Fall tourism can be excellent in many parts of Europe. The summer heat ebbs away, comfort foods (and beverages) abound, and many cities and countryside areas alike are at their most beautiful as the leaves change and the daylight dims ever so slightly. All of this is true of Germany. And that, coupled with a few noteworthy events and attractions, makes this a perfect country to keep on your list for autumn travel.
Here are five places in particular you must visit if you travel to Germany this or any other fall.
1. Jasmund National Park
There are a few particularly nice places to view the beautiful nature that comes with fall. But among them, it’s difficult to top Jasmund National Park (Nationalpark Jasmund), created in 1990. This scenic nature reserve is found on the Jasmund peninsula of the island of Rügen in northern Germany. Here you can enjoy long hikes through changing trees, as well as occasional views of the Baltic Sea. The area may be particularly appealing to those who appreciate fine art, as it’s known to have inspired some of the works of 19th century German painter Caspar David Friedrich. Specifically, the chalk cliffs (see photo) within the park are the subject of a wonderful painting depicting a journey the artist once made with his wife. The work shows a human figure facing the deep and almost infinite space beyond the cliffs – a pose you may well imitate while enjoying this beautiful area.
2. Munich and Oktoberfest
Munich is a city you should consider visiting any time you happen to travel to Germany. But during the fall season it becomes an absolutely essential stop. This is because, as you may know, Munich is home to the world’s premiere Oktoberfest celebration, which has inspired similar festivals the world over. Beer, food, fun outfits, and general festivity abound, making this one of the most enjoyable parties anywhere in the world. Just don’t forget that Oktoberfest actually starts in September!
3. Elbsandstein Mountains
The Sächsische Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland) is a scenic area near Dresden that’s noteworthy for some of the same reasons as Jasmund National Park – which is to say it’s simply a beautiful natural place where you can take in changing leaves and crisp, refreshing weather. However, the Elbsandstein Mountains are also nice for those who are looking for a little bit more adventure in their autumn travel. Hiking and climbing through some of the mountains and the Bastei rock formations can be an exhilarating experience. Pictured above is the iconic Bastei Bridge (1851) that links Neurathen Castle and the rock formations high above the Elbe River.
As you may well know, Germany was once home to the Brothers Grimm, who famously penned and adapted many (if not most) of the world’s famous fairy tales. There’s actually a 600km “fairy tale route” that interested travelers can take to enjoy some of the sights relevant to the brothers, but Alsfeld is a particularly interesting stop, as the home of Little Red Riding Hood’s house. This is perhaps one of the brothers’ best-known tales, having been adapted into storybooks, films, games, etc. Case in point, an online game based on the tale probably describes it best as having been adapted and woven into different cultures around the world. But here you can see the house that sparked the Grimms’ interpretation, and during a season that just feels perfect for spooky tales.
Maybe it’s a little bit easy to single out the most famous city in Germany as a place to visit. But Berlin is especially interesting for autumn travel because of its famous Festival of Lights. While not quite the Munich Oktoberfest in terms of atmosphere, the festival (or more accurately, two festivals) still draws plenty of tourists. Basically, the festivals light up the city in the evening, with almost 100 of the capital’s top sights being illuminated with various artistic 3D projections – as seen in the photo above at the Berlin Cathedral. It’s a dream-like way to see one of the world’s great cities.