We just got back from a wonderful few days in Portugal for this year’s fall break after much deliberation about where we would go. It’s always a bit overwhelming to decide where to go in the fall (now that we are locked into the school holidays) since late October is not quite warm enough for a beach destination, and the weather can be a bit unpredictable elsewhere. Nevertheless, we’ve gotten lucky with some great spots and have some ideas in case you need some fall travel inspiration!
1. Innsbruck, Austria
Innsbruck is a small town with a charming historic center, but the best part is that there is a cablecar at the center of town that can take you up to the Alps in minutes. We went all the way to the top only to find snow already in October, but it was nice and warm when the sun was shining! If you get off mid-station there are some really nice hikes and there’s even an Alpine zoo that the littles are sure to enjoy.
2. Loire Valley, France
The Loire Valley is known for its castles and it’s a great place in Europe to see some beautiful fall foliage. Stay in Amboise and venture out to see the stunning chateaux such as Chambord, Chenonceau, and Villandry. Many of the castles have things that will entertain the kids too and if nothing else, there are huge gardens to explore and run off some steam. More details here and here.
3. Nuremberg, Germany
Nuremberg is a pretty town in Bavaria where most of the historic center was painstakingly rebuilt after World War II. There is a lot of World War II history here, including a Holocaust museum, which might be interesting if you have older children. For families with younger children, a suburb just outside of Nuremberg is home to Playmobil Funpark- a thematic park geared towards children 10 and under based on the different Playmobil worlds. It is wonderfully entertaining and extremely engaging and much less crowded in the fall…and best of all, it’s cheap! Around 10 Euros to get in and you could easily spend the day there. We enjoyed a night at the NH hotel in Zirndorf which was right next to a forest with nice walking trails. Perfect for a long weekend getaway!
4. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Lauterbrunnen is in a beautiful region of Switzerland famous for three big peaks: Jungfrau, Monch, and Eiger. There are 72 waterfalls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley and with many surrounding mountain villages, cablecars, and hiking trails, there is no shortage of things to explore! Stunning scenery and the leaves changing in the fall make it even more beautiful.
5. Douro Valley, Portugal
I’ll write a full recap soon of our most recent trip to Portugal, but it definitely should be on this list as a gorgeous fall destination. Stay a few nights in the charming city of Porto with its gorgeously tiled buildings and old world charm before heading out for a night or two in the Douro Valley, famous for their port wine production. The Douro is certainly one of the world’s most breathtakingly beautiful wine growing regions and the colors with the vines changing in the fall are really just magical.
So there’s our top recommendations…what are your favorite fall travel destinations? We are always looking for inspiration to add to the bucket list!