Grace Lower | Nov 22, 2016
September is here—and if you’re anything like me, you’re eager for fall to officially begin.
While bright foliage might be just outside your back door, autumn can be an ideal season for international travel. Aside from the obvious benefits of shorter lines and cheaper flights, fall travel can also help reignite your sense of adventure. If you’re eager to make the most of autumn, the destinations below offer breathtaking views and cozy amenities for nature-enthusiasts and leisure-seekers alike.
Nestled in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, the town of Füssen offers a unique blend of history and rugged beauty. Its winding streets will lead you past colorful shops, around Baroque cathedrals, and over the River Lech, where you might spot groups of fishermen casting their lines.
Although the town itself is charming, the real treasures of Füssen lie just beyond the town’s limits. Two of Germany’s most famous castles—Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein (which inspired Disney’s Cinderella Castle)—are just a short hike or shuttle-ride away. Whether you’re admiring the beauty of the Alps or reimagining history within a 19th-century castle, Füssen makes for a perfect autumn getaway.
Although London tends to steal the spotlight from England’s lesser-known attractions, the quiet county of Buckinghamshire is home to one of the country’s greatest treasures: The Burnham Beeches. Home to nearly 540 acres of dense forest, the Burnham Beeches are considered by many to be England’s finest woodlands. Visitors can stroll along forest footpaths to admire ancient groves of Beech trees and the diverse wildlife that calls the forest home.
As the leaves begin to change, the trees take on vibrant orange and yellow hues to create a spectacular autumn display. It’s because of this storybook beauty that the Burham Beeches has become favorite location for cinematographers. The forest has been featured in movies like Harry Potter and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Just beyond the Beeches lies the historic village of Burnham, where you can visit churches dating back to the 12th century or enjoy a plate of fish and chips at a local pub.
With state-of-the art museums, bold architecture, and an incredible culinary scene, Oslo has become one of Europe’s fastest-growing cities. While there’s plenty to see within the city itself, Oslo has retained a great deal of its natural beauty as well. The city is surrounded by miles of densely forested hills, which make it a perfect destination to admire autumn foliage. Whether you spend an afternoon kayaking through the Oslo Fjord or take a day trip go berry-picking on forest trails, Oslo offers countless options to escape the busyness of the everyday.
While fall is an ideal season for outdoor adventures, you’ll want to come to Oslo prepared. Autumn brings chilly rains and strong winds to Norway, so a thick sweater and a few ideas for indoor activities will come in handy. No matter the forecast, a bowl of pumpkin soup in one of Oslo’s historic cafes can be the perfect way to weather an afternoon storm.
Declared a World Heritage site in 1977, Ordesa y Monte Perdido is one of Spain’s most beloved national parks. The park is situated along the Pyrenees mountain range, and its mild climate makes it the perfect environment for both Mediterranean and Atlantic plant life to flourish. Ordesa y Monte Perdido’s hiking trails take visitors past dozens of waterfalls; high mountain meadows; lakes; and forests rich with pine, beech, and poplar trees. Whether you’re looking to complete a multi-day trek or simply take an afternoon stroll in the forest, Ordesa y Monte Perdido showcases Spain’s natural beauty.
After a long day of hiking and sightseeing, you may decide to explore the nearby town of Torla. This modest village is an ideal venue for meeting up with fellow travelers or to enjoy a hot meal. Spain’s medieval history is preserved in the architecture of towns like Torla—its stone walls and centuries-old fortresses add an extra dose of charm to an already stunning landscape.
There are few places in the world that are as magical as Bruges. On the surface, this bustling Belgian city has all the elements of a typical European destination—lively cafes, cobblestone streets, and medieval architecture. But beyond Bruges’ postcard prettiness lie charming details, the most notable of which is the city’s intricate canal system—a feature which earned Bruges the nickname of “Venice of the North.” The canals that once brought Venetian merchants into the city now transport local vendors, tourists, and the occasional family of swans.
To take full advantage of Bruges’ picturesque waterways, you’ll want to stop by the Minnewater Lake, or “Lake of Love.” Dotted with weeping willows and red-brick buildings, this green space is an ideal spot for admiring fall foliage. And after a long day of sightseeing, a cup of Belgian hot chocolate is the perfect way to usher in the autumn season.
Grace Lower is a recent college graduate with a love for writing and an incurable case of wanderlust. When she's not exploring new places, Grace enjoys teaching English as a Second Language, making terrible puns, and running incredibly long distances at incredibly slow speeds.