From jack o’lanterns to polar bears, some amazing things happen around the world in October. Whether you’re planning a spontaneous last-minute getaway or daydreaming about a future trip, these are our top world destinations for October travel.

USA

Fall (get it?) in love with the remarkable autumn colours of New England. Transform into a family of leaf-peepers, as the locals call them, and watch the trees turn red in Boston and beyond. Join in Halloween celebrations at month-long festivals in Salem, Massachusetts and Sleepy Hollow, New York.

The colours don’t look real in Boston Public Garden and Boston Common Credit: CO Leong, Shutterstock

Or take a different route and enjoy mild weather and few crowds in Hawaii. Although the rainy season does make a slow start in October, the Big Island stays fairly dry with temperatures in the mid to high 20’s.

Canada

Hop, skip and jump across to the USA’s neighbours, who are also experiencing a colourful change in season. Pack according to which Canadian province you’re visiting, because some get pretty chilly! Rug up and travel north to Churchill, Manitoba. Churchill is the self-proclaimed polar bear capital of the world and October is bear-watching season.

October is polar bear season in Churchill, Manitoba. Credit: Shutterstock

Chile

The Atacama Desert is the driest in the world, excluding the north and south poles. It is pretty temperate year-round, but October brings fewer tourists and lower costs. The flat, red moonscape is a stark contrast to the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia. This Chilean gem is packed full of mountains, glaciers, lakes and rivers.

The Atacama, near the Andes, is great for bike riding and star-gazing. Credit: Shutterstock

Taiwan

Cheaper flights and pleasant temperatures make Taiwan a great choice of destination for October. Typhoon season has ended and hiking season begun, so head to Taroko and Yangmingshan National Parks for stunning scenery.

We’ve never seen a temple and shrine in so picturesque a location as Taroko! Credit: FenlioQ Shutterstock

Germany

From late September, Bavarian capital Munich famously celebrates Oktoberfest. This relaxed festival occurs in beer halls and tents around the city, but is not just for grown-ups who like a good brew. The site of the old festival is great for families.

Oktoberfest is a family-friendly folk festival as well as a celebration of the best Bavarian brews Credit: Shutterstock

Italy

Tourists flock to Rome and beyond in July and August, which are also the hottest months. In October, you’ll pretty much have the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon and Colosseum to yourselves. Weather is still warm, but the shoulder season is significantly less expensive.

Without the summer heat and crowds, Rome is a whole new destination Credit: Shutterstock

Iceland

October marks the start of the winter travel season in Iceland. Importantly, after months of daylight, it is also the beginning of Northern Lights season. Pack plenty of sightseeing into long days, enjoy fewer cars on the Ring Road, and stop in Reykjavik for annual festivals, including the lighting of Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace Tower.

Experiencing the magic of the Northern Lights is a once-in-lifetime experience Credit: Shutterstock

Greece

The Mediterranean is still warm from summer, but you won’t have to fight crowds for a swim. October is ideal for visiting Greek Islands such as Santorini, where it is easy to rent a yacht or book a chartered boat trip. Rhodes is great for families, with windsurfing, kitesurfing and properties suitable for travelling with kids.

Oia, a small hillside village on the island of Santorini. Photo: Shutterstock

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