Thanks to the lack of rain, and above average soaring temperatures this past summer, our autumn foliage appeared a little later than usual. But the stunning reds, bright yellows, and rich oranges are a good reminder that when it comes to the beauty of our changing seasons, autumn is always better late than never. Now is the time to get out there and see it, before the heavy rain and strong winds arrive and knock down all the beautiful leaves.
Fall is one of the best times to travel; there are less people, prices are lower, temperatures are moderate, and the views are vibrant with autumn colours. Below are some of the best places to travel this year if you want to capture the magic of autumn and see some of the world’s greatest fall foliage.
Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada
Algonquin Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Canada, all year round. However, when the seasons are changing and the weather is cooling, something extra special happens in Algonquin. The forests and lakes, which can only be reached by canoe, kayak, or on foot, explode with colour, reaching their peak in late October. Algonquin is driving distance from both Ottawa and Toronto, making it easy for travellers to enjoy the 7,725 square kilometres of maples, aspens, red oaks, and tamaracks.
Transylvania is a place of medieval lore, with old wooden churches, mist covered hillsides, and of course, Bran Castle, the home of Dracula. The surrounding hardwood forests become a photographer’s dreamscape when autumn arrives, adding wisps of orange and brown to the already eerie atmosphere.
Green Mountain Byway, Vermont, USA
Vermont is the perfect place to take an autumn road trip. Watch the red sugar maples, mountain ash, yellow birch, and largetooth aspen unfold before you as you make your way through the brightly coloured hillsides along this stretch of Route 100. It begins in mid-September, and continues straight through October, providing the ideal scenic route between small towns, farmland, covered bridges, and Vermont’s highest peak—Mount Mansfield.
You haven’t properly experienced autumn until the beauty of Kyoto has surrounded you. Japan is so seriously about its fiery red maples and dazzling fall display that it even has its own leaf-viewing tradition, known as koyo. Head to a temple; add the strongly sloped roof of the temple, the beautiful gardens and rich history of Japan to the vivid scenery and you will have the recipe for some amazing fall travel photography. And Japan’s autumn beauty reaches its crescendo much later than North America, putting the prime viewing time in mid-November through early December.
The Laurentian Mountains, Quebec, Canada
Think stunning vistas and wide-open spaces. Thanks to the colourful sugar maples, Quebec is famous for its autumn landscapes. Visit the town of Mont-Tremblant and go for a long hike through the mountains. The Laurentians, which are driving distance from Montreal, explode with colour in September and October, making both the peaks and the valleys a must-see.
The Romantic Road, Bavaria, Germany
Southern Germany is absolutely beautiful in the fall. September and October bring Alpine forests bright with colour, set against a backdrop of snowy mountain peaks. The Romantic road, which starts in Franconia wine country (another great place to celebrate autumn) winds through 360 km of trees, mountains, lakes and charming towns. The medieval town of Rothenburg is a great stop to admire the foliage from atop the city wall, before heading to Neuschwanstein Castle. Neuschwanstein—used as inspiration for the Disney Castle—sits majestically amongst the mountains, on top of a hillside swathed in rich autumn colours. The view is unforgettable.
Lake Wanaka and Central Otago, New Zealand
If you’ve never been to New Zealand, now is your chance. Autumn is one of the best times to visit New Zealand, especially if you want to steer clear of the throngs of tourists. The dramatic landscapes found on the South Island of New Zealand, with the mountain peaks, deep fjords, sparkling lakes, and never-ending forests, provide some of the world’s most beautiful autumn views. The view from the Clyde Dam Lookout is especially stunning, and provides views of nearby small towns, Clyde and Alexandra. New Zealand is best appreciated for its brilliant yellow poplars, making it an especially unique place to enjoy fall foliage.
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