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European travel was all the rage this summer, but we think this fall and winter might be better times to travel across the pond. Why? Prices — including airfare — are going down.
“As non-peak season, fall is consistently one of the best times of the year to get away for less, with average ticket prices (ATPs) for domestic flights 10% lower than they were during the peak summer months, and international ATPs around 5% cheaper,” an Expedia spokesperson tells Travel + Leisure.
If you’re looking for the best flight deals, we have a few tips for you. First, you’ll want to keep your destination search as broad as possible. Many flight search engines allow you to search “anywhere” as your destination. If you’re flexible with where you’re going, you’ll likely be able to snag a better deal. On the same note, you might want to consider departing from different airports near you, as some might have better deals than others. For example, budget airlines frequently fly out of smaller airports rather than major international hubs.
Second, you’ll want to keep your dates as flexible as possible, too. “Travelers can also save by adjusting their departure dates to find the best ticket prices; often departing mid-week can be cheaper than the weekend,” says the Expedia spokesperson.
And third, when you’ve narrowed down a few options, use a price alert tool to keep tabs on your flight wishlist. Most flight search engines have this function, and many will even tell you if that price is higher or lower than average.
To help you get started with your search, Expedia has shared with us the 10 cheapest European cities to fly into right now, with the cost percentage difference as compared to this summer. And while this list is tied to seasonal data, many of these destinations are typically among the cheapest European cities to fly into throughout the year.
Related: The Best Time to Book a Flight for Domestic, International, and Summer Travel
Oslo, Norway: ~40% Cheaper
Norway’s capital city is a cultural hub with a thriving urban core but plenty of easy access to nature. That makes it a prime fall getaway spot. If you find it a bit too chilly to be outside (in October, temperatures usually hover around 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the day), head inside one of Oslo’s remarkable museums, like the Munch Museum or the Museum of the Viking Age. If you’re willing to bundle up, you might be rewarded with natural wonders ranging from whale sightings to northern lights appearances.
Stockholm, Sweden: ~35% Cheaper
Like Oslo, Stockholm has perfect sweater weather in the fall. And that means there’s no better time to take a stroll through the autumnal foliage in one of the many urban parks in the capital city. Of course, Stockholm has its fair share of indoor activities, too, including top museums: visit the Vrak Museum of Wrecks (shipwrecks, that is) or ABBA The Museum, depending on your interests. And if you’re brave enough, you can even partake in the classic sauna tradition — that includes a plunge into the chilly waters after a sweat.
Hamburg, Germany: ~35% Cheaper
Oktoberfest might be over, but there’s still plenty to do in the fall and winter in Hamburg. In fact, the city has many of the classic fall activities you might expect at home, from apple picking to Halloween celebrations. If you’re in search of winter coziness, we recommend popping into a café for a hot coffee. Or you can sample global cuisine in Hamburg’s vibrant multicultural culinary scene. Fancy a bit of history? Take a day trip to any of the nearby castles and palaces, including Ludwigslust Castle, which is known as the “Versailles of the North.”
Ibiza, Spain: ~35% Cheaper
Sure, Ibiza is perhaps best known as a summer destination thanks to its over-the-top clubs and parties. But visiting the Balearic island in the autumn or winter allows you to enjoy a different side of Ibiza. With fewer crowds, it’s easy to snag restaurant reservations to enjoy fine dining — plus, Ibiza hosts the annual Ibiza Sabor food festival throughout October. It’s also an ideal time to go hiking or biking across Ibiza, as the temperatures have cooled down (but it’s still warm enough for a beach day here and there, too).
Copenhagen, Denmark: ~30% Cheaper
Copenhagen is a vibrant city all throughout the year, but fall is a particularly lovely time to walk its picturesque streets. It’s also a great time to visit the nearby Dyrehaven, or Deer Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where more than 2,000 free-range deer roam some four square miles of woods and lakes. Chilly weather is synonymous with hygge season in Denmark, so if you simply want to curl up in your hotel room or vacation rental with a good book, that’s also an option.
Related: 10 Tips to Help You Score Cheap Last-minute Flights
Madrid, Spain: ~30% Cheaper
With an average temperature between 60 and 70 degrees, fall is a fabulous time to explore this historic city. Besides visiting typical main attractions, consider celebrating one of the city’s many fall festivals, like Fiesta de la Almudena, a celebration of Madrid’s patron saint, the Virgin of Almudena. Just be sure to pack an umbrella — it starts to get a little rainy this time of year.
Dublin, Ireland: ~25% Cheaper
Ireland may be associated with the color green, but in the fall, it’s all about autumnal hues. Go for a walk in Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest enclosed city park at 1,750 acres, to enjoy fall foliage. Afterward, head to one of the city’s many pubs — they’re open year-round, of course. One of Dublin’s more unique fall activities is the annual Bram Stoker Festival, which celebrates the famous Irish writer, his works, and all things Gothic and spooky.
Brussels, Belgium: ~25% Cheaper
There’s no better time for a walk in a Brussels park than in the fall, so long as you’ve brought your rain jacket, just in case. Pick from the Park Royale, built in the 18th century; the Park of Tervuren, known for its fall foliage; or Bois de la Cambre, an English-style park. And during the colder months, and you can’t go wrong with a hot chocolate at one of the many chocolate shops or a Belgian beer at a bar in town.
Geneva, Switzerland: ~25% Cheaper
Fall is the start of a new cultural season in Geneva, so there’s likely a new exhibit at many of the city’s museums, from the Musée D’Art Et D’Histoire to the Patek Philippe Museum. Autumn is also a great time for day trips to Chamonix — you’ll be visiting before the ski season starts, so plan on hiking, golfing, or just strolling through the charming town.
Edinburgh, Scotland: ~25% Cheaper
Though it gets chilly, Edinburgh is an ideal off-season destination for travelers looking for a charming city vacation. Edinburgh has a special kind of fall foliage. In autumn, some of the ivy that creeps up its historic buildings turns a beautiful red — pair that with the frequently gloomy weather, and you’ve got the makings for a cozy getaway. Afternoon tea sounds like the perfect way to warm up after a brisk day of sightseeing.
Florence, Italy: ~20% Cheaper
Late summer into fall is the harvest season in Tuscany, so you can use Florence as your home base for forays into the countryside. It’s all about grapes, truffles, olives, and grains, so you can expect delicious meals just about everywhere in the region (though the food is great year-round). Since the crowds are smaller at this time of year, you should visit some of Florence’s most famous sites, from the Uffizi Gallery to the Duomo.