Autumn, for American travelers, means planning a road trip through New England or a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the leaves burst into radiant jewel tones. For the more adventuresome, however, traveling to distant places to experience the season is a way to expand your personal horizon. Here are four of the best places for the woman who loves to travel to go in the fall—whether alone, or in the company of someone you love.
Autumn in Iceland is magnificently colorful and not just because of the leaves, which begin to turn in August and linger through early November. There are the Northern Lights, which explode in the night sky. From the charming streets of its capital city of Reykjavik to its wild countryside, this Nordic island in the North Atlantic is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Dramatic mountains rise above volcanic plateaus and glacial rivers flow through the lowlands into the sea. Icelandic sheep, cattle, chickens, goats and Icelandic horses populate the land where the only native land mammal was the Arctic fox. Seabirds, such as Atlantic puffins, nest in the sea cliffs. If you want to get away from and “be as one” with Nature, Iceland’s your destination. But you do not need to forego comfort.
There are many fine hotels in Iceland—such as the ION Luxury Adventure Hotel in Selfoss, in the South Region of the island, which is surrounded by gorgeous views and offers New Nordic cuisine, organic amenities, and modern technology (if you must be wired to your laptop.) Likewise, another “four-pearl” resort is the Silica Hotel in Grindavik on the Reykjanes Peninsula, by world-famous Blue Lagoon and its rich, geothermal mineral waters. The serene atmosphere enhances the soothing skin treatments that are offered at this world-renown spa.
This vibrant city has lured the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Ava Gardner, and others with an adventurous spirit who have sought beauty and bliss. Shop along Las Ramblas, along the beach boardwalk, or through the Gaudi-designed Park Güell. As for dining, it all depends upon you. Want to dine al fresco and feast on paella at one of the waterfront restaurants? Eat tapas with toothpicks at Maitea Taberna along the Carrer de Blai. Discover Barcelona’s obsession with vermouth at Morro Fi on the Consell de Cent, where they serve small bites of cured and pickled anchovies, hard cheese, marinated mussels, and house-made potato chips doused in “apertitivo sauce” to compliment the many varieties of vermouth they serve. For a unique boutique hotel experience, try the 20-room HOTEL BRUMMELL, where guests can participate in unlimited yoga classes and a running club. Go to AIRE Ancient Baths Barcelona, an Arab bath and spa located in El Born, for a luxurious hammam steam bath, aromatherapy, therapeutic showers, and massage.
This medieval city on the Adriatic Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a wealth of opportunity and excitement for the woman who loves to travel and explore. Take a guided tour through the historic Old Town within its ancient city walls, or embark upon this scenic coastal drive and stop at the many seaside villages. Go on a day-long cruise to explore the Elafiti Islands, where you can snorkel; or cross into Bosnia and Herzegovina to enjoy the UNESCO-protected Počitelj. Follow the footsteps of Catholic pilgrims to Medjugorje, where, in 1981 six children saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary. If you are a fan of Game of Thrones Dubrovnik may seem familiar to you as many of the scenes were filmed there. Stay at the Rixos Premium Dubrovnik, a five-star hotel on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, in a luxurious suite; dine in one of the hotel’s three world-class restaurants and enjoy Croatian, Turkish, and fusion cuisine. Immerse yourself in the Rixos’ Turkish-inspired spa experience and embark upon a “spa-sensory journey” that will rejuvenate, relax, and uplift your body and mind. October is when Dubrovnik holds The Good Food Festival, a culinary feast for food enthusiasts, where regional culinary specialties, wine tastings, culinary workshops are featured and top pastry chefs and restaurants showcase their culinary masterpieces and expertise.
Denmark’s most populous city was originally a Viking fishing village. Today it is one of the most beautiful places to experience Autumn. Visit the Vesterbro neighborhood, with its hip nightlife and fashion boutiques, or the multi-cultural district of Nørrebro, known for its restaurants and street culture. Bike or stroll through the family-friendly part of town called Østerbro with its waterfront shopping streets and parks. Copenhagen has a number of fine hotels but rather than a chain hotel, stay at the 145-room Hotel Skt. Annæ, where you can relax on the terrace with a glass of wine or sit in front of the fireplace in the lounge. All rooms are deluxe and the stunning, airy architecture is inspired by the palette of Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi, whose canvases were dominated by black, white, and brown. While in Copenhagen, schedule a treatment at the Ni’mat Massage and Spa, located at the Hotel Kong Arthur in the center of Copenhagen, and immerse yourself in the luxury of a four-hand, warm aromatic oil, hot lava stone massage from scalp to toe. Autumn in the famous Tivoli Gardens is a magical time of year. The Danish have a word for it—sensommer—which means the transition from summer to fall is sublime. Have a coffee at one of Copenhagen’s many waterfront coffee houses and enjoy the reflection of the vibrant leaves in the mirror of still water.