10 Top destinations for a picturesque Autumn Holiday
Autumn foliage is a spectacular sight around the world. The phenomenon of leaves turning different picturesque shades of red, gold, yellow and brown attracts attention whenever it happens. For a short window of time, nature provides us with a final colourful display before the cold greyness of winter settles in.
There are many destinations around the world that boast a finer deciduous presentation than anywhere else, but where really are the Fall must-see hotspots? A couple of years ago the National Geographic magazine named its favourite 10 Autumn viewing sites around the world. Today we are going to look at those 10 listed places in detail, with a view to helping you travel to the Autumn locations that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
National Geographic named the oak and maple lined drives of Sonama County in California on its list. Here in this well-known California wine region, you can see the Russian River Valley painted red and bronze hues in a breathtaking display of autumnal excitement.
We offer a number of different escorted tours to California, but one of our favourites is the Treasures of Northern California tour, by Collette Worldwide. The tour begins in San Francisco, where youll see iconic sites such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Then youll travel into the wine growing areas on your way to Tuolunme; the gateway to Yosemite National Park, Sacramento and Sonoma. In Sonoma the wine produced by the vineyards is as tasty as its autumn leaf displays. Your trip will end with visits to Santa Rosa and the infamous Napa Valley.
In the shadow of the Rocky Mountains is an area of multiple valleys close to Taos, fringed by Cottonwood forests and our favourite kind of trees; Aspen trees. This part of North America becomes golden in the Fall.
Titan Travel is one of our favourite tour operators for experiencing the Rocky Mountains. Their Rocky Mountain High tour includes a variety of travel options, luxury overnight hotel stays and a tour guide to get you from place to place. Starting in Denver, youll head over to the Buffalo Bill Museum, before making your way over to Colorado Springs; an area of outstanding natural beauty, which boasts red rock formations and the iconic Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
It’s off to Santa Fe next and then you’ll visit Taos and the Carson National Forest; The destination named by the National Geographic magazine as an Autumn view spectacular. On this tour you’ll also get caught up in extraterrestrial excitement in Roswell, discover the white gypsum sand dunes of New Mexico, admire the religious architecture in Albuquerque and end up in Durango, in the park which has thousands of natural stone arches.
Holmes County, Ohio
In this traditionally Amish area, Maple and Oak trees line the roads along with the Buckeye, providing a colourful backdrop to the plentiful farmland.
In our humble opinion, a trip to Ohio is most exhilarating when made as part of a USA coast-to-coast extravaganza tour. Great Rail Journeys will carry you east to west, starting in New York and ending in San Francisco, taking in not just the leaves of Ohio, but also wonders of the world; the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, as well as Chicago and the Rocky Mountains.
Quebec in Canada
Quebec is located in the east of Canada and has a long coastline along which whale sightings are common. The Maple leaf; a symbol of this country, is also a common sight in this part of Canada. Watch whole swathes of maple forest turn brown and red before your eyes.
A great way to take in the unique carpet of autumn colours that occurs in Quebec, is by taking part in a self drive tour. The ‘Quebec: la Belle province’ tour as provided by Cox and Kings will equip you with a car and an itinerary. Your overnights will be booked for you in advance. All you have to decide is how long you’d like to stay in each destination as you travel along the route taking in the views.
During your tour you’ll take in the famous French-speaking cities of Canada, such as Montreal and Quebec City, as well as breathe in the fresh country air of Sainte-Alexis-des-Monts and Ayer’s Cliff. Experience the Canadian Fall in the mountains and along the fjords.
Douro Valley, Portugal
The Douro River Valley in Portugal is as famed for its Autumn panoramas as it is for its Mateus ros wine. Witness the vineyards in their picturesque post-harvest state, while you enjoy the lingering sunshine.
Douro is a popular river cruise destination. There are many river cruise lines who offer luxury all inclusive packages that will take you up and down the Douro river, presenting you with various vineyards and quaint Portuguese towns to explore along the way. One of our favourites for over 50s is Saga’s cruise from Oporto, through Rgua, Pinho and Barca d’Alva.
As well as taking in a scenic autumnal landscape along the river banks as you drift past, you’ll visit historic and cultural attractions, eat fine cuisine and sample the local wines.
Bavaria is a fairytale destination at the best of times with hilltop castles boasting lofty spires and plenty of turrets. In the Autumn the dense mountain forests that dominate much of the landscape grow golden, red and every shade of brown, just in time to coincide with some of the local, but world-famous beer festivals.
Titan Travel offer an escorted tour of Bavaria that begins and ends in the leafy squares and parks of Munich, visiting numerous palaces, galleries and opulent buildings of interest. You’ll also have the option to escape the bustle of the city to take in nearby Kitzbueheler Alps; a must-see sight for fans of authentic Autumn scenery.
The castles of Transylvania are more Gothic and less Rococo, but still appear to have been created on the pages of a classic novel. It’s into the Fagaras Mountains that The National Geographic recommends you go for the leafiest, most autumnal views.
Travelsphere’s tour of Transylvania and the surrounding area will take you to Bucharest, in hot pursuit of the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel in Sighisoara and all along what has been described as Europe’s most romantic river; The Danube.
Regent Holidays can take you to Moscow as part of a short city break. It’s the extraordinary parks and apple orchards of Moscow that experience the incredible shift in colour after the summer. You’ll have the opportunity to explore Moscow at your leisure and with a tour guide to take in the famous sights of the Kremlin and Red Square. Other tours are available that will take you to St Petersburg too, giving you the opportunity not only to visit two iconic Russian cities, but also glimpse the glorious countryside in between them.
Jiuzhaigpu Valley, Sichuan Province
It’s the diversity of the leaves here that make for such an interesting mix of foliage. Think reds, oranges and burnt umber, all fringed by the emerald coloured waters of the many lakes in the region.
We work with many respected tour operators who will take you on an exhilarating trip around China, but the one we’d like to draw your attention to today is ‘Discover Sichuan‘ by Regent Holidays. This all inclusive package is packed full of uniquely memorable moments, such as a visit to the Panda Research Base in Chengdu, an exploration of the caves and glaciers in the Tibetan area of Juizhaigou and a meal of the region’s best loved dish; Chongqing duck.
Fall leaf viewing in Japan has its own word: Koyo. When the autumn arrives koyo, which is a national pastime, is practised by the country’s own inhabitants as well as visitors from elsewhere. The leaves are even lit up show them in their best light at night as well.
We offer a number of escorted tour packages around Japan, which will not only take you to see the koyo and old Japanese traditions of Kyoto, but also the bright lights and friendly bustle of Tokyo, as well as the historic temples of Nara, the foliage of Mount Koya and the entertaining delights of Osaka.
Would you like to experience exotic Autumn foliage; deciduous leaves performing their last hurrah before falling to the ground, but quite unlike any you’ve seen before? Why not give the team a call to find out more about our special autumn packages this autumn? We can advise you as to which tour operators will take you to the countries you want to see most on the dates you want to travel. Please give us a call.