As Autumn marks the transition from summer into winter – usually in September in northern hemisphere regions – the arrival of night becomes noticeably earlier and the temperatures begin to drop.
With autumn definitely on its way in the northern hemisphere, we look at the incredible places to see autumn colours this year.
Japan has long been known for its famous cherry blossom festivals in the spring but from the end of September the leaves turn into many vivid autumn colours. Whilst Kyoto with its historical and commercial appeal is a popular spot for viewing, we recommend the ancient city of Nara, where the bright seasonal colours offer a luminous background to the historical shrines.
England might be more famous for its continuously raining weather, but it still puts on a brilliant display in autumn. Historically the Forest of Dean was a royal hunting ground and a wood source for warships, these days it is more famous for its role in the Harry Potter novels. It is an ideal location for viewing seasonal foliage, with its collection of oak, beech and chestnut trees, and is easily accessed by foot.
As if you needed another excuse to put France on your bucket list, this renown country manages to present a gorgeous autumn season. With autumn also being harvest season, we recommend heading out to the Loire Valley, where you can take in the brilliant colours of the grape wines, witness the age-old tradition of the harvest, and then enjoy a tour and maybe a glass of local wine to finish the day.
Another place that was already on our bucket list, Italy adds autumn colours to its list of things it does beautifully. Gold is the colour of the season, with Lombardy being known for its namesake poplar trees this time of year. For those of you in more tourist-centric areas, Milan’s gardens are also known for their beautiful seasonal display.
the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens for a breath-taking viewing spot.
China has some of the most incredible natural icons in the world, and autumn proves to be another, with autumnal viewing being a popular activity. In the Huangshan Mountain area, you get to watch the mountains turn scarlet as the tree covered peaks change colour. October is the best time for a viewing, with sunrise offering an incredible glow to the scenery.
There is no way that the USA could be left off this list, it is well-known by enthusiasts of autumn foliage. In mid September dozens of US states burst into a riot of red and gold, so you have a long list of places to visit. We recommend New Hampshire and Vermont, for the varieties of maple, ash and aspen trees that burst into colour at this time of year.
Canada too, is well-known for its seasonal display, with the majority of the country’s foliage turning red and gold. There are two ideal destinations for anyone wanting to soak up the sights, with Alberta’s prime viewing time being between September and October, and Laurentians, through to October. Alberta is known for the aspen, birch and willow that provide the vivid colours, while Laurentians boasts the 230km trails of P’tit Train du Nord, where you can enjoy the foliage on a bike.
We will finish off with two final destinations, in Europe. Foliage and colour isn’t anyone’s first thought when they consider Germany in autumn, but the bright colours sported throughout the nation’s forests and parks is enough to rival many US locations. They provide a glorious backdrop to the seasonal celebrations of Oktoberfest in Munich, Berlin’s Festival of Lights and Stuttgart’s Cannstatter Volksfest.
We were surprised find out that Austria was known for autumn colour. While Vienna and Luxembourg boast public gardens that burst into colour, we were also surprised to find out that in the Alps, in a region called Ahornboden, there is a veritable field of maple trees that provide its own seasonal display. Some of these trees are more than 600 years old; at 4000 feet above sea-level, this makes it just a little bit more magical.