When the lazy days of summer are over and the air starts to have a distinct chill, there’s no need to be downhearted.

Fall is the most spectacular season, the last hurrah before the bitter winds of winter take hold.

Here are the most beautiful places to witness glorious fall colors all around the world.

Maple tree with red leaves during autumn at Shinnyo-do Temple in Nara, Japan
Nara's historic buildings are surrounded by beautiful foliage in the fall months © John Su / Getty

See the golden red swash of Nara, Japan

Fall in Japan is every bit as stunning as the short-lived cherry blossom season in spring. Kouyou (fall leaves) can be seen across the country, starting in the northern island of Hokkaidō and spreading quickly south from the end of September. The ancient capital of Nara, a short train ride from Kyoto, makes a wonderful viewing spot. Its vast park is awash with color, with sensational views of red, gold and yellow leaves along the paths up to Tamukeyama shrine in its northeast corner.

This is how you can visit Japan as travel rules ease for fall

A view of the River Wye in the Forest of Dean, England
The Forest of Dean, near England's border with Wales, has a mystical atmosphere © golfer2015 / Getty

Bike ride in a rusty riot in the Forest of Dean, England

This ancient woodland in Gloucestershire was once used as a royal hunting ground, and its trees were also used to make Tudor warships. Today, it’s the perfect spot for the more prosaic sport of leaf peeping. The mix of oak, beech and sweet chestnut provides a rusty riot of yellow and gold. The Forest of Dean can be easily covered on foot or bicycle. Just keep an eye out for the wild boar that have called this place home since 2006.

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New England is known for its fall colors, and New Hampshire might have the best of all
New England is known for its fall colors, and New Hampshire might have the best of all © Anastasia Tveretinova / Shutterstock

Brilliant red maple of White Mountains, New Hampshire, USA

New England is synonymous with fall, and picking one must-see spot isn’t easy. But New Hampshire’s White Mountains are surely one of the best places to see autumn at its most colorful, not just in New England, but the world. Hike through the hills at the start of October and you’ll be treated to brilliant red maple leaves, or drive to Silver Cascade Falls in Carroll County to see the trees glow next to the 250ft waterfall.

The ultimate New England fall foliage road trip 2022

The vineyards of Sancerre during autumn in the Loire Valley, France.
The vineyards of France's Loire Valley turn gold in the fall © Julian Elliott Photography / Getty

Feel the burnt orange of autumn in the Loire Valley, France

With the leaves on the vines turning and the summer hordes heading home, there’s not a better time than fall to visit France’s Loire Valley. The rolling vineyards look radiant as they shed the greens of warmer months for the yellows, browns and burnt oranges of autumn. It’s also harvest time, so you can see the grapes being picked in the fields before retiring to a cozy spot to take in the view with a glass of the local tipple.

France’s best wine regions: a guide to the finest touring routes, tastings and terroir

Yellow autumn trees cover a mountainside in Bishop Creek Canyon, California
California is not as well known as the eastern US states for fall colors, but that's beginning to change © Ron and Patty Thomas / Getty

Savor the golden leaves of Bishop Creek Canyon, California

Just because the northeast USA gets amazing fall colors doesn’t mean you should discount the west coast. California’s inland forests offer a great alternative, with the reds and yellows of fall holding on longer in the Golden State thanks to its hugely varied elevation. Bishop Creek Canyon is one of a number of great viewing points. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the golden leaves here look amazing with the rocky hills as a backdrop.

Top 8 destinations for fall colors in the US

A Scottish loch near Pitlochry is framed by rolling farmland and hills covered in a mixture of green and autumn-colored leaves
The deciduous trees in Scotland are stunning when the weather starts to cool © David Henderson / Getty

Step through the enchanted forest at Pitlochry, Scotland

Scotland’s pine forests might not change color, but its deciduous trees offer some of the finest fall hues in Europe. Walk out of town to the dam and fish ladder, which separates the Tummel River and Loch Faskally, to get the perfect view of waterside trees as they shed their leaves. Each October, Pitlochry also plays host to the Enchanted Forest, a nightly event that sees the trees lit up to soaring music in the woods just outside town.

What to eat and drink in Scotland

The mountain village of San Giorgio in northern Italy is seen from above as it is awash in fall colors
See fall colors from the mountain village of San Giorgio in northern Italy © Francesco Bergamaschi / Getty

Take in the bright yellow of fall in Lombardy, Italy

Still mild even as the leaves fall, Lombardy in northern Italy is an ideal place to see mainland Europe burst into color. The native Lombardy poplars, which can be seen across the landscape, turn a bright yellow before their leaves fall to the floor. If you can’t make it to the countryside, Milan’s public gardens offer a great city view of autumn.

The art of the Italian meal

Bridges span islands in a small lake as brilliant yellow trees drop leaves all over the ground at Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens in Australia's Dandenong Ranges
The Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens in Australia's Dandenong Ranges © Tsvi Braverman / Getty

See the wash of glorious fall shades in Dandenong Ranges, Australia

Aussie autumn doesn’t kick off in earnest until March. While you wouldn’t usually associate the land of beaches, surfing and summer heat with glorious fall color, the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne don’t disappoint. As well as being a national park of breathtaking beauty, the area is also dotted with manicured gardens. The Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens are definitely worth a visit when the lawns are carpeted with fallen leaves and the trees are aglow.

Start saving to experience one of these incredible safari stays in Australia

Aerial image of train and rail line Agawa Canyon, Ontario, Canada
Fall foliage trips in Agawa Canyon, Ontario © Russ Heinl / Shutterstock

Sit back and let your senses experience fall in Agawa Canyon, Canada

Hop on board the Agawa Canyon Tour Train this autumn and you’ll be treated to some of the most beautiful fall foliage on the planet. The ride sets off from Sault Ste Marie, covering 114 miles of unspoiled country that looks its best as the days begin to close in. These views inspired Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, Canada’s most prominent landscape artists, throughout the early 20th century. You’ll need to be quick: the leaves peak for a brief period around the end of September and beginning of October.

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This article was first published Sep 3, 2019 and updated Oct 5, 2022.

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