12 of the best out-of-season city breaks

Fly outside of the summer season to bag a bargain, with return flights from Manchester Airport

Holiday season isn’t over just because it's not summer anymore... Millions of passengers pass through Manchester Airport every year, with some of the most popular holiday destinations including Paris, Dublin and Amsterdam, as well as late summer sun spots like Athens, Istanbul and Malaga.

Flying outside of the summer holiday season can be the best way to bag yourself a real bargain too, when you can take advantage of cheaper flight and hotel deals. We’ve rounded up 12 of the most exciting destinations you can reach from Manchester Airport, including some serious sun traps.

1. Bologna

A historic city in central Italy, Bologna is nestled in the foothills of the Apennine mountains, and its medieval city centre’s Two Towers, both leaning, are taller than their more famous counterpart in Pisa. The surrounding Emilia-Romagna region is the home of culinary delights such as Modena balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese and Parma ham.

2. Cologne

This German city’s medieval walls and Old Town are remarkably preserved, and its unique architecture has made Cologne one of Germany’s most popular destinations for a short break. Its cathedral, which towers over the city centre, is one of the largest in the world.

3. Copenhagen

Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen is one of the fastest-growing city break destinations in Europe with over 146,000 visitors from Manchester alone last year. Its harbourfront is tightly packed with multi-coloured townhouses, and its Christianshavn district is inspired by the canals and architecture of Amsterdam.

4. Geneva

Geneva is located in south-west Switzerland, bordered by Lake Geneva and the Alps. Its biggest claim to fame is as the UN’s headquarters, but its Musée d’Art et d’Histoire hosts one of Europe’s most extensive collections of fine art and foodies will love sampling a wide range of Swiss cuisines.

5. Lisbon

A prime spot to catch the last of the summer sun, Lisbon sits on Portugal’s Atlantic coast and is flanked by miles of sandy beaches, backed by a promenade dotted with bars and cafes. Saint George's Castle sits on a hilltop overlooking the city.

6. Marseille

Often overlooked in favour of glitzier neighbours like Nice, Cannes and St Tropez, Marseille is France’s second-largest city and offers a bit of everything, from arts and architecture to world-class restaurants and a buzzing nightlife scene. The nearby Calanques National Park boats idyllic sandy beaches lining cavernous, fjord-like valleys, and makes for a great day trip.

7. Oslo

Founded by Vikings over 1,000 years ago, Norway’s capital Oslo is one of Europe’s most northerly major cities, but temperatures are still fairly mild in September, often topping 20C. Edvard Munch’s masterpiece The Scream is housed in Oslo’s National Gallery and Munch Museum.

8. Poznan

Poznan, in western Poland, is an old provincial capital. Lech, one of Poland’s major beer brands, is headquartered here and sponsors the city’s successful football team. Poznan also has a vibrant craft beer scene with dozens of independent brewers, and is also famed for its pastries – visitors should try a St Martin’s Croissant, packed with poppy seeds, nuts and dried fruits.

9. Riga

This Baltic Sea destination is famous for its budget-friendly nightlife, but offers much more besides. Its medieval heart is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Riga is also one of Europe’s greenest cities, with lots of places to escape the crowds. Temperatures in September may even be warm enough for a visit one of Riga’s sandy beaches.

10. Valencia

Another hotspot for September sunshine, Valencia backs onto the Mediterranean with miles of beaches within walking distance of the city centre. If you fancy trying something a little more unusual, Valencia is world-famous for its oranges, and has a burgeoning agritourism scene. Many local orange orchards offer tours and stays.

11. Verona

The setting for not one, but two Shakespeare plays, one of the most popular sights Verona is Juliet’s Balcony, affixed to a small townhouse overlooking a square. Its enormous Roman-era Arena is well-preserved and today regularly hosts opera performances.

12. Vienna

Vienna is one of Europe’s cultural capitals and you can find out more about one of its most influential figures at the Mozart Haus Vienna, housed in a former apartment building where the composer lived for three years at the height of his success. Vienna is also renowned for cakes and biscuits and is home to dozen of independent patisseries.

Find out more about holiday destinations you can fly to from Manchester Airport, and book your city break today.