Autumn Holiday Ideas to Book Now
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Autumn Holiday Ideas to Book Now

For those of us who actually like the cold…

You might be scared to admit it amid the summer months, but it’s OK to miss autumn. Crunchy leaves, woolly jumpers, a crisp bite in the air: it’s a wonderful time of the year. If you’re looking for an autumn holiday, then here are some ideas…

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Autumn Holiday Ideas to Book Now

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Autumn view with red foliage of Alps with lake in Tyrol, Austria

Take to the Rails in the Alps

The forests of central Europe are particularly spectacular in their autumn finery, and Discover the World’s two-week Alps to the Adriatic rail holiday – passing through Bavaria, the Alps and Slovenia – is the slow travel way to sit back and soak up the scenery. Embarking post summer peak means also enjoying a cooler, less crowded city sightseeing experience in Vienna, Ljubljana, Trieste and Venice.

BOOK: 14 nights, from £2,088pp.

two people clinking glasses of sturm in Austria

Drink Up a Sturm in Vienna

Fancy staying stationary? Vienna, Austria’s capital city, is the ideal autumnal city break. In late September, as the summer fades, Vienna’s drink scene really comes alive. Sturm, an unusual concoction typically served in a tumbler or large wine glass, looks like hazy, unfiltered beer, and is in fact still-fermenting grape juice, on its way to becoming wine. Available for just a few weeks between the end of September and the beginning of November, this young wine is Vienna’s favourite way to celebrate the start of the wine harvest season and it’s a fruity, fizzing delight. You’ll find it across the city in heurigers – traditional wine taverns, like Weinstube Josefstadt, for example – along with more modern establishments as you stroll through the city’s pretty streets.

Image © Blickwerk Fotografie

Mountain bikers, Chair Mountain from Huntsman Ridge, McClure Pass, Colorado

Golden Hues in Colorado

Filled with towering trees, Colorado is a beautiful destination year-round – but especially in autumn, when shades of gold and amber cloak the trees against a backdrop of stunning mountain ranges. Road trip along Trail Ridge Road for a long, winding view of the Rocky Mountain National Park, with autumnal hues stretching for miles into the distance. Or, try San Juan Skyway – allegedly the States‘ most beautiful drive – where the stunning foliage attracts happy snappers year round.

The Grand York

Go Stargazing in York

Fancy a staycation instead? Head to the North York Moors, widely regarded as one of the UK’s best sports for stargazing, having received International Dark Sky Reserve status. The Grand hotel in York has relaunched its Dark Skies experience, which pairs a luxurious overnight stay with a stargazing experience, in collaboration with the North York Moors. 

Enjoy dinner at The Rise before heading out to the Moors, witnessing mesmerising night sky views of the milky way, planets, and constellations, with expert guidance from Astronomer Richard Darn (with accompanying food and drink to boot). Then, back to The Grand for a lovely night’s sleep in sumptuous beds and a delightful breakfast the following morning. 

BOOK: Selected dates in October, November, January and February, from £395 based on two adults sharing.

Two wooden chairs overlooking Tuscan forest

Forest Foraging in Tuscany

Located in the heart of Tuscany – in the WWF-protected Oasi Dynamo reserve in San Marcello Piteglio – Oasyhotel represents the perfect synergy between environmental conservation, social responsibility and positive responsible tourism. Open seasonally from 14th April until the 31st October, it is also the ideal destination for a nature-immersive, wilderness retreat and early autumn getaway. As the expansive, private forest turns beautiful shades of orange and reds, guests can: hike, electric bike, forest forage, embark on guided nature walks, make and taste cheese, farm and garden vegetables, horse-ride, kayak, paddle-board, do lakeside yoga, have a spa treatment, wind down by the evening campfire and, of course, tuck in to delicious local Tuscan seasonal produce. Active, but restorative.

BOOK: From €560 (approx. £472) per lodge per night on a bed and breakfast basis.

Naruko Gorge. Japan National Tourism Organization

Gorge-ous Autumnal Views in Japan

A must-visit for autumn holiday lovers, Naruko Gorge in Sendai, Japan is transformed by golden years each autumn – known in Japan as Aki – from mid-October to early November. Brilliant oranges, golden yellows and crimson reds wash over the mountainside; whether viewing from below on the Naruko Gorge Walking Trail or from above on the observation deck, it’s a stunning sight to behold.

autumn scene over provence

Celebrating Wine Season in Provence

With the end of the summer holidays comes the beginning of the grape harvest, and the height of wine season in the home of rosé. The changing seasons casts vast swathes of orange and yellow across vineyard and farmland, and locals begging their culinary festivities to celebrate the fruits of the earth that have been developing through the year.

To make the most of, head to Airelles Gordes, the gem of the idyllic La Bastide village in Provence. The 18th Century hotel is home to over 2,000 paintings and features period furniture and antiques sourced from the most prestigious collectors in France. Dine at Clover Gordes, the brainchild of the highly-revered two-Michelin starred chef, Jean-François Piège, offering a family-style culinary experience born out of the best local produce. 

Northern lights near Brandon Lodge, Lulea

Admire Autumnal Aurora in Swedish Lapland

Autumn devotees, make tracks for the far north of Europe in September, and you’ll catch the start of the Northern Lights season. The autumn equinox (21-23 September) marks the official start of autumn, a time of year known for its incredible reds and oranges in the tree foliage and green lights dancing in the sky. Stay at Brandon Lodge in Swedish Lapland at the Lulea Archipelago and spend archetypal autumnal days exploring the beautiful wilderness. There’s also a guided Northern Lights walk excursion, with time in the evening to sauna and dip in the outdoor Jacuzzi.

BOOK: Four night break from £1293pp, not including flights.

tourists overlooking Stegastein Norway

Experience Breathtaking Fjords in Norway

Dramatic fjord scenery is unparalleled, and the chance to experience it on foot and get high above the water is great for the mind and body. One option is to experience the new ‘Magnificent Norwegian Fjords by Rail’ itinerary over 12 nights. Ride the Flam’s iconic mountain-clinging ‘Corkscrew Railway’, with an unforgettable excursion to the Stegastein viewpoint platform jutting out 650m above Aurlandsfjord.

BOOK: 12 night trip by rail with return leg by air, from £1,889pp.

Central Park during autumn in New york City.

Beat the Heat in New York City

In the summer months, New Yorkers flee the city for the coast amid its suffocating heat. In the autumn (or ‘fall’), however, New York City really comes into its own: the changing leaves bring beautiful, burning colours to the trees in every park, but especially Central Park. Enjoy everything the city has to offer without the heat, and before the biting cold sets in…

Klahoose Wilderness Resort in front of vast autumn forest

Animal Lovers: Go Grizzly Seeking in Canada

Hop to Canada before winter to beat the hibernation season and spot some grizzlies. The newly opened Klahoose Wilderness Resort has just announced a partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and autumn is prime time for bear viewing on Discover the World’s Wildlife and Culture at Klahoose trip. Arrive by seaplane to the remote location on Desolation Sound and breathe in autumn at this eco-lodge, wholly owned by the Klahoose First Nation. Hike ancient forests with Indigenous guides, learn traditions like cedar bark weaving, and go grizzly spotting in Toba Inlet. Three night stay from £2,219pp, not including flights;

White washed hotel with olive trees in front

Retreat to Puglia For Some Tree Hugging

Autumn welcomes the harvesting and pressing of olives in Puglia, Italy, and Masseria Torre Maizza have designed a series of seasonal holistic activities and special gastronomic offers to celebrate the season. Discover the antique Tao tradition of Ding Shu Qi Gong, a practice noted for combating exhaustion of mind and body while in direct contact with trees – that is, tree hugging is proven to generate an exchange of energy. Or, try Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) – a traditional Japanese practice – in the nearby Pianelle Forest. At the Masseria’s Irene Forte Spa, olive oil (so-called ‘green gold’) plays a key role in leg and foot treatments, relaxing massages, scrubs or toxic draining techniques. Dine in the restaurant for a technical tasting curated by sommelier Rossana Minunni, who will outline the different olive varieties produced in this area while defining characteristics of each, from the smells to the flavours of this prized local cultivar.


Sunset over Lake Thingvallavatn, Iceland, in autumn

Go Hiking in Iceland

For more stunning vistas, an autumn holiday to west Iceland on the rugged Snaefellsnes Peninsula is prime time before the weather starts to really chill down. Book a stay at the West Iceland Escape at Glacier Lodge and Discover the World supply detailed walking notes to help you explore the area independently, while their local friend and walking guide Arni is also available to help find those extra special routes and, if you like, be your guide.

BOOK: Three nights, self-drive holiday from £616pp not including flights.