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15 Places Around the World to See Gorgeous Fall Foliage

This fall, behold the parade of colors that eases the transition into winter.

After the autumnal equinox, there’s little time to mourn as crisp winds blow in and signal time for some of our favorite things: sweater weather, delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables, warm pastries and hot cider, and of course, the changing foliage. Though we typically think of New England states like New Hampshire and Vermont for the best in fall colors, cities throughout the world share the natural majesty of yellow, gold, and crimson leaves. From Croatian lakes to the forests of the Netherlands, here are some places to witness bursts of color this autumn, plus ideas for which fall-themed local delicacy you should pair with your tree-lined stroll.

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Kyoto

WHERE: Japan

Best time to visit: Late October—Mid-November

Unlike with the elusive cherry blossoms, you’ll have at least two months to view the red and orange wonderment. The spindly red maple leaves make the scene all the more magical.

What to eat: Hisaya serves desserts with kuri (chestnuts) from a farm in Kyoto, including ice cream! In autumn, vendors sell roasted chestnuts throughout Japan.

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PHOTO: Shutterstock
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Lake Sfânta Ana

WHERE: Romania

Best time to visit: October

Part of the majesty of viewing leaves is taking in the whole picture. While foliage across Romania is notable, one of the best places to see the changing leaves is as a backdrop to Lake Sfânta Ana in rural Romania.Trek through colorful orange and yellow forests in warm October weather before arriving at the country’s only crater lake.

What to eat: Check out the Bran Annual Cheese and Cured Mutton Festival, Ravasitul oilor Bran, in September to complete your visit.

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Hraunfossar Waterfalls

WHERE: Husafell, Iceland

Best time to visit: October

Gorgeous to behold any time of year, the Hraunfossar Falls are especially stunning in autumn when bright golden leaves create a stark contrast to the ultra-blue waters.

What to eat: Lamb stew with in-season vegetables like kale, potatoes, and rutabaga (fall is a great time for Icelandic produce).

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Western Massachusetts

WHERE: New England

Best time to visit: Early October—Mid-November

We couldn’t make it through this list without giving New England a mention, and Western Massachusetts is just one of many perfect spots to spend the fall; luckily, the 2017 foliage forecast is looking bright. Here you’ll see leaves of every color: crimson, sienna, butter-yellow; they creep steadily over the Berkshire Mountains and line forest trails making for incredible hikes and drives, like through the Mohawk Trail from Greenfield to North Adams.

What to eat: Try the cider donuts at Atkins Farms in Amherst for the ultimate autumn experience.

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PHOTO: Shutterstock
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Prague

WHERE: Czechia

Best time to visit: September through November

A mix of gold and green can be witnessed from the observation tower at Prague’s Petřín Hill, which offers views of the city. To boot, fall is the best time to visit the region due to low tourism.

What to eat: There are so many food festivals in Prague in the fall, but none are as notable as the Carp Harvest festival, which happens across Czechia in mid-October. Fisherman catch carp while onlookers sip beer and enjoy fish-themed trinkets.

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PHOTO: Shutterstock
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Amsterdam

WHERE: The Netherlands

Best time to visit: Mid-October

Thoughts of Amsterdam call to mind cobblestone streets and canals, but you can also find leafy forests that turn from green to a warm, halo-like yellow in fall.

What to eat: Hot chocolate! Apple pie! The best way to warm up on a chilly afternoon in Amsterdam.

 

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PHOTO: Shutterstock
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Kiev

WHERE: Ukraine

Best time to visit: Late October to mid-November

Blending with the city’s gold-domed cathedrals, fall in the Ukrainian capital is characterized by broad golden leaves in the forests of this beautiful old city.

What to eat: Try a fragrant fall soup from a street vendor on a crisp fall night in Kiev.

Book a Hotel

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PHOTO: Shutterstock
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St. Petersburg

WHERE: Russia

Best time to visit: October

Though October in St. Petersburg is brisk, it’s the best time to see bursts of red and gold. Bundle up and stroll through the city’s parks during Alexander Pushkin’s favorite season. Hurry, though, the season doesn’t last long. A great place for viewing is Pushkin Square, the Tsar’s former residence.

What to eat: More and more restaurants are serving farm-to-table cuisine and new Russian food, and fall is the best time to try dishes with seasonal veggies and herbs.

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Denali National Park

WHERE: Alaska

Best time to visit: September

Spot yellow birch trees in this breathtakingly beautiful park during its short fall season; be on the lookout for over 200 species of wildlife that roam the Alaskan landscape.

What to eat: 229 Parks is one of the highest-rated restaurants in Denali. With a frequently-changing menu, all vegetables, game, and wildlife are extremely fresh, so whatever you try will be in-season.

 

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PHOTO: Shutterstock
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Shenandoah National Park

WHERE: Virginia

Best time to visit: October

Across the park, spanning 100 miles, colors of foliage vary wildly, and color can change depending on the hour(!). In 2016, the foliage changed later than expected; stay up to date with the park’s webcam, and thorough documentation of different areas of the park by various writers. Expect some rain, too.

What to eat: Come a bit earlier in the season (late September) for a celebration of apples, including hard cider and apple butter tastings!

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Beijing

WHERE: China

Best time to visit: Mid-October

Fragrant Hill is often mentioned as a must-visit place to see Beijing foliage, as well as Mutianyu Great Wall, characterized by its 280,000 predominantly red trees, with bursts of green and gold throughout.

What to eat: During China’s harvest, Beijing holds a mid-autumn festival, where one of the most popular food items is mooncake, a pastry with lotus seed paste, soy bean paste, egg yolk, and sometimes as ice cream.

 

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Seoul

WHERE: South Korea

Best time to visit: Mid-October—Early November

The national parks of Odaesan and Bukhasan in the Gangwon province in the Northern part of Seoul offer hikes past waterfalls and temples. These places are made all the more scenic when fall foliage is at its peak.

What to eat: A perk of hiking in Seoul: vendors line up to offer Korean delicacies to intrepid travelers, include spicy buckwheat noodles and chocolate cream pie. Wine and hiking are also a common pairing in Seoul, and what better way to take in the leaves than with the buzz of rice wine?

 

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PHOTO: Shutterstock
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Loire Valley

WHERE: France

Best time to visit: Late September—early October

Many places in France are great to visit for views of fall foliage, including Paris, but Loire Valley is usually free of tourists around this time. You can even attend a foliage festival at The Château of Chaumont-sur-Loire.

What to eat: White wine, a perfect pairing to fall temperatures, made locally in the Loire Valley.

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PHOTO: Shutterstock
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Mendocino

WHERE: California

Best time to visit: Early October through Thanksgiving weekend

Unlike on the East Coast, California’s fall foliage comes in short dramatic bursts. Warm year-round but with just enough chill in the air to make it feel like fall, come to the area for hikes, sunsets, and starry nights. Visit the town of Ukiah for a fall culture akin to small-town New England. Expect a rainbow of red, green, and gold.

What to eat: Pears from Bartlett Orchard.

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Plitvice Lakes

WHERE: Croatia

Best time to visit: Mid-September—late November

Turquoise waters surrounded by limestone cliffs and rich forestry make this central Croatia park a surreal experience in fall, when the beech trees turn a golden yellow. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the network of 16 lakes and numerous waterfalls see significantly less tourism in Autumn.

What to eat: Autumn means truffle-hunting in Croatia in the not-too-distant town of Istria.