Best Places to Visit in the World in Autumn
Autumn, the time of changing seasons and drying leaves, the time when mother nature dons a fiery cloak of reds and browns, shimmering with streaks of gold in a newly-settling cold. So what’s with this season, that is mainly marred by gloomy evenings, shortening days and unannounced rainfalls in many parts of the world, even with such tantalising beauty?
It may be a low season for tourism for most places around the world, but autumn (as the Europeans call it), and fall (as the Americans say), is a marvellous time to holiday. You just need to know which corners of the world are great for this season, and pack your bags to take the leap. Here are some of our best places to visit in Autumn.
The city of Utrecht in Netherlands is all old canals and 12th Century wharfs, boats docking by the canal walls and cozy shops, boutiques and restaurants lining the way. The city becomes chilly once October sets in, but it also adorns itself in the fiery colours of dried red and orange leaves, making everything a hundred times more beautiful. This medieval town has also been the religious hub of Netherlands for centuries now and hence is home to classic domes and cathedrals too. So you have a lot to explore indoors, as well as a lot of places to take Instagram-worthy photos outdoors (falling autumn leaves and all).
Iceland is a Nordic country north of Europe, home to some of the toughest and coldest landscapes and glaciers as well as beautiful volcanoes and hot springs. By September end, the skies in Iceland begin to darken considerably and for longer durations, hence paving way for Northern Lights sightings. Autumn here is hence a shoulder season for those who wish to see these splendid lights that nature strings for its skies. This season is not as expensive as autumn, the cold is less jarring and you still can see dried trees and leaves before snow engulfs them all. The capital Reykjavik records around 1-2°C lows on the coldest autumn days. You can go dipping in hot pools and springs, spend your nights chasing Northern Lights, and explore the tourist spots by day. In Reykjavik, the month of November is highlighted by the Iceland Airwaves festival, a musical extravaganza that showcases new talent.
Tel Aviv, Israel
A beach city through and through, Tel Aviv comes in the top 10 beach destinations in the world. And why autumn specifically for Tel Aviv’s beaches? Because you don’t have to bear the sun’s glare while chilling on the beach. With the onset of a cool autumn, you can enjoy the sea and sands, the shores and breezes, without the crowd and maddening heat of peak of summer. You will get to enjoy the riviera with locals milling around, jogging, shopping, sipping coffees at the cafe or just sitting by the Mediterranean. Some of the best beaches to try out at this time include Hilton (it is gay friendly), Gordon-Frishman and Banana Beach.
Bavaria, Southern Germany
Bavaria is one of Germany’s best kept secrets, a winter wonderland of sorts that houses the Neuschwanstein Castle. It looks right out of a fairytale and beckons you into its folds that smell of magic and stories. What’s more is, Bavaria is also a hub for theatre, musical performances and art. During autumn, the state is painted in shimmering reds and golds, transforming the landscape into a desktop wallpaper. The old bridges, ancient churches and medieval town architecture only suck you in a little bit more with every step you take, as if you are in a recreation of Snow White or Red Riding Hood.
Well, all of Canada is pretty through autumn’s fall colours, but there are some parts better than the others. Like the province of Ontario. The season is called ‘Fall’ on this side of the Atlantic, and is just as shimmering. Late September sees the landscape transform into a golden hallow here and then everything is seen through the lens of fall. Some of the best places to enjoy during fall here include Algonquin Provincial Park, a national park that is Canada’s oldest and most breathtaking, the Agawa Canyon, Prince Edward County, Bruce Trail and Niagara Parkway. Ontario in a nutshell is all lakes and maples trees, waterfalls and pretty fall drives, with Thanksgiving creating a warm hug of sorts.
With 21°C highs and 11°C lows, Greece makes autumn feel incredibly welcome. From September onwards, the country turns cooler and drier, the Meltemi winds mellowing kindly down. Although Greece does not become orange and gold for your eyes, you feel the quiet air of its changing season. The summer crowds have departed, leaving you the sights and markets and streets and beaches, the heat is almost gone, and the rates have dropped. A perfect time for a budget holiday, without the hassle of crowded places. Celebrate the national Greek holiday of No-Day with the locals, tour the vineyards, wineries and cheese-making workshops, and enjoy the fresh seasonal produce in local delicacies.
The central part of Italy, Tuscany is a region that is mainly known for the city of Florence, along with Pisa, Lucca and Chianti (yes, the wine hub). The region is a beauty in every season, specifically in autumn, as the rolling meadows and hills turn a bright shade of orange with streaks of rust and brown, crowning the medieval architecture and statues and cathedrals that are patent to this region. Visit Florence for its ancient medieval beauty, the Uffizi, Duomo and David by Michelangelo. Check out Chianti for its vineyards and wines, and enjoy the Apennine Mountains, Tyrrhenian Sea and the olive grooves that fringe the beaches of Elba. Since autumn is the time of harvest, vineyards are at their best!
Morocco is a desert country in North Africa, known for its great sand deserts of the Sahara, cities like Marrakech and Casablanca, souks that remind you of the Arabian Nights and camel caravans and safaris that take your breath away. The average temperature during autumn here is in the 20s, dropping below 20 at night, while the highs can go up to 29°C one some days. This hence makes for a great season to enjoy the desert safaris on budget, indulge in the exotic activities and vibes, travel with a mix of European and African influence and chill on the coasts (Essaouira, Agadir and Taghazout).
September-October make for the best months for a visit to Lisbon. Why, you ask? Because this time is warm and yet not hot, alive with people but not the tourist crowd, perfectly blended with mild rains and dry days. Lisbon is also at its cheapest in this shoulder season, offering you a lot of deals and discounts on food, travel and accommodation. What’s more is, this city is so beautiful in autumn, with the sky clear most days, sun shining high, and the streets shadowed by shimmering red and yellow trees. These blended together make for the best time to go exploring the city on foot, take loads of photos and travel by trams.
The season of autumn stretches from September to November in Japan, painting the mountains and parks and temple gardens in a shaded gradient of reds, yellow, brows and oranges. The autumn foliage imparts an otherworldly charm to the sights here, with fresh weather to clear the crisp air. A lot of buzz and activity in Japan at this time may remind you of sakura or cherry blossom or spring season. You can play in the autumn leaves in Hokkaido, go hiking up Mount Takao, Hakone or Nagano; explore the gardens and buildings of Kyoto and try out every local autumn delicacy there is in this country. Ramen included.
The Turkish autumns are best experienced on the Turkish Riviera, the southwest region of Turkey that is kissed by the Aegean and the Mediterranean. Some of the most captivating places to visit in Turkey for summer are Cappadocia (open air museums, fairy chimneys, hot-air balloon rides), Pamukkale (hotwater terraces and lagoons), Izmir beaches, Antalya, Kas, Bodrum and Goreme. While the summer season takes the warm long days with it, you still have enough balmy days in autumn to enjoy the sites and explorations, relax by the beaches and hike over mountains and trails.
Côte d’Azur (The French Riviera)
The French Riviera, better known as Côte d’Azur, is one of the most beautiful Mediterranean stretches on the coast of France. There is perpetual sun-sand-and glitterati here. More so in summer. So the season of autumn following summer marks a decline in all the celebrities holidaying in places like Saint Tropez and Monaco and Nice, paving way for better deals and slashing of rates on everything. With the temperature a balmy mid-20, you get to sunbathe, swim, stroll and enjoy the stunning outdoorsy beaches and promenades without much problem. Saint Tropez is alive with buzzing activity between September last week and October first week, celebrating the annual Regatta Les Voiles de St Tropez, with more than 300 yachts jetting in from all over the world for racing.
A county in south of England, Cornwall is a breathtaking beauty. Everything British is found here, from trimmed gardens with paved paths for those afternoon strolls, porches that host tea parties, moors whistling out to the mint green seas frothing at the end and beaches full of cool sand. The coast of Cornwall is a peninsula and hence amazing for a post-summer vacation, or even a longer month-long staycation through autumn. The coast is also lovingly named the Cornish Riviera and hosts fishing villages, cliffs, seaside resorts and surfing schools. The weather is not always warm in October, but you get to return to your lovely room or cottage with a toasty fire roaring in the hearth every time it rains. Doesn’t that count for something?
The Republic of Cyprus, an island country located in the Mediterranean region, is also a great autumn destination to holiday in. The summer heat is yet not all retreated here, even in October, so the beaches are still pretty amazing to sunbathe on. The waters still tepid to swim in. The plush resorts, beautiful sea waters and amazing towns around make for a relaxing autumn break for you, coupled with some colder days punctuating the heated ones as and when the Mediterranean mood strikes.
The beauty of Berlin in autumn is in the dried leaves popping up on leaves, colouring the days orange. And the gala of fairy lights fringing the Christmas Markets after sundown, putting a spotlight on the nights. September end in Germany marks the celebration of Oktoberfest with pumpkin delicacies and beer, while by the time October really rolls in, the Christmas markets are set up to welcome the holiday season. Charlottenburg Castle Christmas is a must visit, while other tourist spots in Berlin are also obligated to be explored at least once.