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8 of the Coziest Places Around the World To Visit This Fall

Best Cozy Destinations Around the World
Hallo, mein Name ist Helen!

South Londoner on the loose in Switzerland, with a cat and baby in tow. Trained teacher, student, and travel writer, with a passion for drama, drag, and adventure.

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Hi, I'm Helen!

South Londoner on the loose in Switzerland, with a cat and baby in tow. Trained teacher, student, and travel writer, with a passion for drama, drag, and adventure.

Mehr anzeigen

What does cozy mean to you? We took a look at what being cozy means around the world and where you can maximize that inherent feeling the most on your travels. Whether it’s the warm comfort of sipping a spiced latte while strolling down foliage-flanked footpaths, rambling through rolling forests as the crisp air kisses your skin, or tucking into a harvest feast inside an intimate eatery, these eight global destinations offer something for every late-seasonal adventurer.

1. Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Diners enjoy a crisp fall evening in the Netherlands.
Outdoor terraces in the Netherlands are warm and inviting well into the fall season. | Bildquelle: Bistro Flores

Scenic riverlands, historic (and haunted castles) make this Dutch town a must if you're in search of all things cozy.

While feelings of gezelligheid come to mind when one thinks of Amsterdam in the fall, for those looking for an off-the-beaten-path (and maybe an even better) version of cozy should look no further than Nijmegen a town located along the Dutch-German border. In the heart of the Gelderland, this Dutch town offers plenty of sights to see (and feel) during the crisp fall months. Pedal beyond the city limits and enjoy the scenic riverlands, tour historic and haunted castles from the Middle Ages, or discover World War II history as you learn of one of the largest airborne operations in history—Operation Market Garden.

As the fall evening draws in, take in the nightly Sunset March at the city’s De Oversteek bridge. Then cozy up in one of Nijmegen’s taverns and enjoy a Dutch ale and warming local meal.

2. Aalborg, Denmark

Early evening in the harbor in Aalborg, Denmark.
Early evening in Denmark is especially cozy when the lights come. | Bildquelle: Restaurantskibet Prinses Juliana i Aalborg Havn

While technically the Norwegians invented the word "hygge," the Danes have fully embraced it and made it their own.

Often overshadowed by the Scandi glamour of Copenhagen, Denmark’s fourth-largest city will charm any traveler looking for a hit of hygge this fall. Tour Aalborg’s cobbled streets as you wind through the old town among picturesque half-timbered mansions and by the imposing 16th-century Aalborg Castle.

Danish weather can be unpredictable in fall, so head inside if the weather turns and learn more about the city’s ancient history. The Lindholm Høje Museum offers insight into the region’s Viking origins, while the modern Utzon Center showcases Aalborg’s contemporary culture.

Insider tip: As the sun sets, take a culture walk through Aalborg and along the city’s waterfront where the fall colors reflect off the city’s modern buildings.

3. Transylvania, Romania

Autumn foliage round a Transylvania castle.
Transylvania is an ideal place to take a fall-time hike through the mountains. | Bildquelle: Balate Dorin / Shutterstock

Come September and October, Transylvania's famous forested landscapes are awash with autumnal hues.

There is no place quite like Transylvania in the fall when the famous forest landscape is awash with autumnal hues. A hike through the Carpathian Mountains is a must for any seasonal enthusiast when attractions such as Piatra Craiului National Park and Balea Lake enjoy shoulder season tranquility. Meanwhile, thrill seekers can still get their kicks on a climbing excursion to the Turda Gorge or by tracking wildlife in the woods, and of course, Halloween tours at Bran Castle (also known as Dracula's Castle offer spooks galore.

Old towns Sibiu and Brasov also offer an array of fall-time treats, including candlelit tours of Gothic architecture or harvest-time tasting experiences around Transylvania, plus plenty of opportunities to cozy up with a cup of Transylvanian palinca, the region’s famous double-distilled plum brandy.

Related: Plan a trip to 13 of the world's most haunted destinations.

Explore Romania

4. Valais, Switzerland

Golden larches in Valais in Switzerland in fall.
Valais is an especially cozy and festive destination during the fall. | Bildquelle: Andrew Mayovskyy / Shutterstock

The Gornergrat foothills are a photographic wonderland when bathed in the golden glow of fall.

Deep in the Swiss Alps, the Valais region is a fall-time treasure thanks to its valley vineyards and iconic peaks. The Gornergrat foothills are particularly photogenic when bathed in the golden glow of fall and on a clear day, you might even glimpse the crowning gem of the Matterhorn. If you arrive early enough in the season you can still explore on a guided walking tour, while later arrivals can take advantage of the Gornergrat Bahn, which operates year-round, or opt for a paragliding tour.

Back on land, get a taste of the region’s fresh harvest on a vineyard tour with dinner, or indulge in a fall-friendly fondue experience. By late November, Christmas-themed tours in Zermatt provide a glimpse of the Swiss fall fading into a picturesque winter.

Related: For more adventures close to Zurich, check out our top day trip trips near the Swiss capital.

Explore Switzerland

5. Zaragoza, Spain

Fall trees by the river in Zaragoza in fall.
For those looking for a less crowded Spain, Zaragoza is a must-go in the fall. | Bildquelle: ioanna_alexa / Shutterstock

Spain may be a hot spot during the summer travel season, but for cozy-seekers, Zaragoza hits the spot.

While summer in Spain absorbs a lot of travel attention, for those in the know, autumn brings fiestas to the capital of Aragon, making it one of the best times to visit this often-overlooked Spanish city. Over 10 days in October, parades, performances, and street parties take place across the city in honor of its patron saint, offering something for every age group.

Don’t forget to pay your respects at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, one of the region’s most important cultural landmarks, before immersing yourself in the buzzing city on a private Zaragoza walking tour or traditional tapas-tasting session. Then, take advantage of midday market tours and cooking classes to feast on the season’s fresh harvest; head out of town on a private day trip to Alquezar; or visit the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park, which enjoys particularly fine weather for climbing, hiking, and canyoning for the whole family during the fall.

Explore Spain

6. The Scottish Highlands

A croft on an autumnal hill in the Scottish hill in the fall.
Enjoy the many colors autumn brings to the Scottish Highlands. | Bildquelle: Mikadun / Shutterstock

Drams of whiskey, wool sweaters to keep out the cold, and dramatic landscapes all equal to one of the best cozy destinations the world has to offer.

The rugged northern reaches of Scotland might not immediately strike you as cozy, but dramatic landscapes, ancient ruins, and homely pubs make it a top choice for fall-time adventure. Remote locations such as the Isle of Skye or Cairngorms National Park are particularly evocative during the cold, crisp shoulder season when the hiking and biking trails are less busy too. The shores of Loch Ness are similarly enchanting, as encircling copper thickets reflect upon dark gray waters.

The Jacobite Steam Train—also known as the Hogwarts Express—operates late into October, too, providing nostalgia fitting for the season plus panoramic views of the autumnal region. And when you’re ready to warm up, savor local malts on a whisky distillery tour or immerse yourself in tradition with a dining experience in the cozy home of a native Highlander.

Explore Scotland

7. Kyoto, Japan

A temple amid fall foliage in Kyoto in Japan.
Kyoto is known for its thick fall foliage. | Bildquelle: cowardlion / Shutterstock

Pottery classes, sake tastings, and fall foliage set among Buddhist temples enhance the cozy-yet-zen-like experience in Kyoto.

Enjoy fall foliage in Kyoto, best known for its Buddhist temples set among undulating forests and cultivated gardens. The To-ji, Kinkaku-ji, Kiyomizu-dera, Jojakko-ji and Ginkaku-ji temples all come into their own during the season, as does Kyoto's Philosopher’s Path, which sees its famous Japanese maples turn fiery red beneath the autumn sky.

Walking tours or bike excursions through the city can help you to tick off all the top fall-time sights, while cultural experiences are a great way to immerse yourself in Kyoto’s seasonal coziness—try a Mansagama pottery course, traditional calligraphy class, or try the artform of Ikebana with a flower arrangement session. Or visit a local brewery for a taste of warming sake.

Related: Have your heard of Japan's Golden Week?

Explore Japan

8. Nova Scotia, Canada

An aerial view of a car heading through a fall forest in Nova Scotia in Canada.
For cozy-seekers and leaf peepers, a scenic fall drive in Nova Scotia is a must. | Bildquelle: Curtis Watson / Shutterstock

Rich harvests and atmospheric landscapes encapsulate the essence of fall in this northeastern part of Canada.

Nova Scotia, aka "New Scotland," is a Canadian province that boasts rich harvests and atmospheric landscapes that encapsulate the essence of fall. Get a taste of the region’s agricultural heritage on a vineyard tour of the Annapolis Valley; savor fall fare around Halifax’s farmers markets; or warm up over wines, beers, and ciders on a on a small group tour of Halifax’s breweries.

Outdoor enthusiasts can even brave the brisk weather to visit Peggy’s Cove, where the photogenic lighthouse stands ready against a dramatic coastal backdrop. Or, explore the remote Cape Breton Highlands National Park via the Cabot Trail, ideal for road-tripping in fall’s cooler climes. October is also Mi'kmaq History Month, with community events and celebrations taking place across the province—find out more at the Millbrook Cultural & Heritage Centre.

Related: How to support Indigenous Communities while traveling in Canada.

This piece was originally published in August 2022 and has been recently updated by Luke Spacey.

Explore Canada

How to capture that cozy feeling this fall

Fall leaf peeping season is a great time to layer up in warm clothes and take long walks.
Fall colors erupt along the banks of a lake inspiring long hikes and evening fireside chats. | Bildquelle: Ricardo Gomez Angel / Unsplash

From hygge to gezelligheid, take inspiration from cultures that practically invented the cozy experience.

We all have our own ways of getting cozy when the nights draw in and the temperature plummets, but around the world different cultures take coziness to new heights.

Hygge: If you’ve ever wanted to experience hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), then visiting Denmark in the fall is the best place to get acquainted with this Danish cultural tradition. While the term may bring to mind Scandi design and soft, neutral-hued fabrics, hygge actually describes the qualities of coziness. Activities that give you those hygge vibes should leave you feeling content and centered with friends and family.

Gezelligheid: Untranslatable to any other language, gezelligheid perfectly sums up the Dutch culture. The word varies in meaning depending on its context but is typically used to refer to a feeling of conviviality and coziness, especially during the fall in the Netherlands.

Find more fall-time activites around the world

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Sehen Sie sich alle Touren in Rumänien an
Touren und Tickets in 1.664
Schloss Peles, ein UNESCO-Weltkulturerbe, in Sinaia, Transsylvanien
Sehen Sie sich alle Aktivitäten in Rumänien an
A Transylvania castle in Golden Hour
Top Burgen und Festungen in Siebenbürgen