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Amalfi coast, Italy

Best places to travel in October 2021 & 2022

Whether you’re looking for spring blooms, autumnal foliage or prime wildlife-viewing opportunities, you’ll find plenty of destinations to choose from if you’re planning to travel in October. Below are just some of the places we feel are at their best at this time of year, along with our suggestions on the best things to do there.

You could make the most of excellent hiking conditions in New Zealand, go whale watching in South Africa, or indulge in fresh produce during harvest time in Vietnam, Japan or Italy. And, in many of our chosen countries, you’ll be visiting outside the busiest times of year.

Festivals and events around the world in October

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1. Spain

Spain tends to bask in its last rays of sunshine in October, with temperatures still reaching a pleasant daily average of around 70°F. Add to this dwindling visitor numbers and you have an excellent month for exploring the country’s historic cities on foot, whether you want to tour the streets of Madrid, soak up Barcelona’s Art Nouveau architecture or delve into the history of Seville. Temperatures tend to be cooler in northern regions like the Basque Country, so if you’re looking to spend time on a beach, you’re better off heading south to Andalusia.

Roman aqueduct, Segovia
Roman aqueduct, Segovia

2. France

Mild days make October a comfortable month for exploring France’s cities and countryside. You might experience some inclement weather, but crowds will have dissipated around major attractions and the country’s vineyards are heavy with grapes ready for harvesting. You can spend a day hopping between chateaux, tasting the vintages of different wineries while surrounded by fields of red and gold, or enjoying the sights of Paris with fewer visitors to contend with. Your visit might fall during Paris Fashion Week or, on the first Saturday of October, Nuit Balance — a night-time art festival across Paris’s museums and galleries.

Place des Vosges, Paris
Place des Vosges, Paris

3. Portugal

The weather in Portugal during October is generally still warm, particularly further south, with more comfortable temperatures for exploring and hiking than in the summer. That said, you should be prepared for the occasional downpour. Like in France, Portugal’s vineyards are ready for harvesting, making it an exciting time to visit the country’s wineries for a tasting. Beaches are quieter and there are fewer visitors in Lisbon and Porto, making it a great time for a city break. And, if you’re in the countryside, you can admire the fall colors coating the landscape.

Vineyard, La Rioja
Vineyard, La Rioja

4. England

With the countryside and city parks dappled in rich browns, flaming oranges and deep reds, and visitor numbers thinned from the summer months, October is one of the best times to visit England. Moorland is carpeted in vivid-purple heather, and while low clouds and rain are possible at some point during your trip, crisp, sunny autumn days showcase the country at its finest. After a bracing walk, you can cozy up beside a roaring fire in a traditional country pub. Or, if you’re sticking to the cities, you can soak up the sights with fewer people around to interrupt your experience.

Pulteney Bridge, Bath
Pulteney Bridge, Bath

5. Scotland

Much like England, Scotland’s main draw in October is its autumnal foliage, with the Highlands being particularly beautiful at this time of year. The weather is unpredictable, but that’s the case whenever you visit Scotland, and with fewer visitors you’ll find your own place of solitude as you explore the country’s lochs, glens, mountains and islands. It also means attractions are quieter in cities like Edinburgh, whose pubs and bars become welcome retreats on cooler days.

Kilchurn Castle
Kilchurn Castle

6. Greece

With days still warm and the sea still retaining the summer sun’s heat, October is an excellent time to visit Greece, and offers good value. Fewer people will be crowding around the country’s ancient sites, museums are still open but less busy and beaches will be quieter. You might experience some rain at this time of year, but most days are still soaked in sunshine. It’s a good month for hiking along the coast or among the country’s hills, which take on the golden glow of autumn. And, with it being harvest time, you’ll find plenty of fresh food to eat.

The Acropolis, Athens
The Acropolis, Athens

1. Ireland

While you’ll be lucky to avoid rain at this time of year, October in Ireland brings fresh air, beautiful autumnal hues across hills and woodland and a clutch of vibrant music and food festivals in Cork and Kinsale. A feeling of peace descends as visitor numbers fall, making it a good time to explore Dublin and Belfast’s historical and cultural attractions, tour whiskey distilleries or sample local food. Whether you’re sightseeing in a city or hiking in the countryside, you can end your day in a pub to warm up by the fire.

Connemara coast
Connemara coast

2. Egypt

Without the stifling heat of summer, Egypt makes a great place to visit in October, particularly if your focus is on visiting its ancient sites. Fewer visitors means it’s less busy around the country’s pyramids and temples, and you can wander Cairo’s streets and museums without long waits or crowds to contend with. It’s a good time to take a cruise along the Nile, enjoying the warm temperatures on deck and pausing to explore the country’s renowned tombs. End with time on the beach, where the sea should still be warm enough to swim or snorkel.

The Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza

3. Argentina

Wildflowers in full bloom, waterfalls in peak flow, whales visible off the coast and uncrowded city streets: October is one of the best months to visit Argentina. You’re there before the summer heat kicks in, making it a good time to hike in the Lake District, where you can see brilliant flowers carpeting valleys and lining glassy lakes. You can also explore Buenos Aires while enjoying mild temperatures and fewer visitors at its key attractions. In Mendoza, you can stroll through vineyards, sampling vintages as you go. And, you can take a boat trip from the Peninsula Valdes to see southern right whales, which are present from June to November.

Bariloche, Argentina
Bariloche, Argentina

4. India

As the monsoon season ends, October heralds the return of warm, sunny days, particularly in the north of India. The south can experience showers, but this creates vivid-green landscapes and freshens the air, making it a great time to explore outdoors, albeit with a waterproof jacket to hand. Average temperatures fall between 20°C and 30°C (68°F and 86°F). Despite the pleasant conditions, visitor numbers are still lower than in the coming months of November to January, so you can enjoy popular sights without the crowds. Your visit might also fall during Diwali, when everywhere is illuminated with candles, lights and fireworks.

Leh Monastery, Ladakh, India
Leh Monastery, Ladakh, India

5. Australia

In the midst of Australia’s spring, October is warm but not sweltering. Its landscapes are often covered in a vibrant layer of wildflowers as a result of occasional storms in the more humid north, which also add to the lushness of the country’s rainforests and wetlands. It’s a good time for viewing wildlife whether you’re in the north or the south of the country, and conditions are excellent for following hiking trails through national parks and along the coast. We recommend taking the opportunity to explore the Blue Mountains’ well-marked trails before the summer visitors arrive.

Windjana Gorge, Devonian Reef National Parks
Windjana Gorge, Devonian Reef National Parks

6. New Zealand

As spring dawns, days get warmer and snowmelt feeds waterfalls and makes rivers ripe for white-water rafting. You can still expect rain, as with any time of year in New Zealand, but this isn’t a country you visit for the weather. With warm layers and a waterproof jacket to hand, you can take advantage of New Zealand’s mountainous landscapes, glistening fiords and volcanic parks without the same level of visitors that summer brings, driving quiet roads and enjoying the pick of hotel options.

Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand
Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

7. Japan

Autumn is unmistakable in Japan, with forests donning coats of bright red, blazing orange and warm gold. For the best displays during October, head to more northerly or high-altitude regions like Hokkaido. The weather is cooler than the summer, but still mild enough to enjoy time in the outdoors, making this a popular month for travel in Japan as people balance national parks with museums and galleries. October is also prime harvest time, so wherever you dine you can enjoy fresh, seasonal produce straight from the fields. You might also come across harvest festivals that range from low-key events to vibrant parades.

Flower fields of Furano and Biei, Hokkaido
Flower fields of Furano and Biei, Hokkaido

8. China

While China’s vast size means its climate varies by region, October is generally warm and dry. Visiting at this time means you’ll find a comfortable window between the humid conditions of summer and the cold winter months. We recommend avoiding the first week of October, when a national holiday means travel gets busy. But, the rest of the month is a good time to visit to enjoy autumnal displays in city parks and across rural landscapes, as well as mild temperatures and little rain.

Great Wall, Beijing
Great Wall, Beijing

9. South Africa

Whale watching, wildflowers and wildlife viewing are all at their peak in South Africa during October, making it one of the best months to combine regions. Temperatures begin to heat up across the country, but the rains have yet to fall in the north. It means safari areas like the Kruger are still dry, making wildlife easier to spot as animals gather around vital water sources. Along the coast, southern right whales have yet to migrate south, so you can often see them breaching offshore. And, the country’s renowned wildflowers are still in bloom, covering the west coast’s dry and dusty landscape in a colorful carpet.

Lion in the Kruger
Lion in the Kruger

10. Italy

With the heat of summer now faded, October makes for a more comfortable time of year to explore Italy, and you won’t see as many visitors flocking to the country’s attractions. As well as enjoying quieter city breaks in Rome and Venice, you could venture into the countryside, where harvest is in full swing. It’s a particularly good time to dine on a bounty of fresh mushrooms, olives, truffles and chestnuts. And, with festivals dedicated to food and wine taking place across the country, you can taste your way through its rolling hills, rustic towns and villages and verdant valleys.

Gondola, Venice
Gondola, Venice

11. Thailand

While the weather can be difficult to predict in Thailand during October — it depends on the length of the monsoon season — lower humidity and fewer visitors arguably make this a more comfortable time to visit. For the best chance of avoiding rain, aim for the end of the month. That said, the odd downpour shouldn’t affect your trip too much, and creates lush, green landscapes in the north, where you can explore forests and waterfalls. If you’re planning to relax on the beach, be prepared to balance sunshine with heavy showers — staying on the mainland rather than one of the islands gives you a better chance of settled weather.

Waterfall in the Doi Inthanon National Park
Waterfall in the Doi Inthanon National Park

12. Chile

Enjoying the warmth of spring, Chile in October sees brilliant wildflowers coating its central and northern regions, mild days ripe for exploring and a smattering of rain here and there. While southern Patagonia is still feeling winter’s chill, you’ll begin to experience less rain and longer daylight hours, so as long as you wrap up, it’s a good time for hiking. Elsewhere, the Atacama Desert is a year-round destination, while in cities like Santiago you’ll be rubbing shoulders with fewer visitors than you would during the upcoming summer months, and should get more for your money.

Torres del Paine, Chile
Torres del Paine, Chile

13. Peru

As Peru reaches the end of its dry season in October, wildlife viewing in the Amazon rainforest and the country’s cloudforests is at its best and trekking conditions are excellent. The Sacred Valley trails will still be relatively crowd-free compared to the summer (though booking in advance is still required), and you can usually enjoy bright, sunny days with clear blue skies, along with mild-to-warm temperatures. Along the coast, surfers can pick up the early summer swells, or you can simply relax as temperatures in the north become increasingly pleasant.

The Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley