In regions across the globe, the month of October offers something for everyone to celebrate. Food and culture festivals, holiday gatherings, and ample outdoor activities mark the seasonal transition and make strong appeals to our senses. Whether you prefer crunchy leaves and knit sweaters or sandy beaches and cocktails is no matter. This diverse collection of castle towns, natural wonderlands, lively cities, and exotic landscapes all have one thing in common — they're ideal settings for an unforgettable autumn vacation.
Scotland's cozy capital city, Edinburgh, is the reigning king of festivals. More than five of these special events take place in October alone, and plenty more are scattered throughout the year. For improvisational music lovers, caffeine addicts, and fans of fright, October is the best time to visit the windy and winding cobblestone streets of Edinburgh. The city, dripping with color and warm shoulder-to-shoulder pubs, hosts the Jazz and Blues, Coffee, and Horror Festival during this chilly month.
If you're not deterred by long-distance travel, October is the perfect time to visit Broome — an enchanting coastal town on the Indian Ocean with a tropical fall climate, beautiful cliffside, and sandy beaches. The most popular of these is Cable Beach. While it may be too cold to swim, you can catch dramatic blood-orange sunsets here along with a unique local phenomenon: the "Staircase to the Moon." Autumn is not peak tourist season, so you will enjoy fewer crowds and budget-friendly prices. When you grow tired of lounging, try your luck on a fishing tour or take a camel-back ride along the oceanside.
Unlike other regions in Italy, Piedmont comes alive with art and music during the chilly autumn season. The world-renowned Alba Music Festival takes place in October, featuring classical orchestras and ensembles from around the world. The Douja D'or Festival is scheduled in the same month and is a utopia for foodies and wine enthusiasts. The elusive white truffle is native to this area and draws international crowds hoping to get a taste of the expensive culinary delicacy.
If your ears perk up at the phrase, "culinary tourism," you're in for a special treat in the hills of Ontario, Canada. The soil and climate in this region's Blue Mountains are perfect for growing fruits, which are harvested twice per year and turned into delicious pies, ciders, and wines. To burn off the calories you'll consume on the Apple Pie Trail, take advantage of the plentiful hiking trails and ski slopes in the surrounding area.
For those whose autumn travel plans are motivated by awe-inspiring colors and tranquil scenery, a one-week trip to Mt. Koya in Southeast Japan will not disappoint. About an hour south of Osaka, the immense Buddhist settlement is adorned with beautiful cemeteries, dense park trails, and unassuming pathside temples. An October visit will reward you with fiery garden hues of red, orange, and yellow.
One word: Oktoberfest. If you're hankering for an internationally acclaimed pretzel and expertly brewed mug of beer, this is the vacation for you. Millions of like-minded tourists flock to this locale every year to get their guzzle on, so be sure to book your accommodations well in advance. The festival lasts nearly three weeks and takes place on an immense central fairground lined with booths, stages, and tents to keep you entertained well into the night.
Arrive in October or November in Buenos Aires and you'll be greeted with refreshing Springtime weather and a range of cultural attractions to liven up your autumn holiday. Take a tango class in the vibrant neighborhood of San Telmo during the city's World Tango Festival, or stroll through Recoleta cemetery — the lavish final resting place of Argentina's rich and famous.
This East African country is a well-established safari hotspot and for good reason. The famous "great migration" takes place here, and you can catch the end of it if you travel in October. Marvel at the southbound herds of wildebeest or embark on a Kilamajaro day hike. You'll be delighted to find the weather is dry and mild during this month. Temperatures rarely reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and fall to the mid-50s in the evening.
Nestled in the lush mountains of northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a prominent digital nomad city with a thriving collection of cultures, spicy foods, and affordable tourist attractions. October marks the end of the rainy season; you can expect temperatures in the mid-80s with lower-than-average humidity. Waterfalls perfect for climbing, elephant nature parks (please do research in advance, as parks that allow elephant riding often do more harm than good), and zipline adventures are a few of the exciting excursions available in Thailand's second-largest city.
The most modern metropolitan base for exploring the Finnish laplands, Rovaniemi is a popular choice for tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the autumn auroras. Affectionately labeled "Santa Claus's hometown," Rovaniemi is home to charming Christmas markets, arctic science museums, and quaint hotels and restaurants. It is situated on the outer edge of the arctic circle and offers its visitors several guided adventures to surrounding wildlife parks and frozen waterfalls. Pack an insulated thermos and a down jacket — you might even see a reindeer or two.
Make the journey down to Rio in October for a memorable experience free from the crowds that February's Carnival brings. Journey off the parade route and take a cable car to the treacherous Sugarloaf Mountain — a massive quartz and granite landform that juts 400 meters above the bay. Because autumn is considered low season, you'll enjoy reduced prices at seaside restaurants and hotels. Film buffs might enjoy walking from the beach to the cinema to celebrate international perspectives at Rio's largest film festival.
If October seems a little early to be catching snowflakes on your tongue, head down south for an unforgettable Mexican autumn. The beaches are still threatened by hurricanes throughout October, so venture inland to explore the country's rich cultural heritage sights. From the sky, Guanajuato looks like a colorful, earth-toned mosaic. Speckled orange, yellow, and red homes are scattered across rolling hills and hugged tightly by the surrounding mountain range. It's an easily walkable city, with churches, cantinas, and restaurants lining the old cobblestone streets in every direction. A visit in October will allow you to catch the famous Cervantino festival— a clamorous celebration of traditional arts and culture that is now the largest in all of Mexico.
Beijing, China's bustling northern city, is rife with striking, historical architecture and prominent landmarks dating back to the 14th century Ming dynasty — some even earlier. The Summer Palace, Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square are a few attractions you shouldn't miss. Of course, the oldest and arguably most majestic monument of ancient China is the 13,000-mile long Great Wall, which wraps around the outskirts of Beijing and comes alive with color during the fall season.
For lovers of spooky ghouls and vampire stories, Transylvania is the perfect Halloween destination. Situated on a lush mountain peak just outside the medieval village is Bran Castle — an eerie royal residence that now houses a popular tourist museum. In October, the city leans into its vampy reputation by hosting a horror film festival, zombie parade, and castle costume parties. Be sure to pack your wooden stake (if not for the vampires, then to defend yourself from the brown bears that frequently wander into town).
October is a magical time in the teeming city of St. Petersburg. Famous poet Pushkin referred to a fall season spent here as "the golden autumn." Take a stroll through the bronze-streaked Summer Garden and relax in a traditional Russian banya (sauna) for an authentic taste of Russian life. This metropolitan hub also offers much in the way of arts and entertainment — ballets, operas, and fall markets are all abundant and accessible. Though not as expensive as Moscow, St. Petersburg offers many of the same activities in a calmer, less hectic setting.