Autumn is such a great time to travel. Cities are typically less busy than during the peak summer travel season, temperatures are milder, and trees are bursting with fall colors.
The only challenge is figuring out where you want to go! In that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of our five favorite destinations for fall sightseeing.
The northeastern states of the US are magical during the fall. Follow the Mohawk Trail, an early trade route, and New England’s first designated scenic drive, into the rolling hillsides of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. Vermont, the Green Mountain State, becomes the red, yellow, and orange mountain state, as the mountaintops transform into a kaleidoscope of color.
Journey along the Kancamagus Highway, a scenic byway that provides an abundance of panoramic views. Gaze upon Mount Washington, the tallest peak in New England, as it emerges out of the colorful trees of New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest. Absorb the picturesque beauty of Maine’s Acadia, the only national park in the region, and journey down the coast past historic lighthouses, covered bridges, fisheries, and quaint seaside villages. Autumn in New England is a slice of Americana that evokes the paintings of Norman Rockwell.
Straddling the Atlantic and Mediterranean in North Africa, Morocco in the fall is rugged and gorgeous, exotic and cozy. The Atlas Mountains offer truly breathtaking scenery that’s been largely untouched by civilization. Oak and juniper trees filled with pops of autumn color make the dramatic landscapes even more beautiful, and the season provides a respite from the summer heat and winter snow. Wander through the markets of Marrakesh and Casablanca, enjoy the spices that fill the air with enticing aromas, and return home with handcrafted artisan goods that make perfect holiday gifts.
Is there anything more romantic than Paris during the fall? By September, many tourists have cleared out and locals have returned from their August holidays, allowing you to enjoy the City of Love in its natural state. Sit on the café terraces, sipping a café au lait and savoring a warm crepe, while enjoying the temperate weather. Visit Versailles and the châteaux of the Loire Valley, where the autumn light adds a golden richness to the stately gardens. Cruise through the countryside and see how the changing seasons turn the landscape into a colorful oil painting. And visit France’s famous vineyards—where grape harvesting season is in full swing in September and October—to observe the beginning of the journey that will produce world-class wines.
Being in the southern hemisphere, September-November is actually Spring in South Africa. Unlike our other destinations, which are preparing to go into winter hibernation, South Africa is bursting into life. Vivid wildflowers are in bloom and baby animals are taking their first steps, which makes this the perfect time of year for a safari or whale watching excursion. Travel to the top of Table Mountain, which offers a 360-degree view of lovely Cape Town, to enjoy a sunset over the ocean. And be sure to visit South Africa’s excellent wineries, which are renowned for their crisp and lively white wines. Consider heading south of the equator this fall!
Baroque cities, the Bavarian Alps, the mythical Black Forest, and of course the annual celebration of Oktoberfest make Germany an ideal Autumnal destination. Imagine charming cobble-stoned streets, famous beer halls, and local wine festivals all with the backdrop of golden fall days ablaze with bright fall foliage. While off-season travel helps with cost, don’t forget that Oktoberfest is one of the biggest events of the year in Bavaria. If you plan on visiting mid-September to early October, you’ll be treated to a celebration of Bavarian culture and cuisine. Every fall, over 6 million people travel from every corner of the world to drink beer, eat sausage, and join together in song.