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Where to go on holiday in October

October holidays 2014Where to go on 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 is getting so gloomy and winter is closing 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. There are also some great long-haul trip 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.


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

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’ll have to head south. You should be fine on the Aegean coast of Turkey – where you’ll find some great value boutique hotels, while Crete is usually a dead cert for fine weather.

North Cyprus combines a great autumn climate with bargain prices, as it is located outside the Eurozone. One of our favourite hotels there is the Pia Bella, just outside Kyrenia.

Puglia in the south of Italy stays warm for much longer into the season than the north. It has wonderful beaches and charming accommodation, and you’ll have the place to yourself as 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. We 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 house 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 months. See our recommended hotels in Venice at Kirker Holidays.

Istanbul, Cairo and Jerusalem are other cities best seen off season – all amazing destinations but simply too hot in August.

Tunisia is best known for its beaches but the capital Tunis is one of the Med’s best holiday destinations in October. Its medina is fascinating, plus you can visit the seaside and astonishing Roman remains. We recommend The Residence Tunis. In Croatia, Dubrovnik is a perfect spot to catch some late autumn sunshine. Or head next door to pocket-sized Montenegro which has pretty beaches, historic towns, mountains and charming places to stay.

Also in the Mediterranean, October is a great time for a city break in Sorrento on the Neopolitan coast of Italy, or 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 on.

Embrace your inner child at Disneyland Paris. See the latest special offers. 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 Lyon. The four-night trip to Lyon includes a visit to Les Halles de Paul Bocuse, the legendary indoor market, and a day’s wine tasting in the Beaujolais region. See prices.

If you like your beer, 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 city on the coast of Portugal. It’s home to the vintage port producers and launching pad for river cruises along the stunning, 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. Or see a selection of short breaks.

Please visit our sister site for 101 short break ideas. If you’re looking for bargains, see my selection of late holiday deals in October.

Long haul holidays in October

You don’t need to fly too far 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 relaxing on the shores of the Dead Sea. See the latest special offers to Jordan.

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. We particularly like this family adventure in Oman.

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 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 many 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.

October is 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 – with spectacular displays 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, discover the Southern charm of Alabama or drive the California Coast from San Francisco to San Diego. History lovers should retrace the Civil War route through Fredericksburg, Richmond, Shenandoah and Gettysburg, or head out from Washington D.C. to explore Virginia where highlights include colonial Williamsburg and the university city of Charlottesville.

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 take 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, join a group adventure trip.

If you want 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 scorching sunshine, there is plenty of gorgeous countryside to enjoy in autumn colours.

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 country.

On the coast of Suffolk The Wentworth Hotel is a gorgeous bolthole overlooking the beach at Aldeburgh, one of Britain’s prettiest seaside towns.

Jersey has a long season of sunshine. We 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.

It’s not too late for some autumn camping. Rather than take your chances with regular tents and sleeping bags, we recommend a trip to Feather Down Farms which has large luxury fixed tents with proper beds and wood-burning stoves at 20 working farms across the UK.

Explore our full selection of UK holiday ideas.

Getting married? Find the best honeymoon destinations in October. Renting a car? Check out our exclusive 10% saving with Rhino Car Hire.

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.

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