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World’s 10 Best Places to Experience Autumn’s Color

While New England may be the most renowned region for fall foliage, destinations across the globe share the natural striking beauty of autumn and its yellow, gold, and crimson leaves. States like New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts are top picks, but there are many other destinations for planning an unforgettable holiday filled with beautiful colors, along with tasty seasonal fruits, veggies, hot cider, and more.

The Lakes Region of New Hampshire, United States Lakes Region in New Hampshire
Credit: Lakes Region in New Hampshire by © Alpegor | Dreamstime.com

The Lakes Region of New Hampshire, United States

New Hampshire is exceptional when it comes to showcasing the vibrant reds and golds of autumn. The best colors can be found inland and at higher elevations, like the Lakes Region, which includes Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake, Lake Ossipee, Mirror Lake, NewfoundLake, and Lake Winnisquam. It’s protected from the harsh coastal winds and doesn’t rise more than 600 feet above sea level, offering the best opportunity for a long leaf season, typically from late September through late October. There are tons of things to do, including heading out on a kayak or canoe on any one of the lakes to see some of the most jaw-dropping views with red maples along the water’s edge reflected into the water.

Bavaria, Germany Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
Credit: Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany by © minnystock - Dreamstime.com

Bavaria, Germany

Southern Germany boasts some of Europe’s most breathtaking scenery with its endless Alpine forests that pop with brilliant color against snow-dusted mountains in autumn. Bavaria is like the Vermont of Europe when it comes to the number of deciduous trees, with every turn like walking into a different Bob Ross painting. This is the season for Oktoberfest, too, along with lots of wine festivals for indulging in the results of the grape harvest, as well as being ideal for hiking through the Alps and taking horse-drawn carriage rides.

The Berkshires, Massachusetts Sunset in the Berkshires
Credit: Sunset in the Berkshires by © Alpegor | Dreamstime.com

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts provide great leaf-peeping along with a host of museums to explore, like the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, home to one of America’s largest collections of modern art. The striking fall foliage can best be experienced by taking a scenic drive along the winding roads lined with reds, golds and occasionally dark scarlet hues, passing sparkling lakes, lush meadows and tranquil farms along the way. The 35-mile stretch known as Jacob’s Ladder Scenic Byway in the southern Berkshires may be one of the best, including a stop at Bash-Bish Falls State Park to take in the jaw-dropping three-state views with the landscape blanketed in crimson and gold.

Piedmont, Italy Piedmont Italy
Credit: Piedmont Italy by © Daniela Pelazza | Dreamstime.com

Piedmont, Italy

Do you really need an excuse to visit Italy? Autumn, and particularly October, is the peak season for food and wine, with truffles and mushrooms, chestnuts and chocolate all enjoying their own festivals during this time – and it’s also vineyard harvest season. One of Italy’s best-kept secrets, Piedmont is home to majestic fall scenery and also offers an outstanding food and wine culture. This Northwest region is hemmed in by the Alps and hosts hundreds of roads and trails to explore the surrounding peaks set ablaze with color.

Kyoto, Japan Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto, Japan
Credit: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto, Japan by © Vincentstthomas - Dreamstime.com

Kyoto, Japan

While Japan is most famous for its spring cherry blossoms, the autumn foliage in Kyoto may be even more spectacular, peaking from late October through mid-November. And, unlike those elusive cherry blossoms that put on a brief two-week display, you’ll have at least two months to view the wonderment of the vibrant reds and oranges, especially those stunning red maple leaves that create a fantasy-like scene. In between leaf-peeping, munch on the country’s fall favorite, roasted chestnuts, often served with tasty desserts.

Nova Scotia, Canada The Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
Credit: The Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia by Unsplash

Nova Scotia, Canada

Located in the Canadian Maritimes, Nova Scotia is filled with color in autumn. A drive on Highway 2 brings gorgeous scenery that includes serene river views, quaint farmhouses and vivid red-blueberry fields along with the usual colorful foliage. The province also plays host to numerous Oktoberfest and craft brew festivals during the season, along with some of the most mouthwatering fresh seafood you’ll ever taste.

The Green Mountains, Vermont Mount Mansfield in Vermont
Credit: Mount Mansfield in Vermont by © Jiawangkun | Dreamstime.com

The Green Mountains, Vermont

The Green Mountains of Vermont are another one of New England’s best regions for autumn foliage and is a mecca for serious leaf peepers. Take a drive on the highways and byways that meander through mountains and valleys to marvel at glorious hues of violet-red pin cheery and yellow alder leaves as well as blazing orange and red maple trees. The most brilliant foliage occurs during a long stretch of warm, sunny days combined with chilly overnight temperatures. The Green Mountain Byway from Waterbury to Stowe is one of the top drives, passing lush meadows, farms and charming villages, ending with the state’s highest peak at Mount Mansfield.

Wicklow National Park, Ireland View of the historic Glendalough monastic site with ancient round tower and church in Wicklow National Park
Credit: View of the historic Glendalough monastic site with ancient round tower and church in Wicklow National Park by © Jenifoto406 | Dreamstime.com

Wicklow National Park, Ireland

While Ireland may be famous for its green, fall is a wonderful time to view an array of colors, from frequent bright blue skies to golden tree-covered mountains. The Wicklow Mountains are especially breathtaking during the fall season, offering multiple scenic hiking trails for viewing the scenery, like the fabulous trek from Lough Tay to Lough Dan. You can also visit some of the Emerald Isle’s top historic sites, like Glendalough, one of the most important monastic sites in the entire country, founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century.

The Scottish Highlands, Scotland Bridge of Orchy, Scotland
Credit: Bridge of Orchy, Scotland by © Wirestock | Dreamstime.com

The Scottish Highlands, Scotland

Scotland is famous for its soaring mountains, with plenty of colors to be found in the Highlands, including in and around the village known as the Bridge of Orchy. You’ll be in the heart of some of the region’s most impressive scenery, including castles that seem to appear out of the mist magically – and vanish just as quickly. At Loch Tulla, a small isle is transformed into a brilliant array of colors that’s reflected in the tranquil waters. West Highland Way, which links Milngavie, just outside Glasgow, to Fort William in the Highlands, passing through the Bridge of Orchy, offers a wide variety of hikes to take in the gorgeous hues.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park travels for 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Credit: Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park travels for 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. by bigstockphoto.com

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park spans 100 miles, with the hues of autumn foliage varying dramatically and the color changing depending not only on the day but also on the water. Color can change depending on the hour. Your best bet is around late September through mid-September, with the earlier of that period offering a big celebration of apples, including apple butter tasting and plenty of hard cider.

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