Fall is arguably the best time to visit Europe, according to the canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. The crowds have thinned after the summer crush, the temperatures have cooled and the prices have dropped. The newspaper presents 6 great autumn destinations that won’t bust the traveller’s budget and among them we find Crete.
- Pitlochry, Scotland
Pitlochry arguably is the most beautiful place in Scotland this time of year. A hot spot for hikers and walkers, the area bursts into flaming reds and oranges during October and November. It’s not unlike New England – but with better whisky to sip after a brisk stroll. One of the biggest draws is the Enchanted Forest, an annual, mesmerizing illumination of the woods near Pitlochry, accompanied by hypnotic music and nature sounds (enchantedforest.org.uk).
- Alsace, France
Alsace may be one of France’s most overlooked regions, despite being one of its most beautiful and a leading producer of wine. It’s best to visit in the autumn when the grape harvest is under way: The quaint villages that dot the valley between France’s Vosges mountains and Germany’s Black Forest are jam-packed with related festivals. r.
- Crete, Greece
Autumn in Europe need not require a jacket. Those looking to prolong summer into at least late October should head to the south of the Greek island Crete, along the Libyan Sea. From September to November, the temperature remains mostly in the 20s and cloud cover is scarce. Look for hotels and rooms around Elafonisi – arguably the most beautiful beach in Europe. The island’s splendour not only lies on its coasts, but even more famously in it’s mountainous interior, with cliff-hanging villages that always have an open tavern to enjoy an excellent meal.
- Vaud, Switzerland
Switzerland has always tended to be a seasonal destination, with hiking in summer and skiing in winter but little else in between. Use this to your advantage and explore the canton of Vaud, a pleasing mix of mountain, lake and city scenery.
- Natisone Valley, Italy
Tucked into one of the most mysterious and unvisited corners of Italy is the Natisone Valley, a heavily forested area in the foothills of the country’s eastern Alps. Every autumn, this wild northeastern border region – that is neither fully Italian, nor Slovenian – throws one of the best food festivals in Italy. Invito a Pranzo – “Come for Lunch” – brings together chefs from around the region to showcase one of Italy’s most interesting cuisines (invitoapranzo.it). The best place to stay while exploring the region is Cividale del Friuli, a medieval city designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Bohuslan coast, Sweden
Sweden’s west coast is typically reserved for summer months, when locals descend en masse to swim in cold waters and eat pickled herring. But those brave enough to face chillier temperatures will find the coastline blissfully empty except for the lobster lovers who head there for the freshest crustaceans on the continent. The start of the lobster season is so important that it’s celebrated with more fanfare than Christmas, with festivals, cook-outs and so-called “lobster safari” fishing expeditions.