Go World Travel is reader-supported and may earn a commission from purchases made through links in this piece.
Autumn is the perfect time to plan an escape to Europe and beat the crowds. Outside the tourist season, you can enjoy booking the top activities and hotels in Germany, Italy, Spain, France and beyond for the best prices. The cities are quieter and the local favorites shine as they are easier to get reservations at. Whether you want to immerse yourself in local culture, spend a whole day at a cafe or simply cross all the best European activities off your list, Autumn is the best time to plan your adventure.
With breathtaking old city squares, scenic national parks and unique traditions, these 10 Fall destinations in Europe cannot 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 fun and autumn festivals. The capital city of Slovenia does not disappoint with traffic-free streets, stunning art installations and an old town sprawling along the Ljubljanica River.
When planning a trip to Slovenia in the Fall season, be sure to check out its renowned Slovenian Wine Festival, the Vinarium Festival and the Old Vine Festival. Each festival has some of the most exciting wine and culinary highlights, showcasing the cultural specialties mixed with the pure fun of celebrating the oldest vine in the world.
Best Tips & Tools to Plan Your Trip
If you are planning to visit in late Autumn, this tiny, beautiful city comes alive for The Festival of Night and Fiery Ambiences. During these festivals, you can make your own lanterns, taste delicious Slovenian classics and experience the art installations from across the region.
2. Edinburgh, Scotland
For the best fairytale autumn colors, the city of Edinburgh truly shines. The trees hit every fall hue, from golden to fiery red, mixed with evergreen pines within the town. The Royal Botanic Garden is one of the best places to catch these dynamic colors.
Pack your favorite walking shoes because you’ll want to take advantage of all the best Autumn walks around the city. Find the finest whiskey drinks during the Edinburgh Cocktail Week and take a day trip around the extensive grounds of the captivating Lauriston Castle.
3. Paris, France
Ofcourse, Paris is at the top of the list during most seasons, but Autumn is to be noted. A city so famous is typically packed, but during the Fall, you can see the best sights, museums, art and more with fewer crowds. This means you can check witnessing the beauty of the top of the Eiffel Tower off of your bucket list.
See the fall colors as you stroll along the iconic pavement cafes, visit the stunning Jardin du Luxembourg and relish the cultural events along the Seine River. During your Autumn adventure, experience the comforting classics of French cuisine and even grab one of the widely loved hot chocolates from must-visit Angelina cafe as you go.
4. Tuscany, Italy
One of the top Fall destinations in Europe for travelers should be an Italian adventure through Tuscany. Tuscany’s sprawling vineyards are a magical sight as the natural beauty of the hillsides transforms. If you visit in November, you will get the chance to partake in the culinary celebration of the San Miniato Truffle Festival in its prime.
Outside of the picture-perfect rolling hills and lakeside beauty, Tuscany has dazzling hot springs. They happen to be in their prime to visit during the Fall season. Travelers can design their vibe by booking a more elegant thermal spa experience at Bagno Vignoni Hot Springs or by heading to one of the free Hot Springs in Bagni San Filippo.
5. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest has become widely known as one of the most romantic cities in Europe. This makes for a wonderful Fall destination in Europe and the best time for a couples’ getaway at the most reasonable price. Whether you travel as a couple or a larger group, Budapest has plenty of activities for the crisp weather. See the historical sights on a river cruise, find local seasonal goods at Central Market Hall, enjoy the spooky season with a Castle Cave tour and more.
With the city’s turning foliage as your backdrop, sip Hungarian wine amid vibrant city foliage, absorbing its bustling energy. Make the most of your stay by planning a quick road trip to Gellért Hill. See the entire city from above with all of its colorful majesty. Then, finish the afternoon soaking up gorgeous architecture in the famous Gellért Baths thermal pools. After all, with the nickname “City of Baths,” going to one of the many hot springs is a must-visit.
6. Berlin, Germany
Berlin is considered one of the most exciting European cities, which is especially true during the Fall season. Explore the most fascinating museums, such as the Neues Museum. See staggering cathedrals and celebrate like a local during the quirky Pumpkin Festival or Festival of Lights.
If you visit before late October, you can catch Berlin’s own version of Oktoberfest. As you wander the city, you can find Oktoberfest tents pop up and join in on the celebratory events. One of the biggest events is hosted in Alexanderplatz.
7. Porto, Portugal
Though many love to travel to the vibrant city of Lisbon in Portugal, the smaller city of Porto is the place to be during the Fall season. First on the to-do list is wandering the hills of the historic city, where you can typically find panoramic views by simply climbing to the top of the winding stairs. Booking a sightseeing tour is highly recommended as there is much to learn about the dense city.
Enjoy the autumn colors, take in rich history, sip on delicious Port and stroll along the beautiful Douro River all in one day. You can also visit the renowned Douro Valley, where the vineyards are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8. Seville, Spain
When deciding which place to visit in Europe in the Fall, don’t count out Seville in Spain. Hidden in southern Spain, enjoy late October to early November with pleasant, lingering warmth in the weather. It is also home to the notable Alcazar Palace and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This is truly one of the best cities to avoid summer crowds as there is so much to see outdoors and mouth-watering restaurant fare. Seasonal plates, tapas, seafood and local wines are abundant throughout the city, so you may even want to make reservations on a whim. You can also enjoy the local flavors at one of the rising gourmet markets, such as Lonja del Barranco.
9. London, England
Though picturing a cool weather trip to London may make you think of roasting chestnuts and Christmas delights, the city is even more enjoyable before the Holiday rush. Also, with its deep wealth of history, London is the best city for a seasonal spooky vacation.
Plan a trip to historical sites, royal highlight museums and of course, book a haunted tour at some of the top spots, like Highgate Cemetery and Sutton House and Breaker’s Yard. For those who aren’t looking for ghost tales, there is still plenty of fun around the city on a seasonal Harry Potter tour and surrounding the London Film Festival. Finish the day hunkering down with a hearty English meal and enjoying a local pub.
10. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Finally, one more top destination to add to your European bucket list is a getaway to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Dubrovnik is always on the Autumn travel lists because you can still journey comfortably without wearing a jacket during the Fall season and even swim in certain areas. The city is usually packed with summer crowds, which makes late October and beyond the perfect months to visit.
Explore the cultural treasure trove and jaw-dropping city views along the Adriatic waters and scratch your fall colors itch by taking a cable car up the mountain for sweeping views of the region’s orange, red and golden hues. Also, check out information on the Good Food Festival and Dubrovnik Film Festival to see if you can get tickets to these cultural gems during your Croatian getaway.
Honorary mentions to our top favorite fairytale Fall season cities to plan your European vacation are Switzerland, Amsterdam, Belgium and Prague.
Wherever you choose, all these cities make for great fall destinations in Europe with fewer crowds, best price deals, easier booking availability and picturesque natural beauty.
Author Bio: Helen Kuhn is a writer and publisher based out of Pittsburgh, PA. When she isn’t mapping out a new adventure, she is loafing with her cat and getting lost in a sketchbook.