Crunchy, golden, rust-coloured leaves on the ground, combined with chillier, shorter evenings can only mean one thing. Autumn has reached the northern hemisphere. Whether you are hoping to celebrate the harvest season through festival celebrations, looking for spooky Halloween vibes, craving cosy or looking to escape to warmer climes. We hope to add a bit of pumpkin spice to your travel plans with our favourite Autumnal getaways.
The Mooncake Festival in Beijing
Any festival involving cake is a yes from me! The Moon festival aka Mooncake festival is an annual mid-Autumn occurrence observed in many Asian countries including China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea. The festival comes second only to Chinese New Year and celebrates the moon, the harvest of rice, and many other seasonal fruits.
As the title would suggest, the festival is a time for celebrating, and gazing up at the Moon. In fact, the roundness of the moon is considered to represent the family reunion. Families gather to celebrate, moon cakes are eaten, and lanterns fill the skies symbolising the importance of the family bond, light and an auspicious bounty for the following year.
Celebrate the festival like past Chinese Emperors did at Beihai Park or head to the Lougou Bridge to experience some fantastic shows of traditional Chinese folk art.
Halloween in Scotland
Halloween can be traced back to the Celtic celebration of Samhain, marking the end of Summer, the beginning of colder times ahead, and symbolising the thin boundary between living and dead. The Celts believed the dead could rise on the night of 31 October, and bonfires were originally lit to ward off evil spirits. Scotland, a key area of Celtic settlement, today, exudes culture and charm, however, beneath its magical facade lies a ghoulish history of ghost tales sure to send tingles down your spine. Check out Visit Scotland’s new witchcraft trail. Join in, and adventure across Scotland, listening to stories, both fact and legend of nature and lore, women’s rights, superstition and the supernatural.
A stone’s throw from Edinburgh, a stop by Stirling castle is a must! Considered one of the most haunted places in the world, keep your eye out for the ghostly highlander who has too frequently, been caught roaming the castle grounds.
Cosy in Saint-Brieuc
If the 3 C’s of cuisine, charm and cosy are high on your list of getaway requirements then look no further than Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, France. This medieval city won’t let you down. Step back in time while strolling through enchanting streets, lined with stone and half-timbered houses, visit the impressive cathedral, and check out the local markets.
Aim for the bay on low tide. The tide recedes approximately 7km, exposing an exciting habitat perfect for collecting shellfish responsibly or viewing the area’s diverse birdlife, and is home to one of Brittany’s largest nature reserves, Réserve Naturelle de la Baie de Saint-Brieuc. If you are a keen birder check out the festival of migrant birds from the 21 October to the 10 November 2022. The experts over at HI France recommend the Promenades Landscape Park and the Bois Boissel Natural Park (a few minutes on foot and/or by bike from the HI Saint-Brieuc youth hostel).
Crunch through Fall Foliage in Quebec
Our friends over at HI Canada know the fall season is the perfect time to take full advantage of the great outdoors before the winter sets in. They have put together a fantastic selection of great hikes across the Quebec region for this autumn, ideal for a mini-adventure. Enjoy some of Canada’s most pristine habitat at Jacques Cartier National Park. Approximately 50 kms from Quebec city, set in the beautiful glacial valleys of the Laurentian Highlands, along the Jacques Cartier River, the park offers some phenomenal hiking and kayaking opportunities.
The Le Draveur Sud trail is perfect if you intend to spot some local wildlife. Whether you’re a bird enthusiast, hoping to spot some of the more illusive bigger mammals such as the black bear, moose, grey wolf… or just happy to soak in the nature, this beautiful park won’t disappoint.
A night behind bars at Fremantle Prison
Combine sunshine and spooky this Autumn at Fremantle prison, Western Australia. Listed as a UNESCO World heritage building, the prison dates back to the 1850’s, and was home to some of Western Australia’s most notorious convicts from 1855 up until 1991. The hostel, set in what was the womens division of the old prison, provides the unique experience of a night in the cells, and paints a colourful history of Austalia’s wild west convicts that once occupied them. If you dare, take the prison’s Torchlight tour before you head back to your cell in the evening but note, this is not for the faint hearted.
Beyond the prison walls, lies the bustling seaside town of Fremantle, full of character and community spirit. Take the ferry over to Rottnest Island for beautiful white-sand beaches, secluded coves and shallow waters ideal for snorkelling.
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