As summer winds down and airfares and hotel rates start to drop, it’s time to plan fall getaways. Autumn is a radiant time of year, and this year will be no exception. If you’re itching to pack a bag and explore the world, here are 10 top destinations to visit before winter rolls around.
PHOTO BY: S.Borisov / Shutterstock
It’s Dylan Thomas’ 100th birthday this fall, and though the Welsh have been celebrating all year, the party culminates in his hometown of Swansea during the Dylan Thomas Festival. From Oct. 27 (his birth date) to Nov. 9 (the anniversary of his death), the Dylan Thomas Centre will add special seminars, readings and celebrations to its permanent exhibit. Toast the poet at Swansea’s annual Cider Weekend and Autumn Fayre (Oct. 18 to 19).
PHOTO BY: Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock
Las Vegas, Nevada
The first casino hotel to open on the strip in five years, SLS Las Vegas officially debuted on Labor Day weekend with more than 1,600 rooms designed by Philippe Starck; nine restaurants, including the long-awaited Bazaar Meat by José Andrés; and special packages for birthday boys and girls, foodies and more.
PHOTO BY: S.Borisov / Shutterstock
Germany’s capital city celebrates the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (Nov. 9) and the beginning of the country’s reunification with events all season long. Not to be missed: the magnificent Brandenburg Gate (shown here) and an elaborate light installation that is made up of thousands of illuminated helium balloons and stretches for seven miles. Autumn also signals Berliner Oktoberfest (Sept.19 to Oct. 5).
PHOTO BY: Genova / Shutterstock
This fall, three landmark hotels will reopen in the City of Lights. The former Hotel Majestic, which occupies a breathtaking Belle Epoque building, becomes the Peninsula Paris, with 200 rooms that blend 19th-century grandeur with 21st-century convenience. The Hilton Paris Opera comes back on the scene with a magnificent new entrance hall and a stylish new bar inspired by French fashion designer Christian Lacroix. Finally, the Hotel Plaza Athénée returns with its revamped Alain Ducasse restaurant.
AARP Offer: Explore Your World
Explore Travel with our newsletter filled with tips and ideas to plan the ultimate getaway. Join AARP today for savings on airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises.
PHOTO BY: ostill / Shutterstock
Located on the banks of Lake Titicaca, the historic town of Puno celebrates its founding with a week’s worth of events beginning Nov. 4, including traditional dancing, music, fireworks, military parades and re-creations of Incan folklore. The surrounding area also offers the island of Taquile, situated in the middle of the lake and revered for its textile arts. It’s a prime spot to pick up some souvenirs and explore Incan ruins.
PHOTO BY: saiko3p / Shutterstock
Oct. 21 marks the beginning of India’s five-day Hindu New Year celebration, Diwali. Jaipur, known as the “Pink City,” is the center of it all, drawing visitors to its stunning festival of lights — when homes, buildings, shops and markets go all out. The night sky booms with fireworks, and the weather is agreeable — sunny days and cool nights. Explore the bazaars and gem dealers within the old walled town.
PHOTO BY: Edella/Dreamstime
Salem celebrates Halloween the entire month of October, including reenactments of its infamous witch trials (based on historic transcripts) at the historic House of the Seven Gables. The town also comes alive with jack-o’-lantern parades, haunted street fairs, ghostly storytellings, authentic séances, a carnival, plenty of fireworks and some trick-or-treating (of course).
PHOTO BY: PhotoSky / Shutterstock
Cape Town, South Africa
The city’s reign as the World Design Capital 2014 will be coming to an end, so now’s the time to visit the Lynedoch EcoVillage, South Africa’s first socially-mixed, ecologically-designed sustainable community, and “Too Good to Waste,” a series of workshops about recycling and using waste creatively.
PHOTO BY: anandoart / Shutterstock
Phobjikha Valley, Bhutan
The first day of October welcomes one of Asia’s most colorful festivals, Gangtey Drubchen and Tsechu, with a slew of religious ceremonies at the area’s famous monastery. Then, Nov. 7 to 15, Bhutan celebrates the migration of hundreds of black-necked cranes with days and nights of folk songs and dances, many themed around the bird. The cranes offer a wondrous spectacle in their own right.
PHOTO BY: Michael Warwick / Shutterstock
Watch — or participate in — the World Championship Grape Stomp (Oct. 3 to 5), which features teams of “stompers” and “swabbies” who compete for a grand prize of $1,500. It’s like an episode of I Love Lucy come to life. Adding to the fun are wine, beer and cider tastings; chef demos; food and wine workshops and seminars; and pumpkin tossing and grape spitting.