Sure, there’s something magical about the crisp autumn months, with their bright leaves and bonfire smoke, conkers and pumpkin spice lattes. But hot they are not. Happily, holidaying in October is a no-brainer: school’s back in, so airports are less crowded, it’s sunny and dry everywhere from southern Europe to South America, and prices are set at ‘shoulder season’. And the options are endless: volcanic islands, medieval towns, surfer meccas, party cities… all of them with temperatures hovering comfortably somewhere between 20 and 30℃. Here’s our pick of hotspots, ranked from mildest to most scorching. Don’t forget the factor 15.
AVERAGE OCTOBER TEMPERATURE: 20℃
The ‘secret’ Canary Island is a far cry from its classic winter-sun siblings. Muted and secluded, it’s a heaven for adventure seekers: spectacular hiking paths probe jungly valleys and range up rough-cut cliffs. It’s accessible only via ferry from Tenerife – passengers leave resorts and packed-out beachesbehind, swapping them for sleepy villages, tangled trails and rural boutiques. It’s not a fly-and-flop sort of place – though happily exhausted hikers seem content to end at the pebble beach in laid-back Playa Santiago – but October’s ideal walking weather pretty much guarantees a sunny expedition. Plus, there’s plenty of relaxing to be had joining locals at harbourside seafood restaurants, or ambling between capital San Sebastián’s pastel-painted houses.
AVERAGE OCTOBER TEMPERATURE: 21℃
Thrillingly elemental, the Azores absorb you in nature: though Portuguese, they’re 1,000 miles from the mainland, cast gloriously adrift in the mid-Atlantic. Here, explorers (or, rather, clued-in Lisboetas and surfers) find a lost world of blue-green crater lakes, bubbling mud pools, and waterfalls rushing down green cliffs – a sort of Iceland through the looking-glass, where a subtropical climate brings year-round sunshine (a land of fire, without the ice). São Miguel, the largest island, has the hushed feel of uncharted territory, but with creature comforts. Try wellness boutique Furnas, in the hot-springs town of the same name; or Santa Bárbara Eco-Beach Resort, sitting secluded among tea plantations and commanding serious sea vistas.