INSPIRATION • September 2020
You’ve got the Avios, but which routes should you spend them on, come the changing leaves of autumn? Five destination experts pitch their most beloved seasonal breaks
Says who: Nicola Brady, Dublin-based travel writer
There’s nothing quite like Dublin in the autumn. The city seems to suit the slight chill in the air – the fires are lit, the skies are blue and the leaves morph into dazzling shades of amber. The best place to take in the show is St Stephen’s Green (pictured), a park filled with leaf-laden trees and surrounded by Georgian buildings shrouded in burgundy ivy. Happily, autumn also marks the start of oyster season, so cosy up in the Cliff Townhouse (booking.com; 8 Avios/£1), right on the green, and indulge at the oyster bar before toddling up to a bedroom overlooking the changing colours of the park.
Avios calculator: Fly direct to Dublin from London City from £1 + 17,000 Avios (off-peak return)
Says who: Alex Allen, Italophile and staff writer at The Sunday Times Travel Magazine
There’s magic in the air, and it’s not just an excuse for wrapping in woollens for sunset negronis in Florence’s hidden piazzas. It’s the changing colours of the surrounding Tuscan countryside – the ochres and coppers and vermilion reds, vibrant under chilled blue skies – and the hype of harvest season for olives, grains and grapes. There’s no better time for venturing to outlying hilltop towns, such as vineyard-surrounded Castellina in Chianti, or Castelfiorentino, both buzzing with early season energy. You can have the best of both worlds – town and country – by basing yourself just outside Florence, in a period pile such as Villa La Maschere, which is enfolded within acres of gardens to get lost in.
Avios calculator: Fly direct to Florence from London City from £1 + 22,000 Avios (off-peak return)
Says who: Paul Clammer, author of Lonely Planet Jamaica
December to March are the best months for Montego Bay, with clear skies and temperatures hovering around the high 20s. It’s ideal for beaches and snorkelling, and also escaping the resort area of Ironshore to explore Jamaica’s northern coast. Head for Falmouth for walking tours of its Georgian architecture and abolitionist history, as well as bamboo rafting on the Martha Brae River and the bioluminescent lagoon of Glistening Waters. For dinner, eat traditional Jamaican jerk pork with roasted breadfruit at the Pork Pit on Mobay’s Hip Strip, or make reservations for stylish Caribbean fusion dishes at the Houseboat Grill close to the cruise ship terminal.
Avios calculator: Fly direct to Montego Bay from Heathrow from £150 + 60,000 Avios (off-peak return)
Says who? Sarah Hedley Hymers, The Telegraph’s Dubai expert and Dubai-based writer and TV presenter
Dubai is reborn in autumn. As summer’s stifling humidity evaporates, the new-season celebrations begin. Blissfully sunny days draw beach lovers to the abundant coastline stretching 15 miles from Ain Dubai, the world’s tallest ferris wheel, to the street art and water sports of hipster ‘hood La Mer. A playground for enthusiasts, the Arabian Sea froths in the wake of jet skis and flyboards. Onlookers admire the aquatic acrobatics from fashionable beach clubs. Nammos Dubai – outpost of the hedonistic Mykonos flagship – recently joined these shores. Reservations are a must. The same could be said for the feta and aubergine mille-feuille.
Avios calculator: Fly direct to Dubai from Heathrow from £100 + 50,000 Avios (off-peak return)
Says who: Tim Skelton, author of Bradt’s Luxembourg guidebook
To appreciate Luxembourg at its spectacular autumnal best, take a hike. The eastern Müllerthal region (pictured) is a thickly forested wonderland of limestone crags and micro-gorges, criss-crossed by well-marked trails that range in difficulty from a gentle stroll to a multi-day 112km challenge. It’s glorious any time of year, but truly sublime when the trees turn every possible shade of gold. At times you may be engulfed by blizzards of orange as leaves float gently down. At the end of any walk, refresh yourself in gourmet restaurants that serve local game, washed down with a chilled glass of Luxembourgish white wine.
Avios calculator: Fly direct to Luxembourg from Heathrow from £1 + 17,000 Avios (off-peak return)
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