As soon as August begins I start looking forward to the cooler temperatures and golden light of fall. Fall is my favorite season for a number of reasons: the air gets crisp, the light becomes golden as the days grow shorter, my birthday, the best holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving), and my favorite seasonal foods. Fall is also a great time of year to travel. The summer crowds thin out, airfare prices decrease, and the weather is still nice enough to enjoy yourself. It's also the time of year I find myself traveling the most. Here are my top twelve travel destinations for fall 2017.
Iceland is going through tourism overload. Tourism hits its peak in the summer with its nearly eternal sun and fair weather, but good luck enjoying the scenery when someone is shoving you out of the way with a selfie stick (this is unsubstantiated and a terrible assumption) and the high prices that come with the summer season. Last October we visited Iceland and while the weather was unpredictable (read: hurricane), we did not feel bombarded by other tourists and there were times when we did not see another human being for hours. Fall is a perfect time to go: there’s still enough daylight and only one down jacket is required.
The states that make up New England are known for their fall displays of red, orange, and yellow leaves. A road trip through New Hampshire’s the White Mountains or Vermont's Green Mountains sounds like an ideal trip to take in the autumn.
One word: Oktoberfest. The world renowned festival will take place this year between September 16th and October 3rd. Oktoberfest is not just about beer drinking: there are arts and crafts, rides, and costume parades.
Mexico City, Mexico
The temperatures cool down and the festival season begins. The best time is to aim for mid to late October after the rainy season ends. Key events during the fall include Dia de la Independencia (Sept. 16), Dia de la Raza (Oct. 12), Dia de Los Muertos (Nov. 1), Dia de la Revolución (Nov. 20), and Fiesta de Santa Cecilia (Nov. 22). Mostly, I want to wander around and eat my weight in tacos.
Cayman Islands (Pirate's Week)
This looks ridiculously cheesy but fun! If you’re into all things piratical, then a trip to the beautiful tax haven of the Cayman Islands during Pirate Week (November 3-November 19) might be the destination for you.
A couple months ago when I surveyed on Facebook where I should go with my $400 Delta Gift Card, several of my cousins suggested Savannah. The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are a popular time for Savannah, Georgia. Without the muggy hot days of summer or the cooler temperatures of winter, these two seasons have the best weather. While Spring might have the extra draw of floral displays around the city, fall is the festival season and tends to have fewer crowds. Fall events include Savannah Food and Wine Festival, the Savannah Jazz Festival, and the nearby Tybee Island Pirate Fest. Plus, there’s everything else Savannah has to offer: historic architecture, hauntings, and the art scene.
Lisbon, Portugal Portugal has been high on my list for the last several years; I’ve even been slowly teaching myself Portuguese with the DuoLingo app. I’m not sure what it is that I find most intriguing: the love of pork, saudade (the emotion of deep intense nostalgia), or the trams. The water continues to be warm into fall without all the crowds if the beach scene is more your speed. One of the best parts of Portugal is its relative affordability compared to the rest of western Europe.
Prague is considered best in spring but fall is a close second. A colorful background of deep maroons, burnt oranges, and yellows creates a warm and romantic atmosphere in the city’s golden autumn light. Air fare is cheaper, the crowds fewer, and the traditional hearty Czech cuisine suited for the cold temperatures.
The summer crowds are gone and the winter crowds haven’t arrived yet. The hiking is supposed to be great at this time of year. Also, why wouldn’t I want to go to a place that’s known for three of my favorite things: mountains, cheese, and chocolate?
I've written already why Istria was my favorite region of Croatia. In the fall, the delights of the Istrian region get even better. Autumn brings truffle season. Celebrate the season and this expensive delicacy with Buzet's truffle festival starting the second weekend of September. Continue the celebration for seven weekends with Livade's Zigante Truffle Days Festival. For those who love truffles and wine, there's also The Festival of Truffles and Terran (a robust Istrian wine the color of hare's blood) in Motovun.
Clear skies and warm temperatures make fall the best season to visit Nepal. I've been obsessed with traveling to Nepal since I started reading the tales of Himalayan mountaineers. While I have no desire to summit any of the big peaks, I would love to go on a trek through these beautiful mountains. Popular trekking trails have been repaired since the devastating 2015 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
Island destinations are some of my favorites and the African island of Madagascar has plenty to offer. Isolated from the continent, the island of Madagascar developed unique flora and fauna. Fall is the perfect time of year to visit this nature lover's paradise. The weather is warm and dry without being overbearingly hot, the jacaranda is in bloom, and lemurs give birth to their young. Yes, you heard that: baby lemurs.
What is your favorite season to travel? What are some of your favorite fall destinations?