Autumn reds, oranges and yellows make for unimaginably beautiful foliage, and we can’t wait to see it. And, while we’re stuck at home, we can’t help but dream of planning trips to the most renowned fall travel destinations for breathtaking foliage. Here’s our list of places to hit this fall.
North Rim, Grand Canyon.
This one seems like a no brainer. While this national park is mostly covered in sandstone cliffs, its peeping foliage is nothing short of magnificent. For starters, the daytime autumn weather in this natural wonder is mild and, more often than not, without rain — a pleasant change from its monsoon-filled summers. And the foliage? Let’s just say the views of the overwhelming fusing of reds and oranges aren’t too bad from its 8,000+ foot peak. If this sounds like a travel must, we recommend making the trip before the end of October when the North Rim closes for the season.
We’re going to venture a guess that you’ve never seen anything like the colors in Kyoto in the fall. The vibrancy of reds, yellows and greens is truly unmatched in this zen-filled locality. While the trees’ reds blend perfectly into the vermillion-colored shrines and torii gates dotted about, the greens beam with overwhelming saturation. Sipping a cup of green tea whilst gazing about color-filled grounds decorated with falling maple leaves doesn’t sound like a bad idea, huh? That’s what we thought. We recommend a trip between late October and early December for peak foliage vibrancy.
We’re just going to say it: Hallstatt might just be the most scenic place on this list, and probably in the entire world. This dreamy lakeside destination offers, perhaps, the most beautiful incandescent rainbow of reds, oranges and yellows, and is complemented perfectly by the glistening turquoise Hallstätter See that reflects them. And to top it all off? These natural pigments are only accentuated by a colorful array of Austrian architecture and lake homes. A visit sometime between September and October will not disappoint.
Lakes Region, New Hampshire.
Fittingly named after the multitude of lakes that decorate its landscape, this New Hampshire region is sure to offer the best foliage in all of New England. This far-reaching domain stretches 72 square miles and encompasses over 250 individual islands, and the plethora of outdoor activities and services offered (lake cruises, mountain hikes, etc.) provide perfect opportunities to explore the breathtaking natural beauty that comprises it. If the transition from summer heat to crisp autumn air is not reason enough to make a trip up north, the foliage is sure to sell you. Decorated with intense reds and bright yellows wherever you turn, this destination should be a priority on your fall list. We recommend finding a B&B on the water and enjoying all the beauty this place has to offer.
Most travelers make their trips to this beautiful country during the summer months. And while we couldn’t hype up an Italian summer getaway more if we tried, we also recommend planning an autumn holiday. And what better destination than the home of Italy’s most scenic and bountiful vineyards? Tuscany flaunts blooming green terrain adorned with hints of purples, reds and oranges. Days spent sauntering about trellis configurations wrapped in grape vines with a glass of wine in hand, admiring the many colors strewn about the landscape sounds like a dream to us. We recommend taking a trip during the Tuscan vendemmia, or the region’s prime for grape harvesting, which takes place from September to October.
New York City, New York.
Is there ever a bad time to visit NYC? We’re pretty sure the answer to that is ‘no.’ Winter months offer holiday cheer in Rockefeller Center, spring months mark the beginning of baseball season, and summer months attract visitors from across the world for all of the outdoor liveliness. While the city doesn’t comprise much greenery, the city’s parks are a sight to see come fall time. The air might be brisk, but that’s nothing a cup of warm cider can’t fix. Whether you’re rowing your way through Central Park Lake or strolling through the New York Botanical Garden grounds, any one of NYC’s outdoor excursions is sure to present pops of color and falling leaves.
If this Netherlands capital’s intricate canal system wasn’t impressive enough, imagine it lined with leaf-adorned trees and the most vibrant autumn tones. Sounds nice, right? We think so too. The spring blooms fields of tulips, but the fall touts colors that camouflage the city as a forested wonderland. And while a canal cruise would be the ultimate seat from which you could view this scenic display, a bike ride on one of the city’s many canal-side paths wouldn’t be the worst idea. A trip between October and November would guarantee a plethora of colors, and without all of the tourists.
The Cotswolds, United Kingdom.
A trip to this English countryside, which comprises well-known English counties Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, while in leaf might just be exactly what you’ve been dreaming of. The rural area is decorated with medieval buildings year round, but the fall especially enhances its beauty. The foliage here could make anything look better, even in the country’s predominantly dreary weather. Between its 15th century architecture, rolling terrain, and electrifying foliage, we can’t decide what part of this collection of English villages we love more. Either way, this serendipitous combination makes this whimsical destination a must on our to-visit list.
This Swiss resort town is the perfect landing base for exploration across the Swiss Alps. Not only does Interlaken have access to this world renowned mountain range, but also incredible views of turquoise-infused Lake Brienz. Seems like the best of both worlds, doesn’t it? But the most incredible views lie in the vibrantly green rolling hills embellished with sporadic spruce trees and grazing cattle. While you’re there, we recommend hopping aboard the Schynige Platte Railway to Schynige Platte, a plateau southeast of Interlaken, to experience the best panoramic views overlooking the mountain range. Optimal travel here is before October’s end, as early snow can interrupt views of the verdant landscape.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany.
If this Bavarian gem doesn’t make your list of places worth traveling to this fall, we don’t know what will. Built in the 19th century, this castle and its surrounding countryside seem to be straight out of a movie. Well, we guess it makes sense that this very castle was the inspiration for Cinderella’s. The landscape’s colors remain vibrant throughout the year, but undoubtedly peak in the fall. Enclosed within an assortment of golden harvest colors, this white castle is perched 213 feet tall on a hill and could strike one from a mile away. And with a panoramic view of the Säuling mountains, this enchanting attraction wins the award for the best views of fall foliage in all of Germany.
The Highlands, Scotland.
This destination is jam-packed with evergreens all year long, but the fall introduces the changing of its deciduous population — a rich bundle of yellow, orange and golden brown leaves. With trails crawling throughout this no longer tourist-abundant northern tip, there is truly no better way to see all of Scotland’s bright foliage than on a hike through its wilderness in the fall. While autumn tends to leave a great deal of view-hindering mist, a hike to the top of any one of the Highlands’ rugged peaks will leave you breathless. We recommend a trip around October. Who knows, you might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights while you’re there!
This Colorado favorite is home to some of the region’s most dazzling fall colors. The area is chock full of the tree that seems to have named it: the aspen. This aspen flaunts a white trunk and is topped with the most vibrant yellow leaves you’ll ever see. This tree, as well as others decorated with fall-hued leaves, leave Aspen a frontrunner for any leaf peeper’s fall travel list. And if you’re the hiking type (which we recommend you are for a trip here), a hike to the top of any one of the municipality’s 11,000+ foot peaks will provide insane panoramas. We advise making the trip before this dreamy fall destination becomes the renowned ski resort it’s known to be, which could be as early as October.
We know, we already featured Switzerland on the list. But with fall colors ablazing on all corners of the country, there was no way we could resist a second mention. As the financial capital of Switzerland, Zürich is internationally known for the luxurious lifestyle it trademarks. But perhaps its greatest best-kept secret is the beauty its countryside exhibits in the fall. Fallen leaves adorn hiking paths and tall, thin-trunked pines are crowned with foliage. The colors here are nothing short of brilliant, and the ones enclosing Lake Zürich make its sea-green color pop. Speaking of, the lake tours are frequent, so be sure to take advantage of them. October seems to be the best month for a visit, but keep in mind that snow can always come early!
Lake Bled, Slovenia.
This unusually green-blue colored body of water, enclosed completely by the charming town of Bled, is lined with ancient churches and soaring bell towers that are reminiscent of Bled’s 7th century establishment. And while the architecture is a sight worth seeing in and of itself, the tree-lined cliffs in its backdrop paint a scene out of a fairytale. The area sits at the foothills of the Julian Alps, whose cliffs ablaze with colorful leaves and tall-standing trees in the fall time. A simple row boat ride through the water will leave you with indescribable views of the mountainous terrain and, at points, a straight shot view of Castle Bled. Needless to say, Lake Bled is a must for stunning foliage views.
This American beauty aptly referred to as “Fall’s Color Capital” is nothing short of spectacular to see when the weather starts to chill. While this northern Vermont town’s trails are coated in white during winter months, they’re dressed with a plethora of differently-colored leaves in the autumn ones. Expectedly, Stowe is famously known for its outdoor recreation, which includes hiking, mountain biking, water sports and rock climbing. But if the temperatures drop too low for your liking, even a simple road trip throughout this scenic area will offer sensational views of the countryside’s colorful foliage. We recommend staying in one of the town’s many mountain resorts, preferably between September and mid-October for the most breathtaking outdoor excursions.