With the last few days of the Summer upon us, my thoughts have turned towards the coming season. The British Autumn is a great time to visit a number of countries around the world, whether it’s for Fall colours or a more relaxed pace of travel. Here is my top pick of countries to visit in the Autumn, and where to stay for a bit of luxury.
Japan is famous for its cherry blossom season in the spring, but equally beautiful is the turning of the momiji maple leaves during October and November. As well as being a slightly cooler time to visit, there are plenty of places to take in the stunning red, orange and golden hues, from hiking in the Japanese Alps to strolling around the traditional cobbled streets of Kyoto in search of the elusive Geisha.
Spend a night or two in the luxury ryokan, Hoshinoya, which is just one hour outside Tokyo in the Nagano Prefecture and is located right on the river. Very secluded, Hoshinoya oozes exclusivity (you get there by boat!) and is surrounded by trees which will all be in full autumn colour from mid to end of November.
With four distinct seasons, each offering a different highlight, it’s possible to travel to New Zealand at any time of the year. But travel during our autumn months and you can experience New Zealand in their springtime, when the countryside bursts into life. Outside of the peak months of January and February, this is a more peaceful time to travel to the region, with temperatures averaging 15-20 degrees Centigrade.
Whare Kea, in the Central Otago region, is one of New Zealand’s most luxurious lodges, with outstanding views over Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps. In springtime the peaks still sparkle with snow but all around the grassy hillsides, orchards and gardens come to life with an array of colourful flowers and fragrant blossoms. With the days lengthening and the Kiwis themselves just shaking off the winter, this is perfect place to celebrate the onset of spring.
October onwards is a great time to travel to Chile. The renowned Lake District region is spectacular during our Autumn, as is wild and rugged Patagonia. The British autumn is Chile’s springtime, meaning there is still the possibility of snow-capped mountains against a backdrop of beautifully clear blue skies, and the temperature is also milder at this time of the year, when spring flowers are coming into bloom. Expect Chile to be slightly quieter at this time of the year too.
If you do venture to Chile during our Autumn, spend a night or two at Remota Patagonia, a lodge that has gained a reputation for its amazing architecture as well as its unashamed luxury.
From November onwards, Thailand is a wonderful choice for an Autumn getaway as it is heading into the country’s cool, dry season. A visit to this Southeast Asian gem promises mouth-watering food, ornate temples and friendly locals – they don’t call it the land of smiles for nothing.
If you want to tag on some luxurious beach relaxation on the end, head down to Amanpuri on Thailand’s west coast, where the beach is to die for and diving and snorkelling opportunities will be at their best.
New England on the USA’s east coast is world-famous for its Fall colours and travellers visit in their hordes to experience this spectacular natural event. As a great self-drive destination, those vacationing in the area would be fools to miss a meander along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway as it winds its way through mountains and forests ablaze with Autumn leaves. Alternatively, try a stay at Wheatleigh in Stockbridge in the Berkshires, an area of pretty hills in western Massachusetts.
This whole region is renowned for Fall colours, with Massachusett’s highest peak, Mount Greylock just 30 miles away. The pretty villages of southern Vermont are also worth a visit and are within an hours’ drive. The Berkshires themselves have many pretty villages set amongst rolling hills which would be ablaze with colours in the fall (mid Sept to mid Oct). Wheatleigh is a grand old house offering great comfort and amenities in a delightful setting.
Craig Burkinshaw is a Founder Director of Audley Travel.
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