At first glance, October might not seem like the best month for travel. In the northern hemisphere, and especially in Europe, it’s fall, and in many places, the weather will be starting to take a turn in a colder direction. In the southern hemisphere, it’s still Spring and things are only really just starting to warm up before summer.
October truly is a shoulder month for travel in many parts of the world, and close to the equator and in tropical areas, you’ll catch the end of the dry season or the beginning of the rainy season, but actually, there are a lot of benefits to traveling to many destinations across the world this time of the year.
In southern Europe, the summer crowds have gone but the weather is still lovely and warm. In Germany, you can visit Oktoberfest, while in Iceland, you might catch the northern lights.
In Australia, you miss the worst of the summer heat, while it’s also your last chance to explore the tropical north. There are a lot of great travel opportunities, and here are our picks for the best places to visit in October.
Best Places to Visit in October
1. The Canadian Rockies
It’s time to breathe in the crisp air and admire the vast landscape sitting before you. The Canadian Rockies are one of the best places to visit in October because the summer crowds have moved on and the once bright green landscape is slowly turning to gold.
If you are lucky, you may even get some snow-covered peaks reflecting in those world-famous turquoise lakes.
The early mornings and late afternoons may be a little chilly but don’t worry. In October, you’ll have plenty of hot days that rival those summer days.
October is a perfect time to explore the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper. The Larch Valley near Lake Louise is one of the most popular places to view the autumn colors.
This window is short and is normally the best during the first few weeks in October. Don’t miss out on visiting Jasper National Park too.
October is the best month for wildlife viewing in the Canadian Rockies since some of the animals are in a rut and others are preparing for hibernation. It is also the best time to see bighorn sheep having head butting competitions.
Seeing wildlife can be exciting but be sure to stay inside your car when viewing animals in the parks. This is for your own safety, as well as the animals. Plus, if a ranger sees you out of the car, you’ll be facing a hefty fine.
Our Top Recommended Canadian Rockies Tours:
- National Parks of the Canadian Rockies Eastbound 14 Days with G Adventures
- Discover the Canadian Rockies 12 Days National Geographic Journeys
- The Canadian Rockies Encompassed 19 Days with G Adventures
- Canadian Rockies Express 8 Days with G Adventures
Italy is one of the best places to visit in October because the cities are quiet and the Mediterranean coastline is still hot. Italy has notoriously bad crowds during the peak season, which generally runs all through summer from June to September.
In October, you escape the worst of the mass tourism and can enjoy a more peaceful side to the country’s most famous cities. This allows you to put together an exciting and intimate Italy itinerary.
While some vacation resorts can still be busy, given the hot climate and good deals, October is a fantastic time to explore classic destinations such as Rome, Naples or even take a road trip through Tuscany.
While the north can start to experience lots of rain and colder weather, it’s still a great chance to visit places such as Florence, Milan or Venice, where you can spend much of your time in museums, if it does rain.
Our Top Recommended Italy Tours:
- Ultimate Italy in 14 Days with G Adventures
- Iconic Italy in 14 Days National Geographic Journeys
- Highlights of Italy in 8 Days with G Adventures
- Best of Sicily in 8 Days with G Adventures
In recent years, Iceland has become one of the top tourist destinations in the world, mostly thanks to the incredible scenery and natural attractions. In fact, there are many more tourists than there are locals and in peak season, the crowds at waterfalls and glaciers can be insufferable.
But after the rush of summer, when the sun never sets and the weather is perfect, fewer tourists visit Iceland when winter begins to approach. In October, you still have long hours of daylight, but prices for flights and accommodation are much more respectable in what is a decidedly expensive country.
While you won’t be able to experience the Midnight Sun, and you might also run into a few snowstorms – yes, even in October! – you also have a chance to see the Northern Lights, and to catch the tail end of the whale watching season.
In fact, October is one of the best times to visit Iceland, because you can experience the best of both summer and winter.
Our Top Recommended Iceland Tours:
- Best of Iceland in 7 Days with G Adventures
- Complete Iceland in 9 Days with G Adventures
- Explore Iceland in 9 Days National Geographic Journeys
Germany can be one of the best places to visit in October in Europe too, but only if you don’t mind colder and rainier weather. Summer is definitely over, but in the forests and national parks across the country you’ll be able to see leaves turning from green to beautiful shades of red, green and orange, as fall begins.
This is a fantastic time of year to plan a Germany road trip, perhaps along the Romantic Road, to explore some of the medieval towns like Nuremberg and Rothenburg. You’ll find there are endless numbers of castles to discover around the entire country.
The scenery looks spectacular, and in particular touristy destinations, such as the fabled fairy-tale castles in the south, or the Black Forest, you’ll find things to be much quieter.
German cities, such as Berlin and Munich, are great city break destinations and they can still be busy on the weekends. But if you really want to experience an event like no other, the end of September and the start of October sees the infamous Oktoberfest festival.
This event draws in visitors from all over the globe looking to drink beer and lots of it.
Our Top Recommended Germany Tours:
Croatia is another of the best places to visit in October because you’ll catch the end of the summer weather, but just a fraction of the tourists of the actual peak summer season.
Croatia has slowly become more and more popular over the last decade, as travelers have realized that the Balkan nation has a beautiful Mediterranean climate, as well as incredible scenery and a history that few other countries in the region can match.
In summer, Dubrovnik, made famous by its features in Game of Thrones, is absolutely packed. Come October though, as businesses begin to shut down for the low season, you can still enjoy the city’s best sights but without having to force your way down the street.
Along the coast, cities such as Split are very much open for business, while the national parks, such as Plitvice Lakes, are much, much quieter than summer.
Our Top Recommended Croatia Tours:
- Croatia and the Balkans in 15 Days with G Adventures
- Discover the Balkans in 12 Days National Geographic Journeys
- Sailing Croatia in 8 Days with G Adventures
In Asia, Japan is a great place to visit in October because the country is resplendent in its Autumn colors. After a hot summer, the temperatures begin to cool down, and it’s the perfect time for hiking in Japan.
Head north to Hokkaido Island to experience the best of the Autumn colors, and to tackle some great hikes, while in the south you can take on Mount Fuji and not worry about any searing heat waves during your trek.
Any time of the year, you can enjoy Japan’s excellent food culture, particularly in Tokyo or Kyoto, while you can also catch the Kochia Carnival, where you’ll find locals celebrating the unusually bright pink Kochia Balls that bloom throughout the season.
Our Top Recommended Japan Tours:
- Discover Japan in 14 Days with G Adventures
- Iconic Japan in 12 Days National Geographic Journeys
- Back Roads of Japan in 11 Days with G Adventures
In the southern hemisphere, it’s the real shoulder season in Australia, but that also makes it one of the best places to visit in October. Australia has a truly diverse climate, and in the south, it’s spring, while in the tropical north, it’s the end of the dry season.
Most visitors head south during summer, visiting places like Sydney and Melbourne. With peak season starting in December, but prices for flights are high and temperatures regularly break the 40 Degrees Celsius mark.
October has much more pleasant weather, particularly along the south coast, and it’s never that cold, or too hot, while costs are generally much lower for flights and rentals. It’s an excellent time to road trip along the Great Ocean Road.
Further north, Brisbane and the Gold Coast will have excellent, hot weather. It’s a prime time to visit more off the beaten track places like Fraser Island. While if you venture up to Far North Queensland, this is your last chance to see the Great Barrier Reef or to visit the Daintree Rainforest near Cairns before the wet season begins in earnest.
Our Top Recommended Australia Tours:
- Best of Australia in 14 Days with G Adventures
- Melbourne, Outback & Uluru Adventures in 12 Days with G Adventures
- Explore Australia in 12 Days National Geographic Journeys
8. South Africa
Staying in the southern hemisphere, South Africa makes for another of the best places to visit in October. Across much of the country, you might have to endure the odd rain shower, but for the most part, temperatures are definitely warm and getting hotter and hotter as the month progresses.
Like Australia, peak season in South Africa really begins in December, when it’s the height of summer, so in October, while you still have good weather, you also avoid the worst of the crowds and you can score cheaper flights, accommodation, and tours.
This makes exploring popular places like Cape Town much more tolerable. You will actually have a chance to take in the spectacular scenery in peace.
One of the best reasons to visit South Africa is for safari opportunities. The many parks and game reserves are home to the Big Five, as well as many more species of wildlife. October is a great time to see wildlife in South Africa, while along the coast, you’ll also catch the whale watching season too.
This is the end of the dry winter in many places, meaning wildlife is easier to spot, as they tend to congregate around ever-shrinking sources of water within the national parks.
Our Top Recommended South Africa Tours:
- Explore Cape Town & Kruger NP in 10 Days National Geographic Journeys
- Cape & Namibia Adventure in 12 Days with G Adventures
- Explore Kruger NP in 7 Days National Geographic Journeys
In northern Africa, one of the best places to visit in October is Morocco. Despite the scorching hot summers, peak season in Morocco tends to be June to August, as many travelers visit during their summer vacations.
The weather can be unbearably hot, but thankfully, in October, conditions are much, much cooler, although temperatures still average around 20 degrees Celsius across the country.
October is a great time to travel out into the Sahara Desert because you miss the worst of the heat. Prepare for cold nights, but overall, you’ll find a journey to the Sahara much more comfortable and enjoyable in October.
It’s also a great month to go hiking in the Atlas Mountains because again, you’ll miss the fierce summer heat. At higher altitudes, be prepared for more unpredictable weather of course, and colder nights, but overall, it’s an enjoyable time of the year for a spot of mountain trekking.
On the coast, Morocco’s climate is the Mediterranean, and you can enjoy the warm weather and score a good deal on a beach resort. In the cities, the streets are much less crowded, and you’ll avoid the humidity of summer too.
With fewer tourists, Marrakech becomes the place of exotic travel you dreamed it would be.
Our Top Recommended Morocco Tours:
- Highlights of Morocco in 15 Days with G Adventures
- Morocco Sahara & Beyond in 15 Days National Geographic Journeys
- Morocco Journey in 9 Days National Geographic Journeys
Need more help planning?
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Protect your trip
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We spend so much time planning our trip and spending money to make it happen that protecting it from unforeseen events is an essential part of the process. I don’t know about you but I don’t have time, let alone money, to throw away.
Protect your trip with Allianz travel insurance from the moment you book something for your travels. We never leave home without it, so why should you?
More on Trip Planning:
- 9 Best Places to Visit in November
- 9 Best Places to Visit in December
- 10 Best Places to Visit in January
- How to Find Cheap Flights
- How to Find Cheap Accommodation
- How to Save Money for Travel