Whether you’re looking to bask in some of Europe’s finest fall foliage or soak up the final glorious moments of warm weather after fall equinox, these seven European cities are guaranteed to get you in the spirit of the season.
1. Wierschem, Germany
Alright, so there’s one major attraction in Wierschem, Germany that makes for an ideal fall getaway. Walking the stone bridge to reach Eltz Castle will actually make you feel like a Disney princess (or prince). This 850-year-old castle is surrounded by an enchanted and mystical wooded dell that is especially breathtaking when the leaves change.
It’s destinations like Wierschem that force us to get in touch with our inner-child and imagination, allowing us to explore buildings that seem like they came straight from a storybook. At Eltz Castle, travelers can take a 40-minute guided tour in English, French, or Dutch. For those who dream of having a fairytale wedding, you can even get married in this magical keep! Click here for more information on planning your trip to Eltz Castle.
2. Grindelwald, Switzerland
Located in the heart of the Bernese Alps, Grindelwald, Switzerland is yet another supreme fairytale destination to visit during fall months. Grindelwald is a perfect getaway for anyone wishing to indulge in some of the most stunning mountain landscapes in all of Europe, and possibly even the world.
Arguably the region’s most popular attraction, the 13,025-foot Eiger is one of the most famous mountains on the planet, with most of its fame coming from its colossal and striking north face, the Eigerwand. Only the most advanced hikers should attempt this trek, taking approximately five days to complete. But it’s still something to see from a distance.
3. Bruges, Belgium
Though the temperatures begin to drop in Bruges in the fall, it could be the golden hour for travelers visiting this enchanted city, for most tourists will be escaping to warmer European regions.
Characterized by its narrow canals, winding cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and historical medieval buildings, Bruges inevitably enamors anyone who sets foot there.
Typically less popular than other cities such as Brussels and Antwerp, Bruges is an ideal destination for those wishing to get away from swarms of tourists and get a feel for a more authentic Belgium.
Interested in learning more about Belgium? Read Castles & Canals: 9 Things To Do In Belgium.
4. Dubrovnik, Croatia
While the previously mentioned destinations are ideal places to visit in autumn due to their fairytale auras and fall foliage, some of us are looking to soak up the sun for as long as possible before those winter temperatures roll in.
Summer is Dubrovnik’s high season, causing prices on flights and hotels to skyrocket and beaches to be surging with tourists. At times, it is even difficult to find a spot on the beach during summer months in Dubrovnik.
Fall, on the other hand, is an exemplary time to visit this glittering Adriatic coastal city. Water stays warm here throughout October and sometimes even until November, allowing travelers to take a leisurely dip well into the fall season.
5. Salzburg, Austria
The hills are definitely alive during fall in Salzburg, Austria, and travelers will be happy to discover this is also the season you’ll get the most bang for your buck when visiting this majestic city.
For those who want to live like the locals, take part in the Salzburger Kulturtage, a series of concerts, opera and theatre that provide an alternative to the incredibly expensive Salzburg Festival during the summer.
If you’re lucky, you might even catch the region’s beloved annual Almabtrieb event, a cattle drive that usually takes place in early October. The ceremony consists of the decorating of cows with a special kind of ornament. The cattle are then taken from high altitude meadows in the mountains to the valleys where they reside during winter months.
6. Piedmont, Italy
It may come as a surprise to know that fall is peak season for food and wine in Italy. Piedmont, Italy is situated in the northwest, bordering Switzerland and France. Piedmont, meaning the “foot of the mountain,” stays true to its name by being surrounded by the Alps on three sides, containing the highest peaks and largest glaciers in Italy.
Mushrooms, truffles, chestnuts, and chocolate are some of the region’s finest delicacies during fall, and it is also the vineyard harvest season. When visiting Piedmont, be sure to check out the Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy, a series of nine calvaries of chapels and other stunning architectural features.
7. Alsace, France
Flying under the radar, Alsace usually isn’t at the top of travelers’ bucket lists when visiting France, but it surely should be, especially if you’re visiting during fall.
Known for its abundance of fairytale neighborhoods, Alsace is also popular for its beer (Kronenbourg or Meteor), its sauerkraut, and a local favorite — Alsace Flammekueche, similar to pizza but without the tomatoes, topped with cheese, mushrooms, cream, and local ham.
Fall is a magical time to travel, especially throughout Europe. We hope this article provides some insight into several European cities ideal for a fall getaway. As usual, happy trails!