It’s always dazzling to see Mother Nature’s autumn foliage display, when nature’s palette changes with many new colours coming into blazing bloom. What’s not to love about the brilliantly coloured trees, crisp air and spectacular panoramic views?
Japan offers more than the stunning haname cherry blossom season in spring. Kouyou, or autumn leaves, can be seen all over the country from September. Nara, a short train ride from Kyoto, is a wonderful place to witness them. Its vast park is brimming with colour, and you have superb views of red, gold and yellow leaves on the way to the Tamukeyama shrine in its northeast corner.
Forest of Dean, England
Once upon a time royals used this historic woodland in Gloucestershire as a hunting ground. Nowadays the geographical, historical and cultural region is the perfect place for examining leaves. Characterised by over 110 square kilometres, the mix of oak, beech and sweet chestnut provides a blanket of yellow and gold. You can go around the forest on foot or bike, just keep an eye out for the wild boars!
Northern Italy is an ideal place to see mainland Europe burst into colour. The indigenous Lombardy poplars, which can be seen everywhere, turn a bright yellow before their leaves swoop to the floor. In Bergamo, the forests covering the hillsides are an explosion of browns and reds, a fairytale landscape that seems to change daily.
Loire Valley, France
This is the perfect time to visit the place referred to as the Cradle of the French and the Garden of France, with the rolling vineyards turning the seasonal hues of yellows, browns and burnt oranges of autumn. It’s also harvest time in the valley, which spans 280 kilometres, so you can see the grapes being picked in the fields before finding the right spot to take in the view.
Jiuzhaigou Valley, China
The Jiuzhaigou Valley, which was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1992, is home to some of the most diverse flora and fauna in China, not to mention spectacular waterfalls. Throughout the area that stretches over 72,000 hectares, autumn whips up a colourful competition between the dramatic red-orange leaves, rainbow-coloured prayer flags of Tibetan villages and emerald-tinged lakes that dot the landscape.
Sonoma County, USA
With leaves on trees and vines, autumn foliage is doubly intense in Sonoma County. You can discover over 50 pristine nature parks that offer travellers miles of hiking and cycling trails through the towering redwoods or you can drive through multi-coloured canopies of oak and maple. The Russian River Valley vineyards paint spectacular sun-fire hues.
New Hampshire, USA
New Hampshire is postcard-pretty this time of year with all those quaint villages showing off their autumn colours. Mt. Monadnock provides an astonishing array of reds, yellows and oranges, plus you have the White Mountains where Route 302 passes through Crawford Notch, a picturesque valley of red maples and yellow birches. Additionally, there’s the Kancamagus Highway, a National Scenic Byway, a real favourite for catching the foliage.