Best places to go on holiday in October

October is a classic shoulder season, so there are a lot of firsts and lasts. It really is your last chance to take to the seas in Croatia – and minus the big cruise crowds. It’s the wine harvest (festivals included) in much of Europe, the ideal climes (and low tourist numbers) for activity holidays, plus it’s your last chance to see bears in the wild before they go into hibernation. Elsewhere in the world, parts of Southeast Asia are shaking off the monsoon season; it’s flooded in many areas but gorgeously green and tourist-free in others.

Keep reading our guide to the best places to go on holiday in October to find out more.

Africa

Plenty of wildlife can be seen in Botswana and Namibia as the dry season is at its peak and the temperatures soar. The Okavango Delta at its fullest, drawing plenty of thirsty animals, while the sparse waterholes are sought after in Etosha National Park. It’s baby lemur time in Madagascar. The heat finally begins to ease in the Moroccan Sahara, but it’s still warm, sunny and great for an activity holiday. The coast is ideal for an autumn beach break.

The Americas & Caribbean

Being on the equator, you’ll be told that Ecuador has no ‘best time to go’, as its climate is pretty constant. However, we think October is a great time – you’ll miss the school holiday crowds and get the drier season, when the Amazon is more accessible and wildlife more easily viewed. California’s Indian summer makes October an excellent time to visit. The fog disappears, revealing grand views, and the climate is ideal for trekking, climbing, mountain biking and watersports.

Asia

Southern India is sunny and warm. This is the beginning of the best time to see the Golden Triangle, too. October is a good time to be in Jordan, especially for scuba diving. This is one of the best times for trekking in Lebanon. You’ll also miss the summer monsoons and the winter freeze if you’re trekking in Nepal. Northern Vietnam and Burma are dry and warm, but not too hot following the monsoon season.

Europe

Albania emerges from a painfully hot summer in October – just before the temperatures really start to drop and the rains set in. Get exploring its monasteries and mountains quick. Andalucia in Spain, CroatiaGreece, southern Italy, southern Portugal and Turkey’s southern and western coasts still have great weather for cycling, hiking or water-based activities, while avoiding the summer crowds and prices. This is one of the best months to see the Northern Lights in Iceland, but there’s still some daylight, so you can still get out and do other activities. October kicks off seafood and game season in Scotland. It’s nice and empty on the popular West Highland rail route, plus the midges start to disappear. Autumn in Turkey is a mix of bright sunshine and cooling showers – great for hiking the long-distance coastal paths.

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Where not  to go on holiday in October

October is the tail end of the monsoon season across much of mainland Southeast Asia, causing travel disruption in most of the region, with some hotels and roads closing. You’ll find some sunny, green pockets though, such as northern Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma. It’s China’s national holiday for the first 10 days of the month – that means 1.4 billion people are on holiday, and competing with you for flights, hotel rooms and restaurants. It’s hurricane season in Cuba. The southeast is worst affected. Finland and Scandinavia experience the worst of all the seasons. It’s dark, cold and damp, and there’s no snow, meaning both summer and winter activities are out of the question. Wait a couple of months for fairy-tale winter scenes. Typhoons hit Japan.
Photo credits: [Page banner: Sergii Gulenok] [Lemur baby: Charlescantin] [Nepal: Nir Bahadur Gurung] [China: Asadal]
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