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Where to go on holiday in October

October holidays 2015Beach holiday in October

By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times Travel Writer and Editor of 101 Holidays

October is a great month to travel, particularly as the weather at home gets so unreliable and the nights start to close in. It’s the classic month for European city breaks, but it’s also a chance to catch the last of the sunshine in the Mediterranean – at bargain prices. Not forgetting some great long-haul trips and UK holidays.

These are our suggestions for where to go on holiday in October. If you are travelling with children, see our expert guide to family holidays in October half term. If you’re travelling alone, see the best singles holidays in October.

Note: all the travel companies featured are personally recommended by our editors.

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Malta is one of the best holiday destinations in OctoberMediterranean beach in October

Mediterranean beach holidays in October

If you want to be sure of catching the last of the Mediterranean sun in October you’re best advised to head south. You can expect fine weather on the Aegean coast of Turkey – where you’ll find some great-value boutique hotels, while Crete is usually a dead cert for warm temperatures and sunshine.

North Cyprus combines a great autumn climate with bargain prices, as it uses the Turkish lira rather the Euro. One of my personal favourite hotels there is the Pia Bella, just outside the pretty port town of Kyrenia.

Puglia in the south of Italy stays warm for much longer into the season than the north of the country. It has wonderful beaches and charming accommodation, and you’ll have the place to yourself because Italians rarely go on holiday outside the month of August.

Malta is one of the best holiday destinations in October – it’s far enough south to enjoy glorious sunshine long into autumn, but it’s cool enough to make it comfortable when touring the island’s fascinating historical sites. See the latest offers. I also recommend villa holidays in neighbouring Gozo, along with the laid-back Greek island of Paxos.

Corfu is a great destination for villa holidays, while Corsica has some lovely villas with pools, apartments and hotels and great special offers in October.

If you want to splash out, try the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort in Sicily. Foodies should check out this gastronomic tour of Sicily, while a great options for families is Sani Resort in Greece.

And if you want guaranteed sunshine and high temperatures, it’s only a 3-hour flight from the UK to Morocco where you’ll find exciting cities such as Marrakech, Taroudant and Casablanca which you can combine with beautiful beaches. You can also take a trekking holiday in Morocco, exploring the majestic Atlas Mountains with a local guide.

About 4 hours flying time from the UK, the Canaries offer even more assured sunshine than the Mediterranean. We recommend Tenerife and Lanzarote and the small unspoilt island of La Palma. If that’s too rustic for your tastes, check out the lovely Abama Golf & Spa Resort in Tenerife.

If you like the idea of cruising from one port to another, but don’t like the idea of ships the size of housing estates, check out Star Clippers which has some tall-ship departures in October including this cruise around the Greek Cyclades.

So long as you avoid half term week you can find some great cheap holidays in October.

Seville oranges

Short breaks in October

If you’re interested in a city break, October is a perfect time to make the trip. Airfares are off their summer peaks, mild temperatures are good for sightseeing and there are fewer crowds. Venice is the classic example. It gets horribly overcrowded in the peak months yet is more atmospheric and friendly in the autumn. See our recommended hotels in Venice with Kirker Holidays.

Istanbul and Cairo are two other fascinating cities best seen off season – both are simply too hot in August. In Eastern Europe, Budapest is great value, beautiful and only a two-hour flight from the UK.

In Croatia, Dubrovnik is a perfect spot to catch some late autumn sunshine. Or head to neighbouring, pocket-sized Montenegro which has pretty beaches, historic towns, mountains and charming places to stay.

Other great destinations in October include Sorrento on the Neopolitan coast of Italy, the wonderful city of Florence (which will be much less busy than in summer) and Palma, the oft-overlooked capital of Mallorca. Rome is certainly worth a visit, and the majestic city of Seville is best seen when the heat of summer has passed: October is perfect.

Embrace your inner child at Disneyland Paris. For a more grown-up break, head to the French capital where you can find great deals on hotels.

Foodies can hop over to France for a cookery course in the seaside town of La Rochelle or the city of Bordeaux. Wine and food tastings, visits to local markets and sight-seeing are also laid on. See prices.

For a romantic break, head to DDG Retreat, a beautiful adults-only retreat in the hills of Andalucia. With just six individual casas hidden away in woodland, it boasts a spa, outdoor hot tubs and poolside cabanas. And it’s just an hour’s drive from Malaga airport.

If you like a beer-fuelled party, head to Oktoberfest in Munich. There are several other great options in Germany including the Gothic splendour of Cologne and the fascinating mix of grandiose public spaces and street art in the capital Berlin.

Porto is a beautiful historic city on the coast of Portugal. It’s home to vintage port producers and is the launching pad for river cruises along the unspoilt Douro Valley. Or how about a cycling holiday in some of the most beautiful spots in Europe, or a walking holiday in Spain’s Catalonia region.

Short breaks are not just about cities. You could try a cycling holiday in France with Headwater Holidays. And you don’t need to fly, of course. Hop on the Eurostar for a stress-free break in Paris, Brussels, Bruges or Amsterdam. You can even get to Venice by high-speed TGV with the option of an overnight stop in Switzerland.

Feeling flush? For the ultimate short break, why not fly to France by private jet. If you get together with friends or family, a day trip to Paris starts at less than £1,000 per person. See a selection of short breaks.

Please visit our sister site for 101 short break ideas.

Long haul holidays in October

You don’t need to fly too far beyond Europe to find great weather. October is one of the best months to visit Jordan where you can play Laurence of Arabia, exploring the vast desert landscapes of Wadi Rum and the Rose Red city of Petra, then relax on the shores of the Dead Sea. See the latest special offers to Jordan, or take a short break in Petra.

The Arabian Gulf is less than 7 hours away with near guaranteed sunshine. Dubai is the obvious choice for its amazing collection of hotels – many of them tourist sights in their own right – along with great attractions, beaches, shopping and exciting desert excursions. For a more laid-back, cultural affair, head to Oman where you can stay on gorgeous remote beaches where turtles lay their eggs.

A luxury cruise on the Nile with Abercrombie & Kent is one of our top holiday suggestions for October. Combine it with a stay in the capital Cairo and you have the makings of a classic Egypt holiday. Or if you just want low-cost sun, head to Egypt’s Red Sea coast where we recommend the Movenpick Resort & Spa and the Three Corners Ocean View in El Gouna.

Africa awaits the adventurer. We recommend a safari in Botswana or a sensational tour of Namibia. If you want a combination of beach and wildlife you can’t do much better than Madagascar – a stunning island with unique wildlife. Independent travellers will enjoy this self-drive holiday of Cape Town and the Winelands.

Or see Africa by foot, on a walking safari with Aardvark Safaris or on a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro with Tourdust. This is also a great time of year to trek in the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia, which some experts are tipping as one of the hottest new up-and-coming destinations.

If you’d rather lie back in a tropical paradise this is a great time to visit Mauritius or the Seychelles (check out the latest special offers). Meanwhile, the Maldives is perfect for beach holidays in October.

It’s also a good time to visit Japan in the cool of the autumn. Soak up the stunning sights, sounds and smells of Tokyo before heading out to the countryside to explore. You could try a 14-day small group tour that combines the temples of Kyoto, the gardens of Kanazawa and the World Heritage shrines of Nikko.

It’s one of the best months to visit China. We recommend this 11-day China Experience tour, an ideal introduction to the country, that includes Beijing, the Great Wall, Xian and Shanghai.

October is also a great time to visit the Galapagos Islands – one of the world’s most pristine destinations where you can get up close and personal with rare species of seals, birds and tortoises, and swim with turtles. You’ll also find natural beauty in the Canadian Rockies where you can ride the spectacular Rocky Mountaineer train or take a fly-drive holiday.

Find where is hot in October.

Holidays in America in October

Autumn in America tends to be dry and sunny – the forests are spectacular as the leaves change colour. The best month to see the “Fall Foliage” is October and the best region is New England, which you can tour on a fly-drive holiday or an escorted coach tour. If time is short, take a short break in the regional capital of Boston, a city that is leafy, walkable and packed with culture.

There are other great driving routes in America. You could tour the 250-mile Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, retrace the Civil War route through Fredericksburg, Richmond, Shenandoah and Gettysburg, or head out from Washington DC to explore Virginia where highlights include colonial Williamsburg, the university city of Charlottesville and Bristol, the home of country music.

The great outdoors is rarely greater than in America’s National Parks from the dramatic walking trails of Zion National Park to Old Faithful Geyser and bison and elk spotting in Yellowstone.

As well as renting a car, you could take a cycle tour or a coach tour to discover the USA. You could opt for a luxury coach trip around the American South or join a food-and-wine-tasting tour of California.

If you really want the freedom of the road, why not rent a motorhome or even a Harley-Davidson. If you’re aged 18 to 35, you might enjoy one of these group adventure trips.

If you crave warm weather and sunshine, head to the sweeping desert of Arizona where you’ll find some gorgeous luxury hotels. Or how about combining New York and Las Vegas?

For more ideas – including golf holidays and how to get married in America – check out our sister site, 101 USA Holidays.

What about the UK?

There are plenty of places in the UK where you can hope to get decent weather and a cheap holiday in October. And even if it’s not particularly warm, there is plenty of gorgeous countryside to enjoy in autumn colours.

Looking for a classy hotel? We recommend Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District, Maison Talbooth in Essex and Three Choirs Vineyards in Gloucestershire.

In the West Country, we like Tregenna Castle Hotel which is set in woodland and tropical gardens overlooking the Cornish resort of St Ives, and Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa near Bath. If you’re on a budget, we recommend these cottages in the beautiful Dorset countryside.

On the coast of Suffolk The Wentworth Hotel is a gorgeous bolthole overlooking the beach at Aldeburgh, one of Britain’s prettiest seaside towns. In Shropshire, on the border of England and Wales, The Castle Hotel offers great food, a collection of real ales and contemporary rooms.

Jersey has a long season of sunshine. I particularly recommend The Atlantic Hotel which has magnificent sea views, excellent facilities and regular special offers.

You could tour the Great Houses of England or choose from a great selection of small-group cultural tours of Britain led by an expert in art, music or architecture. Find out more from Martin Randall Travel.

Explore our full selection of UK holiday ideas.

Getting married? Find the best honeymoon destinations in October.

Try our holiday quiz

If you’re still stuck for ideas, why not try our fun holiday quiz. Answer 10 easy questions like the one below to find out what kind of holidaymaker you are, and get personalised travel recommendations. Try the quiz now.

where to go on holiday

Last updated: 10 July 2015

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