Shoulder seasons are a great time to travel and for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Both Spring and Fall provide some of the best weather to visit many places! With mild temperatures continuing, warm waters, harvest season, less crowds, and beautiful scenery, I think autumn is the perfect time to visit many countries. Here are 8 of the best countries to visit in Fall:
Polish people have phrase to describe Fall in their country: Golden Polish Autumn. The green of the leaves disappear, replaced by the bronze, yellow and red tones of this unique autumn aura. You can imagine it’s especially golden when it’s sunny and the sun angle is low in the sky. The Poles often boast that they truly believe their country is one of the most beautiful in the world. From picturesque castles set up on a hill to gorgeous mountain ranges and stunning coastlines, Poland will surprise you at every corner. And what better time to visit than when the mountainsides are ablaze with reds and oranges and yellows?
Although days are warm enough for wearing only a t-shirt, a sweater or coat will be necessary as it can be quite chilly in the evenings. However, room rates drop drastically starting in September, making this eastern European country one of the best countries to visit in Fall. The cultural season begins (as it does in most European countries) with new performing art productions of music and theater, as well as the nightlife and other visual art shows.
Interested in skiing? Pop into rustic cabin restaurants along the way and enjoy some delish Polish food! Hike the jagged alpine peaks of the Tatra mountains, or swim in the still-warm crystal clear lakes. The Mazurian Lakes, hugely popular in the summer, empty out allowing a perfect escape for solitude and beauty. More of a city slicker? Even Renaissance Era architecture awaits your strolls in Krakow. If you’d prefer to keep the cold at bay as long as possible, and wind down enjoying the last days of Indian summer, then head to the beach near Sopot. There you can relax on the vast empty stretch of white sand near this lively summertime resort.
As Croatia rapidly grows as a popular tourist destination, the summers are getting more and more crowded. Dubrovnik is shoulder to shoulder with tourists trying to take a stroll around the walls or get photos of famous Game of Thrones landmarks. But starting in late September, the crowds start to fizzle out making a trip to this Adriatic Coastal country much more enjoyable. The weather is still warm, and you can even dare to take a dip in the ocean late into September. Islands such as Hvar offer tourists the opportunity to enjoy a smaller town atmosphere and take day trips to some absolutely stunning caves.
What makes Croatia one of the best countries to visit in the Fall is the drastically reduced prices from the peak season. As the leaves change, take an adventure outside of the cities or out of the south. In Croatia you can enjoy some spectacular views during casual mountain strolls.
Italy is one of the greatest places to visit, but who wants to deal with throngs of tourists and sweltering heat of summer? Italy is one of the best countries to visit in Fall. Even the Italians leave in August (escaping to the sexy Croatian beaches), but they return just in time for the peak season in Italy for food and wine. And what other reason do you need to visit Italy than for its wine and food!? Late September is harvest time for grapes, olives, almonds, chestnuts, and truffles as well. The countryside is full with a bustling hum of activity. Produce is also at its peak, making the markets the place to savor the best the country offers.
October is the best time to visit as there are festivals, called sagre popping up in every village, celebrating various harvests, and foods such as chestnuts, mushrooms and even chocolate. There is a festival for every taste, depending on the town. Even for a jaded foodie like myself, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. The sun shines brightly and the air temps begin to drop, and the smell of wine is in the air! Celebrate porcini mushrooms, polenta, truffles, chestnuts, sausage– even potatoes have a festival
High season prices last longer in the high-traffic destinations, such as Rome, Florence, Venice, the Amalfi Coast, and the Cinque Terre, even into October. But, if you look off the beaten track to Lucca, Abruzzo, Puglia and Molise, you’ll be rewarded with fewer tourists as well as lower prices.
Soccer season kicks off in late August and Italy, if you haven’t noticed, is one of the most soccer-crazed countries. Here, soccer is practically like religion: it comes with the same fanfare and excitement that accompanies religious holidays. Calcio is what Italians call their football. Even if you can’t attend a game in person, just watching one in a local pub or bar is one of the liveliest cultural experiences you’ll ever have, no matter if you aren’t a sports fan.
Of course, autumn in Italy is like an explosion of color. Hike the Apennines in Umbria or simply motor through the Tuscan countryside to take in the show. The Northern part of the country turns first, providing a glorious backdrop for long drives or hikes into the Alps. If the cold weather comes early, you might catch the first skiing in the northermost slopes in November. Meanwhile the southernmost part of Italy is still bathing in their Indian summer by the beach, well through October.
As the largest country in the world, Russia deserves your attention, especially in the Fall. It’s harsh winters can make tourism difficult, but the Fall in Russia is one of the best times to explore! It boasts the largest forest reserves in the world, which make for very unique animal and foliage spotting. Every town and city you come across within Russia has its own story, heritage, and feel.
The architecture is some of the most unique in the world and is perfectly picturesque when complimented by the vibrant leaves of Autumn. Get the most out of the imperial palaces, their parks and museums, and cathedrals because there are much fewer tour groups around to spoil the majestic tranquility.
Of course, don’t miss trying pirogi, blini, pelmeni, and beef stroganoff while you are there. Russian comfort food at its best! Hearty foods such as these make Russia one of the best best countries to visit in Fall.
October is also a popular time to visit Hungary. With the incredibly warm temperatures of summer fading to a comfortable average of 70 degrees through October, this is a perfect time to experience this lesser-traveled country. With plenty of food and beverage festivals, there is ample to keep you occupied during a trip to Budapest or hopping around Hungary as a whole.
Local wines are harvested at this time and are a perfect complement to a long drive through the countryside to take in the fall foliage. Be sure to try Tokaji Aszú, Hungary’s famous sweet dessert wine. Of course, a visit to Hungary wouldn’t be complete without trying the local Hungarian specialties like Goulash, Lángos, Stuffed Cabbage, Chicken Paprikash and Dobos Torte!
To experience history unlike any other country in the world, head to China this Fall. With a unique infrastructure, over 35,000 different animal species, and varying landscapes, China can surely keep you busy. Fall is often cited as the best time to see China because of the combination of low humidity and warmth.
The fall foliage season in China lasts from mid-October to early November in northern China, and earlier in the south. Photographers flock to this part of the world every autumn to capture the vibrant hues of the famous Chinese Maples. The Fragrant Hill Red Leaves Festival is held in mid-October outside of Beijing. Once frost has set the trees, tens of thousands of fields turn fire red, leading most to think they are flowers, not actually just leaves. Imagine seeing the Great Wall of China surrounded by a carpet of reds, oranges and purples. The Yellow Mountains, considered the most beautiful in China, are ablaze with colors ranging from bright yellows to flaming reds. With temples dotting the landscape, you might agree that there is no more beautiful and serene sight. Indeed, China is one of the best best countries to visit in Fall.
The Longji terraced fields of rice paddies are also a sight to behold this time of year. Imagine, as the breeze blows, the golden rice fields undulate in waves, punctuated by the bright yellow ginko leaves and red maples lining the fields’ perimeters. Biking through the countryside is also popular this time of year, giving a fascinating insight into China’s rural life among the farms.
With a history spanning over 4,000 years, China can amaze you with its architecture, culture, traditions, and so much more. Needless to say, you should forget the Chinese food that gets delivered to you after a late night out, true Chinese cuisine will have your taste buds singing and is reason enough alone to visit!
From the historic port of Malacca, to the rolling hills and lush green plantations of the Cameron Highlands, or from the idyllic beaches of Penang to the thriving metropolis of stunningly beautiful Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has something for every traveler’s taste. Plan your trip for the end of Fall, think November-ish and you’ll hit right at the end of rainy season but before the major crowds.
Malaysia has a large Chinese population, so festival celebrations like the Lantern Carnival in Kuala Lumpur are popular. At these events, sometimes held at temples, you’ll watch parades and floats carrying “maidens,” lion and dragon dances, and fanciful costumes worn by artists and singing children. In Penang, watch the River of Lights lantern parade and sample their famous Mooncakes.
Speaking of taste, if you haven’t yet sampled Malaysian cuisine, you are sadly missing out. Although, it is often overshadowed by its neighbor to the North (Thailand), Malaysia’s multi-cultural climate has created an incredibly diverse food scene that is well worth the trip any time of year. You can’t miss famously delicious dishes like turmeric-stained Satay on a skewer served with a spicy peanut sauce, fried Hokkien mee (yellow noodles braised in soy sauce laden with pork and squid), and my favorite — succulent, sweet, caramelized Charsiew (barbequed pork).
Being a peninsula, Malaysia has one of the most biologically diverse environments on earth. It’s a nature lovers dream, because it’s home to vast species of butterflies, insects and trees, as well as over 200 mammals. Fall weather is the best time to explore all these fantastic creatures. Whether you indulge in 5-Star accommodations in the city, or incredible wildlife adventures in the jungle, Fall is the perfect time to explore Malaysia during the slightly cooler temperatures and dry weather.
Can you really have a list like this and not include New England here in the US!? The air is crisp, the apples and grapes are ripe, and the leaves are bursting with color.
All the states (except Vermont) contain beautiful and rugged coastlines to admire while the long late day sun still colors the waves gold. The windswept coastline of Rockport, Massachusetts has a seaside charm all its own, marked by fishing boats and artist studios. While there, indulge in classic New England eats such as seafood chowders, lobster rolls, and clam bakes.
Land-locked Vermont, in fact, is the quintessential state to take in the Fall foliage. Middlebury (VT) is a lovely little town with cozy BnB’s, romantic covered bridges and plenty of day hikes to be had. Or, take a ride on North Conway’s (NH) scenic railroad or go shopping in its kitschy stores and brand name outlets. Connecticut is often used for movie locations, with its idyllic towns, stately homes, rolling countryside, waterfalls, and historical farmsteads. Go picnicing or kayaking on the Connecticut River and see the leaves from a different vantage point.
Stop in for a bit of history at one of the hundreds of historical societies all across New England, or click your way to an album full of white-washed churches. Ever seen a real Town Hall? There are hundreds of them! More interested in how the industrialists lived? Rhode Island is synonymous with mansions. What better time to tour them and their colorful grounds (and without summer tourists) than in the fall?
1852 Red Covered Bridge over the Battenkill River in West Arlington, Vermont
During Fall in the picturesque northeast, almost everywhere is a great place to be! You’ll love cruising the colorful, hilly landscape dotted with church spires. You’ll be smitten with the village greens, stately brick homes, and country roadside stands. Stop into one of the many galleries you find in artsy towns like Becket, Massachusetts. Enjoy bundling up in your wool tweeds and sweaters and spend the day antiquing or leaf-peeping. Drive the Mohawk trail in western Massachusetts’s scenic Berkshires.
How about picking apples and pumpkins in the Finger Lakes or doing a cheese tasting in the Hudson Valley? After enjoying a local harvest festival in sunny-but-chilly weather, warmup in the evening with some cider donuts and hot chocolate next to the fire in your historic inn. For all these reasons, most Americans would agree that New England, or the northeastern part of the US, is the BEST place of all to visit in Fall!
Let’s not forget that New York has quite an agricultural scene. It boasts over 1600 family vineyards and over 400 wineries. It also has the nation’s largest corn maze and plenty of apple orchards for the picking. If you’re feeling adventurous, head up to Maine for a moose tour and see if you can spot their State animal!
So there you have it:
Lots of Reasons Why These are the 8 Best Countries to Visit in the Fall
Don’t think only the summer season is for vacations and travel. Traveling to destinations both near and far during the Fall months has many advantages. Festivals and celebrations, cooler weather, less tourists, special food and beverages, and lower prices all are hallmarks of the Fall season. The destinations listed above clearly are some of the best countries to visit in the Fall. The real question is — why would you go any other time?