By Dana Perkiss
While many adore the sandy beaches of summer and the holiday markets of winter, we particularly love Europe in the fall. Gorgeous fall foliage, small crowds, and lower rates combine to create the perfect travel experiences.
To help you prepare for the ultimate autumn getaway, here’s our list of the best fall destinations in Europe.
Embrace the best of both worlds by visiting Reykjavik in the fall, when the summer frenzy subsides and the winter chill has yet to start. Indulge in thrilling Icelandic “winter” activities like ice cave walks and snowmobile excursions without the chilly temperatures, and celebrate the onset of aurora season as the hunt for the mesmerizing Northern Lights begins.
Don't miss the opportunity to embark on an unforgettable journey through Iceland's Golden Circle during fall. As winter approaches, driving conditions can be affected by heavier snowfall, making autumn the ideal time to explore this breathtaking route. In addition to the natural wonders, Reykjavik comes alive with exciting fall events, such as the Literary Festival and the International Film Festival.
Experience the enchantment of fall in Barcelona, where comfortable warm weather is infused with a refreshing ocean breeze. Explore the city’s iconic landmarks like Sagrada Familia amidst smaller crowds, and immerse yourself in the city’s cultural revival as it celebrates numerous fall festivals.
Among these include the remarkable Jazz Festival, commencing in October, and the delightful La Castanyada, Spain's treat-filled rendition of Halloween. The delightful combination of fewer tourists, pleasant weather, and cultural festivities establish Barcelona as one of the best fall vacations.
If you’re looking for great fall vacations, then prepare to discover the hidden charm of Berlin! Though Germany’s capital is often considered a summer destination, we're captivated by its autumn allure: smaller crowds, resplendent colors, and delectable fall treats galore.
Immerse yourself in a colorful fall foliage vacation as you explore Berlin’s numerous parks, like the enchanting Tiergarten, abundant in a kaleidoscope of colors. Embrace the festive spirit with an array of lively fall events from the enchanting Musikfest, setting the stage for concert season, to the soul-stirring Jazzfest in November. And, of course, savor the world-famous Oktoberfest, brimming with beer and Bavarian delights from late September to mid-October.
Situated on Europe’s west coast, Lisbon boasts a mild Mediterranean climate with sunny and warm weather in the fall averaging from the mid-60s to 70s. Like other fall destinations on this list, the autumn months bring smaller crowds and cheaper travel rates, creating a near-perfect vacation time.
Immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Portugal's capital, where honey-colored trees and the aroma of roasted chestnuts fill the air. Indulge in the tranquility of empty beaches, relish top sights without the hassle of long queues, and witness the whimsical beauty of fairy-tale Sintra painted in the colorful hues of fall.
Experience one of the best places to visit in Europe in the fall by escaping to Amsterdam, the unique capital city of The Netherlands. Embrace the beauty of off-season charm as fall bids farewell to the bustling summer crowds, gracing you with tranquil moments to relish the attractions in Amsterdam more intimately.
Wander freely amidst the enchanting streets, museums, and canals as Amsterdam unveils its serene and quieter side, offering you an unforgettable cheap fall vacation. The autumn season also brings around exciting festivals including the Amsterdam Fringe Theater Festival, the musical Jordaan Festival, and the dance-filled ZeeZout Festival.
Experience the charm of Scotland’s capital city as it radiates in rusty oranges, ruby reds, earthy browns, and golden yellows. Be enchanted by the Royal Botanic Gardens as leaves transform into a kaleidoscope of colors, and enjoy a leisurely hike up Arthur's Seat to be rewarded with panoramic city views.
Celebrate the spirit of fall with Edinburgh's vibrant events, like the International Storytelling Festival and the mesmerizing Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Night), where the sky ignites in a dazzling display of fireworks. For an extra amazing fall destination, take a day trip to the lush Scottish Highlands!
Embrace the captivating allure of autumn in Ireland, a season that rivals spring in picturesque beauty and smaller crowds. Though rainfall is quite common, it only adds to the overall enchantment.
Enjoy leisurely hikes through the vibrant canvas of Killarney National Park, where a breathtaking tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows envelops you in nature's splendor. Listen to the echoes of Native Red Deer serenading the surroundings, creating an enchanting symphony for wildlife enthusiasts. Fall in Ireland is particularly ideal for nature lovers looking for relaxing fall vacations, as well as those wanting to partake in Irish festivals like the Dingle Food Festival and the Kerry Fall Festival.
If you’re interested in fall beach vacations, then the French Riviera is the place to be! Late September and early October bring perfect weather, with the warm embrace of the Mediterranean sun averaging delightful mid-60s temperatures.
Embrace the bliss of fewer tourists, ensuring seamless restaurant reservations, peaceful people-watching moments, and hassle-free parking. With over 300 days of sun, enchanting promenades, golden beaches, and vibrant nightlife, it’s no wonder why Nice is one of the best fall destinations in Europe.
Sorrento is by far one of the best places in Europe to visit in the fall if you’re looking for a sunny beach getaway – even in November, the weather in Sorrento stays around a comfortable 64° Fahrenheit.
Explore this coastal town’s charming marinas and historic landmarks at ease, without the frantic summer travel rush. Fall in Italy is the perfect time to experience a more local, traditional atmosphere, especially as Sorrento provides the perfect base to explore the Amalfi Coast, Mount Vesuvius, and Pompeii.
Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic, is known for being a super popular summer destination – but we’re here to say that it’s one of the best places for fall vacations in Europe and beyond. Embrace the allure of this season as crowds dwindle, prices become more inviting, and the intense heat subsides while the sea remains invitingly warm for swimming.
Experience the magic of fall festivals, including the delectable Good Food Festival and the acclaimed Dubrovnik Film Festival. For wine enthusiasts, Dubrovnik becomes a haven in autumn as local vineyards gather their harvest.