Fall Favorites in Europe
By Kelly Cronin
The summer is of course the most popular time of year for tourists to flock to European destinations, but what about the underrated places to stop by in Autumn? Fall is arguably the best time of year to travel, with less crowded areas despite beautiful, cooler weather. In fall, most people might think of voyaging off to Canada or New England, but Europe can actually be a great fall destination, from mountain scenes to grape harvests and beer fests, let’s take a lot at the best places to visit in Europe for fall:
1) Gorge du Verdon
Known as the Grand Canyon of Europe, the Gorge du Verdon in the south of France is an absolute must-see. Seriously! One of my favorite places in Europe, hands-down. Carved by the Verdon river, the gorge is a beautiful mix of high hills to canyons to the big Lake Saint-Croix. If you’re a nature lover, you’ll be ecstatic about the numerous surrounding hiking trails, kayaking, paddle boarding and more to do along this scenic paradise. I would also highly recommend visiting the small village of Moustiers Sainte-Mairie, which is divided by a waterfall. Pick up some heavenly lavender souvenirs from the authentic Provence shops and boutiques.
2) Lake Como
Up in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy lies Lake Como in all of its glory. Lake Como is known for its upscale resorts, and there’s no wonder why. The lake has amazing, picturesque views of the stunning blue water matched with the background of mountain tops. Plus, you’ll get all the delicious Italian cuisine your heart can desire. Take a boat cruise, go for a hike, sit on one of the beautiful beaches or relax and enjoy one of the many five-star hotels. No matter what, you will always be able to have that incredible view.
Known for its chalets in the ski season, Chamonix is a perfect fall destination as a hideaway in the Alps. The town itself will be significantly less crowded, while still having the adorable restaurants and to die for fondue on almost every corner. Plus, if you look up (which you will be most of the time), you’ll see the snow covered mountain tops. Take a gondola ride up to the summit, and you’ll be able to see Mont-Blanc – just make sure to dress warm! While it’s nice on a hike down, the top is freezing cold with snowy tops and glaciers. As you hike on the lower half of the mountain, you’ll be able to see the beautiful fall foliage with colors lighting up the treetops. Plus, walking around without your teeth chattering the whole time is a big plus.
Ready for the best season for wine? Head to Bordeaux in the fall! This is when the annual grape harvests take place on various vineyards. Whether you want to be smushing grapes yourself or simply drinking them later, Bordeaux is a beautiful city with plenty of wine tasting around to satisfy any sommelier. The mild fall temperatures also make Bordeaux a perfect weekend fall getaway, where you can enjoy a lovely day tasting wine without being out in the scorching heat like the summer. You’ll also get a peek at how busy the vineyards are this time of year, which if you’re a french wine lover like me, will be so interesting to watch. And even better to sip.
Okay, going to Munich in the fall is not to avoid the crowds, but to join them! Ever heard of a little something called Oktoberfest? Head to Munich for September/October and find yourself in a sea of adults dressed head to toe in Dirndl and Liederhosen, drinking mugs of beer and singing along to authentic german songs. The fun doesn’t just stop at drinking beer (although that’s already a good time to me), but it goes on to include an amusement park full of rides, games and more. Not to mention the wide array of sausage, pretzels, sausage, breads, sausage and more sausage. If you’re ready to eat and drink your way through the season, Oktoberfest is the perfect place to start.
Where do you love to visit in the fall?