Don’t bother mourning the end of summer – just look forward to an autumn trip instead. From colourful foliage to spooky festivals here is our Top 10 of the most beautiful fall/autumn breaks around the world…
Douro Valley, Portugal
Many parts of Europe make great autumn travel destinations. High on the list is Portugal’s Douro Valley. The Valley is one of the few places in the world where grapes are still trodden by foot. In late September, early October you can join the locals as they tread the grapes accompanied by a local accordionist (at the Quinta de la Rosa winery). The scenery is also very beautiful in this part of rural Portugal – the river valley is surrounded by steep green hills and there is little in the way of developed tourism, ensuring plenty of peace and quiet.
Xihai Grand Canyon, China
This area of outstanding natural beauty in China has only recently opened to the public. Craggy, surreal and highly photogenic the canyon was one of China’s best-kept secrets. Often surrounded by an atmospheric mist it’s known for its mysterious landscapes and surreal features. The ancient pine trees, steep mountains and unusual rock formations has earned it the nickname “the Magic Scenic Area”. Autumn is one of the best seasons to visit as the temperature begins to cool and the leaves will begin to change – giving you even more great photo opportunities.
The New Forest, England
England has plenty of fine places to see the best of autumn season. One of the best is the New Forest, which is the largest remaining open heathland and forest in the otherwise heavily-populated South East England. Ablaze with colour at this time of year, the area is a paradise for walkers and cyclists. You’ll find miles of traffic-free tracks through the forest as well as picnic spots, cosy tea shops and traditional English pubs. Also don’t miss the adorable new forest ponies which roam freely throughout the heathland.
Day of the Dead Festival, Mexico
The Day of the Dead is not quite as scary as you might think, in fact, this colourful Mexican holiday could actually be considered quite jolly. The celebration which takes place on 1st November is an official Catholic holiday. Family and friends remember loved ones that have died but it’s also a celebration of life. Expect everything from decorated streets and graveyards to brightly coloured flowers and painted skeleton figurines. Also, be sure to see lively street parades and plenty of traditional Mexican food.
Virginia, United States
Fall is the perfect time to visit this US state. There’s a more comfortable climate for starters and of course you’ll get the chance to see the famous foliage change colour. Virginia has many things going for it including great beaches, thick forests and some of the oldest towns in North America. For a unique fall/autumn break charter a hot air balloon or search out some Virginia Beach vacation rentals to make the most of the gorgeous coastline.
This famous beer festival is a rip-roaring sixteen-day event full of lederhosen-clad men and beautiful serving staff. The much-loved Munich festival (17th September – 3rd October) was originally a one-off celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and his bride but it was so popular it has remained a permanent annual fixture 170 years on. Feast on pork knuckles, bratwurst and potato pancakes while surrounded by high-spirited Bavarians. Definitely the mother of all beer festivals.
Mid-Autumn Festival, Kuala Lumpur
Mid-Autumn Festival of Kuala Lumpur is celebrated on the 15th day of Chinese calendar’s eighth month. The Mid-Autumn Festival or Mooncake Festival as it’s otherwise known is a yearly celebration for the Malaysian capital. It takes place on the 15th day of Chinese calender’s eighth month and as you’ve probably guessed, mooncakes feature heavily. The cakes are baked in all shapes and sizes and are handed out to all and sundry. You’ll also see pretty Lantern processions, beautifully decorated parks and city squares, public displays of affection and plenty of general merriment.
Switzerland is a beautiful travel destination all year round but the fall season is particularly pretty. You’ll see plenty of autumnal colours before the snow turns everything white and this time of year the country is alive with festivals – many of which are the food variety. Harvest is celebrated in a big way here and visitors can choose from chestnut fairs, feasts involving whole towns or street parades featuring locals dressed in skins and moss.
Autumn is a great time to visit Dublin, the pubs are free from the annual summer stag do’s and the city takes on quieter more atmospheric feel. If you plan your autumn break around Halloween you’re in for a treat. Ireland is where Halloween is thought to originate from and every year The Pooka’s Labyrinth Halloween parade takes place in the Irish capital. Ghosts, ghouls and scarily dressed people take to the capital’s highways and byways and Irish mythical legends and folklore characters such as giants also feature.
New England, United States
No autumn/fall travel destination list would be complete without a mention of New England. New England with its easy-on-the-eye natural scenery and endless woodlands makes one of the most beautiful travel destinations to see the foliage change colour. Although you don’t have to just watch the leaves, there are also plenty of other things to do including trekking, mountain trail walks and biking.