Fall can be the best season to travel. You can avoid the high heat and giant crowds commonly associated with summer, but still enjoy some great weather in many parts of the world. City and country destinations alike tend to be beautiful while the leaves are changing color and falling, and this is also a season that tends to be packed with fun festivals and events.
Because of these conditions, there are great fall destinations all over the world. But I’ve tried to narrow things down to just a few you may want to consider above all others.
1. New York City, United States
It sometimes feels almost lazy to single out New York City as a travel destination, because it’s already a place that many people around the world hope to see one day. That said, it should be mentioned that fall is the ideal time to visit. Summer can be surprisingly punishing in a city this big, and winter gets bitterly cold (particularly with wind whooshing between the skyscrapers). Fall, by comparison, is absolutely lovely. It’s the perfect time to explore all the city has to offer, from famous towering buildings to legendary theater venues and dining destinations. It’s also an awe-inspiring time to explore Central Park, which is always a main attraction but definitely the most gorgeous part of the city come autumn.
2. Douro Wine Region, Portugal
If you’re interested in wine tourism, or simply like to base your travels on natural beauty, you’ve probably come across accounts of the Douro Wine Region before. Located in the North of Portugal, the region has been producing wine for at least 2,000 years and has become particularly renowned for its port wine. It’s an incredibly picturesque area to tour any time of year. You can see different vineyards, try great wine and food, and stay in charming towns. But the fall foliage throughout the region and at the vineyards is legendary, and the weather in autumn is about as nice as it gets, which makes this a top fall destination to keep in mind.
Fall can get a little bit chilly in Canada, but Montreal is known to be a wonderful seasonal destination. The foliage views from the famous Mont Royal (a large hill by the city) are wonderful; apple picking in nearby orchards is a popular activity; it’s usually still warm enough to enjoy the city’s European-style cafés and old town streets. And if things do get cold there’s entertainment indoors as well. Gambling regulation in Canada is left up to the individual provinces, and with Quebec facilitating safe and secure gaming, Montreal now has one of the best casinos in North America. That can make for a few fun hours at the tables, and there are also plenty of museums and things of that nature to enjoy if the weather turns.
4. Cape Town, South Africa
Like New York, this is a city that makes a lot of people’s lists of desired destinations anyway. But for this list, it’s unique. That’s because it’s south of the equator (by quite a bit, incidentally), and its seasons are flipped. That means “fall travel” for many of us actually means spring travel when this is the destination. But spring in Cape Town happens to be one of the best times to visit. This is an area known for adventure: hiking, climbing, cycling, surfing, and enjoying a vibrant nightlife scene. Catching these kinds of activities in the spring, before the main crowds of tourists arrive but when the weather is perfect for adventure, can make for a great trip.
5. Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
The capital city of Dubrovnik tends to steal most of the attention when we think of travel to Croatia, and it’s included in this idea. But the best way to experience the area, particularly this time of year, may just be to rent a car and take a road trip down the coast, stopping in cities and towns along the way. National Geographic described it as an epic, windows-rolled-down road trip to take while ranking it specifically as the best fall trip for road trippers. You’ll see views of the Adriatic Sea and the Alps on opposite sides of the road, you’ll pass through beautiful old towns, and you can stop for hiking, snorkeling, or whatever else appeals. It’s a terrific way to spend a week away during the fall.