As the crowds dwindle and the summer heat subsides, autumn in Europe is the ideal time to visit. Get inspired for your memorable vacation with the 29 best fall destinations in Europe, as recommended by travel experts!
This article lists:
- 7 Best Fall Foliage in Europe
- 8 Best Wine Holidays in Europe during Harvest Season
- 13 Other Best Places to Visit in Autumn in Europe
Table of Contents
Pin it for later!
Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. If you purchase by clicking some of these links, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Click here to read full disclaimer.
Why should you go to Europe in the Fall?
The weather in Europe during the fall is pleasantly mild. The scorching heat fades away, making it more comfortable for outdoor activities. You can enjoy exploring the charming European towns on foot and go hiking.
The vibrant fall foliage creates stunning scenery in the cities and countryside. Nature transforms the landscapes into a breathtaking tapestry of reds, yellows and oranges, offering a picturesque backdrop for travelers.
Europe comes alive with various cultural festivals in the fall. From Oktoberfest in Munich to the grape harvest festivals in the vineyards of France and Italy, it is the season of celebrating local culture and traditions.
Moreover, fall is considered the shoulder season for popular European destinations. As the summer vacationers leave, you can expect shorter lines at popular attractions and cheaper accommodations. You can enjoy a more relaxed and enjoyable travel experience and expect a more budget-friendly vacation.
Best Fall Foliage in Europe
Weather: Temperature ranges from 13℃-22℃ (-℉) in September to 6-11℃ (℉) in November, with moderate precipitation.
National Holidays: All Saints’ Day (November 1), Armistice Day (November 11)
Whether you are a first-time visitor to Paris or a frequent traveler, the City of Light in the fall offers a magical and enchanting experience.
As the fall descends upon Paris, the city turns into a red, orange and gold kaleidoscope. Trees lining the boulevards burst into colorful fall foliage, adorning the stunning cityscape. It is truly a magical moment to witness a breathtaking display of colors in the city’s parks and gardens, such as the Jardin des Tuileries and the Jardin de Luxembourg.
When the chilly breeze sets in, there is nothing like sipping a cup of silky, rich hot chocolate with delectable French desserts at a terrace cafe while watching the world pass by. The charming Parisian cafes set out the chairs on the sidewalk, making it extra cozy to take a break on a brisk fall day.
In the fall, stylish Parisians hit the streets donning trench coats, scarves and trendy walking shoes. It is the season to showcase your French chic outfit. But be mindful of the transitional weather when you pack for fall in Europe.
You can also expect some rain in the fall. While a rainy Paris is still romantic, you may want to find shelter in the charming Parisian covered passages for a unique shopping experience in the stunning 19th-century architecture. Or, you may visit small museums in Paris with no crowds.
Contributed by Chloe of Chloe’s Travelogue
Where to Stay in Paris?
Paris has 20 arrondissements with distinctive pockets of neighborhoods. While Paris is gorgeous, some areas are better than others for tourists to stay. Here’s your guide to 10 Best Areas in Paris for all travel styles and budgets.
Black Forest, Germany
Weather: Temperature ranges from a high of 9-21℃ (48-70℉) in September to a low of 9-21℃ (48-70℉) in November, with moderate precipitation.
National Holidays: Unity Day (October 3)
Hotels to Stay: Black Forest Hostel
Freiburg im Breisgau is located in southwestern Germany, on the edge of the massive Black Forest. It is a popular base for exploring the forest, which is often imagined to be a dense, dark place. Many people mistake it as the location of many Brothers Grimm fairy tales, like the spooky forest where a witch abandoned and tormented Hansel and Gretel.
This isn’t the case at all. The Black Forest is bright and beautiful, especially in fall when the leaves turn yellow and orange. The weather is cooler and drier than summer, making it a better time to hike.
There are many hiking trails near Freiburg im Breisgau. You can take transit to the beautiful Wasserfallsteig hike at Feldberg. This easy 12-kilometer (5-mile) route takes hikers past several waterfalls, including Fahl and Todtnauer, the latter of which is almost 100 meters tall.
There is also a walking loop around Schlossberg Hill on the east side of the city. If you’re not interested in hiking but still want to enjoy the view, the Schlossbergbahn funicular can take you straight to the top.
Freiburg im Breisgau is a beautiful city. Its old town center has colorful and elaborately decorated buildings. There are several landmarks worthy of visiting, such as Martinstor (Martin’s Gate), Kaufhaus (historical merchant’s hall), and the münster (cathedral).
Also, visit a large outdoor market at Münsterplatz (open every day except Sunday). Fall is an excellent time to get hearty fruits and vegetables, like pumpkins and apples, as well as seasonal treats, like chestnuts.
Contributed by Melanie of Postcards & Places
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Weather: The temperatures are still mild, with averages of 12°C (50°F) and highs of about 18°C (64°F). September and October are also two of the driest months, with only about five days of monthly rainfall.
National Holidays: Coloman Feast (every 2nd Sunday of October)
If you have dreamed about visiting a castle, it probably resembles Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle. The fall season is the ideal time to cross it off your bucket list!
Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany served as inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. It is the 13th most visited castle in the world. During fall, The Bavarian Alps display a spectacular array of colors, providing a magical setting for this charming castle.
The hills surrounding the castle transformed into a magnificent red, orange, and gold display, making every photo a masterpiece. Don’t miss the chance to explore the luxurious interior and enjoy the stunning countryside views from the upper floors. With fewer visitors, you can take time and soak up the experience.
Put on your hiking boots and venture out on the trails to Marienbrücke Bridge and the surrounding areas for even more breathtaking scenery. And finish your adventure with a satisfying meal in Füssen or Hohenschwangau village.
To get to Neuschwanstein Castle, the best option is to take a train from Munich to Füssen. Then, hop on bus 73 or 78 to Hohenschwangau, where the castle is. It takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes (fare: about €28).
Neuschwanstein in the fall is a magical and unforgettable fairytale experience that you’ll cherish forever.
Contributed by Gladis of Happiness on the Way
Weather: Temperatures average 20°C (68°F) during the day and an average of 6°C (43°F) at night. The days are mostly sunny and dry during the first half of autumn, while November is slightly rainy, averaging 11 days of monthly rainfall.
National holidays: Ochi (or Oxi) Day (October 28) celebrating the National Anniversary of Greek Independence.
Hotels to Stay: The best base for visiting Meteora is Kastraki or Kalambaka towns. Kastraki is more peaceful (stay at Dream Nest Meteora), while Kalambaka is a more lively town.
Meteora in Thessaly, central Greece is one of the most surreal places in Europe to visit in the Fall. It becomes an awe-inspiring site once autumn foliage covers the valleys at the end of October through November.
The magnificent complex is truly an exceptional site created by the joined forces of nature and humans. Perched on 60-million-year-old otherworldly steep rock formations, the ancient Greek-Orthodox monastery is one of six (out of 24) surviving functional and well-preserved monasteries built during the medieval ages.
Once a hidden gem, the UNESCO-protected site has become a popular tourist destination, with visitors 7 days a week. The second half of autumn is perfect for beating the crowds and offers fantastic weather for active explorations.
The easiest and best way to visit Meteora is driving by renting a car. Nonetheless, public transport is also available from Athens and Thessaloniki. Or, join organized tours from Athens, Thessaloniki or Kalabaka.
Contributed by Austra of The Road Reel
Weather: Temperature ranges between 5 ℃ and 15 ℃ (41℉-60℉). Often sunny, with an average of 5 days of rain per month.
National Holidays: 1956 Revolution Memorial Day (October 23), All Saints’ Day (November 1)
Hotels to Stay: Premier Hotel Miskolc
An incredible fall destination in Europe is the Hungarian city of Miskolc just a couple of hours northeast of Budapest.
One of the best things to do in Miskolc is to take the Lillafüred tourist train to the Bükk mountains. And fall is the perfect season for it. The one-hour train ride takes you through the forest with endless views of an orange and yellow blanket covering the picturesque Bükk mountains before it drops you off at Lillafüred.
There, you can do many activities like paddling in the still lake surrounded by fall colors. You can rent row boats just across the road from the train station below the Lillafüred Hotel, which looks like a castle surrounded by bright yellow and orange.
At the Lillafüred Hotel, the garden is beautiful to walk around. You can find gorgeous waterfalls and caves, especially on a rainy day. The most popular are the Anna Cave and the Szent István Cave. You can purchase tickets for the caves directly at the entrance.
Another rainy activity you should not miss out on in Miskolc is exploring the Cave thermal baths in the city. These unique sites are naturally carved into the mountains through tunnels. You can walk or swim through the tunnels filled with healing water or lounge in one of the cave pools after a long day of chasing fall colors.
Contributed by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers
Weather: Daily temperatures can reach 18℃ (64°F) in September, dropping down to a crisp 9℃ (48°F) in November. There is a 30% chance of rain.
National Holidays: None between September and November.
If you’re looking for cozy vibes, bountiful festivals, and beautiful fall foliage, you can’t go wrong with the Cotswolds in autumn!
As the summer sunshine fades to a golden autumn glow, the honey-hued cottages come alive with crackling open fires. Nature puts on a spectacular show outdoors with flame-colored foliage and brambles heaving with ripe blackberries.
The fall foliage in the Cotswolds is best enjoyed on a walk through the rolling countryside. Alternatively, head to Westonbirt Arboretum, a fairytale forest with over 15,000 carefully collected trees.
If autumn is all about the pumpkins for you, you’re in luck! You can pick your own at Cotswold Farm Park or head to one of the wholesome farm shops for beautiful seasonal displays. Daylesford Farm Shop even hosts a harvest festival towards the end of September.
You’ll also find Halloween events up and down the region, from ghost hunting in ancient pubs to parties, theme parks, and even a show for psychics and clairvoyants.
Don’t miss bonfire night on November 5! This is a popular event in England, usually accompanied by epic firework displays, toffee apples and other tasty treats. Try Cheltenham or Chipping Camden for the best events.
However, the festivities don’t stop there, with Blenheim Palace hosting an awesome Autumn Festival to celebrate the season. If you prefer to cosy up with a good book, there are also multiple literary festivals. Check out the one in Bath dedicated to Jane Austen, where you can live out your Pride and Prejudice dreams with guided walks, costume balls and bonnet-making workshops.
Contributed by Amabel of Amabel Buck
Fall is the best time of year to visit the Connemara region of Ireland. This stunning area is located in County Galway on the far western side of the island.
While there isn’t necessarily a wrong time of year to visit Connemara, Fall is perfect for a few reasons. First of all, in October, the leaves start changing colors, and the vibrant yellow, red and orange hues add yet another stunning layer to the beauty of this area.
Secondly, Fall marks the end of the primary tourist season in Ireland. This means fewer people, resulting in a more peaceful, intimate visit. Additionally, the weather is generally cool with comfortable temperatures.
There are a wide variety of things to do in this area. A visit to Connemara National Park is an absolute must to fully immerse yourself in the stunning Irish scenery, view the wildlife, and see the legendary Connemara ponies.
Also nearby, you’ll find the historical Kylemore Abbey monastery. Originally built as a castle in the late 19th century, it was acquired by Benedictine nuns fleeing World War I in Belgium. The abbey and its Victorian walled garden offer insights into monastic life, the estate’s history, and the natural beauty of the Irish landscape.
Drive along the scenic Sky Road near Clifden for breathtaking views of the Atlantic coast. Also, make sure to stop off and explore the ruins of Clifden Castle, one of the first Gothic Revival structures in the country.
Contributed by Janae of Adventures With TuckNae
Best Wine Holidays in Europe During Harvest Season
Weather: The average temperature is between 23°C (73°F) and 8°C (46°F). There’s humidity and wind, so it can feel chilly.
National Holidays: Assumption’s Day (August 15)
Hotels to Stay: Hotel Les Grains d’Argent Dizy
If you are looking for a European fall destination and you like wine, Épernay, in the Champagne region in France, is the place to be.
Autumn is an ideal season to visit Épernay as it is the grape harvest season. The harvest lasts for two weeks. The best time to see the harvest is between late September and October. However, the exact dates depend on the summer weather. Contact your hotel beforehand to check on the harvest dates.
Another option is to rent a bike and visit the vineyards in the countryside, witness the harvest process, and make a stop at small local producers.
If you are a foodie, you will also enjoy the gastronomy of Épernay. The town has France’s top restaurants listed in the Michelin guide. And you can enjoy your meals paired with some of the best champagne in the world!
Contributed by Sharon of The Roads Beyond
Weather: Temperatures range between 5C (41F) and 20 (68F). The weather tends to be dry, but expect occasional rain.
National holidays: Toussaint (November 1), Armistice 1918 (November 11)
Hotels to Stay: James Boutique Hôtel Colmar centre
The historical region of Alsace has long been known for its wine culture and unique flair in France. Four traditional AOC wines are produced in Alsace, which includes the full-bodied Gewürztraminer, the neutral Pinot Gris, the flowery Riesling, and the fruity sweet Muscat.
The best time to explore the essence of the wine terroir is autumn. Visiting the vineyards in September during the grape harvest season is bucket-list worthy.
Taking the Alsace wine route is the best way to experience this unique region and its top-class wines. Here, visitors can learn more about the way the Romans made their wine in Alsace. Notably, Domaine Marcel Deiss and Domaine Albert Seltz offer a highly-praised winery experience as the owners show the guests around.
While visiting the Alsace wine region, also visit Colmar with the cute little colorful villages. Medieval half-timbered homes, cobbled streets and traditional boutiques are found in Eguisheim, Riquewihr, Keysersberg-Vignoble and other villages near Colmar.
The wine route starts from either Wissembourg in the north or Mulhouse in the south, yet an itinerary of the Alsace wine route can be followed freely. Don’t forget to pick up some recognizable high-quality wines to complete your home wine collection.
Contributed by Paul D’Souza of Paulmarina
Weather: The temperatures vary greatly in the fall, depending on the month and location in Chianti. Temperatures in Greve range 15°C-25°C (59°F-77°F) in September. November brings cooler temperatures, ranging from 5°C-15°C (41°F-59°F).
National Holidays: Ognissanti (aka Tutti i Santi) is All Saint’s Day (November 1)
The Chianti Classico area in northern Tuscany is worthy of a visit any time of year, but the changing colors and energy of the grape and olive harvests make the fall the best time to explore the area.
Rent a zippy FIAT 500 and follow the curvy and scenic roads through Chianti. Start on the classic Chiantigiana that runs between Florence and Siena and make detours to visit the most famous Chianti villages – Greve, Panzano, Gaiole, Radda, and Castellina.
While appreciating and photographing the vineyards as they change from bright green to yellow, orange and red, swing by at wineries to taste wines. It is best to call ahead and book your spot. In each village, be sure to sip on Chianti Classico wines at enoteche (wine bars/wine shops).
Fall in Chianti also brings plenty of sagre (local food festivals). Just look for the paper signs plastered around towns and stop in to celebrate with locals in a casual and lively setting. Attending a sagra is a fantastic way to soak up the local culture in a relaxed and fun environment – plus the food is delizioso!
Later in the fall, you will have an opportunity to sample the area’s liquid gold – extra virgin olive oil. Get it freshly pressed and enjoy it drizzled on toasted bread called fettunta, a local specialty.
Contributed by Candice of The Tuscan Mom
Weather: The temperature averages 8°C-21°C (46°F-70°F). Mostly sunny with 8-10 rainy days per month.
National Holidays: All Saints day (November 1)
Hotels to Stay: La Maison De Charme ROOMS
Most people flock to Northern Italy in the summertime, but there is a much better time of year to visit, especially if you are a wine lover. A popular destination in Italy is Florence, but Verona is better.
If you are unfamiliar with Verona, the picturesque city is famously known as the setting of Shakespeare’s timeless love story, “Romeo and Juliet.”
A trip to Verona in the fall season is a truly enchanting experience. In October, you will experience mild temperatures, fewer tourists, and more affordable accommodations.
Among the many attractions, a wine tour in the Amarone countryside is a must-do experience. October is the time for the harvest in the Amarone region, which makes it the best time of year to visit for a wine lover.
The best way to visit the Amarone region is by joining an organized tour. On this 8-hour wine tour, you can expect to visit a traditional Italian restaurant for a light lunch with wine. Following lunch, making a stop to learn about the grapes from Amarone and Recioto.
Then on to the vineyard and winery, for a more comprehensive wine tasting. Here you will find the day trying more famous wines and comparing the differences and similarities between the two different producers.
Contributed by Melissa of A Solo Woman Traveling
Weather: Expect sunny days with temperatures from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F) during the festival.
National Holidays: German Unity Day (October 3) – a public holiday during the festival.
Hotels to Stay: Hotel Palatina
Celebrate the vibrant Wine Harvesting Festival in Neustadt an der Weinstraße from September 22 to October 9. As the German Weinlesefest, it shines as the peak of the Pfalz wine festival season, highlighted by Germany’s grandest winegrowers’ parade.
Neustadt awaits the grape harvest with enthusiasm, gearing up for an outstanding German Weinlesefest. The two-week event unites locals and visitors to toast Neustadt’s identity as a wine and democracy hub.
Visit “Haiselscher,” a charming Palatinate wine village of cozy half-timbered houses (open September 22 to October 9). Find out fun facts about German wine and enjoy wines from top local wineries, along with Palatinate delights and live music on the program stage.
Starting September 29, a lively fair on Bahnhofsvorplatz enchants all. Treat yourself to bratwurst, smoked salmon, and cotton candy. The Ferris wheel offers views of the colorful evening sky, while the October 4 Family Day promises discounted rides.
During late summer, the Spiegelpalast “Bon Vivant” graces Hetzelplatz. From September 28, it welcomes wine enthusiasts to its cozy corners, wine bars, and Mediterranean garden. Explore exceptional wines from Neustadt, Pfalz, Germany, and beyond. Enjoy music and events like the Young Winemakers Matinée (October 1) and Sparkling Wine Day (October 3). The 75th German Wine Queen is crowned on September 29.
Explore charming streets, shops, and local eateries. The 85th Palatinate Wine Queen is chosen on October 6, following last year’s successful concept. The newly crowned wine royalty will be celebrated at an After-Show Party in Saalbau.
Contributed by Elle of Only In Germany
Weather: 15°C to 20°C. Temperatures can reach up to 26°C in September, cooling off considerably by November. Rain is scarce, but the humidity remains high (65-70%).
National holidays: Svetitskovloba (October 14), St. George’s Day (November 23).
Hotels to stay: Black Tomato Hostel for budget-friendly dorms and privates, Newport Hotel for boutique accommodation.
Kutaisi is in the heart of Georgia’s second-biggest wine region and a gateway to fall foliage in the Greater Caucasus mountains. It is the ideal place for an offbeat autumn getaway in Europe.
As the base for Wizz Air in Georgia and the nation’s second-largest city, Kutaisi is easy to reach from virtually anywhere in Europe.
Mid-September through to November is the perfect time to visit as the summer crowds have dissipated while Georgia’s cultural and festival calendar gets into full swing.
The main event in autumn in Georgia is the Rtveli wine vintage, where vintners across the country harvest grapes. This is the perfect opportunity to witness the country’s 8,000-year-old winemaking traditions. Many families and commercial cellars still produce wine using the same age-old technology of fermenting in an egg-shaped clay qvevri.
Vineyards around Imereti region, especially in Baghdati and Terjola – just 20 minutes from Kutaisi – host special Rtveli events throughout October.
Besides the wine, Kutaisi is home to the Greater Caucasus mountains. There is no better time than autumn to visit the legendary mountain terrains.
From September to November, you can witness dramatic changes to the landscape as the forests transform into shades of ochre and rust. Racha, a lesser-known mountain region 2-hour north of Kutaisi, has one of the most magnificent displays of fall foliage in the country.
Kutaisi is a joy to explore as the entire city takes on an autumn glow. Browse seasonal produce at the Green Bazaar, admire the former king’s residence, the Golden Marquee, and explore the cobbled streets of the Royal District and the former Jewish Quarter.
Contributed By Emily of Wander-Lush
Duoro Valley, Portugal
Weather: Temperature ranges from 13°C to 25°C (55°F-77°F) in the fall. It’s generally sunny with overcast on some days.
National holidays: Republic Day (October 5), All Saints Day (November 1)
Hotels to Stay: Quinta do Pedregal Hotel & Spa
The Douro Valley in Portugal is an excellent fall destination for any wine lover. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for a wavy-like landscape filled with grapevines, growing grapes to produce Douro table wine and Port wine. The world’s only true Port wine is produced here. It has a protected designation under EU law.
September through October is the harvest season. The wineries are busy at work, as you can see the farm workers picking the grapes, and you can often smell the wine production in the air.
While there are no official harvest festivals, each winery hosts its own tasting tours with an optional lunch. Most wineries operate from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., varying days of the week. Check the winery’s website before you go, and book accommodations well in advance.
Quinta do Pôpa is a wine lover’s favorite. Not only do the owners provide tours of the gorgeous vineyard with views of the river, but they also serve olive oil tastings and lunch. Walk-ins are accepted, but advance registration is recommended during the harvest season. Pre-book the lunch experience.
When the harvest season ends, November presents an excellent opportunity to enjoy colorful fall foliage atop the valley’s hills. (The color change starts from October.) The weather cools down yet not too cold. The warm orange and red tones are particularly beautiful.
Most travelers fly into the Porto International Airport. Visitors arrive at the valley by vehicle, train, boat, and helicopter from Porto. Wine lovers should consider staying in the valley overnight to maximize their winery experience.
However, at only about a two-hour drive, many visitors opt for a day trip from Porto that includes a few wineries, lunch, and a boat ride. A narrow, winding river snakes its way around the hills through the Douro Valley. A boat ride along the river offers incredible views of the landscape.
Contributed by Eleanor of Elevate Your Travel Co.
Weather: The average temperature is around 26°C in September and 19°C in November. Mostly sunny with a low chance of rain in autumn.
National Holidays: Columbus Day (October 2), All Saints Day (November 1)
Hotels to Stay: Parador de Cadiz
Cadiz in Spain is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Europe, yet its atmosphere is young and hip. The historic city blends its rich heritage well with the energetic modern vibes.
The best time to visit Cadiz is in the fall when the busy summer crowds die down as gorgeous sunny fall weather welcomes the visitors. For wine lovers, the city is the destination for Sherry wines.
The autumn weather cools down, yet sunny and warm enough to surf. You can learn how to surf on one of the many beaches near Cadiz. The most popular surf area is around El Palmar, a rustic beach village with mild waves, perfect for learning how to conquer the water.
Another seasonal thing to do in Cadiz is visit a sherry vineyard. Cadiz is just outside the Sherry triangle, formed by the towns of Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa Maria, and Sanlucar de Barrameda. This is the only area in the world where the grapes for Sherry DOC can be grown.
In autumn, you can take part in the harvest and taste the mosto. Mosto is the first production of the young wine, unfiltered and served directly from the barrel. This precious wine is ready for tasting towards the end of autumn.
Contributed by Joanna of The World In My Pocket
Pin it for later!
Best Places to Visit in Autumn in Europe
Weather: The weather is moderately chilly due to the breeze, with temperatures between 7°C and 18°C ( F). The fall season brings many light showers but usually does not last long.
National Holidays: Armistice Day (November 11)
Bruges takes you back in time as it is one of Europe’s most well-preserved medieval cities. The narrow cobblestone streets filled with quaint little houses surrounded by canals and little bridges running across them will surely capture your heart.
The beauty of this medieval city lights up in fall as the trees turn to beautiful shades of orange to match the historic buildings of the old town.
It is also a perfect place for couples looking for a romantic getaway. Bruges is called the Venice of the North, and what is a better way to explore this city than going on a boat tour on the beautiful canals winding throughout the city.
Go for a walking tour of the old town to soak in the charm of this medieval gem. If you are looking for a place for a photo shoot to capture the European vibe, don’t look any further than Bruges; fall is the perfect time for it.
Some of the best things to do in this magical city are to climb its bell tower, “Belfry of Bruges“, and enjoy spectacular views of the city. This city has so much history, which can be seen in its historical museums.
No trip to Bruges will be complete without tasting all the delicacies of this city. Belgium is known for its waffles, fries, and chocolate. You can gift your tastebuds with some of the best in the country in Bruges. They have some great varieties of beers to try as well. You will never run out of options.
Bruges can be conveniently reached from the main cities of Brussels and Antwerp by train. Once there, you can explore the entire city on foot. Plan your trip to this popular destination, as the accommodations tend to get expensive.
Contributed by Kiki of Rookie Explorers
Weather: Temperature: 15℃-25℃ (59℉-77℉). Mostly sunny, low chance of rain
National Holidays: Unification Day (September 6), Independence Day (September 22), School Holidays (November 1-3)
Hotels to Stay: Central Hotel Sofia (Awesome central location)
Sofia, the capital of Eastern European Bulgaria, is uniquely layered with history.
As you enter the 21st-century subway, you see the 3rd-century Roman ruins through a glass floor. Raise your head, and there is the 20th-century brutalist-style TSUM building towering above the 16th-century Christian Orthodox St. Petka Church. Behind you is a monument to 19th-century national hero Vasil Levski facing the magnificent 10th-century St. Nedelya Cathedral. This is all visible from a single spot in the center of Sofia!
Fall is the best season to visit Sofia. In September and October, the sun weakens, and locals (called “stolichani”) return from their holidays. The city is buzzing once again as arts, music, and cultural events happen in various places.
Two of Bulgaria’s national holidays occur during the somewhat patriotic month of September. If you’re in Sofia on September 6 or 22, you can watch the formal celebrations in the “Kniaz Alexander I” Square.
For those who seek to escape the city in favor of the mountains, Vitosha is only an hour away and reachable by public transport. Dozens of hiking trails remain open and most pleasant during the early days of fall.
Don’t forget to try some of Sofia’s famous dishes! Start your day with a banitza – a fluffy filo pastry filled with Bulgarian white cheese. On warmer days, get tarator (a cold yogurt soup with cucumbers) and moussaka (a dish with minced meat and potatoes, topped with bechamel) for lunch. End the day with the locals’ favorite shopska salad, and a king-of-the-grill selection of meat. And grab a beer with the locals in front of the National Theatre or in Borissova Garden!
Contributed by Simon of Backpack Moments
Weather: Temperature between 5℃-13℃ (41℉-55℉) in September, 1℃-5℃ (33℉-41℉) in October, and -6℃-0℃ (21℉-32℉) in November. Autumn is still the rainy season, with about 10 rainy days per month. The first snowfall is usually in October.
National Holidays: All Saints’ Day (November 4)
Autumn is the best time to visit Rovaniemi for its fantastic variety of activities, including the possibility to see the Northern Lights!
Rovaniemi glows in early autumn as leaves turn golden hues, making a hike through nature, such as Pyhä-Luosto National Park, an enchanting adventure.
One can also enjoy the fruits of the autumn harvest by going berry picking for gems like cloudberries, lingonberries, and bilberries, as well as hunting for wild mushrooms. Local restaurants are very in tune with the seasons and offer exquisite dishes using the bounty of the forest (Gustav is the best at this!).
Rovaniemi offers a superb museum, Arktikum, which showcases the history and science of Finnish Lapland and is perfect for a chilly day.
Though not quite Christmas time yet, Santa Claus Village (open 365 days a year) is worth a visit. Christmas-themed restaurants, shops, and activities for kids, including visiting Santa Claus, can really help one get in the holiday spirit.
October usually sees the first snowfall, which is perfect for a magical walk in the fresh powder, or for a warmer option, cozying up at a local cafe or checking out the local sauna culture.
The Northern Lights are best seen in autumn and spring, so it’s the perfect time to go chase the aurora. For those hesitant to go out on their own, different types of guided tours, such as one that focuses on photographing the aurora or one that offers a barbeque dinner on tour, can be booked for an exciting experience.
Another plus to visiting Lapland in autumn is that it tends to be a bit cheaper than visiting during the winter months. This goes for hotels, airfare, and more!
Contributed by Megan of Megan Starr
Weather: Temperature ranges between 15-20℃ (59-68℉). It feels warm during the day and chilly in the evening. Expect somewhat unpredictable weather with a chance of rain or drizzle.
National Holidays: Oktoberfest – Saturday, September 16 – Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Hotels to Stay: Boutique Hotel Atrium München, Hotel Augustin Munich, and Bold Hotel München Zentrum. Keep in mind hotels during Oktoberfest are some of the most expensive and should be booked in advance to save on costs.
Oktoberfest is one of the most anticipated fall events around the globe. Visiting Germany during the festival is one that you will never forget and should be added to your bucket list.
Oktoberfest in Munich is the largest beer festival in the world. It started in 1810 as a celebration of a royal marriage between Kronprinz Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The tradition continues today as an annual event held between late September and the first Sunday of October. In 2023, event dates are from Saturday, September 16, to Tuesday, October 3.
At the festival, you get to drink lots of beer, and sing many American songs, especially 80s rock, in the beer tents.
However, it’s much more than a beer-drinking event. Oktoberfest is similar to a state fair and is open to all ages and even furry friends. There are a lot of carnival rides, games, food, people dressed in traditional costumes, parades, music, and so much more.
You can wear a dirndl (traditional German dress) or lederhosen (traditional leather trousers with or without suspenders). Wearing these traditional garments is not mandatory, but it adds to the festivity. To buy a costume, you can get one at H&M in Munich or online. There are a few shops surrounding the area, where you can purchase or rent.
Tickets are not required to enter the fairgrounds, although you can reserve a table in advance. For a couple visiting on weekdays, finding a table without a reservation is fairly easy. But if you plan to visit on a weekend or with a large group of people, it is highly recommended to purchase/reserve a table at multiple large tents. Your reservation includes a drink per person and sometimes food.
When you order beer, you will pay a deposit for the mug. Unless you break it, you will get your deposit back. Some tents allow you to take them home as souvenirs, but be sure to ask.
During the Oktoberfest season, many other German towns host their version of beer festivals. Some say that the lesser-known Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart is even better than Oktoberfest. So if you travel somewhere else in Germany in the fall, check out the local beer festivals.
Contributed by Stephanie of Adventures with NieNie
Weather: Temperature ranges between 4℃-21℃ (40℉-70℉) and is mostly sunny
National Holidays: National Day (October 12), All Saints Day (November 1)
Hotels to Stay: The Hat, a trendy hostel with breathtaking city views from the rooftop
Madrid, Spain is one of the best destinations in Europe in the fall. The city’s moderate temperatures and exciting cultural festivals mean there are so many fun things to do in Madrid in October and November.
One of the main highlights is the “Madrid Another Look” initiative, which showcases the city’s historical landmarks and cultural heritage through guided tours and special events. This is a great opportunity to check out some of Madrid’s rich history and architectural wonders, all for free! Explore hidden gems like Palacio de Cibeles, which reveals the opulence and architectural splendor of the city’s aristocratic past.
Another fun autumn event is the celebration of Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This Mexican tradition is embraced with colorful processions, lively music, and beautifully decorated altars paying tribute to loved ones who have passed away. Celebrating Day of the Dead in Madrid is a memorable experience because the country adds its own unique touch, blending Spanish and Mexican traditions.
For art enthusiasts, the Madrid Performing Arts Festival takes center stage in autumn, featuring various theatrical performances, dance shows, and music concerts. This cultural extravaganza offers diverse performances that cater to various artistic tastes, promising an unforgettable experience for attendees.
To indulge in Madrid’s best eats, visiting Botín is a must. Established in 1725, it holds the prestigious title of being the oldest restaurant in Madrid. Famous for its succulent roast suckling pig and tender lamb, Botín offers a traditional dining experience in an elegant setting that reflects the city’s historical charm.
Contributed by Sydney of Sydney to Anywhere
Weather: The average temperature in October ranges between 14℃ and 20℃ (58ºF-68ºF).
National Holidays: None in October
Hotel to stay: Hotel Catalonia Ronda is a four-star hotel offering cozy rooms and a lovely rooftop pool with amazing views of Ronda bullring and mountains.
Ronda, located in the province of Malaga, is one of the most beautiful mountainside towns in the area.
There are many reasons to visit Ronda in the fall. First, the weather conditions are excellent. It isn’t as hot as summer, so it is a good time to sightsee and explore its surroundings.
Although Ronda is often seen as a day trip from Malaga, it is recommended to stay two days so travelers can make the most of this town.
In addition to visiting the main attractions such as Puente Nuevo (Ronda’s main bridge) and Palacio de Mondragón (the town’s museum), which can be done all year round, fall is perfect for hiking.
The best place to hike is Bosque de Cobre, a beautiful forest near Ronda, where there are lovely hiking trails where visitors can enjoy fall colors. After a beautiful walk in nature, you can also explore small villages like Genalgaucil and Parauta.
Another fantastic activity in Ronda in the fall is trying seasonal local products like chestnuts, wine and autumn dishes like sopa de alcachofas (artichoke soup).
Finally, Ronda has some of the best wineries in the province of Malaga, so doing a wine tour is always a good idea.
By Cristina of My Little World of Travelling
Camino de Santiago, Spain
Weather: The average temperature is 25°C (September) and 15°C (November).
National Holidays: National Day of Spain (October 12)
Hotels to Stay: Parador de Santiago – Hostal Reis Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela
The weather in September is still warm and sunny. The water temperature is at its warmest. And the route is less busy than in the summer months.
September is a perfect time for walking the Camino del Norte, a spectacular trail along the northern coast of Spain. Other Camino routes to hike in September are Camino Finisterre, Camino Primitivo, and Camino Portuguese.
The October weather is still good, and there are fewer people in October. Grape harvest season is another reason to walk the Camino Frances in autumn. Several festivals and events in La Rioja mark the harvest.
October is a good month for walking the Camino Frances, the most popular Camino route. Due to its popularity, the trail is busy during the spring/summer months. As a result, it might be hard to find accommodation.
November is a rainy month in mainland Spain. The Camino de Gran Canaria on the Canary Islands is perfect for that time of the year.
November is a quiet month in Gran Canaria, which means there are many budget flights, and accommodation prices are lower than in the peak season. The weather in November is excellent; many sunny days and little rain. The average daily temperature is 20°C.
Contributed by Alya of Stingy Nomads
Weather: 15°C-24°C (59°F-75°F), sunny and fairly warm during the day.
National Holiday: All Saints Day (November 1)
Hotels to Stay: B&B 8380 Saturnia Terme
The towns of Tuscany are some of the loveliest places on this planet, specifically Saturnia. It has mouthwatering food, splendid weather year-round and awe-inspiring landscapes.
But it’s genuinely mesmerizing in autumn, if only for the colors! Watch as vineyards slowly turn amber, red and gold. It’s nothing if not astonishing. And, of course, it’s harvest season in Tuscany!
However, if you want something genuinely unique and unusual, a visit to the thermal springs is an absolute must!
As the weather is getting cooler, this is the perfect place to bathe in the geothermal waters. Although not widely known among tourists, Tuscany has plenty of hot springs due to its volcanic and geothermal activity. The signs up and down the highway direct you to local thermal springs, bearing the word ‘Terme’, which translates to ‘thermal’.
Many of these hot springs are free to access, something that many people aren’t aware of. Just pull up and dip in. You’ll often find locals and tourists having a midday dip or a relaxing soak at the end of a day exploring the local vineyards and historic Roman buildings.
It’s breathtakingly beautiful. You won’t regret it!
Contributed by Adriana of Wanderlicious
Weather: 10°C-20°C (54°F-68°F). Sunny and warm.
National Holidays: All Saints day (November 1)
Hotels to stay: D’aprile Dimore in Poliganano a Mare (mid-range), Trulli Soave in Alberobello (mid-range), La Corte Dei Pastori Luxury in Matera (luxury), A Class in Bari (mid-range) and I Bastioni San Domenico in Gallipoli (mid-range)
The region of Puglia in southern Italy is among the best European destinations in the fall for people who enjoy sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and delicious food.
The best time to make a Puglia road trip is fall for the sunny weather, sea temperatures pleasant for swimming, lesser crowds, and reasonable prices of accommodations.
Consider renting a car at the airport in Bari or Brindisi in Puglia. A 10-day Puglia road trip would do justice to this gorgeous southern Italian region.
Another popular stop is the UNESCO cave city of Matera in the neighboring Basilicata region. Matera is only an hour’s drive from Alberobello in Puglia.
Contributed by Milijana of World Travel Connector
Weather: October temperature between 13°C and 19°C (55°F-66°F).
National Holidays: All Saints’ Day (November 1)
Hotels to Stay: Savoia Excelsior Palace on the city waterfront
The Barcolana in Trieste is an annual sailing regatta held annually in the Gulf of Trieste on the second Sunday of October. It is organized by the yacht club Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano, and it is known as one of the world’s largest and most famous regattas. Participants and spectators gather to compete and admire this historic international event.
The best place to watch the Barcolana is from the Strada Napoleonica. This scenic road stretches from the village parking San Nazzario near Prosecco to the pitch of the Obelisco in Opicina. This road offers breathtaking views of Trieste and its gulf, providing spectators with a stunning backdrop to enjoy the sailing event.
The event celebrations last for the whole weekend. Visitors can enjoy many parties, concerts and relax by walking around the city center, where plenty of stands sell every possible item connected to the sailing world.
Visiting this beautiful city the second weekend of October is an excellent opportunity to explore Triest in a day and watch the regatta on Sunday.
If you wish to taste Trieste, get a coffee at Caffe Tommaseo, the oldest cafe in town. For lunch, head to Buffet da Pepi for a “piatto di caldaia”- a local dish of boiled pork meat with mustard and freshly grated horseradish. For an aperitivo with the city’s best view, sit outside the Caffe degli Spacchi, where you admire the famous Piazza Unita’ d’Italia at sunset.
Contributed by Valentina of Valentina’s Travel Guide
Cinque Terre, Italy
Weather: Temperature ranges from 9°C to 25°C (48°F-77°F). Mostly sunny, with some rainy days.
National Holidays: All Saints’ Day (November 1)
Hotel to Stay: La Gemma delle 5 Terre
The fall is an incredible time to visit Cinque Terre in Italy. Not only are there fewer crowds, but you can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and sightseeing without the sweltering summer temperatures. If you can, try to visit Cinque Terre in October, where the weather is nearly perfect, so long as it’s not rainy.
Cinque Terre is an area known for its five colorful fishing villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. They have fabulous restaurants, incredible views, and picturesque, brightly painted houses.
If you like to hike, you’ll love the trail from Portovenere to Riomaggiore. You can start your day by exploring the small medieval town just south of the Cinque Terre. Some adorable shops and restaurants overlook the sea, as well as a beautiful church along the coast.
Then, hike along the coastline to Riomaggiore, the southernmost of the five towns. The trail is moderately challenging, but offers incredible views the whole way. You’ll even pass through a vineyard that overlooks the sea, like something out of a Hollywood movie.
If you get lucky, the weather will be warm enough to swim in the ocean at one of the nearby beaches.
As a bonus, most of the accommodations will be cheaper in the fall, given the reduced demand from travelers.
Contributed by Amber of Amber Everywhere
Golden Circle, Iceland
Weather: Temperature ranges from 0℃ to 4℃ (32℉ to 39℉) during fall. The sun plays with the clouds and light rain, mostly unpredictable.
National Holidays: N/A
From cascading waterfalls to majestic glaciers, Iceland’s natural beauty is truly mesmerizing. As summer melts into fall, the landscape shifts into a vibrant spectrum of arid landscapes and snow-capped mountains.
Fall is the absolute best time of the year to plan a trip to the Golden Circle in Iceland because it’s aurora season!
Northern lights are visible from the end of September to March. Visiting in autumn means you will have a chance to witness them without experiencing the extreme temperatures of an Icelandic winter.
Travelers can admire the waterfalls and geysers of the Golden Circle, relax in the free hot springs of Iceland, as well as explore the ice caves of Vatnajökull, one of the largest glaciers in Europe.
Unlike in winter, most roads are open in fall. You can easily access the Ring Road that circles the entire country to see Iceland in all its glory.
Contributed by Soline of On the Road Diary
As the sweltering summer heat gives way to a gentle breeze and leaves start to don their warm hues, Istanbul becomes one of the best destinations in Europe in fall.
With the summer crowds dwindling, fall is the perfect time to explore this enchanting city without the hustle and bustle.
Take a leisurely cruise along the Bosphorus Strait to enjoy breathtaking skyline views, iconic landmarks, and charming Istanbul neighborhoods. A gentle breeze and warm autumn hues make it a great experience to enjoy Istanbul from a different angle and watch as the sun sets over the horizon.
Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands see most locals and visitors during summer. Therefore, to avoid crowds, escape the city’s hustle by hopping on a ferry to one of the islands. Büyükada, the biggest of the three, boasts charming streets lined with colorful houses with intricate exteriors.
Turkey doesn’t have many public holidays. However, celebrating the Republic Day at the end of October is an unforgettable experience, marking the anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Enjoy vibrant parades, flag-hoisting ceremonies, and various cultural events in Istanbul and nationwide. The streets come alive with patriotic fervor as schools, organizations, and citizens participate in the festivities.
Contributed by Baia of Red Fedora Diary
The Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Weather: Temperatures range between 4℃ and 15℃ (39℉-59℉). Rainfall is common at this time of year, and the days are often overcast.
National holidays: St. Andrew’s Day (November 30)
Hotels to Stay: Rockview
The Isle of Skye is a beautiful destination all year round, but fall is the perfect time to visit. During this time of year, there are stunning fall colors and the chance to see marine life.
The Isle of Skye can get overcrowded during summer, especially in small villages. In the fall, the popular tourist attractions will be far less busy; some notable places to see include the Old Man of Storr, Neist Point, and the Fairy Pools.
Another seasonal highlight is the Hebridean Whisky Festival, which typically takes place in Talisker. You will get to appreciate the finest Scottish whisky and traditional music.
If you visit Skye in September, whale-watching is a popular activity. It is the best time to spot basking sharks, dolphins, porpoises, and whales.
In November, the island’s Christmas markets start taking place. Here, you may want to pick up some local arts and crafts to bring home.
Note that the Isle of Skye weather is extremely unpredictable, as with Scotland in general. You will likely encounter rainfall during your stay, so pack a rainjacket and waterproof shoes. Do not let it stop you from exploring the wonders of The Isle of Skye, though!
Contributed by Jack & Abbie of A Couples Calling