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Inspiring ideas for a last-minute autumn holiday 

Considering going away this autumn? Then you are spoilt for choice. Keats called it the season of “mellow fruitfulness”, but the months of September, October and November promise much more for the adventurous traveller.

On this page, our experienced travel consultants have shared their favourite destinations for an autumn holiday – each offering diverting reasons to pack your bags as the leaves start to turn. 

Whether it’s a group tour or tailor-made holiday, now is the time to plan your escape for later this year, while availability remains. Let us show you why autumn is the season of discovery.

Where to go

Below, we’ve shared some of the best destinations for an autumn holiday. Choose to explore without the crowds, admire classics in a new light, celebrate with the locals, spot wild arrivals on land and sea, and much more...

India: for lamp-lit beauty 

The vast nation of India dazzles with its colours and contrasts, not least in autumn. As the summer monsoon ebbs away, visitors can explore under clear skies – all the better for spotting Rajasthan’s rich birdlife.  

And for cultural immersion, it doesn’t get much better than Diwali, the five-day Festival of Lights that transforms the nation into a spectacle of diya oil lamps, glittering fireworks, fragrant garlands and rangoli sand art. 

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South America: for multi-country odysseys  

Journey to a land of colour, coffee and carnival, where nature is on another scale, and locals dance to a different rhythm. South America stretches from the top of Colombia down to the tip of Chile, encompassing myriad landscapes and cultures – ideal for a multi-country adventure.  

Visit in autumn to see Patagonia in bloom, squabbling sea lions and courting penguins on the Galápagos islands, and fewer crowds at the Incan wonder of Machu Picchu.

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Uzbekistan: for Islamic grandeur & fewer crowds

Uzbekistan’s central spot on the ancient Silk Road has left a legacy of awe-inspiring architecture, exemplified by its ornate blue mosques, madrasas, and mausoleums. In autumn, cooler temperatures and – from mid-October – fewer crowds give you greater freedom and comfort to explore the ancient cities that were once at the heart of Timur’s influential empire. 

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Vietnam: for Mekong cruising & milder weather

Local legend tells that the Vietnamese people are descended from dragons, but there is nothing fearsome about the warm welcome awaiting you. This rapidly developing destination is a place of limestone karsts, hilltop tribes and sizzling street-food. November is the end of the wet season, promising less stifling weather than the middle months – ideal conditions for a cruise down the Mekong. 

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Jordan: for desert stars 

Jordan: the camel-trod crossroads of three continents, stomping ground of Lawrence of Arabia, and metropole of the mysterious Nabataeans. This desert nation kindles a sense of adventure in all who visit. 

Autumn brings cooler temperatures and the first rains, vivifying the countryside with greenery and flowers. It’s an excellent time for a scenic hike through the mountains, and to snorkel in Aqaba’s warm waters – home to eagle rays and turtles. Conditions are ideal for an overnight camp in Wadi Rum: a chance to glimpse the Milky Way above the Mars-like valley. 

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Italy: for saints and Sorrentine sun 

Italy: a slender peninsula brimming with beautiful scenery, palate-pleasing gastronomy, ancient relics and world-class art.  

By autumn, the crowds have eased and the countryside is daubed with amber and gold. Yet it’s still warm enough to enjoy south-coast retreats such as Sorrento, and the nearby outdoor ‘museum’ of Pompeii. 1 November is All Saints’ Day, which Italians celebrate with gifting and feasting. Autumn is also the time of harvest, so along with food and wine festivals, it’s truffle and wild mushroom season. 

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Costa Rica: for volcano views & nesting turtles  

It’s no surprise that Costa Ricans – known as Ticos – rank among the happiest people in the world. After all, studies show that spending time in nature is good for us, and this Central American nation is a natural paradise between two oceans.  

Autumn promises clear views of the imposing Arenal Volcano, uncrowded trips into the luscious Monteverde Cloud Forest, and the chance for nocturnal excursions to spot nesting turtles – including the endangered leatherback. 

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Scandinavia & the Nordics: for the northern lights

The Nordic countries stand out for their Viking heritage, wood-clad harbour towns, head-turning nature and high standards of living.

Autumn dresses the deciduous forests of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland in goldleaf, and the cool, crisp air heralds the first snowfall. September through to April is the best time to see the ephemeral ribbons of the northern lights in both Iceland and the Faroe Islands. 

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South Africa: for wine and wildlife  

A true crowd pleaser, South Africa is the perfect introduction to the African continent. The ‘Rainbow Nation’ is a natural beauty, from the Winelands to the wildlife reserves; the fair Cape to the arid Kalahari.  

As we enter autumn, South Africa enters spring, and wildflowers bloom. In Hermanus, spot southern right whales as they migrate to the warm coastal waters. The weather is mild, and – compared to preceding months – you contend with fewer safari-goers for the best views of wildlife.

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Egypt: for fair weather and pharaohs  

When archaeologist Howard Carter took his first step into Tutankhamun’s tomb, he was surrounded by strange statues and the glint of gold. When asked if he could see anything, he simply replied: “Yes – wonderful things.”  

Wonderful things await every visitor to Egypt, and in autumn you avoid both the sweltering heat of summer and the jostling crowds of winter. Attend the Abu Simbel Sun Festival (22 October), and you can witness the sun cutting through a temple’s chamber like a scene from Indiana Jones.  

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Refer a friend

Your referred friend will receive a £250 discount on their first qualifying booking with Cox & Kings. You will receive a £250 discount on the next qualifying booking made by you for travel with Cox & Kings after your friend makes their first qualifying booking with Cox & Kings. The discount is valid for new bookings only and cannot be applied against any trips you have already booked before making the referral. A new client to Cox & Kings is defined as no previous bookings made by that individual or any traveller named on the booking with Cox & Kings since 2021. Minimum booking value of £5,000 applies to both the booking made by you and the friend referred. The £250 discount is applicable to qualifying Cox & Kings bookings only. No cash alternative is available. If you do not make a booking with Cox & Kings in 2024, your discount will lapse. No cash alternative is available. The discount is personal to you and cannot be transferred to any third party. Combinable with other offers. Only one refer-a-friend discount can be applied per booking. The friend referred must not be a member of your household. We reserve the right to withdraw this offer at any time.