If you’re thinking about escaping to Europe this fall, these incredible trips are sure to make that decision a whole lot easier. In fact, you’ll probably want to book right now.
Belgium (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Bruges often conjures up visions of ice skating across the frozen tree-lined canals, but autumn is a wonderfully romantic time to experience it too. All of those trees turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow, and are reflected in the water, making this fairy-tale Medieval city filled with cobbled alleyways, church spires, and turrets look even more romantic in the fading afternoon light. Plus, anytime of year is ideal for indulging in the handmade chocolate in which Bruges specializes in too.
Norway (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The seasonal change in Northern Europe is particularly striking, and as the leaves begin to transform, woodland areas take on new life, creating an idyllic setting for evening walks or foraging expeditions while there is still quite a bit of daylight. Autumn in Norway is almost absurdly colorful, with even the ground in some places turning bright red. The nearly empty national parks are ideal for spotting the various hues, as well as the abundance of wildlife. And, as the nights begin to get longer, it means brilliant starry skies and the dazzling northern lights. Oslo, which is home to multiple pretty parks, becomes even more stunning this time of year, with Akershus Fortress and the Vigeland Sculpture Park making for a particularly colorful backdrop on a sunny fall day.
Switzerland (Hotel Prices & Photos)
There may be no more beautiful time to visit spectacular Switzerland than in the fall. An autumn visit helps create once-in-a-lifetime memories with the scorching temperatures of summer fading away to a milder climate, fewer crowds and a choreographed setting of gorgeous color. Experience this unforgettable setting, complete with the Alps, chocolate, cheese and cowbells you’ve been envisioning. The city of Lugano, situated in the southern region bordering Italy along the shores of Lake Lugano, lies under dramatic mountains and is especially ideal. If you can plan your trip around the first weekend of October, you’ll be able to attend the Autumn Festival, featuring folkloric music along with celebrations of grapes and fine wines.
Ireland (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Ireland is stunning all year round, but in the autumn, not only will you frequently find bright blue skies and trees covered with a brilliant golden hue, but you’re likely to see more waterfalls than other tourists. Two of the best spots in the country for fall foliage are the Wicklow Mountains and the Connemara region, where the land will be teeming with colors and awe-inspiring landscapes. Due to its wet, mild climate, the Emerald Isle tends to stay green year-round, but when autumn comes around, splotches of warm hues make their way into those endless picture-perfect moments.
Scottish Highlands (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Autumn is a beautiful time of year to be in Scotland, and particularly in the highlands, when those mountainous landscapes are ablaze with fall color and the sky often has a fabulous purple and orange glow. Wildlife thrives during this season – listen for the echoing sounds of the red deer that roar and clash antlers while gathering in the glens for the annual rut, and view the thousands of barnacle geese that descend on the Hebrides to escape the harsher climate of northern Norway. While nearly a fifth of Scotland’s land area is covered in trees, they aren’t all evergreen, so you’ll see plenty of colorful deciduous trees, and against that green backdrop, the scene becomes even more breathtaking.
Lake Bled, Slovenia (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Lake Bled is a magical sight year round that looks as if it came straight out of the pages of a fairytale. One of Europe’s best kept secrets, it looks different in every season, but it’s perhaps most striking in autumn, when the emerald green lake is surrounded by golden foliage that’s set against a backdrop of the snow-capped Karavanke Alps. A tiny island sits in the middle of the water, just big enough for an old white church, the picturesque Church of the Assumption. By trekking to medieval Bled Castle, you’ll enjoy one of the most dramatic vistas over the lake.
Austria (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Austria is jam-packed with brilliant foliage in the fall, and Ahornboden, located near Innsbruck in the Silver Region, arguably boasts some of the best, sitting some 4,000 feet up in the Alps among soaring rocky peaks. Here you’ll find a tranquil alpine meadow dotted with thousands of maple trees that are transformed to a luminous yellow hue every autumn.
Italy (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Italy is absolutely jaw-dropping in the fall, and there may be no place more beautiful to see the colors of autumn than the Trenton Valley. The apple orchards and vineyards are transformed into a vibrant red, making the landscape look as if it must be an Impressionist painting. Piedmont is fabulous too, with its astounding fall scenery as well as an outstanding food and wine scene. With the northwest region hemmed in by the Alps, there are hundreds of roads and trails to explore the surrounding peaks that are all set ablaze with color.
Transylvania, Romania (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Transylvania has long been a place steeped in legend and striking imagery of medieval castles and misty moonlight. By taking a scenic drive through the highest mountains of the Southern Carpathians, the Fargaras range, with more than 20 peaks reaching over 8,000 feet into the sky, you’ll experience not only its famously harrowing, hairpin curves, but magnificent vistas of virbrant autumn foliage.
Bavaria, Germany (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The landscapes that cross the Danube between the Alps and the hills of Southern Germany, become extraordinarily picturesque during the autumn months. The endless Alpine forests pop with color against mountains dusted with snow, while a multitude of wine festivals are hosted, along with famed Oktoberfest. Experience it by hiking the Alps, taking a romantic ride on a horse-drawn carriage and sampling the local wines at a Bavarian winery. There are also some 25 historic castles and palaces to discover here, including magical Neuschwanstein Castle, which becomes even more impressive surrounded by those warm colors of fall.