Where to go in October

Just because the year is winding down doesn’t mean your travels need to peter-out – particularly when October dazzles with an abundance of epic adventures. Embark on culture-filled expeditions to cliff-perched monasteries or spend lazy days lapping up island life on the beaches of Fiji. Indulge on Italy's fine wine and even finer foods or get back to nature with a spectacular safari during Tanzania’s top season. Here are some ideas for where to go in October.

The vineyards of Rioja, Spain, with a town on a hill in the distance and a moody grey and blue sky. Where to go in October
October is harvest time in Rioja, Spain © Salima Senyavskaya / Getty Images

 Where are the best places to visit in October for food and drink?

Those with a taste for the finer things in life are in luck this month. Start your taste bud-led travels in Piedmont, Italy, where you can explore rustic hillside villages before getting your mitts on some of the world’s most coveted white truffles at their freshest (and most expensive). With your palate piqued hit the road and make for Lyon in France for myriad Michelin-starred hotspots and markets bursting at the seams with sumptuous local produce from world-class cheese to mouth-watering saucisson.

And, of course, you’ll need something to wash down all these opulent treats. Visit the Rioja region in Spain, now in the full flurry of its harvest season. Join in the festivities or just tour from cellar door to chateau-style wineries and indulge in the ambience (and a Tempranillo or two) of this iconic region. Soak up some sophistication amongst the tea plantations of Darjeeling, where you can sip the ‘champagne of tea’ while enjoying views across leafy terraces and distant mountain peaks, including mighty Kanchenjunga (the world’s third-highest peak) and Mt Everest itself.

Treat yourself to these tantalising trips.

Searching for polar bears in Manitoba

Where are the best places to visit in October for wildlife and nature?

October welcomes the dry season to the plains of Tanzania, beckoning clear, immense skies and a superabundance of wildlife unobstructed by vegetation. Safaris don’t get more majestic than this with millions of animals like zebras, wildebeests, antelopes, lions and leopards staking their claim on the Serengeti. Big beasts also abound in Manitoba, Canada – more specifically in Churchill, the self-proclaimed ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’. Tour the tundra in fat-wheeled trucks that allow for safe and staggering encounters with these wonderful creatures.

Journey to China’s sublime southwest provinces for lost-in-time landscapes – think verdant rice terraces, dramatic karst hills, dizzying gorges and pristine snow-capped peaks. Dry weather and an ethereal golden light make October the ideal time to explore this captivating countryside. Combine jaw-dropping scenery with adrenaline-fuelled action in Utah’s Arches and Canyonlands national parks, where you can hike, bike and raft through a rugged playground of rock formations, chasms, buttes and plateaus.

Find out more about these wild wanderings.

The shot is taken through a rock arch over Cathedral Cove beach, with a large freestanding rock formation at the end of the sweeping beach
Searching for a peaceful spot? Look no further than Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula © christian_b / Shutterstock

Where are the best places to visit in October for relaxation?

October is all about escaping the crowds with these four relaxing retreats. Cultivate some calm along a stretch of New Zealand’s most mesmerising coastline. The Coromandel Peninsula is a delightful mix of quaint, gallery-filled towns and unbeatable natural gems, from its golden sands and lush mountainsides to the sweeping arches of Cathedral Cove. With its pastel-hued fishing villages decorating coastal cliffs that tumble into glittering azure waters, anyone can see why the tourist masses are attracted to Italy’s picture-perfect Liguria region. But come in October and you’ll get all this waterfront wonder without the crowds, and the heavy price tag!

For a taste of island life, head to the Pacific paradise of Fiji where you’ll be greeted by balmy climes, cheaper deals on accommodation and relative isolation – not to mention swaying palms, sugar-soft beaches and aquamarine ocean as far as the eye can see. Over in Brazil Ilha Grande is waiting to envelop you in it’s rainforest-clad, beach-studded serenity. Cars are not permitted on the island and with only a few settlements (largely made up of elegant traditional pousada-style houses) quiet, cultured contemplation – coupled with a cocktail or two – is all that’s on the cards.

Read more about your well-deserved fix of TLC.

A glimpse of Petra's rock-hewn ancient city through a passageway in the rock. All the rock faces have a red hue, with the carvings themselves appearing more beige
A first glimpse of Petra's rock-hewn ancient city © Kanuman / Shutterstock

Where are the best places to visit in October for culture?

Set your sights on the heady heights of Bhutan with a hike through the awe-inspiring Himalaya. With your lungs filled with fresh mountain air, make for one of the regions' many man-made highlights from dazzlings dzongs (fortresses) and colourful tsechus (festivals) to the cliff-perched Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Skip forward what feels like light years and enjoy some autumnal adventures in New York City. Crisp sunny days provide the perfect setting for wandering the ochre-hued Central Park or head further afield to the Adirondack Mountains or the Finger Lakes region for foliage in full fiery bloom.

Elsewhere in the world, the climate is equally suited to exploring some truly ancient wonders. It doesn’t get much more epic than Jordan’s mystical city of Petra, a rock-hewn marvel in the middle of the desert. Once you’ve got an eyeful of the astounding architecture, head north to explore the Dana Nature Reserve or embark on one of many bucket-list worthy desert trails. In Greece enjoy pleasant hikes through the hills and ruins of the Peloponnese during its off season. Meander through the citadel of Mycenae and the Byzantine port of Monemvasia before arriving in Olympia, home to the original Olympic Games.

Set your sights on these cultural excursions.

Article first published August 2017, and last updated December 2019

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