Autumn is certainly one of the perfect seasons to discover Europe. Autumn has its own charms – misty mornings, cosy evenings and sunny afternoons bathed in golden light. Everything is simply stunning with vibrant fall colors. You get a taste of real spirit of each destination. When summer holidays are over, with not many tourists, locals settle back to their own lifestyles and routines. In general autumn offers cheaper flight tickets , fewer queues for your desired activities, more places in restaurants, hotels at the best price and fewer people on your photos. And that prompts many travellers to choose autumn as their travelling season across the world. Here is few recommnedations from fellow travel bloggers about popular fall destinations in Europe. Lets check which suits best for you.
1. Prague, Czech Republic
Recommended by Veronika Primm from travelgeekery
Prague needs no introduction – the amazingly historical city of a hundred spires with the largest castle complex in the world, so picturesquely placed on the banks of the river Vltava… There’s hardly a more romantic city to go to in Europe.
Prague is also wonderfully green. It abounds in parks scattered all around, and then there’s the green ring that surrounds Prague city perimeters.
Towards the end of September, the trees start losing their green color and explode in a number of earthly shades. October is your best time to come to Prague if you’re interested in seeing the prettiest fall foliage. At the beginning of November, the leaves mostly fall down and it’s over.
You can see the enchanting golden, red, and brown colors easily even within the city. Stromovka is Prague’s largest park and it’s abundant with large trees. You can chill by a little pond and admire the foliage reflecting on the surface.
Letná park located nearby is another safe bet for fall foliage. From there, you can also admire the views of Prague and watch the sunset.
Havlíčkovy sady park in the Vinohrady district is small in comparison, but it features also ginkgo trees, whose leaves turn bright yellow in autumn!
Weather in Prague in the fall can be unpredictable. Check out this Prague rainy day guide for when it rains or even snows.
It’s easy to travel to Prague – the Václav Havel airport is well connected to most European capitals. You can also make use of the train – the journey from nearby capitals, such as Berlin or Vienna, takes 4 hours.
2.The Alsace , France
Recommended by Bec from Wyld Family Travel
There are few destinations in Europe that will rival the Alsace in France for Fall colour.
While tourists flock to this area for the Christmas markets in the winter months there are so many more things to do in The Alsace year-round. Strasbourg and Colmar are the most popular cities for people to visit but once you get out of them the hidden gems of the Alsace shine. Towns like Ribeauville, Kaysersburg and Riquhwir are amazing gateways to the Vosges mountains where you will find the Fall colours that are second to none.
Whether you love hiking or just driving through the picturesque mountains you will be astounded by the magnificence. But you don’t have to go all the way out into the mountains to see them either. Many of the smaller towns have magnificent views of the mountains that you can see. Fields of grapevines seem to lead you right to the best places to see them. You will find many of the towns also have a small green area in them where you can sit and take in the peace, quiet and colours.
If you are looking for an epic view on a day trip from any of the towns mentioned you can go straight to Chateau du Haut-Koeningsbourg. Not only will you have to drive through the mountains to get there the views from the castle over the mountains are magnificent.
Recommended by Frans from Ask The Dutch Guy
Amsterdam is one of the coolest, hippest, cleanest, safest and happiest places in Europe. As the capital city and most important commercial and financial centre of the Netherlands, Amsterdam gets visited by millions of tourists and travellers each year. The city is over 700 years old, and in it are several reminders of a bygone age. It is an open and living museum with centuries-old canals, ancient patrician houses, noble brick facades clad with sandstone, richly decorated cornices, medieval towers and churches, and the music of carillons and barrel organs.
Most of the ancient structures are found in the old part of the city. Such historic buildings include the 13th-century Old Church (Oude Kerk), 15th-century New Church (Nieuwe Kerk), 17th-century city hall or Royal Palace, South Church (Zuiderkerk), the Old Man’s House Gate (Oudemanhuispoort) and West Church (Westerkerk), where Rembrandt is buried. The old town’s three main squares are the Leidseplein (Leiden Square), Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square), and the famous Dam Square.
Some of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions are the Anne Frank House, Rijkmuseum, Jordaan neighbourhood, the Red Light District, and the man-made canals that make Amsterdam one of the loveliest cities in the world. These destinations regularly attract first-time and repeat visitors for their cultural and historical uniqueness.
The best time to visit Holland’s vibrant capital is in late spring or early fall. The Economist named Amsterdam as the 6th safest major city in the world and number 1 in Europe.
Recommended by Jade Laurenza of Traveling Transylvania
A region whose name translates as ‘land beyond the forest,’ Transylvania in Romania is one of the top places in Europe to admire the colorful, changing leaves during the months of October and November.
Three sides of the Transylvanian plateau are surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains. Besides hiking, horseback riding, and carriage rides through Transylvanian villages, you can also enjoy the autumn colors by wandering around the beautiful medieval cities.
Aside from being visually stunning, this region offers a variety of fun fall activities for the whole family, including children!
In Transylvania, some of the largest cities include Brașov, Sibiu, Cluj-Napoca, and Timișoara. The Bran Castle (said to be the inspiration for Dracula by Bram Stoker), just outside Brașov, holds an annual Halloween party that’s sure to send chills down your spine. Transylvania offers a variety of activities, including apple picking and wine-making. Besides that, you should indulge in all the traditional Romanian food you can!
Bucharest, Budapest, and Belgrade are roughly equal distances from Transylvania. From outside of Europe, the easiest way to reach Transylvania is to fly to Bucharest or Budapest. Both cities are about a six hour drive or longer train ride away from the region, depending on which city you’re based in. Trains from Budapest are common if you’re coming from within Europe.
5. Plitvice National Park , Croatia.
One of the most impressive places to visit during fall time is Plitvice National Park in the heart of Croatia. Not only is the transition during fall impressive with a colorful palette of reds, yellows and oranges dotting all the hills and landscape but when you combine the stunning waterfall walks on elevated platforms around the water areas, it really brings the experience to another level. Walking straight up to the waterfalls falling in front of you through boardwalk areas that take you directly in front of the many waterfalls in the park adds to this unique and one of a kind experience in the park. After you do this boardwalk tour you can then board a ferry for a nice and pleasant ride through the main lake and enjoy the autumn colors in the hills and beautiful landscape. It truly is stunning to witness and at the end of the ferry ride, you can easily hike up to the gorgeous vista points that showcase even more impressive waterfalls, cliffs and colorful landscape all at the same time.
6. Andalucia, Spain
Recommended by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers
Andalucia is one of the most popular European destinations during fall. But not for fall colors like you’d expect. It’s mainly visited because of the extended summer that often lasts until the end of September and sometimes even into the beginning of November. It’s the perfect beach weather and with far fewer tourists, which makes this time of the year so attractive. But if you want to see fall colors go on a road trip in southern Spain and hit the mountains of Andalucia. Both Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park in the province of Malaga and the Sierra Nevada National Park and Natural Park across the Granada and Almeria Provinces change colors, normally from the end of October and into November before the snow hits the higher parts of the mountains. Fall is the perfect time to visit Alhambra in Granada too. This is when you can experience the Generalife Gardens in autumn’s beautiful colors. A lesser touristy destination to see fall colors is the Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park in Jaén Province. You need to look for the forested areas that are not pine tree dense, as they stay the same all year round. To reach this part of Andalucia, you can fly to either Malaga, Almeria, or Granada. If you’re driving through Europe, it’s easy to drive down on the motorways to Spain’s southern part. The major cities are also well connected by train and bus.
7. Groningen, Netherlands
Recommended by Cynthia & Alexander from Travel your Memories
Groningen is the most beautiful city in the Netherlands in the north. You can compare Groningen with Amsterdam, only it is not touristy at all, which is very nice. This allows you to experience a city in the Netherlands as a local person does.
Groningen is a nice city where you will not get bored at all. There are a lot of things to do in Groningen. The best activity in autumn is to go to Hoge Der A and walk around to enjoy all the colors. Along the canals, all kinds of trees turn orange during the autumn period. With the water, the canal houses, and the colors of the trees, it ensures that you can enjoy a beautiful scene. Normally, the colors are best in October to early November.
In addition to these activities, there is still a lot to see in Groningen. You can climb a church tower from where you have a beautiful view of the area. You can visit exhibitions in the Forum. For a museum, the Groninger Museum is highly recommended. The varied and diverse collection makes it a fun activity for everyone. In addition to these activities, there is much more to discover.
Groningen can be reached from Amsterdam. By train, you can be in the heart of Groningen from Amsterdam Central Station in 2 hours. You can buy a train ticket via the official Dutch Railways.
All in all, Groningen is highly recommended to visit because you can do and see many things there. Because it isn’t touristy, it has retained its charm.
8. Rome, Italy
Recommended by Haley of HaleyBlackall.com
Rome, the eternal city, and the historical capital lie just inland from the central Italian coastline. An all-year destination due to its high number of bucket list attractions, Rome still experiences a peaceful dispersal of tourists come the fall months of September through November when European summer comes to a close.
Set back from the famous Spanish Steps, is the expansive and beautiful Villa Borghese. These city gardens feature enchanting pathways, ponds, gardens and even 15th-century architecture. During the first 2 weeks of November, the leaves of the large oak trees change from deep green to reddish-brown, creating a beautiful autumn environment.
You can also experience the change of seasons at the beginning of November along the banks of the river Tiber. Make your way from central Rome where you can see attractions like the Colosseum, and the Trevi Fountain, to the neighbourhood of Trastevere, a must on any Rome itinerary! In this district, you will get a taste of authentic Roman life in the picturesque, and quaint alleyways, while fall foliage is in full bloom.
You can get to Rome from any International airport worldwide, by landing at the Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Fiumicino (FCO). Since the airport is located 45 minutes drive west of Rome, you can jump on the Leonardo Express train from the airport and arrive in Rome’s city centre at Termini station, a 32-minute journey.
9. Gammelstad Church Town, Sweden
Recommended by Martha @ May Cause Wanderlust
Gammelstad church town is a small village in northern Sweden that you probably never heard of, yet it is a great fall destination in Europe to see the autumn colours in the trees. The vast forests of Swedish Lapland that surround Gammelstad are at its most beautiful when the colours peak in September.
You might wonder why visit such a small village rather than any other place in Northern Sweden. It is because Gammelstad offers a unique combination of history, culture and nature. The Gammelstads Viken nature reserve is just around the corner and has plenty of hiking trails through the colourful forest.
But Gammelstad church town is also an important historic place as one of the best preserved church towns in Sweden. Church towns came into existence in medieval times when there were only a few churches that served large and sparsely populated areas. People had to travel so far that they built small cottages around the church to sleep the night when they visited church on Sundays. Besides visiting church and celebrating religious holidays people also came to meet each other, do business or even to find love.
Gammelstad church town is home to the 15th century Nederlulea church and a number of picturesque red cottages. It feels like a journey back in time, but the cottages are not a museum. They are still private property and the owners still come to celebrate religious holidays together.
Gammelstad church town is an easy day trip from the city of Lulea. You can fly directly to Lulea or take the night train from Stockholm.
10. Athens, Greece
Recommended by Katja Samouilhanof travelnhistory
Fall is a wonderful time to visit the ancient city of Athens. The beautiful Greek city is still warm, but crowds are much smaller than in summer and spring, and the lines get far shorter. You may even have the opportunity to visit some of Athens’ iconic sites – like the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus – with very few other people.
Visiting Athens in fall is the perfect option for those who aren’t quite ready to let go of the heat of summer. It’s as pleasant as most European countries are in the height of summer, and you’ll be enjoying ice creams and Greek iced-coffees despite the season!
The leaves start to change colour in September, but peak in mid-October. Interspersed with evergreens, it’s a beautiful sight. Particularly in the ancient Agora, where trees stand alongside millennia-old ruins.
Athens is very easy to reach, as most countries in Europe have direct flights to the capital city. The airport is quite far out, though, so once you get there you have the option of taking a taxi, train or bus. The train is quickest, and the Athens train system is fantastic, so you should be able to easily reach your accommodation simply by train.
11. London, UK
Recommended by Dymphe of Dymabroad
One of the most popular fall destinations in Europe is London. In the United Kingdom’s capital, there are many lovely sights that are great to see when you are in the city. Some of the most iconic sights are Tower Bridge, London Eye, and Big Ben. Furthermore, there are many pretty cafes in London and there are other lovely places for shopping. During fall, many restaurants, cafes, and other venues have special fall displays. This can include pumpkins, fallen leaves, and more. Besides the stores, you also find some other urban fall-sights. For example, you find Kynance Mews in the city. There you can see beauitful leaves with fall colors.
As there are so many diferent places in London, the city itself is great place to visit. There are great events during fall. For example, the London Restaurant Festival is a great one. This event takes place in October, and during it many restaurants in London have special menus and other kinds of activities. Also, it is great to visit London during Halloween, as there are many Halloween events in the city. One of these is The Forbidden Forest Cinema, a pop up cinema where you can see scary movies. Getting to London is easy as there are many airports, train connections, bus connections, and more ways to reach the ctiy.
12. Campocatino, Italy
Recommended by Terri of FemaleSoloTrek
Skip back a couple of centuries by heading into the mountains of northern Tuscany. Time seems frozen in this region, which is embraced by the Apuane National Park and Monte Tambura. October is the best time to visit Campocatino, a rustic 16th century shepherds village. Cottages carved out of rock dot the green landscape. The beige and brown homes blend then almost disappear against the fall foliage that frame every view. Sturdy old chestnut trees turn bright orange, gold and red. The chestnuts are ripe for picking. Passing through Campocatino is part of a pilgrimage walk to a deserted monastery high in the Italian hill country. The village feels like a ghost town as it is deserted midweek in October. Families which own the tiny chalets may only visit on weekends. There are no restaurants or bars to buy an espresso in the non-peak months. This is a place to walk alone, peek in the windows of a shepherd’s dwelling and picnic under the branches of a 100-year-old tree. The village features terraced meadows where sheep could roam. It is also fortified by the Roccandagia mountain range. If time permits, follow the path up 1190 meters to San Viviano’s hermitage and chapel. This is an excellent region to speak a weekend. Stay at an agriturismo instead of a hotel and enjoy homecooked Italian meals. Real Italian families (often three-generation) run the farm and winery as well as rent out a portion of their house for guests.
13. Svaneti, Georgia
Recommended by Kristin of Adventures with Ensuite
Svaneti is in the North Eastern corner of Georgia on the border with Russia. The main reason to visit is for the fabulous Caucasus mountains, the scenic hikes and the ancient atmospheric villages.
The prettiest villages are Adishi and Ushguli and both have plenty of stunning views of the stone defence towers the area is so well known for. Although these villages can be experienced by car the best way to see the region is on foot. The most popular hike is the four-day walk from Mestia to Ushguli. For all you need to know about the hike read this post.
The best time to visit Svaneti is during the summer and autumn months. September has fine weather and fewer crowds than July and August since the summer holidays in Europe are over. If you are looking for shorter day hikes and want to experience the traditional stone villages then October is also a good time to visit.
Whichever way you decide to travel to Svaneti it is a long journey from the capital Tbilisi. The quickest way to get there is by plane but it is nearly impossible to book from abroad and flights often get cancelled in bad weather. A 10 hour bus journey is another alternative but the most comfortable way to travel is the combination of an overnight train to Zugdidi and a 2 hour bus journey up to Mestia.
Regardless of how you get there, the beauty of the mountains and traditional villages makes the long journey well worth it.
14. Bruges, Belgium
Recommended by Emma Verhaeghe @ Emma’s Roadmap
Bruges is one of the most historical and beautiful destinations to visit in Belgium. It’s also called ‘Venice of the North’ because of the canals running through the city which makes it a very charming destination! Some of the things to do in Bruges include: admiring the medieval buildings, climbing the belfry, visiting the chocolate museum and tasting locally brewed beer in specialized beer bars.
Fall is the ideal moment to experience the beauty of Bruges without the insane crowds that normally occupy the streets. You’ll be able to see the trees along Bruges canals change colours, particularly at ‘De Dijver’ and Rozenhoedkaai, the most romantic spots in the city. For an even more intense fall experience, you can visit one of the forests around Bruges, such as Tillegembos where you can admire one of the many beautiful castles in Belgium while taking a stroll through the forest. The best moment to see fall colours in Bruges is probably October-November.
The easiest way to get to Bruges is by train. From the train station, it’s only a 10-minute walk to the heart of the city centre and there’s a direct connection to Brussels Airport. Another option is to come by car and to park it in one of the many underground garages. However, you won’t need a car in Bruges itself as everything is within walking distance.
15. Lake Bled, Slovenia
Recommended by Martha @ May Cause Wanderlust
Lake Bled is an iconic destination within Slovenia – a serene lake surrounded by mountains and with a tiny church-topped island in the middle of it. And, if that wasn’t idyllic enough, there’s also a castle on a clifftop overlooking the lake. It is literally like a fairytale!
There are so many things to do in Lake Bled, including exploring the medieval castle, taking a hand-driven gondola out to the island and strolling around the perimeter of the lake or hiking in the hills to a viewpoint. And at the end of the day, grab a cocktail on the lakeshore and enjoy the sun setting behind this gorgeous scene.
Like most of Europe, the leaves on the trees start changing colour late September, so October is a perfect time for a visit to Lake Bled in majestic autumnal colours. It will be mild enough not to need heavy coats and the Lake will be framed by a gorgeous palette of red and yellow leaves.
Unless you’re driving yourself, the best way to get to Lake Bled from the capital Ljubljana is by bus. There are departures regularly and the bus will drop you very close to the lake (unlike the train, because Bled’s train station is 3km away).
16. Vienna, Austria
Recommended by Nadine
The leafy city of Vienna puts on a show come Fall, as the trees turn from green to all the pigments of the sun. This transformation typically starts late September and carries on through to late November/early December – but the peak colours are from mid-October to mid-November. The city is lucky to have several beautiful parks and palaces that are open to the public, and it’s here that the scene is most dramatic. Head along to Schönbrunn Palace outside the city centre (there are trams and trains that stop just outside), and take a walk through the expansive gardens. Keep an eye out for the ‘tree tunnel’ that creates a perfect golden halo. For a more low key visit, hop along to the Pötzleinsdorfer Schloss Park (also accessible via the tram line) where you’ll find leafy vistas and plenty of serene spots to throw down your picnic rug. If you don’t fancy navigating the public transport, there are many parks in the central city too, such as Volksgarten, Rathauspark and Stadtpark. If you time your visit right, you’ll be able to take in the beauty of the Fall foliage and visit the famous Christmas Markets of Vienna which start in the last week of November, when the trees are still golden.
17. Madrid, Spain
Recommended by Victoria of Guideyourtravel
18. Iceland (Southern part)
Recommended by Victoria J. Yore of Followmeaway
19. The Champagne Region, France
Recommended by Elisa from France Bucket List
Fall is a great season to visit the Champagne region. Located in Eastern France, not far from Paris, Champagne is a historical region, today part of the new region Grand Est. Champagne’s capital is Reims, and it is well known for its champagne wine, medieval villages, and historical sites.
The fall months see Champagne’s rolling hills covered with reds and yellow leaves, and the view is stunning. Ideally, you want to visit it in October, when the crowds are gone, and there’s the color peak.
Although many travel agencies propose Champagne day tours from Paris, the best way to visit the Champagne is on a road trip. Ideally, a road trip to Champagne includes a couple of days in Reims, two days more in Epernay, and a visit to the medieval fair town of Troyes. Reims is an important city in France, the place where the French Kings were sacred. Epernay is the capital of champagne wine, and it is possible to visit the wine cellars of the most important champagne brands with some tastings. Finally, Troyes is known for its beautiful medieval architecture made of colorful half-timbered houses.
For visitors who wish to explore Champagne by public transportation, Reims and Epernay are easy to reach by direct trains from Paris.
20. Lapland, Finland
One of the popular autumn destinations in Finland is Lapland. Finnish Lapland is located in the northern most part of Finland. Rovaniemi is the gateway to this magical arctic region. The homeland of the indigenous Sami people, Lapland is a photographer’s dreamland during fall season.
Fall, locally known as Ruska begins in early September in Lapland and lasts a few weeks. During that time, the woods are covered with edible mushrooms, Lapish tundras turn into carpets of weaved red, orange and copper-like
wetlands. The landscapes shine in stunning colors and the nights are already enough dark to experience the northern lights, dancing over your head. This season is popular to hikers too. There are many light and easy hiking trails where you can even go with children. If it is not possible to hike you can even drive to the viewpoints on the top of some fells , such as Levi and Saariselkä. Mushrooms and berries picking are other popular activities in autumn.
The best fall colors usually hit in mid-September and the best areas to experience both foliage and shrub colours are above the Arctic Circle, particularly good destinations for Lapland’s autumn trip are Kilpisjärvi, Saariselkä and Urho Kekkonen National Park,Pallas-Yllästunturi and a little further south is Oulanka National Park.