Fall is here, and in many regions, the leaves have changed and are ready for their close-up.
While in some destinations you’ll still have to contend with foliage-seeking tourists, other top spots to travel to in October offer a bit more breathing room after the departure of summer crowds.
Taking into account these factors, as well as expert opinion, traveler sentiment, and an array of sights (among others), U.S. News chose the best places to visit in October.
Have a favorite? Vote below to influence next year’s list. (Note: Some of the below destinations may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Check with the CDC and the U.S. Department of State before traveling.)
With peak tourist season (and stifling temperatures) finally over, Tuscany truly shines in the fall.
There is a fantastic wine, golden foliage, better weather, and, perhaps most enticing of all, truffles—late September to December is when the highly coveted white truffles are found.
Festivals dedicated to these expensive tubers abound, especially in the towns of San Miniato, Volterra, and Palaia. But the real treat, of course, is to hunt for them yourself.
Stay at the Belmond Castello di Casole, a 10th-century estate situated on a sprawling 4,200-acre property where you can join its resident truffle expert Mauro Nesi and his Lagotto Romagnolo dogs on a foraging excursion.
Once the delicacies have been unearthed, the hotel’s chef will use them in a tasting menu for what will be the most extravagant way to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
2. Salem, Massachusetts
It’s Halloween this month, so where better to book a trip than America’s unofficial witching capital?
Snag a room at The Hotel Salem or The Merchant (they’re both owned by Lark Hotels, famed for its funky makeovers of countless New England inns), and then make your way into town.
Salem celebrates its connection to the occult all month with a program of events, including horror film festivals, séances, and a fair with psychics on hand to read your future.
During the festivities, it’s worth pausing to consider the history of Salem’s witch trials at the 1692 Salem Witch Museum.
The museum recreates the trials using actual documents as the basis for its life-size stage sets and hosts an exploration of witchcraft in all its forms through the ages.
3. Vienna, Austria
Though Austria’s capital is better known for its grand imperial palaces and an even grander musical legacy (Mozart and Beethoven), one of the city’s finest assets is its urban vineyards.
Forget a designated driver, just take the tram to the pretty outer suburbs, where rows of vines spread across grassy slopes, as skyline views and the Danube stretch out below.
October marks the harvest when the vineyards are at their greenest and winemakers open up their operations to enquiring minds (and mouths).
There are several designated wine trails to follow, where vintners hand out samples from both cellar and kitchen, and autumn’s mild, sunny days are ideally suited to frolics in the fields.
4. Mauritius – Tropical Paradise
If you are looking out for an international destination and thinking about where to go in October, Mauritius is the perfect destination for you.
Being a tropical paradise, Mauritius enjoys toasty temperatures all year round. Hence, it is one of the places to visit in October in the world.
In October, the weather is warmer and drier and the humidity levels are significantly low. Sunny weather is guaranteed along the west coast.
From exploring the Black River Gorges National Park and Underwater Waterfalls to partying at Grand Baie/Flic en Flac during the weekend, there are several recreational activities worth pursuing here.
All these things make Mauritius one of the best places to visit in October in the world. Making your hotel and flight reservations a month in advance is highly recommended.
5. Greece – Idyllic Villages
The best time to visit the Greek islands like Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu, and Kefalonia is in October when the weather is warm and the crowds are few.
The travel costs can plummet by 20% in the shoulder season. Greece is hands down one of the best countries to visit in October in Europe.
Being one of the best places to travel in October, this spot is perfect for adventurous things to do starting from hiking beautiful island trails to bird watching, there are plenty of other outdoor activities that you can pursue here with your loved ones.
The country has some incredible sites of cultural importance that are a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
6. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
The Plitvice Lakes can be found on Croatia’s Adriatic Sea coast, just lingering on the border between Zadar and the nation’s capital, Zagreb.
These lakes consist of 16 bodies of water that are all joined together by a variety of cascading waterfalls and fascinating bridges, flanked by age-old emerald forests that hold wildlife aplenty: birds, wolves, bears, and more!
Enjoy walks in one of the top travel destinations in the country across a variety of paths, both natural and man-made, and explore the wide expanse between the lowest altitude lakes of 280 meters and the highest 1,000 meters above it.
7. Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
Few people consider these African nations as among the best countries to visit, but those people are missing out!
Victoria Falls is one of the earth’s largest waterfalls, reaching a majestic 355 feet in height and spanning an entire mile.
Its rush of falling water is the biggest of its kind, with a shocking speed of 550,000 cubic meters per minute.
On top of that, Victoria Falls is among the world’s Seven Natural Wonders, and its mist that shrouds the area can be seen from 50 kilometers away, creating a rainbow!
It is also responsible for the constant, non-stop rainfall experienced by the rainforest around River Zambezi.
8. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Japan
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is among the best places to travel in the already attraction-packed nation of Japan.
Located along Kyoto’s outskirts, this grove is packed with countless bamboo trees, all growing to amazing heights that have to be seen to be believed.
Plus, this grove is a treat for all your senses.
Not only is it a gorgeous sight to see, but it has also been named among the top 100 Soundscapes of Japan by the country’s Ministry of Environment.
This means you can bask in the melancholic rustling of leaves and creaking of wood, alongside just seeing the endless mass of bamboo.
9. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is one of the best places to travel in October, as the month signals the height of springtime in the southern hemisphere.
That means you can plan on tons of outdoor activities, from walking among spring blooms in Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden to touring vineyards in Franschhoek.
You could also spend an entire trip hopping between Cape Town’s best beaches. Camps Bay Beach is worth visiting for the views of Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles alone, as is Windmill Beach (a 10-minute walk from Boulders Beach) for its warm water and boulders you can jump off.
Stay at Readers’ Choice Awards darling Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel, a 15-room Georgian-era townhouse tucked away in a residential street in Gardens (a fashionable neighborhood known for its restaurants, bars, and interior shops).
10. Hawaii – Modern Multiculturalism
Not only an offbeat destination, but Hawaii is also one of the best places to go in October from India. October rainfall levels in Hawaii are generally low as compared to wetter winter months.
The airfare and accommodation prices are low this month. This is the best time for surfing, snorkeling, and swimming.
Some of the world’s most amazing hikes are found in Hawaii, especially on Kauai. Though hiking can be done all year round, autumn is a good choice, usually, because there are more daylight hours and the trails tend to be drier.
Hawaii is one of the best places to visit in October in the world for adventure seekers.
The fall season is fast approaching and with that comes the anticipated chill. While October still graces us with pleasant days and mild, brisk weather, it’s also one of the last months of the year we have left to take advantage of the outdoors.
October can be many things. It can be the dreamy scent of bonfire smoke on restorative air; pumpkins on porches; blazing leaves. Or, Down Under, it might be the abundance of spring – and a fine time to explore.
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