While the “European summer” has taken over social media lately, showcasing the sun-soaked beauty of Mediterranean hotspots like Italy, Greece, and the South of France, there’s a hidden truth: autumn is when Europe truly shines.
This summer has been an absolute whirlwind in Europe, with travel shooting up by a whopping 55% compared to last year. But beyond the excitement of larger crowds, scorching heatwaves wreaked havoc, causing wildfires in places like Rhodes, Greece, and Sicily, Italy. Even beloved landmarks like Athens’ Acropolis had to close multiple times due to the intense heat.
Best Fall Destinations In Europe
In all honesty, spending your summer vacation in Europe this year might not have been the serene experience you imagined. However, as autumn approaches, a different kind of magic emerges—think fewer tourists, friendlier price tags, and much more pleasant weather.
So, without further ado, here’s a lineup of 6 best fall destinations in Europe that truly come alive during the fall:
As autumn rolls in, it marks the beginning of Italy’s “shoulder season.” By the time August comes to a close, most tourists have bid their farewells, leaving behind a serene atmosphere and budget-friendly options for visitors.
Italy’s allure during this time shines brightly. Coastal getaways such as the Amalfi Coast and Sardinia continue to bask in warmth, inviting travelers to relish in sea swims and balmier summer vibes well into September.
The scorching heat that envelopes Rome and the southern regions begins to wane, granting respite and comfortable exploration. Meanwhile, farther north, cities like Venice and the scenic Lake Como embrace the chillier embrace of fall, offering a unique and cozy experience.
Also Italy’s famous Via dell’Amore (known as Path of Love) hiking trail is open again after being closed for ten years due to restoration work. This trail is in Italy’s Cinque Terre region, which is made up of five beautiful coastal villages recognized by UNESCO.
France stands as one of the best fall destinations in Europe that truly comes alive during the fall. For those who’ve ventured to Paris during the bustling summer months only to be met with steep prices and suffocating crowds, the fall narrative presents a delightful contrast. It’s a time when the city sheds its overrated veneer and unveils a more authentic charm.
Iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre breathe easier during this season, as the throngs of tourists thin out, creating a more intimate and immersive experience. And as if on cue, the weather plays its part, offering a backdrop of mild and agreeable conditions, further enhancing the allure of fall in France.
Spanish cities like Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville have been magnets for travelers this summer, but the story hasn’t always been a pleasant one. The scorching heat and overwhelming crowds have left many visitors yearning for respite. With temperatures soaring above 110°F across southern Spain, the discomfort has been palpable.
Yet, as autumn graces the scene, a new chapter unfolds—one of relief and rejuvenation. The fall season in Spain offers a soothing antidote to the summer’s challenges as it is among the best fall destinations in Europe. The cities exhale as the crowds recede, allowing for a more authentic exploration. And speaking of breaths of fresh air, the weather takes on a milder temperament, setting a comfortable stage for discovery.
September extends an invitation to Spain’s beaches and seas, promising tranquil swims and a chance to embrace the coastal beauty before the season fully transitions.
In Greece, September ushers in what locals affectionately call the “shoulder season,” a time when the summer crowds start to dissipate. Greek havens best fall destinations in Europe like Santorini and Mykonos adopt a tranquil demeanor, making way for a more serene and intimate experience, while still keeping their doors open to visitors.
As autumn deepens its embrace, a certain hush descends upon the islands. While many establishments will eventually shutter in preparation for the quieter months, September stands as the sweet spot—a time when everything remains accessible, allowing you to savor the final notes of summer.
The allure extends beyond the islands to Athens, where fall unveils a more amiable side of the city. The ancient ruins and historical treasures become a more inviting playground, no longer obscured by temperatures soaring over 105°F. With the summer’s sweltering heat fading, you can fully immerse yourself in the story Athens has to tell.
The charm of Portugal has undeniably captured the hearts of travelers, leading to record-breaking tourism figures this year. The reasons are clear: this European gem effortlessly blends beauty, affordability, and a wealth of experiences, ranging from the vibrant cities of Porto and Lisbon to the breathtaking Algarve beaches.
Nonetheless, the surge in Portugal’s popularity has come with a caveat. The summer months bore witness to throngs of visitors and a steady ascent in prices—a testament to its own success.
However, as autumn graces the scene, a new narrative emerges. Fall in Portugal is like a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. The charm remains, but the crowds ease, offering a more intimate and immersive exploration. The weather becomes your accomplice, showering warmth and sunshine from September through November across many corners of the country. It’s an invitation to experience Portugal at its most authentic and welcoming.
The beginning of this year marked a significant shift for Croatia as it joined the Schengen Zone and embraced the Euro as its currency. The consequence was swift—prices began to climb.
A vivid example is the iconic city walls of Dubrovnik which is one of the best fall destinations in Europe. Once a beloved activity that required 150 kuna (about $24 USD) a mere few years ago, it now commands €35 (around $38 USD). While certain price hikes were inevitable, a ray of hope exists in the fall season, where savvy travelers can turn the tide.
As autumn’s gentle touch graces the land, Croatia enters its shoulder season. This is when the savvy traveler can unlock more favorable prices and a more tranquil experience. The fall whispers an invitation to explore Croatia’s beauty without the weighty price tags, preserving the magic while offering a reprieve to your wallet.