10 Breathtaking Places in the World to See Fall Foliage

Sep 22, 2017

Being born in September, you could say I am biased to the beautiful colors of the fall season and am in love with the crisp air and falling leaves. Every year, when the trees switch their wardrobe from green to yellows, oranges, and reds, I get ridiculously excited.

Now, the quest to see the best autumnal colors throughout the world is on my travel bucket list, which I am sharing with you today. Here are the best places in the world to see fall foliage:

1 Hokkaido and Kyoto, Japan

Being that I have seen Japan in the autumn and early winter when the trees are fiery red and stunning against a cloudless blue sky, I can say that the Land of the Rising Sun is simply ineffable during autumn. In Japan, especially throughout Kyoto and Nara, are places where you can attend leaf-viewing parties, also called koyo.

It is similar to cherry blossoming viewing. Kyoto and Nara are number one because the autumn leaves gather along the sloping rooftops of ancient shrines and temples, color the streets, and are even featured in traditional Japanese sweets. Always begin your autumn leaf watch in Hokkaido, where autumn starts mid-September.

2 Dalarna, Sweden

Did you know that more than half of Sweden is covered in the forest? I didn’t. But knowing this, it should come as no surprise that the country has miraculous autumnal spreads. From early September to October, the forests are a stunning mix of vibrant reds and gold. One of the best locations to go solely for leaf-viewing would be the small province of Dalarna.

When there, the forests and other natural sights are going to leave you in a trance, especially if you visit one of the oldest Norway spruces in the world (dating back to 9,550 years) on Mt. Fulufjallet in northern Dalarna.

3 Umbria, Italy

Autumn in Italy breaks out in stages. The top of the country usually sees the first red leaves in September and October. Down south, where Umbria is, fall is late, around the first weeks of November, right when the grape harvest is wrapped up. It is during this time when you can see the fields of grape vines transforming for their emerald green aisles to rows upon rows of ruby reds. It is an amazing sight to be seen, especially from on high.

4 South Island, New Zealand

While New Zealand’s autumn comes sooner than you are probably used to, it is also undoubtedly one of the most resplendent. Head to New Zealand during April to witness the land shift into a blanket of yellow and orange. For peak tree season, check out the lakes and rivers around Waitaki Valley, Central Otago, and Tekapo in mid-April.

5 Aspen, Colorado, USA

Yes, Aspen is a tree and one that happens to change colors during the autumn. In other words, Aspen, Colorado is a place of magic during mid-September to the first week of October, when the aspens are a shimmering sea of gold upon the craggy mountains. These brilliant trees also contrast with the vivid green of the pine trees growing alongside them. However, keep in mind that the leaf-viewing season here is short but definitely worth it. You can go skiing afterward.

Read also – 10 World’s Most Livable Cities 2017

6 Transylvania, Romania

If you share a dream of mine to visit Dracula’s castle in Romania, do so around autumn. Not only is the area historical and full of wonder throughout the year anyway, but there are challenging hikes awaiting (many can also be driven, mind you). One drive that will take you on a tour of the autumn colors throughout the Fagaras Mountains is called the Transfagarasan.

7 Forest of Dean, England

Once upon a time, the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire was used as a royal hunting ground. Trees were also used to make Tudor ships. Now, you can come to these gardens to see the awe-inspiring colors of fall. The oak, beech, and chestnut trees shower the land in gold. You can either hike or bike through the area.

Another place in Gloucestershire to see autumnal foliage would be the Westonbirt Arboretum. There are dozens of trees, like dogwood, spindle, maples, rowans, and ironwoods that change throughout the autumn months, providing a long span of various fiery shades for you to witness time and again.

8 Huangshan Mountain, China

There is a lot of nature left in China to make your jaw drop. However, one of the best places to see autumnal beauty would be Huangshan, also know as Yellow Mountain. The range is full of trees that transform their appearance throughout the month of October. To the see the place in its full glory, you should head to Huangshan around sunrise, so the wispy clouds give the trees an ethereal glow.

9 Dandenong Ranges, Australia

Like New Zealand, Australia has an earlier autumn than the northern hemisphere. Autumn begins around March here. Though you might have never considered visiting Australia for autumn colors, the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne present a glorious shift from summer leaves to autumn ones. The mountains are within a national park, and there are also dozens of manicured gardens speckling the land. For instance, the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens are perfect to visit when the leaves begin to cover the plush lawns.

10 Pitlochry, Scotland

Though much of Scotland is covered in pine forests, there are indeed deciduous trees that change color. In fact, many say the display of reds, yellows, and golds mixing with the evergreens is one of the finest fall leaf displays in all of Europe. Pitlochry itself brings in the changing of the trees in a traditional Scottish way: with food and drink. Each October, the Enchanted Forest event is held in the woods just beyond Pitlochry’s borders.

Read also – 10 Hiking Trails Worldwide for Fall 2017

Autumn is a season that reminds us how change should be welcomed and celebrated. Though the summer is going to be put behind us for some time, autumn takes its place. During this time, travel the world, open your mind, and see a land where every color can stand alone or blend together. The harmony of reds, yellows, and oranges can be seen throughout the globe, so you will always have an autumnal destination to visit.