It was the first official day of autumn in the UK this week, and many other parts of the world will also start to see some colder, darker mornings and shorter days- but fear not, this is nature’s last colourful gasp before winter, when some glorious natural wonders are showcased, from swathes of beautiful trees as the leaves turn colour, to plentiful mushroom harvests- alongside some welcome sunshine. For many places around the globe, autumn is when they shine. Here are our top five autumn destinations.
Canada has numerous beautiful spots that are perfect to visit in the autumn months, but Ontario must surely be near the top of this long list. The fall colours here are simply breathtaking. Head to the vast Algonquin Provincial Park and see the maple and oak trees display their finery. Or take the Agawa Canyon train through the rugged landscapes, vast forests, mighty rivers and pristine lakes of northern Canada, followed by a spectacular descent into the canyon, where you can enjoy a scenic walk and a picnic by the Agawa river- try local specialities such as maple syrup (just put it on anything, it’s always delicious) and fresh handpicked corn on the cob.
Blissfully balmy Andalucia still boasts temperatures in the 30s in autumn, making it an ideal destination for some late sun. Enjoy some scenic trekking, such as around the valleys and chestnut groves of the Sierra de Aracena national park, or relax on the beaches, where you’re guaranteed a sunbathing spot. Drop in on one of Spain’s famous fiestas, or ferias- a whirlwind of music, drinking and feasting. And speaking of food, as well as the cosy bodegas serving delicious local wines and tapas (where you may well find yourself serenaded with a flamenco guitar), make sure you try the region’s famous setas (wild mushrooms) - this is the season for them.
Meaning ‘gold’ in Arabic, in reference to its golden sandy beaches, the coastal resort of Dahab (formerly a Bedouin outpost) is a bit of a hidden gem. Temperatures remain in the mid-30s in autumn and even stay comfortable at night- perfect for dining on spicy Bedouin calamari by the sea. As well as its chilled-out vibe, this is a mecca for diving and windsurfing, but there are also some amazing sights to see on land, such as the dramatic rock formations of the Coloured Canyon, as well as experiences such as riding a camel into the desert. And don’t miss the fabled Mount Sinai- visit St Catherine’s monastery at the base and see sunrise from the top.
There is also some spectacular autumn foliage to see here, as the trees turn gold and russet red in the rolling green valleys of this quintessential English countryside. A range of walking routes make the most of the views (such as the Cotswold Way), and stopping for a cream tea in one of the pretty villages is mandatory. Visit the farm shops, which, as well as the ubiquitous cheeses, fruits, jams and chutneys, are bursting with seasonal produce such as pumpkins. In the evening, try some hearty gourmet fare and potent local beers in a historic pub on a sleepy village green.
With the hurricane season ending, autumn is the perfect time to make the most of Tulum, which has some of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, as well as inviting turquoise waters that are popular with divers and snorkellers. Explore the fascinating Mayan ruins along the stunning coastline without the summer hordes, and further afield, visit the ruins of Cobá, which is in the heart of the jungle (some ruins are still to be excavated) and will make you feel like an intrepid explorer. On the way, stop off at Gran Cenote, and snorkel amongst the brightly coloured fish that glide around the underwater caverns. Feast on enchiladas and grilled fish, and sip chilled margaritas as the sun sets over the Caribbean.
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