With crisp weather, fallen leaves and darker days ahead of us, a colourful getaway this autumn season can be the perfect remedy to inspire, uplift and rejuvenate even the weariest traveller.
Now marks the time for scenic walks and drives through urban parks or rural towns for a peaceful experience in nature. From spectacular fall foliage to lively fall festivals, these 10 cities across Asia, Europe and North America are the most vibrant from September to November.
For instance, fall leaf lovers can enjoy dramatic landscapes blanketed in warm colours like deep crimson, golden yellow, olive green and burnt orange, as the sun sets in the horizon.
Then there's Autumn's abundance of festivals with their dazzling lights and illuminated cities that transform dull urban lands into energetic public spaces.
Food and wine festivals celebrate the traditional harvest season. Live music, street parties and vivid costumes bring together revellers from around the world.
So take advantage of shoulder-season deals, cooler weather and less crowds without sacrificing a rich, colourful experience with these 10 colourful destinations.
10 Of Fall's Most Colourful Cities
Celebrated across China and Vietnam, the <a href="http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/see-do/events-festivals/highlight-events/mid-autumn-celebrations.jsp" target="_blank">Mid-Autumn Festival </a>(also known as the Moon Festival or Harvest Festival), takes place this year during the week of Sept. 19. One of the best cities to experience the Mid-Autumn Festival is in Hong Kong where week-long festivities feature illuminated dragons, colourful lanterns and contemporary light shows along with mid-autumn markets. Hop on a moonlight cruise after seeing the giant mid-autumn light and <a href="http://www.archdaily.com/283965/golden-moon-lead/" target="_blank">sound moon-like dome</a> installation at Victoria Park. Thousands of revellers take part in modern festivities while paying homage to traditional festival roots. Photo Credit:<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/oopsybecksy/" target="_blank">becky becks</a>
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Visit Amsterdam in September and October for cooler weather, changing leaves and spectacular scenery. The trees lining the city’s famous canals turn to shades of amber, olive and burgundy with their leaves scattering onto the idle boats along the water. To cheer up locals and visitors during grayer days, Amsterdam comes alive with vibrant dance, music and theatre festivals during the fall, most notably the <a href="http://www.amsterdam-dance-event.nl/program/festival/events/" target="_blank">Amsterdam Dance Event </a>(ADE) taking place October 16-20 this year. ADE is an electronic music festival and conference, one of the biggest club events in the world with both emerging and professional DJs taking the stage, like David Guetta.
Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Hailed as a haven for nature lovers, the Cabot Trail, a 298 km long trail that loops around the northern tip of Cape Breton, is one of the<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/10/autumn-leaves-change-colour-photos_n_3901359.html" target="_blank"> best places in Canada to see autumn colours</a> come alive. Fiery red, orange, yellow and green-tinted trees are a highlight for gazing drivers and hikers alike. Along the Cabot Trail, visit <a href="http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ns/cbreton/index.aspx" target="_blank">Cape Breton National Highlands Park </a>where lush landscapes meet spectacular ocean vistas. Another must-see during this vibrant season is the annual <a href="http://www.celtic-colours.com/" target="_blank">Celtic Colours International Festival</a>, which takes place in October featuring dozens of concerts celebrating Irish and Scottish influenced music and culture. Photo Credit:<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/langille/" target="_blank"> gLangille</a>
If you find yourself in India before Nov. 3 this year then you'll be just in time for <a href="http://hinduism.about.com/od/diwalifestivaloflights/a/diwali.htm" target="_blank">Diwali</a> or "The Festival Of Lights." Expect the country to be lit up with fireworks and thousands of oil lamps outside of temples, rivers and homes. Locals celebrate with family and neighbours with parties, dinners and exchanging sweets and gifts. One of the best cities to experience the beauty of Diwali is in Jaipur, India’s “Pink City” where entire markets are illuminated with colourful lights, attracting visitors from all over India and abroad.
The Chianti Region, Tuscany, Italy
There's always a good reason to visit Italy, but no better time than in autumn to experience the best of Tuscan food, wine, olive oils and wild mushrooms during the spirited harvest season. The Chianti region is the most well-known for its postcard perfect landscapes -- rolling hills, colourful vineyards and medieval villages and castles. In autumn, the scenic fields turn into soft shades of gold, orange and green. There are several wine festivals throughout the region in September as well as the<a href="http://www.castellodicasole.com/porcini-mushrooms-festival-pievescola-casole-delsa-0" target="_blank"> Porcini Mushroom festival </a>in October and <a href="http://www.villainchianti.com/newsletter/issue8.html" target="_blank">White Truffle Festival</a> in November. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/randa/with/9740846815/" target="_blank">Rick Cooper</a>
New England Region, Eastern United States
Consisting of six states, each blazing with lush colours like deep scarlet, cobalt greens, rich golds and yellows, New England is the ultimate fall destination for leaf seekers. The states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut boast scenic drives and walks alongside colourful meadows, farmland, mountains and lakes. Intense colours and the grandeur of its landscape makes New England one of autumn’s most vibrant regions to enjoy fall. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pdbreen/" target="_blank">Patrick</a>
Go off the beaten path and experience the best of autumn in Japan in the sleepy town of Nikko, nestled along the banks of the Kinugawa River. View scenic mountain vistas ablaze with yellow and amber and red and gold shades while taking a dip in one of the innumerable onsen, natural hot springs where travellers can soak their troubles away. Once you're done soaking in the colours, pay a visit to the tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu (Japan’s most famous shogun) at Toshogu. Regarded as one of the town's many spectacular shrines, it's famous for its carved relief of the sanzaru (three wise monkeys) who see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil. A trip to Nikko takes about two hours from Tokyo's Tobu-Asakusa station.
Napa Valley, California
There is no better place in California to enjoy the splendid colours of fall than in Napa Valley where wine-red hues blend together softly with golden yellow fields at the famous vineyards of the region. September is a great time to visit when the <a href="http://www.castellodiamorosa.com/Events/Wine-Club-Events" target="_blank">Castello di Amorosa Harvest Celebration</a> and Grape Stomp take place on September 21. Expect plenty of wine tastings, grape stomping competitions, live music and winemaking demos. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/aidanmorgan/" target="_blank">John-Morgan</a>
Escape the summer crowds and visit Paris in autumn instead. Fall foliage in Paris may not be the most dramatic, but sunny, crisp days with tree-lined pathways and fallen leaves add to the quiet, poetic charm of the city. Visit Paris in the fall for romantic walks through <a href="http://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71393/Jardin-du-Luxembourg" target="_blank">Jardin Du Luxembourg</a> and experience sublime strolls through the <a href="http://www.aviewoncities.com/paris/tuileries.htm" target="_blank">Tuileries</a>. With the Montmartre Wine Harvest Festival and the International Contemporary Art Fair both taking place in October, Paris is definitely a lively place to visit in the fall. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/daxis/with/9460040171/" target="_blank">Daxis</a>
Known as the “City of Smiles”, the best time to visit Bacolod this fall is during the <a href="http://itsmorefuninthephilippines.com/masskara-festival/" target="_blank">MassKara Festival</a> in October where locals slip into their theatrical avatar, don elaborate masks and bright costumes reminiscent of Venetian and Brazilian carnivals. Street parties with fiery latin beats and drums, dance competitions, beauty pageants and food markets bring people from all walks of life to rejoice at MassKara every October. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/90412460@N00/" target="_blank">Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ</a>
Related on HuffPost: