Autumn is the perfect time to visit Europe! The heat of summer is overtaken by cool, crisp breezes and the summer crowds fade into distant memories. Because autumn in Europe is considered the shoulder season, it also means prices drop significantly and you’ll get more bang for your buck when it comes to transportation and lodging. There are many beautiful places in Europe to enjoy the autumn colors. Let’s take a look at 8 beautiful destinations where you can enjoy autumn in Europe!
8 Beautiful Autumn Destinations in Europe
The Golden Circle- Iceland
Not only do the autumn colors make Iceland even more beautiful than it usually is, but the Northern Lights start to appear in the fall as well- making Iceland a premier autumn destination. The name of the Golden Circle takes on a new meaning as the trees change to hues of gold, copper and red. Rent a car and drive this popular route for fantastic leaf-peeping. The fall foliage is especially spectacular at Hraunfossar Waterfall, Thingvellir National Park, and Þingvellir National Park. You can also participate in Réttir, the annual sheep round-ups for a truly unique Icelandic experience! Blueberries and wild mushrooms are plentiful in the autumn- you can pick them yourselves or buy them at any of the countryside markets you’ll pass while driving the countryside.
The crowds and scorching temperatures of summer in Paris fade in the fall, making it the perfect time to visit the City of Love. Autumn allows you to experience Paris more like a local instead of being swallowed up by crowds of tourists. Enjoy the cafes, delicious pastries, and gorgeous parks of Paris that light up with color in late September and early October. Particular points of beauty in Paris in the fall include Jardin du Luxembourg, Places des Vosges, Jardin des Tuileries, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, and Parc Monceau. You’ll also snag exceptionally beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower with pops of color all around! The weather can start to get quite chilly and rainy days are possible- but taking your chances on the weather can pay off big when visiting Paris in the autumn months.
Bavaria- Southern Germany
Visiting Bavaria feels like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale and while summer is the most popular tourist season in Bavaria, it’s absolutely stunning in the fall. The alpine forests full of deciduous trees burst with autumn colors and among them, you’ll find breathtaking castles, beautiful churches, and medieval bridges. This area of Germany is relatively small, so you can rent a car to drive yourself around to the more than 20 castles and various villages in this region. Because autumn is shoulder season, you can visit places like the famous Neuschwanstein Castle without it’s normal crowds. Be sure to visit Linderhof Palace, Nuremberg Castle and the Burghausen Castle as well- they are all beautiful when surrounded by the autumn colors!
Scottish Highlands- Scotland
The Scottish Highlands are beautiful any time of year, but in the autumn the colors change to golden yellows and coppery oranges. Visit Perthshire, known as Big Trees Country, where you can grab fantastic views at Knock Hill, Loch Tummel and the Pass of Killiecrankie. You can also visit the highest hedge in the world in Perthshire, which is nearly 100 feet tall!
The Lake District- England
The Lake District is located in Cumbria in the northwestern part of England. If you fly into London (which is also beautiful in the autumn!), it’s about a 3.5 hour ride by train reach the Lake District. The beautiful lakes and rolling hills here come to life when the trees change colors in the fall. A major highlight is the Grizedale Forest Park, where you can experience the beauty of the glowing copper beech trees. There’s lots of hiking trails and pubs in the area, so there’s here to enjoy!
Lake Geneva, Switzerland
Autumn is hands-down the best time to visit Switzerland. It’s shoulder season which means the weather is crisp and cool, the prices are low and the crowds are almost non-existent. The fairy-tale castles and snow capped mountains are surrounded by dazzling autumn colors, making Switzerland one of the most beautiful places to visit in October. Mountain hiking is popular at this time of year, allowing visitors to experience nature up close. Lake Geneva is a popular place to visit in Switzerland in the fall. The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces offer a 21 mile wine route stretching from Lausanne to Chateau de Chillon Castle where visitors can wind their way through vineyards and medieval villages while taking in the fall colors and tasting wines!
While it may not be as well known for it’s beautiful fall foliage- autumn is an incredibly popular time to visit Greece. The summer crowds thin out but the temperatures stay rather warm, making this the perfect time to enjoy all Greece has to offer. Greece’s many islands are great to visit this time of year as they’re not nearly as crowded as they are in the summer months, but if you want some fall color as well then just head inland! Konitsa, Greece- near the Albanian border- will be sure to please with it’s sparkling rivers, impressive gorges, mountain views and beautiful autumn colors.
Prague, The Czech Republic
Prague is a beautiful historic city with numerous public parks that glow with color when the trees change in the fall. Colors hit their peak in mid to late October and stretch into the month of November in Prague. Enjoy strolling the streets and parks, but but sure to also get to a higher point so you can look down on the beauty of the entire city. Petřín Hill and Petřín Tower are great places to find sweeping views of the autumn colors in Prague. Visit the Charles Bridge, Letna Park, Stromovka Park, and Hradčany – the Prague Castle District- for more pops of autumn color!