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 numberone place to hit in the cherry blossom season? Now try to picture theinfinite pinkishness turn into the sea of bright red and youunderstand why the city is also one of the world’s most enthrallingdestinations to observe fall foliage. Amidst a backdrop of templesand shrines, the Japanese maple trees draw so many visitors in thesecond half of November that it seems there are actually more peoplethan leaves in the city. Despite the crowds, venture into KyotoImperial Park, take a look around Kodaiji Temple, and make sure youindulge in night viewing, when the trees in several spots arebeautifully lit up for visitors.
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.
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.
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.
Douro Valley, Portugal
The growing season has come to an end,the vine-covered hills are dressing into all shades of red and theever-colorful Porto gets some extra orange glamor. Can there be a moreromantic time to indulge in the region’s viticulture offerings? Stepby Quinta do Panascal for some of the best Port Wine in the valley,tread the grapes accompanied by a local accordionist at the Quinta dela Rosa and take a ride up the hills for a bunch of stunning viewsover the multicolored terraces cascading down to the river banks.
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…
How aboutHalloween in Transylvania? Whether you give any credence to theblood-curdling lore and legends, it’s hard to avoid shivers whenthe thick autumn fog falls upon the hills, leaves crackle underneathyour 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 findan equal share of delights. Hiking is really big here and theCarpathians look truly amazing when clad in autumnal colors. And ifyou’re in for scenic rides, go check the Transfăgărășan – byfar one of the most stunning roads on the planet.
Bieszczady is a place you fall in love with at once. This last bastion of true wilderness in Poland iswhere you learn humility towards nature and people, get an insightinto your primitive longings and take a different perspective onwhat’s important in earthly existence. Life-changing contemplation only comes natural in the metaphysical aura of autumn inthe mountains. Tiny settlements in the middle of nowhere, age-oldorthodox churches, endless stretches of deciduousforests and uncharted routes that have barely seen a human foot– if you enjoy wandering aimlessly from dawn to dusk, Bieszczadywill do the trick. And make sure you prick up you ears for someblood-curdling howls at night – they say the region is known for the highestdensity of wolves in Europe. OUUOUU OUUUUUU!!!