October is a transitional month; a time of change. At home, it’s the classic autumn month when the nights draw in and leaves begin to blaze. It’s also a great time to travel. October is shoulder season, which means lower prices and fewer crowds – and because it’s such a transitory month, there’s even more versatility available when it comes to choosing a holiday.
If you’re hoping to catch the last of the rays of the Med, it’s still early enough to do so. Equally, if you’re looking to embrace autumn and make the most of the seasonal beauty, there are plenty of places that come into their own this month too. And for long-haul travellers, there are all kinds of exotic adventures awaiting…
So, to get you inspired, here are 10 of the best travel destinations to visit in October.
1. Menorca, Spain
Spain’s Balearic Islands are hugely popular throughout summer, but if you’re looking for rest and relaxation – and exploring without the crowds – autumn is the best time to visit. Mallorca and Ibiza may be the most popular islands but little Menorca has just as much going for it and, in October, temperatures are still pleasant (23°C) and the sea has been warmed by the sun all summer.
This small island’s roads are largely closed in summer to protect the environment yet, by autumn, when most of the tourists have gone, they open up again, allowing you to explore at your leisure. Despite its size, Menorca has more beaches than Mallorca and Ibiza combined, and you can spend days here relaxing on the sand, swimming in azure seas, and hiking through stunning coastal scenery.
2. Bruges, Belgium
If you’re thinking about a city break, why not head to beautiful Bruges? Thanks to its traditional Christmas markets, atmospheric light displays, and cosy bars, this picturesque Belgian city is one of the most popular winter destinations, but October sees a lull on these old cobbled streets. Summer tourists have left and winter visitors haven’t arrived, so you (almost) have the city to yourself.
Because you don’t have to squeeze your way past crowds, you have so much more time and space to admire the unique beauty of this city. Much of Bruges remains unchanged since its medieval golden age and you can lose yourself in these historic streets, take quiet canal trips down the river, and visit the many art galleries. Plus, it’s usually chilly enough to enjoy local hot chocolate by October!
3. New England, USA
In the US, New England is the capital of all things autumn – or ‘fall’, as they say across the pond. This part of America is known for lots of things – historic villages, rolling mountains, and clam shacks, to name just three – but in autumn it’s all about the astoundingly beautiful foliage. The blaze of red, yellow, and orange that ripples across the countryside has to be seen to be believed.
While the mountainous regions of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine tend to reach their colourful peak in late September, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are at their most dazzling in October. Plus, visiting at this time of year means you can enjoy other seasonal delights, like apple picking, delicious pumpkin produce, and an increasingly elaborate array of Halloween decorations.
Cyprus might be seen as the quintessential Mediterranean island, but due to its location – just south of Turkey – its climate is more Middle Eastern than European. This means that summers often reach highs of 40°C – which is ultimately too hot to do much at all. October, however, is a different matter. With highs of around 27°C and long, sunny days, it’s the perfect time to explore.
Cyprus might be known for its beaches, but it’s also an excellent hiking destination. While you can swim in the sea in October, it’s worth taking advantage of the mild temperatures and heading inland to the Troodos Mountains. Hike along ancient trails, over forested slopes, and through hillside villages – then treat yourself to some delicious Cypriot cuisine in the authentic local tavernas.
5. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Cambodia’s six-month rainy season comes to an end in October, so if you want to see this captivating country in its full emerald brilliance, now’s the time to go! Plus, the high season begins in November, meaning you can still take advantage of lower rates in October, as well as far fewer tourists. And, if you want to visit the often-overwhelmingly-crowded temples of Angkor, this is a big benefit.
There are 72 temples to explore, from the atmospheric Ta Nei to the overgrown Ta Prohm – not to mention the iconic Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world – so you’ll want to take your time. Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor, but also to the lake of Tonle Sap, which is known for its fascinating floating villages – and the lake is at its fullest and most beautiful after the rains.
Jordan is certainly a contender for the most compelling country in the Middle East – and October is a great time to go. Jordan can be unfeasibly hot in summer but temperatures drop dramatically in winter, making some experiences, like exploring the desert or sleeping under the stars in a Bedouin camp, off-limits (unless you’re unusually hardy). Yet, in October, temperatures hover around 25°C and the evening chills are still far away.
The ancient sandstone city of Petra is unmissable; located in the remote Shara mountains, it was undiscovered by the West until 1812. The still-bright October sun lights Petra up rose-red, and the glowing rock city will take your breath away. Camping in Wadi Rum and exploring the Valley of the Moon are a must too!
7. Provence, France
France might be a go-to summer destination but certain parts of it, like Provence, come into their own in autumn. The days might not be as long and hot, but with highs of 20°C, it’s still very pleasant in October – and what it may lack in heat, it makes up for in scenery, serenity, and food. It’s the ideal temperature for hiking and biking, allowing you to explore this wonderful region at your own pace.
The landscape of the Luberon is especially dreamy in October. The mornings cloak the mountain glades in mists, and the vineyards turn a vibrant ochre. It’s also the season for food festivals, and Provence’s quiet hillside villages begin to buzz with excitement. If you’re passionate about wine – and truffles! – you’ll be spoilt for choice and the local market stalls burst with fresh harvest produce.
8. Vienna, Austria
If you’re dreaming about a European city break but Bruges isn’t doing it for you, what about Vienna? Austria’s capital has plenty going for it in October – not least of all the Lange Nacht der Museen (Long Night of the Museums). On the first Saturday of October, museums open into the night, and a single ticket allows you to visit as many as you like, stopping to refuel in the city’s famous coffee houses.
While the city might be best known for its impressive imperial palaces (and even more impressive musical legacy), it’s also becoming known for its urban vineyards. In the suburbs of the city, rows of vines spread across the slopes and, in October, it’s harvest time. If you enjoy hiking, follow the wine trails, where winemakers give out samples along the way, and the weather is perfect for trekking.
9. Rajasthan, India
As India’s largest state, Rajasthan, the ‘Land of Kings’, is beautiful and beguiling at any time of year – but when the monsoons retreat in October, the landscape is refreshed and renewed. The weather is mild, which means it’s the perfect time to explore this region, which is seen as the jewel in India’s crown – the home of maharajas and tigers, forts and palaces, and kaleidoscopic colours.
If you’re a keen photographer, you’ll love touring the rosy palaces of Jaipur – the ‘Pink City’ – and the cobalt houses of Jodhpur – the ‘Blue City’. Like other arid destinations, Rajasthan benefits from the coolness of autumn, and away from the stifling heat, you can head into the Thar Desert, and marvel at the golden fort of Jaisalmer. The mouthwatering flavours of the local cuisine are another perk!
10. Marrakech, Morocco
Enchanting, energetic, and sometimes overwhelming, Marrakech has been attracting tourists for decades, and if you’re looking for an exotic city break with a difference, you’re onto a winner – especially in October. The streets are busy and bustling rather than cramped and crowded, and the oppressive summer heat has given way to a far more pleasurable climate, with highs of around 28°.
The maze-like streets, ornate buildings, and vibrant tilework will keep you reaching for your camera – but take time to savour the delicious street food too. Plus, Marrakech is a great jumping-off point for exploring other parts of Morocco, especially the nearby Atlas Mountains. The landscape here is ideal for hiking, and you can visit local villages and explore the Berber culture and tradition along the way.
October can be many things. It can be the sight of fiery leaves peering through in the morning mist, pumpkins on porches, and the scent of bonfire smoke drifting along the crisp air. It can mean the end of monsoon season, the emergence of brilliant green fields, and the lowering of sweltering temperatures. And it can also mean quiet, crowd-free strolls in some of Europe’s most sophisticated cities.
If you’re up for a long-haul adventure, why not head to colourful Rajasthan, or captivating Cambodia – or even take a flight across the Atlantic to marvel at the seasonal beauty of New England?
Or, if you’d rather stay closer to home, Provence’s pastoral beauty reaches its peak in October, while you can savour the last of the sun in idyllic Menorca. And cities like Vienna and Bruges are refreshingly quiet, allowing you to explore at your own pace, and in your own way.
Cyprus, Jordan, and Morocco fall somewhere in between the two when it comes to flight time but all offer warm weather, compelling culture, dazzling landscapes, and fascinating ancient history – so there really is something for everyone.
For more inspiration for your next adventure, check out the travel section of our website.
Have you been to any of these places? Or do you have your own suggestions for some of the best travel destinations for October? We’d love to hear about your travel experiences in the comments below.