If you’re tied to school vacations, keen to miss the monsoon season or hoping to snag an off-season bargain, our month-by-month guide on when to go on vacation where will help you navigate your way around the world, and let you know whether to pack a bikini – or a brolly.
Top 10 October vacations in 2021
When it comes to picking a vacation, it sometimes helps to follow in some trusted footsteps. Our list of the top 10 destinations to visit in October is based on the places our travelers have loved the most at this time of year. From sunrise over the Taj Mahal to sunset on the Algarve, from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia to a hot spring on Honshu, these places don’t have much in common – except that they make for a wonderful autumn break. Look no further for your October travel inspiration.
Our Best places to go in October Vacations
1. Cruise in Southern Croatia
Croatia’s shoulder season is far quieter for cruising, and when you go ashore you’ll find local restaurants welcoming rather than overwhelmed. This is the last season to climb aboard a small ship cruise. Start in the historic city of Split, before exploring islands like Mjlet, Hvar and Brac, and see the walled city of Dubrovnik hemmed in by its amazing fortified walls – without being hemmed in yourself by crowds.
2. Go for gold in Northern IndiaPrepare to tick off India’s most iconic sights. October marks the start of the season for visiting India’s Golden Triangle, the triad of Indian treasures that are the cities of New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur in Rajasthan, Northern India. There are forts, palaces and the Taj Mahal to see, plus driving pell-mell through city streets and experiencing sensory overload in the markets. Ranthambore is famous for tigers: early October may still be too wet to coax them out, but you may be lucky.
Our top-selling trip: Golden Triangle with Ranthambore tour
See all our trips: Golden Triangle in India vacations
Read more: Golden Triangle travel guide and Ranthambore travel guide
3. Grab your paddle in GranadaHaving a half-term conundrum? Try a family activity vacation in Southern Spain. Andalucia sits in summer’s afterglow right through to October – the beach bums have sidled away, but the sun’s still out, the mountains remain a great playground, and the water’s warm – perfect for an activity vacation. There’s wild swimming, kayaking and rafting in an area known as the Andalucian Lake District, and October’s low season prices means you won’t have to splash out to have a smashing time.
Our top-selling trip: Altiplano de Granada activity vacation
See all our trips: Granada vacations
Read more: Andalucia travel guide
Our top Best places to go in October Vacation
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4. Pedal in Portugal
October isn’t the best time to sunbathe on a beach, but it is the perfect time to cycle alongside one. Portugal’s Algarve coast is great moderate biking terrain – and hiring an e-bike makes things even easier. En route, discover pretty towns with Arab-Iberian heritage and cycle through cork forests and over rushing rivers. Hold off on having a dip until the end of the day, though: the family-run hotels usually come with swimming pools.
5. Maples in spades on the Nakasendo Way in JapanLong before the bullet train, Tokyo and Kyoto were linked by the Nakasendo Way. Along it, 69 post towns refreshed, restored and took in travelers en route. Today, you can still hop between ryokans (inns) on a walking vacation, taking trains between the best trails, and soaking in bath houses and hot springs afterwards. Late October means gorgeous foliage: reddening maple trees and orange forests.
Our top-selling trip: Japan self guided walking vacation: Nakasendo Trail
See all our trips: Japan walking vacations
Read more: Nakasendo trail guide
6. Going your own way in CataloniaIndependent walkers might find kinship with Catalonia: an autonomous region in Spain that’s culturally distinct, a little bit different – so much so that it was loved by Salvador Dali. Shoulder seasons are great for self guided walking vacations, when you can take advantage of a quieter coastline, peaceful bays and cooler temperatures. Though there might be a couple more wet and windy days in October, the trees won’t have shed their leaves just yet.
Our top-selling trip: Catalonia self guided walking vacation
See all our trips: Catalonia vacations
Read more: Walking in Catalonia guide
7. Walking in Cappadocia
Lesser-visited eastern Turkey has one of the most whimsical-looking walking destinations in the world – the wind-sculpted turrets in the valleys of Cappadocia – made even more fantastical by the sight of scores of hot air balloons suspended above them. You can enjoy the changing colours as you walk among vineyards in the Pancarlik Valley. By October, the temperature is in the low 20°Cs – perfect for walkers and amateur balloonists.
8. Adventure in JordanIf you fancy being a little more intrepid in the desert without worrying about working up too much of a sweat, October is a good time to explore Jordan on an adventure vacation. The country has plenty of great national parks with inspiring rock formations and vast deserts. There are brilliant Bedouin guides on hand to help you interpret the extraordinary natural landscape. It’s prime diving time at the Red Sea, too.
Our top-selling trip: Adventure vacation in Jordan
See all our trips: Small group Jordan vacations
Read more: Jordan travel guide
9. Up & down Scotland’s best railway linesThe West Highland Line from Fort William up to the little fishing port at Mallaig comes with a famous viaduct en route, and passes scenic lochs and mountains, including the dramatic slopes of Glencoe. As the trees start to shed their leaves, there are longer views out of the window, too, making this a great season for train travel. As fresh seafood starts to pour onto the menus, it’s a great time for foodies, too.
Our top-selling trip: West Highland Line railway vacation
See all our trips: Scotland rail vacations
Read more: Scotland by rail travel guide
10. Tracking bears in Greece
There’s no guarantee that you’ll see one of Greece’s hidden bears on a bear tracking trip, but you’ll have the best chance in the northern part of the country in autumn, before they sleep over the winter months. Walking with specialists between farmland and forest, you can follow in their enormous paw prints. The thrill of coming across a clawed tree – and hearing about bear encounters from the locals over dinner – is fascinating. Plus, the scenery is beautiful.
More about Best places to go in October
Overwhelmed with the world? Can’t decide where to go? We’ve asked the experts, consulted the guides, and whittled down the best places to visit in October. Have an awesome autumn, thanks to our definitive destination list.
Our map and highlights page lists the best destinations to visit in October – and there’s something for everyone. From Rajasthan temples and Moroccan mountains to ryokan in Japan and empty biking paths in Southern Europe, get the most out of your autumn break.