Golden autumns: landscapes shimmer in bold, bright colours and the last rays of sun cast a glistening light over nature. In many parts of Europe, the myriad of autumn colours is no less breathtaking than that of an Indian summer in North America. The magnificent natural spectacle is often celebrated with traditional festivals, old customs and typical regional markets. McRent, the motorhome rental company, has put together seven must-see European autumn destinations for motorhomes.
Tip #1 Poland: Masuria – autumn atmosphere in the land of a thousand lakes
The Masurian Lake District is one of the most famous and beautiful holiday regions in Poland. Gentle hills, countless lakes, endless forests and fields dominate the idyllic landscape. Autumn bathes Masuria's forests in a blaze of colour, resembling a New England Indian summer in northeastern USA. It is the most beautiful season for hiking, horse riding, paddling on the lakes or simply for enjoying some peace and quiet. At this time of year, mushroom connoisseurs can also find chanterelles, milkcaps, porcini and sticky buns, which can then be used to cook a delicious mushroom dish in your mobile home kitchen.
Tip #2 Finland: Lapland – golden autumn under the Northern Lights
When the long days of the midnight sun are over and the temperature drops sharply at night, the tall deciduous trees and low shrubs change colour almost overnight. Nature glows in all her glory, from a rich golden yellow to bright red – called "ruska" by the Finns. Active campers can discover the unknown and seek out the beautiful natural colours of Lapland on the well-developed hiking trails and mountain biking routes or while canoeing or fishing. Another great natural spectacle are the Northern Lights, which you might be lucky enough to see in the autumn night sky. One advantage for motorhome travellers: in exceptional cases, campers in Finland are also allowed to pitch camp at rest areas and at the roadside if there is no campsite nearby. However, the following generally applies: the owner's permission is required to stay overnight on private property outside of campsites. "Everyone's right" only applies to camping overnight in a tent.
Tip #3 Corsica: swim in the sea and hike in the colourful chestnut forests
For Corsica lovers, autumn is the best time of year to visit. There are hardly any tourists rushing around to see the sights and beaches, yet the sea is still warm enough for swimming. Hikers can experience the myriad of autumn colours in the dense chestnut forests on the mountainous Mediterranean island. The markets are full of hustle and bustle. Visitors can observe artisans making pottery or blowing glass in traditional crafts studios. They are also welcome to watch the Corsicans pursuing their favourite pastime – pétanque – in town and village marketplaces. Motorhome travellers have a good choice of campsites all over the island – almost 200 sites of different categories are spread across Corsica. Many of them are still open in autumn.
Tip #4 South Tyrol: cattle, autumn wine and grape festivals
In South Tyrol, autumn explodes with vibrant colours. The forests shine in bold, bright red and orange hues and the first snow-capped mountain peaks herald in the upcoming winter. The clear air and kilometres of unrestricted views offer the best conditions for mountain tours. Autumn is also the season for festivals and culinary delights. This is the time when cattle is traditionally driven down from mountain pastures into the valleys, which the locals celebrate with a parade. Roast chestnuts and hearty farmhouse food accompany the new autumn wine. A highlight for campers: many premium campsites in South Tyrol pamper their guests with amenities such as indoor pools, saunas and spa treatments.
Tip #5 Germany: Harz – autumn hikes on northern Germany's highest mountain
When the forests are ablaze in golden yellow hues is when the Harz shows its most beautiful side to hikers. Autumn classics are the "Harz Witches' Trail", the "Lynx Trail" or a climb up the Brocken mountain. Wandering over hills and dales and in the footsteps of the German poets Goethe and Heine, past small streams and bizarre rock formations, the 1,140 m high summit can be seen from afar. Colourful beech and spruce forests await hikers high up. The Brocken Railway is often a welcome alternative for the descent. Travelling in one of the historic steam locomotives is a true highlight – and not only in autumn. There are also numerous camping and parking spaces for motorhome drivers in the Harz Mountains, which are open all year round.
Tip #6 Romania: the Carpathian Mountains – in the land of myths and legends
The Romanian Carpathians are a perfect destination for adventurous travellers. The landscape is shaped by monumental castles, lonely expanses, wild mountains and huge forest areas – in fact, it has the largest unfragmented forest area in Europe. In autumn, hikers can experience a true explosion of colours. A number of tours go through lakescapes, over mountain ridges, through watery gorges and endless forests. The legend of blood-sucking Count Dracula will come to mind at the latest when thick veils of mist cover the autumn landscape. There are not many campsites in Romania and wild camping is allowed. Therefore, motorhome travellers simply need to look for a quiet spot for the night in the middle of nature.
Tip #7 Scotland: magical autumn
Mountains cluster on the horizon, endless valleys criss-cross the land and islands shimmer off the rough coast: from the end of September to November, Scotland's landscape is even more spectacular, with clear blue skies, leaves in fiery colours and air that smells fresh and earthy. The huge forests change their colour to hues of ochre and red. Mixed with evergreen Scottish pines, they are impressively reflected in the lochs. Visitors can also experience nature in a kaleidoscope of colours in The Trossachs National Park, located north of Glasgow and in the Perthshire region north of Edinburgh. Campers will find around 200 caravan parks in Scotland.