Fall (or autumn, depending on where you are in the world) is a magical time of year to travel. Many locations still offer balmy temperatures, yet the landscapes have started to erupt in fiery hues. If you’d like to plan your travels around admiring dramatic fall foliage, here are six locations around the world where you’re guaranteed to find an abundance of vibrant red, yellow and orange leaves.
You can witness beautiful fall foliage across most of North America, but it is to Vermont that people flock in abundance to witness some of the most spectacular autumnal scenes on the planet. Head to Stowe for the most dramatic scenes from mid-September through to the end of October, where you’ll find a staggering array of autumnal colours adorning the trees. The best way to admire the colourful canopy of trees is on a long hike, but you could also take to the road for the perfect fall road trip.
Lake Kawaguchi, Japan
Japan may not be the first place that you think of for fiery autumnal landscapes, but the Japanese countryside erupts in colour from late September to mid-November. If you’re a keen photographer looking to capture a shot of vibrant red leaves framing Mt. Fuji, the best location is Fuji Five Lakes. The Kawaguchi Autumn Leaves Festival is held on the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi each year, providing the perfect opportunity to capture that coveted photo and enjoy the entertainment.
Lake District, England
Head to the Lake District in the north of England to witness a landscape awash with colourful leaves. From mid-September through to November, this vast National Park erupts with colour, providing the perfect landscape for long hikes up mountains and on the shore of its many lakes. We can’t decide whether our favourite view is the reflections of the trees in the tranquil lakes, or the vistas from above, once you’ve climbed to the top of one of the park’s peaks.
If you’re looking for landscapes straight out of a fairy tale, head to Bavaria in Germany. Forests, mountains and magnificent castles combine to produce fantastical scenery that’s just begging to be photographed. The combination of jagged mountain peaks and fiery red forests surrounding Neuschwanstein Castle during the autumn months make it the perfect location for admiring seasonal scenery. Visit the castle, embark on a long hike or simply drive along the winding roads, stopping to admire the views.
You don’t have to look far in Montreal to find spectacular fall foliage. The botanical gardens and city’s many parks all erupt in colour from mid-September to early-November, not to mention the Old Port and the various tree-lined streets around the city. Admiring the fall foliage is known as ‘leaf peeping’ among Canadians, and Montreal’s abundance of trees provides the perfect location for just this. Head up the forested hill of Mount Royal Park to enjoy breath-taking vistas of the city’s foliage.
Hraunfossar Waterfall, Iceland
You may associate Iceland with icy winter scenery, and there are actually very few trees across the country, but Hraunfossar waterfall is truly spectacular during the brief autumn months. If you’re looking for a unique autumnal experience, visit in October, taking a short detour off the ring road to discover the dramatic waterfall surrounded by fiery orange foliage. Take a drone with you—the landscape is particularly impressive from above as the orange leaves directly contrast with the icy blue water, and you might even catch a flurry of snow alongside the foliage.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.