Fall for Autumn: 5 Reasons to Travel in Autumn

 With the hectic summer holiday travel period over for another year, and a few more months to wait until our festive holidays kick off, you could be forgiven for thinking that autumn can be pretty dull.

But, it’s not a season for sitting at home twiddling your thumbs. We think it’s time to get out and about and embrace the new season! And, here’s a little secret, travelling throughout September and October could actually prove to be the best time to feed your wanderlust. Why? Well, here’s what we think makes travelling in autumn amazing!

1. The big summer getaway is over!

Train crossing bridge in Switzerland
Yes, we’ve already mentioned it, but summer really is the busiest time to travel. And, as you can imagine, with 58% of Brits looking to get away over the same period, it can prove to be quite hectic. With dreaded traffic jams, busy ports and airports, and the school holidays in full swing, autumn definitely has the upper hand.
Of course, when passenger numbers drop, things tend to flow more smoothly. You’ll be swiftly through passport control and on your way. Team that up with an escorted tour where everything is taken care of for you, it’s a perfect combination, if we do say so ourselves.

2. There are less tourists!

Autumn in Belgium
If you’ve got the flexibility to travel whenever you like, you really can take advantage of the off-peak season in your favourite European destinations. Not only does it mean there are less people around, less hustle and bustle, and a better chance of getting to see everything you set out to, but you may be able to grab some great deals, too!
With the foot fall to major attractions dwindling once the seasons change, some will drop their entry prices to a more attractive price. So, you may have a few more Euros to play around with whilst you’re there.

3. It’s cooler.

Now, don’t get us wrong, us fellow Brits, we know that every bit of sunshine and warm weather should be cherished. But, as the summer fades out, we can really enjoy Europe, with more bearable temperatures. Perfect for sightseeing!
Forget about overheating, with cooler air and weaker sun rays, sightseeing can be a whole lot more pleasant. And, that tasty Italian gelato won’t melt quite as quick.
And, when the temperature finally drops as we edge closer to winter, what could be finer than wandering around the likes of Paris and Bruges in a cosy coat, clutching a nice hot drink?

4. Wine lovers rejoice.

Grape Harvesting in Tuscany
With the cooler weather and the ripened vineyards, autumn is the time when European winemakers get to grips with grape picking.
Bustling with activity, between September and October, the annual wine harvest takes place throughout Europe.
Some travellers lend a hand and volunteer to work the harvest alongside locals, but it’s not expected. So, if you’re travelling through a wine region throughout autumn, why not contribute by treating yourself to a tipple or two?

5. Autumn is just simply beautiful.

Charles Bridge, Prague
The trees start to shed their leaves, leaving a carpet of oranges, reds, and the last remaining flickers of green. You can’t deny that autumn scenery is stunning.
With the low, hazy sunshine, a crispness in the air and the new hue of foliage, if you’re a keen photographer, or just looking for a stunning selfie, autumn has picture perfect scenery wherever you go.
Did you know, we’re heading to some exciting destinations throughout autumn? Why don’t you come along, too? See this season’s departures, here.

Top Wine Regions in Europe

From impressive architecture to some of the world’s most iconic attractions, Europe really does have it all. And, to top it all off, it’s also home to some of the best vineyards, producing the world’s most popular wines, year after year.

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur, looking to indulge in some wine tasting or just enjoy a glass of the grape, what could be better than getting to know just where your favourite tipple comes from?
But, don’t just go by what you heard through the grapevine. Delve into some of the picturesque vineyards on the continent as we take you some of the best wine making regions that Europe has to offer.


St. Emilion, Frankreich
Nestled in the southwest of France, needing little introduction, Bordeaux is one of the largest and most recognisable wine regions in Europe. And, whilst it may not be known for its striking beauty, it is home to some of the most sought after and expensive wines in the world.
In fact, the most expensive bottle of wine ever to be sold by auction came in at an eye-watering £105,000! The name? Chateau Lafite, a Bordeaux wine.
Its reputation as a great wine region comes from its superb reds. With its perfect combination of climate and soil, around 75-80% of the wine produces
Wine Producing Grapes from the Bordeaux Region
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot


Of course, we can’t forget about the Champagne region in northern France. EU law actually states that only sparkling wines made in this region can go by the name Champagne, which certainly helps with its label as one of the world’s most elite drinks.
The Champagne province, just a short hop across the channel, is actually pushing the northernmost limits of the winemaking world. With its high altitude and low temperatures make it difficult for the grapes to fully ripen – but do make the grapes highly acidic, making them perfect for sparkling wine.
But, not only does the area produce world-famous champagnes, but there’s also a nice selection of non-sparkling wines and even the odd rosé.
Wine Producing Grapes of the Champagne region
Pinot Noir, Meunier, Chardonnay

Douro Valley

One of the oldest and more picturesque European wine regions. Stretching from Porto to the Spanish border, it became the first wine region in the world to have a formal demarcation, meaning only in that region can Port wine be made.
And, of course, it’s famous for its production of Port. Packed into the north of Portugal, the Douro is also a popular producer of some brilliant, and relatively cheap, young table wines of all types – red, white and rosé.
The area is split into 3 sub-regions; Baxio Corgo which is the mildest and has the most rain, the largest Cima Corgo, standing at an impressive 47,000 acres and the hottest and driest region, the Duoro Superior producing the best quality wines.
The general rule of thumb is that the further east the region lies, the drier the climate and the deeper the wine, giving a great selection if you’re wanting to bring home some delicious Duoro wines.
Wine Producing Grapes from the Douro Region
Tinta Barroca, Mourisco Tinto, Tinta Roriz, Malvasia, Viosinho


Taking its name from the Mosel River, it’s the third largest wine region in Germany. But, most will consider it the best, thanks to the regions international prestige.
Whilst many people associate Germany with beer, its wine production has brought about some highly sought-after bottles.
It’s thought that the vineyards were first introduced to this area by the Romans, who planted their crops along the Rhine and Moselle to keep a local source of wine for their garrisons.
It’s considered to be one of the most difficult to maintain vineyards in the world, thanks to its steep river bank slopes, making the fruit of their labour even sweeter.
Wine Producing Grapes of the Mosel Region
Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Elbling, Kerner


Tuscany, it certainly oozes romance. From its picture-perfect rolling hills, quaint villages and its Italian charm… and the fact it’s Italy’s most famous wine region.
Tuscan vineyards produce an array of internationally recognised wines in various styles, including the popular Chianti. Its perfect combination of hilly terrain and warm daytime temperatures allow for the grape to maintain its acidity, sugars and aromas.
Ever heard of a ‘Super Tuscan’? Super Tuscans are an unofficial category of Tuscan wines, not recognised in the wine classification system of Italy. Winemakers of the region thought the rules of producing Chianti were too strict, thus producing their own super variety.
But in no way does this make the wine cheap and of low quality, they tend to be modern, rich and some carry a hefty price tag of over £100.
Wine Producing Grapes of Tuscany
Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malvasia Nera, Trebbiano

Rhône Valley

View of historic center of Avignon town from Papal Palace. France
The Rhône Valley wine region is divided into two sub-regions, both with individual winemaking traditions, the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône.
The northern region, with its continental climate, produces both red and white wines and the southern, with its Mediterranean climate, offers a wide array of reds, whites and rosé wines – including the popular Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
By law, there is only one red grape permitted to be planted in the northern region – Syrah. However, to offer a unique selection of various wines, it is often blended with white wine grapes to soften the wine and produces a great choice of varying tastes and aromas from the one red grape.
Wine Producing Grapes of the Rhône Valley
Syrah, Viognier, Red Grenache, Marsanne
So, there you have it. Let’s raise our glass to the brilliant vineyards of Europe.
Why not take a trip to these wine regions and even enjoy a spot of wine tasting? Head over to leger.co.uk to find your perfect tour.

Germany: 8 of the Best Places to Visit

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

Germany, it’s a big and beautiful place with plenty to see and do. But, with plenty to see and do, how do you decide where to start?

Cosmopolitan Cities, marvellous mountains, fantastic forests and riveting rivers and that’s just the start!
Well, if you’re ready to start your discovery of Deutschland, here are our top 8 places to visit.


Berlin, the German capital
The beautiful capital city of Germany, packed full of landmarks and history. From the remains of the Berlin Wall to impressive landmarks such as Brandenburg gate, you’ve got plenty to keep you busy if you’re an avid sightseer.

Rhine Valley

River Rhine, Germany
One of the most popular destinations for relaxing river cruises, the Rhine Valley is steeped in beauty. And, within the beauty, hides a number of fantastic vineyards. So, of course, this is the place to give wine tasting a go.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria
If you’re really into romance and fairytales, here’s the one for you. An inspiration to Walt Disney himself, the castle receives over 1.3 million visitors a year and is the most photographed building in Germany, it’s easy to see why. It’s stunning.


Cologne, Germany
Germany’s fourth biggest city, Cologne is known as the city of churches, and, to be honest, you can’t miss the impressive cathedral – The second largest religious building in Germany. If you’ve got the energy to climb its 509 steps, reaching the top of the building will reward you with some spectacular views.
If not, there’s a museum completely dedicated to chocolate and even has its own beer, Kolsch. Here’s an interesting fact, the name Kolsch is actually protected so that only beers brewed in cologne can hold this name.

Harz Mountains

Harz Mountains, Germany
Looking for some breath-taking scenery? The Harz Mountains are known as the ‘Land of German Fairy-tale’. Dark forests, cobbled streets and medieval houses. It’s long been known as an important source of German Folklore with famous stories such as Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and even The Frog Price coming from these parts.

Black Forest

Black Forest, Germany
The Black Forest region is known for its three distinctive features, highlands, scenery and woods. And, they sure are impressive. It gets its name due to its size and the fact that it was uninhabited, others say it is down to its dark green colour from the fir trees found there.
And, If you’ve got this far without thinking of Gateau, we’re about to ruin it. The dessert takes its name from this area as its recipe features the main crop of the forest. Cherries.


Dusseldorf, Germany
Known for its fashion industry and art scene, Dusseldorf is certainly an interesting place to be. It hosts one of the biggest fashion fairs in Europe, the Collections Premieren Düsseldorf. Whilst it may not be as popular as it’s close neighbour, and rival, Cologne, there’s still plenty to see.
Konigsallee – Germany’s most elegant shopping street, the Museum of Art and the old town to name a few. There’s also a famous song about this fantastic town, it goes by the name of Warst Du doch in Dusseldorf geblieben (“You’d have better stayed in Dusseldorf”). Who are we to disagree?


Munich, Germany
Last but certainly not least, it’s the capital of Bavaria and the home of Oktoberfest. It could only be Munich. Home to stunning architecture, such as the Neues Rathaus and the Frauenkirche, and its white sausage, there’s plenty to experience here.
The English Garden is one of Europe’s biggest city parks, even beating London’s Hyde Park and New York’s Central Park! Although, it’s not as English as you may expect. It’s actually filled with Japanese inspired sculptures, a Chinese Pagoda and even a Greek Temple.
And, for the automotive fans, Munich is also home to the German car company, BMW.
Start your discovery of Germany now, click here to see all of Germany tours

Korčula: Marco Polo’s island… or is it?

It was 8.30am and already a very warm 30º as we left our hotel heading to the island of Korčula (pronounced ‘Korchula’).

It was day seven of our Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast tour, and we were heading along the winding coastal road. The rising sun was glistening on the water of Gruž (‘groosh’) harbour as we continued along the Croatian mainland and the peninsula of Pelješac, the second largest in Croatia. This beautiful unspoilt peninsula runs parallel to the Dalmatian coast, separating the island of Korčula from the mainland. The main business in this area, our guide Tangra told us, is tourism, plus red wine, grape growing, mussels and oysters, pointing out the oyster farm in the bay with hundreds of containers bobbing on the ink-blue water. The dry stone walling we passed is the landmark of agricultural land, built with carefully selected interlocking stones, some 150, 200 and even 400 years old. Our journey took us through bright green vineyards and past twisted olive trees – the area also being a producer of good quality olive oil – and very pretty (and very toxic) oleander, a common sight around these parts.

City walls at Ston
City walls at Ston

On our way to Korčula we called in at the historic town of Ston, whose landmark is the 5.5km long stone wall built in the 14th century. This wall, which is open to the public, is thought to be the longest defensive wall in Europe and second longest in the world after the Great Wall of China. If you have the energy, you can walk from Ston to its small sister town, Mali Ston (Small Ston) and enjoy breathtaking views of the charming towns and picturesque coastline. For us however, it was a just a short visit, with just enough time to wander around the smooth cobbled streets and grab a refreshing drink before continuing on to Korčula.
Strolling around the small town of Ston
Strolling around the small town of Ston

After a cooling 15-minute ferry ride across the turquoise Adriatic Sea, we arrive on the western side of the Old Town peninsula of Korčula, founded at the beginning of the 13th century, and were met by our local guide, Lea. Dressed head to toe in white linen and with rich copper-coloured hair cut into a choppy bob, Lea was extremely tall – as are many people around this area, her pale face brightened by a flash of deep red lipstick. She told us how excited she was to be using her brand new parasol – apparently she’d been waiting for it for a long time! I could see how it would be such a welcome piece of apparatus if you were walking around in this heat each day.
Meeting our local guide
Meeting our local guide

The town is surrounded by thick stone walls dating from the 14th century and towers that were built in medieval times to defend against enemies passing the island. 12 towers once stood on the island, today, just seven remain. Leading us up the stairway which took us through the entrance known as Sea Gate and one of the towers, called Kula Morska Vrata, Lea pointed out the view to the western part of Korčula Town famous for its sunsets as the sun dips between the peninsula and the rest of the island. Entering the Old Town we walked along the narrow stone streets of the peninsula which gave us a welcome shelter from the heat of the day.
Where the sun sets in Where the sun sets in Korčula town
We imagined the famous sunset!

The Old Town of Korčula itself has an interesting layout, almost like the bones of a fish. There’s a long main street running right through the centre of the town with smaller alleyways fanning out to either side. To the north west the streets are straight allowing the summer breeze known as the ‘maestral’ to come in from the sea, cooling the streets in the hot months. In winter comes the cold wind from the east, the ‘bura’, sometimes so strong that roads are closed as a precaution. On the south-eastern side of the peninsula the streets are more curved, reducing the effect of the bura blowing through. On the day of our visit, there was a pleasant light wind – maybe this was the maestral in action?
Exploring the alleyways of Korčula Old Town
Exploring the alleyways of Korčula Old Town

As we walked through the criss-crossed narrow alleyways Lea pointed out the bridges connecting buildings on the opposite sides of the street. These ‘bridge balconies’ joined the houses of close families for easy access, enabling them to cross over the balcony instead of going through the street.
'Bridge balconies’ join some of the houses in Korčula
‘Bridge balconies’ join some of the houses in Korčula

Our tour continued past a giant 25-year-old rubber tree, the largest on the island, through winding streets with the mouth-watering smell of savoury food being carried along on the breeze. The smooth cobbled streets were quiet as Lea guided us along to the museum and on towards the 15th century St. Mark’s church right in the centre of the town.
Connections with Marco Polo
Connections with Marco Polo

It was here that our tour came to an end. As we said goodbye to Lea, I continued the short stroll on to what is believed to be the house in which Marco Polo was born. The sweet smell of lavender from the pots which lined the wall hit me as I entered the stone doorway and climbed the narrow stairs of the tower or ‘loggia’, to be met by wonderful views over the town and out to sea. It has been argued by some that the explorer and writer was born in Venice and also Curzola off the coast of Dalmatia, but whether this lovely stone building in the centre of Korčula was Polo’s birthplace or not, it was a lovely little place to call into.
Marco Polo's house?
Marco Polo’s house?

Views from the tower of Marco Polo's house
Views from the tower

The peninsula is a really pleasant place to wander around: I passed little galleries and craft shops tucked into stone buildings, walked beneath washing hung out to dry across the ornate wrought iron balconies, and busy restaurants with brightly coloured umbrellas fluttering in the breeze. There were plenty of places to eat offering everything from sandwiches to pizza, pasta and seafood – it all smelled delicious! Continuing my explorations of the peninsula, I strolled through the backstreets which lead to the eastern side, lined with more inviting restaurants where people were enjoying a spot of lunch whilst taking in the fantastic views out across the sparkling sea. There was a lovely breeze, and the smell of seafood and wood burning stoves wafted along as I continued north, arriving at Zakerjan Tower (Kula Zakerjan), also called Berim Tower, then back along the main street running through the centre of the peninsula to the Land Gate or Revelin Tower (Veliki Revelin) at the south, built in the 14th century.
Zakerjan Tower (Kula Zakerjan) – also called Berim Tower – on the north side of Korčula’s Old Town
Zakerjan Tower (Kula Zakerjan) – also called Berim Tower – on the north side of Korčula’s Old Town

Strolling along the eastern side of the peninsula
Strolling along the eastern side of the peninsula

The original wooden drawbridge which stood at the Land Gate was replaced in the 18th century by the sweeping cream stone steps which stand there today. As I made my way down the grand staircase I was met by the lively atmosphere of colourful market stalls selling stones, jewellery, t-shirts, hats and souvenirs and with people hunting for a bargain.
Land Gate or Revelin Tower (Veliki Revelin) at the south of the Old Town
Land Gate or Revelin Tower (Veliki Revelin) at the south of the Old Town

Palm trees rustled in the breeze as I made my way around to our meeting point. It was time to say goodbye to the island of Korčula after a wonderful few hours on this charming peninsula and a day of stunning scenery, beautiful Croatian sunshine and stories of Marco Polo.
Time to say goodbye to Korčula
Goodbye Korčula!

Have you visited Korčula? Share your stories with us!

My top 3 things to do in Rüdesheim

 I’d been to the winemaking town of Rüdesheim (Rüdesheim am Rhein, to give it its proper name) before in late autumn and at Christmas, so I was looking forward to seeing the town I’d loved so much on my last visit, this time, in the summer sun.

Arriving in style

As we pulled into the coach park, there was a colourful little ‘Noddy train’ waiting for us, which would take us right into Rüdesheim’s centre. Snaking through the narrow streets, we rattled along in our little carriages as people stood against the walls to let us pass, some of them giving us a friendly wave and a smile as we went by.

Your carriage awaits! The little train that took us into Rüdesheim.
Your carriage awaits! The little train that took us into Rüdesheim.


Music to our ears

Our first stop was Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum, which is where our little train dropped us. Tucked in a small courtyard at the end of the main street, this lovely old building houses a strange and wonderful collection of – yes, you’ve guessed it – mechanical musical instruments. Our guide, dressed in period costume, welcomed us in and showed us around the place, demonstrating the self-playing instruments as she went and telling us all about the history and construction of them.

Our knowledgeable guide in Siegfried’s.
Our knowledgeable guide in Siegfried’s.

I was surprised at just how big the place was: little rooms appeared left and right and along small corridors, all full of weird and wonderful machines: small music boxes; ornate music cabinets; violins; pianos; organs; huge metal discs which played various tunes; and an old gramophone playing an old record of Doris Day singing ‘Que Sera’, which a few people had a bit of a sing along to. There was one large machine which had little figures all playing their own instrument, and another which played violins using a round bow! Amazing!
Siegfried’s Mechanical Museum.
Siegfried’s Mechanical Museum.

These violins were played by a circular bow.
These violins were played by a circular bow.

The place to be

Back out in the warm sunshine, I headed to the Drosselgasse. Not far from Siegfried’s, this narrow, world-famous street is always busy and links the main street, Oberstrasse, to the riverside. Full of souvenir shops, wonderful restaurants, wine houses (of course – this town has a long history of wine growers and is situated amongst vineyards), beer gardens and live band entertainment, this is one place that’s great to visit at any time of day or night, even if it’s just to enjoy a walk along it.

The Drosselgasse
The Drosselgasse

Time for coffee: Rüdesheim style!

Back up on Oberstrasse the cafés were full of people enjoying the weather, and, judging by their cups and saucers, a ‘Rüdesheim coffee’ – the local speciality, made with plenty of brandy and topped with whipped cream. I was looking for the cable car to take me up to the Niederwald Monument, perched high on the hillside above the town. I found the station at the side of the Christmas shop, and, as I’d already decided to walk back down to the town as it was such a nice day, I got a one-way ticket (€4.50) and climbed aboard.

A wonderful cable car ride above the vineyards
A wonderful cable car ride above the vineyards

Above the vineyards

It was so peaceful, sailing over the top of the vineyards. The views from the cable car were fantastic: the path zig-zagging its way through the grapevines; over to the town of Rüdesheim; and across the River Rhine to Bingen. Ten minutes later, I was at the top where it was just a short walk over to the Niederwald Monument – the Niederwalddenkmal – the large figure of Germania which, unfortunately at the time of my visit, was covered in scaffolding as it was undergoing some restoration. The panoramic view from up there was just as wonderful, and there were benches and telescopes up there to have a rest and enjoy the views. (Just a quick note: you need 2 x 50c or 1 x Euro coin for the telescope.)

Admiring the views over Rüdesheim…
Admiring the views over Rüdesheim…

...and from the Niederwald Monument.
…and from the Niederwald Monument.

Heading back down to Rüdesheim, the walk was lovely. There was a warm breeze, the birds were singing and the grass was blowing in the gentle wind. Except for the birds, all I could hear was my footsteps on the ground. I followed the signs – sometimes along tarmac paths, sometimes stones, and in some places, a few steep steps – through the vineyards and back to town.
A steady walk back to Rüdesheim
A steady walk back to Rüdesheim

Walking amongst the vineyards
Walking amongst the vineyards

Almost there: the path to Rüdesheim
Almost there: the path to Rüdesheim

Back in the town, the little bars had filled up and there was a buzz about the place as I made my way back to the coach. So that was it. My taste of ‘summertime Rüdesheim’ had been just as good as my autumn and Christmas experiences. I’ll have to try springtime next time!
Auf Wiedersehen, Rüdesheim.
Auf Wiedersehen, Rüdesheim.

I visited Rüdesheim on Leger’s Romantic Rhine, Fairytale Castles and the Black Forest tour.

Romantic Germany at its best

When putting together our holidays we work closely with tourist boards from various countries to make sure we show our guests the very best of what the area has to offer. We recently spoke to Charlotte Jakobsen from the Rhineland-Palatinate tourist board to find out what she recommends to visitors of the area.

What can visitors expect to see when they visit the Rhineland-Palatinate?

The Rhineland-Palatinate is an area where vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see and almost 500 fairytale castles, palaces and ruins decorate the river landscapes around the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Visitors will also see plenty of charming little towns with half-timbered houses here, plus a wide range of cultural points of interest and a wonderful mild climate – all hallmarks of the Rhineland-Palatinate.
The Upper Middle Rhine Valley is known for its high concentration of castles and a central feature of this area is the mythical Loreley Valley near St. Goarshausen, where the song of a beautiful young maiden is said to have lured seamen to perdition.
Burg Katz

There are also plenty of vineyards along the valley. There must be plenty of wine produced here?

Viticulture – the study of grape cultivation – was brought to Rhineland-Palatinate by the Romans over 2,000 years ago and has been thriving here ever since. The region produces around 70 percent of all German wine and is a real paradise for wine lovers and connoisseurs, with the six wine regions of Moselle, Rhine, Ahr, Nahe, Palatinate and Rheinhessen, which includes the only German ‘Great Wine Capital’, Mainz.
The Palatinate region also boasts the biggest wine festival and even the biggest wine barrel in the world, located in the city of Bad Dürkheim. The outstanding wine-growing areas continue to impress visitors with their award-winning wines and a special experience for any fan of wine is to visit the vineyards and learn about the traditions and history of German wine from the one person who really knows – the winemaker himself.
Rheinsteig Herbstfotoshooting 2008 - Kaub - Weinbergslage

What other activities would you recommend to anyone visiting the area?

The natural beauty of Rhineland-Palatinate provides the perfect setting for a number of outdoor activities like hiking and biking. Few other German regions offer such a variety of terrains combined with certified, well-marked, high-quality walking trails and cycling routes, as well as accommodation designed to suit the active holidaymakers’ needs.
Rhineland-Palatinate is a region full of historical highlights while at the same time remaining a modern and active region so there’s something here for everyone.
We look forward to you visiting us soon.
Charlotte Jakobsen
Rhineland-Palatinate Tourist Board
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