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From the Loire Valley to Lapland: Europe’s best places to catch colourful autumn leaves

From the Loire Valley to Lapland: Europe's best places to catch colourful autumn leaves

It’s almost that time of year again, when the nights get longer, the temperature drops and the smell of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes is in the air. Not only will autumn (hopefully) bring relief from summer’s extreme heatwaves, it will also treat us to stunning fall colours.

So why not pack your favourite sweater and take a romantic European trip to see some of the best bronze foliage that autumn has to offer?

Here are our top seven fall destinations for stomping through crunchy leaves.

7. Lake Bled, Slovenia

Offering some of the most spectacular views in Slovenia, Lake Bled is home to the country’s only natural island. A walk around the lake takes approximately 1.5 hours, plenty of time for you to admire the glorious bronze and gold leaves on offer.

Lake Bled, Slovenia.Canva

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. Just remember to charge your phone — photos here are Instagram gold.

6. The Lake District, England

On visiting the Lake District, you will see why the area inspired so many Romantic poets, from Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Wordsworth, with its breathtaking views. This protected slice of northern England has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017.

The Lake District, UK.Canva

Head to Buttermere early in the morning for still, clear weather and enjoy the mirror-like lake reflecting the autumn foliage. Travel onwards to Coniston Water in the afternoon for its mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees.

5. Perthshire, Scotland

Nowhere does autumn like Scotland, and the county of Perthshire has some spectacular views. With one foot in the Highlands and one in the Lowlands, Perthshire is home to the Meikleour Beech Hedge, which boasts a Guinness world record as the tallest hedge in the world.

Perth is a wild part of Scotland.Canva

The Hermitage, a stunning stretch of forest owned by the National Trust, turns deep gold and russet in the autumn and is home to romantic ruins and a waterfall too. 

If nature’s dazzling visuals aren’t enough for you, book tickets for the Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry. From late September to October, the spectacle of light and sound brings added magic to Perthshire’s autumnal woodland.

4. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

Look up ‘real life fairytale castles’ and you’re likely to find Neuschwanstein. Straight out of a Disney film, the the turreted castle is surrounded by rugged hills coated in fall trees that add to the atmospheric drama.

Located in the Bavarian Alps, the palace was built for King Ludwig II in the late 19th century and can be visited by guided tour only.

Bavarian castle, Germany.Canva

Visiting by car? Make the five-hour drive to Germany’s glorious Black Forest, which is packed full of oaks, elms and beech trees, in stark contrast to the evergreen pines.

3. Transylvania, Romania

Transylvania may still be associated with vampires and gothic architecture, but it is also one of the best places in Europe to see stunning fall colours. The Mociar Forest is Romania’s oldest woodland and covers 1,400 acres of Transylvania, perfect for exploring on a crisp autumn day.

The Transfagarasan road connects Transylvania with Wallachia and reaches an altitude of 2,042 metres.

Transylvania treesCanva

Another way to enjoy the fall scenery is via Romania’s many high-altitude roads. The 90km Transfagarasan road connects Transylvania with Wallachia and reaches an altitude of 2,042 metres, making it the second-highest road in Romania.

2. Loire Valley, France

World-renowned for its wine, the Loire Valley sparkles in autumn. When you’re not sampling the vino, you can watch the grapevines turn deep reds and purples at some of the local chateaux.

Sun sets over an autumn vineyardCanva

The Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire is a particular favourite in fall, as it decorates its grounds with pumpkins and cucurbits, adding some autumnal flair to an already gorgeous setting.

1. Lapland, Finland

Though it is more traditionally associated with winter than autumn, Lapland truly comes to life in fall. Not only are the Northern Lights actually at their strongest at this time of year, but Rovaniemi — the capital of Lapland — is also full of beautiful trees.

A unicorn reindeer amid northern Finland’s stunning autumn landscape.SakariLampola / Getty Images

While it may not be snowing, the temperature still drops to a frosty -2°C, so remember to wrap up warm.

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