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Where to Go in October: The Best Places to Travel

by Brook Wilkinson | October 1, 2019

Pleasant temperatures, fewer tourists, and shoulder-season deals make October a great time to travel to a large swath of the globe. Since you can’t go everywhere (sad, I know), we’ve pinpointed a few of the optimal spots. From vineyard-hopping in France to whale-shark-spotting in the Seychelles, the following destinations and experiences belong on your October travel list.

(Don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year. If you’re wondering when’s the best time to book your destination to get the best value for your dollar, see our “Where to Book Now” series.)

Sicily

Mt. Etna, Sicily.

Mt. Etna, Sicily. Photo: Pixabay

October is one of the most colorful and flavorful months in Sicily. It is the season of the harvest, which means fresh olives, almonds, and chestnuts—not to mention wild mushrooms, prickly pears, and carob—complement the island’s always-bountiful variety of culinary offerings. The air and sea temperatures are still warm and inviting, while the breathtaking array of ancient cultural sites are bathed in a crisp autumn light. Both flights and accommodations are less expensive than during the summer, and the fewer tourists mean you get a more intimate experience with the people of Sicily.

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New York City

Downtown Manhattan skyline, New York

Downtown Manhattan skyline. Photo: Julienne Schaer/courtesy NYC & Company

Right after Columbus Day weekend is prime time in New York City. The locals are back from their summer vacations and the city is buzzing along, business as usual. In October, park woodlands and tree-lined promenades are dressed in warm, rich colors, and the fall exhibitions have been open for a few weeks, so lines have shortened.

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Burgundy, France

Burgundy's rolling hillsides

Burgundy’s rolling hillsides. Photo: Truffle Pig

The chaos of harvest is over and the grapes are in, which means there’s still lots of activity in the wineries, since the wines are fermenting and the vinification is in full throe, but the winemakers themselves have a little more time to spend with visitors. It’s also the prettiest time: The leaves on the vines turn yellow and gold, and you realize why they call it the Côte d’Or (the golden slopes). And beyond the wines, it’s the most interesting time for seasonal produce: Mushrooms and squashes complement wild game in the menus of the local restaurants.

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Iceland

Hraunfossar waterfall, Iceland.

Hraunfossar waterfall, Iceland. Photo: Tina Kristina Jiotsa Thorman

October is far less crowded than in the peak summer and winter months, and most roads and hotels stay open until the first snow late in the month. If you are lucky, you can even see the Northern Lights.

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Mongolia

An eagle hunter on horseback in Mongolia holding an eagle

An eagle hunter in Mongolia. Photo: Chris Rainier/Nomadic Expeditions

September is the perfect month for camel trekking, but October is when you can attend the one-of-a-kind Golden Eagle Festival—a colorful celebration of a centuries-old Kazakh hunting tradition in the Altai Mountains. When the festival was founded in 1999, only 40 families still hunted with eagles; today more than 400 do so, and many locals who rely on the income they earn during the event. Our Trusted Travel Expert can even arrange for you to have dinner with the competitors themselves.

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China

Aman Summer Palace, Beijing.

China is huge, of course, and has a wide array of weather patterns, depending on location and elevation. But for a classic China itinerary, October is hard to beat: Skies are blue in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an, and temperatures are so agreeable you won’t need heat or air-conditioning.

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Big Island, Hawaii

Wai'pio Valley Lookout, Hawaii

Wai’pio Valley Lookout, Big Island, Hawaii.

October is the choicest month for the Big Island, as the weather is driest—with daytime temperatures hovering around 85 degrees—and the crowds are thin, so prices are lower. (The only thing it’s not an ideal time for is surfing.)

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Austria’s Danube Valley

The Wachau Valley, Austria

The Wachau Valley, Austria. Photo: Austrian Tourist Board

October is at the end of peak season, there’s gorgeous fall scenery, and it’s harvest time in the vineyards, which means that the Heuriger (wine taverns) are especially fun and lively and you’ll probably get to try new wines. More important, especially for wine buffs, many of the smaller (and better) Heurigers aren’t open year-round, but they’re all open in October.

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Jordan

The dunes in Wadi Rum, Jordan. Photo: Timothy Baker

Jordan is ideal in October, when the heat of summer has passed but the cold of winter—which can be particularly harsh in desert regions such as Wadi Rum—has not yet arrived.

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Vietnam

Wonderful view of the East Gate (Hien Nhon Gate) to the Citadel and a moat surrounding the Imperial City with the Purple Forbidden City in Hue, Vietnam. Hue is a popular tourist destination of Asia.

View of the East Gate (Hien Nhon Gate) to the Citadel and a moat surrounding the Imperial City with the Purple Forbidden City in Hue, Vietnam. Photo: Shutterstock

Since the monsoons hit northern, central, and southern Vietnam at different times, weather across Vietnam varies widely. If your goal is to travel throughout the country, the driest months to visit are October and March. Fall (October through December) is when you’ll find the best weather conditions in Ho Chi Minh City and the south.

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Northern Chile and Argentina

the red sand of Chile's Atacama desert with tall mountains in the distance

The Atacama Desert of Chile has an otherwordly and beautiful landscape. Photo: Awasi

While both the Atacama Desert in Chile and the region around Salta, Argentina, are year-round destinations, October and November see fewer visitors than other times of year—leaving your vistas of these wide-open landscapes largely free of other travelers. (These are also excellent months to hop a flight to Easter Island, when the place is nearly empty and the weather ideal.)

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Rome

Via dei Prefetti, Rome

Balcony with a view, Via dei Prefetti, Rome. Photo courtesy Homebase Abroad.

Rome is best in October, when the weather is still warm but you don’t need to wait in line for an outside table in the city’s iconic piazze. The first ten days of November are wonderful, too. Marked by the Feast Days of San Martino (named for the patron saint of winemakers) and celebrated by the nineteenth-century poet Giovanni Pascoli as a brief return to summer, these days are always sunny and mild, and yet they fall in the slow season, which means cheaper hotel rates and flights.

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St. Petersburg, Russia

Saint Isaac Cathedral across Moyka river, St Petersburg, Russia

Saint Isaac Cathedral across Moyka river, St Petersburg, Russia. Photo: Shutterstock

October through May are the ideal months in St. Petersburg. That’s when the cruise ships are gone, theater is in season, and local children are in school. Russia does cold better than hot—imagine shuffling through the Hermitage in 90-degree heat with tens of thousands of other tourists. If you just can’t bear chilly weather (St. Petersburg is about as cold as New York City in the winter), October is the month to go.

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Bogota, Colombia

View of Journalist's Park with Monserrate and the Candelaria district of Bogota, Colombia

View of Journalist’s Park with Monserrate and the Candelaria district of Bogota, Colombia. Photo: Shutterstock

Bogota’s climate holds constant year-round, and no matter the month, you’ll find plenty to see and do in Colombia’s cosmopolitan capital. ARTBO, an art fair that is steadily gaining international recognition—it’s been referred to as the Art Basel of Latin America—takes place here every October.

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Oman

Dhow boat Cruise in Arabian Peninsula, boat on blue water with desert mountains in background

A dhow cruise on the Arabian Peninsula in Oman. Photo: Shutterstock

From mid-September through October, Oman’s weather is perfect: It’s not too hot in the desert and not too chilly in the mountains.

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Utah’s National Parks

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. Photo: Mark Campbell

Spring and September (post-Labor Day) through October are best: The temperatures are generally moderate and the crowds thin.

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Amalfi Coast, Italy

Positano on the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Positano on the Amalfi Coast, Italy. Photo: Shutterstock

October is when the throngs of cruise-ship passengers have thinned, hotel prices have dropped (a little), there’s still plenty of sun, and the sea is still warm enough for swimming.

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Madrid, Spain

Old cozy street in Madrid, Spain. Architecture and landmark of Madrid, postcard of Madrid

Cultural events pick up in fall in Madrid. Photo: Shutterstock

In September and October, the blistering summer heat abates and cultural events pick up, with festivals, theater shows, and concerts.

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Japan

Kyoto, Japan gardens at Heian Shrine in the spring season. - Image

Cherry blossoms bloom around Heian Shrine in Kyoto, Japan. Photo: Shutterstock

Autumn in Kyoto brings cooler air and bright red maples (which last into November), magnificent to behold alongside Zen gardens and royal villas.

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Olympic National Park, Washington

A beautiful sunset on the ocean among the rocks, Cape flattery trail , Olympic Peninsula, Washington state

Sun on the ocean among the rocks, Cape flattery trail, Olympic Peninsula, Washington state. Photo: Shutterstock

In October, the weather is usually pleasant across all three of the park’s environments: the Olympic Mountains, the temperate Hoh Rain Forest, and the rugged Pacific coastline. There may be snow at the high elevations and some rain lower down, but the waterfalls will be flowing, and the area is very lush. Sunsets also tend to be spectacular at this time of year.

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The Seychelles

Maia Luxury Resort, Anse Louis Beach, Seychelles

October brings a mix of good weather and value. Photo: Maia Luxury Resort/Lindsey Wallace

October represents a nice balance of great weather (not too hot and little to no rain) and great value (since many of the resorts still have low-season rates). It’s also the best month for snorkeling and diving with whale sharks.

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Other Good Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why October is a good time to go.

 

North America

American West River Rafting

California Coast

Cuba

Hawaii: Maui

Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons National Park

Mexico City

Puerto Vallarta

Riviera Maya

Washington, D.C.

Yellowstone National Park

 

Central and South America

Bolivia

Brazilian Amazon

Buenos Aires

Costa Rica: fishing, wildlife and turtle hatching

Patagonia

Peru

 

Europe

Aegean Coast

Algarve

Amsterdam

Andalusia

Athens

Canal Barge Cruises

Cappadocia

Cotswolds

Croatia

Czech Republic

Florence

Hungary

Istanbul

Killarney and County Kerry

London

Malta

Moscow

Paris

Portugal

Romania

Scotland

 

Asia

Agra

Bali’s rainy season deals

Bangkok and northern Thailand

Bhutan: River Rafting

China’s Yunnan Province

Delhi

Laos

Mumbai

Myanmar’s tropical areas

Nepal

Trekking in the Himalayas

 

Africa and Middle East

Botswana

Cape Town and the Winelands

Egypt

Israel

Jerusalem

Madagascar

Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains

 

Australia and Pacific

Fiji

French Polynesia

Great Barrier Reef

Papua New Guinea: trekking

Queenstown hiking and cycling

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2 Comments

  1. Ellen Korval

    We used Caroline Bach Wood for our family trip to the national parks . She was extremely helpful and knowledgable!! The hotels that she suggested we use were wonderful and she was very accessible and easy to work with. I would certainly recomnend her to friends and she stands as a good representative of your company.

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