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Fall Foliage and Festivals: Best Destinations Around the World

The air turns crisp, the leaves change colors, and in the USA it’s football season. However, fall is so much more. In addition to fall foliage, some of the best places to visit are known for their autumn festivals and things to do during this season. Whether creepy Jack the Ripper Tours or learning to make tasty autumn cocktails, fall is an exciting time of year. Journey with us as we travel around the world to experience the fall season.

Fall Foliage in Japan

By Cristina from Honest Travel Stories

fall foliage in a Japanese garden
Japanese garden – one of the best fall destinations

When you think about Japan, I bet you see an image with some geishas surrounded by cherry blossoms. Most people see this image as it’s the most known one. But what if I’d tell you that the best time to visit Japan is actually in the fall?

Japan is more than video games and ramen bowls. It’s one of the best fall destinations you can think of visiting. The fall foliage is not only beautiful to see and capture on camera, but it has a long window making it easier to plan your trip to Japan around it.

The weather is very nice as well, being not too hot and not too cold either. This makes it the perfect time to take a stroll in one of the many beautiful Japanese gardens you can find in any of the big cities.

As far as festivals go, while many of them are linked to sakura, the cherry blossom season, there are also a few that take place in November. Called the Gion Odori, this festival is the only geisha and maiko performance you can watch in the fall. Taking place in Kyoto, the Japanese old capital city, this performance is one of the best things you can do in Japan in the fall.


Valletta

By Nina from Lemons and Luggage

monument in Bareka Gardens
The Lower Barrakka Gardens is a lovely garden in Valletta overlooking the Grand Harbour.

The Maltese capital Valletta is easily one of the best fall destinations around the world! While the summers can get extremely hot, the weather cools down in fall. However, it still remains warm and pleasant due to the city’s location on the Mediterranean Sea. As the capital of a tiny island nation, Valletta never feels as crowded as other tourist destinations. You can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the beautiful alleys and enjoy the fascinating architecture. After all, the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

But for the best experience, plan your trip to coincide with Notte Bianca, an annual event that takes place in October. During Notte Bianca restaurants and cafés stay open much later than usual. And there are various food stalls to provide delicious treats. Vegans don’t have to worry either as there are vegan options in Malta as well. In addition, museums put on special exhibitions and performances. In addition the streets are filled with people displaying traditional music and dances.

While summer is full of village festivals all over Malta, Notte Bianca in October is a beautiful way to greet the fall in the fascinating capital Valletta. Plus, because you’re traveling during the shoulder season you’re even going to save money on this trip.


Fall Foliage in Vermont

By Kat with World Wide Honeymoon

fall foliage in Vermont
Views from Stowe Pinnacle in Stowe, Vermont

When it comes to the best fall destinations around the world, one would be remiss if they didn’t include Vermont. 

Vermont, located in New England, is well-known for its stunning fall foliage. The vibrant hues of red, yellow, and orange bedazzle the highways, hiking paths, and charming villages during a fall road trip through Vermont.

The best way to admire the fall foliage in Vermont is by hiking. Hike to incredible viewpoints like Sterling Pond Trail and Stowe Pinnacle in Stowe as well as Mount Killington near Killington.  

Aside from hiking, driving through Smugglers Notch from Stowe will immerse you in fall foliage. In addition you will see breathtaking mountain scenery as you wind your way through the valley below. 

For fun autumn activities, try apple picking in Shelburne. Find your way around the Great Vermont Corn maze in Danville. Sample maple syrup at various sugar shacks around the state. And definitely stop into Cold Hollow Cider Mill for amazing apple cider and apple cider donuts. 

As far as the perfect towns to visit in Vermont in the fall, Stowe is the dreamiest mountain destination. Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, sits along Lake Champlain and has incredible sunsets to witness. Woodstock is the most charming village with many farms. And East Burke is a tiny town with access to some fantastic hiking and mountain biking trails.

Vermont in the fall is such a dream. The colors are outstanding. The temperatures are just right. And the charming little towns are a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of big cities. 


Fall Foliage and Hiking at Grand Teton

James Ian at Parks Collecting

Fall foliage at Grand Teton
Grand Teton

Fall arrives early in Grand Teton National Park, but it’s a great time to be there.  There are aspen groves all around the park and these turn bright yellow as early as mid-September.  There are several classic viewpoints where you can see glowing golden aspens framed by the incredible Teton mountains.  Visit Oxbow Bend early in the morning. There is a row of aspens alongside the river that is often perfectly reflected in the mirror-like river bend.  At Snake River Overlook – made famous by Ansell Adams in his photos – there are aspen trees right in front of you. The Snake River lies beyond and the Teton Range stretches out in the background. 

Several hikes are especially great in the fall. A favorite is the trail to Taggart Lake. This goes right through a grove of aspen trees that are incredible in the fall.  Cascade Canyon also has trees and huckleberry bushes alongside Cascade Creek that change color in the fall, making this incredible place even more breathtaking.

Fall is also a great time to see wildlife in Grand Teton National Park.  Many animals move from higher altitude down to lower ground for the winter. And they go right through the national park on their way.  It is also mating season for many animals like elk, moose and deer. You can hear the males bugling throughout the day.  Bears are also fattening up for the winter, so there are increased chances of seeing them foraging for berries. 

In general, the third week in September is peak fall foliage and wildlife viewing.


Sibenik, Croatia

Recommended by PlacesofJuma

Sibenik, Croatia in fall
It is still warm enough for the beaches in fall

Sibenik is a picturesque coastal town in Croatia and definitely one of the most beautiful fall destinations in the world. Thousands and thousands of tourists from all over the world come here, especially in the summer months, to explore the UNESCO Old Town with its many sights. In fall, with the beginning of November, it becomes really idyllic in Sibenik. The atmosphere is really quiet, and the city presents itself from one of its most beautiful sides!

When visiting in fall, there are plenty of activities and attractions to experience. The absolute highlight, however, is the medieval old town. The warm autumn colors are particularly beautiful, showing the town in a wonderful warm light. A walking tour might therefore even make you take more photos than usual! 

One of the most important attractions is the Cathedral of St. James in Sibenik, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Impressing for outside it should definitely be visited also from the inside. Also worth seeing are the 3 fortresses around the city. From these you can enjoy a breathtaking view over Sibenik and the blue Adriatic Sea.

Another reason why Sibenik is great in autumn are the fantastic beaches. Most of the time, the weather in this region is still warm in November. And you can even swim in the sea! Perfect if you want to combine sightseeing and relaxing on the beach.


Best Fall Destinations – Larch Season in the Rockies

From Dean and Laynni at Routinely Nomadic

fall foliage and mountains at Banff National Park
On the hike to Eohippus Lake in Banff National Park

The changing colours of leaves in fall are a big deal in many beautiful destinations. However, the Canadian Rockies have a particularly unique twist that draws in visitors from around the world. “Larch Season” takes place between mid-September and mid-October, depending on a combination of latitude and altitude. It provides a short window when the already amazing mountain scenery gets even better.

Larches are a subspecies of tamarack that thrive in cool, mountainous areas with plenty of moisture. Which means the mountains of Alberta, Canada are ideal. Larches have green needles rather than leaves and in spring and summer they look just like firs or evergreens. But come fall, the needles abruptly turn brilliant yellow, pose for photos for a couple weeks, then fall to the ground, their annual life cycle complete.

There are many incredible larch hikes around Canmore and Banff, each hitting their peak at a slightly different time depending on specific conditions (altitude, weather, exposure). The contrast of the bright yellow against the various greens and reds of the other trees makes for stunning photos. And if you’re lucky you might even experience the combination of dazzling yellow larches and a surprise early snowfall. It makes the hiking a little trickier but the views will be amazing!

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Fall Festivals in Macau

Jin & De Wet from Museum of Wander

lights hang from fall foliage in Macau


Macau, a tiny ex-Portuguese colony in the south of China, is renowned for its luxurious casinos, excellent fusion food, and being a melting pot of cultures. Macau is an exciting destination, and there is no better time to visit Macau than in the Fall.

With typhoon season finished, the oppressing humidity and heat give way to the most beautiful days and nights to enjoy this stunning city. Fall is also the time that Macau comes alive with various festivals and events.
Fall in Macau lasts from September until early December when it gets a little colder.

Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated in late September, depending on the lunar calendar. It is a great time to be in Macau. The city is all dressed up in colourful Chinese lanterns, and you can experience traditional Chinese culture at its best. You should definitely eat the famous moon cakes when you’re here over the festival.
In October, the city explodes with even more colour during the International Fireworks Festival.  Several countries compete against each other over a few weeks. And if you’re here during the weekend in October you’ll be in for a treat!

The biggest event of the season, and perhaps the whole year, is the Macau Grand Prix. Usually held in mid-November, the streets are packed with cheering spectators from all around the world as the racers speed through the narrow street circuit through the city.

Fall is without a doubt the most exciting time to visit this exciting city. 


Things to do in Fall in Nijmegen

By: Frans from Ask The Dutch Guy

A lone tree in a town square in the Netherlands

In a country known for its rich history and surviving medieval architecture, the city of Nijmegen stands as the Netherlands’ oldest city. At one time it was part of the Roman Empire. Nijmegen boasts magnificent historic buildings and centuries-old plazas, as well as the country’s oldest shopping street, the Lange Hezelstraat.

Visit Nijmegen and step inside a picturesque, postcard-like town. The main city attractions, such as Grote Markt, Kaannenmarkt, Sint-Jacobskapel or Glashuis chapel, and the quaint old city hall at the Burchtstraat, all bear early Renaissance-style architecture.

Make your way on foot or on two wheels to historic shopping streets Lange Hezelstraat and Stikke Hezelstraat. There you will see interesting boutiques and galleries. Nearby are a large selection of cafes, terraces and excellent little restaurants. So you shouldn’t worry about getting tired and hungry from too much shopping.

Hordes of tourists come to Nijmegen to catch several festivals throughout the year. The city is known to host one-day festivals, multiple-day festivals, festivals for children, and food-related events. In addition, some festivals promote art, theatre, dance, and literature. One important festival that takes place in September is Kunstnacht, an annual interdisciplinary festival organized by more than 50 cultural groups.

To get to Nijmegen, take the train from Amsterdam’s Centraal Station. Go to Nijmegen in the province of Gelderland on the Waal River, near the German border. It is an hour and a half drive from Amsterdam and Rotterdam and roughly two hours from Brussels, Cologne and  Düsseldorf.  


Spooky Savannah

By Sydney Richardson from A World in Reach

green fall foliage surrounding old buildings in Savannah
 The square outside of the Olde Pink House, one of the most haunted places in Savannah

If you’re looking for a spooky fall destination for a weekend getaway in the USA, look no further than Savannah, Georgia. Often said to be the most haunted city in the United States, Savannah is the perfect place to celebrate the Halloween season.

Savannah has a rich history that plays a part in its spookiness. The city played an important role during the American Civil War. Many say that soldiers who lost their lives in the war still roam the city to this day. Many of the city’s historic homes, hotels, and other buildings are also said to be haunted by their past residents who faced tragic ends.

Today, visitors flock to Savannah to experience the city’s haunted history for themselves. A visit to Savannah isn’t complete without taking a ghost tour of all of the spookiest sights in town. Savannah is also home to a few different cemeteries that are supposed hotbeds for paranormal activity such as the hauntingly beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery and the Colonial Park Cemetery.

In addition to Savannah’s spooky sights, make sure to explore the city’s gorgeous Historic District, home to 22 unique historic squares. Don’t miss out on sampling some delicious southern cuisine. The Olde Pink House is one of the best restaurants in town. (It’s also said to be one of the most haunted ones!).


Fall Foliage in the Cotswolds

By Jiayi from The Diary of a Nomad

fall foliage in a little village in the cotswolds
Fall colors in the village of Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds, UK

The Cotswolds is located in Southern England. It is officially designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the United Kingdom. This region is very famous for its many pretty villages and peaceful countryside landscapes.

Fall is an amazing time to visit the best villages in the Cotswolds, such as Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Chipping Campden. As these places are surrounded by vast countryside, you’ll see tons of orange and red foliage around. This makes the scenery even more picturesque. 

The weather in the Cotswolds during the fall is also very pleasant. It can get as warm as 18°C on some days, and temperatures typically don’t fall below 5°C at this time of the year. Another great thing about visiting the Cotswolds in the fall is that you’ll get to avoid the massive crowds that are typically there during the summer. This area is definitely quieter as the school holidays end.

During your time in the Cotswolds, be sure to stop by the Westonbirt Arboretum near Tetbury. There, you’ll find a whopping 15,000 different species of trees from all over the world. And in the fall, their beautiful leaves turn rusty orange and red. 

You’ll also want to stop by the beautiful and famous Arlington Row in Bibury. Surrounded by fall colors, this row of quintessential Cotswolds’ stone houses looks even more breathtaking.

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Fall in the Florida Everglades: Best Time to View Animals

Lori Sorrentino from Travlinmad.com

fall foliage and an alligator in the Everglades

The Everglades in southern Florida is one of the best Fall destinations around the world. The eastern portion of Everglades National Park is easily accessed from Miami. The western Everglades, comprised of Big Cypress National Preserve, Fakahatchie Strand State Preserve, and Everglades National Park, are an easy drive from southwest Florida. The Florida Everglades are unlike any place else on Earth. The “River of Grass” flows southwest from central Florida to the waters of the Ten Thousand Islands creating this unique sub-tropical wilderness. In the Fall, the Glades are in transition from the wet to the dry season with cooler temperatures, lower humidity, and fewer showers. This is a great time of year for nature lovers and birdwatchers.

Although migratory birds are beginning to make their departure, native species like ospreys, bald eagles, anhingas and cormorants can still be seen throughout the Glades. These birds along with other Everglades animals like alligators and manatees can be spotted along trails or on a guided boat tour from Marco Island through the Ten Thousand Islands. Hikers can follow groomed trails or elevated boardwalk trails to observe and photograph the animals that live here.

A great Fall option is to rent a canoe or kayak and quietly paddle along slow-moving waters and through mangrove tunnels. From whichever direction you start, a Fall visit to Shark Valley and the guided tram ride are one of the best spots to see the Everglades close up.

If you are vacationing here in South Florida you may want to check out some additional activities.


Fall Foliage and Festivals in New England

By Carrie Ann Karstunen from Should Be Cruising

fall foliage and decor in downtown Salem
The downtown shops are decorated for the season during Salem’s annual Haunted Happenings festival

Autumn in New England beckons with its colorful leaves and crisp air. But the foliage isn’t the only reason to visit the New England states in the fall! September through November is prime festival season in the region.

The end of September is time for the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival in Stowe. This unique family-friendly event includes live music, a chili cook-off, games, raffles, and a craft fair. Festival visitors can bring their own pumpkins and trebuchets, or just watch to see who can catapult their gourds the longest distance..

During the entire month of October, Salem, Massachusetts is home to Haunted Happenings. The Witch City goes all-out for Halloween with daily events including the Zombie Walk, The Salem Psychic Fair & Witches’ Market, and the fireworks finale on October 31st.

Every Columbus Day weekend seafood lovers gather in Mystic, Connecticut for the Mystic Seaport Chowder Days Festival at the Mystic Seaport Museum. Enjoy samples of various chowders along with fall favorites like apple fritters and mulled cider.

In early November, the annual Harvest on the Harbor Festival in Portland, Maine celebrates the city’s independently-owned restaurants. This annual foodie festival features local food vendors, beer and wine tastings, and live entertainment.


Fall Foliage in Kynance Mews and London Festivals

By Dymphe from dymabroad.com

fall foliage draped over buildings in Kynance Mews, London
Kynance Mews during fall

One of the best fall destinations around the world is London. This is the capital of the United Kingdom, and it is a great place to visit. You can find many famous sights in the city, such as Big Ben, the London Eye, and the Tower Bridge. Furthermore, there is a lot more to do in the city. For example, you can go shopping at Oxford Street.

The city is great to visit during fall. One of the reasons is because there are many Instagrammable places in London during fall. For example, there are restaurants and cafes that have special displays that include fall foliage, pumpkins, and more objects. Also, there are other beautiful places during fall, such as Kynance Mews, where you can see beautiful fall colors.

In addition, there are lots of great fall events in London. One of the best ones is the London Restaurant Festival. During this festival, that takes place in October, you can enjoy special menus and other events at great restaurants in the city. There are also many Halloween events in London. For example, you can go to The Forbidden Forest Cinema. This is a pop up cinema that plays horror movies. Another lovely event during fall in London is the EFG London Jazz Festival during which you can enjoy live jazz performances.


Fall in Munich, Germany

By Fiona Boyle from Travelling Thirties

Oktoberfest in Munich
Munich, Germany

When you are looking for the best fall destinations around the world you cannot go past Munich, Germany.

Munich comes to life in the fall thanks to the stunning fall leaves but also because of the famous beer festival, Oktoberfest. Despite the name, Oktoberfest actually begins at the end of September and runs until the first weekend in Oktober.

Oktoberfest started out as a celebration for Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese when they were married in 1810. The wedding was celebrated by locals who came out to celebrate and drink beer that was brewed especially for the day and to watch the horse races.

Today, Oktoberfest has become the best beer festival in the world. Brewers from Munich brew a special batch of beer that is only served at the festival. It is a fantastic place for locals and tourists to mingle and drink from Steins.

The fairgrounds at Theresienwiese come to life with the tapping of the first keg at 12 noon on opening day.

Even if beer is not your thing, you will not regret a visit to Oktoberfest. The tents serve beer and traditional German food and outside the tents you can enjoy the rides in the fairground.

So, make sure to purchase some traditional Bavarian clothing and enjoy the music and festivities that Oktoberfest has to offer.


Fall Road Trips up the Jurassic Coast

Recommended by Alice from Adventures of Alice

Jurassic coast

Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site is Dorset’s most famous attraction, stretching for 96 miles from a place called Exmouth (East Devon) to Studland Bay (Dorset). At this site, you will find 185 million years of fascinating history and many beautiful sights along its cliffs including Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, which may be considered as one of England’s most iconic landmarks. 

Lulworth Cove is an area along the Jurassic Coast with a pebble beach and stunning blue waters. It is known for its geology and fascinating landforms. The low tide also uncovers amazing rock pools with lots of little sea creatures – perfect for children and adults! When sitting on the shore, it makes for a peaceful and relaxing place to spend an autumn day, not only this but at this time it’s an absolutely stunning location for photography. 

Similarly, Durdle Door is another part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site, it is gorgeous in the autumn and a very popular place for photography. To get to the beach you can walk down a steep downhill path, which takes roughly 20 minutes and then there are another 143 steps down to the beach. 

For this, I would highly recommend sensible footwear such as trainers and no flip flops. This may seem like a tough walk but it really is worth it. Once you reach the bottom there are a number of fascinating caves to be seen from the outside but do not enter as cliff falls are commonly reported.


Fall Foliage in Tasmania

Contributed by: Margarita / The Wildlife Diaries 

fall foliage in tasmania

Australia doesn’t immediately jump to mind when thinking about falls destinations, but that’s one of the reasons why you should conceder an autumn trip down under – it’ll be different. First, the timing. Australian seasons run out of sync with the northern hemisphere. So if you are missing fall colours between March and May, it’s time to head to the southern continent. And then there is the uniqueness factor. Australia’s only cold climate deciduous tree – the Fagus grows only in Tasmania – Australian island state, which makes Tassie the only place in the world to see the turning of the Fagus.

So where should you go to witness autumn colours in Tassie? Anywhere, really, depending on your travel plans. The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart is a good place to experience the golden foliage in the capital city, as are most of the city parks.

For a nature adventure, head to Lake Fenton in Mount Field National Park to view the Fagus turning in a spectacular range of colours. If you prefer culture to nature, the charming historic town of Richmond is at its best in the warm hues of autumn colours. And if you are keen to combine both, then take a drive through the rolling hills of the picturesque Huon Valley, all the way to Hastings Caves. The valley is stunning at any time of the year, but in the fall, when its orchards turn red and yellow reflecting in the still waters of Huon River, it’s something extra special. 


I hope these amazing destinations have inspired you to explore the road!

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6 thoughts on “Fall Foliage and Festivals: Best Destinations Around the World

  1. We love to travel in the fall. The great colourful leaf show put on my nature is one of the top reasons. One day we need to make the trip south and visit Vermont for leaf peeping. But I would not have thought of Macau for fall colours. A great list!

  2. I love autumn as the leaves change their color – so pretty! Therefore, I always wanted to visit New England for the Indian Summer. Another destination from your list would be Japan: I was there in September, therefore I couldn’t enjoy either the cherry blossoms or the foliage. Actually, I would rather return in autumn than spring 😉

  3. So many places around the world turn into extra beautiful in the fall. I would like to visit Vermont and drive through Smuggler’s Notch. I think Salem will be interesting to visit, too, especially around Halloween.

  4. Wow what a beautiful list of places to experience fall. I love each one of them and I have been to Tasmania around autumn and it is surely breath taking. In the list, I especially loved Vermont and hiking in Grand Teton national park seems amazing to do. I am adding them to my list.

  5. Fall is one of my favorite seasons because of the cooler weather and how beautiful the outdoors is with all of the changing leaf colors. I also love hiking during this time so the trip to Grand Teton National Park is right up my alley. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hey Donnamarie, thanks so much for featuring my submission on things to do in New England in the fall! I’ve been so looking forward to reading this post once it was published, and of course now I have even more inspiration to plan my travels. My other half has been talking about exploring his Croatian roots for years, but we didn’t know that autumn was a good time to visit. Swimming in November? Yes please! I think a fall Croatia trip is in our future 🙂

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