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Photograph: ShutterstockMass ascension begins at the annual Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. lbuquerque, NEW MEXICO

The 11 best places to travel in October 2023

From ice hockey to Halloween dogs, bask in some serious adventure at one of the best places to travel in October

Written by
Clare Vooght

October is a fantastic time to travel. Why? Well, we’ll be here all day if we try and detail all the reasons, but take the 11 places listed below as a good indication of the magic on offer. Autumn is a gorgeous time of year no matter where you are, but there is something remarkable about these spots that needs to be seen to be believed.

From internationally famous events to forward-thinking sustainable travel via ice, earth and sky, the best places to travel in October are Hall of Fame destinations. Oh, and there are also loads of dogs in Halloween costumes. What more could anyone possibly want? Dust off the passport and get the bag packed; the time to travel is now.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best places to travel

Best places to travel in October

Valencia might’ve been named World Design Capital back in 2022, but it’s still a darn dazzling place. The aesthetically brilliant southeastern Spanish port city is home to fantastic art museums, contemporary galleries and dazzling architecture. Explore the stark white buildings at the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, including the uncannily stormtrooper-helmet-esque Palau de les Arts opera house and wander the modernist El Cabanyal barrio, with its tiled facades. 

Discover the best things to do in Valencia 


Adventure travel, including diving, has grown in popularity over recent years, and the Philippines’ 7,000 islands get top marks for underwater adventures. Head to Palawan’s Coron Bay for mind-blowing wreck diving, while Anilao is one of the world’s best spots for biodiversity, meaning you might just see something that’s not even been named yet. More experienced divers can also try blackwater diving here, where you’re tethered to a boat line in the pitch-black ocean at night, with a torch, for an altogether more space-like experience. Visit once the rainy season’s out of the way, in the second half of October, to make the most of its beautiful beaches. Food more your jam? As Filipino cuisine takes root in global cities like New York and London, maybe it’s time to go eat the good stuff at the source, from vibrant ube (purple yam) ice cream to Lechon (roast suckling pig).

Discover the best things to do in the Philippines



Israel is a super popular spot for tourism, as its historical sites and buzzing Tel Aviv remain a massive draw. October, when the mercury dips, is a better time for schlepping round the Roman ruins of the Masada National Park and exploring Nazareth, known as Jesus’s hometown and, more recently, for serving up great East-meets-West fusion grub in its restaurants. It should still be just about still be warm enough to show Tel Aviv’s beaches a good time, too—and don’t go without experiencing the coastal city’s let’s-never-go-to-bed attitude to nightlife.

Discover the best things to do in Tel Aviv


Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Bhutan

With more than 70 percent of its land covered by forest, this Buddhist kingdom is the world’s only carbon-negative country, absorbing far more of the stuff than it produces. Travel is tightly controlled to make sure tourism remains low-impact, so it isn’t cheap—though the $200-a-day fee to be there includes all your accommodation, food and a guide (which is worth it because there’s a mythical story behind pretty much everything you encounter here). Go to get lost in pristine nature, breathe in lungfuls of clean Himalayan air and feel extra smug knowing you’re eating right too.

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Photograph: Shutterstock

5. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Summers in Bosnia and Herzegovina are mighty hot, and the winters get pretty darn cold. You can do the maths from there, and October might be the best time to visit this remarkable country. The number of tourists drops dramatically, meaning more space to wander the enchanting old towns of Sarajevo, Mostar and the rest. Travnik’s charming collection of mosques sparkles a little brighter, while Banja Luka cements its spot as the country’s best night out. More and more people are waking up to the magic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, so make a point of visiting this October to see for yourself. 

There is more to New Mexico than desert and a certain Netflix show. Every October, Albuquerque hosts its eye-popping International Balloon Fiesta, where you can spot hundreds of technicolour hot air balloons making their spectacular ascent. Maybe it is the seemingly endless skies and epic sunrises that make it a prime location, but it has become the world’s largest balloon festival and the most photographed event on Earth. Make time to visit Santa Fe, in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, for a mix of Spanish colonial architecture and earth-coloured historic adobe neighbourhoods, plus a comprehensive Georgia O'Keeffe Museum dedicated to her artistic legacy and American modernism.

Discover the best things to do in New Mexico 


Timisoara, Romania
Photograph: Shutterstock

7. Timisoara, Romania

This under-the-radar city, with its large public squares, leafy gardens and restored pastel-painted art nouveau architecture, makes an attractive city break that’s a far cry from the tower blocks other Romanian cities are known for. Timisoara was Romania's ‘first free city’, home of the country’s 1989 revolution to overthrow the communist dictatorship (brush up on the history at the Museum of the 1989 Revolution). Its independent spark lives on in live music venues, from intimate jazz bars to the grand opera house.

San Francisco has never been one to conform, even to weather norms: for warm, sunny SF days, you’re better off visiting in spring and fall rather than summer. Time your visit for October, so once you’re done with the classics—Golden Gate BridgeAlcatraz and the adorably blubbery sea lions at Pier 39—you can soak up the vibes at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. In true independent San Francisco spirit, the festival is entirely non-commercial (no ads or sponsorship banners), free to visit and BYOB. Held in the Golden Gate Park, it’s become a beloved SF institution since it was first held in 2001 and has attracted acts including Emmylou Harris and Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant.

Discover the best things to do in San Francisco


Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Namibia

Namibia has been growing in popularity as a destination since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spent their honeymoon there last year, and the boom in bookings has sparked a flurry of new lodge openings. Some of the best are making the most of the country’s stargazing opportunities in and around Africa’s only International Dark Sky Reserve (such as the sleek & Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, with a resident astronomer, and Kwessi Dunes, with open-roofed stargazing rooms in each of its chalets). It’s possible to camp in the reserve too, but book in advance as the limited spaces tend to fill up fast.

Photograph: Shutterstock

10. Toronto

Toronto is one of the most exciting cities on the planet, with thrilling nightlife nestled next to gourmet restaurants and some of the finest live music venues on the continent. What makes October the perfect time to visit? Hockey, that’s what. Sure, Maple Leafs fans have suffered more than enough misery over the last half decade-plus, but the regular season isn’t a problem these days. The 2022 Toronto Maple Leafs season gets underway with an away game against Montreal Canadiens on October 12, with the home opener coming the next night against Washington Capitals. Don’t expect to get tickets, but watching a game in a Toronto bar is a bucket list experience.


It’s pretty much always a good time to visit NYC—at Christmas, you get the snow and ubiquitous festive decorations. In spring, you get the Central Park cherry blossom. In summer, you get the long evenings in the feelgood heat, and then fall brings a burnt amber hue to everything. This year, save it for Halloween when the annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade kicks off in Manhattan, shedding NYC’s pooches in a ghoulish new light as pups and their owners come dressed in ever-more outlandish costumes.

Discover the best things to do in New York



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