You know fall has officially arrived when everything from cereal to hummus starts appearing in pumpkin spice. While that means shorter days and cooler weather; football, chunky sweaters, and fall hues make up for that, solidifying autumn’s position as America’s favorite season.
While the fall isn’t peak travel season, peak foliage is the perfect reason to travel. Here are some of the most stunning places to see the colors change around the world.
New England, United States of America
Autumn in New England is known for its bright red maple leaves and purple and gold dogwood trees. The best way to take it all in is a drive along Route 17 from Maine all the way down to New York’s Hudson River Valley.
Tip: Take a look at New England’s fall foliage map to know exactly when to hit each spot.
Beijing’s Western Mountains are covered in fire-red leaves from mid-October to the end of November. Visitors congregate at the Red Leaf Festival, 17 miles north of the city, to see the fall foliage and hike in Xiangshan Park.
But a trip to Beijing wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Great Wall. During the fall, the colorful mountains create a stark contrast to the wall’s pale, gray stones.
Tip: Get a bird’s eye view of the wall and surrounding foliage from the Mutianyu cable car.
From mid-September to early November, Montreal’s parks are a front row seat to nature’s transformation. But none rival Mount Royal Park. Located on the highest point of Montreal, Mount Royal’s trails lead into a forest of auburn, apricot, and mustard colors.
Tip: Walk, bike, or take a bus to the Kondiaronk Lookout for views of the entire city skyline and the Saint Lawrence River.
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Dubbed Golden Autumn in Russia, fall in Saint Petersburg is aptly named. Visit Tsarskoye Selo or Catherine’s Palace to see the tree-covered imperial grounds. For a less crowded option, stroll along the pathways or sit on a bench to watch the leaves fall at the Summer Garden.
Tip: Contrast the piercing white statues in the Summer Garden against the fall colors.
While Kyoto’s cherry blossoms attract waves of people each spring, its fall foliage offers equally picturesque views. In November, Momijigari (leaf peeping) is a big part of Japanese culture.
The most famous view of the koyo (colorful leaves) is from Tofuku-ji Temple, which spans a valley of crimson and gold maple trees.
Tip: Turn the high dynamic range (HDR) setting on your camera for greater detail of the trees.
There’s more to autumn in Bavaria than Oktoberfest. Venture out of Munich to Schwangau to see nature’s fall palette against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains in the Alps. Consider a biking tour along the Lech River for a view of Neuschwanstein Castle. Even from afar, this fairytale fortress is a must-see.
Tip: Snap a vertical panoramic shot of the castle with the trees to capture the complete scene.
Chinar tree leaves cover the entire Kashmir valley during Harud (autumn). Travel to Dal Lake for the ideal shot. The water’s reflection creates a glistening image of the trees above, while saffron-color leaves cover the surface.
Tip: Visit early in morning when the water is still for a clearer image of the lake’s reflection.