The Best October Destinations
The Autumn season is gradually creeping upon us and the season of basking in the sunshine by the pool is long behind us. You can already feel the cold nip in the air as the temperatures start to drop and the foliage starts to turn a beautiful golden orange and yellow. Don’t forget it’s also Halloween, when for one day of the year we dress up as ghosts and ghouls and terrorise our neighbours but for sweets and goodies.
But not to fear! I have shortlisted eight fantastic locations to keep the travel bug alive and to help fuel your wanderlust. October doesn’t have to be the end of summer, and the best part is that most places are off season so much cheaper and affordable too.
These are my top 8 cities to visit in October:
1. Yerevan, Armenia
Armenia may not be well known to many people but despite its elusiveness, it is a country full of diverse architecture, intriguing history, impressive scenery, delicious cuisine and charming locals. Making it one of the Caucasus’ best-kept secrets. It has the potential to be bitterly cold in winter and stiflingly hot in summer here, making October a great time to travel. The weather’s dry and whilst the landscape is looking a little weather-beaten after too much sun, the colours created by the autumn leaves make for a stunning spectacle.
A must visit is the wondrous vistas of snow-capped Mount Ararat, which is a dormant volcano over the border in neighbouring Turkey. Visit the Geghard Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site and possibly the most beautiful religious building in the country. Be sure to sample the delicious foods of the Southern Caucasus including stuffed vine leaves and sticky sweet baklava. Plus, don’t miss a chance to sit at the top of the Cascade, a giant stairwell in Yerevan, and watch life in the capital go by.
2. Patagonia, Chile
Home to several of the most naturally beautiful places on the planet, Chile is a real landscape lover’s paradise. The best part? October is a brilliant time to see the scenery in all its glory due to you’ll also manage to successfully miss the summer holiday masses as well as those damp and drizzly winter days.
If you can bear wrapping up warm, *autumn in Chilean Patagonia is gorgeous with blue skies and brightly coloured flowers adding to the ambience. It’s also an ideal period for visiting the mind-blowing Atacama Desert, one of the oldest and driest deserts on Earth. The night skies here are insanely clear, thus providing amazing opportunities for stargazing without the crowds.
TIP: Take a flight to Santiago and then travel to Chilean Patagonia.
3. Day of the Dead, Mexico
Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is not a Mexican version of Halloween. From appearances, the two annual events look very similar, however, they differ greatly in traditions and tone. Halloween is a dark theme of terror and mischief, whereas, Day of the Dead festivities are an explosion of colour and celebratory joy. Sure, the theme is death, but the point is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members.
In towns and cities throughout Mexico, revellers don funky makeup and costumes, hold parades and parties, sing and dance, and make offerings to lost loved ones. Sounds like a great party to me!
4. Sighişoara, Romania
Carrying on with the theme of Halloween and horror Romania is the best place if you fancy immersing yourself into the world of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. As his ‘birthplace’,Romania and Transylvania, in particular, know how to do spooky. Peppered with ghost riddled castles, towering gothic churches and isolated medieval towns – there really are few places more atmospheric to spend the Halloween holiday
The temperatures in Romania throughout October can be a little brisker than expected though, especially at higher altitudes. But, the autumnal colours will do well to distract you. As the leaves begin to change, they totally transform the look of charming spots like Sighişoara, Viscri, Brasov and Sibiu.
5. Berlin, Germany
Steering away from the spooky places now, one place you certainly should consider in October is Berlin for Oktoberfest. The 16 to 18-day folk festival which originated in Munich, is now celebrated with copycat events across the nation. Apart from eating, dancing and drinking beer until your heart’s content, revellers can also enjoy the colourful parades, stomach-churning fairground rides and dressing up in traditional lederhosen.
Be sure not to miss out on the culture and history of Berlin either, with trips to the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Alexanderplatz, the graffiti-covered Berlin Wall, there is a lot of history here that is really worth visiting.
6. Banff, Canada
This is definitely one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world, and while it is stunning all year round, it is exceptionally breathtaking in October as the trees are changing colour and there are way fewer tourists. With snow-capped mountains, lush green forests, crystal clear lakes and plenty of wildlife, there is something for everyone here.
You will also have the chance to run into snow on the Icefields Parkway, which if you ask me makes the mountains magical with fresh snow. Come mid-October you’ll also find the larches in yellow and orange splendour, making it the perfect place to get incredible photos and videos.
7. Blue Mountains, Australia
While it is Autumn for some of the world, it is actually spring in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia and is one of the most spectacular times to visit this World Heritage-listed National Park. These stunning mountains are only 100kms from the main hub of Sydney and they are a very popular destination for hikers, rock climbers and people wanting to enjoy some scenic natural beauty.
The Blue Mountains in Australia appear to be blue due to the eucalyptus oil from the trees creating this haze. During Fall the mountains go from this blue to crispy autumnal tones during the day making it an incredible place to visit.
8. Paphos, Cyprus
What better way to keep the summer vibes going, than to follow the sun? Here in Paphos, the temperatures are still really warm and hot enough for you to want to dive head first into the nearest pool or ocean. It was also the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite so you can be sure that you’ll have a lot of ancient archaeology on the agenda in this town in western Cyprus.
It’s a guarantee that you’ll eat and drink well in Paphos, where you can feast on meze and sample the range of wines that are grown in the hills to the east of the town. There is so much to do here including a water park, a diverse zoo and an almost endless array of beaches. Grab that sun cream because summer hasn’t ended yet.
Be sure to check out my website Take The Leap Travel for more information and travel advice as well as my Instagram @explorewithlee and @taketheleaptravel.
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