Planning an autumn break? We’ve rounded up some of the best places to travel in October to help get you inspired.
Whether you’re looking for a Halloween getaway, memorable places to make the most of autumn, or simply some last opportunity sunshine before winter hits, there’s sure to be a perfect trip for you on this list.
Dates to be aware of:
In 2019 the last week of October is the school half term for most, which can push up travel prices and mean accommodation is busier.
What could be spookier than visiting Dracula’s castle at Halloween? Located in the woods of Transylvania, Bran Castle is actually the one-time residence of the notorious Vlad III, aka Vlad the Impaler, the merciless ruler who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
There’s plenty more around Transylvania to keep your busy once you’ve satisfied your appetite for horror. Explore pretty medieval towns like Sighisoara, delve into history at the numerous citadels and churches, or simply enjoy the mountain landscapes with a spot of hiking.
There are a slew of haunted towns and villages across England to indulge your inner ghostbuster this Halloween. One city that boasts a long line of ghostly tales is York, a historic walled city with its roots in Roman times. Book yourself onto an evening ghost walk to hear some of the ghoulish stories that haunt the town, or go for a drink in the Golden Fleece – supposedly the most haunted pub in York.
For a Staycation:
Warrington’s Contemporary Arts Festival (4 -15 October 2019) is the perfect excuse to book a staycation.
This year, the festival plays host to Luke Jerram’s stunning exhibition, Museum of the Moon. This is an enormous model of the moon, created from a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround-sound composition which has been displayed in some incredible locations around the world. There’s plenty more to keep you busy in Warrington including stately homes, glorious canals, and some lovely nearby countryside if the autumn weather allows for a nice walk.
Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland
While most of the UK has October half term in the last week of the month, in Northern Ireland the holiday doesn’t start until the 31 October this year. Which means this could be the ideal time to visit if you’re travelling with grandchildren, but want to avoid school holiday prices.
Home to the famous Giant’s Causeway, the causeway coast is one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Fans of the hit TV show Game of Thrones will likely recognize a few spots, as much of the series was filmed here – including the famous Dark Hedges on Bregagh Road.
If you’re more about food and drink than dragons and swords, head to Bushmills to tour the famous whiskey distillery, or eat your way around the seaside towns like Ballycastle.
New England, USA
New England is one of the most famous autumn destinations in the world, known for the fiery burst red and gold leaves that fill the rural states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island at this time of year.
Hire a car and take a road trip to truly appreciate the stunning autumn colours. The Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire is a particularly enjoyable route. Along the way, you’ll likely stumble upon a few of the dozens of food markets and harvest fairs that spring up throughout autumn.
For Winter Sun:
If you’re looking to catch Europe’s last few rays of sun before winter hits, Lanzarote is a perfect choice. Family friendly and dotted with some amazing natural sites, this volcanic island in the Canaries is still pretty warm in October, with highs of 26°C. Better still, beaches are quieter around this time of year, and there are enough secluded coves that your chances of having one all to yourself are pretty strong.
Mauritius is one of the top holiday destinations in October for sunshine and lazy days at the beach.
This Indian Ocean Island has winter during our summer, so in October things are just beginning to warm up – without being unbearably hot. If you’re looking for a tropical paradise, Mauritius is the place for you, with swaying palms, white sand beaches, and dazzling turquoise seas. Yes, please!
For Culture and Festivals:
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – Albuquerque, USA
Every October, more than 750 hot-air balloons take flight over New Mexico for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (5 – 13 October 2019). Set against the stunning backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this is always a pretty impressive spectacle. Be sure to catch the early morning Dawn Patrol, the epic balloon races, and the incredible fireworks that light up the sky after sundown.
Weather-wise, October is one of the best months to visit India. Better still, this is also the time for Diwali (27 October 2019), the Hindu “festival of lights”, which is a gorgeous spectacle and a testament to the beauty of the faith. One of the best places to witness the festival is Varanasi, the oldest and most spiritual city in India, cut through by the holy River Ganges. Take a sunset boat cruise to watch the colourful religious rituals taking place along the river’s banks, amid the warm glimmer of flickering lamplight.
Before you go…
Depending on where you’re going, it may be a good idea to check with your GP as to whether you need any vaccinations.
It’s also a good idea to check that any annual travel insurance policy you have covers your destinations.