Fiery Colors: Six Stunning European Destinations to Visit This Fall
Fall is my favorite season. Maybe it’s because the sun still retains some of its summery warmth, but the air is crisp enough to beg for layers. Or perhaps it’s the comforting scent of the season’s spices – cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, nutmeg, ginger – that starts to permeate every culinary delicacy. But most certainly, it’s the colors! When every tree in sight turns to vivid shades of gold, bronze, caramel, and crimson; when the winds sweep the multi-colored, fallen leaves for a dance, a sight that makes me truly happy.
And if you need any more convincing (I mean, do you really?), with the summer crowds subsiding and the beginning of the school year, Fall is also an ideal time to travel. This time, we are not going far, as we at Modern Getaways want to show you that the lush forests of New England or the fiery trees in the banks of Kyoto are not the only places where you can enjoy the season’s colors.
This time around, it’s all about Europe. You might be surprised by some of our picks, but hopefully, you’ll also be inspired to start planning a new escapade.
We all know that Portugal is now firmly on the list of favorite places for a summer getaway. But the country’s sunny and mild Mediterranean climate also makes it a perfect autumnal destination. Sintra, a leafy historic village less than an hour away from Lisbon, is perhaps one of the best places to enjoy the changing of the season.
Framed by a mountain range, Sintra’s landscape is dotted with dreamy palaces and castles, as well as numerous gardens and parks. It’s a fairytale playground – epitomized by the magnificent Pena National Palace – that also sees it’s fair share of misty days adding even more drama to an already picturesque destination.
Oh Edinburgh, can you be bonier than when your leaves start turning striking shades of gold, russet, bronze, and crimson? Against the backdrop of the evergreen Scots pine and the caramel-hued stones of Edinburgh’s monuments, the autumnal colors of the Scottish capital give Vermont the run for its money.
Walk up to Arthur’s Seat and take in the splendor of the city below and wander through the colorful Royal Botanical Gardens. Head to the Sheep's Heid, the oldest pub in town, after a day of exploring to warm up and relax. Nothing beats sitting down in front of the roaring fire with a pint or a dram of local malt.
Hemmed in by the Alps, the Piedmont region is home to some of the dreamiest fall scenery in Italy. At the same time that the colors start to change, a myriad of food – truffles, mushrooms, chestnuts and chocolate – and wine festivals take place.
Bigger cities like Turin and Novara make for wonderful long-weekend trips, while smaller villages like Alba, Vercelli or Biella make for great starting points for the hundreds of trails that set off the explore the surrounding peaks, ablaze with bronze and crimson colors.
The mention of Transylvania more often than not paints a picture of a bleak, forest-dense area where the sun never shines and mystical creatures made of dark magic rule the night. But nothing could be further from the truth, and we want to set the record straight as the real Transylvania, some would argue, is Romania’s best region to enjoy a bit of the Fall colors.
With a landscape of rolling hills, meadows and ancient oak forests, perfect medieval architectonic gems that dot the mountainous region and cobbled villages like Brasov, Transylvania is more fairytale region than horror movie set.
Book yourself into Prince Charle’s Guest House to experience the Romanian countryside and explore Brasov’s rich cultural offer of opera, ballet, concerts and much more.
It would be criminal not to include one of Austria’s most beautiful towns on this list. After all, the stunning scenery and traditional architecture dotting the surrounding mountains make Hallstatt a place worth visiting regardless of the season. But the fiery colors that take over the landscape reflect on glassy Lake Hallstatt to form a postcard-perfect photo during the fall months.
While the town is small and most visitors prefer a day trip from nearby Salzburg, we highly recommend staying in Hallstatt for a few days. Check yourself into one of the lakeside hotels, explore the town, take the boat tour of the lake or take the funicular high up the mountain to savor this quintessential Austrian village.
Finnish Lapland, Finland
The Finns have a curious word to describe the gorgeous autumnal colors that paint their country every year: Ruska. This term signifies the process of leaves turning various shades of red, yellow, purple, and brown in the autumn, and is taken very seriously by the Fall Lovers.
Ruska (and Fall) is almost a rite of passage, it’s the sweet blissful period between the starkly different Finnish long summer days and the dark, cold winter nights. And no place else if better to enjoy it than the Finnish Lapland, with its forests and wilderness. Find the wooden cabin of your dreams and enjoy the walks around this enchanted region where greenery and wild berries give you an array of vivid green, auburn, red and yellow hues to enjoy (don’t forget your camera!).