Summer is all about ocean tang and winters are for swooshing down the slopes, but fall is a fabulous time for planning shoulder-season adventures. Free from the tangled crowds and often still temperate enough to soak up the great outdoors, autumn is an amazing time to travel. For those who dream of crisp clean air, the crunch of colorful leaves released from trees, and a cozy new energy - then read on to check out the best places to visit in the fall...
The Absolute Best Fall Destinations in Europe
Crunching beautiful fall foliage beneath your feet as you stroll the Seine, mountain biking in Spain, or trying out all the coziest dining venues in Florence, is there anything more alluring than the idea of Europe in the autumn season. Fewer crowds can mean a more local feeling and shorter queues for hitting up all those culturally rich museums. Europe also has some awesome fall festival events - Oktoberfest anyone? For those looking for a euro trip between mid-September and late October, these fall getaways have got you covered...
The Balkans are one of the most underrated destinations in Europe especially when the summer sultry mood starts to fade. Winters can be harsh, but September and October make for a fabulous time to head out into the leftover sunshine of lesser-known Bulgaria. Hike the Seven Lakes of Rila to see glorious displays of autumnal foliage, breathe in the old-world scents of woodsmoke and honey at the local monasteries, and sip and swirl incredible wines at the country’s homely vineyards. While parts of Bulgaria still live in rural bliss with fattened pumpkins and trundling horses and carts, the cities of Plovdiv and Sofia brim with cool bars and underground arts.
Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Italy in fall is always fabulous and especially in Florence where romance echoes across beautiful piazzas and Tuscan tables groan beneath the weight of freshly dug truffles and chestnuts. While the summer months see Florence swell with tourists, the masses have magically disappeared come the autumn, leaving the museums, churches and galleries clear of crowds. Tiptoe around the Uffizi Gallery, fall in love with Michelangelo’s David at the Firenze and hit the Sant Ambrogio Market to taste the finest seasonal gifts from the surrounding patchwork hills and sprawling vineyards.
Scottish Highlands, UK
Sure, you have to pack for every kind of weather, but the Scottish Highlands are ripe with gorgeous views, colorful trees, cobalt blue lochs, and the rise and fall of surrounding mountains. While summers can be plagued with midges and downpours, an early fall visit before the weather truly takes a winter turn can serve up ideal conditions for outdoor activities. Craggy climbs, rocky coastlines, and all the Munro's you can bag will keep outdoor enthusiasts smitten. Even for those who prefer to leave the hiking trail behind, there's cozy pubs, delicious food, and colorful local shops and epic road trip routes to showcase all those fall colors.
The party island pumps up the volume in the summer months, but the shoulder season is calmer and quieter while still being sultry and warm making it excellent for lazy beach days and exploring. Hit the hippy markets, take the boat to bicycle around the island of Formentera (home to one of the best beaches in Europe), and be sure to catch the mind-meltingly good sunset sink behind the sacred rock of Es Vedras.
Some other fabulous ideas for your fall trip...
Paris for crisp coffee mornings and poetic autumn foliage
Prague for literary lore and mind-blowing natural beauty
Munich for the perfect fall getaway at Oktoberfest
Vicentina Coast National Park in Portugal for big waves, coastal hikes, empty beaches, and sunny weather.