The world's top 10 best places to see autumn leaves and colours

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

One of Europe's most visually attractive cities takes on a new palette of beauty in the soft light of autumn. Petrin Hill and Letna Park flaunt great city and Vltava River views and have spectacular orange-coloured trees. Cultural, music and wine festivals run throughout the season, including the month-long, multi-genre Strings of Autumn music festival. Take a side trip to Karlsteijn Castle, whose surrounding hillsides also explode in colour. See prague.eu

KYOTO TEMPLES, JAPAN

Japan's fabled cherry blossoms fade within a week, but autumn foliage provides a spectacle for nearly two months. Autumn colours erupt on Kyoto's northern hillsides in mid-November and towards month's end set fire to temple gardens such as Tofuku-ji, Eikando and Kodai-ji. Hoen-in has stunning red maples, Shinyodo yellow ginkos. Some temples, such as Kiyomizu-dera and Tenjuan, have evening illuminations on maple trees, reflected in ponds to lovely effect. See kyoto.travel

NEW ENGLAND, UNITED STATES

One of the planet's best autumn seasons erupts at its best in early October across the six states of the north-east US, a backdrop for white churches and red barns. The range of colours is unmatched, from yellow (poplars, birch, elms) to red (dogwood, maples) and purple (sumac). Scenic route 169 in Connecticut and the Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts are fine fall driving routes, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire are stunning. See discovernewengland.org

COTSWOLDS, ENGLAND

The rolling, sheep-grazed farmland and honey-coloured cottages of the Cotswolds epitomise the English countryside and are at their best in the "season of mist and mellow fruitfulness" when hillsides are splattered in orange and yellow. For good autumn rambles, head to Cotswolds Nature Reserve and Westonbirt Arboretum, which has terrific Japanese maples in many colours, and two designated autumn trails. Blenheim Palace's famous landscaped gardens also put on a grand show. See cotswolds.com

MOSELLE VALLEY, GERMANY

This steep-sided valley dotted with villages and castles is always beautiful, but its famous vineyards (this is Germany's oldest wine region) are at their most spectacular in autumn. As an added bonus, wine festivals erupt all through September in riverside towns such as Bernkastel-Kues and Winningen. Take to the cycle tracks that follow each side of the Moselle River for what must surely be one of Europe's most scenic seasonal pedals. See mosellandtouristik.de

LODZ, POLAND

To appreciate why Poles extol their "Golden Polish Autumn", head to Europe's biggest urban park on the edge of Poland's second-largest city. Lagiewniki Park claims dozens of types of tree that flaunt autumn colours, especially swaths of oak and birch. You might spot deer and the last skylarks before they head south for winter. Polish families get together for mushroom picking, an agreeable autumn tradition widespread across eastern Europe. See turystyczna.lodz.pl

MONTREAL, CANADA

Montreal from mid-September to early November is a great city for what the Canadians call "leaf peeping", with practically any park providing a fabulous fall display, including the excellent Montreal Botanical Garden, the forested hill of Mount Royal Park (where chestnut trees are splendid) and Bois-de-Liesse Park. Morgan Arboretum has 25 kilometres of walking trails. Even the city's Old Port area bursts with orange and yellow roadside trees. See mtl.org

BULGUKSA TEMPLE, SOUTH KOREA

Combine a multi-hued autumn with history around Korea's ancient capital Gyeongju, whose relics provide a vast open-air museum. A highlight is the Bulguksa temple complex, a World Heritage site that sits on a series of stone pavilions shaded by gnarled pine trees and approached across two humped bridges. The many painted colours of the buildings and their upturned eaves compete for attention with orange and crimson trees on the surrounding hillside. See bulguksa.or.kr

LAKE GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

The steep vineyard terraces that rise up from the shores of Lake Geneva between Lausanne and Montreux are spectacular enough when vines turn golden, but even better for the views they provide towards the French Alps, which can be seen at their clearest in autumn. Take to the spectacular 32-kilometre Grande Traversee walking trail, or shorter Parcours Viticole paths, and you can stop off at cellar doors along the way. See region-du-leman.ch

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MT WILSON, AUSTRALIA

If you don't have the chance to catch a northern autumn, then parts of the NSW Blue Mountains will satisfy your need for colour in April. Mt Wilson has a particularly fabulous range of cool-climate trees such as limes, beeches, elms and liquidambers, many planted in avenues along roadsides, creating great cathedral-like naves that celebrate nature's flamboyance. Several private gardens throw open their gates during Mt Wilson's annual autumn festival. See mtwilson.com.au

Take a look at the autumn colours of these destinations in the gallery above.

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