INSPIRATION • August 2018
As the summer heat subsides and children return to school, now is the perfect time to visit these six urban gems says The Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s Alicia Miller
This Baroque Austrian city is sublime in September – the crowds that clogged the Italianate squares and cobbled streets of the Old Town during the eponymous August music and drama festival have departed, yet days are often still sunny (and warm, at 20°C). Now’s the time to get stuck into the new season’s concert programmes – after all, Mozart was a native of this musical centre – as well as hike the nearby lakes and mountains. And if the pleasant weather should falter? You can always just hole up and feast on rib-sticking schnitzel and dumplings…
Dream flight: BA2652 leaves Gatwick at 7:25 on Friday, arriving in Salzburg at 10:25.
Most visitors come to Scandinavia in midsummer or deep winter, but they’re missing out. Autumn isn’t just when this rainbow-hued port city is made even more colourful, by a rippling blaze of seasonally orange leaves. It’s prime time to take in many of the city’s fresh-for-fall museum exhibitions, such as at leading contemporary and Nordic gallery the Gothenburg Museum of Art. The cooler weather also signals the start of fika – the ultimate coffee break – period, so do things the local way and bundle yourself into a cosy cafe, sip a strong brew and lose an afternoon over a pastry.
Dream flight: BA0802 leaves London Heathrow at 19:20 on Friday, arriving in Gothenburg at 22:20.
Vienna was never built for high summer – its rows of stately wedding-cakey buildings can feel almost stifling in 25°C August heat – and during winter it’s overrun thanks to the famous Christmas Market. But come in September, and the balance is just right. The city buzzes excitedly as grapes fill the nearby sun-warmed vineyards, and you can join locals on harvest tours through 700 hectares of local wineland, or glugging glasses in cosy wine taverns.
Dream flight: BA0706 leaves London Heathrow at 19:15 on Friday, arriving in Vienna at 22:30.
Shopping weekends are the best in autumn: there’s no guilt about missing out on summer sunshine, and it’s not yet too cold to wander between boutiques. And, there are few better shopping cities than Copenhagen. It’s a homeware fanatic’s and luxury-shopper’s dream on pedestrianised Strøget and swish Østergade, but head to Pilestraede for funky fashion mixed in with hipster cafes. Look no further than regal Bredgade – right by the royal palace – for splash-the-cash design, antique and art dealers.
Dream flight: BA0822 leaves London Heathrow at 18:55 on Friday, arriving in Copenhagen at 21:55.
With temperatures sometimes pushing 40°C, Marrakech is a no-go for most people in the summer. But things start cooling in September; and as it’s not yet peak season, you can still bag a bargain sunshiney holiday at one of the glam resort hotels skirting the city (find yours with BA Holidays). Beyond the pool, you also get city fun: the straw beach bags, colourful pashminas and fragrant spices of the (still relatively sleepy) souks; the long warm nights for sipping mint teas on restaurant balconies; and the sizzling night market in Djemma el-Fna.
Dream flight: BA2666 leaves Gatwick at 15:05 on Friday, arriving in Marrakech at 18:50.
There's nothing quite like September in New York. The stifling heat of summer has ebbed, the school holiday families have gone and after lazy weeks holidaying in the Hamptons, the locals have kicked into gear with the excitement of Fashion Week, the US Open tennis, countless festivals and still-brilliant weather. Wander through Central Park, ride the Staten Island ferry or lose yourself in the higgledly-piggledly alleyways of Soho, window-shopping for hours with little worry of rain.
Dream flight: BA0183 leaves London Heathrow at 19:50 on Friday, arriving in New York (to JFK) at 22:30.