With summer coming to a close, it’s time to greet the autumn sun! From lush greens, nature transforms itself into a natural canvas of painted reds, oranges, and yellows. The peak of fall foliage is a final celebration of beauty before winter takes over with a rush of howling wind and the first annual snow. It’s a time of sweater weather, pumpkin picking, taking the family to apple orchards, and cuddling up to a movie under a warm blanket. Fall travel is all about nature’s stunning hues. So, let’s kick off the season with the best places for glorious fall travel:
Hraunfossar Waterfalls, Husafell, Iceland
The Hraunfossar Waterfalls are a real fall travel treasure, with “Hraunfossar” actually meaning “Lava Falls.” The waterfalls are a series of springs that come from lava flow. You’ll be able to see nearly 900 meters of cascades along rough grooves of lava, with the water changing from cloudy white to azure blue. It’s been a protected National Monument since 1987, a beautiful travel landscape of color that’s even more gorgeous in the autumn months.
You can hike the trail that leads from Hraunfossar to Barnafoss (Children’s Falls). There’s also a look-out point at the parking lot which gives you an amazing panoramic view of the Lava Falls and Hvita River. It’s an exceptionally lovely and unusual natural phenomena. The Hraunfossar Waterfalls are stunning alone, but in autumn, they’re even more striking.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
If you’re looking for the perfect fall travel spots, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany is easily one of the best. King Ludwig II’s castle is also famous for being Walt Disney’s inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle. The ideal time to experience its autumn colors is between September and October, with temperatures ranging from 50-65 degrees with little rainfall. You’ll feel like you’re walking through a fairytale with such romantic autumn views when you travel to Bavaria.
A castle on a hill encompassed in autumn colors sounds pretty amazing to me! It’s probably the easiest photo shot in Germany to capture if you want to share your travel adventure with friends and family. Travel to one of the most visited castles in Germany for the incredible fall foliage.
Takachiho Gorge, Miyazaki, Japan
The Takachiho Gorge in Miyazaki is Japan’s best hidden treasure for travelers coming from all over the world to see the autumn spectacle. It’s a narrow chasm that cuts through rock by the flowing Gokase River, as the cliffs that line the gorge form volcanic columns. If you continue to travel down the beautiful gorge (by kayak or boat) tucked in vibrant fall foliage, you’ll see the 17 meter high Minainotaki Waterfall that cascades down to the waters below.
It’s truly impressive to witness the backdrop of water amid mountains of autumn colors. After experiencing the landscape’s gorgeous fall foliage, you can go to the southern end of the gorge to visit boutique shops and restaurants. Either way, you’ll be in the middle of striking reds, rustic oranges, and vibrant yellows.
New England, United States
Our next travel stop brings us to New England in the United States. New England comprises of six states in the northeastern region of the States: Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. All are popularly known for the extraordinary fall colors, perfect to travel to if you want to kick off the autumn season or enjoy cooler weather. Hike, bike, camp across the region’s landscapes that offer a kaleidoscope of colors under blue skies.
So, when’s the best time to travel here? The fall foliage starts turning from green to colorful in the northern regions of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine mid-to-late September, usually peaking around mid-October. Massachusetts and Rhode Island tend to see the colorful changes last until November. You can travel to Acadia National Park in Maine or drive along the Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts for a scenic travel route.
South Island, New Zealand
South Island in New Zealand has the some of the purest natural landscapes and the beauty becomes even more pronounced in the autumn months. From wildlife to glacial valleys to vast forests, the South Island is the ultimate outdoor playground, with so many travel activities for you to try on your visit.
Nearly one million people live in this beautiful region (lucky them)! South Island, among its autumn colors and stunning fall foliage, fills its spaces with lakes, beaches, fjords, and trails that have made New Zealand one of the best hiking destinations in the world for autumn outdoor activities. You can choose from one of the Island’s six Great Walks or simply take a 15-minute nature trail for equally epic autumn views.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto
The Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto is the most celebrated temple in Japan. The temple has special illuminations in the autumn season during the second half of November, so it’s the perfect time to travel here for fall colors and cool temperatures while exploring what the sacred temple has to offer. It’s a place of serenity and peace and tranquility, as you’re strolling through the colorful walkways by the temple.
How do you travel here? The Kiyomizu-dera Temple can be reached from Kyoto Station by bus, a 15-minute trip. Once you get to the bus stop, you’ll be able to walk ten minutes uphill to the stunning temple. There will be several paths for you to take to completely experience the pleasant surprises of this travel wonder.
Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire, England
The Westonbirt Arboretum is another incredible treasure for you to see fall foliage, a Victorian, picturesque landscape that will amaze you beyond words. With 15,000 trees that come from all over the world, planting began in the 1850s. From then, this stunning arboretum has grown 17 miles of paths and five national foliage collections. With the Old Arboretum, the Silk Wood (an ancient woodland with exotic plants), and other gorgeous vistas, the Westonbirt Arboretum in autumn is too lovely to miss when you travel to England.
Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire attracts over 400,000 visitors annually. It’s known on a worldwide scale for spectacular autumn colors and spring rhododendrons, azalea and magnolia displays. A truly lovely fall travel destination.
Aspen, Colorado, United States
The fall season is one of the most spectacular travel times of the year in Aspen, Colorado. You’ll feel as though you’re walking through gold, as trees leave behind their green hue, only to replace it with a myriad of color. You can explore its natural landscapes by foot, car, or bicycle around beautiful golden forests. The best time for fall travel to see its unique fall foliage peak is usually between the third or fourth week of September.
Three autumn scenic drives are in the region for you to enjoy: Maroon Creek Road, Independence Pass, and Castle Creek Road. These are all available for you if you’d rather experience the golden Aspen from the views of the car. Aspen, Colorado in the United States is such a pleasant, autumn surprise. Travel here for fantastic fall foliage in the heart of nature!
Great Wall of China, Huairou, China
When fall comes to the Great Wall of China, the mountains are blanketed in colors of red, orange, and yellow, creating an extraordinary view for travel lovers that come from all over the world to see this autumn spectacle. I recommend you travel here during September and November, when temperatures range between 46 and 64 degrees, cool and clear enough to fully experience this natural wonder. The Great Wall of China can get quite cool on the mountains, however, so bring a jacket.
Bukhansan Mountain, Seoul, Korea
The oldest of the mountains in the southern edges of Korea is Bukhansan Mountain, a major travel landmark that you can see from most parts of Seoul. This extraordinary mountain lies in the center of Bukhansan National Park and has three challenging peaks: Baegundae, Insubong, and Mangyeongdae. With granite hills, stone walls, and beautiful panoramic views, you’ll feel as though you’ve come across a fantastical land, full of fairytale colors. The Bukhansan Mountain, for those who love to climb and hike, is the perfect autumn beginning to start your fall travel adventure.
The hike up whatever peak you choose will be difficult. Each peak has steep inclines, with parts that may feel like you’re in a complete vertical direction. At times of the autumn season, trails of the Bukhansan Mountain will also be crowded, so be sure to bring a hiking stick or something handy to keep your balance. Pack accordingly on your Korean travel adventure and enjoy the views!
Fall travel moments to remember forever!