A brisk breeze is blowing in, leaves are tinged with reddish hues and everyone’s talking about back to school. Welcome to fall! If you’re daydreaming of traveling to Europe during the Autumn season, here are some stunning spots in Europe where you can indulge in delicious autumn cuisine and cocktails that go well beyond a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
IN THIS GUIDE:
Though the weather in Jerez isn’t as chilly as other European spots in fall, it’s the perfect place to visit for travelers who want to have a fall getaway while still enjoying some leftover rays of sunshine. Known for its delectable sherry, taste fino, manzanilla and oloroso varieties while sampling specialties like almadraba tuna and oxtail. Be sure to walk the streets of Old Town Jerez and participate in a traditional Andalucian Horse Show. Try to make it to Jerez for International Sherry Week (this year in Mid-November). Also, be sure to read up on the winemaking traditions and styles in Jerez with our guide.
Besides gazing at endless stretches of vineyards and countryside, lightly suffused with autumnal shades, the Loire Valley offers the best kind of fall fun: castles and wine. A medieval-inspired getaway includes visits to castles (over 40 châteaux dot the region), visits to wineries, or better yet, visits to wineries in castles. Make sure to sip some dry white Muscadet and pair it with rillettes, a textured Pâté.
One of Europe’s largest lakes, Lake Constance actually borders three different countries: Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Besides enjoying the lake views, there’s plenty to do in the area in all three countries — boat rides, castle visits, hiking, and more. With various fall festivals happening through the end of the season, plan to sip some wines from the local Müller-Thurgau grape variety and participate in apple and pumpkin harvests too.
Siena is a province in Tuscany, home to a number of small villages diffused through forests, rolling hills, vineyards and more. The landscape is absolutely breathtaking, especially in autumn when the color medley changes from cool to warm. Besides stopping to taste wine (Siena spans part of the Chianti region), hit up one of the many chestnut harvest festivals that happen during October and November. You can also have dinner in the vineyards near the city, or participate in a number of private tour options in and around the city.
Hallstatt’s beautiful lake and quaint alpine houses make the village one of as most photographed spots. Views over the lake and mountains as the leaves change color are truly exceptional and even better if enjoyed while digging into an apple strudel and some mulled, spiced wine.
One of the larger cities on this list, Amsterdam’s charming canals and vivid bike culture are especially welcome in fall. A bike tour through the nearby countryside will introduce you to those famous windmills set among the autumn leaves. A visit to a cheese factory gives you access to endless wheels of Gouda. Plus, the Amsterdam Lights Festival starts at the end of November, where the city’s canals, landmarks and more are covered in twinkling lights.
Ever heard of pink Brugge? Some leaves actually look a reddish-pink when they start to change color in this fairy tale medieval city. While you can go the beer route (they even have a beer museum), Brugge is known for its sugary delights — especially Belgian waffles and chocolate. Katelijnestraat Street is lined with several chocolate shops, so those with a sweet tooth should start there.
With over 1/5 of the country covered in trees, Scotland is the place to be if you want to admire the leaves changing colors. Perthshire is especially picturesque in autumn thanks to its forests, as well as long stretches of moors, rivers and mountains. You may get a little chilly, but with several whiskey distilleries in the region, you can easily warm up with a dram.
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