Wednesday, 23 December 2015
Traveling to Europe in the fall often means fewer crowds, shorter lines, idyllic weather and better deals – along with spectacular displays of autumn foliage. Many feel that it’s really the very best time of year to go. If you’re thinking about heading to Europe, these cities are some of the best to explore in autumn.
England’s Lake District is filled with incredible scenic beauty, with the autumn light making it all the more spectacular. It’s also a fabulous region for an inspiring walk with lots of lakes surrounded by gold and ruby covered hills. Cumbria is an ideal place to visit for fall colors with its beautiful woodland areas like Grizedale Forest Park home to green pines and copper beech trees framing mountain views. You’ll also want to duck into one of its pubs like the Kirkstone Pass Inn for a glass of local ale or cider.
The medieval city of Bruges becomes one of Europe’s most beautiful cities in the fall with crimson and golden vines covering historic buildings with rich autumn hues. The colors reflected in the canals create an especially romantic scene as well as picture-perfect photo ops. Be sure to experience some of the city’s open-air markets that are typically open through November. It’s also a perfect time to sip some of its famous chocolate in beverage form. Try a cup at De Proeverie, known for the best hot cocoa in all of Bruges.
Perthshire, often referred to as Big Trees Country, is one of the most glorious places in all of Europe for autumn colors in a country well-known for its breathtaking natural beauty. Here, lochs and rivers reflect the array of gold and copper of tree covered hillsides, making it ideal for exploring and impressive photo taking. You’ll find some of the most stunning spots near Loch Tummel, the Pass of Killiecrankie and Knock Hill. Take the steep but moderate walk to Knock Hill through mixed woodlands and scenic, heathery viewpoints, including jaw-dropping views from the summit of the Highlands to the north.
The seasonal change in Northern Europe is particularly striking. As the leaves begin to transform, woodland areas take on new life, making Oslo an ideal place for evening walks or foraging expeditions while there is still quite a bit of daylight. The city is home to many picturesque parks that become even more stunning this time of year. Akershus Fortress and the Vigeland Sculpture Park make for a particularly colorful backdrop on a sunny fall day, or wander just outside the city to Oslomarka Forest where you’ll see some of the nation’s most vibrant autumn foliage.
This beautiful Croatian city along the Adriatic Coast makes a great place for an affordable vacation with lower prices than many other European coastal cities, particularly in the fall. At this time of year the weather is still warm, but the big crowds of summer have dispersed. Enjoy magnificent beaches without bumping elbows with other tourists, and venture outside the city for outstanding mountain hikes surrounded by stunning scenery and splashes of fall color.
Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains are stunning all year round, but in the autumn, not only will you frequently find bright blue skies and trees covered with a brilliant golden hue, but you’re likely to see more waterfalls than other tourists. This is an amazing area for hiking as well as exploring historic sites like Glendalough, one of the most important monastic sites in the country, founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. If a storm happens to roll in, just duck into one of the many cozy pubs and enjoy the warmth of a crackling fire with of pint of Guinness.
The beautiful city of Lugano is situated in the southern region of Switzerland, bordering Italy and on the shores of Lake Lugano, underneath the shadow of beautiful mountains just south of the Alps. This is one of the most picturesque destinations any time of the year, but visiting in autumn means that summer’s scorching temperatures have given way to a miler climate in a choreographed setting of magnificent colors. A visit during the first weekend of October gives travelers a chance to attend the Autumn Festival, featuring folkloric music as well as celebrations of grapes and fine wines.