When October rolls to an end, peak fall foliage season begins. The trees explode with fiery colors and a crisp little chill starts to bite through our sweatshirts. Fall is magical, and all over the world, changing trees paint cities in a brand new light. Here are some of the most gorgeous before and after pictures of fall foliage – from Alaska’s tundra, where grizzly bears roam free, to enchanting, 19th-century German castles straight out of a Disney fairytale. Some of these sights are truly breathtaking!
This quaint market town in Austria explodes with fall foliage as soon as temperatures start to dip. Is anything dreamier than a mountainside village filled with colorful trees?
Tunnel Of Love, Ukraine
The Tunnel of Love isn’t very long, but this three to five kilometer stretch of industrial railway attracts tourists year round because of its unique vegetation. The tunnel formed over many years when trees grew around the train route forming natural arches with their branches. The railway links Klvean, Ukraine to the small city of Orzhiv.
The Tunnel of Love’s patented green arches don’t only look gorgeous in the summer. When autumn rolls around, the tunnel turns vibrant shades of yellow and orange. Though the railway is active, this Pinterest-perfect spot is a favorite for couples (if you couldn’t tell by the name).
Icho Namiki, Japan
Though Tokyo’s summer is also pleasantly green, it’s known for its gorgeous fall foliage. While there are lots of spots to catch the leaves changing, Icho Namiki Avenue is one of most renowned. Dubbed “Gingko Avenue,” this street is known for its vibrant Gingko trees that turn a highly saturated shade of yellow when the temperature starts to drop.
Icho Namiki Avenue draws thousands of tourists during the fall season. These bright trees line the sidewalks making for more than a couple picturesque Instagram photos. The fallen leaves can even look like Dorthy’s infamous yellow brick road if you catch the street at the height of the foliage season.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Just outside of Füssen, Germany rests an enchanting, 19th-century castle that looks like it’s straight out of a Disney fairytale. It’s hard to imagine that somewhere this magical actually exists in real life, but a king once called it home. Neuschwanstein Castle was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria, and the king lived there until he died in 1886. Shortly after his death, the castle opened up to the public, and has since become a massive tourist destination. Over 1.3 million travel to this fairytale castle on the hill.
Though Neuschwanstein Castle is gorgeous in every season, and has a particular magical feeling during the winter months (blame Frozen and Beauty and the Beast),Autumn is by far the most colorful. The trees that surround the castle turn a bright red.
Amsterdam is known for its over 100 kilometers of canals. The capitol of the Netherlands is made up of 90 islands and 1,500 picturesque bridges. Though the bridges serve residents and tourists in a practical sense (they’re the reason you can ride a bike around Amsterdam instead of needing a boat), they also give visitors a gorgeous view of the city. Amsterdam’s bridges are perhaps the best place to view the city’s fall foliage. Though winter looms over Amsterdam with its unyielding grayness, bright orange, yellow, and red trees light up the canals and city streets in late October. The entire city feels like it has an orange glow because the foliage reflects its vibrancy into the canal waters.
Central Park, New York
In the heart of New York City’s concrete jungle, surrounded by skyscrapers and busy city streets, is Central Park. This 843-acre park is the largest in Manhattan and the most visited city park in the entire United States. Over 40 million people explore the sprawling fields and stroll around the scenic lakes every single year.
There’s a reason Central Park is the setting for a bevy of Hollywood rom-coms. It isn’t just one of the most iconic places in the world, it’s also one of the most gorgeous. In autumn, the changing foliage over the park’s most famous locations, like Bow Bridge, add a touch of romance to what’s arguably the most serene spot in the entire city.
Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan
Hitachi Seaside Park rests just off the shores of the Japanese coast, and the unique beach-side flora and fauna make it a highly popular tourist destination. The park has new blooms every month — with Linaria blooming in May and June and Narcissus and Tulips in April. The highlights of the park are the sprawling fields of delicate, baby blue Nemophilia. As spectacular as they are (and they’re pretty spectacular), the Kochia that turn red in late September are equally as marvelous.
During the autumn months, bright red Kochia stretch as far as the eye can see, and tourists can stroll through winding paths and marvel at colors that look so bright, you’d swear they were Photoshopped.
Vermont is more renowned for its fall foliage than any other state in America. As soon as the autumn months roll around, the leaves start shifting to vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow. Vermont is also known for its scenic mountains and state parks, which give visitors tons of chances to see the leaves at their very brightest.
Peacham (pictured right) is one of the most picturesque Vermont towns – especially in the fall. In fact, its rural, small-town feel garnered it a place in Hollywood films like Spitfire Grill and Ethan Frome. It also has incredibly gorgeous foliage set around a quaint, white church in the heart of the village.
In Autumn, Wales has foliage that would rival New England’s country roads, but nothing is as quaint as it’s tiny, red tea room placed next to a picturesque river and rugged stone bridge. It’s a place out of storybooks, but residents of Llanrwst, Wales get to enjoy a cuppa while living in this actual dreamland.
There is nothing more decidedly British than enjoying a cup of tea, and Tu Hwnt I’r Bont Tea room makes sure provide more than just some clotted cream and tea cakes. This tea room in the Wales countryside is engulfed in twirling green vines that turn a bright, glowing red when the seasons change.
The Eiffel tower is the symbol of Paris and whether it’s summer, spring, fall, or winter, it towers over the city giving Parisians a breathtaking display. It even glitters at night! Each year, over seven million tourists flock to Parc du Champs to get a glimpse of France’s most iconic landmark, but those who visit in Autumn are in for an extra treat. The City of Love feels infinitely more romantic with a crisp breeze in the air and gorgeous orange and red foliage surrounding the stunning landmark. From October through the end of November, the Parisian streets are filled with a certain je ne sais quoi. It’s magic.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is becoming a booming tourist destination. In 2016 alone, tourism to the city rose by seven percent. A whopping seven million people flock to the city each year from all over the world. So what makes this destination so hot? Well, Prague isn’t just a hotbed for art and culture. Every single one of its seasons is gorgeous. Tourists get four different Pragues – the magical, snow-coated Prague in winter, the lush green cities tourists visit in the summer and spring and the vibrant, sepia-tinged dream that is Prague in autumn. Looking at the foliage over Prague’s riverbank is simply breathtaking.
Asheville, North Carolina
There’s nothing like North America’s east coast when it comes to fall foliage. Though Vermont has most states beat, North Carolina gives the mountainous state a run for its money. The mountain town of Asheville, North Carolina is slowly becoming a hotbed for art, music, and culture. This picturesque city is surrounded by mountain forests that turn bright, fiery colors when the weather starts to dip. The Blue Ridge Parkway allows travelers driving between Asheville and Roanoke, Virginia to take in some of the most breathtaking fall colors in the whole country. It also holds the record for America’s longest linear park.
Niagara Falls, Canada
What’s more gorgeous than one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the world? Throwing some fall foliage around one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the world. Niagara falls in autumn is straight-up magical, and it’s still one of the few times before winter that you can get away without feeling you’re your fingertips are going to fall off.
Everyone knows that the falls are brutal in the winter. All the ice and snow really lend themselves to the ethereal magic of the landmark, but the mist ricocheting off the falls feels arctic and is enough to make anyone’s nose go numb. Because of this, fall is the best time to visit. You get comfortable temperatures and gorgeous, fiery-colored foliage.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the fall foliage only takes a couple weeks. This bright, sun-filled city beams during the summer, but as soon as October rolls around orange leaves set the streets on fire. These gorgeous photos are a snapshot of Rome, from the edge of the Tiber River, during the summer and fall. The stark contrast of colors makes it feel almost like two different cities. How can a single place have so many faces? That is the mystery of Rome – an ancient city bursting with culture and intrigue. Plus, once you tried Pizza from Italy’s capitol, you’ll never need another slice again.
White River National Forest expands over a number of cities including Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Eagle, Colorado. There’s a reason Colorado is known for its wilderness. Hardly any other view compares to this view of Maroon Lake. Maroon Lake is known for its mirror-like reflection of the North and South Maroon Mountains. In Fall, we get an even more colorful glimpse at this natural phenomenon as it reflects yellow leaves and the snow melts leaving the mountaintops a stunning copper. Almost every color of the rainbow is reflected into Lake Maroon at once. Also, autumn means it’s just a couple more weeks until ski season begins!
The Hozu River, Japan
The Hozu river is a popular tourist destination in Japan because of its scenic river tours. In the spring, visitors can expect gorgeous views of Japanese cherry trees, which bloom in bursts of pink and white. During the fall, Japanese maple leaves start painting the riverbed orange, yellow and red making this the second most popular time to hop on a river boat and make the relaxing journey. It takes just two hours to scale the river by boat, and adventure-seekers can be sure to navigate the terrain with a special “whitewater boat,” though most of the ride is rather calm.
Chicago winters are exceedingly brutal. Expect mountains of snow and wind-chills so low it could make a grown man cry. Winter seems to last so long in Chicago, it almost feels like nothing ever existed outside of it. Before residents of the Illinois metropolis lock themselves indoors away from the cold and vow to never leave their apartments unless it’s an emergency, there actually is autumn. And autumn is really quite nice. The crisp breeze, the changing leaves and the variety of open parks make it a particularly lovely time to wander around the city. Just make sure you bring a scarf and a hat (and probably an extra warm pumpkin spice latte or two).
Snake River, Wyoming
Snake River winds its way throughout a huge part of the Pacific Northwest and is surrounded by picturesque wilderness that is particularly vibrant in autumn. The river flows through six entire states including western Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington – it’s massive, and it’s as gorgeous as it is epic. Created by a volcanic hotspot, this river has been fueled by melting glacial water, snow, and rain (though today, it’s mostly fueled by simple melting rain and snow). In the past, that wasn’t always the case. Snake River’s most scenic canyons and ridges were crafted when a glacier from a previous ice age melted and caused major flooding. A flooding event of this scale happened not once, but twice.
Denali National Park, Alaska
Fall hits Subarctic climates differently. It’s not just the trees that change (though pine trees remain consistently green regardless). The tundra seems to adopt the same colors you’d traditionally see sprouting up on maples, oaks and some of the brightest trees in the fall. Denali National Park in the scenic wilderness of Alaska has a sprawling tundra that turns vibrant shades of red, fuchsia and yellow. It’s also home to around 350 grizzly bears that wander around the open tundra and wade in the gravel along streams. It’s here where they can fish and teach their young how to properly hunt.
This gorgeous image shows what looks like a miniature castle surrounded by lush vegetation. If you’re getting some Northern U.K. vibes, you’d be right. This snap is from the countryside of Banffshire, Scotland. In the fall, this area looks particularly alive, engulfed in gorgeous fire-tinted leaves (plus, there are tons of sheep and cows). As gorgeous as this tiny castle in this photo appears, it’s simply the gate to Ballindalloch Castle. That’s right – it’s just the gate. Imagine how epic the castle is. This castle has enormous history and was crafted in 1546. Since then, it’s been dubbed the Pearl of the North, but nothing is more magical than the wooded roadway to get to the castle’s doors.