The transition of summer to winter sees autumn as a favoured time of year for many travellers, where the weather is cooler and the deciduous trees shed their leaves to form forest and mountainside landscapes emblazoned with blended hues of red, yellow, orange and brown shrubbery, turning many travel destinations into dramatic autumnal scenes.
We have compiled a list of our favourite autumn locations around the world where the colourful seasons brings out the best in destinations blending cultured travel with aesthetically pleasing, camera-ready natural vistas.
South and North Islands, New Zealand
The autumn colours tend to be more prominent in the South Island as opposed to the North Island of New Zealand, although there are several unique autumn destinations to visit across both locations.
North Island’s Hawke’s Bay and its plentiful wineries look particularly resplendent in the autumn sunshine as you enjoy locally grown delicacies during a picnic before tackling the scenic forest trails of Ruahine and Kaweka Forest Parks. Central Otago’s powerful landscape is another discerning option when visiting the South Island in autumn, where you will find alpine herb fields and flowing rivers best explored by bike, car or motorhome as you traverse its seasonal flavours and unique sites. Travel Counsellor Matt visited New Zealand outside of the traditional summer season:
“While most people visit during their summer, I was there late Autumn. In conclusion? What a country! So much to see and do, even in late autumn I had a brilliant time, and at times it felt like I had the place to myself!”
The endlessly charming Lombardy region comes into its own during the autumn months, as the rolling hills turn to varied shades of yellows, browns and oranges, complementing the crisp air and blue skies making up a picturesque artisan landscape.
Outdoor enthusiasts can make the most of the pleasant autumn scenes through abundant trekking, cycling and climbing routes, while it’s the regional pastime of sport fishing which takes centre stage upon the pristine lakes, rivers and canals, before you sample the fruits of the land through food and wine tours through esteemed culinary regions such as Soncino and Curtatone.
Patagonia, Argentina and Chile
April and May is autumn season in Argentina and Chile, which is often touted as the best time of year to visit the Patagonia shared between the two South American nations. In addition to fewer crowds and colour tinged autumn shrubbery, the northern territory also offers warmer temperatures compared to the south, ensuring ideal conditions for taking advantage of its reputation as a desirable location for adventure seekers.
Wide open spaces dotted with ranches are evident of a getaway where you can embrace the outdoors, with horseback rides with Argentinian cowboys as you ride into the plains and mountains possible alongside some of the world’s most recognised treks, including the scenic splendour found when traversing Torres del Paine National Park and its abundance of valleys, riverbanks and soaring mountains.
Douro Valley, Portugal
One of the earliest designated wine regions in the world, Douro Valley’s enchanting combination of beautiful terraced landscapes, plentiful port, and sublime river cruises sees this UNESCO-World Heritage site spring into fiery life during autumn.
The Douro River is particularly fascinating for wine connoisseurs looking to visit one of the most sophisticated wine destinations in Europe, where the twisting rivers and steep hillsides shaded in rusted gold provide the perfect topographical backdrop when sampling the local delicacies and fortified wine.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Comprising an idyllic, fairy-tale enthused destination almost impossible to believe it exists anywhere out of a fantasy novel or movie, Lake Bled’s throwback to medieval Slovenia is particularly resonant in the autumn season.
Peaceful walks around the lake uncrowded by tourists now replaced by the laid-back business of local life coincide with a trip to the famous Bled Castle on a crisp, clear sunny autumn afternoon, rewarding visitors with views over the lake and the surrounding forest. Island boat rides and excursions to the likes of Vintgar Gorde around an hour’s walk from Lake Bled sees darkened red leaves offset by the striking turquoise hues of the water complete a mesmerising stay.