Even the most lackluster nooks can turn into wonderlands of peculiarities when the fall tints them with shimmering golds, soft ochers, milk chocolate browns and blood-like reds. Summer moves on but your travel radar needn't die down. Make the best of the autumnal aura, inhale the thick scent of foliage, listen to leaves rustling underneath your feet and watch them waltz around with the wind. Where? Here's a couple of places where the season looks at its most adorable.
You've heard of Kyoto as the number one place to hit in the cherry blossom season? Now try to picture the infinite pinkishness turn into the sea of bright red and you understand why the city is also one of the world's most enthralling destinations to observe fall foliage. Amidst a backdrop of temples and shrines, the Japanese maple trees draw so many visitors in the second half of November that it seems there are actually more people than leaves in the city. Despite the crowds, venture into Kyoto Imperial Park, take a look around Kodaiji Temple, and make sure you indulge in night viewing, when the trees in several spots are beautifully lit up for visitors.
Maiko Sayaka under autumn leaves. By onihide
Saimyou-ji temple. By Marser
Winter's skiing season may be the best known of Quebec's natural offerings, but it's not the only one. In concert with the autumnal equinox, multicolored foliage is unfolding throughout much of the province and crisp chill provides the perfect backdrop for remote escapades. Pristine reserves, majestic mountain ranges and windswept coastlines sit on the wilderness front while sidewalk cafés, perfectly manicured gardens and history-soaked quarters await in the metropolises. Montreal and Quebec City are ablaze with color, so urbanites will get their share of autumn delights as well. But it is only off the beaten track that you get to see the full radiance. Parc national de la Gaspésie is a must, Bleu Lavande will make a perfect spot for agrotourism, and a rail cruise on the American Orient Express will stir more emotions than you are probably ready to handle.
Lachute, Québec. By Imapix
Montreal. By judo_dad1953
New England, USA
The New England Fall is almost a legend. Nowhere else in the entire USA does the season look so rich, juicy and fairylike. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut - they all exude captivating charm, but it is the sugar maples of northern New England that put on the most spectacular golden display. See it, smell it, feel it, touch it – you won't be able to stop feeding on this splendor with all your senses. The bad news is, however, you won't be alone. When the foliage is ablaze, New England swarms with tourists, so planning ahead is your ticket to ensuring a hassle-free, memorable stay. Booking lodging in strategic locations is the best you can do. Consider Litchfield, CT, Quechee Gorge, VT and Bethel, ME. They're said to be some of the best starting bases for leaf peepers.
Jenne Farm in Reading, Vermont. By Triscele Photography
Lake Massabesic, Auburn, NH. By Ed Karjala
Flower-clad houses, idyllic meadows, grazing sheep and cows dangling their little brass bells - Bavarian countryside oozes tranquility through every pore. Go figure it gets even quieter and less hectic when autumn strikes with its wondrous palette of colors. It's definitely the best time for hiking and sightseeing. However, if alpine splendor and castles perched on top of craggy cliffs don't quite appeal to you, then Oktober Fest with its pork knuckles, rivers of beer and high-spirited Bavarians surely will. This much-loved festival running from September 17th till October 3rd may well be the principal reason why the region is worth visiting in the fall.
Kochelsee. By Digitaler Lumpensammler
Neuschwanstein in mist. By Fischerfotografie.nl
Douro Valley, Portugal
The growing season has come to an end, the vine-covered hills are dressing into all shades of red and the ever-colorful Porto gets some extra orange glamor. Can there be a more romantic time to indulge in the region's viticulture offerings? Step by Quinta do Panascal for some of the best Port Wine in the valley, tread the grapes accompanied by a local accordionist at the Quinta de la Rosa and take a ride up the hills for a bunch of stunning views over the multicolored terraces cascading down to the river banks.
Quinta de São Luis, Tabuaço. By Paulo Santos
Porto. By Edmar Moreira
North Xinjiang, China
Covering about one-sixth of China's total territory and peopled in mere 4.3%, Xinjiang is the place to go if you're looking for undisturbed solitude and virginal scenery. Whereas South Xinjiang is mostly desert, the northern part offers purely mountainous landscape, extensive grasslands, pasture-based culture and endless delights for keen hikers. Why go in autumn? The contrast between the emerald waters of Kanasi River and the copper-tinted world around it is perhaps one of the most captivating sights to behold ever. Kind of reminiscent of Dali...
The Moon Bay, Kanasi. By 7_blue
Kanasi. By mazhao
How about Halloween in Transylvania? Whether you give any credence to the blood-curdling lore and legends, it's hard to avoid shivers when the thick autumn fog falls upon the hills, leaves crackle underneath your feat and the wind races through the galleries of Bran Castle. So, if you're a fan of getting the creeps, Transylvania is more than suitable a place to test your composure. Nature lovers will certainly find an equal share of delights. Hiking is really big here and the Carpathians look truly amazing when clad in autumnal colors. And if you're in for scenic rides, go check the Transfăgărășan – by far one of the most stunning roads on the planet.
Graveyard Fields. By Kathy@dornickdesigns
Brasov. By EUPHÊMÊ
Bieszczady is a place you fall in love with at once. This last bastion of true wilderness in Poland is where you learn humility towards nature and people, get an insight into your primitive longings and take a different perspective on what's important in earthly existence. Life-changing contemplation only comes natural in the metaphysical aura of autumn in the mountains. Tiny settlements in the middle of nowhere, age-old orthodox churches, endless stretches of deciduous forests and uncharted routes that have barely seen a human foot – if you enjoy wandering aimlessly from dawn to dusk, Bieszczady will do the trick. And make sure you prick up you ears for some blood-curdling howls at night – they say the region is known for the highest density of wolves in Europe. OUU OUU OUUUUUU!!!
Halicz. By gradzio
In the woods. By bartosz_rzemek