Seven Alternative Autumn Destinations for 2020

From the crown jewel of the Slovene Riviera to an unassuming hamlet in Kent (a coastal wilderness that’s popular with the art crowd), here are eight alternative destinations for those scoping out an autumn getaway.

The leaves are turning crunchy underfoot, there's a nip in the air and we're all but one surprise heatwave away from swaddling ourselves in long-neglected knitwear. Yes, autumn is coming. This year, we're not hopping it to the world's most thronging capital cities but taking things easy with a back-to-nature mini-break. From the crown jewel of the Slovene Riviera to an unassuming hamlet in Kent (a coastal wilderness that's popular with the art crowd), here are eight alternative destinations for those scoping out an autumn getaway in 2020. Layer up; we're going on an adventure.

Social distancing? No problem. Visit the best under-radar destinations of autumn 2020.


Kent, UK

Temperamental, bleak and quite frankly apocalyptic-looking: if 2020 were a landscape, it would be Dungeness. It's precisely this wild beauty that attracted Derek Jarman, the late artist and film producer, who saw out his dying days from his coastal-view abode, Prospect Cottage. Despite having been saved from demolition courtesy of an extensive fundraising campaign, the cottage itself won't be available to tour until later in the year. Regardless, this dramatic stretch of coastline is a real boon for outdoors enthusiasts.

Where we're staying: Cabu by the Sea


South Tyrol, Italy

South Tyrol is the place to go for Swiss Alpine beauty, without the compulsory 14-day quarantine. It's safe to say that Soprabolzano - a petite Italian town mostly populated by German-speaking Austrians - has long been in the midst of an identity crisis, but we're not letting that rain on our parade. Sound of Music-esque mountain passes, glinting churches and more folksy food delicacies than you'll have time to sample make this an ideal spot to while away an autumnal weekend. Pack a waterproof, just in case.

Where we're staying: Adler Lodge Ritten


Öræfi, Iceland

Lockdown needn't mean cutesy staycations in quaint Tudor villages. Adrenaline junkies suffering from severe withdrawals can still get their fix in Iceland. We're heading to Hnappavellir, on the edge of the wild Vatnajökull National Park, where you'll find slender waterfalls cascading over ancient rock forms, volcanic lakes and crawling glaciers. The mesmeric, iceberg-studded Diamond Beach is a short drive from Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon, a luxurious haven that we're calling home.

Where we're staying: Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon



It's little wonder locals have been keeping this diadem of the Slovene Riviera under wraps. This honey-hued medieval port town is a dead-ringer for Split, which makes sense, sandwiched as it is between Croatia and Italy. Piran was actually an Italian territory up until the mid-20th century, which explains why so many of its restaurants are such fonts of Mediterranean-style scrumptiousness. If you try nothing else, make space for the cuttlefish risotto, a local speciality. In summer it can be a tad busy, which is why we're making tracks in autumn when social distancing isn't so tricky.

Where we're staying: Art Hotel Tartini


Somerset, UK

This cosmopolitan enclave of bon vivants in Somerset is just the spot for city-based creatives looking to escape the buzz. Over the past decade or so, it's become a hub of wholesomeness. From the Hauser & Wirth gallery and gardens to the High Street lined with pop-up art spaces and ceramics studios, to its quite frankly salacious glut of design-led boutique hotels, this unassuming town is made for long, lazy autumn weekends. Check out our guide for an edit of Bruton's best restaurants, bars and activities.

Where we're staying: Caro B&B

Bad Gastein

Salzburg, Austria

Ah, a good old-fashioned spa town - the sort of place frequented by Austen heroines of yore. To reach this pocket-sized mountain beauty, you'll need to catch a 90-minute train from Salzburg through gaping valleys and splintered, snow-dusted crags. Rest assured, it'll be a serious level-up from your daily commute. In winter, the hills surrounding Bad Gastein are thick with skiers, but if you head just as the leaves are turning you'll get to see the Alps in all their russet glory - plus, you'll have those CGI-style mountain views all to yourself.

Where we're staying: Alpenlofts


Faroe Islands

It's not the place to go for year-round sun, but a week in the Faroe Islands will fill you with so many once-in-a-lifetime views you'll bore your Instagram followers silly for months after you've returned to home turf. You'll find us on Eysturoy, the second-largest island in the archipelago, not far from the 400-year-old village of Gjógv. Hire a car and rumble from misty peaks down to roaring waters, all the while immersing yourself in the Viking legends that still ripple across the islands' rugged topography.

Where we're staying: Gjáargarður Guesthouse

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