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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 – the weather in the UK becomes distinctly unreliable and the nights begin to close in. It’s a popular month for European city breaks, and a chance to catch the last of the sunshine in the Mediterranean – at bargain prices. Not forgetting some great long-haul trip opportunities.

These are my 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, check out 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, travel early in the month or head south. You can expect fine weather throughout October on the Aegean coast of Turkey – where you’ll find some great-value boutique hotels. Crete is also a great bet for warm temperatures and sunshine.

North Cyprus combines a balmy 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 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.

Corfu is a great destination for villa holidays, along with its sleep neighbour, Paxos. The French island of 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, while foodies should check out this gastronomic tour of Sicily. Families should check out the wonderful Sani Resort in mainland 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. In Marrakech you can expect average temperatures of 27ºC and eight hours of daily sunshine. You can also enjoy a trekking holiday in Morocco, exploring the snow-peaked Atlas Mountains with a local guide.

Four hours flying time from the UK, the Canaries offer temperatures of 24°C and eight hours of sun in October. I recommend Tenerife and Lanzarote and the small unspoilt island of La Palma. If that’s too rustic for your tastes, check out the superb 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 travel. 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 too hot in August. In October you can expect temperatures of 29ºC in Cairo and 20ºC in Istanbul. In Eastern Europe, Budapest is great value, beautiful and only a two-hour flight from the UK. The first half of October is better, with 20ºC and six hours of sun.

In Croatia, Dubrovnik is a perfect spot to catch some late autumn sunshine (20ºC, 7 hours of sun). 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 with 27ºC and 7 hours of sun.

Embrace your inner child at Disneyland Paris. For a more grown-up break, head to Paris itself 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 other, more cultural 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 (25ºC and 9 hours of sun) 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 guaranteed sunshine. Dubai (35ºC and 10 hours of sun) 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 I recommend the Movenpick Resort & Spa and the Three Corners Ocean View in El Gouna.

Africa awaits the adventurer. I recommend a safari in Botswana (32ºC and 9 hours of sun) or a sensational tour of Namibia (30ºC and 10 hours of sun) . If you want a combination of beach and wildlife you can’t do much better than Madagascar (26ºC and 8 hours of sun) – 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 with 30ºC and 8 hours of sun.

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. I recommend this 11-day China Experience tour, an ideal introduction to the country, that includes Beijing, the Great Wall, Xian and Shanghai.

It’s 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 more climate details at 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? I recommend Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District, Maison Talbooth in Essex and Three Choirs Vineyards in Gloucestershire.

In the West Country, our editors 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 can personally 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: 26 August 2015

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