It's autumn in Germany and it's hard to imagine a more beautiful place. The days are often sunny and perfectly match the bright yellows, oranges and reds of the changing leaves: most likely many people's favourite time of year!
Aside from the colours, fall is also noticeable through the food, festivities and activities that are best enjoyed during the fall months.
If you too love autumn and spend part of it in Germany, here are some of the best ways to enjoy it:
Although perfect fall weather and foliage are difficult to predict, foliage colour peaks around mid to late October, depending on the year. Although there can be colder temperatures and rain, there is almost always a week or two of beautiful weather, especially in the south.
The best destinations
This castle is gorgeous at any time of year. I should know, I've seen it in winter, summer and fall. But seeing the castle in the changing leaves and enjoying the walk there just makes it that little bit more magical. You can walk inside the castle or, my personal favourite, take a short hike to a viewpoint on the other side of the castle. The walk can take as little as 20 minutes, or you can make it a longer panoramic hike.
To stay in the family, there's another Hohenzollern castle that's a little less famous, but no less magnificent and opulent. Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen is the largest castle I have ever seen. It sits high on a rocky hill and is then surrounded by water and the town. There are guided tours inside, and several vantage points from which to take wonderful photos, and the castle is really beautiful with the golden foliage around it! Every once in a while, the castle also hosts a banquet, as it did when I was there last October.
3. Gamburg Castle
Another nice find in Baden-Württemberg is a privately owned castle where the family still lives. The family themselves will take you through the restored rooms and to one of the oldest non-secular paintings in Europe, which is over 800 years old. They are also known for their delicious cake, which I enjoyed with beautiful orange leaves fluttering down on me as I watched the sunset - a truly magical evening. The castle is also home to 21 friendly ghosts, and ghost tours are offered in the evenings during the fall.
4. Road Trip in Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of my favourite regions in Germany and is perfect for a road trip. It has everything to offer, from castles to waterfalls to stunning foliage. Plus, somewhere between the Black Forest and the Swabian Alb, I came across a field full of sunflowers in October. It's hard not to love that!
5. Saxon Switzerland
Speaking of Saxony, you should definitely stop by this national park and do one or more hikes. The landscape is surreal, with sharp rocks seemingly appearing out of nowhere. The park's most important structure, the Bastei Bridge, sits amidst the rock towers and is especially beautiful at golden hour. A visit in the fall is recommended not only for the foliage, but also because there are fewer visitors.