One of the many enchanting spots in Europe in autumn, Source: Depositphotos

These are the 7 Best European Cities to Watch the Leaves Fall

These are the 7 Best European Cities to Watch the Leaves Fall

November is a month for contemplation, the quiet spot before the festive season erupts in cheer

It’s November and we can feel it in the air – European autumn is settling down nicely in the tree crowns, and everything is pumpkin-flavoured. The sun peeks through the clouds but the warmth of its rays doesn’t seem to reach us. Plus, most birds seem to have long departed on their winter vacation in Africa.

This kind of melancholic feeling, though, is something to embrace. It reminds us of the joy and privilege of having four very different seasons in Europe (while we can, what with climate change and all). Autumn alone gifts us with such a range of mixed emotions that we can all take a cue from the 19th-century Romantic poets and abandon ourselves to contemplation with a cup of hot beverage in hand.

And here’s a secret that we’d like to share with you. November can actually be a great month to travel and explore. Why not take your reflective mood abroad and discover the different ways that you can experience cosiness and melancholy or paint the particular way a yellowed leaf spirals to the ground?

Bruges (Belgium)

bruges in fall

Bruges is Belgium's premier romantic spot. Source: Depositphotos

Autumn is the perfect season to loosen up a bit from the self-imposed stress of keeping up that beach bod fine-tuned. French fries will hit the right spot. And where does one get the best fries? Belgium, of course.

Holding a paper cone filled to the brim with the greasy goodness gives substance to admiring the medieval sites of a place like Bruges. You won’t even mind the grey skies, which will likely accompany your visit. Take a boat ride on the canals, drop in at the Grote Markt and tag yourself on social media at the Bonifacius bridge. Make sure you set your camera filters on ‘moody glamorous’.

Teletin (Czechia)

maj viewpoint in fall

This is where the Vltava River gets in fairytale mode. Source: Depositphotos

Many people will swoon over the autumnal charms of Prague, but we know you’d like to do something a bit different and more nature-based. The so-called Viewpoint Máj delivers just that with a bang. Overlooking an impossibly scenic curve of the Vltava River, it grants you the possibility to admire the autumn foliage and the way it contrasts with the water.

You’ll find that spot near the village of Teletin, in the countryside south of Prague. Though you’ll probably need a car to get to the village. From there, it’s only a kilometre-long marked trail through the woods. Nearby, there are also the Bednář and Smetana viewpoints, plus the Teretin waterfalls, so you’ll get a nice package for your seasonal promenade.

Harz Mountains (Germany)

harz castle

Yes, there will be majestic castles in Harz, too. Source: Depositphotos

You know what’s undervalued? Making a leaf angel. Yes, you don’t have to wait till the snow arrives to get all silly and childish. So why not try that activity on a 100-kilometre-long Witches’ Trail in the Harz mountains of Lower Saxony (Germany)?

This region, chockfull of interesting old towns, such as Goslar, keeps memories of ancient mining traditions that feel as German as they get. Also, unlike the Alps in the South, the Harz mountains remain mostly unknown to foreigners and always a pleasant surprise to discover – especially come autumn.

Loire Valley (France)

loire castle and pumpkins

Pumpkins and a chateau? Why not? Source: Depositphotos

The grapes have long been picked and transformed into foamy wine which struggles in the barrels with itself to reveal the character of the season’s harvest. But the vineyards, now emptied of their fruit, are here to please your eyes with their colourful splendour.

After all, trees are not the only plants that get the magical touch of autumn. Rows of carefully cultivated grapevines speak of agriculture that prides itself on tradition. And the generous sprinkling of Renaissance castles popping up as if from behind every hill and turn of the Loire River only adds to the magic in a way that is both timeless and unique.

Stockholm (Sweden)

stockholm in fall

Autumnal Stockholm: the question is outdoors or indoors? The answer is: Both. Source: Depositphotos

A trip to the North in autumn is the perfect opportunity to see how the modern descendants of the Vikings are settling in for the long winter. On the one hand, Swedes are known as being uncompromising outdoor enthusiasts no more the weather outside – for if they had to count on it, they might rarely get to leave home at all.

But on the other hand, Scandinavians like cosiness as a balance to the rough exterior conditions and a way to keep inner happiness in check. Taste your way around town by stopping at different cafes or find some local friends and get invited for a fika – the local custom involving drinking hot coffee and a sugary pastry while talking about life.

Kaunas (Lithuania)

Pazaislis monastery in fall

Pažaislis Monastery is worth a visit in autumn. Source: Depositphotos

Dress warm and head off the beaten autumnal track – there seem to be so many of these in Europe. Lithuania’s second city might not be a household name, and in a way, let’s hope it stays that way so that it will be “yours”, so to speak.

Right off the bat, you can follow in the footsteps of none other than Napoleon himself, who took a break on the nearby Jiesia hill, watching his army march forward onto its ill-fated drive to Moscow. You can then head to the woods in the vicinity of Kaunas and dig around the fallen leaves to find some mushrooms, which you can then turn into a hearty soup. And finish off the day at the Baroque Pažaislis Monastery, considered the most romantic spot in the entire Baltic country.

Madeira (Portugal)

madeira coast

The autumnal colours in Madeira won't come from the leaves. Source: Depositphotos

And if all the pretty and colourful melancholy starts to get too much at some point, here’s an escape route. Yes, we’ve thought of everything.

The wonderful island of Madeira exists as if in an entire dimension of its own, not quite Europe, not quite Africa, not quite Latin America – and yet, a bit of all these in one. Also, it’s a convenient trip away from many European capitals.

If you’re craving an Indian summer that never quits, this is the place where you should head to. Forget falling leaves, your mind will be swooped by the UNESCO-protected Laurisilva forests that preserve the breath of primaeval times, long before humans ever knew of the existence of this island.



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