Cover photo by Jordi Sanchez Teruel.

Autumn might be the season of falling leaves and darker evenings, but it’s the perfect time to take a trip. Lower prices, smaller crowds and cooler temperatures make out-of-season travel a breeze. Add to that a roster of exciting events and there’s no excuse not to book a flight straight away. From silver screen celebrations in Italy to a chocolate tasting extravaganza in France, here’s our pick of the top autumnal events in Europe this year.

View the International Contemporary Art Fair’s exhibitions at Le Grand Palais.

FIAC

Paris’ Grand Palais and Petit Palais play host to one of the largest contemporary art fairs on the continent. Held between 19 and 22 October, FIAC is a feast for the eyes, showcasing modern artworks from some of the most innovative and ground-breaking artists across the globe. The pièce de résistance is the Hors les Murs (which translates to ‘outside the walls’), a free programme of events featuring art, film and performance pieces in recognisable spots like the Jardin des Tuileries and Place Vendôme.

Pitch up to Salzburg’s jazz festival – Meute Republic Vorplatz Wildbild.

Jazz & The City 

One of the highlights of Salzburg’s cultural calendar, Jazz & The City is a celebration of rhythm, soul and improvisation that takes over the historical city centre for five thrilling days. Churches, galleries and wine bars throw their doors open to the public, showcasing local and international performers as diverse as the venues themselves. This year, the festival runs from 25 to 29 October and is totally free.

Be part of the crowd at the Rome Film Festival.

Rome Film Festival 

Festa del Cinema, with its varied programme of features and shorts, stars and undiscovered talent, is Rome’s answer to Cannes. Founded just 12 years ago, it has become one of the premier film festivals in the world, celebrating the work of internationally acclaimed and unknown filmmakers alike. Catch most screenings at the ultra-modern Auditorium Parco della Musica between 26 October and 5 November.

Fulfil your taste buds at Salon Du Chocolat.

Salon du Chocolat 

Indulge your sweet tooth at this chocolate extravaganza, taking place from 28 October to 1 November in Paris. 20,000 square feet of the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre will be dedicated to Salon du Chocolat workshops, meet and greets, tastings and even a fashion show inspired by chocolate – the perfect day out for children of all ages. Don’t miss the Pastry Show, with demonstrations from industry greats.

Nottingham Zombie Dash 

Get into the spirit of Halloween at Nottingham Zombie Dash on 29 October. The story goes that an asteroid has hit Earth and unleashed a virus that’s turning people to blood-thirsty zombies. Your task is to run across Holme Pierrepont Country Park to pick up zombie-deterring dog tags without getting infected. Terrifying and exhilarating, it’s an adrenaline-pumping day out. Will you survive?

Indulge in the best Hungarian wine and cheeses at Vajdahundyad Castle. Credit Bruno Girin.

New Wine and Cheese Festival 

Head to Budapest for this delectable festival, held at the fairy tale Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park between 28 and 29 November. Winemakers travel from all over Hungary to present their wares and pair them with artisanal cheeses and pogácsa biscuits for enthusiastic tasters. Authentic and relatively unknown, this festival is one of the hidden gems on Europe’s events calendar.