Where to holiday in October 2018? These great autumn breaks provide sun, fun and adventure…
Best for… Long-haul breaks on a budget
From the tastiest pho noodles to chilled-out beach bungalows, everything in Vietnam comes at rock-bottom prices – so you can relax in the knowledge that you’re not breaking the bank.
Vietnam’s culture is fascinating, too: a blend of South-East Asia and French influences (it’s a former colony). You’ll find delicious fusion food, history-rich cultural sites, and majestic temples galore. While the cities are fast-paced and fun, the countryside has lots to offer too: visit the rice terraces, the waterfalls of Da Lat, and the cashew nut plantations in the highlands.
2. Tuscany, Italy
Best for… Food, food – and more food!
With the summer crowds long-gone, this picturesque part of Italy breathes a sigh of relief. In October, the clifftop villages and gorgeous coves are ripe for exploring – with warm sunshine and little chance of rain spoiling your trip. If you’ve ever lusted after the rich pasta dishes and parmigiana bakes that Tuscany is famed for, learn how to make them on our new four-day cooking holiday with Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi – the husband-and-wife team behind London’s Italian cookery school La Cucina Caldesi, and the restaurant Caldesi in Campagna in Bray, Berkshire.
As well as an exclusive talk, Q&A and food demonstration from Katie and Giancarlo, you’ll get hands-on cooking lessons from local chefs, plus have time to explore Florence and its markets, enjoy lunch at a local trattoria and visit a local winery for a tasting. “Tuscany holds so many special memories for us, and we can’t wait to share our love of it,” says Katie. See the details
More like this: 12 of the world’s tastiest food tours and cooking holidays
3. New England, USA
Best for… Colourful road trips
As summer mellows, the forests of New England turn a vibrant crimson – a hue so bright that Britain’s autumn colours look pale in comparison. Welcome to leaf peeping season, which sees this sliver of the USA spring to life with food markets and harvest festivals, plus guided woodland walks, hot air balloon trips and bike tours – all designed to get you the best views of those vibrant fall colours.
On the coast, the weather is still warm and the summer tourists are long gone. It’s the perfect time for long beach walks, lobster rolls (the local catch is legendary), and exploring the untouched bays on boat trips.
Top tip: New England’s vineyards and orchards produce a fine crop of wine and ciders, so set aside time for a tour and tasting session.
Best for… Getting fit in the sun (without breaking the bank!)
The boutique Aava Resort and Spa, a peaceful wellness hotel in the fishing town of Khanom, southeast Thailand, is ideal for a week of ‘me time’ – with coconut palms swaying in the breeze and turquoise warm water gently lapping the shoreline.
Our exclusive Thailand wellness holiday includes a relaxing welcome massage in the Aava Spa, half-board accommodation with superb fresh Thai cuisine, dolphin-watching tour and daily group activity – including Tai chi, Pranayama (yogic breathing), Sun Salutation yoga, Stretching class, Pilates, Group flow yoga class, and mindfulness meditation.
Join Woman & Home’s 7-day Thailand Aava Spa retreat, from £1,499 including flights.
More like this: 9 of the best fitness holidays (that do actually work)
Best for… A big dose of autumn sun
Where to holiday in October if you just want to lie on a beach? While the UK pulls on its wet-weather gear, Mauritius is emerging from winter – and its sugary beaches and inland forests have never looked so good. This is real Bounty advert territory – complete with swaying palms, Daz-white sands, and turquoise waters as calm as a swimming pool.
But there’s more to Mauritius than paradise beaches: go wildlife spotting in Black River Gorges (which is also famed for its waterfalls), tea tasting at Bois Cheri plantation, and visit Isle aux Aigrettes – the final resting place of the dodo.
Top tip: For half term October holidays, kids will love Domaine de L’Étoile, a forested playground with segway tours, horse riding, quad biking and more.
6. Dubai, UAE
Best for… City adventures in the sun
While it swelters in the summer, Dubai’s weather is perfect for October holidays – with long days of sunshine and temperatures in the upper twenties. Soak up incredible views of the city from Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest tower), shop til you drop in Dubai Mall, and immerse yourself in the souks and spice markets of Bur Dubai.
Then kick back on Jumeirah beach – it’s one of Dubai’s best, with great restaurants, cafes and bars all along it, plus views of the famous Palm island.
Top tip: Tuesday night is Ladies’ Night in bars all over the city, which means free cocktails galore! Head to The Observatory on the top floor of the Marina Marriott for drinks with a jaw-dropping view.
More like this: 7 incredible cruise holidays with Woman & Home
7. Perth, Australia
Best for… Vineyard hopping
Spring has just sprung in Western Australia, and Perth is in full bloom. This vast Aussie state may be overshadowed by its glitzier neighbours, but its incredible beaches and awesome landscapes are utterly crowd-free. Hire a car or campervan to discover pristine coastline, Aboriginal rock art, and wild national parks on your October holidays.
With its balmy climate and rich soils, Western Australia is – of course – one of the world’s premier wine-growing regions. Make a beeline for Margaret River, just south of Perth, to sip your way around some of the best.
Top tip: In 2018, Qantas is launching the first direct flight from London to Perth. At 17 hours, it’ll be one of the world’s longest flights.
8. Myanmar (Burma)
Best for… Adventurous types
If you’ve already ventured to South-East Asia, you might think you know what to expect from Burma – but trust us, you don’t. This incredible country has remained unchanged for centuries, its landscapes and communities frozen in time – but now it’s opening up. During October, the weather is perfect for exploring the temples in Bagan, the floating gardens of Inle Lake, and the vibrant markets of Yangon.
Cruise along the Irrawaddy River, and climb Mount Popa for fabulous views of Bagan – and its thousands of temples. The gleaming spires of Shwedagon Pagoda are a spectacular sight at sunset, illuminated by 1,000 flickering oil lamps.
Best for… Family beach breaks
Where to holiday in October for half-term fun on the beach? Lazarote! This Canary Island is still basking in sunshine, thanks to its southerly location.
The Canary Islands are great for families – with all-inclusive resorts catering for your kids’ every whim. Think activity clubs, on-tap entertainment and children’s menus to keep the little ones happy. For grownups, there are pristine beaches, great restaurants and award-winning wines – they’re grown in the islands’ fertile volcanic soil.
Top tip: Though a Spanish island, Lanzarote is much further south – approximately a four-hour flight from London. If travelling with small children, make sure you’re geared up for the journey, with plenty of entertainment and snacks.
Best for… A walk on the wild side
Until it starred in Dreamworks’ 2005 hit movie, not many people had heard of Madagascar – but its natural charms are plentiful. It’s home to over 100 different types of lemur (which look uncannily like King Julian and his minions), plus wildlife-rich forests and towering groves of baobab trees.
On October holidays, you’ll spy lots of baby lemurs, clinging to their mums as they swing through the woodland. A safari holiday is the best way to see the country – you’ll be whisked to all the best wildlife-watching locations, and stay in eco-lodges and beach-side hotels.
Top tip: If you’re travelling with kids, Madagascar makes for an educational – but very fun – adventure. Kids will love the chance to explore the forest, keeping an eye out for the weird and wonderful wildlife.