Autumn is the perfect time to travel: less crowds, milder temperatures, lower prices and of course the colourful spectacle that is known as fall foliage. There are a million reasons to love autumn, but it’s the autumn colours that have travellers seek out the best viewing points, hikes and drives across the world to see the leaves change colours first hand. I wanted to share the best places to see fall foliage worldwide with you and have asked fellow travel writers to share their favourite spots to admire the autumn colours.
Now sit back and relax with a nice warm cup of pumpkin spiced latte while we provide you with a good old portion of autumn travel inspiration.
The Best Places to See Fall Foliage in North America
Vermont, USA by Tara from Back Road Ramblers
Vermont is gorgeous in just about every season, but it really shines in the fall, when the cooler temperatures and shorter days turn the Green Mountains a thousand different hues of red, yellow, and orange. Road tripping through the mountains is probably the best way to see the foliage, but be sure to hop out of your car for a hike or two.
There are 60 state parks scattered throughout the state, and more than half of them are open through the leaf-peeping season. Our favorites include Button Bay State Park, Smuggler’s Notch State Park, and Woodford State Park, for both hiking and fall photography. The leaves start turning in the northern part of the state in late September. By the middle of October the southern mountains and valleys are on fire.
Whistler, Canada by Valerie Hansen from Maple Leopard
Whistler is a world renowned ski resort and summer playground located close to my hometown: Vancouver B.C., Canada. It’s kind of crazy that I grew up there, and visited for the very first time last fall! I hear just about any season is great to make a visit. Since my first visit was in the fall- I’m saying the colors are probably best then and get yourself there ASAP!
The fall hues and foliage are a beautiful breathtaking site , and the entire village is draped in beautiful glowing shades of red, orange, and gold. The autumn season is a great time to hike the trails in and around BlackComb Mountain, as the cold and snow have not set in. Also popular in fall at Whistler: Mountain Bike Racing and Cycling. There some amazing sights to behold , only accessible through the bike trails.
When I was there in October of 2016 , It was super cool to watch cyclists come careening down the side of the mountain. There is a bike trail running down the side of the chairlift- definitely a fun activity to watch. Also the drive up to whistler from Vancouver, is absolutely breathtaking. Make sure you have your camera ready, nature and wildlife will flash before you fast!
New York City, USA by Lena Elzayn from Happily Ever Adventures
Some people relate fall with pumpkin spice lattes, we relate fall with New York City. We live in Los Angeles where we don’t really get much of seasons. As soon as September rolls around, we start dreaming of long walks in Central Park where we can watch the leaves change colors. NYC fall weather isn’t too cold, just a light cozy coat and boots are enough to keep you warm and the air is pleasant for long walks around the city.
The Christmas Markets and decorations start getting set up around Thanksgiving, so you can get all the Christmasy feels without the overly cold weather. We usually travel to NYC Thanksgiving weekend so we can get the best of the fall and holiday vibes. If you are planning to visit NYC, we highly recommend going in the fall! It’s just the most magical time.
Michigan, USA by Natasha from The World Pursuit
My favorite place to experience fall is in my home state of Michigan! Michigan is well known for having four different seasons, and in my opinion, the best one is fall. It is this state where the leaves turn hues of gold, orange, and dark red and the weather is sunny “sweater weather.”
There are many fantastic places to experience the fall foliage. From the shores of Lake Michigan to the Upper Peninsula everywhere is just so colorful! I love hiking in Northern Michigan in towns like Ludington, Frankfort, and Petoskey during this time of year!
Maine, USA by Talek from Travels with Talek
Maine is beautiful any time of year but fall is especially spectacular. There is nothing like a crisp autumn day with the smell of burning leaves in the air. The foliage is in its splendor; rich brilliant colors framing crystal blue lakes, cozy farmhouses and winding roads.
The best times to “leaf peep” in Maine is the last week of September into first week of October in the north, second and third week of October in the central part of the state and the third week of October in the south and the coastal areas.
Fall is when the weather is most pleasant in Maine. The days are cooler but still warm enough for a light jacket. The nights are chilly but you can’t call it cold yet. And those colors! Flaming red, burning orange, brilliant yellow, deep scarlet and purple. Autumn is when they come alive!
Muskoka, Ontario by Kevin from Wandering Wagars
Canada is famous for it’s epic fall colors. And there are few places in Canada that offer more tree’s and better colours than the Muskoka region in Ontario. Here you can find endless wilderness, rushing waterfalls, lakes and stunning landscapes that break up the rainbow of colors into stunning canvasses worth of a frame.
The Muskoka region is famous for it’s rocky beauty, and a drive through the country roads of the region during any season are unforgettable. Stop in Arrowhead Provincial Park for a hike. Or you can climb up the Dorsett Fire Tower near Huntsville and witness the natural fireworks from above.
Montreal, Canada by Julie Cao from Always On The Way
Mount Royal in Montreal is my favorite destination to view the fall larch. It is a beautiful landmark that is visible everywhere from Montreal and is designed by the same designer of New York Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted. Between the end of September and mid-October, there are maples trees on Mount Royal showing different shapes of leaves with a variety of colors including red, yellow, and green.
It takes 45 minutes to walk from the entrance to the top through Olmsted Road. It is an easy walk and its leafy ground makes it a perfect place for jogging, picnicking, and cycling. The summit offers gorgeous views of the Montreal skyline and St. Lawrence River. If you visit on Sunday mornings between May and October, you can watch the free festival Tam Tams (drum jam) around the George-Etienne Cartier Monument.
The Best Places to See Fall Foliage in Asia
South Korea by Callan from Singapore n Beyond
South Korea is a mountainous country. In fact, mountains cover 70% of the land! So no matter where you are, a mound of land won’t be too far off. For this reason, Korea is a very special place to watch the changing of the autumn leaves.
While Seoul is a throbbing metropolis with apartment complexes and buildings reaching as high as 123 storeys, it is still covered in greenery. And when fall arrives, the leaves change from green to a fiery red and all colors in between. The mountains come alive with color which make it one of the most romantic places to be. It really is a K-drama come to life.
There are so many places to choose from to view the leaves. Tourist picks include Namsan Mountain and historic Samcheong-dong road right next to Gyeongbokgung Palace. Partnered with the beautiful leaves, you’ll get enticing smells of freshly pressed waffles and the first cool breeze of the season. Hikers will want to trek along UNESCO-listed Namhansanseong while taking a break in one of the Buddhist temples to contemplate the scenery. Make sure you get to Seoul late September to early November or you’ll miss the leaves entirely.
Kyoto, Japan by Sally from our3kidsvtheworld
Many of you will already know that Kyoto is famous for sakura, which is the name for cherry blossom season in Japanese. Sakura is in spring and attracts thousands of people from around the world. It’s also a very busy and expensive time of year to visit. What people aren’t aware of is that autumn is just as beautiful in Kyoto with the changing colour of the autumn leaves. The best month to see the autumn leaves is November. We were there in early October and the leaves had only just started to change.
Kyoto is an amazing city, there are 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and any of them are great for viewing the autumn foliage. Some of the most popular include Shinyodo Temple, Imperial Palace Park, Kurama-dera Temple, Daitoku-Ji,, Tofuku-Ji Temple, Nanzen-Ji Temple, Ginkaku-Ji Temple, Kodai-Ji Temple, Arashiyama, Takao and Enko-Ji Temple. You will find beautiful autumn colour everywhere all over Kyoto though, you wont have to look to far. There is so much to love about Japan any time of year.
Coastal Azerbaijan by Clemens Sehi from Travellers Archive
Pictured here is Coastal Azerbaijan in the Caucasus region, where I travelled to almost two years ago. To be honest, it totally surprised me, how strong the colours in that particular area have been. The picturesque mosque settled in this bright yellow field, was as out of a picture book. To get there you have to drive up north from the buzzing capital of Baku for about two hours to a mountain called Besh Barmag Mountain. It is an interesting fact, that it is holy to many Azerbaijanis, and standing there you immediately know why.
The Best Places to See Fall Foliage in Europe
Hallstatt, Austria by Mike from Travel and Destinations
One of the most beautiful places in Europe may possibly be Hallstatt. This lakeside village is built up the side of a mountain on the edge of Hallstätter See (Lake) in Austria. The destination although stunning throughout the year becomes extremely beautiful in the autumn, when the trees around the village become a wonderful mix of oranges, yellows, reds and greens.
A good spot for capturing Hallstatt during the autumn is from the “Classic Village Viewpoint”. This is along the Gosaumühlstraße (road) just a little north from the Hallstatt Lutheran Church in the centre of the village. There aren’t that many roads and paths so walk along this road and you can’t miss it.
Two other good spots are along Seelände (another road), where you’ll get a completely different perspective from the south; and also up the funicular where you’ll get the highest views and will be able to see across the entire lake.
I’ve found that mid to end of October tends to be the best for capturing the most colours on the trees. However the village does tend to quieten down at this time of year as it’s end of season, so considering visiting for a day trip, or booking accommodation in advance as there will be less options.
Brasov, Romania by Raluca from Whisper Wanderlust
Brasov is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Romania, being situated at the foot of Tampa Mountain. Narrow cobblestone streets, colorful little house and charming red roofs, all these elements harmoniously combine the charm of the city.
When it comes to fall foliage, the best time to visit is definitely the month of October, when the autumn creates a gorgeous mosaic of colored leaves.
You can admire the mountain from the downtown, in the Council Square, or you can go up on the mountain with the cable car. If you have time and the weather is on your side, you can hike it for free, but obviously, it lasts much longer, about 1 hour and a half until you reach the top. There are several observation points, and I visited 3 of them. On the last one, I had a breathtaking view of the Schei District. The panorama is simply beautiful and is the perfect place to take gorgeous Instagramable photos.
Schlaube Valley, Germany by Maria from Global Brunch
Autumn is my favourite season to visit the Schlaube Valley (Schlaubetal) in Germany. It’s the time to go foraging for mushrooms (please only ever pick the ones you’re familiar with) in the forests and enjoy the autumn colours. When the temperatures are getting cooler, the lakes in the Schlaube Valley region are suddenly deserted, which makes for a peaceful scenery when hiking or cycling.
The Treppelsee is one of my favourite spots to visit in autumn. The perfect way to take in all that autumn has to offer is the 11km trail around the lake. It’s an easy 2h hike on flat terrain. You may need waterproof boots if the previous days have been wet as the track can get quite muddy.
The Schlaube Valley is just a little over an hour’s drive away from Berlin and easily reached for anyone with access to a car. The best time to visit to see fall foliage is October.
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic by Ilana D. Weissz from Ilana Travels
Karlovy Vary is famous for at least two attractions: the healthy springs whose tradition starts back in the 14th century, and the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, one of the oldest in the world and the biggest in Central and Eastern Europe, taking place every July. As I was able to fulfill this travel dream of mine in November, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the vibrant colours of autumn on the hills surrounding the town.
The hills can be reached within minutes from the town, the path suiting any kind of outdoors activity, from Nordic Walking until running or simple hiking. The difficulty is light to moderate, but sport shoes are always recommended. Some of the trails, but not all, are marked. However, before you ever start putting your hiking boots, you can just have a look at the park surrounding Hotel Thermal, where the Film Festival is usually held. You will be overwhelmed by the passionate reds and burning yellows generously displayed by the trees.
Cambridge, UK by Diana from Opium Teahouse
The sun shone through the clouds as the crisp wind swept the multi coloured leaves, making them dance along the banks of the river Cam. I had finally found the place that lived up to my romantic ideals of a perfect autumnal day.
With the summer crowds subsiding, the beginning of the school year is a perfect time to visit Cambridge. Lush foliage sprinkled around the colleges, the sound of hurried, late-to-class footsteps against the cobble stones and the quaint little shops of the town, all contribute to a relaxed and blissful atmosphere. Just what you want for a city getaway!
The best and most scenic way to see the several colleges (there are 31 of them!) is to go on a punting tour. While it is possible to rent your own punt, it’s not as easy as it looks. And you may be more worried about falling in the water than actually enjoying the beauty of the surroundings.
Before heading back to London, don’t for go a warm chai latter and a slice of scrumptious cake at the cosy Indigo Café!
Black Forest, Germany by Ana from Merry Go Round Slowly
There are places, which become especially beautiful at a certain time of the year. For me, autumn is absolutely the best time to visit the Black Forest in Germany. After the high season of summer the crowds will disappear, leaving you explore on your own the autumn forest with all its bright colours and smells of wet grass. The region is hilly, and you would have a chance to capture both valleys and area views from the top during your hikes. The leaves start to turn yellow and red already in the middle of September, so early October might be the best time to capture the autumn forest in all its beauty.
I especially like to go on a small hike or just a longer walk, see some streams or waterfalls and then arrive tired, a bit cold and very hungry to some cosy local restaurant. There will be a fireplace and some comfort food, perfect for an autumn evening – usually some game meat and cabbage or typical Black Forest ham. And of course the best of the best for the dessert a Black Forest cake, which tastes just amazing there in its homeland.
Finnish Lapland by Margherita Ragg from The Crowded Planet
Everyone knows that Finnish Lapland is a great destination in winter (Santa and Northern Lights, anyone?) as well as summer (Midnight sun madness!) but what about fall?
Last year I had the opportunity to visit Finnish Lapland in September, and I found fall foliage in full swing even though it was still summertime in Italy where I’m from. Fall foliage is known as ‘ruska’ in Finnish and heading north to watch the wonderful colours is very popular among locals – luckily though, Lapland is so big and sparsely populated you’ll never find crowds.
Another fun activity you can enjoy in Finnish Lapland during fall is bear watching – near Kuusamo there are some hides where you can sit and wait for bears to come out from the woods after sunset.
Catalonia, Spain by Amy Cancryn from My Kids In Tow
Located in the north East section of Spain, Catalonia is a treasure trove of amazing natural environments. From the beaches of Barcelona, to the mountains of the pyrenees, the region of Catalonia is surprisingly versatile. In Autumn, Catalonia explodes with vivid reds, oranges and golds running through the many natural parks and up to the the foot of the pyrenees mountains. One of the best areas in Catalonia to see fall foliage, has to be the Sauth deth Pish in the Vall d’Aran. Sauth deth Pish is a stunning Waterfall, formed by two waterfalls coming together. I’m not sure which is better, the drive there or the arrival at Sauth deth Pish.
The drive is fantastic. From Vielha, Spain, you ascend above colorful forests to an expansive landscape surrounded by snow capped mountains and a vibrant fall forest. You can either continue pass the green meadows where beautiful horses roam or stop for great pictures.
After about half an hour drive, you arrive at Plan des Artiguetes . This is as far as your car is allowed to go. You have to hike the rest of the way to the waterfall. But, there’s a parking lot for you to safely leave your car.
After about a 10 minute walk, you reach the Sauth deth pish waterfall. The surroundings are superb. On your left, is the waterfall and on your right, the lake of Varrados and the beautiful forest of siesso. An ideal place for a picnic or a great place to enjoy the fall scenery.
Bergen, Norway by Maria from Both-Paths
If you want to see amazing autumn colors, Bergen is the place for you. While Bergen is a “big” city for Norway standards it is surrounded by seven mountains and filled with parks and green spots. You are able to see the leaves falling and all the autumn colors right from your kitchen window. During this season autumn is everywhere in the city, you can see it fit perfectly with the famous “bryggen”s colorful houses, if you take a walk in the yards around the kings vacation castle “gamlehaugen” or go for a walk in “old” Bergen. If you want to enjoy the nature without the interruptions of buildings you may challenge yourself to a hike up one of the seven mountains (or maybe even all of them?). October is the perfect month to experience these beautiful colors.
Cannock Chase Forest, UK by Maria from Global Brunch
Blooming heather, bright yellow pine trees and colourful leaves everywhere you look. Cannock Chase Forest is the ideal location for an outdoorsy autumn day trip in Staffordshire, England.
Cannock Chase Forest has countless walking and mountain biking trails making it easy to see the autumn colours both on foot and on wheels. There are also plenty of nice pubs nearby to refuel with a hearty English pub lunch after a fun day outside.
The best time to visit Cannock Chase Forest if you’re hoping to catch the blooming heather is August – September. Thanks to the mild temperatures in England you can admire the fall foliage well until November, although the best time to see it is in late October.
Kosovo by Karen from Wanderlustingk
Fall in Kosovo is a magnificent place to see fall foliage. One of the best things to do in Kosovo is to go up into the Šar mountains (only 30 minutes from Prizren) for a hike. We did the hike from Prevall up Prevall rock, which is incredibly orange in mid October. A minibus runs up to this town, making it the perfect day trip from Prizren. It’s possible to other hikes in Kosovo close to Peja in the Accursed Mountains, however it’s possible to do the hike in Prevalle without a car or a tour guide from Prizren, which appealed to us. If you love fall and you’re traveling in the Balkans, consider visiting Kosovo in fall.
Fall Foliage in Oceania
Tasman, New Zealand by Luke from Backstreet Nomad
The New Zealand South Island in the autumn is a magical place. I visited in May, when it seemed like the season was at its peak, but the tourist season was low. The vineyards turn a bright yellow and the mountains trade in their green for oranges, browns and yellows.
Nelson has numerous parks dressed in autumn but the colours seem to follow you wherever you go over the island. This photo was taken in the Tasman district somewhere between Riwaka and Nelson Lakes. It’s hard to pinpoint where exactly because I was hanging out of a campervan while shooting, but if autumn foliage is where you’re after, you won’t have to have to look for long.
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