October On Holiday Tips

From freak festivals in Florida to closing parties in Ibiza, we round up the best destinations for an October getaway.

For beach bums…

Short haul: Ibiza, Spain

As summer abandons Europe again this October, eke out the last of the rays and raves in Ibiza, where nightclubs will be going out with a bang for the winter break.

Pasha, Acid Sundays and Circoloco will all host closing parties in the first week of October, but the last spin of the vinyl doesn’t mean the end of your holiday.

When the party finally stops head to the island’s north to help ease you back down with Balearic cuisine, beaches and beautiful blue waters.

Want things to get properly weird this Halloween? Then roll up to Florida for Fantasy Fest, which takes over Key West every October.

Welcoming freaks, geeks and everyone in between, this creepy carnival has grown to be one of the largest street parties in the USA and raves on for 10 weird and wonderful days.

What to expect: flamboyant fancy dress, pool parties, pirates, burlesque shows, DJs, wet T-shirt contests, fetish festivals and pet pageants, amongst other things. And when it’s over? Sweat out the excess on one of Key West’s fine sandy beaches.

This Halloween, sack off door-stepping scared old ladies and take your fangs to Brașov in Romania for some real bloodcurdling horror. Ringed by the dark Carpathian Mountains, Brașov is a city of Gothic churches, impenetrable forests and the imposing Bran Castle – home of Dracula.

A visit to the city at the end of October will mean bedding down in haunted castles, attending petrifying parties in medieval forts and avoiding having your blood sucked.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be invited to Count Dracula’s wedding at the witching hour, but there’s no guarantee either of you will make it to sunrise.

For too long, Gujarat in Western India has been little more than a handsome, bucolic scene rushing past through a train window as travellers trail towards the beaches of Goa.

But as the state readies itself for the Hindu spectacle of Navratri, that perspective can become a participatory one. Taking place from 13-21 October, Navratri is nine nights of music, chanting, dance, bright clothes and religious revelry, all in the name of Shakti, the divine feminine creative power.

Base yourself in the striking city of Vadodara, where the traditional celebrations will clash with more modern parties and fafda (a crispy gram flour snack) and sticky jalebi (a swirling sugar syrup pretzel) will be eaten by the belly full.

Navratri could help Gujarat step into the lightNavratri could help Gujarat step into the light
Wikimedia Commons / Hardik Jadeja

For thrill seekers…

Short haul: Bristol, UK

Visitors to Bristol’s Oktoberfest will find a distinct lack of lederhosen and giant pretzels. Set in the historic grounds of Ashton Court estate, this Oktoberfest is all about riding as fast as you can around some of South West England’s finest mountain biking trails.

On 10 October bikers take to the 9.5km (6-mile) course for a series of races culminating with an evening of DJs, food and booze that promise to keep festivities going well past dark.

Bristol continues its adrenaline-fuelled month with the inaugural Bristol to Bath marathon (25 October). Profits from the city-to-city race will go towards sustainable development projects in Malawi.

Bristol's Oktoberfest is more bike than booze Bristol’s Oktoberfest is more bike than booze
rui noronha / Thinkstock

Long haul: Nepal

Get your hiking boots on because October marks the start of trekking season in Nepal – and the country needs visitors more than ever after April’s devastating earthquakes.

If epic mountain landscapes and steamy jungles weren’t reason enough to visit, then perhaps the festival of Dashain (12-26 October) could tempt you? The biggest festival in Nepal, it celebrates the goddess Durga’s victory over evil, and sees many people working in Kathmandu return to their hometowns.

Up in the mountains is where Durga feels most magical, with strings of tiny communities illuminated by lights, decked in flowers and celebrating into the night with traditional music.