While there are many things to love about autumn here in the northeast - apple picking, football, foliage - it is also the perfect time to travel abroad. Fall usually means fewer crowds, more comfortable temperatures and stellar weather for exploring outdoors in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Here are five of my favorite fall destinations:
I spent about three weeks in China last October and almost every day was perfection. Beijing, known for its relentless smog, is supposed to be clearest and cleanest in October and it did not disappoint. Autumn brings colorful foliage in the northern countryside resulting in spectacular views from the Great Wall. It is warmer farther south, but not oppressively hot. Shanghai's weather was incredibly comfortable requiring a tank top by day and light jacket at night. My favorite place in China - Yangshuo - offered 70 degree F days, perfect for biking through the karst mountains. While October is a great month to explore China, be sure to avoid the first week as it's a national holiday called "Golden Week", when prices and crowds skyrocket across the country. Read more about my adventures in China here.
While Paris is beautiful any time of year, I especially love autumn. The crowds are significantly reduced since all the students are back in school, and while the temperature can sometimes be a bit chilly, it's usually great for long walks around the city. We walked and biked all over Paris and Versailles and the cool air gave us plenty of motivation to continue moving! Autumn is also the perfect time to enjoy a warm drink at an outdoor cafe. Nothing goes better with a glass of Bordeaux than a cozy sweater. Read more about Paris here.
The high season for Koh Lanta - and the rest of the islands along the Andaman Sea in Thailand- is November through April. We were there in late October/early November which is technically "shoulder season" - the end of the low season and beginning of the high season. This meant great deals and fewer crowds. For example, we had no problem booking hotel rooms or scuba dives a day in advance. We only had one weather woe - a rain downpour that lasted about an hour. The rest of the week brought sunshine, warm breezes and spectacular sunsets. Interested in visiting Koh Lanta? Check out our guide to Koh Lanta.
While it's been almost ten years since we've been to Ireland, we still talk about that vacation. The weather was marvelous for hiking and pub crawls - two of Ireland's best pastimes. The cooler temps meant we could hike without getting too hot and also suited the cozy cavernous pubs scattered throughout the countryside. Like the northern US, mid-October is the height of colorful foliage which looks extra beautiful surrounding Ireland's castles, stone walls and green hills. Definitely check out Galway, the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula this time of year. If you like stunning views, friendly locals and pub food you will not be disappointed!
Since Australia is in the southern hemisphere, their seasons mirror ours in the north. Therefore, Australia experiences spring during the months of late September, October and November. Queensland summers are hot & humid and monsoon season begins in late November through April. I think we visited during the best time of year - late September/early October. With the exception of a freak wind storm in Airlie Beach, the weather was beautiful and the water visibility was incredibly clear which made for phenomenal scuba diving. While the water in New South Wales required a wet suit, the crisp, sunny days were perfect for hiking and walking around Sydney. Considering a visit to Australia? Read our tips for driving up Australia's east coast and for more general Australia information see our Australia information page.
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Eva has been traveling for 15+ years, including an 8 month journey around the world.