5 Best European Fall Destinations

Traveling during the shoulder season – spring & fall – has a lot of perks. First of all, the prices are typically lower than during the high season. And, since many people can only get vacation days during summer, fall is when you won’t find way too many travelers roaming the streets of the cities you visit.

>>read here about the things I like about fall

The downside of this, though, is that the closer to winter, the fewer activities are available. Technically fall in Europe starts in September and ends in November. By end of October, some activities may be unavailable – think of tour boats in the Adriatic Sea or maybe a historical site in Hungary – but that doesn’t mean you don’t have things to do.

November is the month of fall foliage. Unfortunately, the window when the best fall foliage can be photographed is getting smaller each year and it’s harder and harder to predict. For Central – Eastern Europe anytime in November you can find a place where fall foliage is amazing.

Tradition has it that from August 6 the seasons start to change. That’s when the grapes start to ripen. By mid to end September, you can engage in grape picking activities.

It may not come as a surprise that we love traveling during fall. And since we also love planning at least a bit in advance, here is info on some fall destinations, just in case you are looking for places to visit.

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Budapest , Hungary

Budapest Chain Bridge

Our favorite city – ok, we have more than one favorite city, but Budapest is certainly special to us – is amazing during any season. It’s at its busiest during the Christmas Markets (December) and summer.

Fall is when you can find affordable accommodation, not bump into too many travelers on Vaci utca and take amazing photos of the foliage.

Don’t miss a walk in the City Park, located behind Heroes Square. And while you are here, you may want to check out the Botanical Garden and Zoo located nearby.

Budapest Airport is served by a lot of carriers, including low cost ones (WizzAir , Ryanair and EasyJet ) . Another option is to fly into Vienna and then take RailJet or even the ferry to Budapest.

You can find affordable flights to the city quite easily, as long as you have some flexibility in choosing the dates. It is also a major rail hub so if you are already in Europe, you can consider a train ride.

Read more about Budapest:
>> Budapest Airport Review
>> 11 (plus 2) FREE things to do in Budapest
>> Budapest in Spring: Sample DIY Tours

Transylvania, Romania

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Our beloved Transylvania encompasses amazing cities and rural areas. Cluj Napoca and Alba Iulia are only two of the major cities you can add to the list when you plan your trip here.

This is also where you can find Sighisoara, one of the most well preserved medieval citadel in Europe., while Sibiu and Brasov are also lovely and interesting cities to check out.

The entire area is dotted with amazing hiking / walking opportunities, trails and unspoiled landscape.

Cluj Napoca is the place to fly into if you prefer WizzAir, whereas flying into the capital of Romania, Bucharest, opens up other possibilities. You can take a scenic train ride to Brasov and then just choose which cities you want to explore.

Read more about Transylvania:
>> A day at Sighisoara Citadel
>> A day at Alba Carolina , Alba Iulia
>> Corvinilor Castle
>> Scenic Ride: Hateg to Hunedoara
>> Things to do in Cluj Napoca and close by

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

The hustle and bustle of Rome, especially during the high season, can make anyone agitated. So why not wait a bit and plan your trip in late fall? You will still benefit from the lovely weather but avoid the surge of tourists.

Rome is literally an open-air museum so, map in hand, just plan to walk around. Then decide what you want to visit. We’ve visited Colosseum and the Forum, which pretty much ate up an entire day.

The recently renovated Fontana di Trevi is waiting for more money to be thrown in it for wishes of coming back.

Rome is served by two airports and plenty of airlines, including low-cost carriers. Plan ahead to benefit from the lower fares.

Read more about Rome:
>> Rome: Dealing with Fiumicino Airport

London, UK

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Ah, the lovely London, with its stubborn weather…yeah, that’s probably the only hit and miss for this city: you never know what the weather has in store for you. So pack your water proof gear just to be on the safe side.

London is huge, magnificent and amazing. Our 5 days trip barely scratched the surface when it came to visiting the capital of UK. At the time of our visit, only London Eye offered the possibility to see the city from above – and although considered a tourist trap we loved it! – but nowadays the Shard is what everyone wants to check out.

Camera and map in hand, just plot your walk in the parks and from site to site. Luckily many museums can be visited for free.

London is served by five airports, receiving flights from all over the world. EasyJet, Ryanair and WizzAir, among other low-cost carriers, all serve London.

Read more about London:
>> Free things to do in London
>> Handling the London Underground Network

Prague, Czech Rep.

prague

The capital of Czech Rep. has been on our radar for a good while but with no decent connection from where we live – unless we take a long train ride via Budapest – we have kept postponing a trip.

While Prague is well-known for the Christmas Market, if you don’t like the cold – or the crowds – just plan your trip in fall. Yes, the air is starting to be crisp by November, so pack accordingly.

The Astronomical Clock and Charles Bridge are two of the most famous places to visit and photograph.

Prague is served by a variety and airlines but also has amazing train connections with Western Europe. Another option is to fly into Vienna and then take the train to Prague.

Other places to visit during fall

Europe is filled with amazing places to visit and it is really hard to choose only a handful of them to write about. You should also include these cities on your fall explorations: Dubrovnik (Croatia), Lisbon (Portugal), Edinburgh (Scotland), Florence (Italy), Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Salzburg (Austria).

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35 thoughts on “5 Best European Fall Destinations

  1. Pingback: Photo Blog Post: Early Autumn Walk in Arad, Romania | Looknwalk

  2. Would you believe me if I told you that I have never seen fall ever? Sounds a bit hard to believe but its true. This year I got a chance to see snow for the first time and it was awesome. I was thinking of heading out to Europe next year to see what fall is like. I want to see the change in the color of the leaves and watch one season fade as it merges into the next. I think I would love to pick Romania for that experience. Don’t ask me why but I feel as if the country has a very romantic charm.

    • Hi Penny, yes, Romania can be lovely in fall. And I absolutely hate winter. I escape when I get a chance. Luckily, where I live in Romania we don’t get snow too often. October/November are best times for fall foliage in Romania.

    • Yeah, just don’t feel like spending a day in the train haha And there aren’t flights on low-cost carriers from where I live 🙁

  3. I have never seen fall before too! I come from Singapore so we don’t have 4 seasons here, just a really hot and humid summer all year round. would love to head to Europe during fall! I’ve been to Europe during winter but I must imagine it is a completely different feel in fall. Haven’t been to Romania and Prague so thanks for your list. Gonna have to add them to my list 🙂

  4. Love this post for travel inspiration as I don’t usually travel in Autumn but I have the opportunity to this year… I went to Prague in winter and Budapest in Summer but both cities I would love to go back to in the fall!

  5. If you have a vehicle, I highly recommend Norway for catching beautiful Autumn leaves – the whole country is pretty much covered in trees after all! I also love the UK in autumn, and have your other 4 recommendations on my list for when we travel Europe!

    • I don’t drive (though I have a license) or rent cars. I don’t like to stress when I travel. But yes, if anyone is a fan of that, driving in any European country during fall is amazing. Romania is also particularly spectacular but some awesome views can be seen from the train, too.

  6. Love this list. For the next few years, I’ll have September & October free which I’m stoked about because then I’ll get to enjoy cheaper and calmer travel. Rome and Prague are high on my list – although I’m sure that any city is great in the autumn 🙂

    • Sep and Oct are great because the crowds are mostly gone. Early Sep in any Catholic country is great b/c of the festivities, too.

  7. I have only visited Europe in the summer, but I love the thought of going in the fall when the crowds have dissipated and the trees begin changing colors. Thank you for sharing!

  8. The best part about living in Canada was the fall – it only lasted a few weeks but it is glorious and now the fall is my favourite time of year to travel. Not to hot nor to cold it is the absolute perfect season and I am going to make it my goal to travel to all these locations in the fall months.

    • Fall in Europe can be weird..it’s loooooong strech of warm weather with rainy days and then fall foliage lasts 2-3 weeks and bam no more leaves but still decent weather. That’s Central-Eastern Europe. In Southern Italy, I went to the beach in Sep 🙂

  9. You’re right, getting somewhere in the perfect foliage time frame is very difficult because each year is different! But foliage or not I agree with your suggestions: Rome is way less crowded in Autumn, and the same goes for London. I’ll take your advice on Prague, we keep telling each other that we want to go and still haven’t managed. Maybe next year in Autumn would be the perfect time!

    • I’ve been having Prague in my plans for a good while. I’d love to go for the Christmas Markets but damn those temperatures! lol Spring or fall, much better haha Summer is crowded as heck.

  10. You’ve mentioned all the cities I love, especially in the fall. Although I won’t be visiting them this fall, I will be doing a road trip through North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia…getting in my U.S. fix. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I love Italy, London, and Prague in the fall. I feel like they have the best atmosphere for the changing of the leaves. I haven’t been to Rome in the fall but Tuscany is amazing after the summer season. And I couldn’t agree more. Places like Rome are best visited in the shoulder season. Less hot and smaller crowds.

    • I haven’t yet been to Tuscany but I can imagine it being gorgeous in fall. I’ve been to Rome in September and it was still hot. October / November is def best choices.

  12. Great list! I went to Italy in September and completely agree that it was a great time to visit! Less tourists, less oppressive heat (and I love my summers!) and overall a much more pleasant experience than I’ve heard from others. I’d love to go to Budapest and Transylvania!

    • I love summer as well and have been to Rome in September. Quite busy and hot haha but by Oct / Nov it’s better haha
      Transylvania is magnificent in fall! And Budapest is amazing anytime haha

  13. Great list! I’m heading to Rome off season next month and can’t wait… And ah yes London’s weather, as long as bring a coat to the UK you’ll be fine haha. As a suggestion, another amazing FREE place in London that has amazing views is the Sky Garden 🙂

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