to queue for 30 mins.

The very low season just around the corner luckily inspire prices’ decrease, opening up many possibilities such as actually riding on a gondola rather than just taking its picture, usually a luxury more than a common treat. Save your next long-week and get tempted by the many ways to finally have the Venetian experience featured in magazines and movies (meaning without the sunburns, the crowds, the shuffling along and exorbitant prices)

A stroll down Venice is much more appreciated when elbowing is out of the equation @victorinefasquel

A stroll down Venice is much more appreciated when elbowing is out of the equation @victorinefasquel

Eating and drinking in Lisbon

The Portuguese capital being Europe’s sunniest city and benefiting from an autumnal average temperature approaching the 23-24° should be enough to convince you to jump on the first plane out. It isn’t? The lifestyle will do the trick then. Up-and-coming city that has been THE top destination of 2015 and 2016, Lisbon still manages to keep its laid-back vibe attracting travellers of all sorts.

Young and older couples will enjoy the stroll down the narrow historic streets of Alfama, families the boat tours under the San Franciscan looking bridge and youngsters the dance sessions from sunset to sunrise in the bars of Bairro Alto. All however, must go on a hunt for their favorite terracotta rooftop spot overlooking the Tagus river in the wide range of trendy, peaceful or lounge places where a glass of sangria might be enjoyed but a plate a ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon/lime juice) MUST be tasted.

And for those who want it all: the historic stones, the way of living, the panoramic view and the drinks, try out the “wine with a view’ cart located in the Sao Jorge castello which will most likely end up being your new go-to spot. Beach lovers as well? The nearby seaside village of Cascais offers crystal clear waters to dip in for the bravest and white-sanded beaches to tan on for the rest.

Wine cart at the Sao Jorge castello on Lisbon's nights @victorinefasquel

Wine cart at the Sao Jorge castello overlooking all of Lisbon’s terracotta rooftops @victorinefasquel

Lazying around in Cyprus

Sometimes when you decide to get away from marital constraints, work issues, loud kids or whatever is making your week a busy and exhausting one, you simply want to head somewhere sunny and do absolutely nothing. With sun all-year around and some of Europe’s highest sea temperatures, the island of Cyprus is bound to be your newest safe haven.

If the European island maybe lacks of major historical landmarks, it certainly makes up for it by being under the exotic influences of both the Greek and Turkish cultures. Cities wise, developped touristic (understand, completely charmless) waterfronts are what you should be expecting so keep in mind the short rides distancing one heavenly beach spot from another and rent a Vespa-looking motorbike to be free to explore on your own, head out on a minute’s notice and appreciate a more traditional experience.

Hair blowing in the wind and sunglasses on, go cross country from one coast to another and you’ll most likely end up lazying in hidden creeks and coves, picking up fruits from the trees as you go along and eating fresh fish on the terrace of a tiny family-run restaurant in a seafront village.

Leave the main road and end up on a deserted beach on the Cypriot coast @victorinefasquel

Leave the main road and end up on a deserted beach on the Cypriot coast @victorinefasquel

Having it all in Barcelona

Absolute nightmare over the holidays, the Catalan capital reveals all its charm as autumn comes, with September still remaining slightly overly packed with all the cheap deals/indian summer lovers. Praised by travel magazines’s headlines a few years ago like Lisbon is today, the city’s popularity hasn’t faded away. Main attraction? Literally everything.

Located right by the beach (although always packed with locals, head along the coast for quieter and emptier spots), Barcelona is the stuff of dreams with a lifestyle we can only envy: party-oriented with a special love for finger-licking tapas and paella, mostly savoured as the sun goes down. Those hours-long convivial dinners are quickly being burnt off by dancing to the latino sound of the local discotecas until the morning’s early hours, some carpe diem (“seize the day”) habits which don’t even stand as guilty pleasures.

From their teen years to their senior ones, locals are used to stay up late and sleep the exhaustion or hangover off at the beach the day after around midday during the traditional  siesta, aka the nap time. And for a all-round perfect experience, once you’ve gotten tipsy and gotten tanned, get cultural. The city’s marvellous architecture is mostly represented by the church of the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, works of art from the widely known Antonio Gaudi. Barcelona really does have it all as long as you make sure to travel down there late enough to avoid the crowds, the Catalan city giving a very different vibe from one month to another.

Spanish tradition, the tapas are mainly finger food enjoying with family and friends at all time @hotelnights.fr

Spanish tradition, the tapas are finger food enjoyed with family and friends @hotelnights.fr

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About Victorine Fasquel

Journalism graduate, travel freak, compulsive pizza eater, expert wine taster, outdoor sports experiencer and enthusiastic features writer & photographer.

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