Autumn signifies change – the end of summer and a fresh start. We can’t wait to see the leaves change from green to gold, amber and russet. We can’t wait for nature walks and the sound of leaves crunching underneath our feet. Autumn is a magical time, this year more than ever, and we can’t wait to visit some of the world’s best cities to make the most of it.
Berlin has two major light festivals in autumn – Berlin Leuchtet and the Festival of Lights. As well as that, the city has around 430,000 trees, so you're going to see a lot of colourful changes wherever you go. For a great autumn hike, head to Grunewald and enjoy a stroll by the lakes or head into the forest and climb the Teufelsberg mountain for amazing views.
Known as The Eternal City, Rome should be at the top of everyone’s list. In autumn, it is particularly charming, with red and yellow hues blanketing the city and a relaxed feeling in the air. The weather is warm (but not stifling) and a walk through the Orto Botanico or Villa Borghese feels extra romantic. In terms of food, autumn brings some great seasonal delicacies: chestnuts, pumpkin, fig and truffle. Delicious.
Autumn is harvest time in Hungary, giving you another great reason to go. This means it’s wine season and the perfect time to try the local tipple. While you’re at it, try Hungary’s famous chimney cake – we promise it won’t disappoint. If you’re looking for a great nature spot, Margaret Island is where you can see the brightest autumn colours. You'll also get a nice view of the city from Gellert Hill.
Get that autumn feel on a stroll around the city through Princes Street Gardens and Holyrood Park. If you want a great view, climb Arthur's Seat and soak it all in. There's also a big firework display for Bonfire Night in November, something you don’t want to miss. Top tip: The Meikleour Beech Hedges in Perthshire are around an hour and a half drive away. The highest hedges in the world, their autumnal colours have attracted visitors since they were planted in 1745.
One of the loveliest parts of Japan, Kyoto really comes into its own in autumn. Maple trees reach their peak redness in November, but there are loads of other trees shedding their green, too. You'll see it all while wandering around Buddhist temples and their sprawling gardens, and Shinto shrines where traditional wooden houses are framed by trees.
What do we know about Bordeaux? It's a wine lover's paradise. It’s internationally known for its vineyards and one of the main reasons France comes in second place on our Wine Travel Index. Still, there’s more to Bordeaux than booze, particularly at this time of year. The Jardin Public is great for an autumn stroll, or if you’re willing to head further out, the baroque Parc de Majolan is also delightful. If it rains, no problem, find shelter in the Musée d'Aquitaine, a great museum that explores the history of the region.
Autumn is the perfect time to visit Kew Gardens and learn everything you need to know about nature in Britain. There are also over 170,000 trees in London's Royal Parks – Greenwich Park has the best free views of London while St James’s Park and Regent's Park are more central. While you might get a few rainy days, these are the perfect excuse for a cuppa. You’re in the capital after all, you’re spoiled for choice.
Poland in autumn is so good, they even sum the season up using their own phrase - Złota Polska Jesień (Golden Polish Autumn). Łagiewniki Park in Lodz is the biggest urban wood in Europe. So if you're looking to take some snaps of trees changing colour, you can't go wrong here. Lodz’ botanical garden is also worth exploring for all you nature buffs.
It's still warm enough to spend time down at Lake Lugano in September and October. Hire a boat and see the splendid trees from the water. To get a superb view, hike (or take the funicular) up Monte Brè. It's supposed to be one of the sunniest spots in Switzerland. What are you waiting for? Start packing and get ready to try the local Ticinese specialties.
Not only is this the most temperate and visually beautiful time of year in Montreal, but there's also lots going on. Head to the top of Mount Royal – nicknamed the lungs of Montreal – for amazing views of the changing trees. The Gardens of Light (Jardins de Lumière) in the botanical gardens run from September to October – an absolute must-see during your autumn stay.
Temperatures cool in autumn, but the weather in Lisbon is still incredible, particularly in September. If anything, autumn is the best time of the year to visit this beautiful city because you’re not wandering around sweltering in the sun and flights and hotels end up being cheaper. (You can also eat as many Pastéis de Nata as you want without worrying about your summer bod – at least, that's what we do). Other favourite things to do at this time of year? Take in the views at Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, gaze in awe at Belém Tower and wander through the botanical garden and feel like you’re in paradise.
Weather-wise, Norway's going to be a bit brisk in autumn. But the crisp air, exceptional afternoon light and friendly locals make the trip worthwhile. Make sure to try the Norwegian national dish while you’re there – Fårikål” (pronounced “forrycall”). It's mutton in cabbage, and comes into season in September. This is also one of the best times to eat another local delicacy – crabs.
The City of Lights is brilliant to visit all year round, but the romantic appeal intensifies as the nights start to draw in. Take a stroll down the tree-lined Jardin du Luxembourg or see the sights from the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. Time your visit for Paris's Nuit Blanche arts festival in October. It runs from dusk til dawn and sees artists show their work at famous city landmarks like the Eiffel Tower. Remember, from London, you can always do a day trip to Paris if you want a quick break.
This is one of Europe’s prettiest cities all year round, but in autumn, it’s particularly stunning. The days get shorter and the trees make their annual colour change on Petrin Hill. There are also a lot of things to enjoy this time of year. The Signal Festival in October, which showcases light installations around the city, is a must-see. In September, the people of the Czech Republic also celebrate the end of summer with St. Wenceslas celebrations, so get involved. If you’re into your wine, the annual grape harvest at Prague Castle is a great time to try the local stuff.
There are a multitude of parks to choose from if you're looking to see the changing season. We recommend Brunnsviken Park - it has a huge lake for a shore walk, and beautiful historic buildings to admire. Top tip: if you have a sweet tooth, don't miss Cinnamon Bun Day (Kanelbullens Dag) on October 4th where you have an excuse to eat the tasty Swedish pastry all day long.