As temperatures cool down, many travelers look for destinations that offer more than just beaches.
A recent Amadeus report confirmed that this year’s Q4 is showing spiked interest in cultural cities, and these European hotspots, in particular, are seeing the highest occupancy rates in the entire region.
Sicily’s best-kept secret has recently been brought to the forefront of international attention, with impressive booking rates persevering even though the peak season is over.
That’s because Catania offers much more than just sun-drenched beaches.
The charming city overlooked by the majestic Mount Edna, Europe’s highest and most active volcano, provides the perfect blend of tranquillity and drama.
Don’t let the Catania’s small size fool you, though. Between the area’s rich ancient heritage and jaw-dropping volcanic landscapes, sightseeing options are endless.
If you’re trying to experience as much of the city as possible within a limited amount of time, I’d recommend taking a paid excursion.
City trippers will love the sightseeing tours that go from Catania to Syracuse, Ortigia, and Noto.
Those looking for a more thrilling experience, on the other hand, will be better off reserving a tour to Mt. Etna, which while exciting, is actually a lot safer than it sounds.
Movie buffs will be delighted to learn that there’s even a Godfather Movie Tour taking place year-round in the area.
It lasts seven hours and takes you through all the locations where Coppola filmed its captivating trilogy.
After a record-breaking summer, Greece seems to hold onto its title as a top destination for American travelers.
This time, however, dreamy islands have been replaced by the country’s capital, Athens, a city best known as the cradle of democracy.
The abundant historical landmarks here will leave you awestruck. The Acropolis, Parthenon, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Ancient Agora, Panathenaic Stadium, and the iconic Plaka neighborhood are just a few of the attractions you won’t want to miss out on.
Home to the legendary Pablo Picasso, Malaga still holds a reputation as one of Spain’s biggest cultural hotspots.
The city perfectly combines its captivating historical richness with the type of warm, Mediterranean beauty that Spain is best known for.
If you’re one of the many tourists occupying Malaga’s hotels and rentals this upcoming fall, make sure to move the Alcazaba Fortress, Gibralfaro Castle, the Picasso Museum, the Cathedral of the Incarnation, and the Roman Theater to the top of your itinerary.
Italy comes heavily represented in the Amadeus report, showing once again that the Bel Paese is home to some of the most visually captivating cities on Earth.
The country’s capital is no exception. Planning my trip to Rome a couple of years back was hands-down one of the most overwhelming experiences I’ve had trying to craft an itinerary.
There’s so much to see, do, and eat in Rome that you’ll want to spend at least 4-5 days to fully take in the city and not feel like your feet are about to fall off after a long day sightseeing.
The Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Basilica, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant’Angelo, and the Sistine Chapel are all must-sees.
You’ll notice that some of these attractions are actually in Vatican City, which is the smallest country in the world.
I’d recommend setting at least one day aside to explore all of the 0.17 mi ² (0,44 km²) the Vatican has to offer. While small, the city-state is filled to the brim with historical landmarks, cultural attractions, and charming little eateries.
You won’t even have to bring your passport with you upon entering the Vatican or any of its attractions; however, I’d still have a form of state-issued ID with me just for good measure.
Since cultural tourism is currently in full swing, it makes sense that so many travelers are choosing to spend their fall getaway in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance.
Though this time of year might be a bit crowded for those who prefer a quieter vacation, that still doesn’t take away from the city’s rich cultural scene and natural allure.
Here, you’ll get to marvel at some of history’s most iconic masterpieces, like Michelangelo’s David in the Galleria dell’Accademia and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus in the Uffizi Gallery.
The city exudes the kind of timeless charm that most tourists go to Italy to experience.
The stunning architecture that adorns the cobblestoned streets, particularly the iconic Duomo, will leave you feeling a bit short of breath.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com