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Lady walking over a bridge in Kyoto in autumn

Where to travel in October

Our top picks for an autumnal adventure now that summer's over

Kyoto | Japan

Girona | Spain

Dakar | Senegal

Menorca

Goa | India

London Theatre Break

Kaunas | Lithuania

Kyoto | Japan

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33rd
Kyoto

Our top pick this month is Kyoto, Japan.

Japan was closed to visitors for two years after the first Covid lockdown of 2020, gradually reopening last year. And in April 2023 they removed all Covid travel restrictions, meaning it's fully open and ready to welcome you back.

We love Tokyo, and you'll likely fly there if you're coming from the UK – but our favourite place in Japan when we last visited was Kyoto, two hours away on the famous bullet train.

Why October? Visitors rave about the sakura that blooms all over Japan in the spring, but equally breathtaking are the gardens in autumn when the leaves turn red and start to fall. Kyoto, the former Japanese capital, is home to so many temples, palaces and gardens that it's the best place to appreciate the autumn livery – so if you're heading out, October's the time to go.

Japan comes a solid 34th on our Good Trip Index, so if you're looking for a holiday that's both exotic and ethical this is a great destination.


Girona | Spain

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18th
Mongolia

A rising-star city break, Girona in Catalonia is now served by direct flights from Ryanair and Jet2 so is every bit as easy to visit as Barcelona, Madrid or the ever-popular Italian city breaks.

It has stunning medieval walls reminiscent of the Bar Walls in York, a bridge built by Gustave Eiffel just before he started work on his tower and one of the best-preserved Jewish Quarters in Western Europe. You may well recognise both the winding streets and the striking cathedral as parts of Bravos and King's Landing from Game of Thrones.

It's a convenient day trip from Barcelona, but why not do it the other way around? Fly to Girona, explore here and pop over to the capital for a day or two.

Spain Travel Guide

From the cultural hotspots on the mainland, to the volcanic Canary Islands and the stunning beaches of the Balearics – Spain has everything you need for every kind of holiday.

Spain awaits...

Dakar | Senegal

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129th
Dakar, Senegal

Dakar, the capital of Senegal and a newly-popular budget alternative to the Canary Islands, now has direct flights courtesy of TUI.

It's five hours vs the four-and-a-half you'd take to Tenerife, and for that extra time in the air you get the same reliable sunshine in a more exotic location, the chance to tick a new country off the bucket list and the same standard of service you'd expect from any resort. You're also paying in West African CFA Francs, which is performing less strongly than the Euro against our beleagured pound, so your holiday money is going to go a fair bit further.

Unfortunately Senegal does score poorly on our Good Trips Index, coming 129th in the world. This is in large part because of weak scores for women's and LGBTQI+ rights – for destinations that score higher on our Good Trip Index, take a look at our top picks for LGBTQ+ travel and women-friendly holidays.

Have a good winter sun trip

We've put together a list of top winter sun destinations using our Good Trip Index to help you travel ethically, sustainably and well this winter.

Have a good trip

Menorca

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18th
Ciutadella Harbour, Menorca

Missing summer? Sun-seekers should head to Menorca – the country enjoys over 300 days of sunshine every year, and those long hot days stretch out as far as October. It'll be quieter at this time of the year too, so you can top up your tan away from the peak-season crowds.

Many people head here for one reason, and that's the pristine beaches and resorts on the south coast. For those looking for sun, sand and all-inclusive holiday vibes, we'd recommend heading to Cala Galdana. It's packed with popular resorts and close to the island's best beaches – our favourite is Cala Macarelleta, which is a worthwhile 10-minute walk from Cala Macarella (one of Menorca's most popular beaches).

Bored of sunbathing? Menorca's nicknamed the 'Windy Island', and these winds make it perfect for watersports. And with the temperature being slightly cooler than summer (it's still warm, don't worry), October's a great time to check out Menorca's historic sites and wonderful landscapes. Our top pick is former capital Ciutadella, a medieval city whose gorgeous old quarter, lively street markets and unique Gothic cathedral are a joy to explore.

Menorca Travel Guide

Go to Menorca for the golden beaches and welcoming resorts, stay for the beautiful landscapes and rich, fascinating history.

Hassle-free guide

Goa | India

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111th
Goa

October's the perfect time to visit Goa. The monsoon-season rains are ending, temperatures are heading into the 30s but the crowds that fill beaches in high season are yet to arrive – so now's the time to go for a relaxed, reliably warm beach holiday.

Bear in mind that India scores 133rd on our Good Trips Index – while it has a largely excellent record on animal welfare, it scores very poorly on press freedoms, women's peace and security and human rights.


London Theatre Break

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20th
London Theatre Break

Autumn is the start of the new theatre season in London, so if you want to treat yourself to some R&R but don't fancy heading overseas, making a trip to the West End into a city break could be your perfect solution.

After the baking heat of August, London is now enjoying a cooler autumn and the shows are back in town. Head to the capital, stay overnight in one of our hand-picked hotels and take in a show nearby for a great UK city break.

Top picks this season include Moulin Rouge, Les Misérables, Wicked and TINA: The Tina Turner Musical.

London Theatre Breaks

Come and see your favourite shows and make a break of it this autumn.

Find out more...

Kaunas | Lithuania

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23rd
Kaunas Castle, Lithuania

Eastern European city breaks seem to get more popular every year, and Kanuas is no exception. Under the radar and renowned as a cultural capital, visitors who have already seen Vilnius and want somewhere a bit quieter to appreciate art and architecture in peace are making the trip.

Your first stop should be the old town. Stroll through the charming streets towards Town Hall Square and admire the 16th and 17th-century houses, elegant town hall and baroque Jesuit Church that line it. Then, head to Kaunas Castle on the banks of the Neris River and explore its towers, walls and fascinating exhibitions, or marvel at contemporary artwork in the MO Museum and the works of Lithuanian artist M. K. Čiurlionis at the National Art Museum.

Make sure to take the 20-minute drive to Pažaislis Monastery too – this marble-covered baroque complex boasts beautiful frescoes and is arguably Lithuania's most significant architectural masterpiece.

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