This summer, holidays abroad are being thwarted by a meagre green list and ever-changing travel restrictions. Our usual, sunny holiday destinations – Italy, Portugal, Turkey – have been put on the amber or even red travel lists, leaving them tantalisingly out of reach. But don’t fret. As the COVID vaccination programme ramps up across the UK, Europe, the US and the Caribbean, it’s looking likely that our summer holidays might be delayed until later on in the year. And there’s always time to go on a last-minute sunny holiday, if you know where to go. Here, we look at where in the world it’s hot in October.
The destinations below all average temperatures from 22°C-32°C (arranged from hottest to coolest) and are currently on the UK’s amber list. That means that while they all have different entry requirements, which you can look up on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s website, you’ll have to self-isolate for 10 days on your return to the UK. Use them for inspiration, then, and hopefully they’ll be on the green list by October, when it’ll be high time for a long-overdue summer holiday.
From cosmopolitan Mediterranean cities to exotic Caribbean islands, these 10 destinations are ideal for your October holidays. Not soon enough? Keep an eye on our regularly updated, interactive global map, which shows you where’s open for business.
Where to go for October holidays:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- St. George, Grenada
- St. Lucia
- Paphos, Cyprus
- Havana, Cuba
- Palermo, Italy
- Azores, Portugal
Average temperature: 32°C
The Dutch Caribbean island is a tropical gem of unspoiled beaches and coral reefs bursting with marine life. Curaçao is one of those places where it’s hot in October… and all year long. The temperatures don’t often fall below 30°C throughout the year, ensuring warm waters and an abundance of sunshine. Explore the island’s 35 beaches, mostly tucked into secluded coves along the southwest coast, and don’t forget your diving suit.
Once you’re ready to think about dry land again, take a stroll in the capital Willemstad’s streets lined with pastel-coloured colonial architecture. Do pay a visit to the Curaçao Museum in the Western part of Otrobanda, where you’ll gain some insights about the history of Curaçao, the realities of colonial times and the abolition of slavery.
Current entry requirements for Curaçao, including testing and quarantine requirements, can be found on the Curaçao tourist board website.
2. Antigua and Barbuda
Average temperature: 31°C
Where the Atlantic and the Caribbean meet, the twin islands of Antigua and Barbuda await to steal your heart. There are 365 beaches in total, one for every day of the year! Average temperatures don’t fall below 25°C (in January) and although this is the wet season, which means you can expect some tropical rain, the climate is still quite hot in October. With the capital of Saint John as your base, you can explore the island of Antigua and its 153 km of superb coastline, washed by the Caribbean Sea, as well as nearby Barbuda and its beautiful reefs and large lagoon.
It’s not just about the water though. Antigua also sports a beautiful rainforest, which you can explore on an eco-tour. There are also interesting natural formations to explore, like the Devil’s Bridge outside the village of Willikies in Antigua – a limestone rock that’s the result of millions of years of ancient reef formation – or the caves in Barbuda. The Indian cave features petroglyph drawings made by the Arawak indigenous tribe.
You must present proof of a negative COVID test to enter Antigua and Barbuda at the moment.
Average temperature: 31°C
This tiny eastern Caribbean island pucks a punch. There are more than 80 white-sand beaches on this coral island, many of which have been recognised as some of the best in the world. Get your adrenaline pumping with some jet-skiing at Mullins Beach, try your hand at kitesurfing at Silver Sands or go boogie boarding and paddle boarding at Pebbles Beach. When you’re ready to soak up some history, Barbados’ capital of Bridgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, because of the colonial architecture and historical importance of the Garrison area.
And speaking of soaking things up: Barbados is the birthplace of rum. The story of how rum has been distilled here for more than 300 years is a fascinating one, and deeply entwined with the history of the island itself. Immerse yourself in it by taking a rum tour organised by the historical Mount Gay distillery (complete with a rum tasting, of course). Now that’s another way to feel hot in October…
Barbados has some entry requirements that you can read about on the official Visit Barbados website.
4. St. George, Grenada
Average temperature: 31°C
Often called the ‘Spice Isle’, the hilly Caribbean island of Grenada is home to white-sand beaches, breathtaking waterfalls and numerous nutmeg plantations. Visit the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station to see how the spice is collected and processed.
The capital of St. George features many impressive Georgian buildings and an early-18th-century fort, which you can better explore by downloading the Grenada Heritage Map, which will also guide you to the sites of the smaller nearby islands, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. There are more than 40 beaches to choose from, but the lively Grand Anse beach is a must. And even if you’re not much into diving, it’s worth reconsidering just to marvel at the underwater sculpture park at Molinere Beauséjour Marine Protected Area.
Vaccinated travellers only have to quarantine for 48 hours at the government-designated quarantine facilities on entry to Grenada. Details here.
5. St. Lucia
Average temperature: 31°C
With a tropical climate all year long, the Eastern Caribbean island is a great place for a last minute holiday; it’s still rather hot in October. Start your exploration with the Pitons, the two volcanic mountains that dominate St. Lucia’s southwestern coast: you can hike around Gros Piton (771 metres high) and Petit Piton (743 metres high) or sail around them to get breathtaking photos. There are numerous other hiking opportunities on the island, such as the Eastern Nature Trail along the Atlantic coastline, as well as many waterfalls, rivers and opportunities for water sports.
But perhaps one of the most fascinating things to do in St. Lucia is to sample the local cuisine. Many people travel to the island just for its rich Creole flavours. At the award winning, farm-to-table Dasheene Restaurant you’ll get to sample some of the local delicacies (like the roast conch with pickled vegetables served in a yam basket or the Cajun Creole vegetable bakes) for yourself, with a view of the Pitons and the Caribbean sea.
St. Lucia’s borders are open but there are testing and quarantine requirements currently in place.
6. Paphos, Cyprus
Average temperature: 27°C
When it comes to last-minute holidays, few places can beat Paphos. The city on the southwest coast of Cyprus combines idyllic beaches, a cosmopolitan city centre and an unbelievably rich history, having been inhabited since the Neolithic times. Stroll the cobblestone streets of Old Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage-protected city, and visit the Pafos District Archaeological Museum where you can explore exhibits from the Neolithic age up to the 18th century.
But the history lesson doesn’t stop at the city limits. You should also visit the Tombs of the Kings, a UNESCO-protected necropolis with underground tombs dating as far back as the 4th century BC, carved out of solid rock. Or how about exploring Petra tou Romiou (literally translating to ‘the rock of the Greek’) where, according to the local myth, the Goddess Aphrodite was born out of the waters? Just remember you’re not allowed to climb the actual rock. Then, Paphos has many amazing beaches where you can unwind after your history lesson and the waters are still hot in October. Try Coral Bay in Peyia.
Vaccinated travellers are exempt from any entry requirements into Cyprus, but unvaccinated travellers have to present a negative PCR test.
7. Havana, Cuba
Average temperature: 26°C
The siren song of the Cuban capital, Havana, is strong. Just taking a stroll along its vibrant streets, surrounded by colourful houses and vintage cars, is enchanting enough. But the awe factor goes up a notch once you step into the Catedral de San Cristóbal de la Habana, one of the oldest churches in the Americas. Check the cupola and the numerous statues and frescoes and then head back to the plaza for people watching, mojito at hand.
Channelling your inner Hemingway yet? Do it properly at El Floridita, the historic bar where he used to drink daiquiris when living in Havana (his favourite seat is cordoned off with a velvet rope). Follow the author’s trail even further with a visit to the Ambos Mundos Hotel, where he started writing For Whom the Bell Tolls. And if you want to escape the buzzing city for a bit, the valley of Viñales is just two hours away and offers gorgeous views and spectacular caves, particularly the flooded caverns of the Cuevas del Indio (Indian Caves).
Testing and quarantine requirements are currently in place for travellers to Cuba.
Average temperature: 25°C
From pink-sand beaches to blue grottoes, Bermuda is a colourful paradise. Take a walk on the cobblestone streets of the capital, Hamilton, with its pastel-coloured shops, museums, galleries, restaurants and bars surrounding the harbour. In Front Street, you’ll also find the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, where you can step into a shark cage and dive in a virtual submarine.
As for the pink sands we promised? You’ll find them in nearby Horseshoe Bay (the hue is thanks to a mixture of crushed coral and calcium carbonate interacting with the turquoise waters). Make sure to also visit the Walsingham Nature Reserve & Blue Hole Park, where you can get lost in sub-tropical forests, blue-water mangrove ponds and subterranean caves and grottoes. Don’t forget your Bermuda shorts.
There are currently entry restrictions in place for Bermuda, including a negative COVID test on arrival, a four-day quarantine and an entry application.
9. Palermo, Italy
Average temperature: 22°C
Sicily enjoys fine weather throughout autumn, and although it’s not very hot in October, 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. 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 October holidays with a Halloween twist.
Italy is open to tourists as long as they present a negative COVID test, taken within the past 48 hours, on arrival and complete an online digital form.
10. The Azores, Portugal
Average temperature: 22°C
The Azores archipelago comprises nine volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean but the largest, São Miguel, will steal your heart with its volcanic calderas, great lagoons, green forests and countless coves. Explore the tidal pools of Sul Mosteiros on São Miguel’s north coast or relax at the calm waters of the Água d’Alto Beach. Visit the 16th-century Fort of St. Blaise and take in dramatic sunset (or sunrise) views at Ponta Da Madrugada, in the municipality of Nordeste.
Portugal was one of the first countries to be added to the UK’s green list in May, but was swiftly moved back to amber after just three weeks. However, the country is currently open to tourism as long as you arrive with proof of a negative COVID test.
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