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Where to go on holiday in October

The outbreak of COVID-19 and the consequent global travel restrictions have left many summer holiday plans in tatters. But it might be possible to reschedule your trip for the autumn. We've pulled together a guide to the best cities and beaches around the world for some winter sun in October.

Best city breaks in October

Marrakech, Morocco

Average temperature: 27°C

October is an excellent time to visit Marrakech. The temperature has cooled from the 38°C highs of August, but is still a lot hotter than the chilly 6°C lows of January.

If you fancy living like a lavish local while you’re in town, try staying at a riad. These townhouses are arranged around a pleasantly cool open courtyard, which acts as a tranquil cocoon against the bustle of the city outside. Perfect for sitting with a refreshing mint tea after haggling in the souk.

There are hundreds of riads spread across Marrakech, but some of our users’ favourites are Riad Soumia and Riad les Inseperables. Both are rated excellent, and guests love the relaxing vibe of these beautifully restored properties.

From exotic massages to abandoned palaces, take a look at our top things to do in Marrakech.

Best time to book flights to Marrakech:10 weeks before departure

Palermo, Italy

Average temperature: 22°C

Sicily enjoys fine weather all through October, and the slightly cooler temperatures make it much more pleasant than in August. As you explore the decaying grandeur of Palermo, make sure to take some time out for a visit to the eerie Catacombe dei Cappuccini (open daily 9am–1pm and 3pm–6pm; €3)*. The catacombs have been in use since the 1600s as the final resting place of monks, friars, and members of the city’s elite – with many of the mummified bodies still on display. Undoubtedly the city’s most ghoulish attraction, it’s the perfect place for a creepy Halloween trip.

Best time to book flights to Palermo: 6–7 weeks before departure

Marseille, France

Average temperature: 19°C

In October the temperature in Marseille is still warm enough to spend an evening on the terrace of a bar in the old port, watching the luxury yachts bob in the water as you sip pastis: the anise-flavoured local liqueur. One of the best sundowner spots is La Caravelle (34 Quai du Port), which has been a jazz bar since the 1930s. Its terrace is small, but has incredible views of the water. If you’re more into culture than quaffing visit the excellent Museum of the Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean (open daily 11am–7pm, full price tickets cost €9.50), which hosts exhibitions on everything from the birth of agriculture to the recent uprising in Tunisia.

Best time to book flights to Marseille: 7 weeks before departure

Hanoi, Vietnam

Average temperature: 29°C

After sweltering in the heat from May to August, October sees the temperature in Hanoi dip to a much more pleasant level. The warm and sunny period only lasts a few weeks before temperatures dip to 15°C in December. With its crumbling colonial buildings – particularly the elegant villas in the French quarter – Hanoi is a fascinating place to wander around. It’s also an excellent base for cruises around the dramatic Ha Long Bay, where limestone karsts thrust vertically out of the water to create a dreamlike landscape. One of the natural wonders of the world, it’s a true bucket-list destination.

And all this wonder comes at a bargain price – Hanoi is one of our once-in-a-lifetime trips you can actually afford now.

Best time to book flights to Hanoi: 13 weeks before departure

Seville, Spain

Claire Jopson from Twins that Travel gives us the low down on why this is the best place to go:

Where would you go in your chosen destination?

I would go to Parque Maria Luisa (I got engaged here and it’s beautiful) and Plaza de España just off the park where you can hire a rowing boat and glide around the beautiful Moorish tiling of the square.

Why should anyone else bother going there?

Take in the sights of Seville from the top of Seville Cathedral and spend some time in the Cathedral’s Orange and Lemon Tree garden – it smells amazing!

What makes it such a great place to go in that month in particular?

It’s the perfect month to visit when the city has cooled down but is still warm enough to wear your summer clothes and enjoy dinner outside .

What would you do/which attractions would the visit?

A must visit is the Real Alcazar – one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain, where Game of Thrones is filmed. The gardens are an oasis from the bustle of the city and the heat.

Any recommendations for bars restaurants or cafes?

I would definitely recommend an evening of tapas and flamenco in one of the city’s many bars – suggested: La Carboneria.

Best beaches in October

Crete, Greece

Average temperature: 22°C

With an average temperature of 22°C, you can expect plenty of sunbathing during an autumn trip to Crete. Balos Beach is a must-visit – as well as having soft golden sand to lounge on, it also has a captivating view of a sheer-walled island topped with a Venetian castle.

Speaking of ancient buildings, Knossos on Crete is home to a huge Bronze Age site which could be Europe’s oldest city, dating back more than 4,000 years. According to Greek mythology, Knossos was home to the Labyrinth, a huge maze which was patrolled by the half-man, half-bull Minotaur. The Labyrinth might be pure myth, but the palace wasn’t: you can find its ruins around three miles south of Iraklio. Entry with a self-guided tour on your phone is around €15.

Greece is a great country for island hopping, and our complete guide to 20 islands is packed with tips on where to go, what to see and what to do.

Best time to book flights to Crete: 9 weeks before departure


Average temperature: 27°C

With family-friendly shallows and pristine white sands, Trou aux Biches is rightfully one of the most popular beaches on Mauritius. If you prefer throwing yourself into the surf to lounging on the sand, head to Grand Baie for adrenaline-pumping watersports. October is a fantastic time to hit the beach in Mauritius, but if you get bored of relaxing on the sands you can always go for a stroll in the jungle.

The Black River Gorges National Park is home to over 300 species of flowering plants, as well as endangered birds such as the Mauritius kestrel, pink pigeon, and Mauritius parakeet. You might also spot some cute Mauritian flying foxes – a megabat species with a wingspan of 80 centimetres. With 37 miles of pathway through this protected section of rainforest, it’s a hiker’s paradise.

It’s also pretty budget-friendly: it’s one of our destinations where your £££s go further.

Best time to book flights to Mauritius: 3 weeks before departure

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Average temperature: 25°C

It’s always beach weather in Lanzarote. The enticing yellow sands at Papagayos are worth a visit, and it’s hard to resist dipping a toe in the clear turquoise waters. Afterwards, swing by Casa Angelina for some top-notch seafood. Or, if you prefer something more rustic, head for Bodega El Chupadero. This rustic restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but the rest of the week they serve up excellent tapas along with locally produced wine – made from grapes grown in the island’s fertile volcanic soil.

Best time to book flights to Lanzarote: 1–2 weeks before departure

Best events in October

Many summer events in 2020 have been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. We hope that these events scheduled for the autumn will be able to take place – check in on their websites closer to the time to check. 

Festival du Nouveau Cinema, Montreal, Canada, 7-18 October

Average temperature: 13°C

As the temperatures drop, where better to head than Montreal, to cosy up with a movie at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema? Now in its 49th year, the festival has launched the career of many movie greats, including Spike Lee. Settle back for an array of avant-garde cinema, with a line up that includes over 300 films, cocktails parties, performances, and art installations. Expect groundbreaking tech, with 3D and VOD, as well as films from every genre imaginable. Pass the popcorn!

Best time to book flights to Montreal: 29 weeks before departure

Fantasy Fest, Key West, Florida, USA, 16-25 October

Average temperature: 29°C

Launched in 1979, Fantasy Fest is a tribute to the weird and wonderful. A sort of cross between a gay pride parade and the freakiest Halloween party you’ve ever been to, this crazy celebration spans ten days, ending on the last Sunday in October. Some of the more outrageous highlights from past years have included a Dungeons & Dragons leather fetish party and a homemade bikini contest… oh, and a costume contest for pets. Expect lots of body paint, boozy cocktails, and dancing in the streets.

Best time to book flights to Key West: 16 weeks before departure

Eurochocolate, Perugia, Italy, 16-25 October 

Average temperature: 19°C

Chocolate fans, rejoice! Perugia becomes a choc paradise when the Eurochocolate exhibition rolls into town. (Or should that be oozes into town?) As well as booths offering every single kind of chocolate you can think of, the festival is famous for its giant chocolate sculptures – in 2018 it was home to an enormous chocolate moustache. Oh, and let’s not forget all those delicious chocolate liqueurs… Entrance to the festival is free, and you can find it scattered across various venues in the centre of town.

Best time to book flights to Perugia: 4 weeks before departure

Seeking more post-lockdown travel inspiration?

• Check out these beautiful spots on the Balearic islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera

• Consider visiting these Mediterranean destinations next summer

• Or simply indulge in some armchair travel until lockdown is over