You don’t have to wait until summer to go travelling. Visiting countries in the autumn can give a completely different edge to your trip and provide the most magnificent backdrops of reds, browns and golden hues. In this article, I share the best autumn destinations I have found in my twenty plus years of travelling.
You may not have heard of it but Liechtenstein, tucked in between Austria and Switzerland is the sixth smallest country in the world and is perfect for those who love nature. The best way to see this small country is by hiking through its 400km of marked trails and nature reserves.
One of the main attractions here is the Gutenberg Fortress in Balzers which comes alive in the autumn. Vaduz Castle is another place to see. Perched on top of a hillside, this castle gave the capital, Vaduz, its name. I loved this little country in its autumn colours and spent the day here, travelling from Buchs in Switzerland.
Being a Brit, I'm probably a bit biased but you can't beat a crisp English countryside with fallen leaves in the autumn. Traditional English gardens in a kaleidoscope of colours provide the perfect setting for an afternoon stroll in the crisp air and the UK has so many autumn spots to explore. The Lake District has got to be one of my favourite places with many trails in the Cumbrian forest to hike or bike your way through, and you can stay overnight in a log cabin to make it even cosier.
Then there’s the Cotswolds, a quintessential area of England with cobbled streets and country pubs to call in on, or you could head to Salcey Forest for the wooden walkway of Tree Top Way for the amazing view at the very top. With cathedrals, castles and rivers to explore, I really recommend an autumn visit to England.
Ontario in Canada
If you love adventure, I definitely recommend Algonquin Provincial Park in Canada. This National Park located between Georgian Bay and Ottawa River was the first National Park to be established in Canada and is an expansive 7000 kilometres of lakes, rivers and forests.
Not only is it perfect for canoeing, kayaking, ATV’ing, mountain biking and hiking but it’s even better explored in the autumn months when the Ontario province transforms into a rusty-coloured landscape of Ontario fall colours that reflect off the edge of the water.
It’s a chance to explore nature in an array of colours, see the famous Canadian maple trees and you may even spot a bear or moose too! Plus, it’s only a 3-hour drive from Toronto or Ottawa.
It may be synonymous with vampires but Transylvania really isn’t all that scary. Bursting with castles, a visit to Peles Castle is even more spectacular surrounded by autumn colours, and you simply have to visit ‘Dracula's castle' on your Romania trip.
Another interesting place to see is Hartibaciu Valley. With traditional valleys, it is awash with nature and is also one of the unmissable sites in the country. Located on a plateau, it's worth the climb to the top of the Poenari Fortress. Or head to Lepsa, at the foot of Putna-Vrancea Natural Park for mountain trails in golden browns. Romania is a really surprising country and I definitely recommend it in September and October.
Tuscany is one of those Italian regions that you simply must visit. Having visited here in the summer months, I have yet to experience it in all it’s Autumn colours but it is said to be just as spectacular – if not more so – in the Fall when the leaves change from yellow to orange and red. As well as it being the harvest season, the landscapes are a kaleidoscope of colours.
This is also the time that the harvest season begins so make sure to partake in a grape harvest if you visit during the September or October months. One of the best places to visit here in Autumn is Casentino National Park where you can hike along its forest hiking trails and take one of the walking tours to see this national park in its true Autumn glory.
Although I haven't yet been to Japan (except for one night in an airport hotel), this Asian country is high on my travel wish list. One of Japan’s most popular seasons is the spring when the cherry blossoms start to bloom, but a trip here in the autumn is apparently just as stunning and lasts longer than the week-long cherry blossoms. Plus it's can be cheaper too!
From September, autumn leaves can be seen in the mountains of Hokkaido, where the season then moves south to reach Tokyo and Kyoto in November, providing sensational views of autumn foliage as ginkgo trees turn to red. The recommended spot to see a beautiful sunset is Koudaiji in Kyoto which is open throughout the evening for amazing views.
There are even more benefits of travelling in the autumn. Not only will you see amazing nature but you’ll save money with it being outside the peak season too. Bonus!
Where is your favourite place for autumn?