Where to go in October

With autumn closing in up north, and spring not quite yet sprung in the south, October is a good time to opt for a touch of urban splendour. The great cities of the world make for exciting holiday destinations, and you can get in some early Christmas shopping while you’re at it.

In Europe the classic cities of London, DublinParis, Rome, Athens and Madrid are not always comfortable to visit during high summer, but the cooler autumnal conditions are ideal for pounding the pavements and doing some serious sight-seeing. How about a brief break to Italy? Perhaps a trip in Vienna to the tune of a Strauss waltz, or opt for opera in Milan (and add a stylish pair of shoes to the bargain). Further east is romantic Budapest, or the lively nightlife of Belgrade.

If you want to go long-haul on your quest for slick cities in October, try Sydney in Australia where spring is kicking into high gear with all sorts of events.  Spring comes and goes pretty quickly in Cape Town, South Africa, where October arrives ready for the beach with plenty of greenery and warm, dry weather after the wet winter.

If shopping is your bag you cannot afford to turn your back on the mecca of the United Arab Emirates, where in Dubai all that glitters IS gold! The Middle East – too hot for most westerners in high summer – becomes more bearable (though still scorching). October is a great time to holiday in Egypt’s Red Sea resorts like Sharm el Sheikh and Hurgharda, where temperatures hover at around 27°C (80.6°F).

Other global top hot spots for a beach holiday in October include Hawaii. It’s on the cusp of the rainy season, but still hot and dry enough to lure sunseekers from chilly mainland USA who want to prolong their summer. Down in Mexico Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula has just emerged from its stormy wet season, and some hot, sunny days are a sure thing.

Water clarity for snorkelling and diving is excellent on the Great Barrier Reef off of Australia in October, just before north Queensland  enters its rainy season.

Asia is slowly emerging from its monsoon season in October; it is still very wet in India but towards the end of the month Goa begins to dry out and offer hot, sunny days. While Thailand still has a few weeks of heavy rain to face, Cambodia is between the sweltering dry season and the pouring rain of the winter, so the weather is an ideal mixture of the two. In China October is a good time to visit the Great Wall – central China has cool temperatures and mild, sunny weather.

The tropics still need a few more weeks to dry out from the monsoon season before they can welcome beach-goers, but if you are looking for the archetypical hammock under the palm trees holiday then Mauritius in the Indian Ocean will be warm and dry.