If summertime sees Barcelona overwhelmed by crowds of tourists, come fall the city is much quieter and buzzing with a new energy as locals go back to work after the holidays. This is the time to wander the streets of the Gothic Quarter and stop off on Carrer Petritxol for a hot chocolate and churros, or discover the city’s Modernist marvels before stopping off in a cozy wine bar for a glass of local red wine.
Let’s face it, Paris is the city of love any time of the year. Yet, there’s something particularly romantic about the sight of orange leaves lining the Quai de Seine as passersby huddle in the local café to escape the chilly winds. Climb the heights of Montmartre and admire the city at dusk as it sparkles in the last of the gentle fall sunlight.
Big Sur, California
If the days are still warm during the fall along the Big Sur, the evenings are cooler and call for cozy sweaters and bonfire nights spent gazing up at the stars in the clear skies. Plan a romantic drive along this epic seaside route and stop off at historic ports, villages, and natural parks along the way. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for whales as they make their journey south for the winter.
The Lake District, UK
Located in Cumbria, the Lake District is one of the United Kingdom’s most scenic natural regions and the fall is one of the best times to capture its beauty. A blustery hike around the peaks will blow the cobwebs out and leave you ready for a hearty meal in a local pub. A few pints of ale and homemade pie around the open fire should have you ready to head back out in no time—or just retire to your B&B.
One of the oldest cities in the USA, Boston is steeped in history and offers some great sightseeing options thanks to its historic landmarks such as the magnificent Faneuil Hall. The crisp, dry, fall weather is ideal for wandering though its world-famous university campuses and getting lost in old bookstores.
A remnant of Colombia’s colonial past, Cartagena is a historic city located on the country’s Caribbean coastline. The weather around this time of year is still a warm 86°F (30ºC) on average, so perfect for topping up on your suntan as you wander along the old walls of the city and admire the ruins of the Castillo de San Felipe castle.
The heart of French wine production, Bordeaux has shed its reputation as the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ of France and emerged as one of the country’s most dynamic cities. Explore the white-stone walled historic center and stroll along the shores of the Garonne to Bordeaux Wine Museum. Plan a day trip to the hinterland for a wine-tasting in Saint-Emilion, and stay for lunch in this picturesque village set among the vineyards.
Like something out of a fairy-tale, Bruges is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’ thanks to the many canals that run through the heart of this historic village. During the fall, the trees seem to take on the same hues as the buildings that line the waterfronts. Wander through the main square and take a seat at a bar to sample a few local Belgium beers—just remember they can be strong.
Starting in the town of Würzburg, the Romantic Route is an epic drive that takes you through some of Bavaria’s most scenic villages and natural wildlife. The fall sees the countryside plunged in vivid tones of red and orange, which are the perfect backdrop to admire the region’s castles, such as the famous Neuschwanstein. If Oktoberfest doesn’t sound very romantic, a wine tasting in one of Bavaria’s wineries is a much more suitable option.
Prague, Czech Republic
Another European capital which is much more peaceful during the fall, Prague at this time of year is endlessly romantic thanks to its fairy-tale architecture. Wander through the city center hand in hand, stopping off in quaint cafés and art galleries. Stroll up Castle Hill and you’ll be able to admire the panoramic view of the city and its red rooftops that match the autumnal hues.
New York City, New York
NYC is a perfect city-break anytime of the year, but the fall is one of its most romantic periods. Long walks through Central Park and afternoons spent in art museums and bookstores, before cocktails in the Meatpacking District and a saunter along the High Line. There are usually some great off-peak hotel deals to be found around this time of year, so there’s no excuse to not treat yourself to a little luxury.
The Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
A UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains—also known as ‘the Smokies’—are spectacular in fall. Rolling hills covered in old growth forests burst into vivid tones of yellow, orange and brown and make for the perfect setting for a romantic horse ride.
A melting pot of architectural styles, from Gothic to Turkish and Roman, Budapest is a historic city with plenty to offer couples. The hot-spring spas are the perfect place to spend an afternoon of pampering before heading out to explore the city’s buzzing nightlife with live music and stylish wine bars, while the fall temperatures rarely drop below 68°F (20ºC) until November.
There’s no denying that the scenery and wildlife of Patagonia will take your breath away any time of the year, yet fall is when the forests seemingly burst into vivid red flames and stand in stark contrast to the blue lakes and rocky hills. This is the perfect time to plan a photography holiday with your partner and make some lasting memories of your adventure.
The fall is a real foodie’s delight in this northern province of Italy, where October brings mushroom season—and that means truffles—as well as chestnuts and other seasonal treats which pair wonderfully with local wines such as a full-bodied Barolo. At the crossroads between France and Switzerland, the foothills of the Alps provide the perfect backdrop for gentle outdoor hikes and superb scenery in Piedmont’s sleepy villages.