Where To Head In October
As the winds of change blow through in October, bringing shorter days and the whiff of bonfire smoke, it’s a great time to head off to somewhere completely different. You can chase down the last of the summer sun in Europe, or you can embrace the colder season and discover the beauty of snowy landscapes. It’s the perfect time to get out in nature, spot wildlife, and try out some hikes as the temperatures are more manageable.
Availability is good and prices can be attractive in October, so it’s the ideal time to travel to somewhere further afield and quench your thirst for discovery before winter rolls around. Festivals kick off at this time of year, but there’s also some natural wonders that can only be experienced this month.
For some travel inspo, here are our five favourite places to head to this October.
Yes it is going to be cold in northern Finland in October, but that’s one of the reasons it’s the best time to go. At around 2C in the daytime in Inari, it is chilly but you can wrap up warm and have fun out in the snow. The Christmas crowds haven’t landed yet and there are still a few hours of sun a day. The lakes aren’t frozen over yet so the reflections on the water are beautiful. And fewer people come in October, so you can have it all to yourself. But best of all, it’s also a chance of seeing the Northern Lights – if you get clear skies at night the spectacle will be incredible to see.
You might not associate a city like Austria with vineyards, but October is when the harvest is collected at some of the city’s urban vineyards, and it’s a great time to get involved. Discover the wines of Austria by hiking the land while sipping some wonderful wines: with temps hovering at around 15C, you can walk the wine trails, where vinters give away samples from bars and cellars as you pass by. Or if wine isn’t your thing, on the first Saturday of October museums across Vienna stay open long into the night for the annual ‘long night of the museums’. The purchase of one ticket lets you in and out of as many as you like.
Bring a fan – depending on where you’re staying in the state of Rajasthan, temperatures range from 34 to 37C in October. But monsoon season will have recently ended here and the air will feel refreshed by the rains, while still being warm. This might be one of the reasons festivals are held at this time of year, including the local Pushkar Camel Fair. It’s a major event in this region and as a visitor, you can experience this incredible livestock market in all its chaotic and colourful glory. To make the most of Rajasthan, take a train journey across the state and discover Jaisalmer, Jaipur and Jodhpur.
If you’re wondering why anyone would head to Churchill in the far north of Manitoba, Canada, and brave temperatures of 1C, it’s because October is the month when resident polar bears gather in the area, waiting until they can return to the ice. Churchill is already known as the polar bear capital of the world, but in October you can see these beautiful creatures hanging about casually with the rest of the locals, sometimes walking the streets. The bears might look cute and cuddly, but do not approach them. Organised tours are available, when you can ride specially adapted vehicles that bring you closer to the bears. There are no roads in and out of Churchill, but there is a train three times a week, and an airport.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
For those who like their entertainment sky high, the world’s largest balloon festival takes place in Albuquerque in October, and lasts for a whole nine days. This colourful event is always popular, so you’ll need to book your spot in advance, and plan out hotels and restaurants in advance. Look out for the Special Shape Rodeo Event – when balloons in the shape of animals, rockets and all manner of weird and wonderful things – set off. You’ll need to be an early riser for this one, as each day the balloons take to the skies at dawn. Temperatures in Albuquerque are around 22C in October – pleasant enough for staying outdoors staring at the sky.
Wherever you plan on heading over the coming months Switched On’s feature packed travel insurance policies offer total peace of mind when you’re away from home. Get a quick quote here.