Best holiday destinations in October

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 11.06.2024

Looking for somewhere special to holiday in October? Look no further! From soaking up Southern Europe's last sun in less-crowded conditions, to uncovering culture in Cuba and blissing out on Zanzibar's beaches, here we present the best holiday destinations in October. As a bonus, there are options for different budgets and breaks to suit every type of traveller.

Sunset over the cobbled road of Via Sacra, the main street of ancient Rome © Shutterstock

Mild weather and smaller crowds make Rome one of the best destinations in October © Shutterstock

1. Rome, Italy

Why visit: pleasant weather and fewer tourists

Average temperature: 15-22°C (59-72°F)

Travel time from UK: 2.5-3 hours

Average daily budget: £100-£150

If you’ve long been longing to visit Rome, October is a great time to uncover its ancient history without the stifling crowds (and heat) of the summer months. 

From pottering around the Pantheon in relative peace, to al fresco dining on the city’s best pizza, visiting in the Eternal City in autumn means you can enjoy all the best things to do in Rome in very pleasant conditions. 

Add to this the soft, golden light of autumn and the city's glorious gardens displaying dazzling hues of red and orange, and October amounts to a top time to take a city break. Looking for a longer holiday? October is also a marvellous month to enjoy day trips from Rome

Lastly, if you love your grub, note that October is harvest season, which means you’ll get to savour seasonal dishes featuring mushrooms, pumpkins and chestnuts. It's also a great time to sample Italian wines as the grape harvest draws to an end.

Where to stay: for a beautiful boutique experience Hotel Farnese  — an aristocratic residence turned into a comfortable hotel — boasts balconies, handmade furniture and great views of the Vatican. 

Meanwhile, if you’re travelling on a budget, try great-value Hotel Major Aventinus. It’s just across the Tiber from Trastevere and offers rooms with views of the garden or street.

old-town-kyoto-japan-shutterstock_1017748444

Old Town, Kyoto, Japan © Shutterstock

2. Kyoto, Japan

Why visit: stunning autumn foliage, festivals and outdoor activities

Average temperature: 13-23°C (55-73°F)

Travel time from UK: 11-12 hours

Average daily budget: £80-£120

Renowned for its spectacular autumn foliage, October is an enchanting time to visit Kyoto, with locations like Arashiyama, Kiyomizu-dera, and the Philosopher's Path particularly beautiful.

Being shoulder season, October is also a quieter time to experience Kyoto’s temples and gardens in more serene style, with temples like Tofuku-ji and Eikando especially famous for their breath-taking autumn foliage.

October also sees Kyoto stage a couple of memorable festivals, among them the Jidai Matsuri (Festival of Ages). Celebrated on 22nd October, this features a grand parade with participants dressed in historic costumes.

October’s milder weather also makes it a top time to hike the surrounding mountains, such as Mount Hiei, or the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.

All that considered, it’s clear why Japan’s cultural heart is very likely to win you over.

Where to stay: boasting a prime location in the centre of Kyoto, Kyo Maimai, which is also close to the World Heritage Toji Temple, offers a terrace, air conditioning, garden views and a balcony.

Want your own place? Located in the centre of Kyoto, 2km from Kyoto Station, Sky Kyoto holiday home has garden views, an inner courtyard and quiet street views.

Wat Phra Kaeo, Temple of the Emerald Buddha Bangkok, Asia Thailand © apiguide/Shutterstock

Wat Phra Kaeo, Bangkok, Thailand © apiguide/Shutterstock

3. Bangkok, Thailand

Why visit: post-rainy-season lushness and fewer tourists

Average temperature: 24-32°C (75-90°F)

Travel time from UK: 11-12 hours

Average daily budget: £50-£90

Heading to Bangkok — capital of Thailand ­ — for a holiday in October will enable you to experience the city’s rich culture, vibrant markets, and stunning temples in a more relaxed and comfortable environment, with the added benefits of fewer tourists and better travel deals.

This being the end of the rainy season, the city’s parks and gardens are lush and green. At the same time, as October sees slightly cooler temperatures — an average range 24-32°C (75-90°F) — visiting top temple attractions like Wat Pho and Wat Saket is far more comfortable, and rewarding.

For the same reason, this is a great month to visit floating markets like Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa. Or how about cruising the Chao Phraya River and exploring Bangkok’s historic canals?

When it comes to food, seasonal fruits like rambutans, longans, and mangosteens are in October, and smaller crowds make it easier to navigate street food markets.

On the subject of grub, foodies will be well and truly tantalised by our customisable Bangkok Gourmet itinerary.

Where to stay: if you’re a foodie seeking someplace stylish to stay, try Shanghai Mansion in Chinatown. 

Travelling as a family? Check-out Beanstalk Bangkok in the Silom area.

Kumartuli clay idol Durga Puja, Kumartuli idol making in Kolkata © Shutterstock

Kumartuli clay idol for Durga Puja in Kolkata © Shutterstock

4. Kolkata, India

Why visit: fab food, warm weather and unforgettable festivals

Average temperature: 24-31°C (75-88°F)

Travel time from UK: 11-13 hours

Average daily budget: £50-£150

One of India's four great urban centres, Kolkata is known as the foodie capital of India for very good reason. It’s also an immensely rewarding October holiday destination for culture vultures.

And the reasons? Durga Puja — the most important festival of the year for Bengali Hindus — is celebrated here in spectacular style in the Hindu month of Ashvin, which falls in September or October.

Known elsewhere in India as Dussehra, this 10-day festival marks the slaying of the buffalo demon Mahisasura by the ten-armed goddess Durga. 

More generally, it symbolises the victory of good over evil, and comes to an exhilarating climax with thousands of lavish papier-mâché Durga idols parading through the city’s streets before being immersed in the Hooghly River. 

Where to stay: for five-star finery and top service in the centre, check-out The Oberoi Grand

Or, if you fancy immersing yourself in nature, consider Vedic Village Spa Resort. It boasts glorious grounds and gorgeous bungalows away from the city.

Lisbon city at sunset

Lisbon sunset © Shutterstock

5. Lisbon, Portugal

Why visit: culture and culinary treats in comfortable temperatures

Average temperature: 15-23°C (59-73°F)

Travel time from UK: 2.5-3 hours

Average daily budget: £60-£100

Thanks to its architectural charm, fine food and wine, and waterfront location, Lisbon is a great year-round holiday destination. But, given that the picturesque Portuguese capital is hardly a secret, travellers who prefer smaller crowds might want to holiday here in October.

The weather in Portugal in October is pleasantly mild, with an average temperature range of 15-23°C (59-73°F). Pretty much ideal for sightseeing the likes of the Belem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, and the Alfama district, and going off the tourist trail

While the water will be pretty cool, Lisbon's nearby beaches like Cascais and Estoril are still pleasant for a stroll or a relaxing afternoon.

It’s also a great time to take to the great outdoors. For example, you could hike Arrábida Natural Park, which is just a short drive from Lisbon.

If that wasn’t enough, holidaying in Lisbon in October means you’ll get to enjoy seasonal dishes featuring chestnuts and mushrooms, and freshly harvested wine on a wine-tasting tour. Given the the wines of Portugal are truly world-class, this is a not-to-be-missed experience.

Where to stay: for a luxurious experience, stay in Hotel Avenida Palace, one of Lisbon’s grandest hotels. 

Looking to bed down in the Alfama district? Might we suggest Solar Dos Mouros? Each of the 12 rooms in this townhouse has fantastic views of the river or the castle.

Santorini with sunset over Church in Fira town, Greece © Shutterstock

Santorini sunset © Shutterstock

6. Santorini, Greece

Why visit: warm weather and fewer tourists

Average temperature: 17-24°C (63-75°F)

Travel time from UK: 4-4.5 hours

Average daily budget: £80-£130

Visiting the Greek island of Santorini in October means you’ll get to enjoy its best beaches and hikes — such as the trail from Fira to Oia along the caldera — far from the madding crowds of summer.

While the weather in October will have cooled, the average daily range of 17-24°C (63-75°F) means you can enjoy beautiful strolls and al fresco dining on an island that’s known for its staggeringly awe-inspiring sunsets.

What’s more, the sea remains warm enough for swimming, snorkelling, and other water activities.

October is also grape harvest season, making it a perfect time to visit the island’s wineries and taste local wines.

With fewer tourists, it’s also a wonderful month to explore the archaeological sites of Akrotiri and Ancient Thera without the peak season crowds.

Where to stay: famed for its stunning sunsets, Oia is the premier destination for admiring views of the caldera and the island's legendary sunsets. Many accommodation facilities are perched on the cliffs, offering unparalleled views of the Aegean Sea and the caldera.

On a tighter budget? Located close to Fira, Karterados provides a more budget-friendly alternative to the capital but still offers easy access to its attractions.

Istanbul, Turkey © Seqoya/Shutterstock

Istanbul, Turkey © Seqoya/Shutterstock

7. Istanbul, Turkey

Why visit: cuisine, culture and all that jazz (quite literally!) 

Average temperature: 13-20°C (55-68°F)

Travel time from UK: 4-4.5 hours

Average daily budget: £60-£100

Straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a uniquely diverse holiday destination. Though no longer the capital of Turkey, it remains the country’s vibrant economic, intellectual and cultural heart.

The latter is especially apparent in October, when the city hosts the International Istanbul Film Festival, and the Akbank Jazz Festival.

What’s more, the summer tourist rush has ended in October, resulting in fewer crowds at popular attractions like the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar. At the same time, with an average temperature range of 13-20°C (55-68°F), sightseeing conditions are comfortable.

Where to stay: for boutique style, the award-winning Georges Hotel is loccated in a majestic historical building in Galata, the heart of modern day Istanbul. The rooftop restaurant and bar offer spectacular views over the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn.

Meanwhile, Hotel Ibrahim Pasha is just a 2-minute walk from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. Its roof-top terrace offers views of the Blue Mosque, and the service is top-notch.

Koutoubia mosque in Marrakech, Morocco © Migel/Shutterstock

Koutoubia mosque, Marrakech, Morocco © Migel/Shutterstock

8. Marrakech, Morocco

Why visit: culture and adventure in warm weather conditions

Average temperature: 16-28°C (61-82°F)

Travel time from UK: 3-3.5 hours

Average daily budget: £50-£90

Though seeing an average temperature range of 16-28°C (61-82°F) — far more conducive to exploring Morocco than during the heady heights of summer — October is outside Marrakech’s peak tourist season. 

As a result, popular attractions — among them the UNESCO-listed Medina, Bahia Palace, El Badi Palace, Jemaa el-Fnaa, the Saadian Tombs and Majorelle Garden — are less crowded and offer a more peaceful, immersive experience.

The cooler temperatures and smaller crowds also make exploring Marrakech’s labyrinthine souks more pleasurable. 

The same goes for enjoying outdoor activities, like taking a day trip to hike the nearby Atlas Mountains, or enjoying exhilarating quad biking and horse-riding excursions in the surrounding desert and countryside.

It’s also a great month to mix visiting Marrakech with a desert stay

Finally, October sees the city host the Marrakech International Film Festival and the Al Haouz Folklore Festival, the latter of which is an excellent way to experience traditional Moroccan music and dance. 

Where to stay: want an upscale, trendy experience? Head to the hip-and-happening Hivernage district, which is home to a host of stylish hotels, among them Hivernage Secret Suites & Garden.

Or, for a taste of tradition — and style — in Northern Medina, try Riad l'Oiseau du Paradis

Bench at Llandudno beach, Cape Town South Africa © Shutterstock

Llandudno beach, Cape Town, South Africa © Shutterstock

9. Cape Town, South Africa

Why visit: adventure, spring beauty and whale-watching 

Average temperature: 11-21°C (52-70°F)

Travel time from UK: 11-12 hours

Average daily budget: £60-£100

Warm and sunny, the weather in Cape Town in October sees the South African city in spring mode. As such, it’s a special time to head north of Cape Town to the West Coast National Park, where wildflower season will be at its peak. 

Related, October a top month to meander Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens — they’ll be in full bloom, and often play host to open-air concerts at this time of year.

If you’re into adventure, embark on a unique moonlit kayaking adventure around Simon's Town. Get lucky, and you might see magical bioluminescent plankton illuminating the waters. Or how about climbing Cape Town’s iconic Lion's Head?

Another special reason to visit Cape town in October is that fact that this is peak whale-watching season around these parts. Just a short drive from Cape Town, Hermanus is one of the best places in the world for whale watching, or you could spot southern right whales from cliff tops or on boat trips from Cape Town.

Where to stay: nestled in a lush garden estate in the heart of the city, the luxurious Mount Nelson is a 5-star icon of Cape Town.

Alternatively, located in the Bo Kaap district of Cape Town, the 4-star boutique hotel Rouge on Rose is located within easy walking distance of the city centre and the V&A Waterfront.

Tango, Cafe Tortoni, Buenos Aires

Tango dancer in Cafe Tortoni, Buenos Aires, Shutterstock

10. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Why visit: spring weather, outdoor adventure and cultural festivals

Average temperature: 13-22°C (55-72°F)

Travel time from UK: 13-14 hours

Average daily budget: £50-£90

Seductive and cultured, Buenos Aires is an undeniable jewel in Argentina's fascinating crown. And, since the weather in October heralds the start of spring, it’s the ideal time to visit Buenos Aires to see the city in glorious livery, courtesy of its blooming jacaranda trees.

The mild-to-warm temperatures also lend themselves to well to outdoor activities, including strolling the city's parks, biking riverside trails, and enjoying a leisurely boat ride in the Tigre Delta.

On that note, it’s also a great time to take a two-destination trip to blend outdoor adventuring in Bariloche with uncovering culture in Buenos Aires.

Staying on the subject of culture, October sees various festivals and events taking place throughout the city. Take your pick from from tango festivals and food fairs, to art exhibitions and Día de la Raza (Columbus Day).

And all this outside the summer peak season, which means more space and freedom to explore, and the potential to bag yourself a bargain on flights and accommodation.

Where to stay: with the friendliness and ambience of a hostel and the comforts of a hotel — including en-suite bathrooms and a decked swimming-pool — Circus Hostel is in the thick of Telmo barrio.

Meanwhile, located in Microcentro — the political and historic heart of Buenos Aires — NH Collection Buenos Aires Centro Histórico is hard to beat when it comes to bedding down in luxurious style.

Spectacular Sacred Valley Incas Peru, Beautiful valley Urubamba surrounded majestic Andes mountains in Peru © Shutterstock

Sacred Valley, Peru © Shutterstock

11. Cusco, Peru

Why visit: fiery festivals, and fewer crowds in the Sacred Valley

Average temperature: 5-20°C (41-68°F)

Travel time from UK: 15-17 hours (with layovers)

Average daily budget: £40-£70

Sitting in a shoulder season between Peru's May to September dry season and the region’s November-to-April wet season, October sees Cusco experience pleasantly mild, often-sunny weather, with smaller crowds descending on its top attractions.

All the better for trekking the Inca Trail and the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, and exploring the Sacred Valley – Cusco is the gateway to all these wonders of the world.

If that wasn’t enough, taking a holiday in Cusco in October also offers visitors the chance to experience notable cultural celebrations. Sitting top of that tree is the "Lord of the Earthquakes" festival (Senor de los Temblores). 

Celebrated on 18th October, this colourful affair commemorates the city's patron saint through processions, music, dancing and fireworks.

Where to stay: in a prime location in the centre of Cusco, MOAF Cusco Boutique Hotel features 3-star accommodation close to Wanchaq Train station. The service is very friendly, and the breakfasts are pretty great, too.

Also centrally located (Wanchaq Train station is 1.4 km away), Hotel Paradis Suite Cusco offers concierge services, a restaurant and bar, and an indoor pool.

street-drum-havana-cuba-shutterstock_1373922575

Street drummer in Havana, Cuba © Shutterstock

12. Havana, Cuba

Why visit: warm weather and sizzling culture

Average temperature: 23-30°C (73-86°F)

Travel time from UK: 9-10 hours

Average daily budget: £50-£90

If you’re travelling from fast-cooling climes, October is a great month to head to Havana to feel the heat of the sun and heady cultural experiences.

Though October sits at the end of Cuba’s rainy season, it tends to experience less rainfall than the peak rainy months of May to September. 

In general, the weather is warm and tropical, with occasional brief showers, and far fewer visitors than peak-season December. This makes exploring Havana’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Havana (Habana Vieja) — one of the best things to do in Cuba — much more pleasurable. 

In addition, October sees Havana brim with vibrant cultural events, including the Havana International Ballet Festival.

Lastly, while Havana itself doesn’t have beaches, it’s within reach of plenty of beauties. You could even consider taking a multi-destination holiday that covers the culture and beaches of Cuba, from Havana to Varadero

Where to stay: the best places to stay in Havana (and Cuba more widely) aren't usually listed on the usual accommodation booking platforms, so get yourself The Rough Guide to Cuba for expert intel.

Already started planning your holiday in Cuba? Explore your options for the best way to get there.

New York City with the Brooklyn Bridge © Taiga/Shutterstock

Brooklyn Bridge, New York City © Taiga/Shutterstock© Taiga/Shutterstock

13. New York City, USA

Why visit: autumn hues, street parades, film and food festivals

Average temperature: 10-18°C (50-64°F)

Travel time from UK: 7-8 hours

Average daily budget: £150-£200

While there’s no bad time to visit the Big Apple, there are a few good reasons to consider taking a holiday here in October.

First up, this month sees New York City in peak fall foliage mode, which makes meandering the likes of Central Park, Prospect Park and the High Line all the more pleasant.

As for other special reasons to visit, the second Monday in October sees NYC host one of the largest Columbus Day parades in the world. Expect marching bands, floats, and cultural performances along Fifth Avenue. 

Or, if you visit at the end of the month, you’ll get to see NYC mark Halloween in extravagantly spooky style — from its Village Halloween Parade, to haunted house tours.

Film buffs and foodies should note that October sees the city host the New York Film Festival, and the New York City Wine and Food Festival.

Where to stay: for an iconic stay in mid-town Manhattan try The Algonquin, New York’s legendary literary hangout.

Or, for a chic stay in hip-and-happening Williamsburg, check out The McCarren. Located just off the main Williamsburg strip, overlooking McCarren Park, it boasts a seasonal outdoor pool and has a rooftop lounge with Manhattan views.

Jumeirah Beach Residence Area © Pixabay

Jumeirah Beach, Dubai © Pixabay

14. Dubai, UAE

Why visit: perfect conditions for beach holidays mixed with exploration and golf

Average temperature: 25-35°C (77-95°F)

Travel time from UK: 6.5-7.5 hours

Average daily budget: £100-£150

October is an excellent time to visit Dubai for several reasons. Firstly, the month sees the city shift from scorching summer heat to more moderate temperatures — all the better for spending longer on the beach, going golfing, or booking desert safaris and yacht cruises.

Such conditions are also better for strolling through traditional souks and visiting historic and cultural sites like Al Fahidi Fort and the Dubai Museum.

Of course, you can also shop ‘til you drop, and indulge in upscale experiences in October, too. Dubai isn’t short of award-winning fine dining restaurants, and upscale hotels offering. rejuvenating spa treatments.

It's also worth knowing that while Dubai is synonymous with grown-up luxury holidays, it shouldn't be overlooked as a family holiday destination. Its water parks and theme parks (including Legoland) are surefire winners with kids of all ages. On that note, discover things every family must do in Dubai.

Where to stay: to keep things (relatively) cheap, try Rove Dubai Marina.

In the market for an all-out upscale experience? Look into staying in the 5-star Atlantis The Palm. Located on Jumeirah Island, it boasts a private sandy beach with stunning views of the Arabian Gulf, plus an underwater aquarium and complimentary access to the Aquaventure water park and the Lost Chambers Aquarium. 

Aerial view of Sydney Opera @ Shutterstock

Sydney Opera House © Shutterstock

15. Sydney, Australia

Why visit: outdoor activities in spring climes

Average temperature: 14-22°C (57-72°F)

Travel time from UK: 22-24 hours

Average daily budget: £120-£170

October marks the beginning of spring in Sydney, which means mild temperatures, blooming flowers and perfect conditions for outdoor activities. 

On that subject, you could hike spectacular coastal trails, kayak Sydney Harbour, or go on bushwalk in the nearby Blue Mountains National Park for breath-taking views and encounters with native wildlife.

It’s also a top month for beach lovers to soak up sun and surf at Sydney's famous beaches. From iconic Bondi Beach and family-friendly Manly Beach, to picturesque Coogee Beach, there's a sandy stretch to suit every taste.

Where to stay: for five-star service in the Central Businsse District, take a look at InterContinental. This former Treasury building offers stunning views of the Botanic Gardens, Opera House and harbour. 

Travelling on a budget? You could consider staying in BASE Backpackers. This huge, modern, 360-bed hostel offers well-furnished rooms and dorms.

Northern Lights, Jokulsarlon, Iceland

Northern Lights over Iceland © Shutterstock

16. Reykjavik, Iceland

Why visit: watch whales and the Northern Lights with fewer tourists

Average temperature: 1-7°C (34-45°F)

Travel time from UK: 2.5-3 hours

Average daily budget: £80-£120

With longer nights and clearer skies, October marks the beginning of the Northern Lights season in Iceland

Given that seeing the northern lights is one of the best things to do in Iceland — and a bucket list experience for many a traveller — it’s clear why Reykjavik is a wonderful place to head to for your October holiday.

In addition, October falls between the peak summer tourist season and the winter holiday season, which means fewer crowds and a broader choice of more affordable accommodation.

Despite being on the cusp of winter, October in Reykjavik is pretty mild compared with the upcoming months — all the better for exploring the city on foot, visiting landmarks like Hallgrímskirkja Church and Harpa Concert Hall, and enjoying epic hikes and trips to geothermal hot springs.

Lastly, October is an excellent time for whale watching excursions from Reykjavik's Old Harbor. Expect to see humpback whales, minke whales and orcas as they migrate through Icelandic waters.

Where to stay: bright and well-located, Berjaya Reykjavik Marina Hotel has stylish rooms and a cinema, plus whale-watching tours are right on the doorstep.

We also recommend Hotel Ísland — it's cosy, with an excellent on-site spa and wellness services.

uffizi-gallery-firenze-italy-shutterstock_340735001

Uffizi, Florence © Shutterstock

17. Florence, Italy

Why visit: mild climes, fine wine and small crowds

Average temperature: 11-21°C (52-70°F)

Travel time from UK: 2-2.5 hours

Average daily budget: £90-£130

If you’re looking for a perfect weekend away this autumn, or a longer October holiday that's loaded with culture and fine wine, think about Florence — a glorious destination Rough Guides’ readers hailed one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

October brings mild temperatures to Florence, making it comfortable for exploring the city's historic streets as the city is suffused in warm autumn tones.

At the same time, October is far less crowded than it is through May-September, which makes visiting popular attractions and the best museums in Florence, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery, all the better. 

Into fine wine and food? October is the peak of the wine harvest season in Tuscany, and Florence serves as an excellent base for exploring the region's renowned vineyards and wineries.

For more ideas, read our guide to unforgettable things to do Tuscany, and take inspiration from our customisable Wine and Food in Tuscany trip.

Where to stay: to treat yourself to a centrally-located spot — and on-site spa treatments — stay in Corte dei Sogni Boutique Hotel & spa.

Located next to the Ponte Vecchio, Hotel Hermitage is another handsome offering. It offers panoramic views of Florence’s historic centre from its rooftop terrace, and traditoinally-styled rooms.

 

Bandipur Bazaar, Nepal © Shutterstock

Bandipur Bazaar, Nepal © Shutterstock

18. Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Why visit: epic white-water rafting 

Average temperature: 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F)

Travel time from UK: 10 to 12 hours

Average daily budget: £40 to £80 

Nepal is one of the best places in the world to go white-water rafting, and the best season to do that is from mid-October to November. The same is true of kayaking.

At this time, the rapids are exciting, but more manageable than during the monsoon. 

Two highlights are the Bhote Koshi, the steepest and hardest of the country’s raftable rivers, and the Upper Kali Gandaki descent. The latter of which is a thrilling route that can easily be added to a trek in the Annapurna region.

Where to stay: for spectacular scenery, consider staying in Tashidelek Guest Lodge & House. Located in in Dhulikhel, with access to a garden, terrace, and tour desk, the mountain views are spectacular.

More romantic style, Boutique Heritage Home is an oasis of calm close to the Durbar Square temples.

Nakupenda beach Zanzibar Tanzania Africa © Shutterstock

Nakupenda beach, Zanzibar, Tanzania © Shutterstock

19. Zanzibar, Tanzania

Why visit: blissful beach holidays with moderate crowds

Average temperature: 22-30°C (72-86°F)

Travel time from UK: 11-12 hours 

Average daily budget: £60-£100

October is part of Zanzibar's dry season, which means warm-to-hot sunny weather, and minimal rainfall — ideal for enjoying a blissful holiday on truly beautiful beaches, with excellent conditions for snorkelling, diving, and swimming in clear turquoise waters.

October also falls between the peak tourist seasons of July to September, and December to February. As a result, you’ll get to enjoy said beaches and top historic attractions with fewer crowds hampering your style.

If you can drag yourself away from stretching out on the soft sand, don’t miss exploring Stone Town, Zanzibar's historic capital. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its fascinating architecture, such as the Sultan's Palace, the Old Fort, and the House of Wonders.

Where to stay: for a luxury stay with a private beach, try Sandies Baobab Beach Zanzibar.

To relax in style, Amaan Beach Bungalows has an on-site spa and wellness centre.

Day of the Dead © Brett Welcher/Shutterstock

Day of the Dead costumes © Brett Welcher/Shutterstock

20. Mexico City, Mexico

Why visit: Day of the Dead and outdoor adventure

Average temperature: 12-22°C (54-72°F)

Travel time from UK: 11-12 hours

Average daily budget: £50-£90

October sees Mexico City build up to the country’s most iconic festivals — Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). While the main celebrations don’t happen until the end of the month and into early November, the preceding weeks see the city come alive with colourful decorations and parade preparation. 

At the same time, as October marks the transition from the rainy season to the dry season, the weather here is generally mild and pleasant, with comfortable temperatures perfect for exploring iconic attractions. These include the Zócalo (main square), the National Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral, all while enjoying smaller crowds compared to peak tourist season.

October is also an excellent time to explore the surrounding areas of Mexico City on day trips. Visitors can visit the archaeological site of Teotihuacan to climb the Pyramid of the Sun, tour the colorful canals of Xochimilco on a trajinera(traditional boat), or hike the scenic landscapes of the Desierto de los Leones National Park.

Whether you opt to take an immersive October holiday focussed on Mexico City, or fancy mixing the city with exploring the Yucatan and its Caribbean beaches, taking a holiday to Mexico in October has a whole lot going for it.

Where to stay: for a four-star experience in the historic centre, head to Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico. This gorgeous hotel features historic architecture and two upscale authentic Mexican restaurants.

For a more modern stay in Colonia Juarez — something of a hipster heaven — try NH Collection Mexico Reforma.

Still undecided? Use our handy travel idea platform to kickstart curating your perfect October holiday

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 11.06.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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