7 Dreamy Small Towns & Cities Around Ontario To Visit This Fall If You'd Rather Be In Europe

No plane ticket needed.

Burlington Village Square. Right: Almonte, Ontario.
Associate Editor

Burlington Village Square. Right: Almonte, Ontario.

Experiencing autumn in Europe might not be as far away as you think. These small towns and cities around Ontario are full of European charm and will make you feel like you've taken a plane trip across the pond.

If you're dreaming of quaint, leaf-covered streets, historic buildings and colourful landscapes then these seven destinations in and around the province are worth checking out. From vibrant trails brimming with fall foliage to cozy cafes and eateries, these areas will whisk you away to another land.

Pack your favourite flannels and plan a fall getaway to these charming small towns and cities around Ontario.

St. Jacobs Village

Address: St. Jacobs, ON

Why You Need To Go: St. Jacobs is a charming village located just outside of Toronto. The historic streets are lined with local shops and bakeries brimming with homemade goods.

From pottery shops to a historic corn broom manufacturer, there are tons of stores to check out.

One of the most popular attractions in the area is the Farmers' Market. The venue boasts endless vendors selling produce, handmade items, dishes and more. You'll definitely want to try one of the iconic apple fritters before you leave.

For some real European vibes, you can climb aboard the Waterloo Central Railway, a heritage railway offering historic rides around the area. Or, take a mini trip to Germany at Village Biergarten , which has unique fall-themed domes you can dine in.

St. Jacobs Village website

Watkins Glen

Address: Watkins Glen, NY

Why You Need To Go: This picturesque village is located in the Finger Lakes District of New York State. It's a magical place to visit during the fall and its scenic landscapes and historic vibes will whisk you away to Europe.

The village is under a 3-hour drive from the Niagara Falls border, making it a great place for an autumn vacation.

One of the most renowned places in Watkins Glen is Watkins Glen State Park . The mystical gorge has 19 waterfalls and is a gorgeous spot to visit during the fall when the pathways become lined withe leaves.

The area is home to several wineries where you can spend the day sipping boozy drinks and gazing out over the fall colours.

Speaking of fall colours, there are many hiking trails and drives that take you through vibrant foliage, such as the Seneca Lake Scenic Byway.

Explore Watkins Glen website


Address: Burlington, ON

Why You Need To Go: If you're looking for a fall staycation a trip to this city is worth keeping in mind. The area has several beautiful areas to explore that will transport you to another country.

One such area is Village Square . According to the website , the area was "built to create the atmosphere of a turn-of-the-century town square" and you'll feel like you've stepped into an English village as you wander along the cobblestone streets and visit the red telephone booth.

The Royal Botanical Gardens is an attraction worth visiting. During the fall, you can head to events like The Great Pumpkin Trail, which takes you through a valley lit with jack-o-lanterns, or RBG After Dark "for an exclusive, adult-only Halloween celebration."

Tourism Burlington website


Address: Kingston, ON

Why You Need To Go: Known for its history and European-like atmosphere, Kingston is a dreamy fall vacation spot. The city is located along Lake Ontario and boasts a lively downtown and tons of cozy cafes.

During the autumn season, there are several spooky events to enjoy such as Haunted Walks, a Ghost & Mystery Trolley and a haunting cruise.

A new Halloween event will be taking place this year at the Kingston Penitentiary. Pumpkinferno will bring a trail of glowing pumpkins to the historic prison. You'll also want to check out Fort Fright for some major scares.

Aside from Halloween events, you can take in the fall colours at some of the surrounding trails, such as the ones found at the nearby Thousand Islands National Park.

Visit Kingston website

Lake Placid

Address: Lake Placid, NY

Why You Need To Go: Located about 3 hours from Ontario, Lake Placid is a charming village in New York State. The area bursts into colour during the fall months, making it an idyllic spot for a getaway.

The town has a " European ambience " and is surrounded by rolling hills of red and gold. According to the Lake Placid website, a fall getaway to this spot features "crisp autumn mornings, crunchy foliage covered trails, reds and yellows in the distant peaks, pristine lakes and ponds, and a gorgeous town in the heart of it all."

You can check out the Flaming Leaves Festival where you can see live music and ski jumpers soaring over the colourful foliage. There are food and craft vendors as well.

There are lots of hikes to take advantage of in the area, such as Henry’s Woods Loop Trail or the mountainous paths of the Adirondacks .

Lake Placid website

Blue Mountain Village

Address: 156 Jozo Weider Blvd., The Blue Mountains, ON

Why You Need To Go: This charming pedestrian village has all the European feels and it's an enchanting place to visit during the autumn months.

The Village is surrounded by vibrant hills of red and gold and you can explore the many trails that wind through the colourful forests.

You can check out the Apple Harvest Festival in October which features a "pumpkin-spiced" Village and activities like a scavenger hunt and live entertainment.

There's also the iconic Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster that takes you flying through fall colours.

Blue Mountain Village website


Why You Need To Go: Another small town with European vibes, Almonte is worth having on your radar. The historic village comes alive with colour during the autumn season and you can enjoy stunning foliage and quaint shops.

You can take a stroll through the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area and take in the vibrant leaves throughout the heritage property or explore the downtown Riverwalk.

There are tons of shops to wander through, including cozy cafes and stores filled with unique trinkets.

Almonte website

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

Madeline Forsyth
Associate Editor
Madeline Forsyth is an Associate Travel Editor for Narcity Media focused on Canadian and global travel and is based in Toronto, Ontario.