Autumn, a time of rosy apples, changing leaves and shorter days that beckon us to the night of the bonfire and the showy sparklers in the night sky. However, there are more activities available in Europe than just kicking conkers and stomping leaves. Spend the weekend shopping in Antwerp, enjoy the late season weather in Madeira, catch some early season sunshine on the slopes of Zermatt and dance the night away in Amsterdam. The best destinations to visit this fall are highlighted below:
As the leaves change color on the tree-lined canals and candles are placed in the crooked windows of its townhouses, autumn is particularly beautiful in Amsterdam. Every October, ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event) organizes electro, house and techno parties at venues all over the city. Then in November comes Museumnacht, when 55 of Amsterdam’s top museums stay open late. While exploring the Van Gogh Museum and hosting a party in the greenhouses of the historic Botanical Garden, listen to live DJ music.
The soils of Madeira, located in western Morocco, warm steadily from the North African sun throughout the year, with maximum temperatures in September. The Portuguese archipelago is home to a variety of flora and animals due to its subtropical environment. Visit the Botanical Gardens to see the full range, from huge spiky cacti to plants with colorful petals, or head out in October when the annual Flower Festival takes to the streets with parades and events. Follow ancient levadas on the hiking trails that wind around the island to get even closer to nature, or take the ferry to Porto Santo, Madeira’s little sister, where a stunning 9km wild beach is the site ideal for swimming.
Autumn brings crisp, fresh air, and Viennese café culture comes alive. Spend an afternoon in a cozy Viennese cafe with a hot cup of coffee and play online casino. There are plenty of places you can try this magical blend, which quickly warms up even the most stubborn chills. Start at Café Landtmann, a classic Ringstrasse café and Sigmund Freud’s favorite, where he sat with his newspapers and watched customers enjoy their apfelstrudel. Demel is another old world favorite where you can stop by the cafe and then buy the finest chocolate gift boxes to take home. At the Hotel Sacher, birthplace of the decadent cake layered with apricot jam, foodies can enjoy their hot chocolate with a slice of Sacher pie.
Wye Valley, Wales
With a designated 80km route for visitors, the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean is recognized as the best place in the UK to see the leaves as it is home to over 20 million trees. It is advisable to leave the car at home and put on your walking shoes if you want to witness the splendor of the trees turning red. Starting at Chepstow Castle, the Wye Valley Walking Trail takes you through the Welsh Highlands, through valleys and along the River Wye. From October to early November, the walkway will be edged in gold by the autumnal hues of oak, ash and beech.
There’s no such thing as a puppy’s welcome, and that’s exactly what awaits you when you enter the Guggenheim Bilbao. A piece in the extensive permanent collection of contemporary and 20th century art is Jeff Koons’ West Highland terrier, which is covered in flowers. Admire Frank Gehry’s titanium architecture, which is shaped like the Nervion River in Bilbao, both inside and outside the gallery. Using the Zubizuri Bridge near Santiago Calatrava, cross the water and then pass through the city’s malls, stopping at one of the many pintxo bars along the way for a snack.
The Umbrian countryside is lush and golden in the fall, and the vineyards turn crimson. The vendemmia, or grape harvest, is in full swing, so you’ll see plenty of people picking grapes in the fields as well as small tractors zipping through the alleyways. The precious wealth of the region, including truffles, mushrooms, chestnuts and olive oil, is available at this time in addition to wine. In every small town, locals throw sagra parties, and in true Italian style, everyone is welcome. Truffle hunting is just one of the many activities available at Hotel Castello di Reschio, which also hosts Bland Badger’s Creative Retreats here every fall.
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