• Menu
  • Menu
Best Places to Visit in Europe this Autumn/Fall

Best Places to Visit in Europe this Autumn-Fall Travel Destinations

Autumn is my favorite time to explore Europe, as the landscape transforms with vibrant fall colors and the summer crowds disperse. This season offers a unique opportunity to experience Europe’s beauty in a calmer, more scenic setting. In this guide, I will highlight some of the best places to visit in Europe during the fall, with a brief travel guide for each destination. Whether you’re drawn to the rustic charm of countryside villages or the autumnal hues of city parks, these spots are particularly captivating in the cooler, quieter months. Join me to discover the best places to visit in Europe this autumn for a truly enriching travel experience.

Find a hotel for your next trip on Expedia!

Why Visit Europe in the Autumn?

Best Places to Visit in Europe this Autumn

Autumn is an ideal time to visit Europe for several compelling reasons. First, the crowds of summer diminish significantly, allowing for a more relaxed pace of exploring attractions. You won’t have to navigate through throngs of tourists, which means shorter lines and more tranquil experiences at popular sites. Additionally, travel and accommodation costs generally drop after the high season, making it more budget-friendly.

The weather also cooperates beautifully in the fall. With mild temperatures that are perfect for wandering through cities and countryside alike, without the often oppressive heat of summer. Moreover, autumn marks the harvest season across the continent. This is a festive time when local markets brim with fresh produce. Also food festivals celebrate the bounty with authentic flavors and traditions. Visiting Europe in autumn lets you enjoy these unique cultural experiences in the best possible conditions. Let’s get into the Best Places to Visit in Europe this Autumn!

Best Places to Visit in Europe this Autumn

1. Burgundy, France

Best Places to Visit in Europe this Autumn

Burgundy is an autumnal treasure trove in France. Renowned for its vine-strewn landscapes that burst into vibrant hues of orange and red during the fall, it’s my top pick for the best places to visit in Europe this autumn. This region, famed for its world-class wines and historical estates, offers a serene escape with cooler temperatures and a slower pace, allowing visitors to truly soak in its rustic charm and rich heritage. As the harvest season kicks into full gear, the local vineyards become alive with activity, providing a unique glimpse into the heart of Burgundy’s wine culture. It’s definitely the top of the list for the best places to visit in Europe this autumn.

Mini Travel Guide to Burgundy

Best Things to See/Do:

  1. Wine Tastings/Tours: Participate in guided tastings and tours at renowned vineyards to understand the intricate process of wine-making during the peak harvest season.
  2. Chateau Visits: Explore historic châteaux like the Château de Pommard and Château de Chassagne-Montrachet, each offering a blend of architectural beauty and rich history.
  3. Bike Rides through the Countryside: Rent a bike and meander through the picturesque trails lined with golden vineyards and quaint villages, perfect for capturing the essence of Burgundy in autumn.

Where to Stay:

  1. Dijon: The region’s capital offers a mix of urban convenience and historical sights, with accommodations ranging from luxury hotels to cozy B&Bs.
  2. Arnay Le Duc: For a quieter stay, this small town provides a charming backdrop and traditional lodging options.
  3. Beaune: Known as the wine capital of Burgundy, Beaune is ideal for those who wish to stay close to major vineyards and enjoy the vibrant wine culture.

Tips for Visiting in the Autumn:

  1. Stay in a Gite: Embrace local life by staying in a ‘gite’ (a fully-equipped holiday home), which often comes with a fireplace perfect for chilly autumn evenings.
  2. Enjoy the Local Seasonal Flavors: Autumn is the time to try dishes like beef bourguignon and coq au vin, which use local ingredients and wines.
  3. Rent a Car to Drive through the Autumn Scenery: Having your own vehicle allows you to explore the extensive beauty of the region at your own pace, from hidden vineyards to scenic backroads.

To learn more about traveling Burgundy, France, check out my complete travel guide!

2. Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany Italy Complete Travel Guide

Autumn casts a magical spell over Tuscany. With a cooler, more gentle climate that enhances the already stunning landscape of rolling hills, vineyards, and olive groves. As the high season winds down, the region shows its more tranquil side. The harvest season is in full swing during these months. This makes it the perfect time to witness and participate in the rich agricultural traditions of Tuscan culture. Local festivals, celebrating everything from wine to truffles, offer a glimpse into the region’s deep-rooted culinary heritage, making a fall visit a richly rewarding experience.

Mini Travel Guide to Tuscany

Best Things to See/Do:

  1. Tour the Vineyards and Olive Groves: Engage in guided tours of the vineyards and olive groves. These are especially rich and inviting in the fall, showcasing the harvest and production processes.
  2. Attend Local Festivals: Participate in local autumn festivals such as the Chianti Grape Harvest Festival and the White Truffle Festival in San Miniato, which celebrate Tuscany’s culinary and agricultural traditions.
  3. Day Trips around Tuscany: Explore the diversity of the Tuscan landscape with day trips. Getting around Tuscany is very easy with both trains and car rentals.

Where to Stay:

  1. Florence: The artistic capital offers luxurious hotels and historic residences that put you in the heart of Tuscany’s cultural life.
  2. Siena: Known for its medieval cityscape and the famous Palio horse race, Siena offers a more intimate experience with several boutique accommodations.
  3. Arezzo: Stay in this less touristy locale to enjoy its charming medieval streets and local artisan shops without the crowds.

Tips for Visiting in Autumn:

  1. Dress in Layers: Tuscany’s autumn weather can be quite variable. With warm days and cool evenings, pack layers that will keep you comfortable as you explore.
  2. Check Local Festival Dates: Plan your visit to coincide with various local festivals for a deeper cultural experience. Many towns have unique celebrations and events in the fall.
  3. Book Vineyard Tours in Advance: Many vineyards have limited slots for tours and tastings, especially during the busy harvest season. It’s wise to book these experiences ahead of your visit.

To learn more about traveling through Tuscany, Italy, check out my complete travel guide!

3. Douro Valley, Portugal

The Douro Valley in Portugal is spectacular in autumn. This is when the terraced vineyards along the river turn golden and the region’s famed Port wine grapes reach peak ripeness. This season brings a special charm to the area, with less humidity and milder temperatures compared to the summer months. This creates ideal conditions for exploring. Autumn in the Douro Valley is not just visually stunning but also a sensory delight. It’s the time for grape harvests, wine-making, and vibrant local celebrations that welcome visitors into the heart of Portuguese culture.

Mini Travel Guide to the Douro Valley

Best Things to See/Do:

  1. Port Wine Tours: Visit local quintas (wine estates) to taste world-renowned Port wines and learn about the traditional methods of Port wine production that have been honed over centuries.
  2. Boat Tour on the River Douro: Take a leisurely boat tour along the Douro River to see the breathtaking landscape from a different perspective, especially striking when the vineyards are aflame with autumn colors.
  3. Explore the Countryside: Venture into the surrounding countryside where quaint villages and historic sites nestle among the picturesque hills and valleys, offering a deeper understanding of the region’s heritage.

Where to Stay:

  1. Douro Valley: Opt for a stay directly in the heart of the valley. Many quintas offer guest accommodations, providing a unique, immersive experience in the wine country.
  2. Porto: Stay in Porto for a more urban experience while still being close enough to visit the Douro Valley easily. Porto offers a range of accommodations from luxury hotels to charming guesthouses.

Tips for Visiting in Autumn:

  1. Book Wine Tours in Advance: With harvest time being a peak period for local wineries, it’s wise to book your tours in advance to secure a spot.
  2. Wear Comfortable Footwear: Exploring the terraced vineyards and cobblestone streets of the villages calls for sturdy, comfortable shoes.
  3. Check Local Harvest Events: Participate in or witness the traditional grape harvest activities that are often accompanied by festivals and celebrations, providing an authentic glimpse into the local culture.

To learn more about traveling the Douro Valley in Portugal, check out my complete travel guide!

4. Cinque Terre, Italy

Ciqnue Terre Complete Travel Guide

Cinque Terre, with its five picturesque villages perched along the rugged Italian Riviera, is truly enchanting in autumn. The cooler temperatures and diminishing crowds offer a more intimate experience of this stunning region. During my three months in Italy, Cinque Terre stood out as a highlight. With its vibrant houses and the Mediterranean’s blue backdrop especially vivid in the soft autumn light, it stole my heart. This season is perfect for enjoying the outdoor activities and culinary delights of the area without the summer rush.

Mini Travel Guide to Cinque Terre

Best Things to See/Do:

  1. Hike Between Villages: The famed hiking trails connecting the villages offer breathtaking views. It’s a peaceful way to explore the area as the trails are less crowded in autumn.
  2. Wine Tastings on the Hillside: Sample local wines at small vineyards nestled on the steep terraces. You can also book a guided tour through the vineyards.
  3. Tasting Local Pesto: Cinque Terre is in Liguria, the birthplace of pesto. Enjoy this fresh, aromatic sauce in various dishes at local eateries, especially delightful when paired with a glass of regional wine.

Where to Stay:

  1. Corniglia: The smallest and highest of the villages, offering stunning panoramic views and a quieter atmosphere.
  2. Vernazza: Arguably the most picturesque of the villages, with its lovely harbor and vibrant square surrounded by cozy restaurants.
  3. Manarola: Known for its scenic charm and great swimming spots, Manarola is a wonderful base for both relaxation and exploration.

Tips for Visiting in Autumn:

  1. Use Omio for Train Service: To conveniently navigate between the villages, use the Omio app to book and manage train tickets. This is especially useful during the less frequent off-season schedules.
  2. Wake Up Early to Explore the Towns Quietly: Experience the serene beauty of the villages in the early morning light, before any day-trippers arrive.
  3. Pack Layers for Variable Weather: Autumn can bring fluctuating temperatures. Layers ensure comfort whether you’re sunlit hillside or shaded by the narrow streets of the villages.

To learn more about traveling the Cinque Terre in Italy, check out my complete travel guide!

5. The Cotswolds, England

The Cotswolds Complete Travel Guide

The Cotswolds in autumn is a quintessential English experience. With its picturesque landscapes painted in rich hues of amber and gold, it’s a must-visit. This area is famed for its charming cobblestone towns and rolling countryside, which seem to glow under the soft autumn light. The cooler temperatures and quieter streets enhance the peaceful atmosphere. It is the perfect time for leisurely exploration and cozy afternoon teas. The Cotswolds offers a slower pace of life that invites you to unwind and savor each moment. This is definitely the quaintest of the best places to visit in Europe this autumn on this list.

Mini Travel Guide to the Cotswolds

Best Things to See/Do:

  1. Wander the Many Cobblestone Towns: Stroll through the historic towns with their well-preserved architecture and quaint boutiques, especially beautiful with the backdrop of fall foliage.
  2. Hike the Countryside: Take advantage of the cooler weather to explore the extensive network of trails that crisscross the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  3. Tea with Scones and Jam: No visit to the Cotswolds would be complete without indulging in a traditional English tea, featuring scones, clotted cream, and locally-made jam in a cozy village café.

Where to Stay:

  1. Bibury: Often described as the most beautiful village in England, Bibury offers delightful accommodation options that capture the essence of rural England.
  2. Painswick: Known as the “Queen of the Cotswolds,” Painswick is a great base with its charming inns and nearby Rococo Garden.
  3. Castle Combe: Dubbed ‘The Prettiest Village in England,’ Castle Combe provides a picturesque setting that feels straight out of a storybook, with luxurious country hotels and quaint bed and breakfasts.

Tips for Visiting in Autumn:

  1. Dress in Layers: Autumn weather in England can be unpredictable. With brisk mornings and mild afternoons, dressing in layers is advisable.
  2. Book Accommodations Early: The Cotswolds is a popular spot for autumn getaways. Secure your accommodation well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  3. Explore Local Events: Autumn is a time for harvest festivals, bonfire nights, and other local celebrations.

To learn more about traveling The Cotswolds in England, check out my complete travel guide!

6. Venice, Italy

Where to Stay in Venice Italy

Venice in autumn maintains a magical allure, despite the perennial presence of tourists. The slight decrease in crowd size from summer offers a somewhat more breathable space to explore this iconic city. The cooler, crisp air and softer light enhance the romantic and mysterious vibe of Venice, making it a delightful time to visit. Autumn also brings with it a series of cultural events and celebrations, providing a deeper glimpse into the rich tapestry of Venetian life.

Mini Travel Guide to Venice

Best Things to See/Do:

  1. Catamaran Sunset Cruise around Venice: Experience Venice from the water by taking a catamaran cruise at sunset, when the city is bathed in golden hues and the canals reflect the stunning architecture.
  2. Biennale: Attend the Venice Biennale, an internationally renowned cultural festival that features art, architecture, cinema, dance, music, and theater events.
  3. Explore Historical Libraries and Bookshops: Venice is home to some of the most enchanting and historic libraries and bookshops, offering a unique peek into the city’s intellectual and cultural heritage.

Where to Stay:

  1. Cannaregio: This less touristy neighborhood is ideal for those looking to experience a more authentic side of Venice. It’s home to traditional restaurants and historic sites, yet remains within walking distance of the main attractions.
  2. Dorsoduro: Known for its artistic vibe, thanks to the numerous galleries and higher education institutions, Dorsoduro offers a vibrant nightlife and a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to cozy guesthouses.

Tips for Visiting in Autumn:

  1. Prepare for Acqua Alta: Autumn is the season for Venice’s famous high waters, or ‘acqua alta.’ Check the local tide charts, wear waterproof boots, and be prepared for temporary flooding in parts of the city.
  2. Enjoy Seasonal Delicacies: Autumn is the perfect time to try Venetian specialties like mushroom risotto or pumpkin gnocchi, which use fresh, seasonal ingredients.
  3. Visit Major Sights During Off-Peak Hours: Even with slightly fewer tourists, Venice can feel crowded. Plan to visit popular spots like St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the biggest crowds.

To learn more about traveling Venice, Italy, check out my complete travel guide!

7. Porto, Portugal

Porto is arguably one of the best places to visit in Europe this autumn, with the weather remaining pleasantly warm and inviting. This charming Portuguese city, with its rich history and vibrant culture, becomes even more appealing as the high temperatures of summer give way to milder days. The streets, less crowded than in peak tourist season, invite leisurely exploration of its beautiful architecture and riverside locales. Autumn also brings a fresh energy to the city with cultural events and the buzz of the grape harvest in the nearby Douro Valley.

Mini Travel Guide to Porto

Best Things to See/Do:

  1. Wander the Many Streets: Take your time meandering through Porto’s diverse neighborhoods, each brimming with unique boutiques, cozy cafes, and historical landmarks.
  2. Douro Valley Day Trip: Embark on a day trip to the Douro Valley, famous for its stunning landscapes and wine production. Autumn, with its harvest activities, is a particularly fascinating time to visit.
  3. Visit Livraria Lello: Explore one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores, Livraria Lello, known for its stunning interior and historical literary significance.

Where to Stay:

  1. Ribeira: Stay in the heart of Porto along the riverfront in Ribeira, famous for its colorful, stacked houses and lively atmosphere. This area is perfect for first-time visitors wanting to be close to major tourist attractions.
  2. Cedofeita: For a more local experience, Cedofeita offers trendy boutiques, art galleries, and cafes, all within walking distance of the city center yet away from the main tourist hustle.

Tips for Visiting in Autumn:

  1. Enjoy Outdoor Dining: Take advantage of the warm autumn weather to dine al fresco at one of Porto’s many terraces or riverside eateries, offering delightful views and delicious local cuisine.
  2. Participate in Wine-Related Activities: With the grape harvest in full swing, consider participating in wine tastings or visiting local cellars to learn more about Porto’s famous port wine.
  3. Pack for Variable Weather: While the days can be warm, evenings tend to cool down. Packing layers will ensure you’re comfortable no matter the time of day.

To learn more about traveling Porto, Portugal, check out my complete travel guide!

Tips for Visiting Europe this Autumn

Best Places to Visit in Europe this Autumn

Visiting Europe in the autumn offers a special opportunity to enjoy its beauty with fewer crowds and vibrant landscapes. Here are essential tips to enhance your travel experience:

  1. Get Connected with Airalo e-SIMs: Use Airalo e-SIMs for seamless connectivity without the hassle of physical SIM cards. Ideal for hopping between countries.
  2. Rent a Car to See Autumn Foliage: Explore Europe’s countryside at your own pace by car to fully enjoy the scenic autumn colors.
  3. Dress in Layers: European autumn weather varies greatly throughout the day; layering lets you adapt comfortably.
  4. Book Early: Even in the quieter autumn season, popular spots can get busy, especially during festivals. Secure accommodations and transport ahead of time.
  5. Eat Seasonal Local Dishes: Relish fresh, seasonal produce by trying local dishes like German game stews or French roasted chestnuts.
  6. Check Local Festival Schedules: Autumn is packed with cultural events, from Italy’s wine harvests to Germany’s Oktoberfest. Align your visit with these local festivals for a richer experience.
  7. Visit Vineyards During Harvest Time: Take guided tours of vineyards to witness the harvest and sample freshly made wines.

These streamlined tips will help you make the most of your autumnal visit to Europe, ensuring a memorable and culturally rich experience.

Book a rental car on RentalCars.com for your next trip using the form below!


Autumn in Europe holds a special place in my heart, so much so that I plan my year around being here during this season. There’s a magical blend of warm sunlight and cool breezes, coupled with the transformation of the landscape into vibrant fall colors. The rich flavors of autumn’s harvest only enhance this enchanting experience. For me, it’s the best time to explore Europe, offering not just picturesque views but a chance to deeply connect with the culture and rhythm of life here. I hope this guide inspires you to experience these best places to visit in Europe this autumn.

Pin this Post for Later!-Best Places to Visit in Europe this Autumn

Best Places to Visit in Europe this Autumn/Fall Pin