Yes, it’s that time of year again, when the nights grow longer, the temperature drops, and the aroma of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes fills the air. While the return of colder weather can make us feel a little down, there are so many wonderful things to look forward to in autumn, not least the stunning fall colors.
So, pack your favorite sweater and embark on a romantic European trip to see some of the best bronze foliage that autumn has to offer?
Here are our picks for the best places to stomp through crunchy leaves this fall.
Slovenia’s Lake Bled
Lake Bled is home to Slovenia’s only natural island and has some of the most spectacular views in the country. A 1.5-hour walk around the lake will give you plenty of time to take in the magnificent bronze and gold leaves on offer. While the water is too cold to swim in during the autumn months, you can still hire a rowing boat and glide across to the island of Bled, which is densely forested. Just don’t forget to bring your camera.
Autumn is best experienced in Scotland, and the county of Perthshire has some spectacular views. Perthshire is home to the Meikleour Beech Hedge, thought to be the tallest in the world, with one foot in the Highlands and one in the Lowlands. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of the display this year, the Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry will return in 2022. The National Trust’s The Hermitage, a stunning stretch of forest that turns deep gold and russet in the autumn, also has romantic ruins and a waterfall.
England’s Lake District
When visiting the Lake District, it is easy to see why the region inspired so many Romantic poets. For centuries, the Lakes have provided breathtaking views to writers ranging from Samuel Taylor Coleridge to William Wordsworth. Head to Buttermere early in the morning for still, clear weather and to take in the mirror-like lake that reflects the autumn foliage. Before heading to Coniston Water in the afternoon to see the evergreen and deciduous trees.
Transylvania is still associated with vampires and gothic architecture, but it is also one of Europe’s best places to see spectacular fall colors. The Mociar Forest, Romania’s oldest woodland, spans 570 hectares of Transylvania and is ideal for exploring on a crisp autumn day. Another way to enjoy the autumn scenery is to take one of Romania’s many high-altitude roads. The Transfagarasan road connects Transylvania and Wallachia and reaches an altitude of 2,042 meters, making it Romania’s second-highest road.
Castle Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany
Look up’real life fairytale castles’ and you’re bound to come across Neuschwanstein. The fall trees surrounding the castle, straight out of a Disney film, only add to the atmosphere drama of the place. The castle, located in the Bavarian Alps, was built for King Ludwig II in the late 1800s and is only accessible by guided tour. The castle is then a five-hour drive from Germany’s glorious Black Forest, which is packed full of oaks, elms and beech trees, in stark contrast to the evergreen pines.
France’s Loire Valley
The Loire Valley, known for its world-class wine, comes alive in autumn. When you’re not sipping wine, you can watch the grapevines at some of the area’s Chateaux turn deep reds and purples. The Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire is a particular favourite in autumn, as it decorates its grounds with pumpkins and cucurbits, adding some autumnal flair to an already gorgeous setting.
Lapland, a place more commonly associated with winter than autumn, comes to life in the fall. Not only are the Northern Lights at their peak at this time of year, but Rovaniemi, Lapland’s capital, is also densely forested. While it is not snowing, the temperature drops to a frosty -2 degrees Celsius, so wrap up warm.