Five perfect autumn breaks

From truffle hunting in France to an alternative Oktober in Bavaria, Chris Carter looks at the best places around the world to enjoy autumn.


Canny tourists will wait till the autumn before heading for the prepossessing town of Polignano


Puglia, otherwise known as the heel of Italy, is heaving in August when Italians tend to take their holidays. "Cannier tourists" know to wait for autumn, says Dixe Wills in The Guardian. The sun "still warms the skin" and "the seas are still toasty". But while everything is still open, it is a lot quieter. The little seaside town of Polignano a Mare is "a prepossessing place just made for quiet ambling".

It is best known for its "beach in a narrow cove, with limestone cliffs topped by a jumble of ancient buildings". Having grabbed an ice cream at Joya Canti di Stagione, "hit the sack" at Maland wake up to sea views.


Late October and November is the time to don your boots and go truffle-hunting in Provence, says Annabelle Thorpe in The Times. That's when the most expensive fungi "burrow up through the earth". The "luxurious" Crillon Le Brave Hotel in the Vaucluse department of southern France offers outings with Frank and Alexis Jaumard, two experienced trufficulteurs.

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If that sounds like too much work, you can nip into the kitchen for a truffle-themed cookery lesson with the hotel's chef. Just don't miss out on the chance to visit one of the world-famous wineries in nearby Chteauneuf-du-Pape.


Most people associate Japan with the spring and cherry blossom, says The Independent's Laura Chubb. But the "vivid" autumn colours are well worth experiencing in the Japanese Alps. In September and October, the peaks and slopes are "blanketed in bright oranges, yellows and reds".

Take a day's scenic hike upwards to Karasawa-goya mountain hut in the Karasawa Valley. The sleeping arrangements are simple, but the hospitality is excellent. Better still, "they'll stuff you with food and there's plenty of beer". For added "bliss", check into a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, in one of the nearby spa towns.



Marrakech is unbearably hot in summer, says Nichola West in The Daily Telegraph "hardly the right conditions for leading children through the souk". But in October, the temperatures are more family-friendly. That's the time to exploit the "reasonably priced but luxurious riads on offer".

The joy is to be found wandering the winding alleyways of Morroco's famous city and visiting the main square, Djemaa el-Fna, "where the colour, noise, and bustle are captivating". The Royal Mansour hotel is a "feast for the senses", says Jade Conroy in the same paper. "The ochre-coloured buildings burn bright against blue skies, while the smell of orange blossom lingers."



Britain isn't the only country to experience "Indian summers". In Poland, it's called a zota jesien or "golden autumn", says Kamil Tchorek in The Guardian. "It is often heralded by a blood moon and is glorious", with the endless forests of copper leaves and the amber light. But there's also the heat. So head to the seaside town of Sopot on the Baltic coast. There you will find the longest wooden pier in Europe, "a pleasant, simple walkway into the open sea, with moorings and cafes". The town has natural mineral springs and the air here is so clean "it seems sweet".


An alternative Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest got underway this week, celebrating 500 years of the Reinheitsgebot the German purity law for brewing beer. But you'd do well to sidestep the six million tourists and direct your homage to Weltenburg's monastery, which lies "on a gloriously clear, fast-running section of the Danube" in Bavaria, says Andrew Eames in The Independent.

Here, the Benedictine monks have been making beer since 1050 for pilgrims and the poor. During periods of fasting only liquids could be drunk, with beer a natural replacement for bread. More recently, the beer has won the accolade of "best dark beer in the world three times", a distinction the monks put down to the monastery's own spring, and expertise.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.