Best Places to Travel in October

"In October, autumn starts to descend on the northern hemisphere, bringing with it the promise of cooler, drier weather, while still hanging onto the last of the summer heat."

July 2016 • Jules Verne

Best Places to Travel in October

After the long summer months, the sea is warm but the cities are much more comfortable – and less crowded.  

Here are our recommendations for where to visit in October:

Vietnam

October is a wonderful time to visit Vietnam, as the rainy summer season is just drawing to a close.  Before winter sets in is the ideal time to visit the hills of Sapa, the mountain range in the north of the country, which can become quite chilly midwinter. This stretch of rural Vietnam appears to be untouched by civilisation, and is well worth a visit.

Vietnam is known as the world’s rice basket, thanks to the quantity of rice produced in this relatively small country.  One of the wonders of the inland stretches of Northern Vietnam is the landscape, which in many places has been completely reshaped by human hands to create the rice paddies required to grow this staple crop. These vast areas are contrasted by wonderful natural beauty, such as the picturesque Silver waterfalls, where locals will be keen to sell you their beautiful traditional hand-woven fabrics.  

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination, and for good reason! The leafy forest canopies are teeming with wildlife, from flashes of brilliantly coloured birds to curious monkeys and noisy tree frogs. 

October falls towards the end of the Green or Rainy Season, meaning that the intense tropical rains will be starting to clear across most of the country. However, the true benefit of travelling in October is for those who wish to visit the Arenal Volcano, considered to be the jewel in the country’s shining tourist crown. The volcano was active until 2010 and even today it is possible to see smoke and ash coming from the volcano, particularly in October, when there is less cloud cover at the summit. The many thermal hot springs are also popular attractions.

Cuba

For music lovers, October is a great time to travel to Cuba as there are several opportunities to experience the unique sounds and cultures of Cuba throughout the month. Every year between October 10th and 20th, Cuba pays homage to Cuban and Afro-Cuban culture.  Music of different genres fills the streets in a glorious celebration of colour and life, in vibrant defiance against the celebrations of Christopher Columbus, which happen around the same time.  The festivities culminate on the 20th, which is known as the Day of Cuban culture, with plenty of activity happening in the lead up around the country. The Cuban National Ballet’s season also falls in October, so it’s the perfect time to take in some culture.

Of course, all the usual reasons to visit Cuba still apply in October, making it a wonderful month to enjoy drinking in the unique history, culture and beauty of the island.

Turkey

If you’re looking to catch the last of Europe’s summer sun, look no further than Turkey. The slightly cooler temperatures make October the ideal time to take in the architectural wonders of Istanbul and Bursa.  Similarly, the ancient acropolis at Pergamon is a joy to explore when the heat of summer has lost its edge.

You can also take advantage of the dwindling crowds and visit some of Turkey’s historical locations, which are often teeming with tourists during peak season. Turkey boasts 16 UNESCO sites, including Ephesus, where the Temple of Artemis (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) can be seen. This is one of the world’s most famous archaeological spots and in the high season it can be hot and crowded, but the relative peace of October allows the history of this ancient monument to transport you back in time.

North Cyprus

With the heat dissipating slightly and the tourist crowds thinning a great deal more, October is the perfect month to discover the cultural delights of North Cyprus. The balmy evenings are ideal for enjoying al fresco dining and sampling the local cuisine. Whether it’s dining at Bellapais Abbey, well-loved by artists and painters due to the fairy-tale-like arches and serene, calm atmosphere, or enjoying a meal by the beach at Salamis, where the crystalline blue waters lap the sands and the tang of salt in the air complements the delicious food. Traditional Cypriot mezedes are brought to the table in an almost overwhelming procession of tastes and textures.  Try traditional foods such as hummus, taramasalata, octopus, pickled quail eggs and moungra, a bright fresh pickled cauliflower dish.