Seasoned travelers find that fall is one of the best kept secrets. During the autumn season the summer crowds have slacked off, as has the summer heat, giving you a more relaxed experience. Fall also tends to be less expensive as it is considered part of the off-season for many travel locales around the world.
1. Southern Germany
To start, let’s travel to Southern Germany where one of the world’s biggest parties take place every autumn. It’s Oktoberfest, happening from mid-September to the first week of October. Munich is the best city to be for Oktoberfest, but beer gardens and brat feeds are alive all over the country in celebration. Wine festivals are also hopping thanks to the bottling season that arrives each fall. Don’t miss the spectacular colors of the Alpine forest alight against the first snowfall of the season. Round out your visit with a tour to one of the amazing German castles including Nuremberg, Neuschwanstein and Linderhof. After all, it’s the perfect weather to walk around and explore the grounds.
2. Bruges, Belgium
Belgium may be most famous for its urban center of Brussels, but Bruges is the place to be this autumn. In this medieval city tall, stacked homes of every color of the rainbow are networked by watery canals. The history comes alive in the fall as the tourists leave town, allowing the natural beauty of this golden city to peek through. Step along the cobblestone roads and view medieval houses as you search for any of the 30 museums that are scattered throughout Bruges. Plus, what better way to treat your fall taste buds than by indulging in the perfect fall beverage with a cup of Belgium hot cocoa.
3. Wicklow, Ireland
Wicklow is famously known as the Garden of Ireland, and it’s a nature lover’s paradise all year long. However, by autumn the hues of the Wicklow Mountains and the Bray will steal your breath away. History abound as well with the 6th century monastic site of Glendalough, not to mention the Powerscourt Gardens and Kilkenny City all located in Wicklow County. Just make sure to get off the beaten path so you can see the mystic waterfalls and trees of all colors.
4. Lima, Peru
When visiting Lima in August, September and October, you can easily be overwhelmed. Do you spend your autumn mornings hiking to Machu Picchu or instead head for the Andes Mountains? The seasonal weather is perfectly chill and the tourists have yet to arrive for the Southern Hemisphere’s summer. That’s right, here in South America it is actually springtime, while we celebrate autumn in the US. Other must-see jewels of Lima include the Spanish colonial church of Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco, and Huaca Pucllana, which is an active archaeological site digging into Peru’s ancient past.
5. Galapagos Islands
Seals, penguins and giant tortoises may not sound like autumn to you, but this time of year is perfect for visiting this South American locale. Located in Ecuador the Galapagos Islands are home to the most advantageous sights of flora and fauna. Indulge your senses with this Pacific Ocean experience this fall. You’ll appreciate the milder dry season, and fewer tourists around these 19 islands that are wholly protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6. Piedmont, Italy
Italy, particularly in Piedmont, is an equally impressive sight in the fall. As it is the harvest season, the food is bountiful and the wine is flowing. Nothing is more impressive in Italy than these two things. In fact, the area is host to fall festivals especially for such delicacies as truffles, chocolate and chestnuts. Don’t forget to look up so you can savor the surrounding hues of the colorful Alps. Take to a trail and blaze your way through the fall scenery of Piedmont, Italy.
7. Lugano, Switzerland
Speaking of taking a walk through nature, Lugano, Switzerland is simply stunning this time of year. The fall climate colors the Swiss Alps in a magnificent array. You’ll have a chance to hike many peaks, while enjoying the crisp weather and lighter traffic. Plan your visit just right during October and you will be in Lugano for the Autumn Festival. Here you will experience the culture of the Alps with a grape and wine celebration coupled with folkloric music.
8. Prague, Czech Republic
Another popular tourist destination is Prague, but for fall goers the traffic dies down, which is a blessing. You gain plenty of space for touring the iconic attractions like Prague Castle, the Astronomical Tower or the Old Town Hall. Make sure to climb up Castle Hill where you get a bird’s eye view of the entire landscape. Prague’s famous red rooftops stand out like brilliant trees interspersed by the changing leaves from copper to clementine. Plus, there are plenty of public parks in Prague where you can evoke a relaxing fall atmosphere.
9. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik is a gorgeous coastal city any time of year, but in the fall this Adriatic star really shines. For starters, this European hotspot is moving into its off season, so the mainland tourists are fleeting. Yet it’s still perfectly warm beach weather, making it ideal for indulging in the turquoise waters. After a day’s dip traverse along the medieval hilltops surrounding the city for a walk through fall’s beauty.
10. New Zealand
We couldn’t leave the landscape as seen in “The Hobbit” and “Harry Potter” out of this autumn travel list. After all, these films showcase the fall foliage of New Zealand in all of its glory. Now you can experience it for yourself when you travel to the mountains, as well as shores, of this South Pacific Island. Head on over to the southern shores to Queenstown, official home of the Hobbits, to see snow-capped peaks overlooking spring time daffodils and cherry blossoms. The skiing and cycling are fantastic this time of year and highly recommended.
11. Perthshire, Scotland
The locals don’t call Perthshire Big Trees Country for nothing, and if you are a lover of fall leaves, then this Scotland county is the place to be. As one of Europe’s best kept secrets for autumn enthusiasts, this central Scotland hideaway has an abundance of all things nature. From the viewpoints to the summit of the Highlands, and the locks and rivers weaving through it all, you will feel completely immersed in autumn delights. While there check out Knock Hill, Loch Tummel and the Pass of Killiecrankie for the best views in the county.
12. Cumbria, England
Whether you want to spend your time strolling through Grizedale Forest Park and its woodland haven, or you prefer the pubs for seasonal sips of cider, Cumbria, England is a sight to behold come fall. It’s an incredibly scenic county located in North West England where the natural beauty of the land attracts its visitors. Lakes are encompassed by tree-covered hills and the history of it all is best represented in the Lake District National Park, which was recently awarded with UNESCO World Heritage status.
Taking your time to smell the crisp air and soak in the fall scenes is all the rage for autumn, no matter what part of the world you are in. Traveling in August to October also gives you the advantage of fewer crowds and lower prices. For tourists hoping for a laid back vacation without sacrificing any of the scenery, then fall travel is the best choice to make!