The Most Incredible Destinations to Visit in the Fall
Layer up and head outdoors to explore these magical autumn destinations
Autumn is a truly brilliant time to travel. Not only do you get to see beautiful fall foliage (and experience seasonal festivals and celebrations), but temperatures are milder, crowds are smaller, and the pace of life slows down a little. Trust us, we’re travel experts here at Plum Guide, so if you have a question, we have the answer. If you’re thinking of an autumn vacation, we’ve put together this expert guide to the best places to visit in the fall. Whether you want to hike through national parks, eat and drink your way through a country, or celebrate all things spooky, here are some of our favourite places to embrace the most enchanting season of the year.
San Sebastián, Spain
With the spooky season making its debut in the fall, it’s the perfect excuse to travel to some of the most ghoulish destinations. While San Sebastián is a lovely destination (and far from gruesome), the fall is a particularly good time to visit for horror fans, as the Sebastián’s Fantasy and Horror Film Festival takes place between October and November each year. Enjoy film screenings around the city, as well as street theatre and exhibitions.
Each autumn, a five-day festival called Diwali takes place throughout India. Celebrating the victory of light over darkness, the festival is marked with lights, fireworks, and colour. One of the best places to experience Diwali is the pink city of Jaipur, where palaces, markets, forts, and houses are decorated with dazzling lamps and lanterns. Head to Nahargarh Fort for breathtaking views of the city from above.
Autumn is undoubtedly one of the best times to visit Dublin, as the city oozes a magical warm feeling that creeps its way around the cobbled streets and historical buildings. Soak up the colours at Phoenix Park, or stroll along the Grand Canal. The Dublin Theatre Festival happens in the fall, so make sure you catch a play. To end the night, pop into the Temple Bar Pub for a pint of Guinness or Irish whiskey, accompanied by traditional live music.
Mexico is one of the best places to visit in the fall, as this is when the Day of the Dead takes place. This is a celebration of life and death, where Mexicans gather to remember loved ones who have passed away. The cultural centre of Oaxaca is the best place to see the festivities, with colourful markets, parades, and fiestas on every street. Remember to blend in by painting your face like a skeleton, and donning a big feathered hat or flower crown.
While Aspen greets most of its visitors in the winter months, we think it's worth visiting in the fall for vivid colours set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains - the smaller crowds and milder temperatures are a bonus too. While you may not be able to ski just yet, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the fall scenery - enjoy mountain biking, hiking, visiting historic sites, or even just exploring the town.
What better place to get spooky this fall than in the land of bloodthirsty vampires and howling wolves? Steeped in legend, Transylvania is full of medieval towns, castles, and baroque buildings. Experience the myth of Dracula at Bran Castle, or wander Brasov’s medieval cobblestone streets. For some epic fall foliage, take a drive through the Fagaras Mountains, an unforgettable landscape famous for its hairpin curves.
There’s no better time to visit Tuscany than the fall, as the rolling hills turn gold and the harvest season starts - you’ll find olives, grapes, truffles, and chestnuts begging to be picked. Some villages hold sagras, which are festivals celebrating wine and the local harvest. If you can drag yourself away from all that food, take a hike through Foreste Casentinesi park for spectacular colours.
Bavaria is home to breathtaking scenery of Alpine mountains, lush forests, and picturesque fairytale towns. It’s the perfect fall destination, with vibrant hues of red and yellow serving as the ultimate backdrop to the many romantic castles and palaces dotted around the region. Visit one of the beer halls in Munich, the birthplace of Oktoberfest which happens each fall. Not keen on the idea of booze? Then get out and about - fall is the best time for hiking in the Alps (or horse-drawn carriage rides, for those seeking something more relaxed).
Planning an autumn trip to the UK? Don’t forget to add Derbyshire and the Peak District to your list of potential locations. Made for outdoor adventures, this area is especially picturesque when the fall foliage is in full force - do not forget the camera. Adrenaline-junkies can go caving, rock climbing, mountain biking, and white-water rafting. If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, take on the many woodland walks, visit historic houses, or explore the picturesque villages.
Mount Fuji, Japan
Mount Fuji is such a bewitching place in the fall that its beauty is celebrated with the annual Fujikawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival. Celebrate the changing of the leaves while enjoying performances and local specialities from numerous food stalls. In the background, the striking red leaves and peaceful blue waters around the volcano’s graceful, snowy peak make for a postcard-perfect view.
As one of the leafiest cities in Europe, it makes sense to include Amsterdam on your list of where to travel in autumn in 2022. The Dutch capital is known for its canals, which make for the perfect backdrop as you stroll through the city. Better still, why not take a canal cruise to enjoy the views from the water? Warm up in one of the many cosy cafes for a cup of hot Chocomel and a bite of appeltaart - Netherland’s national pastry.
Queenstown, New Zealand
If you’re after an exciting adventure this fall, Queenstown is the place to go. Packed with incredible vistas and outdoor activities, this part of the country comes alive during the autumn months. Hike or cycle along the Queenstown Trail, and take in epic views of rivers, lakes, and mountain ranges. Alternatively, treat your taste buds at the various wineries, or visit the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown for the Arrowtown Autumn Festival.
For wine aficionados, Bordeaux is one of the best places to visit in the fall. Touch down in Bordeaux city just in time for the autumn harvest, and enjoy a glass of wine in one of the many cafes dotted along the banks of the Garonne. Outside the city, the countryside is washed in vivid shades of yellow and red. Make sure you visit the famous wine town of Saint-Émilion, for its autumn festival celebrating the vineyards.
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
It’s no secret that Iceland is spectacular in the winter, but the autumn views are rather special too. Thingvellir National Park is renowned for its beauty, where Iceland’s stark geological mechanisms take place in front of your eyes. Marvel at the magnificent Gullfoss, admire the Strokkur geysir, or snorkel in the Silfra fissure. Fall is also when the night sky starts to put on its magnificent display of light known as the aurora borealis (or the Northern Lights).
Wondering where to travel in autumn 2022? Chicago is a fantastic destination all year round, but fall is particularly exciting. Meander through the beautiful parks, get your lederhosen or your dirndl on, and celebrate German-style at the Oktoberfest parties. Or, take a day trip from the city to visit local farms where you’ll find apple orchards, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and other fall fun.
Seoul, South Korea
There are plenty of ways to enjoy fall in Seoul, whether you want to catch a cultural show at the Royal Palaces or breathe in the heady scents of Seoul Olympic Park’s rose gardens. Just north of the city is Bukhansan National Park, with its granite peaks, gorges, and crystal-clear streams winding their way through brightly coloured maple trees.
Although it’s not quite ski season, Tyrol is just as breathtaking in the fall. The valleys are ignited with reds, oranges, and yellows against the towering Alps. It may be a little too chilly for a dip, but you can still explore the region’s magnificent lakes from the comfort of a kayak. Many food festivals take place in autumn in the various towns and villages, so be sure to sample traditional Tyrolean delicacies.
Torres del Paine, Chile
If you’re wondering where the most beautiful place in the fall truly is, then Torres del Paine National Park is your answer. Located in Chile’s Patagonia region, this area is known for its bright blue glaciers, golden pampas, and majestic mountains. Hike, cycle, kayak, or horse ride your way through glorious fall foliage, which contrast the snow-covered peaks.
While the Belgian capital is beautiful year-round, it manages to look even prettier in the autumn months. This is prime festival season, whether it’s the Eat! Brussels Restaurant Festival, Brussels Beer Weekend, or the annual wine expo. To top it all off, a visit to a chocolate shop is a rite of passage when in Belgium. Wittamer is known for their pralines, while Laurent Gerbaud is a truffles maestro.
Nova Scotia, Canada
This fall, head to Nova Scotia for awe-inspiring natural landscapes, colourful towns, friendly locals, and some of the freshest seafood you’ve ever had. Step back in time to the 18th century at Old Town Lunenburg, where you can stroll around and sample local delicacies like Lunenburg fish cakes. To explore further out, take a drive on Nova Scotia’s Highway 2 for river views, blueberry fields, and quaint farmhouses right out of a painting.