Autumn, the season that transitions us from summer to winter, is a bitter-sweet time. We bid farewell to the sunny season with its fond memories of beach holidays, sunblock and flip-flops. We reunite with our winter coats and watch the sun set earlier, before finally putting the clocks back.
But it doesn’t end there! Autumn has many special characteristics that make it a magical time of year. The trees shed their leaves that decorate the paths, and the sky is blue but the air is crisp.
In no particular order, below are a selection of destinations that are particularly beautiful during autumn, or have annual festivals that occur between between September to December. Hopefully you will be inspired to start planning your next break!
Douro Valley, Portugal
A hidden treasure of Portugal is the wine region of Douro Valley, located two hours away from Porto. The scenery of the vineyards on the hills is spectacular, and the traditional culture and warm-hearted people give the area a great reputation. The Douro Region is one of the only places that still prepares wine the old fashioned way: by stomping the grapes underfoot.
The New Forest, England
Explore the coast and villages of the New Forest on foot, bike or horseback. One of its most attractive characteristics is the ponies, horses and cattle that roam the national park freely. With miles of green open space, the New Forest is a top camping destination.
Day of the Dead Festival, Mexico
Many cultures around the world hold a similar Catholic festival to celebrate and pray for the dead. Mexico take it to another level, making it a national holiday at the beginning of November every year. Rituals of the festival include eating favourite foods of the deceased and leaving their personal possessions at the altar. A quirky and interesting festival that offers a true cultural experience of Mexico.
Virginia, United States
The colour palette of Virginia explodes during autumn (or ‘fall’ as the Americans call it ), with an array of red, yellow and green. With a host of activities and experiences, like apple picking on the orchards, exploring corn mazes and celebrating Halloween the American way, Virginia is a fantastic holiday destination. The state also holds many festivals during the autumn season.
Oktoberfest is a popular festival, attended by young people from all over Europe and the world, that runs from the end of September through to early October. Traditional German food is served, like Bratwurst, Hendl and Knodel, along with a varied selection of German beers. All beers on offer have to be brewed within or near to Munich, where the festival is held.
Mid-Autumn Festival, Kuala Lumpur
This is also known as the Lantern Festival, and is originally a Chinese celebration due to the large population of Chinese people that historically resided in Kuala Lumpur. However in 1950 the Malays outnumbered the Chinese in their capital. They adopted the festival and and have carried it on to include their own additions and traditions, such as the ingredients of the festival’s food ‘Mooncakes’. Also featured in the Malaysian festival are children parading with creative lanterns.
Switzerland has a host of stunning national parks, festivals and vineyards. Popular activities in the autumn months include cycling, hiking and walking. The food and wine is exquisite in this part of the world, and the fine dining and cuisine tours alone attract many visitors every year.
Dublin has a bit of everything; big nightlife, pretty parks and fascinating history. A long weekend gives enough time to explore the beautiful museums and galleries, the Guinness factory and enjoy a night out in Temple Bar, the city’s nightlife hub. The charming St. Stephens Green (pictured above), located in the centre of Dublin, is also a must-see in autumn.
New England, United States
This region is made up of six US states; Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Visit in October to see the pretty foliage and hike the grand landscapes of New England in the crisp autumn air.
Be enchanted by the Scottish highlands, one of the most beautiful walking regions in the world. Visit Loch Ness (near Inverness) to see if you can spot the legendary monster, or visit Edinburgh to climb Arthur’s Seat. The natural beauty in Scotland and opportunity for adventure is found at every turn.