Where to holiday in October? Tah-da! We have the answer.
Words by Alexandra Gregg
October is usually rather depressing. The days are shorter and the sunshine is dwindling, but – believe it or not – there are still places in the world where the sun is still shining. Or, if you’re not fussed about warmth, the cities are quieter, there are some incredible bucket-list experiences to be had, and wildlife encounters are plentiful. Behold, the best October holidays… What are you waiting for? Pull out the old holiday booking hacks and start combing the best Black Friday holiday deals the internet has to offer – there’s eating, praying and loving to be done.
1. Rome, Italy
Best for… Culture
Rome is perfect for autumn holidays – for one, the stifling summer heat is gone. Secondly, as a notoriously popular city-break destination, you’ll actually find that there are fewer tourists in October.
So taking a leisurely stroll around Palatine Hill, or climbing the 320 vertigo-inducing steps to the top of St Peter’s Basilica without feeling like you have to rush, needn’t be a dream.
Top tip: Even though the crowds are thinner, we’d still recommend booking your Colosseum and Vatican Museum tickets online in advance.
2. New Zealand
Best for… Wannabe pioneers
October signals the heart of springtime in New Zealand, making it a great time for, well, everything. It’s warm enough that you’ll start to see spring blossoms in the South Island, but snowy enough that you can often ski in Whakapapa, on the North Island.
Most importantly, it’s a great time to pull on your hiking boots and hit the trails before the crowds descend in summer.
Top tip: Hike Tongariro National Park (check the weather first) to explore real-life Mordor.
3. Dubai, UAE
Best for… Sunseekers
Dubai only does two types of weather: hot and hotter. It’s the perfect spot for the best October holidays, when the temperature hovers around 29˚C – ideal for lazing on Jumeirah Beach.
And when you’re not soaking up the sun, we love Dubai for its huge brunches – try Zeta Restaurant and Crescendo on a Friday afternoon for ultimate gorging. You’re on holiday after all.
Top tip: Dubai is also great for thrillseekers: why not try sandboarding or some 4X4 dune bashing in the desert?
4. The Galapagos, Ecuador
Best for… Crazy wildlife
The Galapagos’ abundant wildlife – from the dancing blue-footed booby to Galapagos giant tortoise – is often at its most active this time of year. Not only that, but cooler temperatures mean that this is the archipelago’s low season.
So if you’re looking to bag a deal on your October holidays and make this usually out-of-reach destination more financially achievable, this is the time to do it.
Top tip: The best cruises head out to the further islands, like Genovesa, Española, and Fernandina.
5. Bali, Indonesia
Best for… Eat, Pray, Love-ing
It may be hot, but humidity in Bali is at its lowest in October, making it the best time of year to visit the country’s interior.
So give the beaches a miss and explore the country’s cultural and spiritual heart in Ubud. Here you can discover rice paddies, temples and jungles, not to mention ancient holy sites, like Gunung Kawi and the Goa Gajah cave.
Top tip: Wildlife lovers should visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary to see five different types of monkey.
6. Isle of Skye, Scotland
Best for… Rugged beauty
Even when it rains in the Isle of Skye, beauty abounds. The grass glistens, the skies are dramatic, and the air is the freshest you’ll ever inhale. OK, so it’s not your average October holidays destination, but there’s no denying it’s a beaut.
As well as walking, kayaking and cuddling up in front of the fire, this is a fantastic time for spotting wildlife too – keep your eyes peeled for otters, minke whales and red deer.
Top tip: Visiting for a weekend? Take the Caledonia Sleeper on a Friday night from London Euston to Fort William, just three hours from Skye.
7. New England, USA
Best for… Autumnal landscapes
Calling all leaf peepers! The states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island are nothing short of spectacular in October.
Reds, browns and golds gild the trees, which look their most magnificent in Maine’s 47,000-acre Acadia National Park. Visit here before stopping at Sawyer’s Lobster Pound for a delicious lobster roll.
Top tip: Explore under your own steam on a road trip through the beautiful Berkshire Hills.
8. Zakynthos, Greece
Best for… Relaxation
If it’s budget-friendly beach October holidays you’re after, this is the place to go. The crowds are long gone, prices are low and, chances are, you’ll have zero rain in the first two or three weeks of October. Spend your days by the pool, sipping cocktails and eating gyros, tzatziki and feta.
We highly recommend a visit to Smuggler’s Cove too; with its deep, turquoise waters and soft silica, you’ll be in postcard paradise.
Top tip: Opt for resorts like Tsilivi and Argassi for a more village atmosphere, or Laganas for nightlife.