Whether you are trying to hold on to summertime and hit the beach or looking for a quintessential fall experience to warm your soul, Europe has plenty of charming destinations to explore in the fall. Stunning autumn colors, crowd-free beaches, harvest festivals, and off-peak prices make these 5 destinations worthy of an autumnal visit.
The Tirol region of Austria is located in the heart of the Alps, and it is a great choice for fall travel. The area’s capital, Innsbruck, is a popular destination for winter sports but offers so much more. Visitors can take a gondola from the city center up to the towering peaks above and take in breathtaking views of the surrounding snow-peaked mountain ranges.
In the early fall, adventurous types can enjoy hikes and mountain bike trails, while later in the fall, the area opens for skiing. For visitors looking for a more relaxing mountaintop experience, the beerhall at the summit is a can’t-miss experience, with mountain peak views as far as the eye can see.
Innsbruck is charming and packed with fun activities, but it is the surrounding small towns in the Tirol region that really pour on the charm in the fall. Each autumn, the villages throughout Tirol celebrate the change in seasons with traditional cattle drives when thousands of cows are herded down from the mountains and into the valley where they will spend the winter.
The animals get dressed up for the special occasion, donning headdresses, flowers, and big metal bells hanging around their necks. Visitors attending the cattle drive festivals enjoy local music, food, and drinks while taking in the sights of the charming and picturesque region.
The Mediterranean island of Cyprus has so much to offer all year round, but fall is one of the best times to visit. The hordes of tourists are gone, and you might feel like you have this tropical paradise all to yourself. Visiting Cyprus in the fall means you will avoid the oppressive summer heat and the crowds that come with it while still enjoying the great variety of activities to do on the island.
Cyprus is famous for its beaches, and fall is a great time to visit them. The daytime temperatures are perfect for sun worshippers, and the water is still warm enough to swim in. While typically packed with beach chairs and umbrellas all summer, you’ll feel like you have the place to yourself if you visit in autumn.
But Cyprus is so much more than beaches, especially in the fall. Visitors can venture up to the Troodos mountains and delight in beautiful fall foliage while enjoying woodland hikes through the charming mountain villages. Another highlight is the olive season, which runs from October – January, when Cypriots pick over 10,000 tons of olives and invite visitors to pick, taste, and celebrate all things olive.
Copenhagen is popular with tourists throughout the year, but fall is a particularly good time to visit. The summer crowds are gone, and the hotel prices are also more affordable, making it easier to enjoy all the city has to offer.
Denmark is home to the popular concept of hygge (creating a warm, cozy, enjoyable atmosphere), and no place does it as well as Copenhagen. Visitors can embrace their inner hygge in a cozy corner in one of the city’s many cafes and sip hot chocolate out of locally-crafted ceramic mugs or dine next to the open fireplace in a top-notch restaurant.
But the charm of Copenhagen isn’t limited to feeling warm and cozy – there are also plenty of fun activities to discover. The famous Tivoli Gardens are decked out for Halloween from October 13 – November 4th and are well worth a visit for a spin on an old-school amusement ride. No trip to
Copenhagen isn’t complete without exploring some of the city’s best art, history, and cultural museums. You’ll find everything to be much less crowded in the fall but just as much (if not more) fun than visiting in the summer.
Ludwigsburg is a small city in southwest Germany, about a 30-minute drive from Stuttgart. While it isn’t one of Germany’s most touristy places, it has something incredibly special to offer each fall. Home to the world’s largest pumpkin festival, Ludwigsburg is a fabulous choice for a unique and authentically German getaway.
Pumpkins are used to construct towering sculptures that are scattered throughout the festival grounds from August 26th – December 4th. Pumpkin-themed food is prepared in the outdoor beer garden (think pumpkin soup, pumpkin spaetzle, and pumpkin ice cream), and they host plenty of events.
Enjoy cooking demos, pumpkin carving, and the European pumpkin weigh-in championship, where massive 2500+ pound pumpkins are on display before they are ultimately slaughtered for their valuable seeds and turned into “gourdeous” sculptures and lanterns for all to enjoy.
It is hard to overstate the charm of the pumpkin festival, or kürbisausstellung, in German. This pumpkin festival is unlike the typical American pumpkin patch – they have 450,000 pumpkins on display with over 600 different varieties! The festival takes place from August 26th – December 4th on the grounds of a beautiful 18th-century palace and is surrounded by fairy-tale woodlands.
Slovenia is an incredible destination in the summer, but fall is when it really comes into its own, and the best time to visit in autumn is during the weeks surrounding St. Martin’s Day on November 11th. This annual event celebrates wine and culture and takes place throughout the country – with the best spots being in wine-producing regions where visitors can taste the local wines, enjoy traditional Slovenian foods, and dance the night away.
Other top Slovenian activities to check out in the fall include visiting the picturesque Lake Bled to immerse yourself in fall colors, pampering yourself in one of the many natural spas or hot springs, and enjoying warm roasted chestnuts while wandering the streets of the capital city of Ljubljana.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com