I’ve always been a fan of fall vacations. My birthday is in November, so I enjoy using that as an excuse for a trip (as if anyone really needs an excuse!). I love a Caribbean beach vacation as much as anyone, but once my kids flew the nest, my fall trips began doing double duty as birthday celebrations and bucket list checkoffs. Here are five of my favorite fall travel destinations.
Buenos Aires is a cosmopolitan city, famous for culture, nicknamed “the Paris of South America.” Opera, tango, cafés and bookstores thrive. Because it is in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are opposite of Virginia’s, with our fall (Argentina’s spring) offering pleasant sunny 72°F days. The San Telmo neighborhood’s Sunday market and street tango are must-dos, as are touring Recoleta Cemetery and dining on delectable Argentine beef. Beverly’s Tip: November is when the city is bathed in the purple blooms of more than 11,000 jacaranda trees — an astounding treat to see.
My birthday in Dubai at the Burj Al Arab was far and away the most luxurious one ever! You’ve undoubtedly seen the iconic sail-shaped hotel. It would take pages to describe the exceptional hospitality and sumptuous luxury of that architectural landmark. In fact, every experience in Dubai is a superlative, from the world’s largest aquarium in a shopping mall to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. We visited royal racehorse stables, saw falconry demonstrations, went “dune bashing,” and ate a traditional Bedouin dinner in the desert, complete with goat head stew (eyeballs and all!). Beverly’s tip: Temps are a nice mid-70s in the fall.
Visiting Thailand is a cultural delight, and you will never meet more humble, respectful and friendly people. In Bangkok, we visited literally dozens of temples adorned with Buddhas of every size, position and material. Feeding and bathing elephants at a rehabilitation center near Chiang Mai was a special experience and shopping at the night market was exhilarating. I was lucky enough to be there for beautiful Loi Krathong, the Thai Festival of Lights and Lanterns, which happens in early November (based on moon phases). Beverly’s tip: The food alone is reason enough to go there!
Turkey was another cultural eye-opener and I fell in love immediately. On this fall trip, I got to shop in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, float over Cappadocia in a hot air balloon, enjoy my first hammam experience (Turkish bath) and taste traditional Turkish tea and Turkish delights. The architecture of Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque is stunning, and stories made the ancient history of Ephesus and the Ottoman Topkapi Palace come to life. Beverly’s tip: As you watch the mystical spinning ceremony of the whirling dervishes, you can achieve a mesmerized state of mind along with them.
Another of my favorite fall trips was to Morocco. The country encourages responsible tourism toward people and the environment, which is so important. Exploring the labyrinths of old walled Medinas, full of artisans and vegetable sellers, fountains, mosques and homes was enchanting. We visited ancient kasbahs and a third century B.C. Roman archeological site. We rode camels deep into Erg Chebbi for an overnight stay in a Berber camp and hiked high into the rocky Todra Gorge, where we had tea with a nomadic goat herder. Meeting the generous people was the very best part — I have so many stories. Beverly’s tip: My significant other and I loved it so much, that we eloped while there!
Where will I celebrate next? I have a long list. I recommend that you take my favorites or ideas of your own to your favorite travel advisor and start celebrating life with fall travel!