Summer is wonderful, but if you haven’t managed to squeeze in a holiday this year, fear not – autumn is a fantastic season to get away. In fact, you won’t experience the blistering temperatures of midsummer, and you’ll pay less for flights and hotels. What’s more, autumn in the northern hemisphere is a beautiful time to travel – with fallen leaves of red, gold and brown blanketing the landscape.
Here are four amazing autumnal experiences for your short list….
If you had visited this unique Spanish city in July or August, you may well have found it too hot (40 degrees is not uncommon). But arrive in October or November and you’ll be rewarded with warm, pleasant temperatures and the fragrance of orange blossom in the air. The city’s flat topography makes it a walker’s dream: saunter between shaded plazas, taking coffee and tapas when the mood grabs you.
- The Moorish architecture – particularly the Royal Alcázar of Seville.
- The Plaza de Espana: this opulent landmark square has far fewer tourists in the autumn months.
- Relax in the autumnal beauty of the city parks – Parque de Maria Luisa is one of the largest.
For a more intense autumnal visual experience, consider Ontario, Canada, where the leaves change colour in eye-popping style from September to late October. Visit the vast Algonquin Provincial Park near Toronto for fiery autumn scenes that stretch out for hundreds of kilometres. Here you’ll also find lakes and rivers, where you can hire a canoe and glide through cool waters that reflect the soul-calming colours of the season.
Don’t miss: The Niagara Parkway (aka Niagara Boulevard) – You can hire a car and take what Churchill called “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world” – to one of the most dramatic waterfalls in the world. Expect a dazzling impressionist landscape of bright reds and yellows, and with a speed limit of 37mph, you can take your time enjoying it.
Mount Fuji, Japan
If a summer of work – and no holidays – has left your coffers full, then why not head to the Far East and enjoy views of the iconic Mount Fuji framed in foliage of deep reds?
The colours of the maples and cherry trees are so intense they even dreamt up an event to celebrate it: the Fujikawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival.
Don’t miss: Ascending Fuji. Deservedly one of the best-loved vistas in Japan, it’s worth making time to climb Fuji itself. Rise up through Lake Kawaguchiko’s haze as you move up the perfectly formed (and assuredly dormant) stratovolcano and be mesmerized by the dark rock as it gives way to the blazing whites of the snowy peak.
If you prefer even fresher temperatures and the freedom of unpeopled landscapes, then Iceland could be your perfect autumn destination. Visiting in October and November will be decidedly cheaper than summertime, and the vistas no less stunning.
If you visit in November you can experience kaleidoscopic colours day and night: Thingvellir National Park presents dazzling autumnal shades, while trips to see the Northern Lights will fill your evenings with awe-inspiring light shows.
Tip: While there are plenty of Northern Lights trips, these are essentially only taking you to locations where light pollution is low enough to see the light displays – which means if you have a hire car you can drive out by yourself. You’ll save cash and you won’t have to keep to the tour guide’s schedule!
It can get rather chilly in autumn, so pack plenty of warm layers. But you can retreat to the cosy cafes and bars of Reykjavik if it gets too cold.
And if you’re a light sleeper, an autumn trip here could be perfect: the nights are long and, as Björk might say, oh-so-quiet.
Don’t forget your travel insurance! Make sure you are covered before you jet off on your next trip!