Fall is one of the best times to travel. With the kids back in school, tourist number start to drop, and with that, often hotel rates and airfare. The season often brings more idyllic weather, with opportunities for exploring sights without wiping away all the sweat. In many countries, you’ll be able to enjoy vibrant foliage too. No matter what you’re looking for, these countries are sure to make for an ideal escape this fall.
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Fall in Greece brings everything from gorgeous autumn colors to blissfully crowd-free beaches and especially pleasant weather. Witnessing Meteora highlighted by brilliant foliage is a must. The dramatic cliffs soaring more than 1,200 feet, overlook the villages of Kalambaka and Kastraki, and are home to a vast Eastern Orthodox monastic complex that’s unlike any other place on Earth, dating all the way back to the 14th century. If you’re here this season, you can also help with the local grape harvest and sample lots of great wines, celebrate the olive harvest, or simply just lounge on a beach, enjoying the soft sands and azure waters all to yourself.
Fall is arguably the best season to visit Ireland. While the weather is never guaranteed, from mid-September to mid-October you’re likely to have multiple days with bright blue skies, if slightly crisp temperatures. The Wicklow Mountains, a short drive south of Dublin, are one of the top spots for autumn color with the trees are covered with a brilliant golden hue. There are miles and miles of scenic hiking trails where you’re likely to see more waterfalls and deer than humans. Connemara is another one of the country’s top spots for fall color, and no matter where you go, if inclement weather does roll in, just duck into one of the many pubs, enjoy the warmth of the fire and a pint.
One of the world’s most popular destinations is ideal in the fall. While Italy may not be uncrowded, in the Italian lake areas, you can enjoy stunning fall foliage, and if you want to hit the beach, the Mediterranean stays warm through early to mid-October. This is also the time to visit for sampling fabulous foods like wild mushrooms and truffles, as well as joining in on festivals that celebrate the harvest too, including grapes and wine. Piedmont’s wine country is ideal, sometimes called the “next Tuscany” with its lush vineyards, rich cuisine and charming hilltop towns. In October, the hills of Le Langhe wine region are a vivid yellow as the vines transform.
During fall in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s spring in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the best times for a trip to Australia. The wet season begins in November, bringing raging torrents to beautiful waterfalls like Wallaman Falls in Girringun National Park of Queensland, the highest waterfall in the country. You’ll enjoy pleasantly warm weather in areas of northern and western Australia, the Northern Territory from Darwin south to the Tanami Desert, most of coastal Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, a must-experience with its vibrant coral, 1,600 species of tropical fish, sea turtles, dolphins, rays, sharks and giant clams.
One of Australia’s greatest claims to fame is the Great Barrier Reef. This tremendous coral reef system is a diver’s dream, as it is home to nearly 3,000 reefs and almost 1,000 islands
China’s fall foliage season is typically from mid-October to early November in north China, earlier in the south, though there are many other reasons to visit in autumn. The weather is usually quite nice, you’ll be able to attend the Mid-Autumn Festival, and experience the Great Wall of China, which is lined by trees illuminating it in a sea of reds and yellows. Beijing is also home to some of the finest remnants of the nation’s imperial past, like the Ming Tombs, a mausoleum of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty, the Forbidden City, and recent relics like Tiananmen Square, the largest city square in the world.
Scotland is breathtaking year-round, and even more so in the fall, particularly in the Highlands and in Perthshire, also known as Big Trees Country. Here, lochs and rivers reflect the array of gold and copper of tree covered hillsides, making it ideal for exploring and capturing postcard-perfect photos. Some of the best spots are near Loch Tummel, the Pass of Killiecrankie and Knock Hill. The steep walk to Knock Hill is rewarded with jaw-dropping views from the summit of the Highlands to the north.
The Lake District of England is renowned for having some of the finest scenery in England, with the greenest countryside and some of the best autumn foliage. Ride down the tranquil country lanes on a bike or hike the lush hills. In the fall, the golden light makes everything look even more magnificent, with glistening lakes surrounded by gold and ruby colored hills. While the weather here is notoriously unpredictable, that just provides the perfect excuse to duck into one of the area’s cozy pubs for a pint of local ale or cider.
Switzerland’s tree-covered slopes mean that it’s another one of the world’s most beautiful country’s to visit in the fall. The especially picturesque city of Lugano borders Italy and sits along the shores of Lake Lugano, underneath the shadow of mountains just south of the Alps. An autumn trip here means that summer’s hot temperatures have given way to a milder climate and a choreographed setting of vibrant color. Visit over the first weekend of October to attend the Autumn Festival, which showcases folkloric music as well as celebrations of grapes and fine wines.