The best autumn destinations
During the autumn, the days get shorter, temperatures drop and the pace of life goes down a little. Whether you’re looking to prolong the summer, avoid the peak season crowds or you just can’t wait for those golden leaves to start falling, we’ve picked 13 destinations that look dazzling in the glow of autumn.
Come autumn, shades of yellow, red and orange embellish the ancient canals of Utrecht. Dating back to the 12th century, the canals with their wharves and wharf cellars are one of a kind in the world. The wharves were added to create an inner city harbour so that the boats could dock and unload their goods directly into the wharf cellars that were equipped with pedestrian walkways.
Nowadays, the wharf cellars have been transformed into cosy cafes, bars, restaurants and shops. The best way to take in this Dutch wonder is by boat. Rent a boat and paddle your way through the colourful canals. If it gets a bit chilly, stop by for a warm beverage along the way.
Tel Aviv, Israel
If you’re not quite ready to give up your tan when the sunny season starts to dwindle, make a beeline for Tel Aviv – where the summer is far from over. The Riviera-style seashore promenade is alive with carefree joggers, boutique shops and exceptional restaurants serving up fresh Mediterranean fare. A smooth breeze picks up on the 16 beaches stretching along the coastline, making the temperature just perfect – and gone are the crowds of tourists. Gordon-Frishman is the most central, and blissfully empty in the autumn months. Hilton, the gay-friendliest of beaches, is also the surfer favourite. Head to Banana beach for unrivalled sunsets with cocktail-in-hand at its namesake beach cafe, or stop by Dolphinarium on Fridays for a show of drummers and performance artists partying on the sand.
The capital of Siberia may be known for its hostile winters far below freezing, but it celebrates the Indian summer from mid-September to mid-October, holding on the last rays of sun.
Although a common brief stop on a Trans-Siberian excursion, Novosibirsk deserves to be discovered especially in light of the last rays of autumn sun. The golden sunset sublimes the silver dome and massive columns of the Opera and Ballet Theatre, the largest in Russia. It’s hard not to feel humbled besides such massive architecture, guarded by Lenin’s imposing statue on Lenina Square. Brave locals might still bathe in the waters of the Ob River, so join in or grab a blanket and sit on the shore watching the Trans-Siberian train chug across the Novosibirsk Rail Bridge.
With its insular 40°C weather, summer in Seville is best spent at the nearby beaches like Matalascañas – but plan your trip a month or two later and you’ll hit the sweet spot. The streets smell of orange blossom, the shaded plazas are filled with locals drinking chilled beer and snacking on tapas, and the nights are long and balmy.
The city’s compact historical centre and flat landscape are perfect for spending your days walking around soaking in the theatrical culture and Arabic heritage.
If you need to cool down after all the sightseeing, head to the nearest rooftop pool at Hotel Doña Maria or refresh your inner child at the Isla Mágica amusement park.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
The nip of winter shyly shows the tip of its nose behind the maple autumn coloured scenery. Towering over Belfast, hike up Black Mountain for a view that stretches across the city towards the Strangford Lough inlet. A sea safari on the water or a stroll along the orange-hued shore make for a perfect excuse to pop in to the Crown Liquor Saloon and warm up with a spiced gin cocktail.
If you are travelling by car, a worthwhile nearby trip would be a visit to the enchanting archaeological site of Beaghmore Stone Circles. Or on your way to visit Old Bushmills Distillery, a whiskey-making legend in Northern Ireland, walk beneath the Dark Hedges, intertwined beech trees hugging the road.