As the weather cools down, many travelers are seeking destinations that offer more than just beaches. According to a recent Amadeus report, there is an increased interest in cultural cities for the fourth quarter of this year, and several European hotspots are experiencing high occupancy rates. Here are five of the top destinations:
1. Catania, Sicily:
Catania is a hidden gem that has recently gained international attention. Despite the end of the peak season, booking rates in Catania remain impressive. This charming city, overlooked by Mount Etna, offers a perfect blend of tranquility and drama. With its rich ancient heritage and stunning volcanic landscapes, there are endless sightseeing options. For those looking to explore the city in a limited amount of time, paid excursions are recommended. City trippers will enjoy sightseeing tours to Syracuse, Ortigia, and Noto. Thrill-seekers can reserve a tour to Mount Etna, which is actually safer than it sounds. Movie buffs will be delighted to discover a year-round Godfather Movie Tour that takes participants to all the locations where the captivating trilogy was filmed.
2. Athens, Greece:
After a record-breaking summer, Greece continues to be a top destination for American travelers. This time, however, the focus has shifted from dreamy islands to the country’s capital, Athens. Known as the cradle of democracy, Athens is home to numerous historical landmarks that will leave visitors awestruck. The Acropolis, Parthenon, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Ancient Agora, Panathenaic Stadium, and the iconic Plaka neighborhood are just a few of the must-see attractions.
3. Malaga, Spain:
Malaga, the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, is renowned as one of Spain’s biggest cultural hotspots. The city combines its captivating historical richness with the warm, Mediterranean beauty that Spain is known for. Some of the top attractions in Malaga include the Alcazaba Fortress, Gibralfaro Castle, Picasso Museum, Cathedral of the Incarnation, and the Roman Theater.
4. Rome, Italy:
Italy is well-represented in the Amadeus report, and Rome stands out as one of the most visually captivating cities on Earth. Planning a trip to Rome can be overwhelming due to the abundance of things to see, do, and eat. It is recommended to spend at least 4-5 days in the city to fully experience its wonders. Must-see attractions include the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Basilica, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant’Angelo, and the Sistine Chapel. Some of these attractions are located in Vatican City, the smallest country in the world, which is worth dedicating a day to explore.
5. Florence, Italy:
As cultural tourism is on the rise, many travelers are choosing to spend their fall getaways in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. Despite the potential crowds, the city’s rich cultural scene and natural allure make it a top choice. Visitors can marvel at iconic masterpieces, such as Michelangelo’s David in the Galleria dell’Accademia and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus in the Uffizi Gallery. The stunning architecture, particularly the iconic Duomo, adds to the city’s timeless charm.
In conclusion, these European cultural cities are experiencing high occupancy rates and are top choices for travelers seeking more than just beaches. From the volcanic landscapes of Catania to the historical landmarks of Athens, Malaga, Rome, and Florence, these destinations offer a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.