Explore unique fall destinations across 20 countries and 6 continents
Fall is a season made beautiful by contradictions. Here on the West Coast of Canada, in the early days of fall, before day and night merge into one continuous grey hue, the skyline is a beautiful canvas for nature. Leaves of yellow, orange and brown speckle the cityscape as Blundstones stomp on blanketed sidewalks, conversations inevitably revolving around pumpkin-spiced everything. Gradually, incessant rain and misty breath claim the will to clamber out of bed and into the bleak morning. But still, what a bliss it is to see the gradient of colours, feel the drizzle on your skin, and soak in the warmth and coziness that carries all the way to Christmas.
But, that’s just my version of fall. I thought it’d be fun to ask the travel community to share what fall is like in their part of the world. If you are in need of some travel inspirations this fall, read on for 30 destinations around the world with an epic fall season.
Fall in the Adirondack Mountains of New York is pretty spectacular. This area of preserved land is larger than some states and features grand mountains, great vistas, and spectacular lakes, all of which are at their best in autumn. The community at the heart of it all is Lake Placid, home of two Winter Olympics. This quaint town offers great shopping, delicious restaurants, and the chance to learn about the region’s great Olympic tradition. Whether you are looking for a strenuous hike, to simply drive the roads, or just to sit back and relax, this is a leaf peeper’s paradise.
The Black Hills in South Dakota is a popular summer destination thanks to great weather and Mount Rushmore. Well, I think fall happens to be an even better time to visit. The foliage is stunning, crowds are minimal, and the weather is cool in the best way. There are tons of hikes and scenic drives in the Black Hills to enjoy the foliage to the max with views of crazy rock formations as well as Mount Rushmore itself. Just keep in mind that once October hits, a lot of businesses (hotels, restaurants, shops, etc.) shut down or have limited hours, but it’s still totally worth visiting then.
Why visit Disney in fall as opposed to any other time of the year, you may be wondering? First and foremost, the weather is better and there is less rain and fewer tourists. Second, there are fun fall-themed events! You can attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, which is an exclusive and highly coveted Halloween event with special appearances, trick or treating, and more!
Halloween at Disney also means fall-themed decorations throughout all the parks which adds to the feeling of autumn if you are a Floridian!
Finally, the best fall event at Disney is the Epcot Food And Wine Festival. You can travel around the World Showcase lagoon and taste food from countries around the world. From India and Italy to Brazil and Belgium, there is something to taste in every corner of the park. This event is world-famous and only goes on during the fall months at Disney!
Fox Hollow Farm in Issaquah, WA is one of the most beautiful pumpkin patches to take in those glorious fall colors! Only a forty-minute drive from Seattle, this farm is right at the base of the beautiful Issaquah Alps. The foliage and scenery are breathtaking, but this farm isn’t just for pumpkin picking! Ride some ATVs, hang with friendly farm animals and watch the salmon swim upstream. Don’t forget to grab some delicious pumpkin pie and farm-fresh buttered corn.
Kentucky is a perfect fall destination! Visitors can drive our country roads and see gorgeous horse farms and a blanket of fall foliage throughout the state. If bourbon is your thing, a trip along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a must-do as you sample the bourbons at the many distilleries along the trail. And fall is the perfect time to place your bets on thoroughbreds at fall meets at Keeneland Race Track or Lexington or Churchill Downs in Louisville.
A recent trip to this Bavarian Village had me convinced that this is one of the most beautiful and festive places for fall. Set against an alpine backdrop coloured by the rich flora, the village is spectacularly reminiscent of its European cousin, from its architecture, food, right down to its festivities. For three weekends in October, Leavenworth plays host to the Pacific Northwest’s own Oktoberfest, which sees costume-clad visitors parading around town in infectiously high spirits, singing, drinking, and having a grand time.
Millennium Park is one of Chicago’s most popular attractions, and while that’s true all year long, it’s particularly beautiful in the fall. This photo shows the trees as they’re just beginning to turn colors, with the gorgeous Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion in the background. Also in the park is Lurie Gardens, an oasis of native plants surrounded by evergreens. They change seasonally, so you can get a tiny sense of what the prairies looked like before the settlers arrived.
Love waterfalls and beautiful fall scenery?! Then, the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park, one of many great hikes near Portland, is for you. See ten different waterfalls in approximately 8 miles on this spectacular hike!
The photo is from a hike I did over the weekend at Staunton State Park near Denver, Colorado. The best thing about fall here is the colors when the aspen trees turn bright yellow!
Even though snow often comes early to Banff National Park, it provides a nice contrast to the vibrant fall colours of the forest. This photo was taken while hiking Larch Valley trail in late September, when the larch tree needles turn yellow before falling to the ground for winter. It’s a special scene that can only be enjoyed for about two weeks, as the needles shed shortly after changing colour.
Fall in Southern Ontario, Canada is a pleasure for the senses. The air is crisp and clear, the vibrant colours of fall foliage surround you, and a plethora of autumn fruits and vegetables are finally ready for harvest and feasting. The days grow shorter, the nights grow longer, and the scent of burning leaves fills the air.
You can spend your days apple or pumpkin picking (or both), attending fall festivals and navigating corn mazes. My favourite thing to do is to hike through the forest and gaze upon the kaleidoscope of trees ready to shed their leaves. I highly recommend it!
Fall is actually spring in Chile, where the country awakens from a cold, snowy winter into a brand-new year. It’s the perfect time to explore, as it’s the shoulder season for visitors and the hordes of tourists found in January and February have yet to arrive.
This photo was taken in the far north of the country in the Atacama Desert, a place famed for its flamingo-dotted saline lakes, volcanoes and sand dunes that hint at otherworldly landscapes. It’s an ideal three-day stop on any Chilean itinerary.
The unique thing about fall here is that there is no fall! It’s a beautiful, tropical beach village close to the equator so the temperature is constant all year round and there are only two seasons– summer and the rainy season. Around this time, Praia Da Pipa starts to become a bit busier due to the Brazilian vacation season, as it is also the perfect time for surfing. Praia Da Pipa is popular among beginners and more experienced surfers, making it a great place to learn. There are lots of wild dolphins in the ocean so it’s very common to be surfing next to beautiful dolphins!
The area is also known for being a sanctuary for sea turtles and if you’re lucky you can spot them in the sea from the cliffs above. They grow to over a metre in size!
Fall in Abu Dhabi is like an awakening from a long summer siesta! By mid-October, the summer temperatures and humidity significantly drop, and life moves outside again. The days are shorter, the sun hangs lower in the sky, and every weekend becomes filled with events, markets and festivities with the fabulous multi-cultural vibe of this largely expat city on the Arabian Gulf. Pictured, sunset over the Corniche, Al Bateen area of Abu Dhabi, with Etihad Towers and the Presidential Palace in the distance.
Bhutan experiences very pleasant autumn with clear blue skies and the weather is perfect for outdoor activities like treks and picnics! Bhutan also has some interesting festivals at this time of the month, like the Thimphu Tshechu and the Gangtey Tshechu. It’s so cool and foggy early in the morning and it’s such a beautiful sight! You also get to see so many colourful blossoms all over the country. It’s definitely the most beautiful time of the year in Bhutan.
Fall is the best time of year to visit Jordan! While days can still be quite hot in late September and early October, the weather quickly gives in to more moderate temperatures. Whether it is hiking the diverse landscape, visiting Petra, or taking a Jeep tour in Jordan’s desert, it is the perfect time of year to visit!
Thailand is an interesting place, as it is considered to have three seasons (yes, three)! The cold season (lasting November to February), the hot season (from February to May), and the rainy season (lasting May to October).
Despite it being October and technically the ‘rainy season’, there are many days of sunshine with occasional short (heavy) rainfall in the afternoon or at night. It’s a great time of year to get a bargain tropical holiday and still enjoy plenty of time at the beach sipping cocktails.
The Maldives has two seasons, rainy and dry so there is no changing of the leaves or even a drop in temperature. However, if you are considering visiting the Maldives in fall, you will be visiting in the height of the manta ray season. These amazing gentle giants can be found year-round in the Maldives but in Baa Atoll there is a special area called Hanifaru Bay where mantas gather to feed on tiny plankton from the months of July – November. It is the largest gathering of manta rays in the whole world, making this a bucket list destination for all who love marine life.
Myanmar in the fall is hot and humid. Take the incredibly cheap Yangon circular railway to get a full view of the city and surrounding area. You’ll be sure to see lush greenery.
The Perhentian Islands are small islands off the east coast of Malaysia which are perfect to visit in the first two months of fall when the weather should be clear and the islands are less busy than over the peak summer period. However, the monsoon starts in late October, so get your visit in before then.
The Perhentians are known for their gorgeous beaches, jungle interior and their surrounding marine park with great diving and snorkelling. September is the best month for visibility which is another great reason to visit then. If you love a challenge, there is the longest marathon swimming event (16km) in this region in early October.
This photo was taken in Cape Skirring, Casamance, during autumn 2019. Despite being the rainy season, I highly recommend you to visit this wonderful region in this period: the sea is still warm, the rain gives you some breaks, and this is when all the main hotels are closed and you can have a more relaxed stay. If you want to experience more of the local culture, take one day or multi-day trips in the region. Casamance indeed is not only the sea. If you head to Oussouye, contact Casamance VTT, an agency organizing mountain bike, kayak, and walking tours in the area. With them, you will have local guides that will show you the real culture of southern Casamance.
Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands is indeed heaven on earth. Famous for its mesmerizing beaches, Seychelles has a lot more to offer. During the fall season, beautiful, reddish-yellow leaves decorate Mahe Island and present an incredible sight with the beautiful, crystal-clear sea in the backdrop. Ziplining through the trees at the Constance Ephelia Resort in Mahe Island is generally preferred during the fall season.
I love autumn, especially as I was born in November. I love fall foliage, I love the fruits, and that the weather is not too hot, but perfect for long walks outdoors.
Bucharest has a few parks and a forest where people can admire the splendid fall colors. October and November are the best months to admire the yellow and red leaves. Here’s a photo from Herastrau Park, the biggest park in Romania’s capital (now it’s called King Michael Ist park), one of the must-visit places if you only have one day in Bucharest.
It might be the end of the summer season, but the sun displays fall colors every night as it dips below the horizon.
Fall in Lapland is a short but spectacular season and the landscape slowly turns into red and yellow. The best time to witness the change is in September and early October, before the first snowfall. This is the spectacular view from one of the lookouts towers near Rovaniemi.
Paris is great in any season, but it certainly proves to be a fabulous place to visit in the fall. The atmosphere is unique; the city becomes even more romantic than usual, and the mild temperatures make it perfect to wander around the many interesting places. Throughout the fall, Parisians enjoy dining at one of the many brasseries that have their tables outside. On colder days, the restaurants turn on the heaters so that clients can still observe the buzz of daily life, enjoy their glass of wine, but at the same time not get cold.
Come October, the landscape of Provence transforms into a tapestry of rich ochre shades. The iconic plane trees that line the roads wear a yellow crown before they lose their leaves to the mistral winds. The leafy vines turn a deep orange once their grapes have been harvested for the season, and the ivy that snakes its way between cobbled houses turns a fiery crimson colour. It’s also the perfect time to get involved in the many harvest festivals taking place around the region!
Rome is gorgeous at any time of the year but Rome in fall is special. As summer’s scorching temperatures fade away, the sun gets gentler and the city shimmers under bright blue skies.
Locals are fond of October in Rome especially and they even have a name for the city’s glorious autumnal days: ‘Ottobrate Romane’!
There is plenty to do in Rome in the fall. If you plan on sightseeing, this is a good season as you usually get dry days and mild temperatures, perfect to enjoy Rome’s piazzas and outdoor attractions such as the Colosseum and the forum.
On the occasional rainy day, you can enjoy Rome’s many museums and music venues, all operating a full schedule at this time, and you can of course make the most of chillier evenings to indulge in Rome’s food, which is traditional, tasty, and warming. Try one of the local ‘enoteche’ (bistrot) for the most authentic experience!
The Stourhead estate in Wiltshire includes a beautiful Palladian mansion and stunning gardens set around a man-made lake. There are hundreds of species of trees and shrubs in the landscaped gardens and in the autumn months, the gardens turn into a beautiful spectacle of warm colours. This is certainly one of the finest gardens in England to experience the beauty of autumn.
Tivoli Gardens is a top Copenhagen destination year-round, but they outdo themselves every Halloween. Each Fall, Halloween in Tivoli is an incredible display of spooky decorations and autumn fun.
The Queenstown area is the perfect climate to be able to enjoy four very distinct seasons. Fall is of course all about the colours! Visitors and locals come together for the annual 5-day Arrowtown Autumn Festival held in mid-late April. Located in a valley, Arrowtown is surrounded by bright reds, oranges and yellows that blanket the mountains and provide the perfect backdrop for the parade, market, music and street entertainment. Hiking or biking in the mountains or alongside any of the area’s lakes is a great way to enjoy the vibrant season and blue skies. If you’re feeling adventurous, how about a hot air balloon ride, kayaking on Lake Hayes, or riding jet skis on Lake Wakatipu? Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world after all!