Fall colour, Ontario, Canada Walking, Outer Hebrides Autumn (and spring) are the best times to traverse Barra, Lewis and Harr...

Five autumn activity breaks

Fall colour, Ontario, Canada

Walking, Outer Hebrides

Autumn (and spring) are the best times to traverse Barra, Lewis and Harris in the Hebrides: there's an invigorating nip in the air and the fabulous white sandy beaches are quiet. Macs Adventure has a self-guided walking holiday exploring the 130-mile chain for seven nights, starting in rugged Barra in the south. You do need your own or a hire car (not included) to reach the rather remote starting points for some of the walks. 

Walking, Dolomites, Italy

The stunning craggy and rosy red peaks of the Dolomites make this one of the world's most beautiful mountain ranges, especially with the glow of an autumn sun. To experience the massifs and rocky spires really close up, try an adventurous five-day trip with Dolomite Mountains, including two nights in three-star hotels in Cortina, and two overnights in mountain huts. The route also drops down into meadows full of wild flowers and, in September, valleys abundant in wild strawberries and blueberries. 

Fall colour, Ontario, Canada

It's not only New England that's renowned for its fall colour: Ontario is a great place to experience arboreal wonder on the other side of the Atlantic, with many forested national parks, such as spectacular Algonquin, more than 60 wineries also offering gourmet food, including Peller Estates, 20 Bees and Stonechurch Vineyards, pretty towns with art galleries and hilly countryside for walks. Mid-September to mid-October is the best time to witness the fiery reds and oranges of foliage, and the Niagara Wine Festival (niagarawinefestival.com, festival pass $40pp) runs from 14–29 September in historic Montebello Park.

Northern lights, Finland

This winter is being hyped as another peak time to witness the aurora borealis – they were spotted for the first time this season at the end of August, by specialist operator the Aurora Zone. Among several packages it has a four-day "searching for the autumn lights" trip to Luosto in Finnish Lapland. Guests are issued with an "aurora alert" gadget, and can attend lectures, go dog-sledding and stay in rooms with en suite saunas. 

Walking, El Hierro, Spain

It's easy to escape the crowds on El Hierro – the smallest of the Canary Islands and a place often overlooked by sun-seeking tourists. Coming in at under 300km sq, it's also easy to get round on foot in a week. Inntravel has launched a self-guided walking holiday, taking hikers through volcanic deserts, ancient laurisilva forest, vineyards, pineapple plantations and young lava fields. To rest aching limbs, they've also built in a night at a spa hotel, set around natural springs.