The colors of fall are what give the season its magic. Walking outside to be greeted by vibrant yellows, deep reds, and warm browns makes the end of the year feel comforting.
Across the United States, many opportunities exist to see and experience fall foliage. One option is visiting states such as New York and Oregon. You can also get a grander experience by visiting the national parks. And if you want to venture up north, Canada’s color show won’t disappoint.
While stateside, the colors are grand, it’s important to note that across the pond, the fall colors are just as stunning. And with many European destinations, fall colors complement century-old castles and ancient buildings.
Besides the colors, another great perk about autumn in Europe is fewer crowds. Most people returned to work or ran from the continent when the temperature dropped.
However, visiting European countries in the later part of the year simply requires a few layers of clothing and a warm jacket.
To witness nature’s best color show in Europe. Here are the top 5 places to visit:
1. Lapland, Finland
Located in the northern part of Finland, Lapland is a region that offers an assortment of colors in the trees and the sky.
In addition to the foliage, this region offers some of the best views of the northern lights during the fall and the spring. Visitors can explore the stunning nature of Finland by visiting places such as the Oulanka National Park.
Its lush forest, steep gorges, and massive waterfalls are all sights to see. Then, when night falls, travelers can still be impressed by the solar flares that create the Aurora Borealis.
If those two things don’t make Lapland feel magical, you’ll have to stop by Santa Claus’s Village, an amusement park in Rovaniemi.
2. Loire Valley, France
Loire Valley is where you go for the wine but stay for the beautiful colors in nature. A place once occupied by kings and nobles, Loire offers the perfect scenery of fall-colored leaves and beautiful French chateaus.
Many tours in the area offer the chance to taste the region’s infamous white wines while gazing at the fall foliage.
Even the vineyard grapevines start turning to darker reds and purples.
3. Transylvania, Romania
It’s hard not to think of vampires in old folktales when you hear the name Transylvania. The name is probably echoing in your mind as you read this.
However, don’t let the movies or crazy stories stop you from exploring this beautiful and not scary region of Romania.
Fun fact: the name Transylvania comes from the Latin word Transilvania, which means “ the land beyond the forest.” A name fitting as the Mociar Forest in the region is one of the oldest woodlands and is ideal for exploring in the fall.
Transylvania is filled with history. Some enchanting places are Sibiu, with its cobblestone streets, and Brasov, which has the largest Gothic church in Eastern Europe. There are also many brilliant castles to view.
The region also offers mountain villages where you can get up close and personal with the red and gold shades of the trees.
One of the most popular places to stay is the Retezat National Park, where you can stay in a rustic cottage and enjoy the serenity of nature.
4. Bavaria, Germany
A trip to Bavaria in the south is required if you visit Germany in the fall.
The region has everything, from the German Alps to bustling cities such as Munch and Nürnberg. No matter where you go, you’ll definitely experience the fall colors.
Besides admiring the fall colors, you’ll never run out of things to do in this region. There aren’t just a few hundred architectural monuments; there are over 100,000.
And museums, they got plenty, over 1,200. Bavaria is the state you want to go to, not only to experience nature but for authentic German culture and history.
5. Perthshire, Scotland
A must-do on a trip to Perthshire is to see the world’s tallest hedge turn colors in the fall. What was once a towering wall of greeny transforms into a beautiful tapestry of red, yellows, and greens.
Perthshire beauty doesn’t stop there; this area in central Scotland spreads through the Highlands and the Lowlands.
One premiere area for the fall color show is The Hermitage, where the river offers a tranquil feel to the scenery. And the Cluny House Gardens, where you can see red squirrels frolicking around in exotic plants worldwide.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com