At 3.03am on 23 September 2022, the sun crosses the celestial equator and shines on the northern and southern hemispheres equally – splitting the length of our days and nights in half. Known as the autumn equinox – this marks the 1st day of autumn/fall in the northern hemisphere. Meaning it’s time to swap sunglasses for slippers, get cosy and relish the crunch of colourful leaves underfoot.
Since we know you’re excited, here are 6 cosy spots to savour this refreshing and beautiful season.
6 cosy spots to celebrate the autumn equinox
Crisp air. Beautiful scenery. Golden light. What’s not to love?
New England (USA)
In United States’ northeast, New England’s reputation as the world’s most picture-perfect spot to mark the autumn equinox is well-founded. Every inch of Boston, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island (and its National Parks) is ablaze with fall foliage – affording stunning walks, hikes and drives. To start, you must ride along some of the 90km-long Kancamagus Highway that meanders along the Swift River in New Hampshire’s White Mountains – past impossibly tall trees, delicate waterfalls and bright woodland cutaways.
Elsewhere, history buffs should walk Boston’s Freedom Trial past monuments that reveal American Revolution history. And don’t leave without time in Maine’s Acadia National Park, where you can climb Cadillac Mountain for a sensational sunrise (this is the first place where the sunrise appears in the USA).
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Despite its reputation as ‘The city that never sleeps’, New York has a refreshingly laidback and easy feel in autumn. As heavy summer crowds disperse, space frees up for gorgeous walks through New York’s Central Park and botanical gardens – ablaze with bright leaves. We recommend taking a blissful bike ride by the Hudson river, drinking in crisp autumn air – before parking up for brilliant New York bagel and head-sized hot chocolate. Plus, with authentic restaurants, world-class theatre and comedy at every turn – New York is guaranteed to give you a special fall trip.
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A short hop across the US border, Montréal offers a magical place to celebrate the arrival of autumn equinox. Despite being Canada’s second biggest city, a tranquil pace of life is found everywhere (especially in its 21 major parks). Take in the vibrant art scene. Hop between artisan coffee shops. Watch live hockey or and jazz. And venture to the city’s highest point, Mount Royal, for a stunning view of autumn oranges and reds lighting up the city. Do it all (and uncover the history of this French speaking spot) on Trafalgar’s Best of Eastern Canada (end Montreal).
Tucked between the Alps and the Salzach River, Salzburg is a stunning spot to witness nature’s shift in autumn. Plus get a big helping of authentic culture at the same time. Known as ‘The Stage of the World’ or ‘City of Music’ (because Mozart and the Sound of Music’s Von Trapp family were born here), Salzburg’s musical spirit is truly alive in autumn. You will hear beautiful music as you walk the wide, cobbled streets – where lederhosen-wearing locals enjoy a beer and strudel at side-bars. Top tip: arrive during The Salzburg Kulturtage Festival (28 September-23 October) shortly after autumn equinox to enjoy 20 musical events in streets, churches and wine bars. Ranging from brass, opera and classical music to tango. Interested? You can explore it all and head to the setting of the Sound of Music film on Trafalgar’s Imperial Europe tour.
The Lake District (England)
The crunch of leaves underfoot is extra special in The Lake District, where gigantic lakes, mountains, running rivers, waterfalls and stunning walking routes engulf you from all sides. This is a stunning place to free your mind – and it’s no surprise famous writers and poets like Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth found inspiration here.
Nestled in the foot of mountain fells, we recommend strolling Grasmere village to taste world-famous gingerbread and soak in laid-back local life. Plus cruise the giant Lake Windermere by boat, taking in the mountain peaks and sleepy villages as you go.
After a hike, there’s no better place to unwind than a cosy local pub for a Cumberland sausage, sticky toffee pudding and local ale. The Lake District is pure bliss, especially following the autumn equinox.
Scandinavia’s Northern Lights
The autumn equinox is a sweet spot for northern lights viewing because the earth’s axis tilts more towards the sun’s solar wind during this time (and this reaction causes the lights to appear).
And because Scandinavia ranks among best places to see the northern lights, we suggest travelling to Norway, plus Finnish and Swedish Lapland for your best chance of seeing these green, yellow and red hues ripple across the night’s sky. Unlike winter, weather conditions are more favourable for outdoor exploring – and you will find no shortage of amazing hikes and scenic views along the way. Just don’t forget your camera.
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