Best Places to Visit in Europe in October for Stunning Fall Foliage



Slide 1 of 14: There are benefits to visiting Europe during each season: Those white sand beaches in summer, those snow-covered Christmas markets in winter. But we're particular fans of visiting the continent in the autumn. Why? Fewer tourists and lower prices—plus some of the most beautiful fall foliage in the entire world. Whether you're looking for a cozy weekend retreat, are desperate to breathe in some fresh mountain air, or just want to wander the streets of major cities without running into hundreds of other tourists, here are 12 of the best places to visit in Europe during the autumn months.
This gallery was originally published in October 2015. It has been updated with new information.
Slide 2 of 14: Colors, colors, colors—Edinburgh gives New England a run for its money when it comes to the leaves turning vivid shades of gold, russet, bronze, and crimson against a backdrop of evergreen Scots pine. After crawling through the city's many restaurants and sipping a glass (or three) of whisky, warm yourself up with a walk up to Arthur’s Seat and survey the splendid city below.
Get the shot: One of the best places to take in the autumnal beauty is the Royal Botanic Garden.
Slide 3 of 14: France's Loire Valley, located a few hours south of Paris, might be one of the most idyllic spots in all of Europe—especially in the fall. The region's vineyards and forests display the full spectrum of autumn colors, which you can enjoy while sipping a glass of dry white wine.
Get the shot: If you can swing it, plan your visit around the Autumn Flower Fest at Château du Rivau (Oct. 26-27), where visitors can enjoy gardens filled with chrysanthemums, against the backdrop of one of the prettiest castles in the Valley.
Slide 4 of 14: Paris makes our list because there’s hardly a bad time to visit—it feels more authentic come September, though, as the locals are back from their own vacations. The city’s favorite pastime, people watching from pavement cafes, isn’t ruled out, either. The colder weather makes for the perfect excuse to swing by Angelina for a take-away cup of their famous hot chocolate.
Get the shot: Strolls around legendary parks (such as Jardin du Luxembourg) are enhanced by the glorious foliage and crisp air.
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Slide 5 of 14: According to Traveler contributor Ashlea Halpern, this fall is the best time to plan an art-filled trip to Serbia's capital, namely because Marina Abramović (considered by many to be the greatest performance artist of the last century) has taken over Belgrade's Museum of Contemporary Art. While you're in town, don't forget to enjoy the weather in one of the city's many public parks and buy some roasted chestnuts from a street vendor.
Get the shot: Take a stroll around Kalemegdan Park and the Belgrade Fortress, overlooking both the Sava and Danube Rivers.
Slide 6 of 14: Tuscany's rolling hillsides and vineyards get a second life during the fall, when the landscapes transform from green to varying shades of ochre. Autumn, too, is the time for harvest festivals all around the region—don't miss the San Miniato Truffle Festival if you visit in the three weekends of November). Meanwhile in Florence, the crowds start to thin out in October when it gets a bit chilly. However, there’s so much to explore indoors—the museums, churches, shops—that the weather needn’t be a big factor at all provided you dress warmly.
Get the shot: Book a stay at Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa, which overlooks the ever-changing colors of the mountainous Serchio Valley.
Slide 7 of 14: Autumn festivals abound in Budapest, from wine, art, horse-racing, and music events to quirkier options celebrating foie gras, sausages, and "chimney cakes" (a traditional Hungarian pastry). Fall is an ideal time for sightseeing, as summer here can be scorching, so make sure you take in the city's most famous sites, like City Park and Heroes' Square. Budapest’s dozens of thermal baths are extra fantastic when the weather is chilly, too.
Get the shot: The Castle Hill area (known as Várhegy) offers some of the most impressive views of the Danube—particularly from the terrace and seven towers of the Fisherman's Bastion.
Slide 8 of 14: Bruges is yet another city that comes into its own in the fall. This fairytale Medieval city of cobbled alleyways, church spires, and turrets seems even more romantic in the fading afternoon light. And Bruges is more than just a feast for the eyes—make sure to indulge in the town's signature handmade chocolates, which somehow taste even more delicious and comforting when the temperatures drop.
Get the shot: Pick a canal—any canal. The trees lining the city's waterways turn vivid shades of red, orange, and yellow and are reflected beautifully in the water.
Slide 9 of 14: Berlin sports gorgeous autumnal foliage, and more than a few travel-worthy events. A highlight in October is the annual Festival of Lights (Oct. 11-20), when light and video projections are cast onto some of the city’s most famous landmarks, such as Brandenburg Gate and Berlin Cathedral. Another reason to visit post-summer? Typical German fare (think sausage, stews, and soups) is rich and hearty, perfect for warming the body and soul.
Get the shot: The parkland around Zoologischer Garten is perfect for foliage-spotting walks.
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Slide 10 of 14: Barcelona is now so popular that some feel it has a theme-park vibe in the summer. Come fall, however, cooler temperatures revitalize the city, and cultural events and festivals begin (don't miss the city's epic Jazz Festival beginning in late October). There is a chance of rainy days and morning fogs coming in from the sea, but the queues at the iconic attractions—such as Sagrada Família—are finally manageable. Make sure you sample some panellets, the traditional marzipan pastries that are eaten only in the fall.
Get the shot: Aside from its colorful amusement park and neo-Gothic cathedral, Tibidabo (the highest peak of the Collserola Mountain Range) affords all-encompassing views of the city and surrounding forests.
Slide 11 of 14: With temperatures in the 65-degree range, you will hardly need more than a jacket in the fall—and the sea is likely still warm enough for swimming. Dubrovnik is a cultural treasure trove, too, especially the Old Town with its baroque churches and aristocratic palaces. Bonus: This season also comes with classical music, film, and food festivals, including the Good Food Festival (Oct. 14-20) and Dubrovnik Film Festival (Oct. 15-20).
Get the shot: Take the cable car up Mount Srđ to get sweeping views of the Old Town, Adriatic Sea, and mountainside foliage. (You can even see straight into neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina.)
Slide 12 of 14: Lisbon’s sunny and mild Mediterranean climate means you'll be greeted with near-perfect weather in the fall (average temps range from the mid-60s to 70s). There’s an increased chance of rain, but don’t let that deter you—in exchange, competitive hotel rates mean you can stay in one of the city’s charming historic hotels without breaking the bank. This is the season for roasted chestnuts, so grab a bag from a street vendor to snack on as you visit the sights.
Get the shot: Head to the tree-filled neighborhood of Principe Real for some colorful foliage, plus some of the city's best shops and restaurants.
Slide 13 of 14: An autumn trip to southern Germany is about so much more than Oktoberfest. We'd argue that fall is the best season to visit the Bavarian Alps, when the weather is perfectly cool and the mountains transform into a technicolor dreamscape. The season is prime for outdoor enthusiasts as well, with areas like  Berchtesgaden and Lake Tegernsee lending themselves to some epic scenic hikes.
Get the shot: Situated in the heart of the Bavarian Alps, Schloss Elmau features six spas, five restaurants, and even a classical concert hall—plus some of the best views around.
Slide 14 of 14: There’s a Czech term for an Indian summer (babí léto), which bodes well for the possibility of warm days stretching to November. The low angle of the sun bathes the city in a romantic golden light, and there’s also dazzling foliage in the public parks. Mushroom pickers congregate in Kunratice Forest, a short journey away from the city; and typical Czech fare—cabbage, pork, and potato, accompanied by beer—is definitely best-suited to colder weather.
Get the shot: Take a stroll along the tree-lined Vltava River, which runs through the center of town.

There are benefits to visiting Europe during each season: Those white sand beaches in summer, those snow-covered Christmas markets in winter. But we’re particular fans of visiting the continent in the autumn. Why? Fewer tourists and lower prices—plus some of the most beautiful fall foliage in the entire world. Whether you’re looking for a cozy weekend retreat, are desperate to breathe in some fresh mountain air, or just want to wander the streets of major cities without running into hundreds of other tourists, here are 12 of the best places to visit in Europe during the autumn months.

This gallery was originally published in October 2015. It has been updated with new information.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Colors, colors, colors—Edinburgh gives New England a run for its money when it comes to the leaves turning vivid shades of gold, russet, bronze, and crimson against a backdrop of evergreen Scots pine. After crawling through the city’s many restaurants and sipping a glass (or three) of whisky, warm yourself up with a walk up to Arthur’s Seat and survey the splendid city below.

Get the shot: One of the best places to take in the autumnal beauty is the Royal Botanic Garden.

Loire Valley, France

France’s Loire Valley, located a few hours south of Paris, might be one of the most idyllic spots in all of Europe—especially in the fall. The region’s vineyards and forests display the full spectrum of autumn colors, which you can enjoy while sipping a glass of dry white wine.

Get the shot: If you can swing it, plan your visit around the Autumn Flower Fest at Château du Rivau (Oct. 26-27), where visitors can enjoy gardens filled with chrysanthemums, against the backdrop of one of the prettiest castles in the Valley.

Paris, France

Paris makes our list because there’s hardly a bad time to visit—it feels more authentic come September, though, as the locals are back from their own vacations. The city’s favorite pastime, people watching from pavement cafes, isn’t ruled out, either. The colder weather makes for the perfect excuse to swing by Angelina for a take-away cup of their famous hot chocolate.

Get the shot: Strolls around legendary parks (such as Jardin du Luxembourg) are enhanced by the glorious foliage and crisp air.

Belgrade, Serbia

According to Traveler contributor Ashlea Halpern, this fall is the best time to plan an art-filled trip to Serbia’s capital, namely because Marina Abramović (considered by many to be the greatest performance artist of the last century) has taken over Belgrade’s Museum of Contemporary Art. While you’re in town, don’t forget to enjoy the weather in one of the city’s many public parks and buy some roasted chestnuts from a street vendor.

Get the shot: Take a stroll around Kalemegdan Park and the Belgrade Fortress, overlooking both the Sava and Danube Rivers.

Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany’s rolling hillsides and vineyards get a second life during the fall, when the landscapes transform from green to varying shades of ochre. Autumn, too, is the time for harvest festivals all around the region—don’t miss the San Miniato Truffle Festival if you visit in the three weekends of November). Meanwhile in Florence, the crowds start to thin out in October when it gets a bit chilly. However, there’s so much to explore indoors—the museums, churches, shops—that the weather needn’t be a big factor at all provided you dress warmly.

Get the shot: Book a stay at Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa, which overlooks the ever-changing colors of the mountainous Serchio Valley.

Budapest, Hungary

Autumn festivals abound in Budapest, from wine, art, horse-racing, and music events to quirkier options celebrating foie gras, sausages, and “chimney cakes” (a traditional Hungarian pastry). Fall is an ideal time for sightseeing, as summer here can be scorching, so make sure you take in the city’s most famous sites, like City Park and Heroes’ Square. Budapest’s dozens of thermal baths are extra fantastic when the weather is chilly, too.

Get the shot: The Castle Hill area (known as Várhegy) offers some of the most impressive views of the Danube—particularly from the terrace and seven towers of the Fisherman’s Bastion.

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is yet another city that comes into its own in the fall. This fairytale Medieval city of cobbled alleyways, church spires, and turrets seems even more romantic in the fading afternoon light. And Bruges is more than just a feast for the eyes—make sure to indulge in the town’s signature handmade chocolates, which somehow taste even more delicious and comforting when the temperatures drop.

Get the shot: Pick a canal—any canal. The trees lining the city’s waterways turn vivid shades of red, orange, and yellow and are reflected beautifully in the water.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin sports gorgeous autumnal foliage, and more than a few travel-worthy events. A highlight in October is the annual Festival of Lights (Oct. 11-20), when light and video projections are cast onto some of the city’s most famous landmarks, such as Brandenburg Gate and Berlin Cathedral. Another reason to visit post-summer? Typical German fare (think sausage, stews, and soups) is rich and hearty, perfect for warming the body and soul.

Get the shot: The parkland around Zoologischer Garten is perfect for foliage-spotting walks.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is now so popular that some feel it has a theme-park vibe in the summer. Come fall, however, cooler temperatures revitalize the city, and cultural events and festivals begin (don’t miss the city’s epic Jazz Festival beginning in late October). There is a chance of rainy days and morning fogs coming in from the sea, but the queues at the iconic attractions—such as Sagrada Família—are finally manageable. Make sure you sample some panellets, the traditional marzipan pastries that are eaten only in the fall.

Get the shot: Aside from its colorful amusement park and neo-Gothic cathedral, Tibidabo (the highest peak of the Collserola Mountain Range) affords all-encompassing views of the city and surrounding forests.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

With temperatures in the 65-degree range, you will hardly need more than a jacket in the fall—and the sea is likely still warm enough for swimming. Dubrovnik is a cultural treasure trove, too, especially the Old Town with its baroque churches and aristocratic palaces. Bonus: This season also comes with classical music, film, and food festivals, including the Good Food Festival (Oct. 14-20) and Dubrovnik Film Festival (Oct. 15-20).

Get the shot: Take the cable car up Mount Srđ to get sweeping views of the Old Town, Adriatic Sea, and mountainside foliage. (You can even see straight into neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina.)

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon’s sunny and mild Mediterranean climate means you’ll be greeted with near-perfect weather in the fall (average temps range from the mid-60s to 70s). There’s an increased chance of rain, but don’t let that deter you—in exchange, competitive hotel rates mean you can stay in one of the city’s charming historic hotels without breaking the bank. This is the season for roasted chestnuts, so grab a bag from a street vendor to snack on as you visit the sights.

Get the shot: Head to the tree-filled neighborhood of Principe Real for some colorful foliage, plus some of the city’s best shops and restaurants.

The Bavarian Alps

An autumn trip to southern Germany is about so much more than Oktoberfest. We’d argue that fall is the best season to visit the Bavarian Alps, when the weather is perfectly cool and the mountains transform into a technicolor dreamscape. The season is prime for outdoor enthusiasts as well, with areas like Berchtesgaden and Lake Tegernsee lending themselves to some epic scenic hikes.

Get the shot: Situated in the heart of the Bavarian Alps, Schloss Elmau features six spas, five restaurants, and even a classical concert hall—plus some of the best views around.

Prague, Czech Republic

There’s a Czech term for an Indian summer (babí léto), which bodes well for the possibility of warm days stretching to November. The low angle of the sun bathes the city in a romantic golden light, and there’s also dazzling foliage in the public parks. Mushroom pickers congregate in Kunratice Forest, a short journey away from the city; and typical Czech fare—cabbage, pork, and potato, accompanied by beer—is definitely best-suited to colder weather.

Get the shot: Take a stroll along the tree-lined Vltava River, which runs through the center of town.

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