Fall is the perfect time to travel: extend the summer for just a little longer and recharge the batteries before the dark days of winter.
Here are our picks for destinations this fall.
Italy's deep South
While the north of Italy is starting to get damp and cool, the southern half sees wonderful weather - clear sunny days and spring-like temperatures. The Amalfi Coast features steep mountains rising from the turquoise Mediterranean with white-washed villages lining deep valleys. Sicily is the classical meeting point between East and West, Africa and Europe, Islam and Christendom. And Puglia is known for its whitewashed hill towns, traditional farmland, fine cuisine and sweeping Mediterranean coastline - Italy’s southern heel and, until recently, its best kept secret.
Miles of turquoise coastline, sun-bleached ancient ruins, great food and a passionate people. Experience Greece, from the sheer cliffs of Santorini to beautiful Naxos in a relaxed week of gentle walks through picturesque villages, lush valleys and sandy beaches. Or take a small-ship cruise through the Greek Islands’ classic highlights but also visit out-of-the-way ports that big cruise ships can’t reach. High on my list is a hike through the stunning mountains of the north. And the delightful island of Evia is a real hidden treasure, with old stone paths connecting quaint villages tucked away in the mountains.
Who hasn’t dreamed of visiting Barcelona, of exploring the white villages of Andalucia or discovering the Alhambra in Granada. Land of fiestas, siesta and Flamenco, of architecture and art, Spain is as diverse as it is beautiful. Walk the villages of the Sierra Nevada, get active in the Aitana region, Find a passion for fine food, for wild landscapes and indeed for life itself.
Often overlooked for other South American destinations such as Ecuador and Peru, Brazil has a surprising variety of natural sights. The Pantanal is the world's biggest wetland region with a stunning array of wildlife. The Amazon needs no further introduction but there is only one trip that travels its length from Belem to Manaus. Meanwhile in the north east of the country Bahia is home to vibrant colonial cities, fantastic scenery, great hiking and stunning beaches.
Stunning mountainous South Georgia has abundant wildlife and is a destination all in its own right. Get up close to nesting albatross and witness massive rookeries of king penguins (by the hundreds of thousands). Late October marks the beginning of the breeding cycle for many species and you may see male elephant seals battling for control of the beaches and harems. Visit it on our South Georgia In Depth.
The moment you set eyes on the Taj Mahal, you know you are seeing an edifice unlike any other. India is like that - it stirs the soul, it challenges your conceptions, it changes you. It is a spectacular mix of people, traditions and landscapes, from Himalayan peaks and foothills, to the hills, backwaters and beaches of the south, from the sacred Ganges to the deserts and castles of Rajasthan where the Pushar Festival will be in full swing.. Temples, shrines and fortresses are everywhere, reminders of an ancient history and spirituality. One things is for sure: you will remember your journey through this fascinating country long after you've left its shores.
I polled people on Facebook if they would go back to Nepal and both Jason and Margie replied "In a heartbeat". Not surprising - Nepal is a nirvana for hikers, trekkers and lovers of mountains. Some of the world's best and most iconic trails lead you to Everest Basecamp, around the Annapurnas and beyond. Besides the mountains, there are the temple-lined medieval city squares and centuries-old stupas of the Kathmandu Valley and the jungles of the south, where you can search for rhinos and tigers on foot, by canoe or by jeep.
Over a glass of wine with a friend the other day we got talking about Bhutan. She got so enthused, she wants to go. In a land where Gross National Happiness is the main indicator of wealth and where the Buddhist tradition ensures a respect and reverence for nature, you will find soaring Himalayan peaks rising above deep ravines cloaked in untouched forest. Throughout the land you can visit fortress-like dzongs and monasteries, witness traditional dance festivals and meet the engaging people. Bhutan may not be 'Shangri La', but it's as close as it gets. And is this not the best trip to see the country?
Japan is a study in contrasts between traditional and modern. Large bustling cities like Tokyo are only a short journey from traditional villages. Pop culture exists next to the grace of a geisha, bullet trains next to the spare beauty of a Zen rock garden. There is temple-rich Kyoto, famous for its cherry blossoms but beautified by its fall colours; there are walks in the Japanese Alps, followed by a long soak in a classic Japanese bath; there are stays at ryokans (traditional inns); and there is the food, made of the freshest of ingredients. This is Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun.
Lions and penguins, traditional African cultures and Western creature comforts, all the Big Five on one morning’s game drive, some of the best food and wine on the planet - all that is South Africa. From metropolitan Cape Town to safaris in the Kruger area, from hiking in the Drakensberg to scenic drives and boat rides along the Garden Route, or a luxury journey like nothing you have seen before, come and see why this place has been called “The world in one Country”.