Fall is the perfect time to travel to many popular destinations around the world. It’s a season of change, and as temperatures drop in the Northern Hemisphere and summer approaches in the South, children head back to school. The shoulder season begins in many countries when the tourism boom of July and August fades and prices drop accordingly. However, to make the most of a fall vacation, it’s worth getting off the beaten tourist path and discovering some of these less-travelled beautiful destinations.
10 Scottish Highlands, Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland gets a lot of attention from international travelers, but during the fall months, it’s worth venturing out of this historic city to the Scottish Highlands. The rolling hills of the Scottish countryside are transformed during the fall, specifically during October. The leaves changing color and stunning fall foliage is the highlight of an exploration of this picturesque part of the country. Rent a van and drive through the highlands on an epic road trip or take a train ride for some tranquil views.
9 Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN, USA
There are many national parks within the US that are popular with travelers throughout the year; however, in the fall months, the East Coast commands attention with its beautiful foliage. Specifically, New England is a busy destination from September to November each year. If travelers are looking for stunning fall colors in the eastern US without the crowds, they might consider exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. This park sits on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee and is even home to a portion of the famous Appalachian Trail.
8 Lombok, Indonesia
If fall colors aren’t a must for travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path fall destination, look no further than Lombok, Indonesia for the perfect getaway. While Bali gets all the Instagram glory, Lombok is just a ferry ride away and offers quieter beaches than Bali’s crowded ones. September is one of the best months of the year to visit because there is less rain and fewer tourists.
7 Fujikawaguchiko, Japan
Japan is a popular tourist destination in the fall; the scorching humidity of summer ends in September, and the leaves on the trees begin to change color around October. While Kyoto is one of the most famous parts of the country for its crimson leaves and beautiful autumn scenery, travelers can enjoy a less crowded experience by heading to the small town of Fujikawaguchiko in the Fuji Five Lakes area. This spot offers unrivaled views of Mt. Fuji and, framed by colorful leaves, it’s the perfect time to take a stunning photo of the mountain.
6 Krakow, Poland
While everyone spends their fall vacations in Prague, Czech Republic, or Budapest, Hungary, travelers who want a taste of Eastern Europe off the beaten track should head to Krakow, Poland. This historic city is close to the border with the Czech Republic and is best known for its well-preserved old town. Autumn in Poland begins at the end of September and is one of the most beautiful times to explore the country.
Samoa is an island country in the South Pacific and is a beautiful blue-water destination for travelers looking to escape the chilly fall temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. September and October are some of the best months of the year to visit Samoa because the weather is drier and humidity is low. Although Samoa doesn’t get as much attention as Fiji or Tahiti, it’s in a similar part of the world and offers the same stunning turquoise waters, lush greenery, and waterfalls without the crowds.
4 Bavaria, Germany
Heading to Western and Central Europe during the fall is a great option because the summer tourism boom is over and prices are lower. The climate is also cooler and more bearable than the intense heat of summer. Travelers heading to Germany should consider venturing outside of major cities like Berlin and Munich to fully appreciate the incredible fall scenery. Bavaria, in the southeast of the country, has epic mountains, hilly landscapes, castles, quaint fairytale towns and peaceful lakes to explore.
3 Peterborough, ON, Canada
Canada is known for its beautiful fall colors, specifically in the province of Ontario on the eastern side of the country. Travelers can fly into Toronto and then rent a car to drive north, away from the busy tourist areas, to Peterborough and Kawarthas. This region of the province is stunning in the fall, with red, orange and yellow maple leaves as far as the eye can see. To see fall foliage at its peak, travelers should time their visit to this area between late September and late October.
two Akureyri, Iceland
While many travelers fly into Reykjavík and visit the popular sites near the city, such as the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle, not everyone who travels to Iceland heads north to Akureyri. This city is known as the Northern Capital of Iceland and is a beautiful destination all year round, but especially in the fall when temperatures are cool and there is a chance to see the Northern Lights. Visitors can drive along Iceland’s famous ring road to reach the city and enjoy the country’s less-crowded natural wonders, such as Akureyrakirkja (the church in the center of town) and the Mývatn hot springs.
1 Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland, and while its sister to the south, Dublin, gets more tourist attention, it’s well worth a visit, especially in the fall. The beautiful city is located by the River Lagan and boasts historic architecture, quaint pedestrian streets and a lively pub scene. Autumn in Northern Ireland is enjoyable thanks to changing leaves, longer nights, and warm sweater weather. Longer nights mean more time to hit the bars and explore the city’s nightlife.