Fall is the perfect time to plan an escape to Europe and beat the crowds. Outside the tourist season, you can enjoy booking the best activities and hotels in Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and others at the best prices. The cities are quieter and local favorites shine as reservations are easier to come by. Whether you want to immerse yourself in the local culture, spend an entire day at a café, or simply cross the best European activities off your list, fall is the best time to plan your adventure.
With picturesque old town squares, scenic national parks, and unique traditions, these 10 fall destinations in Europe can’t be beaten.
Here’s our list of the top ten fall destinations in Europe:
1. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Only a few cities stand out quite like Ljubljana for enjoying fall festivals. Slovenia’s capital does not disappoint with its traffic-free streets, stunning art installations, and sprawling old town along the Ljubljanica River.
When planning a trip to Slovenia in the fall season, be sure to check out the famous Slovenian Wine Festival, Vinarium Festival, and Old Vine Festival. Each festival features some of the world’s most notable wine and culinary highlights, showcasing cultural specialties mixed with pure fun to celebrate the world’s oldest vine.
If you’re planning to visit in late fall, this pretty little town comes alive with its night festival and fiery atmosphere. During these festivals, you can make your own lanterns, sample delicious Slovenian classics and experience art installations from around the region.
2. Edinburgh, Scotland
For the best fantasy fall colours, Edinburgh really shines. The trees shine in all fall colors, from gold to fiery red, mixed with the evergreen pines within the city. The Royal Botanic Garden is one of the best places to capture these dynamic colours.
Pack your favorite walking shoes because you’ll want to take advantage of the best fall walks around the city. Get your hands on the best whiskey during Edinburgh Cocktail Week and take a day trip around the expansive grounds of enchanting Lauriston Castle.
3. Paris, France
Of course, Paris is at the top of the list during most seasons, but fall is worth mentioning. The very popular city is usually crowded, but during the fall, you can see the best sights, museums, arts and more with fewer crowds. This means you can check seeing the beauty of the top of the Eiffel Tower off your bucket list.
See the fall colors as you stroll along the famous sidewalk cafes, visit the stunning Jardin du Luxembourg and enjoy cultural events along the Seine River. During your fall adventure, sample comfort food classics from French cuisine and grab one of their widely-loved hot chocolates from Café Angelina, a must-visit on the go.
4. Tuscany, Italy
One of the best fall destinations for travelers in Europe has to be an Italian adventure through Tuscany. Tuscany’s sprawling vineyards are a magical sight where the hillsides are transformed by the natural beauty. If you visit in November, you’ll get the chance to take part in the culinary celebration of the San Miniato Truffle Festival in full swing.
Beyond the rolling hills and picture-perfect lakeside beauty, Tuscany has dazzling hot springs. They happen to be at their peak for visiting during the fall season. Travelers can tailor their own by booking a more elegant thermal spa experience at Bagno Vignoni Hot Springs or by heading to one of the free hot springs at Bagni San Filippo.
5. Budapest, Hungary
This makes it a great fall destination in Europe and the best time for a couples vacation at the best prices. Whether you’re traveling as a couple or a large group, Budapest has plenty of activities to suit the breezy weather. See historic landmarks on a river cruise, find local seasonal goods at the Central Market Hall, experience the spooky season with a Castle Cave tour and more.
With the city’s changing foliage as your backdrop, sip Hungarian wine amid the city’s vibrant foliage, soaking up its bustling energy. Make the most of your stay by planning a quick road trip to Gellert Hill. See the entire city from above in all its colorful majesty. Then end the afternoon by admiring the magnificent architecture at the famous Gellert Thermal Baths. After all, with the nickname “Bath City,” going to one of the many hot springs is a must-visit.
6. Berlin, Germany
Berlin is one of the most exciting European cities, and this is especially true during the fall. Explore the most amazing museums, such as the New Museum. See stunning cathedrals and party like the locals during the Twisted Pumpkin Festival or the Festival of Lights.
If you visit before late October, you can catch Berlin’s version of Oktoberfest. As you walk around the city, you can see Oktoberfest tents pop up and join in the festive events. One of the biggest events is hosted on Alexanderplatz.
7. Porto, Portugal
Although many love to travel to the vibrant city of Lisbon, Portugal, the smaller city of Porto is the place to be during the fall season. The first thing to do is to wander the city’s historic hills, where you can usually find panoramic views just by climbing to the top of the winding stairs. It is highly recommended to book a sightseeing tour as there is a lot to learn about the dense city.
Enjoy the fall colors, soak up the rich history, sip a delicious Port and stroll along the beautiful Douro River, all in one day. You can also visit the famous Douro Valley, where the vineyards are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8. Seville, Spain
When deciding where to visit in Europe in the fall, don’t count Seville, Spain. Located in southern Spain, enjoy late October to early November with always pleasant warmth in the weather. It is also home to the famous Alcázar Palace and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is truly one of the best cities to avoid the summer crowds as there is plenty to see outdoors and delicious restaurant cuisine. Seasonal dishes, tapas, seafood and local wines are available in abundance throughout the city, so you may want to make reservations on a whim. You can also enjoy local flavors at one of the emerging gourmet markets, e.g Barranco market.
9. London, England
Although imagining a cold-weather trip to London might make you think of roasting chestnuts and Christmas treats, the city is most enjoyable before the holiday rush. Also, with its deep wealth of history, London is the best city for a spooky seasonal getaway.
Plan a trip to historic sites, iconic royal museums, and of course, book a haunted tour of some of the best sites, e.g Highgate Cemetery And Sutton House and Bricker Square. For those not looking for ghost tales, there’s still plenty of fun to be had around town on the seasonal Harry Potter Tour and surroundings of the London Film Festival. End your day with a hearty English meal and enjoying a local pub.
10. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Finally, another great destination you can add to your European bucket list is a vacation in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Dubrovnik is always on fall travel lists because you can still travel comfortably without a jacket during the fall season and even swim in certain areas. The city is usually packed with summer crowds, making late October and beyond the ideal months to visit.
Explore the cultural treasure trove and stunning city views along the waters of the Adriatic Sea and enjoy the fall colors by taking a cable car ride up the mountain for sweeping views of the orange, red and gold hues of the region. Also check information about the Good Food Festival and the Dubrovnik Film Festival to see if you can get tickets to these cultural gems during your Croatian vacation.
Honorary mentions for our favorite fall fantasy cities for planning your European vacation are Switzerland, Amsterdam, Belgium, and Prague.
Wherever you choose, all of these cities are great fall destinations in Europe with smaller crowds, better deals, easier booking availability, and stunning natural beauty.